Daily Log

Written by The Dog Team

Please note that Daily Log entries are based on a race day, from 2:30 am to 2:30 am.

  • The Dog Team was completely gathered by Saturday, September 2, 2000, in Denver, Colorado.
  • That same day the Kennel(RV) was picked up and the journey to Ouray to pick up Myrtle(Jeep) began.
  • A quick lesson in RV driving was learned when the Kennel ran over a fire hydrant in Canyon City.
  • The day before the start, The Dog Team took the scenic Silverton to Needleton train ride to gain access to the Eolus Group.  The train drops the team off along the side of the tracks deep in the Needle Mountains of the San Juan Range.

  • On the hike to the start line, Rad Dog treated a dog team member who had recently been at sea level for mild altitude sickness.
Day 1
  • Windom, Sunlight, Eolus, Mt. Wilson, El Diente, Wilson Peak, Sneffels
  • The Clock started ticking at 2:30 am on the morning of Monday, September 4th, after a long difficult hike (for the team that is) up Chicago Basin.
  • During the Eolus Group, Cave Dog had good weather with some leftover snow on the rock from a storm several days earlier.  Cave Dog has mixed emotions as he arrives at the train tracks an hour and twenty one minutes before the train arrived to pick up The Dog Team  On the one hand, he was excited about his fast time on the Eolus group and on the other hand, he was bummed he did not start at 3:50 am.
  • Later, he ran into some problems with a lightning storm while climbing El Diente that had the rocks buzzing and his hair standing on end.  Cave Dog wanted to make a strong push on the first day so he included the Wilsons with the Eolus group.  He was anxious about getting stuck on the Wilsons after nightfall.  He had planned to ascend Wilson Peak in darkness without a moon; hence, he was extremely excited and exuberant to find himself running down before dusk.
  • The day was finished with a night hike up Sneffels, the first of a long string of very windy peaks.
  • Right from the beginning, Cave Dog's left big toe turned completely numb.  This was expected since it had become momentarily numb during most of his training hikes after a boulder crushed his left foot while on Eolus's Southeast Face at the end of July.  However, this time he would not regain feeling in that toe for another three and a half months.
Day 2
  • Handies, Sunshine, Redcloud, Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn, San Luis
  • Late at night, Lady Dog got locked out of Josephine(backup 4 wheel drive vehicle).  Fortunately, she was able to get a key by using a walkie talkie to reach Burns Dog, who in turn used a pay phone to call Scurv E. Dawg's mobile phone as he and Sea Dog were on the road in the Kennel.

  • Rad Dog had the unfortunate experience of blowing out a tire on Myrtle this night during the long drive to the Handies trailhead.  He drove all the way down from Cinnamon pass on three tires.  At the base of the American Basin, he had to change the tire in the dark holding a flashlight in his mouth.  Cave Dog finished summitting Handies in the length of time it took to change the difficult tire.  A portion of the support crew's day was spent in Lake City securing a new tire.
  • After staging Wheezy(errand car) in Salida, Burns Dog and Lady Dog were detained for the entire day because of some miscommunication about the rendezvous spot and no cell service in Lake City.  Amazingly, they spotted the Kennel in a parking lot on a side street in Gunnison not even realizing that it was in that town.
  • On Wetterhorn, Cave Dog found himself clinging to the cliffs of the West Face while being knocked around by fifty knot winds pummeling him with painful corn ball snow.
  • There were thirty to fifty knot winds on Handies, Wetterhorn, and San Luis and ten to thirty knot winds on Sunshine, Redcloud, and Uncompahgre.
  • Inspired by his remarkable first two days, Cave Dog ran down San Luis to ensure that he finished the San Juans in just under two days, setting a new record.  This offered a big boost to his morale.
Day 3
  • Culebra, Little Bear, Ellingwood, Blanca, Lindsey
  • The day started with an early morning hike up and run down Culebra while the crew stayed behind and played with the dogs on Culebra Ranch.   Cave Dog ran down Culebra because he did not want to get stuck doing the long Blanca to Lindsey traverse in the dark and the ranch would not allow him to hike Culebra during the night.  Unfortunately, a slow exchange between Culebra and Little Bear pushed him into the dark, anyway.  Along the entire ridge to the Culebra summit, Cave Dog had thirty knot winds gusting to forty-five knots that knocked him over on several occasions.
