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Noob..Kit/Challenger from the EAST??

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Location: Piedmont OK

Noob..Kit/Challenger from the EAST??

Postby sunlightjunkie » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:07 am

Hello all,

First post, but def. not first time here. Love the site. Wish i could make more use of if but being from OK kinda limits my time in gods country.

Anyway, myself and a friend are headed for the hills in a couple weeks. My plan is to climb the Crestones or Kit Carson and Challenger. It will be our first trip focused on climbing. I have spent lots of time in the mountians hunting so im not totally new to the environment. We dont get many chances each year to make a trip like this so i want to make the most of it if possible.

Our plan is to leave sep 19th, drive all the way, sleep in the Jeep then get up and start the trip. We will be heading back on Mon the 23rd so i only have 3 full days to get in as much as possible. My original plan was to camp at S Colony lakes and try the Crestones but im not sure that is the best idea since its our first climbing trip. Not that we dont have the physical ability, its the unknown that is getting me I think. If we met up with someone how had a little experience we would be all over it.

Kit Carson and Challenger look like a good first option as well but the problem im having is i cant seem to find any trails to these peaks from the East. I dont mind going off trail but for whatever reason i dont see any trip or trail reports where people have done it. Maybe hike in to North Colony lakes? Would that give me decent access to both the Crestones and Challenger/Kit.

I understand that we will be back down around or a little after noon so packing up camp and moving is not out of the question. We like being on the move, not the sitting around type. Unless the fish are biting then we may never leave.

ANY advice would be greatly appreciated.

Oh and what can we expect as far as weather goes. I have tried to find some historical data but no luck yet. Just not looking hard enough im sure.

Thanks

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Re: Noob..Kit/Challenger from the EAST??

Postby TravelingMatt » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:24 am

Best plan would be on your first morning, pack into South Colony Lake, and drop your packs at a campsite. Then do either Crestone Needle or Humboldt depending on taste, return and set up camp.

KC and Challenger can be done from South Colony Lake, but the ridge over there has a fair amount of mixed Class 2/3, and starting from a high camp helps. One nice thing about the route is there are several intermediate peaks you can claim if you don't get all the way, such as Obstruction and Columbia Point, and Humboldt is an easy side trip.
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
-- Alexander Pope

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Re: Noob..Kit/Challenger from the EAST??

Postby geojed » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:30 am

• It's by getting away from life that we can see it most clearly... It's by depriving ourselves of the myriad of everyday experiences that we renew our appreciation for them...I've learned from my experiences in the mountains that I love life. — Dave Johnston
• Mountains are not climbed merely to reach a geographical location — but as personal and spiritual challenges to the participants. — David Stein
• The best climber in the world is the one who’s having the most fun.— Alex Lowe
• Why do I climb the mountain? Because I'm in love! — The Captain

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Re: Noob..Kit/Challenger from the EAST??

Postby TravelingMatt » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:32 am

Also note the only shortcut is to skirt Obstruction (should be cairns). You have to reclimb/retraverse everything else.
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
-- Alexander Pope

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Re: Noob..Kit/Challenger from the EAST??

Postby ztop » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:46 am

If this is your first peak why wouldn't you go for Humboldt? Coming straight from low altitude you'll want to acclimate and see how your lungs respond to 14000'. Route-finding is minimal and there are spectacular views of the Crestones. Having one peak done will help you judge how to approach the other peaks.

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Re: Noob..Kit/Challenger from the EAST??

Postby jdorje » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:50 am

Forget Humboldt; why not just do Crestone Needle? It's going to be easier climbing and route finding than going over Columbia...
-Jason Dorje Short

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Re: Noob..Kit/Challenger from the EAST??

