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My Noob Post!

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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My Noob Post!

Postby RockParkour » Tue May 22, 2007 4:44 pm

Greetings!

I just moved to CO a few months back, and have recently hiked a few hills here on the front range. Well, needless to say, I'm hooked and eager to start on the 14ers. I've run a few marathons at sea level, and I've had flight/altitude training. So physically, I should be able to handle a climb.

I've read most of the recent noob posts, but I still have questions to ask geared around my situation.

- Shoes? What shoes/boots are recommended? Light Trail Runners? Tall Leather Hiking Boots? (I don't have snowshoes or crampons... yet)

- Clothing? How many layers and of what are people using? I know it's colder up top, but I don't want to overheat on the way there. I'm sure this depends on the season, but... say I'm comfortable at 8 to 10k in whatever I'm wearing, how many layers will I want in my pack for later, etc?

- Any other suggested/essential gear?

- Which summits (easy/moderate) do you recommend for me to attempt without snowshoes or crampons?

- How taboo is it to hike a 14er alone? Does that ever happen? Will other climbers shun you? (I understand that it is unsafe and involves some level of risk)

Thanks!

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Postby gdthomas » Tue May 22, 2007 5:00 pm

Welcome! (I know someone will beat me to this.)

Boots or trailrunners - Depends on who you ask. I like boots for their sturdiness among other reasons but you may find lighter footwear suits you better.

Clothing - An MTS layer against your skin, a fleece layer for insulation and a wind/rain layer to protect you from the dreaded elements. Also a hat and light gloves.

Other Gear - The ten essentials, plus Gerry Roach's Guide to Colorado's 14ers or similar publication.

Which Summits - Grays, Torreys, Bierstadt, Sherman, and Quandry are all good beginner hikes.

Hiking alone is fine and, in fact, preferred by many on this site. However, as a newbie you should hike with someone with experience on your first few 14ers until you get comfortable with it. The mountains I've listed above are generally very busy places especially on summer weekends.

There are food and water concerns you need to follow. Rather than me telling you, surf this site for dietary information.

Start your hike early (sunup) and be off the summit by noon or earlier to avoid lightning storms.

I'm probably missing something but others will chime in to tie up any loose ends.

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Postby GW Duncan » Tue May 22, 2007 5:07 pm

There is a pretty good current thread on the clothing question going at:

http://www.14ers.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=6082

As far as the snowshoes/crampons question - it totally depends on when what time of year - if you are climbing in April then you will need one/both for all the fourteeners - if you are climbing on August 3rd you probably won't need them for any of them.

Hiking alone - People do it all the time - and you will get a vast amount of different opinions whether it is stupid, personal, nobody's business, the American way, occassional option .... If you decide to go alone, then start out on something where 20 or 100 other people will be and an easy climb (Grays, most of the Sawatch range). Whatever you decision on that, make sure that somebody knows where you are and when you are expected back and don't deviate from that plan.
"At first, nothing happened, then after a moment, nothing continued to happen." Douglas Adams

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Postby Cruiser » Tue May 22, 2007 5:11 pm

Once that hiking bug bites you it's can be pretty consuming, can't it? This is a great place for information about all things 14ers related, and to meet some nice folks to climb with. I think your questions are the sort that don't have hard and fast answers, but I'll give you my thoughts.

I'm a boot guy. I just prefer the ankle support and the stiff shank in the soles. I know lots of folks that life trail runners for the summer hiking season though.

I usually hike in pants (Mountain Hardwear Canyon Pants) and a long sleeve shirt (Ex Officio Air Strip). I also wear a OR Seattle Sombrero. Then I carry a really light wind shell (Golite Wisp) and a windproof skull cap (Mountain Hardwear Vertex). That's usually enough for me, but sometimes I'll bring a 100 weight fleece shirt or a down vest if I know that it's gonna be chilly early in the morning or something.

As for other essential gear I think we all have different stuff that we can't do without. I always bring along a pair of gloves because I am prone to getting cold fingers.

This time of year there's not a whole lot of standard routes that are totally snow free, but the snow is melting off up there, so it won't be too long.

