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Advice for trip in June

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Advice for trip in June

Postby mapel » Thu May 09, 2013 8:01 pm

Hello everyone,

My parents are coming over from Germany to visit me in the States and to go hiking in Colorado with me. We are planning a trip from June 6th to June 18th. All of us are experienced hikers having climbed Gran Paradiso, Ortler and a whole bunch of other 13ers in the Alps. In general we like some technical climbing but for the most part I would say Class 2 or 3 hikes would be appropriate. We are not planning to bring ropes, and other advanced climbing equipment. My parents are not big campers and therefore we'd prefer to stay in a hotel. That leads me to my questions:

1) From reading tour reports it seems like most people camp at the trailheads. Is it realistic to hike a 14er if you have to drive from the hotel to the trailhead first?

2) I have identified Leadville as a town closer to a number of trailheads, again considering we will have to drive there in the mornings first. Do you agree or do you have any suggestions for other towns situated close to trailheads? (This is not limited to 14ers) Eventually we'd want to stay at several towns during our vacation.

3) A lot of people say you have to leave early. I am aware this depends on the specific peak but what is early? 4am, 6am? Would 8 am still be feasible?

4) Considering that we only have 11 full days and that my parents will need a day or two to recover from their flight, I was thinking about climbing around four 14ers at most, climbing a few 13ers and taking a few days off to do other things. Does that sound reasonable?

This is plenty for now. I may add to it if necessary...I bought the Gerry Roach book and there is plenty of information on this website. So I feel pretty comfortable picking out trails once I have identified some areas.
Thank you!

Max

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Re: Advice for trip in June

Postby Scott P » Thu May 09, 2013 8:25 pm

Is it realistic to hike a 14er if you have to drive from the hotel to the trailhead first?


Yes, depending on the 14er.

2) I have identified Leadville as a town closer to a number of trailheads, again considering we will have to drive there in the mornings first. Do you agree or do you have any suggestions for other towns situated close to trailheads? (This is not limited to 14ers) Eventually we'd want to stay at several towns during our vacation.


Leadville is fine, but if you are used to the Alps, you may be disappointed with the peaks around Leadville. If you have climbed "a whole bunch of 13ers in the Alps" as you say, you should be able to do just about any of the standard 14er routes, if you desired. Are you bringing an ice axe? If so, you may want to consider at least some of the peaks around Aspen, but some are more difficult. Consider something like Castle or maybe something slightly harder?

The San Juans are great, but many are quite a bit from any hotels and even require multi days for most. Still, there are many places that are still OK if you aren't set on 14ers. Ouray would be a good base and you could climb Sneffels and many other peaks as well.

Of course if you like high elevation, but mountains that are mostly non-rugged, Leadville will do fine. You can get a lot of high peaks rather quickly there.

Also, consider Breckenridge. You could do Quandary and many other non 14er peaks as well.

3) A lot of people say you have to leave early. I am aware this depends on the specific peak but what is early? 4am, 6am? Would 8 am still be feasible?


You will be be mostly before peak thunderstorm season, then again, if you are on a route with snow, you want to be early. 8 am is too late for most 14ers unless you can drive to timberline (which you can on some peaks).

PS. in June unless you are doing a really mellow route with trekking poles (such as the East Ridge of Elbert, Quandary, etc.), bringing an ice axe is a really good idea. I would definitely recommend taking one for June in Colorado.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.

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Re: Advice for trip in June

Postby mapel » Thu May 09, 2013 9:07 pm

Thanks for the quick response. While I want to see what others have to say, your response made me go back and double-check the elevation of mountains we have climbed. On normal hikes we climb mountains between 11 and 12 thousand feet. I must have converted it wrong from the metric system. Besides the elevation, I believe that the difference in altitude is most important and judging from the guidebooks we should be able to handle a 14er. So we are looking for some fun hikes and may do just a few 14ers as the capstone of our vacation. I hope this clarifies things.

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Re: Advice for trip in June

Postby JTOlson26 » Thu May 09, 2013 10:14 pm

I would also consider checking out the Gores. Easy TH access from I-70 and some beautiful hikes. Although, a lot of the peaks are a bit 'harder' in nature. But if peaks aren't necessarily on your list everyday, check them out!

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Re: Advice for trip in June

Postby TallGrass » Fri May 10, 2013 1:42 am

Gruezzi, Max. Ich kann Mt. Holy Cross empfehlen. Koennt in Minturn uebernachten, aber mit langes Steig meint 4 bis 6 Uhr Anfang fuer Blitzvermeidung (nicht untypisch nachmittag Wetter, manchmal schoen, manchmal haesslig). Bischen komisch zu abreisen am 4 Uhr, ja? Deshalb viele bei den Spurkopf schlafen. Aspen hat prima (und teuer) Hotels, aber die Bells und Pyramid sind in der Naehe. Schwieriger Steig, aber moeglich und ausgezeichnete Aussichten. Blick meine Steigberichte (Unterschrift) fuer ein Schmeck und Bilder. Schone Reise fuer Alle! Wichtig zu die Spurlange (Rundreise) vergleichen (km bis "mi"). Kennst du die Unterschied zwischen ein Ami und ein Deutscher? Ami denkt dass 200 Jahre ist ein langes Zeit, und der Deutscher dass 200 Meilen ist ein langes Fahr. :mrgreen: (Ja, mein Deutsch ist rostig.)
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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Re: Advice for trip in June

Postby MuchosPixels » Fri May 10, 2013 5:53 am

Hi, I would also consider the northern San Juan Mountains. Telluride is a really cool town and there are some amazing 14ers near by. The scenery is IMHO some of the best in North America. The Aspen area also has some amazing peaks nearby. In both cases the town is superb and access is quite good to most trailheads.