  • From Culebra, The Dog Team headed to Lake Como Road to rendezvous with the ATVs to gain access to the Blanca Group.  One of the ATVs broke down and had to be left behind for the time being.  This forced Rad Dog and Burns Dog to ride piggyback down the Lake Como Road.  Cave Dog was picked up late on Huerfano Road after summitting Lindsey with the report that he had stumbled on his descent from a carbo low and had fallen into a deep and unscheduled slumber for an indeterminable amount of time.  He could not feel either of his arms when he woke up.  Somehow the Myrtle radio got switched to a transmit only function.  Frustratingly, Cave Dog could hear The Dog Team but could not report back his difficulties.  This was by far the most tired Cave Dog got for the entire event and provided a temporary morale downer.  Lindsey had ten knot winds gusting to twenty-five.
  • Cave Dog noticed that foods he normally dislikes tasted delicious.  Good job Scurv E. Dawg.
Day 4
  • Crestone Needle, Crestone Peak, Challenger, Kit Carson, Humboldt
  • Sea Dog hiked up to the Needle with Cave Dog, summitting shortly after him and recording the event in the summit registry.  At one point, on a two foot narrow ridge crossing, Cave Dog had to convince a stubborn mountain goat to move out of the way.  This hike was finished a couple hours faster than had been expected.  Cave Dog got another boost of morale.
  • Meanwhile, Burns Dog stayed back at the Lake Como Road to meet with the owner of the ATV.  The two of them drove back up the Lake Como Road to fix and retrieve the broken vehicle.
  • Unfortunately, the timing did not allow the crew to gain access to the desired route up Pikes Peak as it is closed at night.  Rather than take a longer hiking route, The Dog Team decided to reschedule Pikes Peak as the second to last peak.  This decision was made with some reluctance because it forced the crew to drive through Denver.  But out of the twenty four hours of a day that the crew could end up driving through the city, it was unlikely to be during rush hour; so, they decided to risk it.
Day 5
  • Antero, Tabeguache, Shavano, Pyramid
  • Cave Dog was slowed down on the Antero to Shavano traverse by glare ice covering the boulders above 13,000 feet.  He tried to run down part of the descent off of Shavano but it wracked his body too much.  This traverse provided another downer.
  • Climbs with long flat descents started to feel very long for Cave Dog.
  • After the pickup on Shavano, the team raced over to Aspen to attempt Pyramid and the Maroon Bells before nightfall.  After encountering some gnarly weather on Pyramid including rain, hail, snow, and thunderstorms the team decided to retreat from the area and return to the Bells after they had some time to melt.  The Dog Team drove to the Sawatch Range to tackle some less technical peaks that could be done easier in adverse situations.  This was by far the lowest moment of the entire event.  Cave Dog even decided to take the time for his one and only shower during the event.
  • Antero had twenty knot winds, while Pyramid had forty knot winds and an inch and a half accumulation of fresh snow.
Day 6
  • Mount of the Holy Cross, Massive, Elbert, La Plata
  • Cave Dog encountered snow on Holy Cross and wrapped up the day with a night hike on La Plata with Burns Dog.  By now, climbs seemed to occur like clockwork.
  • Holy Cross had been planned as a rejuvenation hike after finishing all but one of the more difficult hikes.  A day out of schedule, Holy Cross proved to be just that, a great inspirational hike.  Rad Dog told ascending hikers to cheer on Cave Dog as he passed by.  Cave Dog was so motivated by the random and unexpected applause that he found himself running down in a great mood and ready for more, Pyramid all but forgotten.
  • Rad Dog did not realize he would be taking Cave Dog directly from Massive to Elbert without returning to the Kennel for more food.  He gave all of his food to Cave Dog.  Generous hikers at the bottom of Massive gave Rad Dog some jerky and a beer which he greatly appreciated.
  • A log, about two and a half feet in diameter, laid across the road to the Elbert trailhead.  An attempt to move the log with Myrtle only produced a dent in the front passenger side fender.  Fortunately, it only cost Cave Dog about fifteen minutes of extra hiking.
  • Cave Dog's tongue swelled up and developed several bumps.  He decided not to worry his support crew over an injury that did not impact his climbing performance.  It was only discovered after the event that he was allergic to one of the energy drinks that, without refrigeration, was rotting.
  • Doing these four long solos, Cave Dog gained 16,165 feet.
  • The moon became bright enough to be helpful.
Day 7
  • Princeton, North Maroon, South Maroon, Castle
  • The team lost an important member when Burns Dog had to return to his real life as a mathematician in Boulder. 
