Anna Frost and Missy Gosney finished Nolan’s 14, a linkup of 14 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado, under the 60-hour cutoff. They are the first women to have completed all 14 summits of Nolan’s, and only the 12th and 13th individuals to have done so in the run’s history.
Nolan’s 14 is not so much a route as an objective: summit 14 Sawatch Range 14ers in 60 hours. (Some place the finish at the final trailhead, after a descent from the 14th summit, but runners who reach the final summit within 60 hours are generally considered to have completed Nolan’s.)
Nolan’s can be run northbound or southbound, and there is no set course, leaving runners free to pick the most efficient lines. Often, this entails bushwhacks through undergrowth, perilous descents on steep talus fields and bewildering off-trail navigation in the dark. Over the course of three days and two nights, runners cover roughly 100 miles and climb some 44,000 feet.
They reached the first summit, 14,421-foot Mount Massive, shortly before 8:30 a.m., according to their GPS tracker. They tagged two more summits, Mount Elbert and La Plata Peak, before dusk, and another three overnight, including Huron Peak and the off-trail section down its eastern slopes, infamous for getting runners turned around in the dark.
After another day and night of peak bagging, Frost and Gosney began today atop 14,197-foot Mount Princeton, the 11th summit in the north-to-south direction. Princeton, a sprawling, stand-alone peak, is considered one of the “cruxes” of a southbound Nolan’s run: after its summit, runners face only two big climbs and three more summits. The last two, Tabeguache Peak and Mount Shavano, are connected by a short saddle.
Incredible and mind blowing to finish Nolans14 with the awesome Missy Gosney….and all our magical crew! pic.twitter.com/mPHqQjMwCL
— Anna Frost (@annafrosty) August 19, 2015
Critics Question Women’s Nolan’s 14 Feat
Disagreement around 60-hour cutoff
Earlier this week, ultrarunners Anna Frost and Missy Gosney became the first women to complete Nolan’s 14, a run over the 14 summits above 14,000 feet in Colorado’s Sawatch Range. (The course features the largest number of fourteeners that can be run in a 100-mile distance.) But, because of varying interpretations of the 60-hour cutoff, some from the ultrarunning community say they didn’t actually finish in time.
The controversy centers on whether a Nolan’s 14 finisher must summit the last peak in less than 60 hours or descend down to the trailhead within that timeframe. Frost and Gosney made it up Mount Shavano, near Salida, 57 hours and 55 minutes after they started, but, after celebrating at the top, they didn’t make it back to the trailhead until after the cutoff.
Frost told Outside in an email that she and Gosney understood officially finishing as reaching the last summit in less than 60 hours, as stated on the website of Matt Mahoney (the unofficial scorekeeper of all Nolan’s 14 attempts, according to the Denver Post). The site says that the “cutoff is 60 hours to the last summit.”
“If people want rules, they can go to the webpage and see and disagree with whatever they like,” wrote Frost. “We did what is ‘officially’ stated as finishing Nolan’s 14.”
She said that they decided to spend extra time on the final summit to celebrate with their crew, instead of rushing down.
“The sun was out, the view was beautiful, and we were surrounded by great people,” she wrote. “We made the decision to really enjoy the moment with everyone who had helped us.”
Frost, who spent six weeks last year exploring the route and much of last month poring over maps of it, said that she considers herself and Gosney finishers, despite the debate on the comment boards.
“I don’t care what they think,” she said. “Are they out there doing it?”