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We finally got up enough nerve to make the trip!

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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We finally got up enough nerve to make the trip!

Postby alligator » Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:57 pm

After many years of looking at the 14ers, we finally booked a trip out there this July. Because we will have inexperienced people (kids), we are considering Quandary or Grays. Our youngest child is 7, but she has two older brothers. If we make it, we make it. If not, it will be fun trying.

A few quick questions -

1. How hard or long is it to drive out if we stay in Denver? Should we be staying in someplace like Breckenridge instead?

2. How early do we really need to arrive? If we drive from Denver, it looks like a 2 hour drive. Getting out at 7:00 a.m. with kids will be hard.

3. What else is there to do in the area for kids?

Thanks!

Re: We finally got up enough nerve to make the trip!

Postby Somewhat of a Prick » Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:59 pm

Odds are leaving at 7 will be much too late. The rule is to be off the summit by noon. Above tree line is about the last place on earth you want to be during a hail/lighting storm. And trust me, they close in on you very quickly.

Re: We finally got up enough nerve to make the trip!

Postby BobbyFinn » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:27 pm

7 is too late, especially with kids. Stay closer/camp at the TH and wake the kids up early or make other plans. Or be prepared to turn around well before the summit.

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Re: We finally got up enough nerve to make the trip!

Postby Jim Davies » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:31 pm

Grays is closer to Denver (maybe 30-45 minutes less) but the road to the trailhead can be bad - check the "Trailheads" info on this site before you try it to see recent reports on the condition. Grays or Quandary are similar lengths once you're at the TH. You might also consider Bierstadt from Guanella Pass, which is about the same distance from Denver as Grays, shorter hike, and a better road.

Check the weather forecast for your peak (again, use the weather links on this site) a day or two before you go. Some days have near-zero chance of rain, which would allow you to get a later start without getting drenched. If you have some flexibility in your schedule, sometimes moving the hike a day or two will get you better weather.

There's a lot of good hiking around Breckenridge other than summits. You may want to do a lower hike before trying a 14er anyway, to adjust to the altitude. Mohawk Lakes is pretty and not too hard, and gets you to around timberline.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of white blood cells.

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Re: We finally got up enough nerve to make the trip!

Postby Vids » Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:18 pm

+1 on the Bierstadt recommendation, especially if getting the kids out of bed early is a problem. The drive to the Bierstadt trailhead (Guanella Pass) is paved which will save you some time. Leaving Denver at 7 am is too late to try and summit Grays with kids.

Not sure where you are from, but just for reference - I have taken my nieces (10 and 12, from MN) on a couple hikes, none higher than 12,000 feet and they had trouble with the altitude to the point of throwing up. A couple of great hikes off of Guanella Pass are to Silver Dollar Lake or Square Top Lakes. It's the same area as Bierstadt, just head west instead of east. Just my $.02 that a less strenuous hike to a beautiful lake might not be a bad idea, it definitely kills a good time when the kids start puking.

If you're not concerned at all about summiting, then heading up Stevens Gulch is a still a beautiful hike even if you only make it up a little ways. Have fun!!

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Re: We finally got up enough nerve to make the trip!

Postby samoarob » Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:42 am

Agree with all the posts on here. I wanted to hike Massive this weekend, but the weather turned to 20% chance of rain in the afternoon, so we moved further south to Yale which indicated 10% chance of thunder in the afternoon. My wife hikes very slow, so we are going to headlamp out at ~4:30am to try and be off the summit by noon or hopefully back at the treeline by noon lol. My 2 cents, choose the mountain with the best weather. You may have to travel an hour or 2 more.

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Re: We finally got up enough nerve to make the trip!

Postby Jim Davies » Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:49 am

Actually, my point was to pick the day with the best weather, if you have a choice. People with jobs usually have to hike on weekends, so it's not an option for them.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of white blood cells.

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Re: We finally got up enough nerve to make the trip!

Postby alligator » Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:22 am

We will have only two days to attempt a climb due to the way our trip is set up. At this point, I'm now expecting to just have some fun hiking, and not necessarily summit. We considered staying closer to the TH, but decided we would take some day trips out from Denver instead.

Any recommendations for things I must do when in Colorado? Good food, beers, sights to see, fun things to do with the family when we are not hiking?

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Re: We finally got up enough nerve to make the trip!

Postby Vids » Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:46 pm

One thing we have fun with is stopping at Beau Jo's in Idaho Springs for pizza after a hike. You can also get ice cream right across the street from there. Just be prepared to wait 45 minutes for a table, it is popular on the weekends. Garden of the Gods in Co Springs is good sightseeing. Rocky Mountain NP is beautiful too.

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Re: We finally got up enough nerve to make the trip!

Postby alligator » Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:13 am

Just a quick update to this thread. We ended up feeling great when we were hiking, and actually made it to summit of Mt. Bierstadt. There were three of us (including two boys, ages 12 and 14), out of our family of five that made it. We really enjoyed it! Thanks for the tips.

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Re: We finally got up enough nerve to make the trip!

Postby jdorje » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:26 am

Awesome. But I bet now you're hooked!

Re: We finally got up enough nerve to make the trip!

Postby BobbyFinn » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:12 am

Congrats!
"Mind what you have learned. Save you it can." - Yoda
"Rudeness is a weak person's imitation of strength." - Paul Arel

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