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Sunrise Summit Questions

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Sunrise Summit Questions

Postby kaitimae » Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:02 pm

Hi all,

My brother, his friend, and I are planning to do a sunrise summit trip this coming Monday. After sleeping most of the day (they are driving all day Saturday from Nashville), we will leave Denver late Sunday/early Monday and head into the mountains. My brother and I have both done several 14ers apiece - not sure about the friend.

I've got a good idea what kind of gear we will need, just unsure which peaks are good for night hikes. I'm leaning towards Huron or Quandry, but am open to other suggestions. We are trying to avoid doing one that we've done before; between the two of us we have Evans, Bierstadt, DeCaLiBron, Grays, Elbert, & Holy Cross.

We'd like it to be relatively easy since it is our first night 14er, and since the two guys are coming from out of town. If anyone has suggestions for other options or pros/cons for Huron vs. Quandry, I'd love to hear them! Thanks in advance!
Have faith in the long haul, have fun in the short term. ~wildlobo71

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Re: Sunrise Summit Questions

Postby GregMiller » Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:15 pm

For Huron, I wouldn't want to drive the road beyond Winfield in the dark - it can be a bit tricky in the light.

I'd give a thumbs up to Quandary, I did that the first time as a night hike, aiming for a sunrise summit. Some in the group were a little slow, so we didn't make it up for sunrise, but had nice views of it from about 13,500 ft, before we continued on to the summit. I would expect the out-of-towners to be a little slow, so I'd probably say a 1:30ish start would be a good idea (base off of our 2:15ish start).

Hope you have fun!
Still Here
been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
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Re: Sunrise Summit Questions

Postby fahixson » Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:36 pm

I think Huron, Quandary, or maybe Antero would be good night hikes. Those trails/roads would be easy enough to follow in the dark with headlamps. I'd probably pick Quandary because it's the easiest TH to reach from Denver of those three.

As for the road to Huron upper 4WD TH, we drove it in the dark a couple weeks back in an avg size SUV. I didn't think the road was all that bad, but it took us a long time. I didn't pay attention to the time on the way in, but the trip out took us 1 hour 15 min from upper 4WD back to paved road. I'm sure the drive in was just as long or longer. We probably could have gone faster on the dirt road from Winfield to pavement, but I didn't want my teeth to rattle out or door handles fall off.

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Re: Sunrise Summit Questions

Postby GregMiller » Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:50 pm

fahixson wrote:We probably could have gone faster on the dirt road from Winfield to pavement, but I didn't want my teeth to rattle out or door handles fall off.


How fast did you go? When I've done it at 35 or 40 mph, the washboard just turned into a kind of background hum. When my buddy drove it in his smaller car at 20, I had the same feeling you did.
Still Here
been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
Langston Hughes

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Re: Sunrise Summit Questions

Postby realhillboarding » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:04 pm

I've done sunrise on Huron, Grays, Torreys, Antero, and Wetterhorn. Of those, I would say Huron is probably best because the sun rises over a bunch of other high peaks, however I did that several years ago and we drove the road during the day, so I can't really remember the road or if it would be okay to drive in the dark. The hard part with Huron is the sun rises on the other side of the mountain from the trail, so if you're late getting to the summit, you miss the sunrise. Plan on being on top about 45 minutes before the "true" sunrise because that's when the sky first starts to lighten and you get the best colors.

Antero isn't a hard climb in the dark, but i wasn't all that impressed by the sunrise since it just comes up over the valley. Still not a bad option, but wouldn't be my first choice

I haven't done sunrise from Quandary, but that seems like a good option too. Whats nice about that one is you're climbing the east ridge, so you won't miss sunrise even if you're running a little late.

A few other things that are nice to have are a really warm jacket, +/- sleeping bag, and stove to make hot cocoa or coffee - it can be REALLY cold sitting on top waiting for sunrise and IMO these are well worth the extra weight.

