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Simmons links all the fourteeners in San Juan Mountains in single effort

Simmons links all the fourteeners in San Juan Mountains in single effort 2020-09-06Leave a comment

electrical bike Simmons hyperlinks all of the fourteeners in San Juan Mountains in single effort

Scott Simmons had considered a selected mountain problem within the San Juan Mountains for years. He by no means imagined finishing it in path trainers as a substitute of ski boots.

The 48-year-old Durango man set out Aug. 11 on a mission to hyperlink up the 13 summits of 14,000 toes or greater within the San Juans in a single effort with out navigation from outdoors Durango, Silverton, Lake Metropolis, Ouray and Telluride. Although he needed to drop out after his preliminary day in Chicago Basin over to Stony Cross, the graduate of Fort Lewis Faculty would persevere.

After 104 hours and 58 minutes, Simmons stood atop El Diente Peak at 14,160 toes and stopped his watch. He had completed it, considered one of his greatest feats after 30 years of dabbling within the San Juans.

“It was so troublesome proper up till the top. It was a fairly wonderful feeling,” Simmons mentioned. “I wish to problem myself and really feel like a variety of mountains right here you actually can run up them in a few hours. It’s a problem possibly to do it speed-wise, however the precise problem of whether or not you may stand up them possibly isn’t that nice. To hyperlink these all up within the type I needed to, it took longer than I needed to, but it surely was a tremendous feeling. Probably the greatest emotions I’ve had within the mountains simply to drag it off.”


Scott Simmons took one final look again at El Diente, his final of 13 summits within the San Juan Mountain vary throughout his San Juan 13 problem. The image is taken from Kilpacker Path.

Courtesy of Scott Simmons

The San Juan 13: Simmons hyperlinks all of the fourteeners in San Juan Mountains in single effort

Scott Simmons took one final look again at El Diente, his final of 13 summits within the San Juan Mountain vary throughout his San Juan 13 problem. The image is taken from Kilpacker Path.

Courtesy of Scott Simmons

Simmons’ purpose was to beat 100 hours. Initially, he anticipated the path to cowl 140 miles. However his run would truly cowl 157.14 miles. It featured 58,949 toes of elevation acquire. He felt he may have completed it in 100 hours, however he selected to sleep just a few hours earlier than climbing Wilson Peak after some trail-finding points at the hours of darkness in a giant meadow in Bilk Basin.

Initially, Simmons needed to do the journey on skis within the winter. He had considered it for just a few years and was able to do it final spring earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“I’ve in all probability been serious about it for a few years, however by no means serious about working it,” Simmons mentioned. “Actually, I had simply been using my bike this yr to remain related with the children. I haven’t been working in any respect. I don’t know when it actually occurred to me to possibly simply run it since I wasn’t in a position to ski it.

“I’d wish to ski it. That will actually be the most important purpose is to hyperlink all of them up on skis. I had it in thoughts to do it this yr, however we bumped into the COVID. It appeared just like the consensus was to not put your self approach on the market within the backcountry in case you needed to be rescued and all that, so I simply sort of drew again on that.”

Inspiration got here from the Nolan’s 14. The Nolan’s 14 is a mountain running challenge that has drawn worldwide notoriety lately. Jim Nolan, who has climbed all 54 of Colorado’s famed fourteeners, was requested by Fred Vance what number of fourteeners could possibly be linked in a 100-mile point-to-point course. Nolan got here up with a string of 14 peaks within the Sawatch Vary from Leadville to Salida. The primary official run was in 1999, as a gaggle of Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run veterans set out on the problem. Since then, the problem to attach the 14 summits in lower than 60 hours has drawn runners from everywhere in the world to check their mettle.


A map outlines the route Scott Simmons took throughout his San Juan 13 problem final month.

Courtesy of Scott Simmons

The San Juan 13: Simmons hyperlinks all of the fourteeners in San Juan Mountains in single effort

A map outlines the route Scott Simmons took throughout his San Juan 13 problem final month.

Courtesy of Scott Simmons

Simmons favored the thought of attempting to do one thing comparable within the southwest nook of the state. To his information, no person else has linked up all the San Juan fourteeners in a single effort.

“I knew I couldn’t be the quickest at it, so I would as effectively be the primary,” Simmons mentioned. “100 hours was actually exhausting for me. I’d like to see somebody quick go get it. I’d simply say watch out. There are some fairly nasty down-climbs when you attempt to straight line it by the peaks.”

