Review: La Sportiva Spire GTX

In September, I started working with Andrew Skurka on his guided backpacking trips and was looking for a light hiker that would work well for this task. I was offered to try out the La Sportiva Spire GTX, so here’s my review.

My usual advice for anyone doing a long-distance backpacking trip would be to pick a trail runner that you really enjoy, and find that you can wear all-day. The days of extremely heavy, overbuilt, inflexible, high top boots for backpacking are over (save them for special purposes, like full-on Winter conditions).

My pick for both my all-time favorite trailrunner and what I would usually pick for backpacking is the the La Sportiva Mutant. Sized correctly, they hit the sweet spot for me as a more than viable trail runner (I would run an ultra in these, without hesitation), kicks for fastpackinglike my time in the Weminuche, and even for a scramble a low/moderate pitch of alpine rock when the great majority of the time is on the approach – like the Maroon Bells traverse. I personally stick with low to mid height shoes, because of my ankles – I want the mobility that a lower shoe gives, as I want to keep my ankles constantly challenged by terrain – it’s the only way they became, and remain: strong. And believe me, I’ve had some serious challenges with ankle injuries.

But, all shoes exist on a spectrum and no one shoe will work for everything. For a wishlist, I would certainly want:

A more bulletproof upper. Off-trail hiking can cause a number on the uppers of a pair of well-ventilated trail runners.

A tough outsole. I’ll be carrying a lot more additional weight than I usually do – even when I’m on my own fastpacks.

Generally, I want to make sure that whatever shoes I use will last me until the end, and I’m not hobbled – I’m workin’ here.

Enter the Spire.

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Climbing the Flatiron Quinfecta [twenty5]

Housemate Nolan wanted to do the Flatiron Quinfecta for his 25th Birthday Challenge (climbing the standard east face route of each of the five numbered flatirons) and I was happy to help him make that happen. I started off guiding him on the the easiest flatiron routes just a few months ago. I was quite impressed at his meteoric advancing to the more adventurous scrambles. We shot footage of our day and Nolan did the edit/post production.


Flatiron Quinfecta Birthday Challenge With Nolan!

For my housemate’s birthday, we did the Flatiron Quinfecta – a local scrambling challenge to climb the five number flatirons in a day. My housemate has really only scrambled for a limited amount of time, and I was most impressed of his fortitude in successfully completing the task. Happy birthday, dude!

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Miles on Freeway – Running 20 laps up and 20 laps down on the Second Flatiron

Last Thursday, I thought a righteous challenge would be to see how many laps on the Second Flatiron’s “Freeway” route I could do, before my arms fell off.

After 16 hours, I had accumulated 40 laps! 20 up, and 20 down, done in succession with little rest in between. A fantastic day of moving meditation after weeks of preparation on the route searching for the most efficient route to climb. 16 hours of staying in the same 900 foot rib of rock, netting 11 miles, gaining/losing 10,600 feet of elevation. Such an intense concentration of expressing various mountain disciplines in a familiar setting just a few miles from the house.

 

 


GDMBR Detours: Lake City Linkup

With another run of the Tour Divide this year, I’m reminded again of this awesome cross-country route and the many great memories I have on it.

The last time I was riding on the GDMBR was on my Tour of the Highest Hundred, where I rode up Marshall Pass after riding the 100 miles from Lake City to summit my first Sawatch of the trip: Mount Ouray.

The route itself was excellent, and provided a relatively quiet and mostly dirt route linking two disparate mountain ranges. The GDMBR barely gets into the San Juans, which is a real shame, as the San Juans are truly one of the crown jewels of Colorado. I’ll explain the route from Salida to Lake City, as this is where you’ll get on it via the GDMBR, then detour off towards Lake City. Once at Lake City, you’ll have to make a choice of where to go, as detouring back to the GDMBR is a trip in of itself and is also, sadly, all on pavement.

Here we go:

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