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Planning a Scout Trip

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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Planning a Scout Trip

Postby cs1094 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:28 am

I need some help planning a scout trip. The scouts I have watched the older guys a couple of years ago climb Longs and are interested in 14ers now. I am trying to plan a trip where we backpack in to a 'base camp' and each day we set out to hit a peak. Are there any recommedations for this? I have searched alot but am unsure of exact trailheads or areas for setting up camps. We are looking to make 4 days of it. I am very open to loops as well. Any help would be awesome. Thanks!

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Re: Planning a Scout Trip

Postby chrismjx » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:20 am

cs1094 wrote:I need some help planning a scout trip. The scouts I have watched the older guys a couple of years ago climb Longs and are interested in 14ers now. I am trying to plan a trip where we backpack in to a 'base camp' and each day we set out to hit a peak. Are there any recommedations for this? I have searched alot but am unsure of exact trailheads or areas for setting up camps. We are looking to make 4 days of it. I am very open to loops as well. Any help would be awesome. Thanks!


I grew up in the BSA and it is a great organization. Those were easily some of the best times of my life! Its awesome that you're taking the time out of your life to teach these youth about our natural world and how to be better men, keep it up!

My recommendation would be taking them up Missouri, Belford, and Oxford from the Missouri Basin side. Its gorgeous back there but can see some "high traffic" weekends. The alternative would be approaching them from the Pine Creek side, which is where I usually go, although the ascents are more difficult from that side. As a 3rd alternative, you could do Harvard and Columbia from the Pine Creek side as well, although the South Pine Creek trail up Harvard is consistently quite steep from bottom to top. For all of these, the initial hike in to wherever you choose to set up a base camp is relatively easy. Not sure about distance off the top of my head, but I could have handled it when I was 12...

Good luck and have fun!

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Re: Planning a Scout Trip

Postby Jesse M » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:23 am

Chaffee County 390 would be a good place to start looking, you could set up a base camp near Winfield, this would set you up for Huron, La Plata, Missouri, Belford, and Oxford. You could also get some centennials, Hope, Iowa, and Emerald. Not really much of a backpacking trip but some great car camping with tons of mountains to climb.
My second suggestion would be to hike segments 10 and 11 of the Colorado Trail. This would require a car shuttle but would give you the option to climb Massive and Elbert. Just segment 10 could also work with an out and back.

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Re: Planning a Scout Trip

Postby Jesse M » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:40 am

Another idea; I did the Chicago Basin 14ers with my scout troop in 2000 in preparation for Philmont. If you have a good group of guys with only a few 13 year olds this would be a sure winner. The peaks are not that hard but I don't think they make good first 14ers. My troop had done Wetterhorn and Wilson Peak before we headed into Chicago Basin, and only 3 of the 8 kids made it up Eolus. Good luck.

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Re: Planning a Scout Trip

Postby Jim Davies » Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:26 pm

This sort of question comes up quite a bit here, and I'm not sure I've ever seen a good answer. It might be helpful if you mentioned where you're from, when you want to do it, and if you have anyone with any experience in your group. Most of the easier 14ers don't require backpacks.

Missouri Gulch with climbs of Belford+Oxford one day and Missouri another might be best, but the camping there is (IMO) not great, crowded and limited. At least you'll have developed trails all the way, although the summit ridge of Missouri might be intimidating for first-timers. It would be good to have someone with experience with the local weather conditions, to decide whether to go for Oxford or not from Belford.

Backpacking to climb Holy Cross is done quite often, usually over two or three days.

The Horn Fork Basin approach to Harvard has great camping, and climbing Harvard would be a good day-trip from there, but then you're stuck for something to do the third and fourth days other than hiking out (don't climb Columbia from there or try to combine it with Harvard - trust me). You could shift your camp to Kroenke Lake and then climb Yale from there to fill two more days, although it's a non-standard route and you'd better be comfortable with your routefinding and bushwacking. The same issues apply for taking the Pine Creek approach - no established routes up the peaks, so you'd better be comfortable with your backcountry navigation.

Chicago Basin is pretty awesome, but the climbing is harder than most 14er areas, and the train and hiking in/out basically soaks up two whole days of your hiking time and the night before you hike in, plus $70/person of your money more or less.

You could backpack to South Colony Lakes and climb Humboldt as a day-trip, but again there's not any good follow-up day for inexperienced scouts.

You could do a one-way hike along the Colorado Trail in the Sawatch Range with a few climbing days for Elbert and Massive. Leaving a car at the destination end and using it to shuttle the drivers back could work if you have enough vehicles. Each summit day is kind of long, though.
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