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Should I bring my dog on Snowmass Mountain this labor day?

Dogs, dogs and even some cats
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Should I bring my dog on Snowmass Mountain this labor day?

Postby 81trucolors » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:13 am

Image

Hi,

Long-time lurker, 2nd time poster. Be gentle. :)

I have been hiking 14ers for most of my adult life (I'm 30) and am quite comfortable on class 3 & 4 rock. For reference I've done Fools Peak, Pyramid Peak, Castle (from Conundrum hot springs), N & S Arapahoe Traverse, Little Bear, the Loft route on Longs, etc.

Three months ago I adopted a dog who appears to be part mountain goat. She is half chocolate lab, half German Short Haired Pointer and 100% energy. She is extremely agile, and very athletic.

As a test run last weekend we climbed Mt. Bierstadt. Emmylou was extremely quick on the scrambling at the top and had no problems at all on the hike (other than a slightly scraped paw which I then protected with a dog bootie). She turned a 7 mile RT hike into 10-12 with all her running around but she had a blast. Of her own volition she stayed well away from the more exposed side of the Bierstadt summit. I've wanted a dog I can hike with forever and I finally have one.

I'll be hiking Snowmass Mtn over Labor Day weekend with my brother and my dad. Should I bring Emmylou the dog? I'm anticipating that there won't be much snow and the rocks look typical for Elk stuff: very jagged. If Emmylou comes, she'll be wearing booties the whole way. From the route description and the photos it looks like she would have no problem until shortly before the ridge and then also perhaps on the ridge. I'm concerned about the steepness before the ridge and then the level of difficulty scrambling on/right below the ridge.

Dog owners have you brought your pups on Snowmass? Am I crazy to consider it? Thanks in advance!
Truman (and Emmylou)

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Re: Should I bring my dog on Snowmass Mountain this labor day?

Postby tmathews » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:17 am

Please remember to consider the safety of other climbers, too. Snowmass is not a solid mountain.

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Re: Should I bring my dog on Snowmass Mountain this labor day?

Postby Floyd » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:26 am

Have dogs summited Snowmass? Sure. Are you crazy? No.

Floyd has 16 14er summits, but Castle/Conundrum was as hard as I felt comfortable with him on, but that's just me. She could probably get up to the summit just fine with enough care, I would be more concerned with her kicking rocks on other climbers than her own health though. Labor Day is surely going to be a busy time on the mountain and I would hate for her to affect someone else's climb - and hence adding to the "dog hater" population on this forum. I'll let you decide on whether or not to take her based on your experience and what you see on the route description, but there are other factors to take into consideration. If you do go, I would suggest a super early start so you are well ahead of other climbers to reduce the risk of her kicking rocks on someone.
"Athletes express themselves physically, this is their art. As an athlete, exhausting oneself on the field or or on the track or on the trail or on the mountain brings calm and satisfaction. Thrashing about… our expression." - Steve Gleason

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Re: Should I bring my dog on Snowmass Mountain this labor day?

Postby Jim Davies » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:30 am

Will you keep her leashed the entire trip? Will you pack out her droppings (along with your own)?
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: Should I bring my dog on Snowmass Mountain this labor day?

Postby 81trucolors » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:37 am

I would not leash her the whole time, especially on the scrambles.

I would/always do pick up after her.

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Re: Should I bring my dog on Snowmass Mountain this labor day?

Postby gdthomas » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:44 am

Which route are you taking - Snowmass Lake side, Lead King Basin or SW Ridge? From what I've heard there is still plenty of snow above Snowmass Lake to the ridge at 13,700'. Although Bierstadt to Snowmass is a big jump in difficulty, I believe your dog will do ok on the east and west slopes routes. My biggest concern is she's only climbed one relatively easy 14er. Nevertheless, dogs have a way of climbing routes you never thought they could manage. But remember, she's your responsibility if she gets into trouble or she puts others in harms way. I've not climbed the NW ridge so I can't offer any meaningful advice on that route.

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Re: Should I bring my dog on Snowmass Mountain this labor day?

Postby mountainmicah83 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:46 am

Sounds like you got a good one!

Unfortunately, you should know (if you have been lurking the forums) that if you have to ask the question, the answer is NO!

Not trying to be mean so here is some background...

The dog may be a good scrambler but you don't really know how good yet and you especially don't know how it does with kicking rocks which is the real key (especially on a holiday weekend) where you are risking other human lives. My advice is more class 2's and some class 3 off of a 14er first.

