Starting Out

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: Starting Out

Postby peter303 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:31 am

Roach's 3rd 14er book is pretty useful. Its more of a companion guide rather than general reading. He provides a consistent description of all the trails, unlike the variance you get in the trip reports here. Once you gauge your skills on a couple of hikes against his descriptions, you can predict your future hikes fairly easily.

On the other hand, I suggest just getting out NOW and start doing stuff, like the Nike slogan. Not the more dangerous above treeline hikes until winter is over. But go to Brainard Lake, Rocky Mountain Park etc and do some winter hiking, skiing, snowshoeing. Reading about hiking is like reading about sex: a totally different experience when you actually do it.
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Re: Starting Out

Postby winmag4582001 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:36 am

You can find almost all you need on the internet. Type in the mountain you want to hike and there are usally quite a few videos on it. Especially if you type in a common one.
I started hiking just a few years ago after my thirteen year old son watched a show about Everest on the national geographic channel and it sparked him to want to go to the top of a mountain. We started out with three failed attempts at James Peak in January of 2010. Since then he's bagged close to thirty peaks ranging from 10-14k and he has done Mt. St. Helens in Washington. We havent read any books or taken any classes. I have watched youtube videos and spent alot of time learning how to tie climbing knots. As for advice, IMO, go out and do it. Use common sense when it comes to avy conditions and weather. Gear, buy what you want because absolutely everyone has an opinion on that, get what YOU like.
Last edited by winmag4582001 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Starting Out

Postby TomPierce » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:06 pm

Travis: What I was suggesting was not reviewing hiking/climbing guides, guides that tell you the route, the difficulty, the trailhead, etc., but books or sources that build skills. Take lightning as an example. Everyone says that in the summer a very early start is wise. Yeah...but why? Because Colorado is prone to afternoon montain thunderstorms, often with heavy lightning. So what do you do if, despite your best efforts, you get caught in a lightning storm? Maybe you see a rocky overhang, almost a cave. Stand inside? Sit inside? Sit on something? Near the front of the overhang, or at the back? These are all choices that in a worse case scenario could be life/death decisions. Good to know if poop hits the fan. So too with basic survival skills. Stuff that's good to know when things don't go as planned (and that never happens in the mountains...:lol: ).

There are a lot of books out there that could fit your needs. Probably the most popular reference text is Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills. It takes a reasonable approach to most topics. Some have no application in Colorado (glacier rescue) but most do. Worth a look. And yes, lots of information out there on the web. I think you'll find that, like most issues in life, there are an abundance of opinions. Take the approach that seems reasonable to you, and as you gain experience you'll find your style may differ from others. Such is life, no problem with that.

And yes, no need to wait for formal training or reading before you get out there on safe stuff. Trails through heavy woods, etc. should be fine, just be wary of overdoing it and steer very clear of any steeper snow slopes. Avalanche avoidance is a book in itself, I just don't want to see anyone go out there in the winter and get hurt.

As always, just my opinions.
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Re: Starting Out

Postby TravisT » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:35 am

Tom, thanks for the reply and the suggestions. I just ordered Mountaineering and will hopefully learn a lot from it. My work schedule has me pretty much unable to do a whole lot through the end of March but I'm definitely going to get started with some of the easy stuff in April. Looking forward to a great year of climbing.
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Re: Starting Out

Postby jpancoast » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:52 pm

The most recent edition of Mountaineering is available on Kindle, if you have the ability to read it that way and are interested.
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Re: Starting Out

Postby Kellys_Kitchen_72 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:26 am

First post!

I'm interested in going if anyone would have me along. I'm a total newbie but am willing to learn. The training course is a possibility, but I see that some had no experience at all when they started, and I tend to learn best on the job.

I also came to the conclusion that since I live in Colorado, I should damn well get outdoors and experience it. I just went snowmobiling for the first time a few weeks ago and loved it, so I want to do more outdoorsy stuff. There's also a tentative rafting trip planned for the summer if any locals are interested.
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Re: Starting Out

Postby peter303 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:35 am

Start thinking of your first peak in June after most of the snow is gone. That is only ten weeks away.
Get in the best cardio shape you can, preferrably being able to jog at least an hour. Even the easiest 14er is almost two hours of vigorous up hill hiking.
Gather the clothing and equipment you need and try it out before hand. You dont want o have fgure something out or have it fail in a life or death situation.
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Re: Starting Out

Postby ajkagy » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:37 am

peter303 wrote:Start thinking of your first peak in June after most of the snow is gone. That is only ten weeks away.

with the way the snow situation is shaping up, i wouldnt be surprised to see some snow free hiking in May barring any kind of major storm hitting in late april/may
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Re: Starting Out

Postby edhaman » Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:29 pm

I don't think I could jog for an hour, but I can hike for 12.

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