There is some debate on the subject of soloing, but I'm a proponent of it both as a result of necessity and choice. Just be sure to tell someone exactly where you will be going and when you expect to be back. I always write everything down and post it on the fridge for my wife.
http://www.14ers.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=2236
http://www.14ers.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=3503

I hope all this helps. Anytime you're looking for partners just post in the climbing connection forum and you'll probably wind up with lots of responses.
Last edited by Cruiser on Tue May 22, 2007 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Where ever you are... There you are.

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Postby yoak » Tue May 22, 2007 5:11 pm

on the front page of 14ers.com is a section for gear list that i think is what you are looking for with links to popular gear stores. on my first hikes/climbs we chose class 2/3 and i was able to easily climb them. (depends on your experience/confidence) we did our first climb very late in the climbing season. Blanca in early oct. we used this website to find info on the weather. I've never hiked/climbed alone. i suggest on your first couple of 14er hikes to hook up with someone. the people on here super cool and willing to hike with just about anyone interested!

I use a lightweight/goretex hiking shoe on summer climbs.
a nice breathable t-shirt or long sleeve and a softshell outerlayer usually does it for me, i bring along a waterproof hardshell as it weighs nothing and usually comes in handy at higher altitudes. I wear breathable long johns and some northface zipoff hiking pants in the summer.

in my pack for the summit you'll find a hardshell, gloves, beanie, and hand warmers. i have these on in the early morning.

this website was made for what you are looking for.
we use it everytime. anything from gear to weather and reports.
check out trip reports from the past to get an idea of what to expect in certain months of the year. with that being said the older reports do not show accurate snow fall for certain ranges this season.

hope i could help
have a great and safe 1st 14er hike/climb!

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Postby Scott P » Tue May 22, 2007 5:49 pm

Shoes? What shoes/boots are recommended? Light Trail Runners? Tall Leather Hiking Boots? (I don't have snowshoes or crampons... yet)


Depends on the route and time of year. For standard routes up the 14ers in summer (unless early summer in a heavy snow year), trail runners are fine. I would suggest books right now.

- Clothing? How many layers and of what are people using?


In summer, I take two, three including raingear. Add one layer for spring or fall and two more for winter.

- Any other suggested/essential gear?


Looks like the above post have it covered.

- Which summits (easy/moderate) do you recommend for me to attempt without snowshoes or crampons?


In summer, most of them are fine without ice axe and crampons if you stick to the standard routes. Some often require ice axe in early to mid-summer, such as Mt. Wilson, Snowmass, or Castle, but not most of them. In summer, none require crampons.

Are you speaking of now? In that case, your choices are more limited for safe ascents if you are inexperienced. Elbert or Quandary might be a good choice. Just stay on route.

- How taboo is it to hike a 14er alone?


If it’s a weekend, and summer, you almost surely won’t be alone on a 14er anyway.

Does that ever happen?


Not on a summer weekend on a 14er.

Lot’s of us climb alone often. I’m one of them. I have to do it because usually no one wants to climb anything in this area.

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Postby RockParkour » Fri May 25, 2007 12:17 pm

Cruiser wrote:Once that hiking bug bites you it's can be pretty consuming, can't it? This is a great place for information about all things 14ers related, and to meet some nice folks to climb with. I think your questions are the sort that don't have hard and fast answers, but I'll give you my thoughts.


That hiking bug is no joke! It feels awesome every time I push myself harder and longer, not to mention all the beautiful areas that are hidden away from most everybody else...

Everyone's replies were extremely helpful! Even if they weren't hard and fast answers. Thank you! Now I just need to go back and research some products and start building my outdoor wardrobe, so to speak...

The hard part for me is going to be getting up the morning of a hike. Especially on a weekend, when I'm allowed to sleep in! I was a late bloomer (0800) on a training hike near pikes Wednesday, and nearly got blasted by lightning from that snow storm (by noon). The weather took it's toll as well, because I didn't have rain gear in my light day pack. I'm glad I learned these lessons at 10k versus 14k...