A number of the first names that got here to thoughts for Simmons have been Durango’s Kyle Curtin, a Tahoe 200 winner, and four-time Hardrock 100 champion and world-famous runner Kilian Jornet of Spain.

“I sort of know him loosely,” Simmons mentioned of Jornet, noting their time as aggressive ski mountaineer racers. “It might be superior if Kilian got here and did this. He’d find it irresistible. He loves the San Juans and loves Hardrock. This mainly was like a giant Hardrock with a variety of off-trail navigation. It was lot of time not on path which is a reasonably large distinction additionally from Nolan’s. Nolan’s, there’s some thrashing round, however not the magnitude of what I went by on this.”

Nowadays, Simmons is mostly identified for being the daddy of Quinn Simmons, a 19-year-old skilled bike owner who gained the 2019 junior world championship. Quinn, too, has a ski mountaineering background, as he gained a bronze medal within the dash race on the 2017 Worldwide Ski Mountaineering Federation World Championships in Italy.


With father Scott Simmons at his facet, Durango’s Quinn Simmons gained a junior world championship final yr.

Casey B. Gibson/USA Biking file

The San Juan 13: Simmons hyperlinks all of the fourteeners in San Juan Mountains in single effort

With father Scott Simmons at his facet, Durango’s Quinn Simmons gained a junior world championship final yr.

Casey B. Gibson/USA Biking file

Simmons has put collectively loads of his personal spectacular leads to competitions on skis and bikes. Born in Alaska, Simmons stayed in Durango after his time at FLC. He entered his first ski mountaineering race in 1997, a sport he grew to become excited about after he accomplished an uphill and downhill race at Silverton Mountain.

A well-respected backcountry skier, Simmons has been named to the U.S. crew for the ski mountaineering world championships 4 occasions, and he set a Grand Traverse course report. Simmons and longtime ski accomplice Paul Hamilton additionally notably joined Jason Schlarb of Durango and filmmaker Noah Howell for the first-known ski loop of the Hardrock 100 course.

Final winter, Simmons determined to ski from Silverton to Lake Metropolis and again, noting it was simply as quick to achieve the couloir he aimed to ski by touring from Silverton to Lake Metropolis than it was to finish the seven-hour round-trip drive from Durango to Lake Metropolis.


Scott Simmons is a four-time nationwide crew choice for the ski mountaineering world championships.

Courtesy of Holly Simmons

The San Juan 13: Simmons hyperlinks all of the fourteeners in San Juan Mountains in single effort

Scott Simmons is a four-time nationwide crew choice for the ski mountaineering world championships.

Courtesy of Holly Simmons

Simmons didn’t have a lot time to coach for his San Juan 13 effort. He spent many of the summer time on a bicycle, both coaching together with his sons Quinn and Colby on the street or using within the mountains. He accomplished the Telluride One Hundred mountain bike race on July 31 and had solely 10 days to change gears to working earlier than his try. His toes paid the worth.

“I feel I received in seven or eight runs and foolishly mentioned, ‘Yeah, I’m prepared.’ So, yeah, I set out on a Tuesday morning to run what I believed was 140 miles and turned out to be 158,” he mentioned. “It was all I anticipated after which some.”

The RouteSimmons began on the Purgatory Flats trailhead at 3:18 a.m. Aug. 11. He bumped into Chicago Basin and checked off North Eolus (14,039 toes), Eolus (14,085), Daylight Peak (14,058) and Windom Peak (14,088) and slept on Stony Cross after 43.3 miles and 21,500 toes of vertical acquire.

“There’s a dispute if North Eolus is (a fourteener). It’s above 14,000, but it surely doesn’t have the distinction in elevation from Eolus, itself,” Simmons mentioned. “However, there are 4 in Chicago Basin.”


Mountain goats are considerable in Chicago Basin underneath Eolus, one of many fourteeners Scott Simmons summited first throughout his San Juan 13 problem final month.

Courtesy of Scott Simmons

The San Juan 13: Simmons hyperlinks all of the fourteeners in San Juan Mountains in single effort

Mountain goats are considerable in Chicago Basin underneath Eolus, one of many fourteeners Scott Simmons summited first throughout his San Juan 13 problem final month.

