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Inexperienced climber vs. Chicago Basin 14ers

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: Inexperienced climber vs. Chicago Basin 14ers

Postby gregp » Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:18 am

Jim Davies wrote:Your schedule for the Elk Park-Needleton loop is exactly what we did, so it's quite doable. The hardest day for us was day 2 - ours was 13 miles, over Hunchback Pass to Rock Creek. We had one guy (the only non-Colorado resident) that had to turn back that day, and another that had some altitude sickness issues on the second climb to 12K'.

Hiking out the same day as Eolus should work, as long as you get an early enough start. It depends on when the train picks you up. Most of our group didn't want to do the second climbing day anyway, so they would have been delighted to leave early. :)


Jim, I kind of figured the second day might be the toughest. Going over the divide and Hunchback pass looks to be pretty grueling. It's tough to hear you had guys turning back and getting sick. Just a reminder to me that none of this is easy. If you don't mind, could you give me some ideas as to where you guys camped? This loop doesn't have nearly as much beta as the Four Pass Loop had on the web so I've been trying to figure out where the logical stopping points are. I do have some ideas on day one, but after that I just went by mileage for scheduling. The one thing I did figure out this past trip is that ten miles out there is the equivalent to about fifteen here. That's how it felt anyway... :D

Yep, I may try to leave the basin the same day I finish climbing. I'll just play that by ear and see how it goes.

Jim, again, thanks for the insightful advice and your time.

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Re: Inexperienced climber vs. Chicago Basin 14ers

Postby Jim Davies » Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:07 pm

First night we camped at the big flat area about 4 miles in from the train. Short day due to train and early thunderstorms; going a few more miles would have helped out the next day.
Second night at the junction of Rock and Vallecito creeks. Big well-used campsite, signs of horse packers.
Third night was in upper Johnson Creek, in a big flat area about 11,000'. Great campsite.
Fourth and fifth were in Chicago Basin.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: Inexperienced climber vs. Chicago Basin 14ers

Postby gregp » Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:28 pm

Thanks Jim!

I hope all you guys and ladies have a great and safe winter climbing/ski season! I wish I could be there to enjoy it with you.

Thanks everyone.

Greg

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Re: Inexperienced climber vs. Chicago Basin 14ers

Postby sevenvii » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:27 pm

I am possibly going to be doing those peaks around that time. Quite a ways away to give any definites, but I will check back in as we get closer to summer and see if your plans might be able to mesh up with mine.

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Re: Inexperienced climber vs. Chicago Basin 14ers

Postby bking14ers » Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:39 pm

I am also going to that area for the first time around the 1st, or 2nd week in August. Sounds like a party! Still learning about the area, but should be ready by then. (I hope).

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Re: Inexperienced climber vs. Chicago Basin 14ers

Postby semitrueskerm » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:46 am

I bagged all 4 14ers last summer with relatively little experience, however, I was with more experienced climbers.
We did Sunlight & Windom one day. This was a long day with a lot of vertical. The Sunlight block was amazing. The last move to the top was intimidating. But, if you are careful and can overcome exposure, it's not really overwhelming. Windom was a fun climb after that, but, for me, fatigue was a factor.
On the next day, I was still tired from the Sunlight/Windom hike, but we did North Eolus & Eolus. Others may differ from me, but I thought Eolus was a rude awakening. It's fun and beautiful, but I was scared during the final pitch AFTER the catwalk. Steep, confusing, and lots of exposure. Thankfully, I was with an experienced group that got me through. I feel fortunate to have made summit. But, it was a wake up call. (Ironically, downclimbing that top section on Eolus seemed so much easier than going up.)
My 2 cents.

--jim

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Re: Inexperienced climber vs. Chicago Basin 14ers

Postby bking14ers » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:29 pm

This is the same order that we are also planning to do these peaks in. If all goes well. I am also a semi-experienced climber, but I need to get in better shape. The altitude really kicks my butt. I have been reading up on those peaks, and Eolus is the one that makes me a little nervous. But I can always turn around if I need to. Should be a fun trip.

