tehchad wrote:I've done several, but I am a complete noob when it comes to winter...Those of you who have done any of the above, how did you learn it? ... What are your thoughts?
Some very good responses. I'll add my 2c.
I've done 34 14ers in calendar winter. For my personal situation, I learned by experience. The experience goes back many years - rock climbing for a long time, extensive tele skiing, tele racing, and backcountry sking in many years past, camping and winter camping experience, route-finding, off-trail, bike racing and mountain running, etc, etc. I'm relatively new to 14ers and winter 14ers, only having started this stuff in the past three years. However, the prior experience provided a huge head start.
If you don't have a large backlog of experience, you can start to get it now. Start easier and lower-risk and go up progressively. Prior experience notwithstanding, this stuff is risky; real risky. Get as much didactic learning as you can, and then start with the easy winter 14ers. I understand your goal is outside Colorado, but I think the concept is the same. The list of 14ers ranked by difficulty, on this site, can be very helpful. There will be some differences for winter, but by and large, this is going to be a good place to start. Do the walk-ups. Get a feel for how a winter 14er works. Then look at some of the harder ones. Read FOTH cover to cover. Take risk in progressive doses. You may find that a point comes where what you're biting off is hard to hack in terms of your own personal risk tolerance. I know several having more than half the winter 14ers who have expressed concerns of coming close to the personal risk-tolerance line. You're going to be making calls. The calls get harder as risk increases.
Quotable quote from a friend, many years ago, when we were sitting around the hut on a five-day trip near Hagerman Pass, regarding skiing some fine backcountry lines. "If you skiied it, and it didn't slide, were you right? Or were you lucky?"
Best of luck to you, get out and enjoy, start low and go slow, and keep your head on your shoulders. Most of all, if you love what you're doing, and know clearly the risks that you are taking, you will enjoy a satisfying mountaineering carreer.