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First 14er and Trailhead question

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: First 14er and Trailhead question

Postby gpeoples » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:26 am

Was up on Bierstadt yesterday at 5:30am and cars were already loading the parking lot. Did the Sawtooth and then came back to the entire parking lot full and cars lining both sides of the road. There had to be well over 100 people going up, but it was the weekend. You will find this on Grays/Torreys and Quandary. As you know just get a very early start which ever one you decide on. Those TH roads should be doable, although several years back, because of rain we had to stop a mile before the Grays/Torreys TH (Honda Accord) because of a washout on the road. So you may have to be a little flexible. Have fun....
The mountains will always be there, the trick is to make sure you are too. - Hervey Voge

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Re: First 14er and Trailhead question

Postby bjkent76 » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:28 am

I'd throw a vote in for Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross. These four are fairly friendly peaks and I'm not sure you can get more bang for your buck in one location (in terms of multiple 14ers). You can get all four within an 8 mile hike. Nothing more than class 2. You can also play it as you go. You can do one, two, three or all four depending on how the group is fairing. You will have company on the trail, though not nearly as much as Bierstadt or Grays. It is only a 2 and half hour drive from Denver. Not the most dramatic peaks, but great views all the same.

Look-up trip reports for DeCaLiBron.

Good luck and enjoy the time in the mountains with your family!

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Re: First 14er and Trailhead question

Postby peter303 » Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:03 pm

All three have beautiful views from the top, so any is well worth it.
Quandry has the easiest trailhead access. Its only a half mile off a main highway.
All three are about the same effort.
Its also close to Breckenridge/Frisco with sub-$100 hotels.

A recommended warm hike it to climb the south ridge from Loveland Pass.
It has geat views from the start and puts in 12,000 foot air.
Take exit 216 from I-70.

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Re: First 14er and Trailhead question

Postby EricB » Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:44 pm

After having recently climbed Sherman, I would definitely recommend it over Bierstadt (my first 14er) as an easy 14er.

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Re: First 14er and Trailhead question

Postby Cruiser » Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:56 pm

Wow, if you're going to be in Gunnison anyway then you can't miss the San Juans. Take the van as far as you can towards the American Basin and then go climb Handie's. The wildflowers are just a few days past their peak, but there are still more flowers than you can shake a stick at. The trail its fantastic. The views are extraordinary. And you won't have to share your summit with a hundred strangers. I went up that way this morning and had the summit to myself. I only saw 5 people on the trail all day.
Where ever you are... There you are.

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Re: First 14er and Trailhead question

Postby aleugers » Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:55 pm

I'd vote for Handies as well. It's only about 1.5 hours to the Grizzly Gulch trailhead from Gunnison and you should be able to drive to the trailhead without any problems. If you don't feel comfortable driving the road there is usually a good amount of traffic and people willing to offer a ride.

Re: First 14er and Trailhead question

Postby lordhelmut » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:14 pm

Do what you need to do to get yourself up to American Basin, or atleast the TH for Redcloud/Sunshine, all very easy straightfoward peaks. Bottoming out 100 times and ruining the undercarriage of your car, flooding your oil pan and potentially having to bail out of your van as it plunges off the side of the shelf road to Handies, is arguably 100 times more enjoyable than a day on Grays, Quandary or Bierstadt. These are 3 of the Gaper Big 12 (Grays, Torreys, Bierstadt, Evans, Pikes, Elbert, Sherman, Lincoln, Democrat, Quandary, Bross and Cameron) and should be avoided, AT ALL COSTS between the months of June through September and especially on a weekend. You can't even put a number on how many more times better your trip will be spent in the San Juans.

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Re: First 14er and Trailhead question

Postby JA_son27 » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:53 pm

Handies is among the easiest and prettiest in my opinion.
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
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Re: First 14er and Trailhead question

Postby Flatlander2011 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:59 am

OK, you guys have successfully convinced me to try Handies. Showed the wife some pictures on the site here and she is convinced also. I am gonna find some lodging in Lake City so we can get an early start. I may even rent a Jeep just to have the peace of mind that I can get there without ripping out the oil pan and plunging down the mountain (even though that now sounds like fun!!!). Thanks a million for all the help!!!! Bye Bye Gray's, maybe next time :(

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Re: First 14er and Trailhead question

Postby scalba123 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:15 am

Flatlander2011 wrote:OK, you guys have successfully convinced me to try Handies. Showed the wife some pictures on the site here and she is convinced also. I am gonna find some lodging in Lake City so we can get an early start. I may even rent a Jeep just to have the peace of mind that I can get there without ripping out the oil pan and plunging down the mountain (even though that now sounds like fun!!!). Thanks a million for all the help!!!! Bye Bye Gray's, maybe next time :(


This website might help you out...

http://lakecity.com/index.php

Re: First 14er and Trailhead question

Postby gonzalj » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:38 am

scalba123 wrote:
Flatlander2011 wrote:OK, you guys have successfully convinced me to try Handies. Showed the wife some pictures on the site here and she is convinced also. I am gonna find some lodging in Lake City so we can get an early start. I may even rent a Jeep just to have the peace of mind that I can get there without ripping out the oil pan and plunging down the mountain (even though that now sounds like fun!!!). Thanks a million for all the help!!!! Bye Bye Gray's, maybe next time :(


You are definitely making the right choice here. I know quandary, G&T, the decalibron, sherman, bierstadt are all close to Denver and easy (and on two of those options you can get more than 1 in 1 day), however I can legitimatly say that handies is by far the most beautiful hike I've done so far and from the summit you can practically see the entire san juan mountain range (it is a truly spectacular hike). The road to american basin does get tough in spots, but I made it all the way in my long wheelbase honda ridgeline (had to use 4wd in a few spots but overall not that many), so if you rent a jeep you will have no problem. Enjoy, the lake city area is one of my favorite places in the whole state.

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Re: First 14er and Trailhead question

Postby denvermikey » Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:25 am

Good choice. Lake City is a neat area. If you are going to rent a Jeep, get your money's worth. There are miles and miles of good trails that the Jeep will love, including the east portion of Engineer Pass - awesome views. Get an early start, bring a fully charged camera, and have fun!
"Every man dies, not every man really lives" - William Wallace
"Because it's there" - George Mallory
"In the end it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years" - Abraham Lincoln
"You only live once but if you do it right, once is enough" - Mae West
"Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world." - Unknown

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