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Re: Inexperienced climber vs. Chicago Basin 14ers

Postby JayMiller » Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:02 pm

bking14ers -

Just don't trum around when you see the east face from the catwalk. It looks much harder than it is. I swear, it looks like cllf, but it is really is a series of narrow ledges.

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Re: Inexperienced climber vs. Chicago Basin 14ers

Postby gdthomas » Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:42 am

gregp - I haven't read all the posts on this thread so perhaps someone has already made this point but if you've only climbed two 14ers to date, why do you want to tackle Sunlight, Windom and Eolus solo when there are many other peaks more suited to your level of experience? For example, the Missouri Gulch 14ers (Belford, Oxford and Missouri), while not as scenic as the Chicago Basin 14ers, require a relatively short hike in, do not exceed class 2, and are more suitable for solo climbing in case you get into trouble. Granted, you may not be climbing alone in Chicago Basin and its certainly possible to summit all of the peaks you attempt without incident but you could be biting off more than you can chew. Coming from the east coast, your body may not be prepared for the 7 mile, 3,000 vertical feet hike (with a full pack) to the head of the basin. Then its another two miles and 3,000 feet to the first summit. That's plenty of mileage and vertical for something to go wrong. Rain is common in Chicago Basin so wet rock is always a concern, particularly on Eolus. Being alone will only exacerbate any problems you may encounter. I'm fairly conservative when it comes to giving climbing advice to people I don't know. Ultimately you have to be true to yourself as far as your mental and physical ability. As enticing as they may seem, the Chicago Basin 14ers are not the best 3rd, 4th and 5th 14ers to climb.

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Re: Inexperienced climber vs. Chicago Basin 14ers

Postby kaiman » Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:07 am

gdthomas wrote:gregp - I haven't read all the posts on this thread so perhaps someone has already made this point but if you've only climbed two 14ers to date, why do you want to tackle Sunlight, Windom and Eolus solo when there are many other peaks more suited to your level of experience? For example, the Missouri Gulch 14ers (Belford, Oxford and Missouri), while not as scenic as the Chicago Basin 14ers, require a relatively short hike in, do not exceed class 2, and are more suitable for solo climbing in case you get into trouble. Granted, you may not be climbing alone in Chicago Basin and its certainly possible to summit all of the peaks you attempt without incident but you could be biting off more than you can chew. Coming from the east coast, your body may not be prepared for the 7 mile, 3,000 vertical feet hike (with a full pack) to the head of the basin. Then its another two miles and 3,000 feet to the first summit. That's plenty of mileage and vertical for something to go wrong. Rain is common in Chicago Basin so wet rock is always a concern, particularly on Eolus. Being alone will only exacerbate any problems you may encounter. I'm fairly conservative when it comes to giving climbing advice to people I don't know. Ultimately you have to be true to yourself as far as your mental and physical ability. As enticing as they may seem, the Chicago Basin 14ers are not the best 3rd, 4th and 5th 14ers to climb.


+1

I would agree with gdthomas on this one. The isolation of these mountains and the few visitors, while offering a unique "backcountry experience" impedes your chances of getting help or a quick rescue if something goes wrong. If you are looking for an opportunity to solo some Class 3 peaks, I would check out the Blanca or Kit Carson/Crestone groups in the Sangre de Cristos as a warm up. In case you get into trouble, at least there will be others around to help you out...

kaiman
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"Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end."

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Re: Inexperienced climber vs. Chicago Basin 14ers

Postby bking14ers » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:25 pm

I've done Longs Peak,and Crestone Peak last year. Also a long, not so easy Mt. Alice. I'm sure I can do at least two of the Chicago Basin 14ers. Don't know if I will have the stamina for all four in just three days.

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Re: Inexperienced climber vs. Chicago Basin 14ers

Postby Jim Davies » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:46 pm

kaiman wrote:The isolation of these mountains and the few visitors, while offering a unique "backcountry experience" impedes your chances of getting help or a quick rescue if something goes wrong.

Don't worry, nobody is ever truly "alone" in Chicago Basin in the summer. And except for the summit boulder on Sunlight, the difficulty of the climbing is lower than on the Crestones, IMO.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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