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how far in advance can i realistically plan a hiking trip?

Need a climbing partner? Trying to form a hiking group for an outing?
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how far in advance can i realistically plan a hiking trip?

Postby costanta » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:11 pm

well the long short of it is that I live in Florida and want to start planning a week long hiking adventure for early fall. I hear its best to camp then before it gets too cold. I just came back from Denver/Colorado/Winter Park snowboarding and do have the stamina to last for about 5hrs before I get too tired. I do love the mountains and did fairly well with 3 days up at Winter Park Resort altitude and would like to try to make some connections with people on this site that could give me any helpful information regarding trying to plan this trip as well as finding partners to meet out there and camp with for the week.

I am in the process of researching the necessary equipment to purchase but wonder if large items such as tents, stoves etc can be shared or if i should buy my own. I have to plan so far ahead so I will have time to train and condition myself for this hike, mainly the training I lack is carrying a load on my back, otherwise I do consider myself strong and fit.

could you tell me how many pounds a 30 yr old woman should be able to carry on her shoulders?

I love this website and all the information available especially the picts, I'm just hoping I can hear from possible future summit buddies.

thank you

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Re: how far in advance can i realistically plan a hiking trip?

Postby Jim Davies » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:52 pm

One rule of thumb I've heard is to carry no more than 30% of your body weight. Personally I don't think I've ever carried more than 25%, and that felt pretty heavy.

You might want to look into renting some or all of the major equipment after you get out here. REI and other outdoor stores usually will rent packs, stoves, tents, etc., and by renting you won't have to figure out how to transport them. Stoves (or at least their fuel canisters) are generally not allowed on planes, even if empty. Sharing stoves and tents works well for friendly groups, but spending a week in a tent with someone you've never met before might be problematical.

September is usually a pretty nice month weather-wise, but you can get surprised. No way to predict until the time arrives, though.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: how far in advance can i realistically plan a hiking trip?

Postby bking14ers » Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:44 am

I am planning a trip right now for August. You can never plan to soon I think. I will book flights in about a month. Depending on the area you may be going to, you need to reserve campsites as early as you are allowed to so you have a better chance at getting one. As far as equipment goes. You don't need top dollar, high end stuff if you are only going to use it few times, renting may be the way to go. I leave unused fuel bottles at the trail head so someone else can use what's left. I also learned it is not worth dragging a bunch of camping equipment along for only one or two nights in the bush. Motel it, it's easier for that short of time. I think you are planning a week so that is great, get your moneys worth. This web site is so indispensable in planning a trip to the Rockies, you can find, or ask anything on this site. Have fun fellow "flat-lander".

Re: how far in advance can i realistically plan a hiking trip?

Postby gonzalj » Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:30 am

Well, in terms of planning for flight, obviously that is something you can plan numerous months in advance (I recommend to check out Frontier or Southwest if they fly to where you will be leaving). In terms of training, nothing can really prepare you for the altitude until you are out here and I agree with probably renting your own tent, stove, pack, etc. fron REI when you get here. In terms of physical training for carrying a backpack, generally the day pack that I use when I am hiking or snowshoeing is about 30 pounds with all my stuff in it and it is not super heavy, but definitely something to account for. I generally also carry my camera as I'm really into photography and that also factors into those 30 lbs (fyi - I'm 6'2" and 225 pounds). Things I've done to prepare myself over time at the gym is work on endurance type exercises to prepare myself for long term hikes - anything from hiking on the treadmill at inclines like 15 or 18% to simulate moutain slopes, working on your core abdominal area, and also at my gym they have these 25 lb packs that you place over your shoulders and then I start walking up the stairmaster at a decent, but still somewhat coservative pace to simulate carrying a pack and I can definitely say it works great. As far as time of the year goes, typically we see more afternoon storms in July and August vs. September usually being nicer/sunnier days (but obviously that can vary). Anyway, hope this helps.

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Re: how far in advance can i realistically plan a hiking trip?

Postby peter303 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:46 am

You have the double burden of getting used to carrying a heavy backpack
and getting used to altitude the first park of your trip.
The more you can do of either the better.
I might look silly better you could do some hikes in Florida with pretty well loaded pack to build strength.

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Re: how far in advance can i realistically plan a hiking trip?

Postby mtnview » Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:07 pm

Are you flying out then renting a car?
Have you considered just doing day trips? Backpacking can get fairly complicated as the lighter gear is very expensive and the cheaper gear is heavy :)

Lots of free car camping if you know where to look. If you are renting a car then REI would have some reasonably priced gear such as tent, sleeping bag etc.
Most 14er trailheads have reasonably priced camping nearby, free camping also though primitive.

Any particular mountains or trails that you are interested in?
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise (of his return), as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
http://www.truedino.com/colorado14ers.htm

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Re: how far in advance can i realistically plan a hiking trip?

