Forum
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...

Backpack AND 14er Recommendation?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
User avatar
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2007 7:38 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Backpack AND 14er Recommendation?

Postby hikerguy0 » Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:07 pm

I'm looking to do a 3ish day backpack in mid July, and I'd like to include a 14er. Have done multiple backpacks including Whitney, but not familiar with Colorado Mtns. Any websites or books that you can recommend for planning purposes? Colorado Scrambles looks good since it includes backpack approaches not just day routes; however, I'm a class 3 or less kind of guy and this book looks pretty serious. http://www.amazon.com/Colorado-Scramble ... 976052504/
thanks,
Hikin' Jim

User avatar
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 5:13 pm
Location: Topeka. KS Elev. 900 ft

Postby mcdonnellms » Fri Mar 16, 2007 9:53 pm

I have only done one 14er but I highly recommend it. My son's and I spent three days in the Holy Cross Wilderness. Pretty straight forward class two climb. Even though it rained and snowed on us for the whole three days it was amazing.

User avatar
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2007 7:38 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Postby hikerguy0 » Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:34 pm

What route did you take? Are there any resources/references you can point me to as to route and planning, not only for the peak but also for the backpack portion?

thanks!

Jim

User avatar
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:51 pm
Location: Tempe, AZ

Postby Hiking Mike » Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:37 pm

My favorite backpacking trek/fourteener climb is the Eolus Group in the Chicago Basin. You could do Eolus and Windom without exceeding class 3, and it's a nice little backpack into the basin. I would highly reccomend Gerry Roach's Colorado's Fourteeners as a planning resource, and honestly this site is one of the best sources you're going to find as well.
...And my memory shall serve me in the way that memories do:
To conjure bygone times, and shine them bright anew,
To erase the strain of effort from faces of the past,
And resurrect slight triumphs as glories unsurpassed...

User avatar
Posts: 1061
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 4:20 pm
Location: Woodland Park

Postby guitmo223 » Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:16 am

All Colorado climbs can be accomplished in one day. You can create a custom expedition of many climbs over several days if you like to backpack. There are many places you can set up a base camp and hike several mountains if that is what you want. Gerry Roach's book is a good place to start if these are your goals.

If you are looking for serious multi-day backpacking / summiting expeditions, Wyoming is famous for those. You can find many fine backpacking trip reports at http://www.summitpost.org/ Just do a search on "Wyoming" and you'll be amazed.
"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred it be postponed" - Sir Winston Churchill

User avatar
Posts: 3091
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 4:04 pm
Location: Tabernash, CO

Postby MtHurd » Sat Mar 17, 2007 8:32 am

Any reason why you want to do a 14er? When you say 3 day backpack, do you mean a total of 3 days, or 3 days of backpacking and another day for climbing?

The Eolus group from the Purgatory Trailhead near Durango Mountain Resort may be what you are looking for. It is 16 or 17 miles to Chicago Basin. You could backpack to Needleton and camp (about 10 easy downhill mostly miles) the first day, the second day you could backpack up to Chicago Basin (6 miles), set up camp, then climb 1 or 2 of the 14ers. Take a day and 1/2 to get out. If you had a 4th day you could break up the backpack and climb day from Needleton to two days.

A similar length approach would be to start from the Vallecito Creek Trailhead and backpack over Columbine Pass down into Chicago Basin. This route is equally good, although it will require you to backpack over a 12,000 ft. pass to get back down to Chicago Basin. Both of these trailheads are accessed from near Durango where there is a commercial airport. I think American and maybe some other large carriers fly into there.

Most people choose to start the Eolus group at Needleton which is the train dropoff, but it sounds like you want more of a backpack which is where the Purgatory Trailhead or the Vallecito Trailhead would be good for you.

The Needleton group along with the Grenadiers (sister range) is the best Colorado has to offer as far as rugged and beautiful peaks. It also happens to be the best place for extended backpacking trips (Weminuche Wilderness).

I like this book for backpacking information on the Weminuche. Another book on the Weminuche is this one.

Good luck. You can always PM me if you need any more information. I've done all 3 routes listed into Chicago Basin.

User avatar
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 5:13 pm
Location: Topeka. KS Elev. 900 ft

Postby mcdonnellms » Sat Mar 17, 2007 8:45 am

Jim

Here is a trip report that describes pretty much the route we took.
http://windom.cybox.com/ilana/hike/hcw94/index.html

Here is a link to the map.
http://www.ngmapstore.com/shopping/prod ... ductID=214

We set up camp at 11,000ft on the ridge to the summit. Got up at 4:00 and summited. then back to camp to load up and head west down to the Cross Creek trail and Harvey Lake. From there we followed the trail through Fancy Pass and through Holy Cross City and on to Seven Sisters. The next day we headed through Fall Creek Pass and back to the trailhead.

