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Im sure....

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Im sure....

Postby MissMindi » Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:57 am

I am sure you guys get this question a lot, but I am going to ask it anyway and hope for some guidence.

Is it possible for someone out of shape to summit on an easier mountain? I am horribly out of shape, but I dont give up. I did the fight for air climb and went up 50 plus flights of stairs in an hour. My baby brother is in from NC. I want to take him on my first summit, this has been something I have been wanting to do forever. He is very in shape, plays sports all the time, and is excited. I will be bringing my husband, who is out of shape, but not as bad as me. Just tell me this is possible. And what is the best peak closest to Denver to do this.

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Re: Im sure....

Postby Brian C » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:17 am

I don't even really look like the same person, as I've lost a ton of weight since starting to climb mountains. About 60 pounds ago I hiked Grays Peak and to this day it was one of the hardest and most rewarding mountain I've ever done. I guess what I mean to say it that it is possible to get out and do it. I know there are several others that have become much healthier through their hiking and climbing. That said, anything you do to help you increase your fitness before you go sure wouldn't hurt. Good luck and have fun!
Brian in the Wild
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Re: Im sure....

Postby kansas » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:25 am

Go for it.

It may suck, and you will be tired but all it takes is the ability to put one foot in front of the other for a ridiculously long time. Above 13k it may feel like the world is going to end, but it won't. Make sure to start super early, like 4am, so you can move at a nice slow pace and take plenty of breaks. It's important to keep the pace comfortable, IMO it lessens the effect of the altitude.

Who knows? Maybe this will be the thing that changes your life and motivates you to get into shape, this fourm is full of people who have done exactly that (myself included).

If you don't mind the summit crowds and cars, I would recommend Evans from Summit Lake as a starter for someone in your situation. 4am may be a little early for this hike though.

Good luck!
"In the end, of course, it changed almost nothing. But I came to appreciate that mountains make poor receptacles for dreams."
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Re: Im sure....

Postby forbins_mtn » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:40 am

Absolutely go for it!

Grays and Torreys, Sherman, Lincoln group and Quandary will have dozens upon dozens of people on the trail. Most of them are stopping every so often to catch their breath, socialize, enjoy the day, etc. Start early, pick a day with clear weather and take your time.

I'm also one of those people that had their lives transformed by altitude hiking. I was a smoker for 12 years, 30lbs overweight and seriously depressed(of course I didn't realize that part while living it). A friend tried for years to get me up a mtn. We gave Grays and Torreys a try and was turned around due to June snow. After that it became a revenge tour. I was addicted.

Flash forward two years and I'm hitting the gym all week, I just ran a marathon, I eat healthy, I quit smoking and I'm really really happy


So ......... GO FOR IT! It's go time, dude \:D/

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Re: Im sure....

Postby wildlobo71 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:56 am

I can remember hiking with my sister and friends around Genesee more than 5 years ago, basically shallow foothills west of Denver, and hating life at that moment - ascending ANYTHING with 265# on my frame and absolutely no cardio training for years was a pain. They were telling me how it's about taking that next step, it will happen.

For a year I hiked, did a couple of 14ers, and hated it. How would I ever learn to like this? It sucks. My feet hurt, I cramped up, I didn't know how to really do it. But I kept at it. then it flashed over, and I never saw it the same way again.

Like Brian, and Darrin, and TJ just said - there's a moment when it becomes life changing; from that point on I've loved hiking and climbing and all the friends and support I've gotten from those I've hiked with and those who offer simple support on this site. I would agree with Darrin, a 6am start from Summit Lake is perfect - it will take a couple hours to summit from there, I suspect. Good thing about Mount Evans is you will not feel alone even if you are hiking alone - civilization is very close at all times.

Good luck!
Bill W.
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Re: Im sure....

Postby rickinco123 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:01 am

Not sure if you are specifically asking about a 14er. Before your relatives get here, go hike squaw peak and/or chief next to it ( near Evergreen ). Build up to it. Also the top of Loveland Pass has some hikes that are easy, rewarding and will expose you to some Elevation.

