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FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Here it goes...

Postby JOBIE » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:18 am

My wife and I set a date to do our first 14er(s) :D , July 1st 2007. Our first wedding anniversary!! We are planning on doing Grays and maybe Torrey depending on how we feel.

I would like to know any tips/tricks that everyone might know for this climb. I went over the conditioning stuff and believe we are ok in that area. Is there anything we should look out for or be prepaired for?

Thanks again.

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Postby Aubrey » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:46 am

Congrats, and good luck!

I'm sure you've read up on all the basics like what to wear, to start early and to bring plenty of water, food, etc., but I'd like to stress the leaving early part ... for three reasons:

1. Less traffic on I-70 ... an easier drive on the dirt road to the trailhead (less chance of getting stuck behind a slow car) ... and a better chance of getting a good parking spot near the bridge / trailhead.

2. The earlier you set off up the trail, the less people you'll encounter on your way up. Heck, you'll probably still see people just getting started as you make it back to the parking lot!

3. And the obvious one: Less likelihood that you'll run into thunderstorms on your way back down.

How early, you ask? I would try to time it so that you're hiking on the trail just before or just at sunrise.

Starting early also puts you in Idaho Springs for lunch at Beau Jo's pizza!

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Postby Kojones » Sun Mar 25, 2007 1:56 pm

Another reason to start early...

There's nothing like making the summit at 7:30am, knowing that most people planning to climb are probably still in their cars or at the trail head. There's nothing like having all the time in the world to enjoy the summit to yourself.

I do it, also, so I can catch all the people climbing that day on the new summit register I put up top. Can't do it if you aren't first!

Kojones
Climbing partner: "Is this uphill the whole way?"
Kojones: "No, only half the hike is uphill."
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Postby shanahan96 » Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:53 am

it´s your first....do you spend a fair bit of time at altitude? maybe camping at the trailhead(11,000 feet or so) may be beneficial to you. that would help you avoid the traffic in the morning also!

jamie

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Postby JOBIE » Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:45 pm

shanahan96 wrote:it´s your first....do you spend a fair bit of time at altitude? maybe camping at the trailhead(11,000 feet or so) may be beneficial to you. that would help you avoid the traffic in the morning also!

jamie


Pretty sure I wont get the wife to camp, but we are planing to be up there around 0430-0500. does that sound about right for time?

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Postby Hiking Mike » Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:09 pm

I've got one that might be pretty obvious, but it's still good to mention. Make sure you have good raingear (as in a gortex jacket and pants) and a good fleece or other warmth-providing garment and a warm hat. If it's cold and rainy and your wife is miserable, you will never live it down. :lol: That's what I would worry about if I were in your situation...getting a hard time from my wife when I'm an old man because of the first wedding aniversary. :) Good luck. (Don't forget to take and drink plenty of water and bring some advil too).
...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...

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Postby Jim Davies » Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:01 am

Also take gloves, a warm hat, and sun protection (wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen). Sunburn can really ruin the mood for the apres-climb at Beau Jo's.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

Postby jimlup » Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:14 am

Yeah, I'd be absolutely ready to start hiking at first light. Check the time for sunrise that morning and be at the trail head about 30 minutes before then.

If you are really ambitious you can start up with headlamps. I'm thinking of Grays-Torreys about that time. My plan is to bag Torreys first via the Kelso ridge route and then proceed on to Grays. Maybe I'll see you up there.

Woops! No, I misread the chart. The full moon is June 30th for 2007. So it will be just 24 hours past full. You should be able to start at anytime and take about 15 minutes to dark adapt. You'll be able to see by the moonlight easily if it is clear.

If you guys start early, you'll be high on the mountain for sunrise. And safely down below treeline by noon when the thunderstorms start to roll in!
"Just because you have the gear does not mean that you are a Mountaineer!" My daughter's cynical comment about my hobby...

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Postby Hunter » Tue Apr 03, 2007 3:26 pm

I have a Prius and was glad I took my wife's SUV for that one. There were people parked at the TH in Civics, but I wouldn't put my car through that. My recomendation would be to take a vehicle with more ground clrnce. if you have a choice. All above recomendations are good. I would mention Camelbac makes a great water reservoir for $30. Virtually indestructable- read about it in April 2007 Backpacker mag. I train on a Stairmaster Stepmill 7000, but really the only thing I've found to get in shape for the altitude is to just get up there.

Good luck- they're very addicting.

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Postby Mtns4ever » Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:04 pm

The road from I-70 to the TH is a bit rough... 4x4 would be nice. Other wise it's a rough ride in a car...

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Postby Jim Davies » Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:28 pm

The road condition varies from year to year. Last year I couldn't make it in my Geo Prizm, but I had driven the road in the same car a few times in past years. Check back here for road conditions this summer, if you don't have a high-clearance vehicle. People are always asking and reporting about this road, since it's such a popular route.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Postby Hunter » Wed Apr 04, 2007 6:00 am

You should be fine during the normal 14er season beginning July 4th. TH's are always crazy. I've found inconsistancies in maintenance and amount of snow (obviously) from year to year. I would check back 7-10 days before you plan to go and see if anyone can give you a current update at that time. Best of luck.

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