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easier hike: La Plata or Belford?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: easier hike: La Plata or Belford?

Postby Oldskool70 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:49 pm

I'd slightly go with Mt. Elbert also. L.P's SW ridge road to the TH was kinda rough(at least last year it was). Huron's road is not as rough...but it was soooo slow, long & methodical to the TH. UGHHH!!!
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Re: easier hike: La Plata or Belford?

Postby MtHurd » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:31 pm

I think a Pilot can handle the roads. It doesn't have 4x4 lo but I think cjm's Pilot is AWD. The ground clearance isn't that great on a Pilot (my parents have one) but it should be enough. The Pilot is a well made vehicle.

Yale is definitely my favorite of those peaks. Nice class 2 scrambling near the summit that the kids would enjoy and views of the 3 Apostles much of the way up. Closer to Buena Vista than La Plata, Belford, or Huron too. 900 ft. of extra elevation gain may be negated by the lack of loose stuff and mud.

The kids won't like getting up early, but get'm up. Be on the road from Buena Vista no later than 5 a.m. Monsoon storms can be vary scary so set a turn around time and stick to it. Probably 11:00 a.m. if there are clouds already building.

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Re: easier hike: La Plata or Belford?

Postby peter303 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:41 pm

Sherman or Democrat are comparable driving time to Windfield (Huron) or Elbert (Half Moon) from Buena Vista. Those two hikes are easier than any of the other four mountains you have been discussing. The main caveat is the road to Sherman or Democrat is rougher than than the other four, but still still possible with careful sedan driving. Forest road virgins could be spooked out however.

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Re: easier hike: La Plata or Belford?

Postby Aug_Dog » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:42 pm

I actually thought La Plata was tougher than Belford and we did the combo. La Plata was also my first of the year this year and I was not in good shape. What's deceptive about La Plata is that the first 3/4 of a mile (maybe even a mile) is really flat and you freaking pay for it. There is also another section right below treeline that is quite flat, maybe a 1/4 mile long. That means you have to squeeze a lot more elevation into about 3 miles. When you start going up on La Plata, you go UP! That was my recollection. Also, agree on the talus on La Plata's NW ridge. Kids may not like that. Belford was pretty straight-forward and I remember it being trail almost all the way to the summit.
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Re: easier hike: La Plata or Belford?

Postby Oldskool70 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:56 pm

Aug_Dog wrote:I actually thought La Plata was tougher than Belford and we did the combo. La Plata was also my first of the year this year and I was not in good shape. What's deceptive about La Plata is that the first 3/4 of a mile (maybe even a mile) is really flat and you freaking pay for it. There is also another section right below treeline that is quite flat, maybe a 1/4 mile long. That means you have to squeeze a lot more elevation into about 3 miles. When you start going up on La Plata, you go UP! That was my recollection. Also, agree on the talus on La Plata's NW ridge. Kids may not like that. Belford was pretty straight-forward and I remember it being trail almost all the way to the summit.

I remember thinking what a awesome job CFI did moving those boulders around for steps just below the talus (right at treeline)...& I shouldn't have 'tied one on' at my fantasy football draft 32 hours before this hike. This one hurt-for the wrong reasons. :-&
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Re: easier hike: La Plata or Belford?

Postby huffy13 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:41 pm

LostSole wrote:I think Huron might be a good choice for your group.



+1
Seems like the times that I need a mountain the most are the times that I can not get to them.

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Re: easier hike: La Plata or Belford?

Postby Aug_Dog » Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:46 pm

We did the same thing for La Plata ... lol ... we stayed at the Super 8 in Leadville and got a bit too drunk the night before. That staircase was a rude awakening! Hahaha!

Huron is not gonna be an option if OP doesn't have a 4x4. That's a long hike up the road to the 4x4 trailhead.

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Re: easier hike: La Plata or Belford?

Postby huffy13 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:38 pm

Well, the road to Huron is only 2 miles and you only gain about 300' on it...most of it is pretty flat. But, yeah, if OP doesn't have 4WD the 11 mile RT for Huron might be a bit much for the members of the group that are new to hiking
Seems like the times that I need a mountain the most are the times that I can not get to them.

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Re: easier hike: La Plata or Belford?

Postby racineflatlander » Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:15 pm

Having climbed all of the recommended peaks I would just offer up that Yale was my favorite but the summit ridge can be pretty intimidating to flatlanders. Belford was long but we did Oxford as well and then came down via elk head pass. Laplatta was a very picturesque hike and I don't recall the Talus being that bad but still a long day. Belford as mentioned did not have any Talus.

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Re: easier hike: La Plata or Belford?

Postby Aug_Dog » Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:15 pm

huffy13 wrote:Well, the road to Huron is only 2 miles and you only gain about 300' on it...most of it is pretty flat. But, yeah, if OP doesn't have 4WD the 11 mile RT for Huron might be a bit much for the members of the group that are new to hiking


4 extra miles is quite a bit ...
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Re: easier hike: La Plata or Belford?

Postby Jim Davies » Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:34 pm

Sherman or Democrat would be my recommendation also. Unless you're purposely trying to make your "friends" suffer, in which case Belford is perfect. :twisted:

Yale would be a slog for a first-timer. Pick something shorter or more fun.
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Re: easier hike: La Plata or Belford?

Postby huffy13 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:35 pm

Aug_Dog wrote:
huffy13 wrote:Well, the road to Huron is only 2 miles and you only gain about 300' on it...most of it is pretty flat. But, yeah, if OP doesn't have 4WD the 11 mile RT for Huron might be a bit much for the members of the group that are new to hiking


4 extra miles is quite a bit ...


I agree. Especially if there are newbies involved...but that RT would be more humane than the slog up Belford! :lol:
Seems like the times that I need a mountain the most are the times that I can not get to them.

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