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Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby Lotso » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:42 am

My 14y/o son and I plan on attempting Pikes (our 1st 14er) at the end of April. We are both in good shape and hike, backpack, bike etc etc. Opinions on which trail would be preferable for a couple of newbs would be appreciated. Thank you.

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby Doctor No » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:58 am

Crags. Shorter, less elevation.

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby dmccool » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:10 am

Doctor No wrote:Crags. Shorter, less elevation.


+1

Also, April might require some type of footwear modification (microspikes, maybe crampons - although microspikes should be enough) and an ice ax
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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby Lotso » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:12 am

Thank you. I am leaning towards Crags b/c I want his 1st experience to be more enjoyable than grueling and overwhelming so that we may head to the top of many more 13 and 14ers. My only conflicting thought was weather or not Barrs camp would be a good and fun way to split it up instead of just doing a one day march to the top. Any thoughts?

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby Lotso » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:16 am

Wondered about the footwear also. Is there a place close that we could rent or buy snow shoes if it turns out that they are needed?

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby dmccool » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:20 am

Lotso wrote:Wondered about the footwear also. Is there a place close that we could rent or buy snow shoes if it turns out that they are needed?



With all the traffic up Pikes Peak (either route), I'm sure there will be a nice boot-packed trail. Unless there's a snowstorm right before you plan to attempt, I'd say snowshoes are unlikely.
Save a place for me up in the high country.
There's still space to breathe.

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby peter303 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:54 am

Lotso wrote:Wondered about the footwear also. Is there a place close that we could rent or buy snow shoes if it turns out that they are needed?

I scares me you ask this kind of question. But here is a place:
http://www.rei.com/stores/rentals.html#colorado
Mountains are non-trivial, especially in the winter. Also read trip reports about "microspikes", basically smaller things you put over your boots for traction on ice. The last mile of Crags trail is on steepish rock prone to thawing and freezing ice.

Also look into partial hikes. I believe you can get off the cogsway part way up shorting the Barr trip from 26 to 15 miles according to one trip report. Even at 15 miles. its one of the longest hikes in the guidebooks. If there is a lot of snow, ice or wind those 15 miles may take 15 hours, more than the daylight hours in April.
Ditto for Crags. Driving to the Devils Playground shortens that hike too. However, the road isnt guaranteed to be open that far up in April.

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby Jim Davies » Fri Mar 25, 2011 1:24 pm

Lotso wrote:I am leaning towards Crags b/c I want his 1st experience to be more enjoyable than grueling and overwhelming so that we may head to the top of many more 13 and 14ers.

Pikes Peak is actually not a good choice for a first high summit. The routes are much longer than most of the easy 14ers, and the summit is kind of a mess (busy, touristy). Sherman is probably a better choice, unless you really like expensive greasy doughnuts. Also, that time of year tends to be quite snowy; the non-winter-conditions season generally starts in June, more or less. Before then you'll be crossing snowfields and dealing with wet trails on most routes.
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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby randalmartin » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:29 pm

Pikes Peak in April is a terrible choice for a first 14er IMO. Crags can be a post holing nightmare down lower and his it's own share of route finding issues. For April I would say Sherman or Quandary are much better options.

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby MuchosPixels » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:45 pm

Hi, I'm in Breckenridge right now but am heading up to pikes the 30th. My plan is to hike Barr trail to barr camp the 1st day, attempt the summit and return to camp the 2nd day and head down the morning of the 3rd day. Making the actual summit is not a huge priority for me, drove up last June, but I am going more for the hike and the wilderness experience.

Quandary is close to Breckenridge and the winds have been fierce above treeline around here. Yesterday the snow was just whipping off the ridges at incredible speeds.

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby imtheguy247 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:27 pm

If your set on taking Pikes Peak, then use te Crags Trail. I'm 16, and just hiked up their yesterday. Would have summited, but as pushed down by fierce winds (60-70 MPH Gusts). Would have been more than capable to make it to the top if it weren't for the winds. Just make sure you check winds before setting out. Also, I used hiking boots. I did slip and fall a few times, but its not too bad. There are section where the middle of the trail is ice, but i just walked to the left/right of it where there is dirt/rocks.

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby dmccool » Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:47 pm

Pikes Peak IS "America's Mountain", but you'll probably enjoy the views, distance, conditions, and likelihood of success in April on *Quandary a lot more.

*If you're not ready to climb a mountain in winter-like conditions, it won't matter which mountain you choose.
Save a place for me up in the high country.
There's still space to breathe.

- Gregory Alan Isakov

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