User avatar
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2007 7:38 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Postby hikerguy0 » Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:21 am

This is great! Thanks for all the info guys!!! This is exactly the kind of info, borne of experience, that is hard to glean from books. Thanks to all for pointing me in some good directions.

In answer to some of the questions asked, I'm thinking of doing three days total: one day in, set up base camp, one climbing day, and one day out. Would like to do more, but my two partners' work schedules may preclude this. I'll be coming into Denver on a Thursday, leaving on a Sunday. I think this is unnecessarily tight -- particularly if there's travel involved to the trailhead, so I'll be lobbying my friends for one extra day.

As to why a 14er, well, why does anyone do a 14er? Physical challenge, sense of accomplishment, the view from the top of the world, bragging rights :-) , mental challenge, navigational challenge -- all of these and I suppose the intangible as summed up by George L. Mallory in his famous statement, "because it is there." Ever since I was a kid and went through Colorado and climbed to a high pass near the Maroon Bells, I've wanted to go "all the way to the top." I'm mountain crazy, that's why. :-)

User avatar
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:51 pm
Location: Tempe, AZ

Postby Hiking Mike » Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:41 am

Good taste Barry Raven, good taste. :lol:

You could shorten a trip to the Eolus group by taking the Durango-Silverton Train to the Needleton Creek trailhead, something that a lot of people seem to do. I don't know what exactly it's like because, like Barry raven suggested for you, I went from the Purgatory Trailhead. I imagine you could take the train and backpack up the basin for a camping spot on the first day, climb the fourteener(s) of your preference on the second, and hike out on the third. Unfortunately Durango is pretty far away from Denver, so I don't know if you'd have enough time for traveling and trekking.

You might narrow your seach to something a bit closer. Some of the Collegiates can involve short backpacking trips. There's a nice realitively flat area high up (but still in the trees) on the trail of Belford/Oxford/Missouri Mtn. That might fit the ticket and it would be less crowded too. You could pick one or two of those peaks that match your desired climbing level (Belford and Oxford are very straightforward, and Missouri would probably provide a little more of a challenge). The short backpack in is unnecessary, but pretty fun too, and Buena Vista is a lot closer to Denver than Durango.
...And my memory shall serve me in the way that memories do:
To conjure bygone times, and shine them bright anew,
To erase the strain of effort from faces of the past,
And resurrect slight triumphs as glories unsurpassed...

User avatar
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2007 7:38 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Postby hikerguy0 » Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:44 pm

Travel time from Denver is definitely an issue, so thanks for the tip on Missouri. A 14er with challenge away from crowds ... nice! I'll check it out.

User avatar
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:51 pm
Location: Tempe, AZ

Postby Hiking Mike » Sat Mar 17, 2007 2:11 pm

Yeah, it would take like a day to drive to Durango, and it only takes a couple hours to drive to Buena Vista, so that would probably be a better way to go for you. I haven't climbed Missouri Mtn myself (my hiking partners' day was finished after Belford and Oxford), but I can say the backpacking is decent in Missouri Gulch. You should be aware that Missouri Mountain does have some snow on it, but I'm not sure how much of it intersects the path.

Here's a picutre of an abandoned cabin near the area with lots of flat spots. http://www.14ers.com/photos/missourimtn/stash/sRmiss1_103.jpg
You would have to gain some vertical feet to get up to it, which would be a joy coming from sea level, but it still seems nice to me. Wherever you go, just make sure you watch for signs of altitude sickness and stay properly hydrated, which you likely already know. :)
...And my memory shall serve me in the way that memories do:
To conjure bygone times, and shine them bright anew,
To erase the strain of effort from faces of the past,
And resurrect slight triumphs as glories unsurpassed...

User avatar
Posts: 3091
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 4:04 pm
Location: Tabernash, CO

Postby MtHurd » Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:34 pm

Class 4 Colorado is class 3 in California, so if I were you, I would do Capital Peak, the most spectacular 14er climb in the state. It's a 6 mile beautiful hike in to base camp and not too far from Denver. It won't keep you crowd free, but I think it's definitely worth it. Holy Cross is probably closer and would also be a good choice.

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests