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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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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby bhaydin » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:55 pm

Ditto about the precautions. While Pikes can seem like a walk-up (albeit a long one) in the summer, April conditions are unpredicatible at best. I have done both routes in the spring. When my son turns 14 (in a brief 12 years :P) I would jump at the chance to take him up to Barr camp. The hosts are excellent and the memories will likely be priceless.

It isn't all about the summit, it is about the experience. If you manage to have to forgoe a summit in the interest of safety, you will have taught your son an invaluable lesson too. Whichever route you choose, have fun and be safe!

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby weschun » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:32 pm

bhaydin & I did Pikes on April 13,2008. He is not telling the whole story of how unpredictable it can be. The morning started very cold. By the time we got to the summit, it was very warm. The snow on the way down softened to the point that we were post holing almost to our waist in glop, with snowshoes on. His comment at the time was that it was like trying to walk through waist deep wet cement. If I remember, it took us longer to get down than it did to get to the summit. For a first 14er, I think I would pick something else.
I'm striving to be the man my dog thinks I am.

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby bhaydin » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:25 pm

Ha! How time heals all wounds... I would agree that Pikes in April is probably not the best 1st 14er... Thanks for reminding me weschun! We should plan some stewarding days together if you are volunteering again this year :)

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby MuchosPixels » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:33 pm

FYI. I emailed Neil a few days ago and he said it has been an unusually low snow year for that area and that there is very little snow below treeline. He said there is usually a lot of snow there in April, just not this year.

It has been warm for a few weeks there helping with snow melt. It has however cooled off a bit these past few days.

Winds can be nasty this time of year one day and nice the next. Today at Breck we had a beautiful sunny morning with not too bad winds up top, after noon it changed and got really bad with some snow, blowing snow and heavy wind.

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby sunny1 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:43 pm

Here's a photo example of postholing on the Crags route in April:

http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=24193
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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby dmccool » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:18 pm

sunny1 wrote:Here's a photo example of postholing on the Crags route in April:

http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=24193


That's hilarious and depressing all at the same time. :lol: :cry:
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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby bckcntryskr » Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:36 pm

agree with the others about this peak as a first 14er. April is typically a tough month up there. Conditions are variable and changing. I have been chased off because of winds, road closures, road closures and more road closures (not an issue for Barr trail). True we have had a low snow year up there so far, however we typically get some big dumps during March and April. Quandary is relatively low risk and rewarding. It like all 14ers can have variable conditions or weather challenges, however there is rarely a road closure.
Did I mention that "I hate postholing"

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby Lotso » Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:46 am

Thanks all for the info and advice. Pikes was our 1st choice both b/c that was one my son wanted to do and it is the closest to us. However, after several post from experienced folks, we have switched gears towards Quandary and possibly a few others nearby. Is there anyone that lives near Quandary that we could PM a few days before we travel so we can be insured on current conditions - snow, trail head access etc etc? Would be greatly appreciated. Again, thank you all for the great advice and info.

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby dmccool » Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:42 am

Trailhead info, weather, mountain conditions are all available in a one-stop-shop - 14ers.com. The weather is located at the top menu, the trailhead info will be on the Quandary Peak page, and any updated conditions can be found in the forum or under "conditions" in the 'recent stuff' section at the top right next to the forum. May the force be with you.
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 MuchosPixels » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:09 pm

Hi, I'm in Breck right now a few miles north of Quandry. It's been quite snowy and windy the past 24 hrs. It's snowing right now as I type this. I went to arapahoe basin to ski today and the weather was bad. At times it cleared up, luring you to go to the top, but minutes later a huge snow squall would roll in with complete whiteout conditions. I was caught in one on the top ridge and couldn't see ahead. The snow slope and sky was one. Couldn't see the drop, the terrain, how steep it was. Nothing. Actually had to stop where I was for a few minutes.

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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby Craig Cook » Wed May 04, 2011 12:02 am

I took the Barr Trail for my very first 14er hike, and it was beautiful. However, hiking back down for a 26 mile-roundtrip was torturous. I was very sore for the next day or two. If you go that route, try to plan for another way down other than hiking.

EDIT:: Sorry, I see I posted this after your planned trip (and perhaps to a different peak, no less!). Hope everything went well for you both.
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Re: Crags vs. Barr. Opinions Please

Postby Toni Marie » Wed May 04, 2011 9:42 am

Barr Trail was my first 14er hike, and it was absolutely beautiful! However, I did this in July when there was virtually no snow on the trail. I would recommend camping at Barr Camp and make a 2 or 3-day trip out of it! Plus you'll save your legs in the long run. The views all along the trail are marvelous, and it's truly a great experience. I wrote a very detailed trip report about it here:

http://14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=7943&parmuser=Toni+Marie&cpgm=tripuser

I think you should still do this peak, but just wait a few months until conditions are better. And when this blased wind goes away. \:D/
Toni Marie
"I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky. The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullaby. Rocky Mountain High, Colorado."

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