Boulder Super Slam 2008

For the third year in a row, we’ve done a tour of the Boulder Open Space on foot. It is a traverse of the Boulder sky line.

In 2006 and 2007, we called it the Boulder Grand Slam. Essentially doing the Boulder ridge line by taking in Sanitas, Anemone Hill, Flagstaff, Green Mountain, Bear and South Boulder Peaks. As measure by GPS, it is about 18 miles and 8400′ elev gain or so.

This year, we decided to up the ante and do the Boulder Super Slam. Besides the previous years’ ridge walking, we also did the Mesa Trail, climbed up to South Boulder Peak, hiked our way north and looped back around from Sanitas via a road walk to Chautauqua.

This loop hike ends up being about 25  miles and 10k ft elev gain in a day. A stiff little walk to say the least. A great way to shake the rust out and get ready for the hiking season.

I started the morning by picking up Josh and we made a quick trip to King Soopers. Josh decided a great way to start an athletic endeavor was from the Homer Simpson school of thought: Donuts!


Thus fortified, the ten of us made our way down the Mesa Trail. If there is an outdoor super highway in Boulder, it is this popular trail. Well loved by the local trail runners, people out for a casual jaunt and people hiking all day fueled by donuts, Pringles, Snickers and Goldfish crackers.

The hike started early enough in the day that the highway was not too well used. We climbed up Shadow Canyon and started encountering snow! The saddle between S. Boulder and Bear Peaks was especially snowy.

We summited the highpoint of the day, worked our way down to the saddle again, and started the first of many ups and downs on to make our way to Bear Peak. The view from Bear Peak had a good view of the rest of the ridge we were about to climb up and over for the remainder of the day.

We climbed down to the valley and up to the snow covered Green Mountain. Back down a bit and we finally reached some snow free trail on the way to Flagstaff. Phew!

After Green Mountain, we thought the day would be easier. We were wrong. 🙂

The “summiting” of Flagstaff was easy, but on the way down we were able to get a good look at the climbs ahead of us: Anemone Hill, Red Rocks and Sanitas.

Anemone Hill is Boulder’s “forgotten peak”. Which is a shame. It is lightly used, has wonderful views towards the Indian Peaks and makes a great out and back hike for a quick workout or casual stroll. It also has 1200’+ elev gain from base to “summit”. Add in Sanitas (1300′ elev gain) and a the road walk back there was still almost 3000′ elev gain to go. Phew!

We still had a ways to go!

After crossing Eben G. Fine park, we scampered up Red Rocks and made the “Gee, I forgot how steep this climb was” climb up to Anemone Hill. We enjoyed the views and readied ourselves for the final push: Sanitas.Mt. Sanitas is perhaps the most highly used outdoor spot in Boulder. A stiff little hike that gains 1300′ ft. Normally, it is a hike I do not think twice about in terms of difficulty. After gaining over 8000′ and walking 17 miles? A bit more of a challenge. 🙂 We still passed people on the way up. Maybe the thought of our last summit (and some more Pringles/Snickers) spurred us on?The whole day, our breaks were minimal. Partially due to brisk and windy weather, partially due to knowing we had more miles to go and did not want to stiffen up too much. At the top of Sanitas, we enjoyed a relatively long break. Worked our way down via the Dakota Ridge and walked through town.After three miles of pavement (and a short climb) we gratefully made it back to Chautauqua where I revealed my surprise for the day. A cooler of beer and soda waiting in the Mag Wag! As d-low said “I almost forgive you for this hike!” Wotta guy! Wotta friend!

Mickey enjoying a cold one

After chilling a bit in the parking lot, we made our way to the Taj for a much deserve AYCE Indian food buffet. Until 2009!A few facts sent out via e-mail:A few stats I dug up:The Mesa Trail is 6.7 miles long and 1625′ elev gain one way.

I guesstimated we did all but one mile of the Mesa Trail. Let’s say we did 1400’/5 miles.

Elevation of Eben G. Fine 5400′
Elevation of Anemone Hill: 6618′

So that is 1200+’ elev gain from the park, to Red Rocks to Anemone.
Considering that Sanitas is 1300′ elev gain it really does add a bit of challenge to do the bonus mileage of Anemone!

Downtown Boulder is 5400′. Chautauqua is at 5680′. So thats almost another 300′ elev gain.
Based on a google pedometer site, the walk from the hospital up to Chautauqua (using the route we took) is about 3 miles. A little longer road walk than I thought. 🙂

The Boulder Grand Slam is about 18 miles and 8300′ elev gain. Add in the extra mileage of the mesa trail and the road walk (8 miles/1700′) and the total for the Super Slam is ~ 26 miles+ and 10000’+ elev gain. A bit of a walk..’eh? 🙂


Line of the hike: F*** you! Let’s hike. Mike “d-low” DiLorenzo
All the photos
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