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good 14er to take people on?

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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good 14er to take people on?

Postby trektheworld » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:40 pm

I have some friends who want to do a 14er as a group together and they wanted to do Long's since we all live in Boulder county. Since I've done that peak and know it's a long slog - I was wanting to take this group on a more fun route and I've been wanting to do a 1st 14er for me in the Sangres. I have been looking at the routes for the peaks down there and thought I might have it narrowed down to Humboldt - west ridge as a good one for scenery and access.

my question is - if we wanted to free car camp somewhere near the trailhead the night before and will be taking 1 SUV and one passenger car - does getting to the upper trailhead for Humboldt require a high clearance vehicle? Is this a good peak in the Sangres or should I be looking elsewhere?

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Re: good 14er to take people on?

Postby huffy13 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:10 am

Humboldt is a great Sangre hike. You will want to have a vehicle with good clearance to get to the trailhead. There is a parking area about 2-3 miles before the trailhead, but after an already long hike, that extra mileage would be pretty rough. I made it fairly easily to the trailhead in a stock 2wd Chevy shortwide pickup. Camping shouldn't be an issue. Seems like there were several parking spots a the TH, but you will want to get there early in the afternoon if you are doing this on a weekend. A buddy and I got to the TH late in the afternoon (around 4-5 pm) and the actual TH parking was pretty full, so we ended up taking one of the tent sites just a couple hundred yards back down the road. Humboldt is one of my favorite 14ers so far. Awesome hike and, you are right, scenery is great.
Seems like the times that I need a mountain the most are the times that I can not get to them.

Re: good 14er to take people on?

Postby Somewhat of a Prick » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:59 am

I thought South Colony road was awful, and I was glad I had my Xterra.

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Re: good 14er to take people on?

Postby peter303 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:49 am

Most of the Sangres have rough driving approaches. Or you walk them instead with an overnigh campt.

Its can be fun to work in a nearby Great Sand Dunes camping night with a Sangres trip.

The mountains just south of Leadville have easy driving approaches and camping areas. I'fd recommend either Elbert or Huron there.

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Re: good 14er to take people on?

Postby nyker » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:06 am

Humboldt is a nice hike, but long from where a 2wd car can park. Depending on the fitness and motivation of your friends, you might wish to split this into an overnighter, camping around the lakes higher up. It makes a nice overnighter and you get a chance to see lots of wildlife. That road is rough.

Having just done Culebra, I'd actually recommend that climb, especially as a group hike. You need to pay the fee per person, but you can all camp at the gate the night before, its an easy walkup and makes for a collegial daytrip.

You might want to look into Challenger from Willow Lakes. Nice hike up, awesome basin to camp in and bonus peak of Kit Carson for those willing to climb more for a longer day. Just pay attention to the route on Kit Carson...

See my trip reports on each above peak for some details:

Culebra
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=13875&parmuser=nyker&cpgm=tripuser

Kit Carson, Challenger
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=10593&parmuser=nyker&start=25&cpgm=tripuser

Humboldt
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=11066&parmuser=nyker&cpgm=tripuser

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Re: good 14er to take people on?

Postby highpilgrim » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:09 am

nyker wrote:You might want to look into Challenger from Willow Lakes. Nice hike up, awesome basin to camp in and bonus peak of Kit Carson for those willing to climb more for a longer day.


Willow Lake and the hikes from there are very scenic and less traveled than South Colony. And the trailhead is easier to get to as well. Of course Challenger is more demanding than Humboldt but other than that, highly recommended.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
Hunter S Thompson

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Re: good 14er to take people on?

Postby huffy13 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:23 am

I just noticed that you mentioned a passenger car and an SUV....if you do choose Humboldt, I would leave the car at the lower TH and take the SUV to the gate at the end of the road. The car will not do well on the road beyond the lower TH, the SUV, as long as it has decent clearance, should be better able to handle the road. Just go slow.
Seems like the times that I need a mountain the most are the times that I can not get to them.

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Re: good 14er to take people on?

Postby BKS » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:28 am

I was just on the road yesterday... its gotten worse. I did get a 2wd pickup with good clearance up to 4wd trailhead, but its requires some skill driving. It is considered an easy 4wd road. In current conditions clearance is bigger issue than traction.

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Re: good 14er to take people on?

Postby trektheworld » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:37 pm

How about Mt. of the Holy Cross? It's a shorter drive from Longmont (2 instead of 3 hrs) and there is car camping near the trailhead, correct?

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Re: good 14er to take people on?

Postby bob863 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:47 pm

Hate to say it, but Pike's Peak from the Crags TH might be a consideration???

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Re: good 14er to take people on?

Postby trektheworld » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:52 pm

Also - how tough is the 4wd road to get to the Mt. Lindsey trailhead? I should have mentioned before that I have a Honda Element i'll be driving - not incredible clearance - but it's done some gnarly stuff before.

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Re: good 14er to take people on?

Postby Pops921 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:53 pm

Holy Cross has camping at the trail head. However it is a big one day hike. Most guide books suggest allowing ~12 hours, but fit focused hikers can do it in 8-9 hours. Either way you need to leave early or make it in to two days.

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