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Please critique our plan

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Please critique our plan

Postby Kirkwiley » Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:53 am

On our first hiking trip in CO, I met two amazing people that helped me modify our plan, resulting in a great week. A very friendly older woman in RMNP took one look at my waist line and suggested i trade grays/torreys combo for Quandary. Mad Mike in Georgetown also directed me to a short route up Evans to do on a rest day and also great guidance on camping in guanella pass. Hoping this topic turns up similar results.

Arriving in much better shape this year, dropped 20+ pounds preparing to hike. Last year we hiked Bierstadt, Evans via NE face, and Quandary.

We're driving from Chicago to Georgetown on Sat (aug 4). After sight seeing Sunday afternoon, we'll hike the first portion of Mt of the Holy Cross and camp at the creek Sunday night. Monday we'll finish climb and drive to dillon to shower / camp.

Tuesday is rest.

Wednesday is Grays/Torrey's combo. Should we camp near trailhead Tuesday night or just drive in from dillon area?

Thursday is rest.

Friday is grand slam in mosquito range- Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, and brush with Bross. Should we camp at kite lake Thursday night?

Lastly, we're thinking about driving up to Steamboat Springs Friday afternoon, getting hotel for the weekend, long showers, soft beds... Then a rodeo, cowboy boots/hats, a much deserved cocktail, etc. epic drive back to Chicago Monday, then Cincinatti Tuesday mid day for work.

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Re: Please critique our plan

Postby Tornadoman » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:10 am

I don't see a big advantage in camping out as opposed to the hotel. The hotel is close enough that those are relatively easy drives to make in the early morning. I personally don't sleep well in tents, so I would choose the comfort of the hotel bed and early morning shower. I don't see any problems with your plans, with your off days this plan is not too aggressive. I will be out at the same time doing some different mountains. Hope it is a good weather week!

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Re: Please critique our plan

Postby Cruiser » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:14 am

How well do you sleep at trailheads? I just about always sleep better in a hotel bed than I do out at a trailhead, but you may be different. I would think that the only advantage to TH camping for those 2 nights would be to start your hike super early (like just before sunrise). Otherwise I'd just plan to drive up early in the morning since you wouldn't be staying very far from the trailhead. The De-Ca_Li-Bron is a fairly long day with quite a bit of time spent above treeline. You could probably do it without too many issues, but depending on the way you're feeling after your other hikes you might do well to consider a little easier day for your finisher. Maybe move it up in your itinerary to the day that you had slated for Grays/Torreys. Then if you're not up to a combo on your last day you could dump it and replace it with a single peak. Elbert could be a fun one since it's the CO highpoint. Bierstadt is right there and it's a good one to check off the list.

Have a great trip! And if you have room in the car I'd sure appreciate it if you'd toss in a pie from Gino's East and a sixer of Bells 2 Hearted Ale for me... :D
Where ever you are... There you are.

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Re: Please critique our plan

Postby Jim Davies » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:21 am

Holy Cross is kind of a jump up from your previous experience. You might want to start with Decalibron or G/T (to get better acclimatized), or take the rest day after Holy Cross, as you'll probably be pretty tired after your HC summit day and the climb out with your gear. It's not unreasonable by itself (especially split over two days), but you might not be feeling too peppy the next day. :)

edit: Oops, I missed that you have a rest day after HC. Still you might want to do G/T first, then Holy Cross, as a more gradual progression.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: Please critique our plan

Postby gdthomas » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:24 am

I would bone up on your spelling of "Cincinnati" before traveling there for business. \:D/ Otherwise, your climbing itinerary looks very doable. Hotel vs. tent is a personal choice.

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Re: Please critique our plan

Postby Kirkwiley » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:45 am

gdthomas wrote:I would bone up on your spelling of "Cincinnati" before traveling there for business. \:D/ Otherwise, your climbing itinerary looks very doable. Hotel vs. tent is a personal choice.


Oops! That's just one of those words for me. Worst part of it, I'm old enough to remember proof reading prior to automated spell check. :roll: no excuses!!!

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Re: Please critique our plan

Postby MtHurd » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:01 am

I'm not opposed to camping, but I wouldn't at those two trailheads unless you like hordes of people. Get up early and drive to the trailheads.

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Re: Please critique our plan

Postby peter303 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:22 am

Barry Raven wrote:I'm not opposed to camping, but I wouldn't at those two trailheads unless you like hordes of people. Get up early and drive to the trailheads.

Ditto, the party animals driving down from Denver arrive at midnight or later.
Then the earlybirds start banging around at 4AM.

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Re: Please critique our plan

Postby SurfNTurf » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:36 am

I don't know your comfort or experience level, so ignore this if you're dead-set on Class 1/2.

If you're only able to make it out here once a year or so, why not challenge yourself and attempt a Class 3? Once you have a few 14ers under your belt it's really not a huge leap. You could easily accomplish this by switching your dates for the Decalibron and Grays/Torreys, then doing Kelso Ridge as your grand finale. Kelso Ridge is about as perfect of a "first Class 3" as it gets. If you have no issues on Holy Cross or the Decalibron I see no reason why it shouldn't be within your reach.

I promise it would be the highlight of your trip.

Otherwise, everything looks good to me. I've never been overly bothered by camping at the G/T trailhead, but I get there early to get a good site away from the parking lot and have generally woken up at 4-5 a.m. anyway.
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"There have been joys too great to describe in words, and there have been griefs upon which I cannot dare to dwell; and with those in mind I say, 'Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.'" - Edward Whymper

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Re: Please critique our plan

Postby Scuba Steve » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:42 am

For your Holy Cross trip, I'd just camp at the Half Moon CG and then do the Halo Ridge ascent and standard route descent. It's a long day but with only day packs it's not too bad. Plus it will be at the beginning of your trip so your legs should be fresh. The HC Wilderness is beautiul and you'll want to experience as much of it as you can..

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Re: Please critique our plan

Postby rickinco123 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:57 am

Mad Mike is quite a charachter! Great guy.

I like your HC plan. I assume you are going to pump water, that willl save you some weight. I personaly sleep really well outside. I would suggest a "bivy" instead of a full-on camp out or at least go as light as you can. The ascent up halfmoon pass on the way back with a lot of gear at the end of the day is pretty taxing. Either way you are gaining alot by sleeping out, I assume you are referring to E. Cross Creek. What I did was drive in the evening before and stuff myself with a subway sandwich. I bivied at the "bowl of tears" which is a lot further than you will be going. I brought in a bunch of high density food and chocolate covered espresso beans for the next day. Worked out great.

Couple more things to add. The trail down to E Cross Creek would be doable by headlamp if it starts getting late on your hike. Prepare for mosquitos, a gusty night could be your best friend and if you bivy try to get above tree line.

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Re: Please critique our plan

Postby nyker » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:19 pm

I think your plan is generally fine with a couple of thoughts:

After driving 1000+ miles, have you been ok with hiking the next day to near 10,000ft from sea level? If so, then go for it.

As Jim mentions, HC is a tough hike, but maybe fine over two days. *Be careful on the descent from the summit and pay attention to your route*

With those climbs and the proximity to civilization, I'd agree with staying in a hotel unless you are set on camping for the outdoor experience.

Good luck and have fun!

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