Courtesy of Scott Simmons

Simmons had left some meals on Stony Cross two days earlier than his effort. He was careworn the whole time that an animal or camper would discover his stash, but it surely was hidden away effectively and ready for him when he arrived. What he wasn’t prepared for was how exhausting the primary day could be.

“The primary day went approach longer that I believed it will. I used to be out for 21 hours and thought it will be 5 hours lower than that,” Simmons mentioned. “Off path from Windom to Stony was approach more durable than I believed, though I had been there earlier than. I truly stop that first night time. I made a decision I wasn’t going to go anymore. It was simply too exhausting.”

However Simmons didn’t wish to name his pals in Lake Metropolis and inform them he wasn’t coming for the meals they’d stashed at Nellie Creek, so he saved going.

On Day 2, Simmons climbed Handies Peak (14,058), Sunshine Peak (14,007) and Redcloud Peak (14,035). He would spend the night time at Nellie Creek after 31 miles and 10,777 toes of elevation acquire.

The subsequent day, he checked off Uncompahgre Peak, the tallest peak within the San Juan Mountains at 14,308 toes. Then, it was on to Wetterhorn Peak (14,015) earlier than he ran to Ouray and resupplied. He spent the night time in Yankee Boy Basin after 39.43 miles and 11,652 toes of climbing.


The dawn within the Lizard Head Wilderness Space from Bilk Basin on Scott Simmons’ remaining day of the San Juan 13 problem.

Courtesy of Scott Simmons

The San Juan 13: Simmons hyperlinks all of the fourteeners in San Juan Mountains in single effort

The dawn within the Lizard Head Wilderness Space from Bilk Basin on Scott Simmons’ remaining day of the San Juan 13 problem.

Courtesy of Scott Simmons

Out of Yankee Boy Basin, Simmons checked off Mt. Sneffels (14,150) after which ran to Telluride to get his remaining resupply. He spent the night time in Bulk Basin after 30.41 miles and eight,790 toes of elevation acquire.

The ultimate effort got here on the Wilson group outdoors Telluride. First was Wilson Peak (14,017) after which Mt. Wilson (14,246) earlier than the end atop El Diente Peak (14,160). He completed with 13 miles with 6,230 toes of elevation acquire earlier than he hiked out Kilpacker Path.

HHHSimmons mentioned he packed heavier than he wanted to. He had a powerful shelter with stakes within the occasion of heavy rain, which by no means got here. He had a sleeping bag and pad, saying he wanted a cushty mattress to get by the problem. He additionally had a water filter, pants and a puffy jacket for heat.

Together with the blisters on his toes that made the ultimate two days excruciating, Simmons mentioned he made some pretty dangerous route decisions that would have change into problematic. However he needed to stay to his plan and keep away from backtracking at any time when doable.

Friday, Sept. 4, 2020

Fort Lewis Faculty alum Scott Simmons, father of WorldTour professional bike owner Quinn Simmons and growing junior bike owner Colby Simmons, lately tackled all 13 of the fourteeners within the San Juan Mountains in a single effort that took greater than 100 hours. He hopes the ultra-running challenge positive factors comparable reputation because the Nolan’s 14 in Colorado. We additionally talk about ski mountaineering and what it’s wish to be the daddy of one of many high younger American cyclists. Music credit score: “Too Cool” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed underneath Inventive Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

He mentioned it was additionally a psychological problem seeing his subsequent fourteener and figuring out it was, within the case of Windom to Handies, 37 miles away.

“I do know all of the fourteeners. I’ve been up all of them, so I do know the place they’re and acknowledge the form,” Simmons mentioned of his resolution to not use navigation. “I may see them a great distance off, and it certain takes a very long time to get to them to truly begin climbing them. Then, as you go away from them, the opposite factor I noticed is it takes a very long time to get them our of your rear-view mirror. There’s a variety of distance between them.

“Sort of what I needed to do was mainly show to myself, I assume, that I sort of know the San Juans.

Now, Simmons is able to sit again and see if another person can set a quick time and assist construct pleasure across the problem. And he’ll look to get again on the market on skis as soon as the snowpack returns to the mountains he loves.

“I’d wish to see somebody put a quick time on it and listen to the tales,” he mentioned. “There are some tales on the market.”

jlivingston@durangoherald.com

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