Just a quick update on the current conditions around Leadville for those curious about such things.
Spring has been slow-coming this year and I've had to be fairly creative trying to find routes for my long runs. I've been forced to stay on dirt roads, south-facing slopes, or exposed, sage brush-lined trails.
On Saturday I parked at the South Elbert Trailhead and was able to run the Colorado Trail all the way up to Lily Ponds-- and a little bit past it-- before the drifts got too frequent. That was a pleasant surprise. I wasn't sure if I'd have to run the 4WD road up or not. From there, it was all clear heading south on the Colorado Trail around Twin Lakes all the way to Interlaken. I've heard it's clear at least all the way to the intersection with the trail over Hope Pass. By next weekend I'm fairly confident you could run all the way around Twin Lakes without encountering significant snow.
The week prior, I ran from the Colorado Trail intersection all the way up Clear Creek Road to Winfield, taking the new section of the CDT for the final few miles. All runnable-- except for a few huge drifts in the trees just before Winfield. I'm sure it's melted out even more since then.
Closer to Leadville, the single track around town is still pretty muddy/messy and there are frequent drifts to post-hole through. I've heard Turquoise Lake is still pretty well snowed in, though I haven't tried running there yet. I've heard folks are running up Halfmoon Road, which is clear. I haven't bothered trying the trails above the Fish Hatchery yet or up the Powerlines. It's all still pretty snowy. The Mineral Belt has been plowed, so if you want some fast on-pavement running, there's that for a 12.5 mile option.
I've got the Sage Burner 50K this weekend, which I'm very excited about. The weather looks to be in the 70s and sunny in Gunnison. Sweet! Hopefully by the following weekend there will be more options to explore around town... I'd guess that trails are about 6-8 weeks "behind schedule" when compared to last year.
I have a feeling that Lifetime will probably be looking for volunteers to help shovel out sections of the Marathon and Silver Rush courses this year! The snow will stick around for a long time near 12,000 ft-- especially in the willows near Ball Mtn and the top of Iowa Gulch.
|21 miles from the South Elbert Trailhead. All clear.|
|21 miles to Winfield and back. Should be all clear by now.|
|Clear Creek Road on 5/11|
|Climbing up the south side of Hope Pass.|
|The intersection with the new CDT section to Winfield.|
|Most of the trail is probably all melted by now.|
|The biggest drifts were within the last 0.3 miles before Winfield.|
|The jeep road down into Winfield.|
|Ah, Winfield. My first time back since the 100.|
|Back on Clear Creek Road with Hope Pass in the distance.|
|Big horn sheep!|