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Challenging but safe mountains?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: Challenging but safe moutains?

Postby dmccool » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:44 pm

steelfrog wrote:
peter303 wrote:Plus passing company means potential help if you get in trouble.


MAYBE. "Potential" being the key adjective. Come on, who among us has not slinked quickly and quietly by someone who looks like they are struggling and out of their element?


From what I've seen, asking people if they need anything or offering tips is often met with rejection. Maybe they're actually fine or it could be due to pride.
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There's still space to breathe.

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Re: Challenging but safe moutains?

Postby John Landers » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:20 pm

CO Native wrote:Well if you've managed to hang on even through all the previous unhelpful posts I hope I can provide some useful information.


The OP is a troll with a belated April fools prank.

In any event we all have an appointment with the reaper. Attempting to prolong ones existence via timidity is pointless. Go experience and live life to the fullest.

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Re: Challenging but safe moutains?

Postby edhaman » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:54 pm

All of the serious comments given are good. But it seems to me that most Colorado peaks may be ruled out for the OP due to the requirement that: "Being out of the reach of relatively quick emergency services is also a big no-no for me."

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Re: Challenging but safe moutains?

Postby SolarAlex » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:59 pm

John Landers wrote:
In any event we all have an appointment with the reaper. Attempting to prolong ones existence via timidity is pointless.



i really like this statement

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Re: Challenging but safe moutains?

Postby CO Native » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:41 pm

John Landers wrote:The OP is a troll with a belated April fools prank.

Really, you never have people ask you about hiking a "safe" fourteener. I get this question all the time because the average person thinks of the movie Vertical Limit when you talk about doing a Fourteener. Lots of people getting started want to know where to begin without getting themselves in over their heads.
John Landers wrote:In any event we all have an appointment with the reaper. Attempting to prolong ones existence via timidity is pointless. Go experience and live life to the fullest.

I'm guessing you're single and mostly live your own life. While I know I can't guarantee I'll make it that long, I do limit some of the risks I take because I want to be there for my kids as they grow up. I want to walk my daughter down the aisle and dance with her on her wedding day. I want to teach all my kids to hike and love the mountains as I do. I want to help my sons restore an old car. I want to continue doing foster care with my wife, being there for kids in some of their toughest times. To me those things are a big part of living my life to the fullest, investing in others. I do still have adventures, but don't tell me that just because I'm not willing to accept your level of risk that I'm timid and not living it to the fullest.
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Re: Challenging but safe moutains?

Postby Boggy B » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:39 pm

It had potential, but this gave it away:
GreenEyedMonster wrote:without the random fatal environmental factors which are out of your control


.. and it went downhill from there. Not subtle enough for a bait. :P

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Re: Challenging but safe moutains?

Postby John Landers » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:18 pm

CO Native wrote:
John Landers wrote:The OP is a troll with a belated April fools prank.

Really, you never have people ask you about hiking a "safe" fourteener. I get this question all the time because the average person thinks of the movie Vertical Limit when you talk about doing a Fourteener. Lots of people getting started want to know where to begin without getting themselves in over their heads.
John Landers wrote:In any event we all have an appointment with the reaper. Attempting to prolong ones existence via timidity is pointless. Go experience and live life to the fullest.

I'm guessing you're single and mostly live your own life. While I know I can't guarantee I'll make it that long, I do limit some of the risks I take because I want to be there for my kids as they grow up. I want to walk my daughter down the aisle and dance with her on her wedding day. I want to teach all my kids to hike and love the mountains as I do. I want to help my sons restore an old car. I want to continue doing foster care with my wife, being there for kids in some of their toughest times. To me those things are a big part of living my life to the fullest, investing in others. I do still have adventures, but don't tell me that just because I'm not willing to accept your level of risk that I'm timid and not living it to the fullest.


You seem a little bent out of shape. I am not attacking you in the least. Yes I have had people ask me about safer hikes, but not in the manner of the OP who explained in great detail about what he didn't want that it appears to be a blatant prank. Nor am I suggesting taking a lot of risk, the OP wants no risk and that just isn't realistic in mountaineering or in life. My point on risk is more about getting off the couch, out of the house and living versus being chicken little as the OP is yapping about. So just chill.

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Re: Challenging but safe moutains?

Postby highpilgrim » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:24 am

John Landers wrote:You seem a little bent out of shape.


