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First 14er during spring

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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First 14er during spring

Postby sgriffy » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:15 pm

I was considering doing Quandry or another comparable 14er this month and have a few questions.

Do I need crampons for the east side of Quandry, or will I be fine with snowshoes and microspikes? What are the slopes like on the east side in terms of avalanches? Are they low angle enough where slides are not a great concern? I have never done a 14er in the winter but I do a lot of backcountry skiing so I know what a avalanche prone slope is and how to avoid them. Are there any other 14ers that would be good to do this month that might have smaller crowds and not require crampons?

thanks
Last edited by sgriffy on Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First 14er during winter

Postby Doctor No » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:22 pm

First, it's spring (not winter). :D

Second, you'll be fine without crampons. We did Quandary last March (my friend in spikes and me in snowshoes), and spikes would have been fine (snowshoes were overkill). There's so many people going up and down that thing, it's well packed.

Of course, wear what you're comfortable wearing.

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Re: First 14er during winter

Postby Papillon » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:52 pm

Quandary
Sherman
Bierstadt
Evans
Grays
Torreys
Elbert
Lincoln
Cameron
Bross
Democrat
Pikes

re: crowds

If you are venturing above 14K in this state, there is no such thing as no crowds. But the fact that it isn't June yet will probably get you some solitude and/or a no BS summit experience.

re: avy terrain

I'd swing wide of the summer trail on Grays and Torreys via Stevens Gulch and be leery of Kelso Mountain. It looked fine about a month ago but I still kept my distance. Lincoln, Cameron, Bross, and Democrat may go safely from Kite Lake but for winter and wintry approaches I use an alternate route listed on this site. There are private property issues up there. Going Cameron-Democrat-Cameron from this route involves 800 feet of vert each way. When dry, it is a breeze if there is a fresh blanket of "pow", it can be laborious.

re: Evans massif

There seems to be road closures issues on the Grant side this year that differ from previous years. What used to be a nice day out up there has morphed into a grunt (16ish miles). I'd contact the county to see if the road has been plowed to Duck Lake.

Overall, shoulder season is a great time to hit some of the more heavily traveled summer peaks like the ones I listed above.

Good luck.
The look in his eyes when it hit - Kid, it was tasty... - William Seward Burroughs

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Re: First 14er during winter

Postby yorksman » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:36 pm

This would be classified as a Spring 14er not a Winter 14er, :wink:
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Re: First 14er during spring

Postby sgriffy » Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:22 pm

I ended up doing Quandary and it went very well.

Thanks for all of the advise!

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Re: First 14er during spring

Postby Reyven » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:46 am

Am thinking about doing my first spring/snow 14er this weekend. Am undecided which to tackle. Which route did you take up Quandary? How were conditions for you?

It seems that Quandary and Sherman or the crowd favorites for first time spring hikers. The last update about conditions was late last week. The forecast is calling for possible snow. Any suggestions on picking between the two, and which route to choose?

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Re: First 14er during spring

Postby randalmartin » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:58 am

Reyven wrote:Am thinking about doing my first spring/snow 14er this weekend. Am undecided which to tackle. Which route did you take up Quandary? How were conditions for you?

It seems that Quandary and Sherman or the crowd favorites for first time spring hikers. The last update about conditions was late last week. The forecast is calling for possible snow. Any suggestions on picking between the two, and which route to choose?


For a first time spring/snow 14er on Quandary I think there is only one legit route and that's the standard East Ridge. Take a look at the Conditions tab on the main page. It gives you quick updates from folks on both of these peaks fairly recently. Personally, I like Quandary over Sherman. Hiking through trees is always preferable to hiking up a road.

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Re: First 14er during spring

Postby Reyven » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:43 pm

randalmartin wrote:
For a first time spring/snow 14er on Quandary I think there is only one legit route and that's the standard East Ridge. Take a look at the Conditions tab on the main page. It gives you quick updates from folks on both of these peaks fairly recently. Personally, I like Quandary over Sherman. Hiking through trees is always preferable to hiking up a road.


Is it reasonable to think that conditions will not have changed drastically in the week time frame, since the last posted updates?

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Re: First 14er during spring

Postby davebks » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:44 pm

how did Cristo Col look??

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Re: First 14er during spring

Postby joelsteidl » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:14 pm

I would love to know about Cristo as well. Is it out of the question for Apr. 23rd? It looks like there will be some fresh snow this week, so I assume that could be problematic.

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Re: First 14er during spring

Postby sgriffy » Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:32 pm

I actually did not look at Cristo. I probably should of taken a look since it is one of the coulouirs that I am considering doing. I do remember seeing around 15 skiers at the summit/on the way to the summit.

Yes, the east face is the best route for a first spring 14er. The trail was very well packed, but during the afternoon I was occasionally postholing.

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Re: First 14er during spring

Postby summers » Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:13 pm

A friend and I climbed Pikes from Crags on Sunday April 10th, and saw one other person on the trail (a hiker who was turning back at Devils Playground). The summit gift shop is open, so we chatted with the employees while enjoying some hot chocolate. The cog railway is running, so if you timed the summit wrong there could certainly be a crowd. The road -- at least as of two weeks ago -- was closed, but I suspect that won't be true much longer. We had the mountain to ourselves. Not much of a spring experience though; we barely even used our microspikes. It was really sad how little snow there is on that mountain.

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