“Well to be honest it was more of a drunken bet turned awesome,” Nick chuckles at the statement he just revealed, but these are words that echo sounds of a good time. Founders Nick Nolan and Ian Leirfallom may have been kicking around ideas when Ian first told Nick about the Kite Lake Triple, but “Nick was the gasoline to my fire,” Ian states as we chat over coffee in Breckenridge, Colorado. “Once we started talking Nick picked up the phone and made the first call right there on the spot and boom before I knew it the Kite Lake Triple was born.”
Ian is a Colorado local who grew up with a family cabin near Kite Lake, “I grew up hiking and biking all over these peaks,” he remembers. After years of being away Ian found himself retreating to the mountains for clarity. “I lost myself, the mountains became my medicine, and they grounded me again. One day while hiking I decided to time myself, at 3 hours and 45 minutes I was super stoked. I thought, hey I know a bunch of great athletes in Summit, I wonder if any of my friends could beat my time.” Soon Nick joined the team over a couple of beers and the idea became concrete.
This year the guys celebrate the Second Annual Kite Lake Triple on September 14th. This is not an event for the faint of heart; it will challenge your mind and body against the elements and allows only 75 participants. The Kite Lake Triple is an intimate high octane race that asks its participants to summit four 14er’s as fast as they can, and then celebrate their accomplishments with a cold beer at Breckenridge Oktoberfest. First place Male and Female finishers are awarded the “Triple Trophy”, and at every summit you earn 1 token, each token gets you 1 raffle ticket. So even if you only make it to one summit you still have a chance to win great prizes from their amazing sponsors. While the second half is motivation enough for most of us, this hike is strenuous and mostly above timberline, so you will be battling yourself and Mother Nature.
The Kite Lake Triple hails it name sake from the mountains that it overlays. While there are four 14er’s that you will be attempting to summit you can actually only reach the true summit of three out of the four. Legally you are not allowed to reach the summit of Mt. Bross, as it is privately owned, you will hike up to a closed sign only 50 feet below the actual summit. As a racer you also have the option of cutting out Mt. Lincoln on your ascent and only summiting three, Democrat, Cameron and Bross that circle Kite Lake on the saddle. Hence the name Kite Lake Triple not quadruple. This may be a very viable option when you arrive at the turn out for Mt. Lincoln having already dominated two peaks. The descent down Mt. Bross is scary, so pace yourself and do as Nick says, “make like a rock and gently bounce or slide your way to the bottom.”
The event starts at Kite Lake, a small alpine lake located near Alma, Colorado. This little nugget of crisp Colorado water is enclosed by the 4 massive 14ers. The starting lineup in this event is impressive with a first ascent up Mt. Democrat at 14,148 ft., to Mt. Cameron 14,238 ft., then Mt. Lincoln at 14,291 ft., and rounding it out at 14,172 ft. is Mt. Bross. To access the event you must travel to Alma, Colorado. This is a small town just south over Hoosier pass from Breckenridge and dangerously close to our beloved South Park. Traveling from Denver to Alma you have to choice between two routes, US-285 or I-70.
Driving thru Alma you will see a small sign on the west side of the main road indicating Kite Lake Road turn here and follow the road 6 miles to the trail-head. If you park at the Trail-head there is a small fee, but this can be easily avoided. Parking on the road below the trail-head sign is free, and is where you will see most of the other cars filled with competitors. On race day you can expect to be greeted by an elite class of athletes that will be chatting it up over coffee and beer. The event starts at 8:00 AM, at the trail-head. Keep an eye out for tents and you have come to the right place. If you are going to participate you must register online and bring your entry form signed on the morning of the event. Without this form in hand you can’t play.
Finishing the event is a blast and “the best part of the race,” Ian exclaims. “Everyone is so pumped up with energy and we get to give away prizes, it just a big group of happy people.” “It’s more of a social scene,” adds Nick, “just a big hang out with friends.” If you are looking for a new activity that will really push your limits The Kite Lake Triple is where you belong. There is some heavy competition 2012 Winner Teague Holmes set a time of 2 hours flat, alongside 2012 Winner Anna Skale who charged for the girls with a time of 3 hours and 14 minutes. Either way it ends with beer.
- Kite Lake, Alma Colorado
- September 14th @ 8:00 AM
- Don’t forget you must bring a signed copy of the Entry Form to participate
- Via US 285 South: 89 Miles
- Via I-70 West: 96 Miles
Where to park?
- Parking at The Kite Lake Trail-head for a Fee
- Free Parking along the road
- Kite Lake Trail-head: 12,000 Ft.
- Mt. Democrat: 14,148 Ft.
- Mt. Cameron: 14,238 Ft.
- Mt. Lincoln: 14,291 Ft.
- Mt. Bross: 14,172 Ft.
- Vertical Runner
- Breckenridge Distillery
- Mountain Outfitters
- Ultimate Direction
- Mountain Goat
- Not sure where to go exactly? Meet at Alma’s Coffeehouse in Alma, CO most runners stop by from 6am-7am for coffee and breakfast.
- Hiking, Mountaineering, Race, Raffle Prizes, Social Scene, Dog Friendly, Photo-OP
- Breckenridge Oktoberfest, Town of Breckenridge, Town of Alma, Really Great Humans