Here are some images I made while staying in Telluride and driving around the area:

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424A1326.jpg (297.42 KiB) Viewed 431 times

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Re: Advice for trip in June

Postby peter303 » Fri May 10, 2013 7:36 am

Breckenridge puts you 20 minutes from Quandry and 40 minutes from Sherman and Democrat. Probably decent "mud season" (May & June) hotel rates. All three are good "warm up" mountains.
Expect snowfields on these mid-June since it is still snowing now.

For sheer scenery you shold try to spend a night in Aspen and hike at Maroon Bells Lake. I dont recommend any of the 14ers there because they either have long approaches or are difficult. You can do a long dayhike to east Maroon Pass for a view. But there wll probably still be some snow there. Taking the lift up Apsen mountin is fun. Soaking in the Glenwood hotspring up the road is nice too.

==========

Early means around dawn at this time of year or 5AM. Lightning storms start by noon and you want to be heading down by then.
Last edited by peter303 on Fri May 10, 2013 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Advice for trip in June

Postby DenneyR » Fri May 10, 2013 8:14 am

I enjoy hiking the peaks near Buena Vista and Leadville.

I think it's totally fine to drive from a hotel, cabin or whatever to hike.....just allow extra time for travel so you still have time to summit and be headed back down by Noon or close to it.

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Re: Advice for trip in June

Postby Fisching » Fri May 10, 2013 11:48 am

TallGrass wrote:Gruezzi, Max. Ich kann Mt. Holy Cross empfehlen. Koennt in Minturn uebernachten, aber mit langes Steig meint 4 bis 6 Uhr Anfang fuer Blitzvermeidung (nicht untypisch nachmittag Wetter, manchmal schoen, manchmal haesslig). Bischen komisch zu abreisen am 4 Uhr, ja? Deshalb viele bei den Spurkopf schlafen. Aspen hat prima (und teuer) Hotels, aber die Bells und Pyramid sind in der Naehe. Schwieriger Steig, aber moeglich und ausgezeichnete Aussichten. Blick meine Steigberichte (Unterschrift) fuer ein Schmeck und Bilder. Schone Reise fuer Alle! Wichtig zu die Spurlange (Rundreise) vergleichen (km bis "mi"). Kennst du die Unterschied zwischen ein Ami und ein Deutscher? Ami denkt dass 200 Jahre ist ein langes Zeit, und der Deutscher dass 200 Meilen ist ein langes Fahr. :mrgreen: (Ja, mein Deutsch ist rostig.)


Ha! Show off.

Anyways, I second a lot of what Scott P. said.

Depending on how many days you want to devote to hiking, I wouldn't say stay away from the Sawatch & Mosquito/10 mile ranges, but there are probably better mountains and routes for your skill level and preference. Like Scott said, Ouray (with pricier hotel) and Sneffels is a great combination. The Class 3 SW Ridge is a great route. I can't speak for the overnight accommodations in tiny Lake City, although they do exist, but it offers access to both Wetterhorn (Class 3) & Uncompaghre (Class 2) which are also well-liked mountains that can either be done in a long, one-day combo or broken up into two easier days. Personally, I'd stay away from the Wilson group near Telluride; while they're pretty, they demand more (Class 4 on some) and bring notorious rockfall danger.

Outside of the San Juans, Scott's suggestion of Castle and Conundrum (Class 2) near Aspen would be another good, one-day combo. All the Elks outside of those two become far more challenging (loose Class 3 & 4 routes). If anything, take your parents to get the famous shot of the Bells.
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Re: Advice for trip in June

Postby Billy the Kid » Fri May 10, 2013 12:14 pm

If you want to show them the best this state has to offer, I would definitely recommend the San Juans too! If you are leaving from Denver, it is a much longer drive, but definitely worth it. Plus, on the way back, you could make many detours and see so much more of this beautiful state. You could stay in Lake City, and there a five 14ers that are not far from where you would be staying...and, they are some of the best in Colorado. Handies and Uncompahgre are AMAZING and class-2 climbs. If you wanted to pick it up a notch, Wetterhorn is right there too! It is considered Class-3, but the final few hundred feet are the only really challenging part.

You could also stay in Ouray and hike Sneffels, which is also one the most beautiful and scenic 14ers in Colorado! Whatever you decide, I am sure you will have a blast!!
"Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So, be on your way."- Dr. Seuss

Re: Advice for trip in June

Postby LIV » Fri May 10, 2013 12:25 pm

muchospixels - awesome photos dude.

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Re: Advice for trip in June

Postby TallGrass » Fri May 10, 2013 3:34 pm

Fisching wrote:Ha! Show off.

No, payoff. :) Imagine if you spent years acquiring gear but never got to use it?! Most common language I heard used in Canada after English wasn't French, but German. Even north of Coldfoot, AK off the Dalton there's lodging with a German flag (among others) as it's spoken there. The DEU/AUS/CH/LUX/LEI travel well and love the North American wilderness, which exists in a higher %age than Africa.

Now, whipping out your $1k ice boots to show the cashier at a grocery store in July, that'd be showing off. :lol:
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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