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Sawatch Fourteener Recommendation

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Sawatch Fourteener Recommendation

Postby rockchalker » Tue May 26, 2009 5:45 pm

We will be returning to the Silverthorne or Leadville area in September and once again am looking for some suggestions on Fourteeners. We have done most of the easier, more popular ones (Elbert/Massive/La Plata/Huron/Belford) in the Sawatch plus we have most of the ones closer to Breckenridge. Most of the group is comprised of flatlanders, most in excellent physical shape shape, but none of us are true climbers.

Of the below which would folks recommend? Would welcome other suggestions as well. Thanks for your time.

Sawatch Range Rank
Mt. Harvard 14,420’ 3
Mt. Antero 14,269’ 10
Mt. Shavano 14,229’ 17
Mt. Princeton 14,197’ 20
Mt. Belford 14,197’ 18
Mt. Yale 14,196’ 21
Tabeguache Peak 14,155’ 25
Mt. Oxford 14,153’ 26
Mt. Columbia 14,073’ 35
Missouri Mountain 14,067’ 36
Mt. of the Holy Cross 14,005’ 51
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Re: Sawatch Fourteener Recommendation

Postby Shawnee Bob » Tue May 26, 2009 7:25 pm

Shavano. Fun, doable mountain hike.
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Re: Sawatch Fourteener Recommendation

Postby njlinderer » Tue May 26, 2009 7:55 pm

Holy Cross is one of my favorites so far. It may be a little more rugged than the others on your list. I did the Halo Ridge via Notch Mountain which is a rather long route that involved some class 3 scrambling. I believe there is a shorter route that is class 2, however. It's a gorgeous peak.
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Re: Sawatch Fourteener Recommendation

Postby Ski4me » Wed May 27, 2009 6:48 am

Mt. Shavano is a fun hike. If you are going with a big group with different fitness levels, some can turn around and head back and others can continue on to Tabeguache Peak. Just realize, those going on to Tabeguache will have to summit Shavano once again to get back and you will be above 13,300 ft. for more than 90 minutes.

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Re: Sawatch Fourteener Recommendation

Postby Phill the Thrill » Wed May 27, 2009 7:17 am

I like the suggestions above - Holy Cross via Halo Ridge is one of my favorite 14er hikes to date, but it is an EXTREMELY long day and requires a very early start to ensure that you're below treeline before the afternoon thunderstorms arrive. Shavano/Tabeguache is also a long day and has something like 5,600 ft. elevation gain. This is a great hike for May/early June as you can glissade down the Angel of Shavano for 1,000+ ft. on your descent.

An easier alternative is Mt. Yale via Denny Creek - a nice hike along the creek and a fun little scramble near the summit. This hike is not nearly as demanding as the other two.
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Re: Sawatch Fourteener Recommendation

Postby Shawnee Bob » Wed May 27, 2009 8:58 am

Gonna have to disagree on the Yale v. Shavano description. If you add Tab, yeah, it's going to be alonger day. But I'd say Yale is a harder mountain. Major leg-lung buster, even though it's just a class 2. Shavano's slopes are gentler. Just my .02.
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Re: Sawatch Fourteener Recommendation

Postby Jim Davies » Wed May 27, 2009 12:35 pm

Mt Ouray via the Devil's Armchair is a great September hike, since the first mile or so is through an aspen forest which might be changing about then. It's in Roach's 13er book. Having done all the Sawatch 14ers at least twice apiece, this is the one I'm probably going back to next. (Of course, it's not quite a 14er, but it rounds up. :)) There's a recent discussion of this route with pictures here.
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Re: Sawatch Fourteener Recommendation

Postby LadyCU07 » Wed May 27, 2009 5:32 pm

I really think it depends. If you want to tackle two mountains, then Shavano/Tab is the way to go. However, I really enjoyed Holy Cross via Halo Ridge. It is a long day, but very much worth it. Plus, if you are up for it, you can make a loop instead of an out and back track like you would with Shavano/Tab.

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Re: Sawatch Fourteener Recommendation

Postby Johnson » Wed May 27, 2009 7:37 pm

LadyCU07 wrote:I really think it depends. If you want to tackle two mountains, then Shavano/Tab is the way to go. However, I really enjoyed Holy Cross via Halo Ridge. It is a long day, but very much worth it. Plus, if you are up for it, you can make a loop instead of an out and back track like you would with Shavano/Tab.



Do you know off hand how long the loop would be and if the climb back out would be avoided by returning via Halo Ridge?
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Re: Sawatch Fourteener Recommendation

Postby KrazyK » Wed May 27, 2009 8:05 pm

I've seen the Holy Cross loop listed as anywhere from 13-15 miles roundtrip, and yes, you avoid the hike back up Half Moon Pass if you descend the Halo Ridge route.
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Re: Sawatch Fourteener Recommendation

Postby CO Native » Thu May 28, 2009 6:54 am

I wouldn't be able to recommend any single mountain from the list, but I will say that out of that list Antero and Princeton will probably be the least satisfying hikes. Antero is just not much fun with all the 4wd vehicles up there, some driving to within several hundred yards of the summit. Princeton I personally enjoy, but lots of people complain about how it's just a huge rock field above treeline. Everything else on the list is a great hike.
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Re: Sawatch Fourteener Recommendation

Postby StevieTwoShoes » Thu May 28, 2009 7:45 am

I haven't done all of these, but of the list you have, Harvard is my favorite. Holy Cross via Halo Ridge was also nice, but as others have alluded to, if you hike it as a loop and return via the standard route, you have a significant climb to Half Moon Pass on your return. While it is true you avoid that climb by ascending the standard route and descending Halo Ridge, you will also be above treeline for an extended period of time later in the day, so you need ideal weather. Of the others, at the risk of being slightly hyperbolic, climbing Columbia via Horn Fork Basin (great place, by the way) was, without a doubt, the absolute worst experience of my life and one I would never repeat, even if you paid me a billion dollars.
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