Postby onebyone » Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:40 pm

Not to be a jerk here, but it sounds like you might be a little ambitious choosing this route for getting your feet wet. First, doing this from the parking lot instead of camping at south colony lake is a really big day, so if you're going to do this I recommend backpacking in to SCL first. From the lake there is a trail to the ridge which takes you up Humboldt. But instead of ascending east up Humboldt, you go west on no trail whatsoever (some cairns along the way but definitely need to have your game face on). Anyway, I just think it would be really hard on you guys without some 14er experience. Ive actually done Kit Carson from SCL.
Alternative: Backpack into south colony lake. Do either crestone needle or crestone peak. Day 2, if you're feeling it, hit the crestone you missed or do Humboldt. You can do Humboldt and easily pack out in the same day. Bring a helmut for the crestone peaks (came the closest to dying from rockfall on the needle out of the 50 peaks Ive climbed- like inches away, no s**t). Start before 6 am, probably like 5 am. Don't forget weather could be great or totally dumping snow by late sept.
Honestly, drive farther to the Sawatch Range. There are a ton of 14ers to choose from to get a feel for 14ers. Plus easy access to lots of food and supplies on Buena Vista.
Don't want to be so discouraging, jus want you guys to have a successful trip. PS Harvard and Columbia are just gorgeous. La Plata is good too. I liked Yale as well. Good luck!!!

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Re: Noob..Kit/Challenger from the EAST??

Postby Doug Shaw » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:03 pm

jdorje wrote:Forget Humboldt; why not just do Crestone Needle? It's going to be easier climbing and route finding than going over Columbia...


If you're not sure you'll be comfortable on the Crestones, you probably shouldn't go for Kit Carson - it is longer and more difficult from the SCL side than the Crestones.

Coming from lower elevation, with limited acclimatization time and not much climbing background, I'd agree with the other assessments that Humboldt is probably your best option.

Do Humboldt for your first one. Then, if you guys feel great and are eager for a bigger challenge, the Crestones are right across the basin and will be just as easily accessed from your camp.

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Re: Noob..Kit/Challenger from the EAST??

Postby ThuChad » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:08 pm

This sounds like my college trips. I've started flying and renting cars to save time since then. I understand your plan to pack as much in to your trip as possible. I get 1 or 2 trips to CO a year. Where in OK are you from?

I echo all the sentiments above. Doing what you are considering will not be fun unless you are in ultra marathon shape and even then the altitude will be a drag. Everyone else will have plenty of other climbing suggestions so I won't comment on that. Get a prescription for acetazolamide 250mg tabs. It's a life saver. My dad and I went from 1000 feet in OKC to the top of Democrat in 7 hours with no effects from altitude. It makes short climbing trips 100 times more enjoyable. Good luck to you whatever you end up doing.

How about an OK happy hour meet up? :)
I'm just pretending to be a poseur.

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Re: Noob..Kit/Challenger from the EAST??

Postby sunlightjunkie » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:13 pm

Thanks for all the advice so far.
The 2 routes from the SCL are exactly what I was looking for. I agree my plans may be a little ambitious but thats just me. From what ive seen and read Humboldt will just be a long up hill walk for us.

The oxygen deprivation may be somewhat of a issue but we can do a few things to help prepare for that. We are very active guys in our late 30's and train hard everyday for.....everything. Maybe not in ultramarathon shape but not far from it I think. Not trying to sound like a cocky superman but our Physical abilities are not a issue and we never take the path of least resistance. As far as climbing experience we have little outdoor but do some indoor climbing for the workout.

What if we were to hike in and take our time setting up camp maybe do some fishing on friday, give us a few more hours at altitude, get up early sat and hit one or both Crestones if were feeling froggy, then head back to camp. Get up sunday morning earlier and head for KC. That makes it sound a little more laid back anyway.

Thanks for the prescription advice. I will def look into it.
Im in Piedmont, my buddy Luke is in Choctaw

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Re: Noob..Kit/Challenger from the EAST??

Postby bhaydin » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:46 pm

I recommend camping at SCL. Your going to have one of the best backdrops for your tent, and it will be well worth the effort. I can't speak to the fishing, but I suppose it is pretty good.

Best of luck with the climb!

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Re: Noob..Kit/Challenger from the EAST??

Postby TravelingMatt » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:55 pm

sunlightjunkie wrote:What if we were to hike in and take our time setting up camp maybe do some fishing on friday, give us a few more hours at altitude, get up early sat and hit one or both Crestones if were feeling froggy, then head back to camp. Get up sunday morning earlier and head for KC. That makes it sound a little more laid back anyway.


Not a bad idea, although going for Humboldt on your first day would serve as a good gauge of your acclimation/endurance. It's only about 2300' up from the lake and Class 1, so shoot for under two hours to summit or around 3 hours roundtrip.
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
-- Alexander Pope

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