For a 14er I would recommend Sherman from the East side. I think that is the easiest one though there are lots of opinions on that. I also think someone from out of town would find the mining ruins interesting.

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Re: Im sure....

Postby IronSkiMountaineer » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:27 am

Just start really early, pace yourself and go for it!!

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Re: Im sure....

Postby Gareth » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:32 am

Go for it!

Two years ago I was in sad shape. I had regained all the weight that I had lost several years back, and even added more. I hadn't run or seriously walked for exercise for a few years. But for some reason I decided to drive from Kansas and see if I could hike up a 14er (something that I had only previously done when I was lighter and stronger). I figured that it would show me what my sad baseline was. I decided to try Huron. It's a "easy" hike, but it is 3,500' above the trailhead. I started early, probably around 4:00 am. I think that I started before anyone else that morning. I put one boot in front of another, gained the mountain foot by foot. I got passed by everyone else on my way up, but I kept going. I made it to the top. It felt good. It proved to me that I indeed had it in me to make it to the top.

A year later, a bit lighter, and in a bit better shape, but still not in any way, shape, or form, close to where I want to be physically, I hiked every single 14er in the Mosquito/Tenmile Range in a single weekend (in 31 hours). :shock: That's what a fat Kansan could pull off! You never know what you are capable of unless you go for something and fight for it! You might be very surprised. :-D
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Re: Im sure....

Postby Dan_Suitor » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:58 am

Sure it’s possible. I’ve seen plenty of “Less than fit” people on the summits of some 14ers. Altitude affects us all differently. If you fought for air on a stair climber, you will have to fight harder at 14,000 ft. Your brother coming from sea level may or may not have acclimation issues, even though he is fit. My suggestion would be Mt. Sherman. I’ve nicknamed it Mt. Blue-Hair, because of all of the older people I saw on it the two times I climbed it.

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Re: Im sure....

Postby Stiffler_from_Denver » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:04 am

There are also a few 14ers where you can park above 12,000. You could drive to Kite Lake and hike Democrat; I did this route with my mother when she came out to visit from Pennsylvania. You could drive to summit lake below Mt. Evans and hike the remaining 2 miles to summit. It's nice to have a goal/destination in mind. You might also consider making a lake or waterfall your destination.

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Re: Im sure....

Postby fahixson » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:56 am

By most standards, I've been out of shape for nearly every 14er I've attempted. Perseverance and determination (some might say stubbornness) can overcome many physical limitations. So, I would say yes it's absolutely possible.

In addition to options that have been suggested, I'd recommend Mt Bierstadt as a good 14er starter - easy drive from Denver, simple trail to follow, nice mellow start, plenty of people for encouragement, etc.

Along with other good suggestions that have been listed, a few tips that work for me . . .
Drink plenty of water and eat well in the days leading up to your hike
Continue to hydrate well during the hike
Avoid alcohol like the plague for 4-5 days prior to the hike (I once got winded driving up Mt. Evans after a night at the bars)
Pace yourself - Above 13,000' or so, I like to count my steps between water breaks/rest stops, otherwise, I want to stop every few steps. I usually start at 100 paces between stops and maybe get as short as 25 steps, and yes, many of my steps are very short.
Relax and have fun

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

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Re: Im sure....

Postby CarpeDM » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:23 am

A lot of great, inspirational stories here. Maybe you could be the next! I can tell you: determination is more powerful than being in shape.

kansas wrote:...I would recommend Evans from Summit Lake as a starter for someone in your situation. 4am may be a little early for this hike though.


Anyway, assuming you were referring to 14ers, kansas's suggestion was the first one to come to my mind, too. But Democrat from Kite Lake is not a bad suggestion either. Keep in mind, there are plenty of other nice mountains to climb that aren't 14ers, though. Something like Buffalo Mtn in Silverthorne (a high 12er) has some good elevation gain, nice trail (with a long stable talus section), and good views. Or Mt Audubon (low 13er) from Brainerd Lake (there will be crowds).

Good luck! And tell us how it goes.
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