  • Drama on the Maroon Bells Traverse:  The first attempt at the Maroon Bells was stopped by a hail/snowstorm that hit while Cave Dog was on Pyramid Peak.  That forced him to postpone the Bells until today.  It had been hoped that since the Sawatch melted completely the prior day that the same would be true for the Elks; unfortunately, above 13,400 much of the rock was covered with an inch of ice hidden by as much as four inches of snow.  At one point during the traverse between North Maroon and South Maroon, in the midst of a difficult climbing maneuver while ascending a small gully, Cave Dog's legs slipped out from underneath him, causing him to lose grip of the hand in motion at the time.  At this point, he was left dangling above an 800 foot nearly vertical slope just by his right elbow that had been his sole secure hold at the time.  After that experience, he decided to take the longer path down from South Maroon instead of the planned shorter route repeating the traverse.
  • On Castle, Cave Dog traversed a 400 foot wide steep snowfield to find himself surrounded by ice lenses.  It took almost a half hour to cross the last thirty feet.  With 600 feet of steep snow and ice below him and a talus runout, he was not even able to turn around without losing his footing.  He bashed in his running shoe clad feet into the wall of hard snow and ice dozens of times for every step, just to create a half inch lip to stand on.  By the time he finished, his feet were stinging with pain and he was exhausted.
Day 8
  • Snowmass, Capitol, Huron
  • While Cave Dog spent all day on the long and difficult Snowmass/Capitol Traverse, The Dog Team got to shower, refuel, and prepare for Tuesday's seven mountain traverse.  The Dog Team was nervous about the Snowmass/Capitol climb because it was the only route Cave Dog was not able to scout out during training.  He had made four prior attempts at this long traverse but was hampered by a car wreck,  a body recovery effort, and twice by lightning.   Even though it was in competition, he decided not to alter his policy of never rushing when on a climb for the first time.  In the end, the climb was slow and tedious, and Cave Dog scrambled a different route than had been recommended to him.  Cave Dog ran down part of the descent of Capitol but had to quit because it was chewing up his body.  This was the only climb in which Cave Dog ran out of water.
  • After Capitol, only one of the difficult climbs remained, Longs Peak.  Cave Dog set out to make an eighteen mountain push for the finish.  Unfortunately, night climbs were becoming increasingly more difficult.  Miraculously, as soon as the sun came up, the torturous nights were forgotten.
  • Cave Dog accidentally fell asleep on the trail for the second time while doing a night hike on Huron.
Day 9
  • Missouri, Belford, Oxford, Harvard, Columbia, Yale
  • After the first peak of the seven mountain traverse, Cave Dog wanted an hour dognap; unfortunately, a mix up occurred and his sleeping bag was forgotten.  For two hours, Cave Dog made futile attempts at sleeping by the shore of Clohesy Lake only to continually wake up in violent shivers and fits with his knees in pounding pain from his subconsciously curling up into the fetal position for warmth.  After kicking himself for not thinking of it sooner, Cave Dog downclimbed the quarter mile to Myrtle and took his hour dog nap upright in the front seat with the car heater running.  All told, he felt more exhausted and in more pain after his break than before.  Fortunately, once the sun rose, shortly after starting off for Missouri, Cave Dog felt great and all was forgotten.
  • Members of The Dog Team got to hike in and refuel Cave Dog at three low points during the seven mountain traverse from Huron to Yale.  During refueling the 3,000 foot rule was carefully observed (see Rules for details on the 3,000 foot rule, the Colorado Rule).
  • After spending hours in the cold waiting for Cave Dog to find his dognap, Sea Dog and Scurv E. Dawg blew out a second tire on Myrtle.  While in town buying another tire to replace the spare, the Kennel ran over a nail and also needed a little tire attention. 
  • Cave Dog got to the Pine Creek rendezvous an hour earlier than the support crew and debated about leaving without them.  Thinking about the incredibly miserable carbo low on Lindsey and the long Harvard to Columbia traverse to come, he decided to wait it out no matter how much frustration there would be in waiting.
  • On Yale, Cave Dog climbed through a debris field over a mile long of a 30 passenger plane that crashed forty years prior while British Intelligence was doing a training mission.
  • After completing Yale, Cave Dog caught up with the Kennel and four sleeping dogs.  The Dog Team instantly woke up and threw a miniparty for Cave Dog for completing the seven mountain traverse including home baked cookies from his sister, Lisa, and inspirational artwork from his nieces, Laura age 5 and Karen age 3.  This was a tremendous boost for Cave Dog.