Postby Hobopoet » Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:18 pm

I take a rather unusual approach to my mountain adventures: I PREPARE but keep PLANNING to a minimum. I pick out an area in the state I want to explore - most of the time, I'm in the San Juans, but I spent a summer in Buena Vista and had great fun in the Sawatch - and gather as much information as I can. Then, when I arrive, I let the "spirits of the high country" tell me what's possible and what's not at that particular moment. Of course, you must remember I'm a poet and poets have very strange approaches to everything!

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Re: how far in advance can i realistically plan a hiking trip?

Postby costanta » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:25 pm

Thank you all for your replies. You have really given me some food for thought and I have a better idea of what to think about in terms of which peaks i want and how i will go about doing it at a minimal cost because that is def a factor since i live so far away.

i want to try to avoid a rental if possible. i ended up spending $450 for one when i came snowboarding and that took me over budget, and as i came and will be coming alone, it was a huge amount to pay by myself.

i will def check out rei for rental possibilities since i was not aware they do that. i did check out the store while i was in denver and loved it as they have so many outdoor items and also i was worried about how much i could realistically take on the plane with me.

i still have tons more work to do and would at least like to buy my own pack and look crazy walking around florida with a pack on my back.

i will continue to read as much as i can from this site and hopefully once i figure certain details out then maybe i can see about finding climbing partners who are more familiar with the mountains and who have the same climbing goals in mind.

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Re: how far in advance can i realistically plan a hiking trip?

Postby hop2it » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:01 am

Hey Costana! I planned a trip to CO and hiked Pikes Peak with my friend last year. We rented a car, and bought our plane tickets, and borrowed semi light weight gear from friends. It helped splitting the cost and things with gas and reting the car. We did three hikes that were around 7 miles round trip to try to help with the altitude. We drank plenty of water, hiked slow (about one mile per hour....which is VERY slow, but we tooke breaks of course. And all that gear on our backs was so heavy....hah..hah...it does make a big difference!). Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that it is never too soon to plan. Our altitude sickness was very minimal due to trying to plan the trips with the small hikes. Oh and we gave ourselves a few day window period, incase the day we picked to hike didnt work out due to weather. We didnt want to travel all that way, and have no back up plan.

I'm glad that we were able to borrow gear because the good stuff would have ran us around $800.00 each for everything we needed. I know that me, being from WV, there are lots of folks here that hike and so they had things we could use. Where are you planning on going? I really want to hike Mt. Elbert! Have fun and good luck. I wish i lived in CO so I could hike those mountains all the time! But at least I can dream and plan for now :D

Re: how far in advance can i realistically plan a hiking trip?

Postby gonzalj » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:03 am

If you want to buy a pack - I'll recommend Osprey. They're not cheap (generally between $150 and $300) depending upon what type of pack you get (day or multi-day pack), but they are such versatile packs and have a lifetime warranty on them in case anything happens to them.

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Re: how far in advance can i realistically plan a hiking trip?

Postby edhaman » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:28 am

Providing a little more information might get you more specific advice.

Do you know what area of Colorado you will be visiting, and what peaks you are considering?

What part of Florida do you live in? I moved to Colorado from Tampa last August. If you are near Tampa and want a full-service (and more expensive) outfitter, try Bill Jackson's in Pinellas County. For less expensive online sources, I've had good luck with Campmor.com and SierraTradingPost.com. The Atlanta REI store is the closest one to Florida.

I have carried 30% of my body weight on backpacking trips. It was heavy, and I certainly would not want to go any higher. There are a lot of 14ers you can do as a day hike, so you wouldn't need to carry so much. You can still car camp near trailheads to save money over a hotel and get the overnight wilderness experience.

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Re: how far in advance can i realistically plan a hiking trip?

Postby costanta » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:48 pm

so i have made some decisions and thanks to all of you for your input, i now know what i want out of this trip.

more than anything i want to hike and enjoy the mountains and the views. i've decided i'm ok with just doing day hikes and sleeping in my car or pitching up a small tent next to my car.

so far i plan to solo and want to summit:
gray and torreys combo
mt elbrus
and one other mnt (undecided at this point)

i chose the easier more straightforward hikes for my first experience in the colorado mountains. the altitude is the main concern but since i did decently back in march when i first visited, i will be as well trained and mentally prepared as I can be.

i'm coming the sec week in sept to enjoy nice weather and not too much snow from what i can tell from reading other's trip reports.

i am very excited and hope all goes well. in the future future i also hope to do some winter ascents once i have some training with crampons and ice axes. i also hope to check ouray next year and try my hand at ice climbing. i absolutely can't wait for my excursions and eventually i will progress to dissappearing in the mountains for a week once my confidence is built.

thank you all for your input and if you have anything more to add, i would greatly appreciate it :)

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