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Wisconsin Hikers coming to CO

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Wisconsin Hikers coming to CO

Postby HikeWI » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:24 am

My wife & I will be in CO and are planning to hike a few 14er's. Elbert, Massive, Torrey & Grays. One plan was to hike up Bierstadt cross the Sawtooth Ridge and meet my Brother-in-law on Evans. I was reading the pocket guide by the CMCF and it states its difficult if you're not a rock climber. My wife is a little leary at that statement. We've done Long's Peak and have done bouldering in Nevada. We are avid hikers. Is the Sawtooth Ridge as bad as they make it out to be? Would it be like the narrows on Long's? We plan on visiting CO in years to come to hike more 14er's are there other ridges we should attempt before Sawtooth? We have to start somewhere. Thanks for your help.
Jim & Joan

Re: Wisconsin Hikers coming to CO

Postby Somewhat of a Prick » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:25 am

If you've done Longs, you should be able to handle the 'Tooth.

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Re: Wisconsin Hikers coming to CO

Postby Dave B » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:34 am

HikeWI wrote:I was reading the pocket guide by the CMCF and it states its difficult if you're not a rock climber.


That statement is ridiculous. From what I remember there is one move on the entire traverse that could qualify as anything more than easy. The exit ledges are exposed but it's really nothing more than class 2/2+.

In comparison I thought the Kehole route on Longs could be a bit spooky in places simply because of how polished the rock is.
"There is no cheating in climbing, only lying." - Semi-Rad

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Re: Wisconsin Hikers coming to CO

Postby kushrocks » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:49 am

Somewhat of a prick wrote:If you've done Longs, you should be able to handle the 'Tooth.


Dave B wrote:
HikeWI wrote:I was reading the pocket guide by the CMCF and it states its difficult if you're not a rock climber.


That statement is ridiculous.



Totally agreed with both statements above. Also something to think about I found the Sawtooth a lot more enjoyable when I did Evan's first and then traversed to Bierstadt. That way you descend the looser scree type stuff coming off of Evans first and then climb up the more solid class 3 stuff on Bierstadt. Just throwing that out there as an idea for you guys.

Enjoy your trip.
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Re: Wisconsin Hikers coming to CO

Postby Bullwinkle » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:56 am

If you are confident with Class 3 climbing, you are in good shape, and the weather holds, you will be in good position to complete the traverse. Take one of those elements away and it could become more than your personal comfort level. There is exposure, and a fall could be potentially fatal.

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Re: Wisconsin Hikers coming to CO

Postby djkest » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:23 am

You should be fine. I think when we did it it was my 3rd and 4th 14ers. The class 3 section is only about 30' long and mostly bypassable if you skirt around to the right. IMO the most dangerous part is the steep boulder downclimb off of Beirstadt. The dirt ledges to gain the sawtooth looked worse in pictures than it was in real life. We were fine with it.

It's a fun route and you have a high chance of seeing mountain goats.
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Re: Wisconsin Hikers coming to CO

Postby spiderman » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:37 am

If you can do Rib Mountain, you should be fine.

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Re: Wisconsin Hikers coming to CO

Postby Mtnman200 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:38 am

I did the Sawtooth from Bierstadt to Evans with my teenage sons last summer and agree that if you can do Longs, you can do the Sawtooth. Get an early start so that you're not on the traverse in bad weather, as it is exposed. The traverse has some down sloping sections that I wouldn't want to be on when it's wet. Have fun... Go Pack Go!

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Re: Wisconsin Hikers coming to CO

Postby HikeWI » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:21 am

Thanks everyone. I'm sure we'll have no problems. I'll just show your comments to my wife and that should calm her fears. I've watched youtube videos, we have Gerry's book Colorado Fourteeners, prused this site. I told her everything will be fine. We are safe hikers. When she read "experienced rock climbers" she's thinking something like the Flatirons. Ropes, harnesses, helmets.

That leads me to one other question. When we did Long's, we didn't wear helments. On what 14er's would a helmet be considered a standard piece of equipment. I bought two Petzel helmets for us. If we don't use them on this trip, we can use them down the road.

Re: Wisconsin Hikers coming to CO

Postby Somewhat of a Prick » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:24 am

HikeWI wrote:Thanks everyone. I'm sure we'll have no problems. I'll just show your comments to my wife and that should calm her fears. I've watched youtube videos, we have Gerry's book Colorado Fourteeners, prused this site. I told her everything will be fine. We are safe hikers. When she read "experienced rock climbers" she's thinking something like the Flatirons. Ropes, harnesses, helmets.

That leads me to one other question. When we did Long's, we didn't wear helments. On what 14er's would a helmet be considered a standard piece of equipment. I bought two Petzel helmets for us. If we don't use them on this trip, we can use them down the road.


I would wear a helmet on the Sawtooth. My general rule is class 1/2, no helmet. 3+ then I wear a helmet.

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Re: Wisconsin Hikers coming to CO

Postby Adventure Seeker » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:52 am

My rule is that anything class 3+, a helmet should be worn. If you go up Bierstadt, you could wait to put your helmet on until you reach the summit and then take it off when you complete the Sawtooth.
If you are doing Grays and Torreys, you might want to consider going up the Kelso ridge route and down the standard Grays trail.

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Re: Wisconsin Hikers coming to CO

Postby semitrueskerm » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:26 pm

spiderman wrote:If you can do Rib Mountain, you should be fine.


Didn't they change the name?

Personally, I enjoy the climb of Grandad's Bluff in La Crosse....

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