He doesn't sound so to me:

CO Native wrote:I'm guessing you're single and mostly live your own life. While I know I can't guarantee I'll make it that long, I do limit some of the risks I take because I want to be there for my kids as they grow up. I want to walk my daughter down the aisle and dance with her on her wedding day. I want to teach all my kids to hike and love the mountains as I do. I want to help my sons restore an old car. I want to continue doing foster care with my wife, being there for kids in some of their toughest times. To me those things are a big part of living my life to the fullest, investing in others. I do still have adventures, but don't tell me that just because I'm not willing to accept your level of risk that I'm timid and not living it to the fullest.


Well reasoned and thoughtful is how I took it. A family changes your outlook on risk assessment and how you act upon what you find. There is no doubt that I make decisions differently than I did when I was younger and without people depending on me.

Is the OP a troll? I don't know and it really doesn't matter. Other people who are not trolls are reading this with something to learn.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
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Re: Challenging but safe moutains?

Postby CO Native » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:33 am

It didn't seem at all to me that the OP has trouble getting off the couch, he's asking for something physically challenging. He's just not all that into the part of it that he finds too risky. I know lots of people that enjoy hiking mountains but keep it to class 2 or less. That's their comfort level but they're still getting out and enjoying it.

I'm not as bent out of shape as I'm probably coming across (I've never been great at written communication, nor spoken for that matter), but I do get tired of people asking a question like this and getting jumped on for it. The guy knows his limits and just wanted some help finding a hike that fit inside those limits. Does the guy have to have a high enough level of risk tolerance to be worthy of helpful advice?
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Re: Challenging but safe moutains?

Postby GreenEyedMonster » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:26 am

CO Native wrote:Well if you've managed to hang on even through all the previous unhelpful posts I hope I can provide some useful information.

There are a number of mountains in Colorado that will give you a challenge without putting you in precarious situations. The danger you are referring to is measured in two ways on this website. One is the class of the the climb. All the 14ers in Colorado are ranked from class 1 through class 4 (with some alternative routes that do get into the class 5 range). Class 1 and class 2 routes are generally easy paths and don't involve any climbing just walking. You'll want to stick with those. For a list of those visit Bill's Route by Difficulty list.

The other aspect of which you need to be aware is exposure. This is basically an evaluation of the routes proximity to dangerous terrain and the seriousness of that terrain. One example of a low class trail with high exposure is Kit Carson Avenue. This section of a route is easy walking on a ledge maybe ranked class 2, however it is only about a 6 foot wide ledge on the side of significant cliffs. You can see a summary of 14ers and their standard route exposure here.

You will also likely want to wait until late enough in the season that snow is not a factor. (This year looks like you won't have to wait long.) Even on an easy trail a snow field crossing can be hazardous.

Basically you want to keep these factors low and then look for something with a lot of elevation gain and distance. This will get you a great physical challenge, yet you will be on trails that in themselves pose little risk to your well being. You will need to make sure you have the navigation skills to stay on route as well though. If you get off route all bets are off for the type of terrain you will encounter.

On all trails of course there are other factors that aren't as easily measured. Weather for one can pose a risk to you, but you can help reduce this risk by avoiding days with poor forecasts and getting very early starts to your hikes. Animals don't pose much of a risk but you need to keep them in mind. Especially those dang rodents stealing your snacks. By far though, the greatest number of deaths on 14ers are caused by falls.

I recommend considering Pikes Peak via the Barr trail. With over 7,000 vertical feet to gain and over 20 miles round trip it will be a great challenge. Yet the trail itself is just considered class 1 and the exposure is minimal. Also the snow on Pikes melts out early.

Also the East Slopes route of Massive is a great route. It's not near as popular of a trail as most which will give you some great solitude in the mountains. Plus with 4,500 feet gained and nearly 14 miles round trip you'll feel like you've accomplished something by the end of the day.


Thank you!

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Re: Challenging but safe moutains?

Postby GreenEyedMonster » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:34 am

John Landers wrote:
CO Native wrote:Well if you've managed to hang on even through all the previous unhelpful posts I hope I can provide some useful information.


The OP is a troll with a belated April fools prank.

In any event we all have an appointment with the reaper. Attempting to prolong ones existence via timidity is pointless. Go experience and live life to the fullest.


Tell that to these guys:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA9ZiB20tt0
*Warning Graphic*

I don't want to end up as a sun bleached frozen mummy in my 20s.

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Re: Challenging but safe mountains?

Postby Jesse M » Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:26 am

I would start with this, http://www.cyberclimber.com/, remember to stay on the birthday wall though, don't get reckless.

Make sure to post a trip report, kudos if you can post it before noon on the day of your climb, this keeps you out of the "armchair mountaineer" category, makes you hardcore!

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