Any good book recommendations for beginners?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Any good book recommendations for beginners?

Postby thaar » Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:34 pm

So I've lived in this beautiful state for a few years now, but really haven't taken advantage of what it really has to offer. I've made a pledge to myself to actually start to get outdoors more often and stay active. However, I know that physically, I cannot handle a 14er. I'd much rather build up my endurance by taking some relatively easy hikes rather than spending time indoors at a gym. It seems as most of the topics here naturally focus more on advanced hiking than what I am currently capable. Are there any good books by the CMC or someone else that outlines some easy trails to take rather than just 14ers?

I eventually want to make my way up to a 14er, but I have to be realistic. Perhaps by fall I can tackle one...

I'm hoping this will help me get ready for ski season too.

Thanks and I'm looking forward to learning much more.
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Postby Andy » Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:44 pm

Get the National Geographic Trails Illustrated map for Indian Peaks Wilderness and Rocky Mountain National Park (somebody in the maps department of your local REI ought to be able to help). Go hike the trails! Spend your time hiking, not reading! When you think you're fit enough to leave the trails and go for summits come back here and ask for some more advice.

That's my 2 cents.

P.S. If you really must read a book try this one and this one.

P.P.S. If you just want to get out on some low elevation nearby trails look into the Jefferson County Open Space Trails:
Last edited by Andy on Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby guitmo223 » Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:46 pm

There are lots of good books out there about Colorado backcountry hiking, and this is a beautiful state to backcountry hike in. However, I think you may be underestimating yourself. There are a few 14ers that you can either drive up or drive most of the way up and hike the last 1000 feet or so (Evans, Pikes, Bross, and Antero are some good examples). Just give it a try - I can just about guarantee that you'll want to do it again without the car.
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Postby CO Native » Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:22 pm

There are a number of Falcon Guide books on trails in Colorado. Some are specific to areas, some are specific to activities (i.e. snowshoeing, mountain biking, alpine touring, etc), some are specific to both and some are just general colorado hiking guides. I'd start with their Hiking Colorado book. You can also check out for some online ideas.
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Postby Scott P » Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:51 pm

Some book recommendations: ... 596&sr=8-2 ... 677&sr=8-1

Also, don't be too afraid of the 14ers. There are many that can be done without too much difficulty and you can always turn back early if you can't reach the top. Quandary, Bierstadt, Grays, and Sherman are the "classic beginner" 14ers.

Of course there are a lot of flat and easy hikes in CO too.
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Postby mainpeak » Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:16 pm

I haven't done many 14ers in CO but since I've lived here I've found Boulder Mountain ( S. Boulder Peak and Bear Peak) and Green Mountain to be great training hikes. There may be similar hikes closer to you as well.
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Postby rijaca » Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:22 pm

Go to the local bookstore, and find the Colorado section. The major chains carry lots of books about hiking in Colorado. Browse through them until you find some hikes that look appealing. Buy the book. Keeping doing this for a while and you end up with several book shelves of guidebooks. Not that I've ever done this. :shock:
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Postby ontopoftheworld » Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:47 pm

Congratulations! Making the decision to get out and enjoy Colorado is not one you will soon forget. A word of warning... you may become addicted to the Colorado outdoors!

Like Scott already said, don't get too intimidated by the 14ers. You should make it a goal to exercise as much as you can for a couple of months and then tackle one of the easier 14ers by the end of July (the best time of the year for a newbie to try a 14er).

As for easier hikes, here are some that might be up your alley (these may not be the best links - just something to help)...

Green Mountain (Lakewood) -
Waterton Canyon (Littleton) -
Dakota Ridge (Morrison) - ... e_2082.asp
Green Mountain (Boulder) -
Chautauqua Park (Boulder) - ... temid=1035
Flagstaff Mountain (Boulder) - haven't done this one
South Boulder Peak/Bear Peak (Boulder) -
Indian Peaks Wilderness (Nederland) -
St Mary's Glacier (Alice) -

If you're willing to drive to Rocky Mountain National Park, the options are endless. Estes Cone, Twin Sisters Peaks, Chasm Lake, Flattop/Hallett Peaks, just to name a few off the top of my head.
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Postby missourihiker » Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:01 pm

You guys always have such good advice.
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Postby DRH » Thu Mar 08, 2007 8:42 pm

"A mountaineer with no fear has no judgment."
- Lou Dawson

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Postby thaar » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:25 pm

Wow, thank you so much for all of your replies. I didn't expect to get so many so quickly. I'll have to do some research tomorrow when I'm at work, lol. I'm really happy I came across this site. Thanks again.
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Postby LAW » Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:48 pm

There are loads of books that will give you info on hikes, etc., but the one I would recommend to build your knowledge of mountaineering is; "Mountaineering Freedom of the Hills". I would say this should be the bible for anyone entering the mountains...

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