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Re: Sunrise Summit Questions

Postby CaptPenner » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:17 pm

Look at Sherman. I don't remember it being to difficult to get to the trailhead and I enjoyed the climb.

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Re: Sunrise Summit Questions

Postby Jelgan » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:22 pm

I also recommend Sherman, I did it as a sunrise summit a couple weeks ago. Both the drive and the hike are easy even in the dark as long as you've taken a look at the route ahead of time, and you get a nice view of the sunrise coming own the front range to the east.

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Re: Sunrise Summit Questions

Postby hvolmer » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:24 pm

realhillboarding wrote:I've done sunrise on Huron, Grays, Torreys, Antero, and Wetterhorn. Of those, I would say Huron is probably best because the sun rises over a bunch of other high peaks, however I did that several years ago and we drove the road during the day, so I can't really remember the road or if it would be okay to drive in the dark. The hard part with Huron is the sun rises on the other side of the mountain from the trail, so if you're late getting to the summit, you miss the sunrise. Plan on being on top about 45 minutes before the "true" sunrise because that's when the sky first starts to lighten and you get the best colors.

Antero isn't a hard climb in the dark, but i wasn't all that impressed by the sunrise since it just comes up over the valley. Still not a bad option, but wouldn't be my first choice

I haven't done sunrise from Quandary, but that seems like a good option too. Whats nice about that one is you're climbing the east ridge, so you won't miss sunrise even if you're running a little late.

A few other things that are nice to have are a really warm jacket, +/- sleeping bag, and stove to make hot cocoa or coffee - it can be REALLY cold sitting on top waiting for sunrise and IMO these are well worth the extra weight.


+1 for Huron. For an "easy" peak, it's got a hell of a view. You are several peaks back from the Arkansas Valley, and the valley is much narrower there. You don't get a less-than-beautiful eastern view of Leadville or Buena Vista. Just mountains any way you look. As the sun clears the peak itself, its western neighbors will light up nicely. I've only been up there around 7AM when the three apostles start to light up. Very nice.

Here's my daytime view from last September: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hvolmer/7826862920/

My recollection of the road is that it was rather rough (in my full-size truck) but shouldn't be too much trouble in the dark. Have fun. Might have to try that soon.

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Re: Sunrise Summit Questions

Postby fahixson » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:38 pm

farcedude wrote:How fast did you go? When I've done it at 35 or 40 mph, the washboard just turned into a kind of background hum. When my buddy drove it in his smaller car at 20, I had the same feeling you did.


I'm guessing around 30MPH. Probably wasn't a big deal, just can't help imagining various parts falling off and screwing up a perfectly good vehicle. Wish we had a 3rd car to use as a mountain beater, but we're not there yet.

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Re: Sunrise Summit Questions

Postby GregMiller » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:52 pm

fahixson wrote:I'm guessing around 30MPH. Probably wasn't a big deal, just can't help imagining various parts falling off and screwing up a perfectly good vehicle. Wish we had a 3rd car to use as a mountain beater, but we're not there yet.


That is true, I don't feel too bad dragging my 14 year old subaru up. That's the nice thing about used cars - they come pre-dented, so you don't have to worry about putting the first one in! :D
Still Here
been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
Langston Hughes

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Re: Sunrise Summit Questions

Postby SolarAlex » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:07 pm

i did a sunrise summit/full moon hike in may in quandary...easily one of the top 5 experiences in my life.

enjoy!

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Re: Sunrise Summit Questions

Postby kaitimae » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:05 pm

Thank you all so much for your replies!

I've decided on Quandry - sounds like those of you who've done it at night have enjoyed it. Also not sure what car we will be going up in, and mine is pretty little (but got to Kite Lake just fine, so I'm guessing it will get to Quandry too) - however, would rather not take it up someplace with a more difficult road in the dark for the first time. =)

I'll do a trip report next week and I'll post a link here in case anyone wants to read.

Thanks again!
Have faith in the long haul, have fun in the short term. ~wildlobo71

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