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Colorado Springs Area Hiking--2 weeks

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Colorado Springs Area Hiking--2 weeks

Postby steelfrog » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:13 am

Good morning. Well, I am headed to the Springs in a couple weeks to take The Boy to the OTC. Wanted to do my first winter stuff.

I have plenty of gear--snow shoes, ice axe, crampons, cold weather stuff, etc etc. The object is NOT to necessarily bag any peak, but to train using this gear for a while.

Any suggestions for best places to do this in the Springs area, or south on 25 down to Cuchara area?

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Re: Colorado Springs Area Hiking--2 weeks

Postby Jim Davies » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:16 am

Lots of good suggestions in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=39145

Get a Pikes Peak Atlas (trail map). The best local gear shop is Mountain Chalet, on Tejon Street downtown.
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Re: Colorado Springs Area Hiking--2 weeks

Postby Jim Davies » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:03 am

Oh, wait, you want to do winter stuff. Sorry, we don't get enough snow here to need an ice axe anywhere except near the top of Pikes Peak. I usually go to the Tenmile/Mosquito range to get my spring snow fix.
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Re: Colorado Springs Area Hiking--2 weeks

Postby steelfrog » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:18 am

So, could I just take 24/9 over there to Fairplay and do something? What would be good over there?

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Re: Colorado Springs Area Hiking--2 weeks

Postby Jim Davies » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:26 am

My personal favorite is Father Dyer-Crystal-Peak 10 from Spruce Creek TH south of Breckenridge. Cristo Couloir on the side of Quandary is popular (I haven't done it myself). There are a couple of easy snow climbs on Silverheels - go up Hoosier Ridge from Hoosier Pass, drop down near a connecting ridge with powerlines, climb obvious snow. Various stuff up Fourmile Creek/Leavick approach around Horseshoe or Sherman.

March is still kind of early, though. Snow is safer/easier/better around May. I'm also kind of a wimp on this stuff, as every Spring I need to convince myself over again that hiking on snowfields is a good thing. It usually is. :)
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Re: Colorado Springs Area Hiking--2 weeks

Postby KentonB » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:56 pm

Actually, the back (West) side of Pikes Peak often has enough snow for some good snowshoeing. I'm not sure most of the standard trails would require an Ice Axe, but I'm sure there are areas up there you could practice using one.

That said, I have not been "over the mountain" yet this year... Other's may be able to report on conditions.

Generally though, the Crags, Horsethief Park, and the west end of Gold Camp Road have a number of great hiking options with plenty of snow.

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Re: Colorado Springs Area Hiking--2 weeks

Postby Jim Davies » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:20 pm

Good point, I missed the "snowshoes" thing too. My reading skills aren't good today.

I've snowshoed Horsethief Park to both Pancake Rocks and up the Sentinel Point route (although not this year). Both usually have enough snow to be worth taking the shoes. Never felt confident enough to drive to the Crags trailhead in the winter, though.
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Re: Colorado Springs Area Hiking--2 weeks

Postby aaronmojica » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:45 pm

I can chime in on the Cuchara area. There is good snowshoeing (and other snow travel modes) to be had. There are a couple Forest Service roads going up into the mountains that are closed or not plowed in the winter. You can access the Southern Sangre ridges from these and have plenty of opportunities to break out the ice axe. It is a beautiful and un-populated area.

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Re: Colorado Springs Area Hiking--2 weeks

Postby peter303 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:52 am

Do the "big one" Pikes Peak. At least consider the cogway and walk around a bit on top.
Or drive up to Devils Playground and five mile hike. This is a bit tight this time of year because the road is open just 6 hours. That leaves maybe just a little over four hours to do the hike in partial snow conditions and putter around the summit sights. You'll most likely need traction (microspikes) for the final talus park of the hike at this time of year.
Both methods are subject to snow closures for another couple months.

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Re: Colorado Springs Area Hiking--2 weeks

Postby ptyrg » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:57 am

The Y or Railroad coulior on the north face of pikes is a great outing. You can drive up to the Devils playground, Go down the Rumdoodle ridge,(class 3), to the bottomless pit, Then climb to the top,of Pikes, via the Y or Railroad coulior, then hike the road back to the car. ( you will want ice ax and crampons for this one) (Check Avy conditions).

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Re: Colorado Springs Area Hiking--2 weeks

Postby EatinHardtack » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:31 am

I personally would not recommend the Y or Railroad couloirs in two weeks, these almost never come into shape until late April or May due to there north facing aspects. With the weather turning more spring like you could try and find some south facing stuff that might consolidate in two weeks, but again carefully study of the snowpack.
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Re: Colorado Springs Area Hiking--2 weeks

Postby jrs1965 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:43 am

Congrats on your boy going to the Olympic Training Center.

If you're interested in local ice climbing North Cheyenne Canyon is close. I live up near the USAFA so my favorite ice climbing spot was Stanley Canyon. Stanley Canyon did not get burned but unfortunately it has been closed off since the Waldo Canyon fire. Hopefully they open it soon.

Highly recommend the Incline for a quick workout. I occasionally see some of the OTC folks training there...

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