Best Non-Standard Routes?

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Re: Best Non-Standard Routes?

Postby Shattuck311 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:59 am

Most of these have been mentioned, but here is a list of my favorite alternate routes.

1. Southwest Ridge of Sneffels - Opportunities to make it whatever you want (class 3-5) Beautiful views and solid rock.
2. North Buttress on El Diente - From Navajo lakes
3. North Ridge to Kit Karson - Beautiful hike with amazing views. Loved this one!
4. Halo Ridge on Holy Cross - Understimated how long this would take. Beautiful views to the peak and the lakes below.
5. Tour De Abyss (Bierstadt & Evans) - About the only way you'll find seclusion on these mountains. Fun little scrambling, and great intro to class 3 for beginners
6. Columbia's SE ridges - this, combined with the traverse to Harvard (called the Circumflex in Roach's 14er book) is a great, challanging day
7. The northeast ridge of Huron - this had a beautiful approach, with great morning sunrise views of the Apostles. Fun little ridge walk on Huron as well. Beats the hell out of the std route
8. Yale East Slopes - You'll likely be the only one on this route, even on the weekends

Great thread - gave me a lot of good ideas for the future! Always love the non-standard routes, as it is usually a great way to escape the crowds on busy weekends :)

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Re: Best Non-Standard Routes?

Postby tlongpine » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:29 am

In a similar vein, best fall shoulder season routes?
I am unable to walk away from the mountain without climbing it. An unclimbed mountain tugs at my consciousness with the eternal weight of time itself. Until I've pressed my face into it's alpine winds, hugged it's ancient granite walls, and put it's weathered summit beneath my heal I'm unable to resist it's attraction.Knowing nature gives the mountain more time than she gives us adds urgency to the obsession. As has been said before; the mountain doesn't care.

It can wait forever. I cannot.

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Re: Best Non-Standard Routes?

Postby TravelingMatt » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:21 am

tlongpine wrote:In a similar vein, best fall shoulder season routes?

Easier/lower 13ers
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
-- Alexander Pope

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Re: Best Non-Standard Routes?

Postby seanmstewart » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:28 pm

TravelingMatt wrote:
tlongpine wrote:In a similar vein, best fall shoulder season routes?

Easier/lower 13ers

The Arapahoe Ridge traverse is one of the most beautiful and most fun hikes anyone can do in Colorado.

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Re: Best Non-Standard Routes?

Postby planet54 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:58 pm

If you like knife edges try the West Ridge of El Diente. The knife edge is near the top and is the sharpest one that I have seen. We did it from the Kilpacker side and descended the South Slopes.
If you want to avoid the Hourglass on Little Bear you can do the West Ridge Direct. We were able to get higher than the Hourglass but got into something steeper than we were prepared for and traversed around the headwall to gain the summit. You will probably decide to descend the Hourglass though, it's kind of a nasty route
I also liked the East Ridge of Columbia and Grouse Canyon for Princeton.
There are trip reports for all these routes on here if you're interested.
" At the heart of the climbing experience is a constant state of optimistic expectation." Galen Rowell
"Climbing K2 or floating the Grand Canyon in an innertube;there are some things one would rather have done than do." Edward Abbey

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Re: Best Non-Standard Routes?

Postby DanielL » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:24 pm

Here are some of my favorite alternate 14er routes, although they've basically all been mentioned:

S-ridge on Snowmass Mtn! Beautiful basin and classic scrambling

SW Ridge of Sneffels for exactly the same reasons

La Plata's Ellingwood Ridge is fun as well, although it's a BIG day

Kelso Mtn to Torreys complete traverse - fun scrambling and solitude on a busy day!

Elbert from Black Cloud is a beautiful fall hike with all the aspen leaves turning yellow

Halo Ridge on Holy Cross - great views, enjoyable ridge walk

And so on...

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Re: Best Non-Standard Routes?

Postby TallGrass » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:40 am

Finally got a TR up for Capitol via Pierre Lakes and Wandering Dutchman Couloir with a return via Haystack Pass.

I can vouch for SummitPosts description of: "If you want a solitary route to Capitol Peak, this is your route. On this scenic route there is only a slim chance of running into other climbers even on holiday weekends." But I'd say access is even more challenging now as nature has reclaimed sections of it (and that's not a complaint). The flipside of the "solitary" means "bad place to twist an ankle." :twisted:
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

Re: Best Non-Standard Routes?

Postby Turtle Boy » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:47 am

+1 on Black Cloud Trail for Mt. Elbert

La Plata via the SW Ridge

Sunshine Peak via NW Face - easier to go down but have done both ways

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Re: Best Non-Standard Routes?

Postby HikerGuy » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:16 pm

Mt. Sherman - East Ridge from Thompson Park

You probably won't pass a single soul until you reach the top of Sherman and you get to collect White Ridge (13,684) on the way.

Shameless trip report plug:

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Re: Best Non-Standard Routes?

Postby SchralpTheGnar » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:55 pm

My favorite non-standard routes would go a little something like this
longs - kiener's
north maroon - north face
maroon - bell cord
missouri - c couloir
wetterhorn - east face
crestone needle - ellingwood ledges
belford - west couloir
kit carson - ob couloir

I probably saw around 5 other people on these routes combined, more on the lower trails but once on the routes themselves, had them all to myself. Most of these were before davenport ruined ski mountaineering in colorado though. Most of these were done in the spring season on snow, I try to avoid the 14ers in the summer and just do the 13ers and 12er hikes with the family.

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Re: Best Non-Standard Routes?

Postby nyker » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:02 pm

Frenchmans Creek for Harvard and Columbia -why? More remote, less people, little routefinding, less scree, more bears!

Kit Carson / Challenger - Not by design, but I ended up doing a non standard route, exiting via Cottonwood creek "area" which was actually quite nice and untracked

El Diente/Mt Wilson - Kilpacker. Great Day with a great group made the trip better, but the route is also nice and very scenic.

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Re: Best Non-Standard Routes?

Postby jpenny » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:46 pm

One of the best times I had on a 14er was a variation of a standard. Taking the ridge direct on Capitol Peak and heading straight for K2 instead of dropping down onto the other side of the saddle. Very loose and spicy. If that is your sort of thing than I highly recommend it. If not, then stay away. Best part of the route in my opinion. Found it scarier than the knife edge or Bells Traverse.


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