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Can women safely camp alone on a 14er?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Can women safely camp alone on a 14er?

Postby Stereotype » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:02 am

Hi, I'm new here. I did a search and I didn't find anything on this subject, which either means it's incredibly obvious that it's safe or incredibly obvious that it isn't. I am not experienced, I have a lot to learn, and I am not trying to reach some of my climbing/hiking goals for a long time. The thing that I've been dreaming of doing (eventually) is to spend a few weeks in the mountains, alone. I'm originally from Miami, so the idea of being alone (as a woman) in a flimsy tent without a gun seems incredibly dangerous.

I have looked over some of the warnings about hiking alone in general, but those warnings all seem to be related to environmental safety issues. I'm more worried about escaped insane asylum inmates with hooks for hands and an addiction to human flesh. :oops:

Should I give up on this idea? I admit, I haven't searched for tent alarms or tent master locks, but I'm more interested in whether I'd need one in CO.
"I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true."

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Re: Can women safely camp alone on a 14er?

Postby klinger » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:40 am

Stereotype wrote:Hi, I'm new here. I did a search and I didn't find anything on this subject, which either means it's incredibly obvious that it's safe or incredibly obvious that it isn't. I am not experienced, I have a lot to learn, and I am not trying to reach some of my climbing/hiking goals for a long time. The thing that I've been dreaming of doing (eventually) is to spend a few weeks in the mountains, alone. I'm originally from Miami, so the idea of being alone (as a woman) in a flimsy tent without a gun seems incredibly dangerous.

I have looked over some of the warnings about hiking alone in general, but those warnings all seem to be related to environmental safety issues. I'm more worried about escaped insane asylum inmates with hooks for hands and an addiction to human flesh. :oops:

Should I give up on this idea? I admit, I haven't searched for tent alarms or tent master locks, but I'm more interested in whether I'd need one in CO.


So get a gun and enjoy your time? As a manpig, I've never thought of this interesting question and look forward to hear from the mountaineering ladyfolk. Ask Susan Joy Paul \:D/

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Re: Can women safely camp alone on a 14er?

Postby iquack08 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:51 am

I do a lot of solo hiking. I think it's a lot better and definitely more convenient! You get to be one with nature - less distractions, less responsibilities, and you set your own pace.

While I don't see many females hiking solo on my trips, I don't think you should worry too much - but hey I'm a dude, so I can't completely relate. If you do decide to hike alone, make sure you research the route and come prepared. If something goes wrong, you can only rely on yourself.

But the reality is, if you're hiking a 14er, you're almost never entirely alone. There are always other hikers. If you're feeling uneasy about going solo but still want to experience it, I recommend hiking the Sawatch Range. It's close enough to Denver so that there will probably be other hikers on the trail. The 14ers are close to each other and will take more than a week to finish.

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Re: Can women safely camp alone on a 14er?

Postby iquack08 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:55 am

Stereotype wrote:I am not experienced


On second thought, this gives me pause. Make sure you do your research, and don't do anything over your abilities.

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Re: Can women safely camp alone on a 14er?

Postby Stereotype » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:10 am

Thanks for your responses! I also should probably mention that I want to work my way towards my goal by taking small trips alone, and with others, until I gain enough experience to safely do it.

Also, the problem isn't as much that I am afraid of being alone, as I'm afraid of running into the wrong people on the trail. So, I almost feel inclined to avoid trails with a lot of hikers.

Again, I'm not sure if this sounds ridiculous to experienced mountain climbers. I'm just looking for some reassurance ....or some bear mace. :wink:
"I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true."

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Re: Can women safely camp alone on a 14er?

Postby iquack08 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:22 am

Hey, we are kind people here in Colorado! No crazies!!! [-( \:D/

The truth is, the types of people who go hiking and who you'll meet on the trail are from a certain category. The good category.

I can't remember any case in recent memory to justify your reservations...except this:
http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20120802/NEWS/120809988/1078&ParentProfile=1055

Sorry. But honestly, you'll be fine. Really!

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Re: Can women safely camp alone on a 14er?

Postby LupinMorningwake » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:30 am

I have backpacked on many of Colorado's mountains (not just 14ers) solo (or with one of my dogs). I think that the key is leaving detailed plans and really listening to your gut.... so far I haven't had any issues arise.

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Re: Can women safely camp alone on a 14er?

Postby susanjoypaul » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:52 am

It's a fair question... and you should do what's comfortable for you. I've hiked hundreds of miles around the state, solo, and have never had any problems with other people. For the past three months, I've spent at least one night a week camped out in a tent, alone. Some nights were in campgrounds and some were in the wilderness.

I do carry a very pointy bottle opener, though, for protection. It's mostly for that bottle of IPA that I always have stashed away, that helps me sleep through late-night partiers on the trail and at the campgrounds. I've never had to stab anybody with it.

You have more to worry about with lightning, rock fall, and avalanches. If you get hit with any of those you will probably wish there was someone else there with you. Avoid them.

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Re: Can women safely camp alone on a 14er?

Postby Andymcp1 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:33 am

My wife always tends to worry about running into crazies, like the hills have eyes kinda whack jobs, when we have camped and I have to say we have never had a bad experience.( Her mom was born and raised in the Bronx, and dad in a bad part of AZ) Myself solo and with partners has camped probably 30 times times in the past year and I cant say I have ever felt uncomfortable or in danger by any other people. Start somewhere closer to home, or your backyard if it makes you more comfortable. Just let people know where your camping and your hiking plans wether solo or not and enjoy. You will love it and have no issues, as the previous poster said if you follow your gut you will be fine.
Welcome to CO!

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Re: Can women safely camp alone on a 14er?

Postby dpk » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:00 am

You might find this class interesting . Unsure if other stores are having the eventvut interesting in light of camping on or near 14 er summits

http://www.rei.com/event/43449/session/55913

I have seen some crackpots out there but generally people are cool. Carry bear spay since it doubles as mace in the unlikely event of a nut job encounter.

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Re: Can women safely camp alone on a 14er?

Postby ironman11 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:06 am

This is highly debated recommendation... but in all seriousness, get yourself a handgun. There is nothing wrong with a responsible adult carrying a handgun. Of course this is assuming that you will get the proper training on safe and accurate usage of the weapon prior to carrying it. For what it's worth I carry a handgun everytime I go into the wilderness. I do pray to God that I never have to use it. If you aren't comfortable with firearms than bear spray is a great idea. The point is try to carry something besides your swiss army knife toothpick.

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Re: Can women safely camp alone on a 14er?

Postby susanjoypaul » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:18 am

ironman11 wrote:This is highly debated recommendation...

Most def... and if you really want to ruffle some feathers, hike with a gun, a dog, a bible, and Paul Ryan. And don't forget to poop on the summit!

If you get any flack, just blame it all on Bill.

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