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2nd 14er

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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2nd 14er

Postby twinsrule » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:13 pm

Hey guys,
I've been interested in climbing and hiking for a long time, however, living in ND makes it really tough. I have family in Colorado, so whenever i go out there i hike as much as possible. Last year I did Grays Peak with my dad. Although the hike was easy, the altitude had me taking lots of breaks towards the top (maybe having something to do with only staying one night in Colorado before the hike :roll: ) Anyway, i made it to the top, exhausted but excited. I felt like i could've hiked the ridge to Torreys, but my dad was pretty tired so we hiked back down. We took the normal crowded route of just the easy 8 miles and 3000 ft.
Now for my question. We're going back to Colorado probably in Breckenridge next summer. With my family, we'll be doing a 14er for sure. We've been looking at routes and are thinking about the Bierstadt Sawtooth Evans combo. At 10 miles, 3900 ft gain, and some class 3 climbing and exposure, is this doable for me? I'm in good shape at low elevation, i just ran a 1/2 marathon, but obviously its the altitude i'm worried about. I should be able to have a few more nights at higher altitude than the last time though, the 14er will probably come towards the end of the trip.
Any advice, or ideas about how to get ready at low elevations??

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Re: 2nd 14er

Postby xcrunner365 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:18 pm

Well, since you have done only one I wouldn't reccomend the swatooth traverse unless you have experience on class 3 routes. It is quite a jump from the class 1 Gray's peak trail.

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Re: 2nd 14er

Postby CO Native » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:24 pm

Quandary would be a great choice for a second if you're going to be in the Breck area.
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Re: 2nd 14er

Postby Fisching » Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:07 pm

I'd second the recommendation for Quandary. If you're looking for something a little easier but that could give you options in adding on to your hike (similar to Grays and Torreys), then look at Democrat/Lincoln/Cameron/Bross.
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Re: 2nd 14er

Postby RJansen77 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:02 pm

gregory_fischer wrote:I'd second the recommendation for Quandary. If you're looking for something a little easier but that could give you options in adding on to your hike (similar to Grays and Torreys), then look at Democrat/Lincoln/Cameron/Bross.


I agree with this as well as what CO Native said about Quandary. DeCaLiBron is nice because you can add those peaks on after getting the majority of the vertical out of the way. The descent off of Bross, while unpleasant, is a good intro to loose scree and how to descend it.
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Re: 2nd 14er

Postby MtHurd » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:27 pm

+5 on Quandary. You could probably do the Sawtooth traverse, but make sure it's not in June as snow on the route will make it much more dangerous. Someone found out the hard way this year.

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Re: 2nd 14er

Postby JROSKA » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:09 pm

I agree with those who suggest Quandary. It offers an altitude gain of just over 3000 feet, and is similar to Grays in that respect. If you don't like crowds, a Sawatch like Belford or Huron wouldn't be too long of a drive for you. However, Sawatch 14ers generally have elevation gains of 4000 feet, so if you still have concerns about adjusting to altitude, Quandary might be the better choice.

I'd also second those who caution against the Sawtooth. I hiked Bierstadt last year - the Sawtooth looks very nasty from that perspective. I would get some class 2 or 2+ under my belt before attempting something like that.

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Re: 2nd 14er

Postby twinsrule » Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:55 pm

Hey guys,
Thanks for all the advice. I probably sound stubborn, but I'm probably going to do the sawtooth traverse. I didn't mention it but I do have some experience of class 2 possibly 2+ hiking in Alaska. I'm also going with an uncle who's done all the 14ers including this hike. Again, I hope I don't sound too stubborn, but thanks for the advice. It'll be in mid July. I'll post a report hopefully when I'm done.

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Re: 2nd 14er

Postby Scott P » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:44 pm

I didn't mention it but I do have some experience of class 2 possibly 2+ hiking in Alaska.


Climbing an "average" 14er in CO, is like climbing an "average" 3er in say, SE AK. :wink:
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Re: 2nd 14er

Postby jf32 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:58 pm

twinsrule wrote:Hey guys,
Thanks for all the advice. I probably sound stubborn, but I'm probably going to do the sawtooth traverse. I didn't mention it but I do have some experience of class 2 possibly 2+ hiking in Alaska. I'm also going with an uncle who's done all the 14ers including this hike. Again, I hope I don't sound too stubborn, but thanks for the advice. It'll be in mid July. I'll post a report hopefully when I'm done.


For what this is worth (admittedly not much) I'd say go for the Sawtooth. It's a fun route (I believe it was my 3rd route on 14ers). I would offer the following though: Pay attention to the weather. If it looks sketchy just assume it'll get worse - especially if it's after 11am in July. The same goes with how you're feeling (if you're out of it and not used to elevation then odds are you're not going to start feeling better pushing on). Don't climb up anything you would be uncomfortable down climbing (think about this while you're climbing). And be honest with yourself - if your uncomfortable there's no shame in turning around. You don't get any points for pushing yourself too far out of your comfort zone. If you know all that then ignore this post - either way have a great climb.
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