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Journey to our first 14er

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Journey to our first 14er

Postby irchrisbrown » Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:15 pm

Hello,

Plans are underway for my wife and I to hike our first 14er. I would like to use this forum over the next few months to plan our trip. We have lots of questions and hope the fine people on this forum can help us out. I've been reading through the "help pages", getting a lot of good info. We plan on hiking our first 14er the last week in July. It will be a class 1 or 2. Grays Peak, Torreys Peak, Mt. Bierstadt, Quandary Peak, Mt. Democrat, Mt. Lincoln, Mt. Bross , Mt. Sherman, and Mt. Elbert are on our list of hikes. Here is where we could use some personal opinions. We are looking for a all day hike, 6-10 hours. We would not mind backpacking to a base camp and summiting the next day. My wife and I just finished a 50 mile, 4 day, backpacking trip through the black hills, so we are up for a challenge. My wife would like something a little less traveled. She says, "I don't want to run into a hundred people up there".
Any suggestions or advise, let us know.

Thanks

Chris&Annie

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Re: Journey to our first 14er

Postby cwm191 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:20 pm

Well, on most if not all of those peaks, you are likely to encounter a lot of people during the summer, possibly hundreds of people if you go on the weekend.
Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain. - Friedrich Schiller

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Re: Journey to our first 14er

Postby planet54 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:23 pm

irchrisbrown wrote:My wife would like something a little less traveled. She says, "I don't want to run into a hundred people up there".


Climb a 13er. Seriously. :)
"The world is a great book,of which they that never stir from home read only a page." St. Augustine
"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: Journey to our first 14er

Postby sad2 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:26 pm

San Luis Peak fits many of your requirements.

http://www.14ers.com/routemain.php?route=sanl1&peak=San+Luis+Peak

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Re: Journey to our first 14er

Postby MtHurd » Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:48 pm

+1 on San Luis.

Now, if you want to really make the trip memorable, do Windom. Take the train to Needleton, hike into Chicago Basin and set up camp. Do Windom the next day and camp. Hike out and take the train back to Durango. There are only two issues. There will be more people than San Luis and you will have to hang your food in Chicago Basin because of the animals (marmots, rabbits, and goats). If you do the peak during the week, there will be way less people. And if you have 1 more day, you can hike into Chicago Basin via Endlich Mesa and not have to pay $100 for a train ticket. You could do it in 3 days but it would be a long 3 days. It's best to stretch it out to 4. The views along this route are spectacular the entire way. Windom's summit view is just about as good as it gets. San Luis summit view is ok, but nothing like Windom.

Although the train is $100, it's pretty cool and worth it in my opinion.

Plan on bringing headlamps and start pre-dawn. Late July is right in the middle of the monsoon season. Afternoon storms can get fierce. You want to be off the summit by noon or before.

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Re: Journey to our first 14er

Postby Jim Davies » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:29 pm

planet54 wrote:Climb a 13er. Seriously. :)

The first thing that popped into my mind was Horseshoe Mountain from Leavick. It's about 10 miles, class 1, and you're unlikely to see more than a few people, and then only on weekends.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of white blood cells.

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Re: Journey to our first 14er

Postby TravelingMatt » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:58 pm

I've been gaining an appreciation for the Continental Divide peaks between Grays and Hoosier Pass. They're gentle, accessible and make you feel like you have all of Summit County to yourself.
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: Journey to our first 14er

Postby highpilgrim » Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:11 pm

There are a lot of options, even if just considering the hikes you mentioned. Consider any of them from an alternative to the standard route and you can avoid people and crowds, especially if you do it during the week instead of weekends and holidays. The alternate routes would in some cases be more demanding than you might be looking for but you can always weed those out or be willing to turn around if it's more than you want.

Here are some other options that are consistent with what you've written. All of these are relatively easy access.

1) Grays and Torreys from Chihuahua Gulch. Hike in as far as you like, set camp and hike a much less crowded route. You can do Grizzly on the same trip if you're up to it.
2) Evans from Scott Gomer Creek approach. Evans might be packed on the summit but you won't see them until you get to the summit ridge. You can do Mt. Spaulding on the way down if you like.
3) Any conbination of Belford, Oxford and MIssouri from upper Missouri Gulch. Nice camping areas up high and the early start from there will allow you to avoid most of the crowds that are day hiking.
4) Yale from Kroenke Lake.
5) Harvard is a nice hike with a fun little scramble to the summit. Camp below, but don't climb Columbia (or you'll change your mind about wanting to climb fourteeners) and then summit Harvard the next morning.

As already stated, any thirteener with a longer approach will get you everything you want, and no crowds. Probably no one but the two of you.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
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Re: Journey to our first 14er

Postby TravelingMatt » Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:20 pm

highpilgrim wrote:1) Grays and Torreys from Chihuahua Gulch. Hike in as far as you like, set camp and hike a much less crowded route. You can do Grizzly on the same trip if you're up to it.


There's also a pleasant, mostly grassy ridge route up a ESE ridge from Horsehoe Basin to Grays. Route 4 in the second edition of Roach's book. TH requires clearance.
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

Re: Journey to our first 14er

Postby its_not_a_tuba » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:50 pm

If you are want to camp go climb Humboldt. Easy climb, no crowds, amazing camping. Bonus: you get great views of some serious peaks for your future dreams!
"Wilderness settles peace on the soul because it needs no help. It is beyond human contrivance." -- E.O. Wilson

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Re: Journey to our first 14er

Postby irchrisbrown » Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:08 am

planet54 wrote:
irchrisbrown wrote:My wife would like something a little less traveled. She says, "I don't want to run into a hundred people up there".


Climb a 13er. Seriously. :)



We really want to take on a 14er. I don't think our egos will let us do a 13er.

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Re: Journey to our first 14er

Postby Smilin Joe » Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:24 am

irchrisbrown wrote:We really want to take on a 14er. I don't think our egos will let us do a 13er.


I don't mean to sound like a smart a$$ here, but IMHO it's best to leave the egos at home, then go seek out some of the vast beauty of Colorado regardless of the elevation.
Life's a journey, not a destination.....slow down and enjoy the trip!

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