Showing posts with label Nolan's 14. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nolan's 14. Show all posts

Mountaineer and Ultra-Runner Ben Clark Attempting Nolan's 14 This Weekend

Mountaineer and ultra-runner Ben Clark is once again gearing up to face a challenge that has proved to be more difficult than summiting Everest. Today, Ben has launched another attempt to complete the Nolan's 14 endurance challenge, an incredibly tough endeavor that has eluded him in the past, and has become one of the benchmarks for long distance ultra-running over the past couple of years.

To complete Nolan's Challenge a runner must reach the summit of 14 different mountains in Colorado's Sawatch Range between Mt. Massive and Mt. Shavano. The route they pick between those two mountains is entirely of their own choosing, and they can begin or end on either peak as well. This versatility and freedom is part of what makes Nolan's great, as it allows the runner to approach the challenge any way they like, but in order to get official credit for completing the challenge, they must finish in 60 hours. During that time, they'll cover a distance of about 100 miles (160 km).

This isn't the first time Ben has attempted Nolan's, as we have followed several of his attempts in the past. Most of those attempts were ended by poor – sometimes potentially dangerous – weather, which only helps to underscore another one of the obstacles that must be overcome for an endurance athlete to have a chance and completing the route.

Nolan's 14 gained wider exposure earlier this summer when Anna Frost and Missy Gosney were successful in their attempt back in August. But controversy soon followed when a debate broke out on where exactly the challenge ends – the summit of the final peek or the trailhead. The ladies apparently celebrated too long at the end of their run, and didn't reach the trailhead until after the 60 hour time cut-off. I'm sure if Ben reaches that point, he'll be sure to leave little room for questions on whether or not he was successful. (For the record, the rules on this unofficial Nolan's 14 page say that it is 60 hours to the final summit.)

I want to with Ben good luck on this latest attempt. I hope he finally knocks of this challenge. It is one that he has been working on for some time, and has even made a film about. You can check out the trailer for the film below to get a better sense of what Nolan's 14 is all about.

Nolan's 14 from Pheonix and Ash Productions on Vimeo.

Controversy Brews Over Nolan's 14 Run

Yesterday I posted the news that two women – Anna Frost and Missy Gosney – became the first female ultrarunners to complete the grueling Nolan's 14 challenge. This very difficult endeavor requires athletes to cover more than 100 miles, and bag 14 different 14,000 foot (4267 meter) peaks in Colorado's Sawatch Range in under 60 hours. The duo had apparently completed that task on Tuesday of this week, but now there is some controversy brewing as to whether or not they finished at the proper location in the time required.

Outside Online has the scoop on this story, but essentially there is debate in the ultrarunning community over just where Nolan's 14 ends. Some say it is at the final summit, while others say it is at the trailhead. Frost and Gosney reached their final summit on Mt. Shavano in 57 hours and 55 minutes, and then took time to celebrate at the top. By the time they actually descended down to the trailhead, the 60 hour time limit had expired.

Matt Mahoney is the unofficial record keeper for Nolan's 14, and his site indicates that the run ends on the final summit. But most other ultrarunners who have attempted the challenge have listed their times from trailhead to trailhead. It is also argued that the intent for the original creators of the event were for it to go from trailhead to trailhead as well, beginning and ending at the Fish Hatchery near Leadville or Blank Cabin near Salida, depending on which direction you are traveling.

Frost told Outside that she and Gosney were perfectly happy with their effort, and that they felt they had completed the run according to the rules. The ladies would have had enough time to descend to the trailhead had they departed from the summit of Shavano more quickly, but instead they elected to stay on top and celebrate with their support team. In her mind, they completed Nolan's 14 according to the official rules.

Mahoney's website doesn't have Frost and Gosney's run listed just yet, although past attempts are recorded on the site. Each of those includes the number of peaks that a runner notched in the time allowed as the indicator of how much of the run they managed to complete. So, for instance, a runner may have bagged 8 peaks in their attempt at the challenge before they ran out of time or retired from the chase. If this method of recording the run holds true, than Frost and Gosney will be credited with achieving 14 summits, which should equate to success. But, it seems there will always be those who question their effort since they didn't reach the trailhead in the specified time.

Either way, it was a fine effort on what has become one of the truly great challenges in ultrarunning.

Two Ultrarunners Become First Women to Complete Nolan's 14

Ultrarunner's Anna Frost and Missy Gosney completed one of the toughest challenges in endurance sports on Tuesday when they became the first women to complete the notorious Nolan's 14. The ladies wrapped up their grueling endeavor in a time of 57 hours and 55 minutes, bagging 14 different 14,000-foot (4267 meter) peaks in the process. 

