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I have summited several this summer thus far - Quandary, Grays, Torreys, Elbert, Democrat, (Cameron), (did not make Lincoln and was 100 ft from Bross summit but bailed bc of really bad weather), and Bierstadt. Have not done Sherman yet but I have heard it is quite "easy" in terms of 14er climbing (as no 14er is "easy," especially for beginners). Of all the ones I did, Bierstadt was the easiest and incredibly scenic (lush and green views, mountains scenery, wildflowers), so I would have to say Jay Miller is right on and I would highly recommend this one. (I just did it yesterday.)
Elbert was, by far, the hardest of all of these; I would absolutely NOT recommend it as a first. Neither would my friend who did it as his first with us. I think he wanted to kills us for that. We were actually going off of the "easiest" rating on here and I do think that should be reordered for accuracy. I know people obviously have different opinions but based on distance, terrain, elevation gain, etc., I think it might be nice to have a more clear rating.
Have fun on your hike Pika and be safe...
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Elbert is pretty easy, but 3 hour drive each way and 9 steep hiking miles round trip is a lot for a first hike. Definitely doable though, and the view from the top can't be beat. (Really, I should just shut up, since my first attempt was Long's...before I knew what was up. THAT didn't go very well as I recall)
I'd agree with Bierstadt, Quandary, Democrat, Sherman, Grays...BUT, if you're concerned at all with aesthetics, Sherman is SO UGLY. I saved Sherman for a winter climb and it was still ugly. Unless you are enthralled with the history of CO mining, Sherman is a dump. I wouldn't take visitors there...
Gray's is a good introduction I think, close to home, a few driving thrills on the dirt road up to the TH, easy route finding. Reasonably scenic. Bierstadt is good too, but there will be 1000 people there on any given day. Democrat is nice, cause then if you feel good you can take a jog around the loop, or at least go check out Lincoln. The Dem, lincoln, bross, cam loop is also a pile of mine tailings...so keep that in mind...
Give the flat-landers a day or two to acclimate before you haul them up high. Have fun! You'll do fine on whatever you pick.
Sleep?! Sleep when you're dead...
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headeulogy wrote:Hey everyone, I'm new here, and thinking about doing my first 14er this weekend. This thread brings up a questions for me. Since I am not experienced, I figured I would start with the Mountains on this 14ers site that are grouped by difficulty. http://www.14ers.com/routes_2.html If this site is saying that Mt. Elbert is the easiest, are you all saying that this is wrong? Or is you reasoning for easiest hike combination of the views, difficulty of the hike, how far away it is from Denver/Boulder?
Mount Elbert is not necessarily more difficult than those mentioned above, however, it is the 4,300 feet of elevation gain and loss, along with the 9.0 miles roundtrip that separates Elbert from others.
Mount Elbert is a few miles from leadville to answer your other question.
Longs Peak was my first fourteener and my favorite climb thus far! If you are one who is not afraid of heights and are in relatively descent shape, I would recommend Longs!
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. Henry David Thoreau
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"In her heart she knows that sometimes a dog can be as good as any man ..." - widespread panic (slightly edited)
MC.Ikema wrote:Sherman may not be as pretty as the others eay 14ers, but it's by far the easiest 14er in Colorado hands down.
I almost forgot Sherman is also the shortest of the easy 14ers being ranked 45th whereas Grays, Torreys, Quandary and Bierstadt are 9th, 11th, 13th and 38th. Plus there's a cool old mine you can check out while you're up there.
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Northern Sawatch from Sherman.
- George James
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smoove wrote:...I've taken four 14ers newbies up...two of them said it was the most difficult physical thing they'd ever done...
I think it's fitting to call these the 'least difficult' 14ers, as opposed to easiest, if you know what I mean. If you haven't spent much time walking uphill or exerting yourself at altitude, even these easy 14ers might be kinda tough for you. I'd go on at least one other hike first to warm yourself up and get comfortable with your gear, it will make your first 14er hike much more enjoyable.
I feel like I should also mention that there is an excellent search function on this website (its up there in the upper right hand corner of the web page) that you can use to find similar threads from years past, and there are A LOT of threads from years past! A simple search of the word easiest reveals 47 pages of related posts. This topic, entitled "easiest route of all the 14ers" might be useful, and this one, titled "Where should I start?" looks like it would be informative as well.
That being said, there's no reason to not have a thread for this year, and I'd like to share!
As far as I can tell from my conversations with others, Bierstadt is touted to be the least difficult 14er hike, with Sherman a close second. I have not hiked Sherman yet, but I did head up Bierstadt last year, and I found it to be fairly pedestrian, at least for me at the time. However, I did hear people at the top talking about how on the way up they thought they were gonna die and couldn't believe how stupid they were for thinking that this would be fun. Now that they were on the top, though, they thought it was amazing. I remember one girl saying how she almost turned around more than once, but now that she had summited she was SO happy that she didn't.
From what I can tell, those two are probably the least difficult. My personal pick for a 14er virgin would be Grays Peak, although it is probably slightly more difficult. It was my first one, and I loved it. It was all uphill from there!!!
I hope that helps some of you new comers! Cheers!
- Alpinism and mountaineering are not restricted to 14,000 foot mountains
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- Being honest to yourself and others about your abilities is a characteristic of experienced climbers
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