My dog loves class 3 and even class 4 but I started him on several class 2's and stepped it up. I was scared for the first several class 3's and even 2+'s to take him and then would arrive only to see that it would have been super easy for him.

Have fun with your new friend!
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." -- Calvin Coolidge

Visit my blog at: http://mountainmicah.blogspot.com

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Re: Should I bring my dog on Snowmass Mountain this labor day?

Postby 81trucolors » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:57 am

Thanks so much for the advice and for reminding me that's it's not just about me.

You are right that even if she is capable (which is by no means assured), she could easily be putting others in harm's way. I'll be there labor day but it looks like emmy will have to wait for some class 3 mountains with much fewer people. Thanks again,
81trucolors

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Re: Should I bring my dog on Snowmass Mountain this labor day?

Postby ChrisinAZ » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:37 am

It would depend on the dog and when you were climbing. Did Snowmass last weekend, and my hiking partner's medium-sized dog was definitely struggling in a few spots and seemed to not be enjoying the part along the ridge (though he had a blast on the snow!). Along the ridge, the safest, most solid climbing is up at or near the crest, but those areas are generally too rugged for dogs, so you'd have to stay lower on loose and more dangerous climber's trails most of the way. If there were no other climbers around to knock rocks on (which was actually our situation, even on a beautiful weekend day) and your dog was comfortable on more difficult terrain, it could be done, but I generally wouldn't recommend it.
Last edited by ChrisinAZ on Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should I bring my dog on Snowmass Mountain this labor day?

Postby Floyd » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:38 am

81trucolors wrote:Thanks so much for the advice and for reminding me that's it's not just about me.

You are right that even if she is capable (which is by no means assured), she could easily be putting others in harm's way. I'll be there labor day but it looks like emmy will have to wait for some class 3 mountains with much fewer people. Thanks again,
81trucolors


Probably a good choice - other climbers will appreciate it. If you aren't locked into Snowmass and looking for some great 14er dog areas, San Luis area was probably my favorite with the pup and where I got my favorite pic with him: http://www.summitpost.org/floyd/546603 Also, the Redcloud/Sunshine area is great terrain for the dogs: http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=6781&parmuser=Floyd&cpgm=tripuser

Enjoy your time in the hills with her!
"Athletes express themselves physically, this is their art. As an athlete, exhausting oneself on the field or or on the track or on the trail or on the mountain brings calm and satisfaction. Thrashing about… our expression." - Steve Gleason

Re: Should I bring my dog on Snowmass Mountain this labor day?

Postby Nelson » Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:29 pm

I'm going to vote "no".

As you know Snowmass, East is a very long hike and even the west slopes are a long hike. From the picture Emmylou looks like a pretty big dog. Are you and your Dad going to be comfortable carrying her 10 miles back if something goes wrong?

Also, I have taken my dog on some short class 3's. Max weighs 45 pounds. There have been times when he has needed an assist. I felt like I had my hands full with a 45 lbs dog and exposure that I had always been comfortable with was suddenly very worrying.

I would say if you're going to do a class 3 make it a fairly short one (and easy one) so that if something goes wrong it is not a major operation to bail out.

Whatever you decide, Good Luck! Let us know how things went.

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Re: Should I bring my dog on Snowmass Mountain this labor day?

Postby Inky6900 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:31 pm

81trucolors wrote:

Should I bring my dog on Snowmass Mountain this labor day?


Everyone on this site knows I am an advocate of dogs on the peaks so I'm always careful to answer these types of questions thoughtfully. But I would say from experience that it would be a good idea to hold off on Snowmass for a while and gain some experience climbing WITH your dog. It sounds like you are an experienced climber but your dog is not....and the two of you together are still learning the ropes. Plus, your dog has not adapted fully to climbing in shoes and the uneven terrain might not be the best place to experiment quite yet. I don't know if your dog uses a harness but that is also something to consider so you are not hanging your dog by the neck if they slip a bit. On all climbs you should be packing plenty of food and water and supplies for your dog, but on the longer climbs, your pack will be so much heavier hauling days of dog food, extra pairs of shoes, a first aid kit for them, and on and on. Climbing with a dog is a challenge far greater than climbing alone or with other human climbers. But if you take time to learn with your dog on the easier peaks first, you can develop a formula that works for the two of you. When that takes place, you would be much more comfortable on Snowmass when the experience is evened out between you both, and the development of a climbing team (between the two of you) would have taken place by then.

Josh
With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

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