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Postby RockParkour » Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:48 am

I went over to REI for their mountaineering course last night. For the record, I learned everything they had to say and more, right here on these forums. However, it was great info for my gf...

On a sad note: Our instructor was on TM's SAR team.

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Postby coloradokevin » Wed Jun 20, 2007 2:10 am

I just saw this thread, but thought I'd give you my $.02 as well.

Here's what I usually take with me (clothing wise) for spring/summer/fall 14'ers:

Wearing:

-Vasque Kota lightweight hiking boots (goretex), or Salomon lightweight trail runners.
-very lightweight low-cut gaiters (to keep snow out of my shoes)
-lightweight capiliene T-shirt
-nylon "convertible" pants/shorts
-sunglasses

In pack:

-Midweight capiliene long sleeve shirt
-Patagonia R3 fleece jacket (spring/fall) or No-name brand fleece vest (summer)
-Marmot Precip jacket (for rain/wind)
-Arcteryx lightweight goretex pants
-very lightweight fishing type hat (for sun protection)
-windstopper fleece gloves (Black Diamond)
-windstopper fleece hat (Mountain Hardwear)

All of this extra clothing fits inside of the small hydration daypack I have (High Sierra brand), along with up to 72oz of water... which is usually enough for me on a typical 14'er.

My clothing list varies slightly depending on conditions, routes, commitment levels, etc... But generally I've found that I can get by with that layering system during aerobic activities down to about 10 degrees F. Nevertheless, for intentionally entering true winter conditions, my gear list is quite a bit different than what I've shown!

As for hiking alone, I've done it plenty of times in my life. I definitley don't consider it to be taboo, and I would consider it safe enough for the 3-seasons, provided you have a good basic understanding of the mountain environment, and that you recognize that your options for self-rescue in those situations are quite a bit more limited.

Along these lines, I also wouldn't necessarily have a problem with someone attempting their first 14'er without an experienced partner. While I certainly feel that you would benefit greatly from someone else's expereience in that environment, this isn't to say that you can't tackle an easier 14'er without knowing someone experienced to climb it with (I did my first four 14'ers about 10 years ago with a newbie-hiker flatlander friend, and we didn't have anyone to "teach" us how to climb a 14'er at the time. Remember that nature is always less forgiving to the uninitiated, but I still think you can do okay if you exercise some basic common sense in your travels).

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Postby JHopper » Wed Jun 20, 2007 2:57 am

RockParkour wrote:
The hard part for me is going to be getting up the morning of a hike. Especially on a weekend, when I'm allowed to sleep in! I was a late bloomer (0800) on a training hike near pikes Wednesday, and nearly got blasted by lightning from that snow storm (by noon). The weather took it's toll as well, because I didn't have rain gear in my light day pack. I'm glad I learned these lessons at 10k versus 14k...


The hard part? it's the opposite for me, the hard part for me is going to bed. The night before doing a 14er I feel like a kid going to disneyland the next day, so im lucky if I get a couple hours of sleep.

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Postby strat1080 » Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:56 am

I answered this in another similar post. Basically for summer I wear a long-sleeve poly shirt and nylon convertible pants. I will also either wear or pack a nylon wind-shirt. I now swear by the combination of a wicking poly shirt combined with a wind-shirt for summer hikes. I also keep a mid-weight fleece jacket or vest in my pack in case I get injured and have to stay the night at higher elevation. I will also put it on when I'm standing around camp at night or making breakfast in the morning. I don't consider fleece a viable option when actually hiking though. It will cause you to heat up too much and offers little wind resistance. Wind-resistant fleece is pricey, heavy, and still causes you to heat up too much. A wind-shirt and a basic, cheap, and light fleece jacket is much more versatile in my experience. I pack an emergency rain poncho in the summer. These are cheap, lightweight and pack down ultra-small. For winter or late fall I add 1-2 extra layers of insulation and an actual hard-shell. I don't feel that a hard-shell is warranted in the summer.
Quit whining and move your %$# up that mountain.

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Postby RockParkour » Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:14 pm

...and this concludes My Noob Post!

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=3258&np=50&cpgm=tripmain

Grays then Torreys on 6-30-07... hmm... where should I go next???

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