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Better 1st 14er

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Better 1st 14er

Postby mbrendel » Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:56 pm

I'm going to do my first 14er next week and can't decide between Quandary and the Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross loop. Any suggestions on which is a better 1st trip?

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Re: Better 1st 14er

Postby MtHurd » Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:59 pm


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Re: Better 1st 14er

Postby Scott P » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:03 pm

If you can do one, you can do the other. The descent from Bross is unpleasant though and there are some access issues (though few seem to have a clear answer on the current situation). You can still legally get very close to the summit. See Bill's thread on access:

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Re: Better 1st 14er

Postby Tim A » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:05 pm

I posted this same question back in March before my first trip to CO, and the general consensus was for Mt. Sherman or Quandary over the Decal. It took my sea-level body 11 and a half hours to get up and back Quandary, and I'm so grateful I got talked out of trying four mountains on my first day. Even Quandary, the "easiest" climb in CO, was physically very demanding and I'm in pretty good shape (weights+3-5 mile run 6 days a week). I was wondering if I'd even make the summit before I cleared treeline, as the elevation gain starts immediately at the trailhead.

Not sure what your acclimation will be or where you're coming from, but I'd recommend starting with a single 14er and seeing how that goes before committing to a pair or group.

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Re: Better 1st 14er

Postby peter303 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:22 pm

Also consider just doing Democrat if you get tired or the weather turns stormy.
You can learn and do more another time.

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Re: Better 1st 14er

Postby screejunkie » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:41 pm

Quandry is a good first one. Easy to get to and a nice walk.

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Re: Better 1st 14er

Postby djkest » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:53 pm

My personal rankings: easiest is #1

1) Democrat alone from Kite Lake
2) Sherman from 12,000'
3) Bierstadt Standard route
4) Grays and/or Torreys*
5) Quandary Peak
6) Full Decalibron

*have not done these yet but have talked to many people who have. Going off that + route statistics.
Last edited by djkest on Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Better 1st 14er

Postby MonGoose » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:57 pm

Other good options to consider for a first 14er are Mt Sherman and Mt Bierstadt. The difference between Class I and "easy" Class II is negligible (although "difficult" Class II can be downright scary). Mt Sherman is only 2,100' and Mt Bierstadt is 2,850', significantly less than Quandary at 3,450'. For most first timers, the elevation gain is the most difficult part.

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Re: Better 1st 14er

Postby Billy the Kid » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:22 pm

Even though it wasn't one of the peak you listed, I often suggest people hike Huron Peak for their first 14er. It is less than 7 miles roundtrip, and I think much more scenic than the other peaks you listed. But whatever you decide, have a blast!
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Re: Better 1st 14er

Postby bpko » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:30 pm

Quandary was my first 14er about three years back, and from my recollection, it felt like I was climbing a flight of stairs for the entire length. However, I was a novice hiker, and after my experiences on other fourteeners and witnessing how much more difficult they are than Quandary, it doesn't seem as bad now.

I took four first-timers up Sherman yesterday. None are very avid hikers and one is recovering from a knee injury and has a permanently injured ankle/foot. Everyone did extraordinarily well. It took our group about 3 hours to hike the three miles from the gate at 12,000' to the summit, which is slow by many hiker's standards, but in my opinion, it was a perfectly acceptable time given that 4 out of the 5 people were first-timers.

Anyway, I would recommend Sherman for a first climb. It's short, sweet, beautiful, and there really aren't too many challenging features. There's a bit of exposure on the last ridge before the summit, but that can be easily ignored. And it gives you amazing views of a lot of other Fourteeners from surrounding ranges.
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Re: Better 1st 14er

Postby mbrendel » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:09 am

Just an update. We did Quadary and it was great. We did Peak 8 in Breck the day before and it was actually more difficult (steeper) than Quandary. But the view and the experince was awesome.

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Re: Better 1st 14er

Postby Peak_One » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:40 am

Sounds like you found the key: A good preparatory hike and a gradual build up to the biggest hike you plan to do. My own first 14er was Holy Cross by the standard route on day 3 in Colorado, but had climbed Peak One and Two in Frisco (12800 and 12900) the two days before so I felt great.
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