Frost and Gosney set out on their journey on Sunday, hitting the trail near Leadville, Colorado. Their first summit came on Mt. Massive, but that was just the beginning. On Tuesday, they wrapped up their record-setting attempt by descending from their final peak, Mt. Shavano. 

For those not familiar with Nolan's 14, it is a unique ultrarunning challenge that requires athletes to summit 14 different mountains beginning or ending with either Massive or Shavano. They can go travel either north or south, and the route they take to nab the other 12 peaks is entirely up to the athlete attempting the feat. In order to successfully complete the challenge, runners must also finish within 60 hours. 

The two endurance athletes tell Nat Geo that along the way they got lost on the trail, faced some scary storms, and were constantly nauseated while above 13,000 feet (3962 meters), which is about 25% of the entire course. They even experienced the "sleep monsters," which are hallucinations brought on by sleep deprivation. At times, Frost said she saw elephants and giraffes, as well as a black koala and Mickey Mouse, while out on the trail. Fortunately, the did not suffer any injuries however, and aside from some issues with their feet – which is to be expected on a 100-mile (160 km) run, they came off of Nolan's 14 in relatively good health.

Congratulations to both Anna and Missy on a job well done. You two are an inspiration to adventure runners everywhere! 

Nat Geo Covers Nolan's 14 – One of the Toughest Endurance Challenges in the World

We've covered the Nolan's 14 ultra-run on a couple of occasions in the past, thanks in no small part to our friend Ben Clark's attempts to complete the run on a couple of occasions. For those who don't recall, Nolan's 14 is a grueling endurance challenge that sends trail runners on a hundred-mile long traverse of 14 peaks in Colorado, all of which are over 14,000 feet (4267 meters) in height. The endurance athletes who attempt Nolan's can take any route they choose between those mountains, but they do have to summit each of them along the way. Oh, and to be successful in the challenge, they must also finish the entire run in under 60 hours.

Yesterday, National Geographic Adventure also ran a piece on Nolan's 14, bringing this incredible challenge to a much larger audience for the first time. The article spoke to Ben about his most recent attempt at Nolan's back in September of 2014, as well as a number of other notable ultra-runners who have been humbled by the undertaking. That list includes the likes of Anton Krupicka, who had to abandon his attempt back in 2013 after six peaks. A series of physical ailments caught up with Anton, preventing him from going any further.

The article takes a look at the origins of Nolan's 14, which began as a challenge amongst friends Blake Wood and Fred Vance back in 1999. The idea was to combine ultrarunning, mountaineering and orienteering into one very tough event that meant to be a mostly personal challenge for themselves and other endurance athletes that they knew. They consulted with mountaineer Jim Nolan, who tipped them off about the line of 14 peaks in the Sawatch Range that would eventually become known as Nolan's 14.

It took until 2001 for anyone to actually complete the challenge, which is when Wood, and three other runners, finished the route. In the years since then, only 11 other people have complete the challenge in under 60 hours, which has helped to create the legend of Nolan's 14 within the endurance community.

The entire article is well written, and provides some great insights into Nolan's 14 from the athletes who have done it, or are working on completing it. You can also learn more about the event through Ben Clark's Nolan's 14 film, the trailer for which you'll find below. It will give you just a hint at what all the fuss is about, and the incredible dedication it takes to complete this challenge.


Nolan's 14 - Trailer from Pheonix and Ash Productions on Vimeo.

Video: Teaser Trailer for Nolan's 14

There is a little known challenge in the ultrarunning world known as Nolan's 14. That challenge involves running a 100 mile (160 km) route through the mountains of Colorado, while bagging all 14 individual 14,000 ft (4267 meter) peaks that make up Sawatch Range. The runners who take on this challenge are free to follow any route they choose, so long as they manage to get all 14 peaks in under 60 hours. Only 15% of those who try are actually able to do it.

Now, a new documentary about Nolan's 14 has been released, and it looks fantastic. The teaser trailer for the film can be found below, and it serves as a good introduction to this grueling undertaking. You'll recognize some of the biggest names in ultrarunning in the clip, which also gives viewers a glimpse of just how difficult this challenge truly is. The final quote in the trailer sums it up well. "There's running. There's ultrarunning. Then there's Nolan's 14."

If you like what you see, you can rent or buy the full documentary on Vimeo as well.

Nolan's 14 - Trailer from Pheonix and Ash Productions on Vimeo.