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Longs Peak - Altitude Prep

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Longs Peak - Altitude Prep

Postby NCTRAD » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:28 pm

My family and I will be attempting Longs as our first 14er at the end of the month. I know, dont do Longs as your first 14er. I have read all of that, but we are determined to do it for a variety of reasons that I will not go into here. My son and I are both solid 5.10 traditional climbers, and the rest of the family has a little experience on a rope. We are all runners and working to get into condition before the trip. Best we can do here are some hikes at 5K - 6K feet. We are coming from NC and this will be a 2 week trip that will start in the Rockies and end with some canyoneering in UT. I would like a little help planning the couple of days prior to our Longs attempt. We arrive into Denver on a Monday morning and have half a day. We then have all day on Tuesday, and will attempt Longs on Wednesday. Our schedule is open for that 1.5 days and we would like to use it for some higher altitude prep hikes. We will be staying in the RMNP area. Any suggestions for a couple of high altitude tune up hikes Mon and Tues. Cant be too hard as we need to be fresh for Longs on Wed. We also plan to hit the Grays/Torreys combo on Friday on our way west to Moab.

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Re: Longs Peak - Altitude Prep

Postby WDavis » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:36 pm

If you can I would spend the night in Estes on Monday night. Its ~7500ft. The more time you spend at that elevation and the more nights of sleep you get up there before your attempt the better. On Tuesday I would do Flattop mountain. It is 12,200 and around 9 miles round trip. It would be better if you could then rest a day and do Longs on thur. The Flattop trail is gentle and gradual and starts at Bear Lake. Get in early because it will be busy and the close Bear Lake road for construction at 9am.

Good luck to you and your family.

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Re: Longs Peak - Altitude Prep

Postby mcmanusj » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:39 pm

If you're committed to hiking Longs on Wednesday after landing on Monday afternoon I would spend the day on Tuesday in/around Estes or maybe Allenspark resting, hydrating, and maybe a light hike in the morning. Longs is 15-16 miles round trip and I think your time on Tuesday would be better spent resting rather than trying to get up high and acclimate. YMMV

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Re: Longs Peak - Altitude Prep

Postby justiner » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:43 pm

Experience aside,

I'd actually vote to do Grays/Torreys first, rather than after you do Longs - it'll be a come-down after Longs, I'd almost think.

Starting at the Summer TH for Grays is going to make a short day, compared to Longs, but still get you at altitude. You then have a wide variety of choices to make things shorter/longer easier/longer. Do both Torreys/Grays, Do the Keslo Ridge to Torreys? Up to you, at that point.



Another option is Twin Sisters, just on the other side of the highway from Longs, or perhaps S -> N Arapahoe Peaks outside of Nederland. That'll give you a long day, altitude and you'll appreciate the one actual technical move you can pull near the peak of N. Arapahoe to regain the ridge, back to S. Arapahoe on your way back. I think there's a way to avoid it. Hell if I know it! Other options if you're bringing pro is check out the Flatirons in Boulder - depending on your comfort level, lots of the routes can be done without pro, if you'd like. Or you can run up Green/Bear to get a feel of what the added alt. does.
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Re: Longs Peak - Altitude Prep

Postby Hungry Jack » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:49 pm

You and your son might enjoy Kelso Ridge on Torreys. Maybe you can meet the rest of your family atop Grays, assuming they don't have your climbing skills.
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Re: Longs Peak - Altitude Prep

Postby Steve Climber » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:23 pm

If you are determined to make Longs your 1st and opposed to topping out any other 14ers until then, I would suggest hiking Twin Sisters (spectacular views of Longs), Chasm Lake, etc...stuff at elevation, and better yet, on or around Longs. Chasm Lake is SERIOUSLY WELL worth the hike and not part of the Keyhole Route (I'm assuming that would be your route) so not a view you would see otherwise...It will also give you a good preview of the lower sections of Keyhole route too. You can start a little later in the morning and check out the trail in daylight so if you go back up in early a.m. darkness, you will be more familiar.

Chasm is my go-to hike that I take most out of state friends and family to when they want to hike and see something amazing... I haven't ever had anyone have altitude issues yet.

Cheers!
Sam
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Steve Climber wrote:So that's your backpack, huh?

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Re: Longs Peak - Altitude Prep

Postby SkaredShtles » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:29 pm

There is no "prep" you can do with regard to altitude in 36 hours. The suggestion for rest and hydration is probably a good one. Just get after it on Wednesday and hope for the best with regards to AMS.

