Bradley's View

Bradley's View

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Ten Mile Traverse

     After several restless evenings of feeling like a kid at Christmas the day finally arrived for us to approach the Ten Mile Traverse.  To be fair- the day hadn't yet arrived, it was about 3:00 in the morning when we left Leadville to head to the trailhead in Frisco...

     I had gone back and forth on what gear to bring for some time, and ultimately decided I'd be glad to have a layer at some point, and that I could make the journey, which I estimated to be between 5-7 hours, with two water bottles (1 liter) and a handful of gels.  So after stripping down and suiting up James, Jeremy, and myself were itching to go.

Hoping to beat the weather with a 4:15am start

     We ran by headlamp for the first hour or so up and up and up (~3,500 ft in 4 miles) en route to the summit of Peak One.

The sun showing its color in between clouds over Frisco
       Arriving at the summit after over an hour of moving was quite gratifying, it was also nice to know that we wouldn't have any climb so large as that for the rest of the traverse.  In fact, we wouldn't be dropping much below 12,500 feet for the remainder of the day!

Me, James, and Jeremy on Peak One

Tenmile Peak a.k.a Peak Two as seen from Peak One

A rocky traverse.

    We were well aware that there would be technical terrain to navigate on the route, and were almost giddy with the prospect of getting into the heart of it beyond Peak Two!

Heading up Peak Two's ridgeline.
      The temperatures were perfect and the morning light heightened the astounding beauty of the ridge.

Peak 3 in the center and Peak 4 beyond it to the right as seen from Tenmile Peak.

    The traverse from 2 to 3 was everything we'd hoped it would be.  It was a consistent scramble with a "choose your own adventure" kind of feel about it.  As we were feeling giddy and energetic, we decided to do our best mountain goat impressions,  making a few class five moves here and there, and pursing the ridge's crest as often as possible/practical.

I've heard this is called the Dragon's Tail, which I think is awesome considering I wear one of those...
Summiting Peak 3

Peak 4 and its awesome ridge in the distance.

Making moves

Riding the ridge to Peak 4
Summiting Peak 4

    Veering to the west of the ridge up Peak 4 was a blast, a lot of scrambling, of course, but we felt strong and were super stoked to gain the grassy ridge that ensues on the way to Peaks 5, 6, and 7.

Copper Mtn Ski resort from Peak 5
    Arriving at the summit of Peak 6 was slightly demoralizing, there is a stout descent to the saddle before climbing up Peak 7, and Peak 8 loomed higher still in the distance.  Not having a trail up the ridge incredibly steep ridge made for quite the push!  I felt really strong standing beside Breckenridge Ski Resorts Peak 8 chairlift having maintained a really strong pace up the climb. 

Early on Peak 8's burly ascent
    While waiting for Jeremy and James to join me on the summit, I became acutely aware of a hole growing in the pit of my stomach.  I ate some food, thinking that it would be back to normal in a minute or two.  But, boy, was I wrong.  My stomach went completely amok, I went from feeling 100% to 0% in a matter of minutes and was slowed to a walk down to Peaks 8 and 9's saddle, stopping along the way to dig holes, try to throw up, or find some sort of relief from the extreme discomfort I was feeling.

     I continued down slowly, grateful that the other two J's were waiting for me before starting the climb up Peak 9.  I stopped and sat down frequently to try to quell my stomach, but to no avail.  On the climb up Peak 9 I was contemplating my predicament and realized that during the Run Rabbit Run 100 in September it would be almost inevitable that I would feel as bad if not worse than this at some point throughout the day and this was a golden opportunity to exercise my will to overcome.  That being said, the steep ascent of Peak 10's talus slope (~900 vertical feet at around a 75 degree angle) was awesome.  I adhered to goat-like movements using all fours to scurry up the loose rocks and over the boulders on my way to the American Flag flapping freely in the wind atop the highest peak of the day (13,633 feet).

Peak 10 dead ahead
Jeremy summiting Peak 10

At 13,633 feet

Some of the traverse in the background
    We made the traverse in about 6 hours and 15 minutes.  The day was a huge success by every measure.  It was certainly one of the most sensational routes I've had the pleasure of navigating so far this summer, and something I'll certainly do again before the summer's end and would recommend to anyone else (I'd love to join you!).  It was great to spend time with James and Jeremy, who both kicked butt out there.  I'm glad I was hindered by the stomach issue late in the outing and hope that I learn how to avoid that in the future to ensure that I can run and race stronger and more comfortably in the future.  All in all, the route was about 14 miles with 8,500 feet of vertical gain.



  1. Jon, absolutely stunning photos and videos of the traverse! Thanks for sharing. (It's now official, I'm super jealous of your CO ramblings).

  2. So glad you went with Jeremy! It was an experience of a lifetime for him!

  3. And for us all! Couldn't have been more delighted than to share in the adventure with him!

  4. wow guys what awesome pictures and awesome strength in your bodies. God Bless..............Love mama rose