Day 10
  • Sherman, Democrat, Lincoln, Bross, Quandary, Grays, Torreys, Bierstadt
  • The Dog Team, media, and the mountaineering community alike started to get excited as the record appeared to be in jeopardy of being broken by a significant margin.
  • By now, Cave Dog's tongue was so sore he could no longer taste his food.  Eating caused temporary but excruciating pain.  Nevertheless, thinking about Lindsey, he continued to shovel it in relentlessly.  Even with a master chef, food was for refueling not dining.
  • Sea Dog accompanied Cave Dog up Quandary and summited about twenty minutes behind him, taking a moment to record the event in the summit registry.  Sea Dog got detained in the cliffs on the South side of Quandary's East Ridge and could not give Cave Dog a ride to the next mountain group.  At the same time, both Sea Dog and Cave Dog's radio batteries began to give out.  They were alternately able to make sporadic one word transmissions.  Miraculously, they were able to reach The Dog Team in Blue River while they were updating the website.  Rad Dog brought Josephine to pick up Cave Dog.  Unfortunately, Cave Dog met the road about a third of a mile below Rad Dog.  Unable to use his radio, he hitchhiked to the rendezvous.  Rad Dog and Cave Dog headed out to Grays, leaving Sea Dog to his own devices.
  • Danelle Ballengee(Eco Dog) accompanied Cave Dog on four summits in the small hours of the night.  Burns Dog rejoined The Dog Team and accompanied Cave Dog and Eco Dog for the Bierstadt climb.
  • With the mountains close together and the routes technically easier, Cave Dog pushed for the finish, gaining 17,025 feet.
Day 11
  • Evans, Pikes Peak, Longs
  • Cave Dog slowed down on Evans and slept on the trail for the third and final time despite Eco Dog's company.
  • He then had a triumphant summit experience on Pikes Peak, with the whole team joining him at the summit for an impromptu, if premature, victory celebration.  NBC out of Colorado Springs and Pueblo caught up and filmed his ascent.
  • In an all out unsustainable pace, Cave Dog ran up and down most of Pikes Peak and some of Longs.
  • From Pikes Peak the team split up to drive separately to Rocky Mountain National Park. The Kennel found itself dodging accidents and breakdowns on its frustratingly long trek through Denver's rush hour traffic.
  • Cave Dog departs for Longs summit from the East, while the team regrouped at the opposite side to meet him on his descent into Glacier Gorge.  A beautiful and challenging hike awaited  The Dog Team as they ascended 2000 feet over six miles in order to meet Cave Dog at the finish line, 3000 feet below the summit.  With the moon so bright that headlamps become optional in the brightly lit tundra, The Dog Team shared a sublime finish to an engaging and intense outdoor experience.
  • Cave Dog finished at 10:56 pm on the night of Thursday, September 14th, 10 days, 20 hours, and 26 minutes after he started.
Day 12+
  • After a minicelebration up Glacier Gorge, The Dog Team made the long hike out.  Cave Dog, no longer inspired by competition, wanted to take a dognap at every break.  By four in the morning, The Dog Team reached the Kennel and had a real celebration with balloons and streamers.  Overpowered, Cave Dog falls asleep during the celebration.
  • The following days, Cave Dog was flooded with media interviews reaching a national circuit.
  • The Dog Team collapsed for a few days at Burns Dog's home in Boulder.
  • Cave Dog's tongue returned to normal shortly after finishing.  Several days later, he tried an energy drink.  His tongue immediately swelled up for a day and he got an intensely itchy rash on his limbs that lasted a week.
  • Various members of the mountaineering community called and invited Cave Dog to their homes to discuss the challenge and share climbing stories.
  • After a few trips to the Denver International Airport, Cave Dog found himself in Boulder with four vehicles that needed to be in Denver, Ouray, and Carbondale.  He spent the next few days driving the vehicles to their respective homes and hitchhiking back, including a day in a Montrose body shop for repairs and a dispute over insurance that, unfortunately, involved the police chief.  Amazingly, some of the people that picked him up had already read about him in the papers and, in one case, had visited this website.
  • The media continued to call; so, Cave Dog escapes to Albuquerque for some much needed sun and recuperation, but it was not far enough.
  • Cave Dog found an intense feeling of grace as daily inconveniences seemed trivial and life beautiful.
  • Back in Colorado, things settled down and the long process of sorting out what had transpired began.

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