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Re: Longs Peak - Altitude Prep

Postby zinj » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:38 pm

Chasm Lake is a fabulous hike -- if you think you'd like a trek to the base of Longs' Diamond on the day before you do Longs, then try that. But if that would just frustrate you to see the mountain which you're not climbing that day, then never mind.

If you'd rather experience a different part of RMNP, try doing some of the Mummies - like Chapin, Chiquita, maybe Ypsilon or even Fairchild if you're feeling good (start on the West end alongside Trail Ridge Road) It's non-technical from the North Slope but you'll get a good long hike in - Chapin is a 12er, the others in the range are all 13ers, so you'll get some elevation work that way too.

The 5.10 climbing experience will be of little applicability on the standard Longs hiking routes. The problem with Longs is not the difficultty but rather crowds of people widely varying ability and judgment cramming through a couple of narrow stretches. Well, that and the weather. But it's a stunner.

Have fun!
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Re: Longs Peak - Altitude Prep

Postby rmd » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:44 pm

The following has worked for me (living at an elevation of 700 ft.) The afternoon I arrive in Colorado I take a hike up to 11K. The next day I take another one up to about 12K. The next day I can do a 14er with out difficulty.

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Re: Longs Peak - Altitude Prep

Postby pvnisher » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:48 pm

Altitude is fickle- it affects some more than others. I have flown from sea level, slept at 3000, then made over 14k the next day with no problems other than breathing hard. I've seen other, very fit, people hit the wall and hallucinate, vomit, etc, and they lived at 7k for years.
Rest, hydrate, do the best you can, and be willing to turn back if needed, for any reason.

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Re: Longs Peak - Altitude Prep

Postby NCTRAD » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:44 pm

Thank you all for taking the time to provide some great responses. I have to say that when I post on Mountain Project and other technical climbing forums the members are not so helpful. This 14er group seems to be pretty cool. Well here is what I am going to try. Twin Sisters on Monday afternoon weather permitting. Bear Lake to Fern Lake on Tuesday morning. Longs on Wednesday. Chasm Lake sounds awesome, but no way I could be that close to Longs summit and not go ahead and push for it. I will let you know how it works out. I did build in Thurs as a backup day for Longs in the event it bad weather, but I dont want to use it as it screws up the rest of my schedule. Will be staying in Breckenridge Thurs night. Would an afternoon shot at Quandry be possible. If no storms in the area would 1 or 2pm start time be too risky?

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Re: Longs Peak - Altitude Prep

Postby MuchosPixels » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:26 pm

NCTRAD wrote:My family and I will be attempting Longs as our first 14er at the end of the month. I know, dont do Longs as your first 14er. I have read all of that, but we are determined to do it for a variety of reasons that I will not go into here. My son and I are both solid 5.10 traditional climbers, and the rest of the family has a little experience on a rope. We are all runners and working to get into condition before the trip. Best we can do here are some hikes at 5K - 6K feet. We are coming from NC and this will be a 2 week trip that will start in the Rockies and end with some canyoneering in UT. I would like a little help planning the couple of days prior to our Longs attempt. We arrive into Denver on a Monday morning and have half a day. We then have all day on Tuesday, and will attempt Longs on Wednesday. Our schedule is open for that 1.5 days and we would like to use it for some higher altitude prep hikes. We will be staying in the RMNP area. Any suggestions for a couple of high altitude tune up hikes Mon and Tues. Cant be too hard as we need to be fresh for Longs on Wed. We also plan to hit the Grays/Torreys combo on Friday on our way west to Moab.


Just Because a Mountain is a 14er doesn't mean the standard route is going to be great. (yeah, Longs is an amazing place, well RMNP!) I have actually had a lot of fun on "lesser" peaks with awesome routes on ridges on solid ground and enjoyed spectacular scenery with huge vertical relief. So I would give other peaks some consideration. (I wish there was some qualitative rating of mountains and routes other than the height and difficulty (which is quantitative mostly) )

Whenever I go to Colorado I take the first day easy and hydrate, relax and eat well. The next day i would drive around to some mountain passes or even the top of Pikes Peak and enjoy the scenery. You are not going to gain anything by hiking (in fitness or acclimatization) on the day before a big climb. I would just do a short hike or two to some of the amazing overlooks and ridges easily accessible from the road. Driving around will easily get you to some high elevations so you can see how you all feel. I would also go to bed early after a good meal and leave everything ready to go for the necessary alpine start for longs in the summer.

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