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Easiest Sawatch 14er route.

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Easiest Sawatch 14er route.

Postby shaberer0511 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:51 pm

I was just hoping to get some opinions on easier routes up the 14ers in the Sawatch Range. I have tried Elbert's NE route twice, Huron's standard route, the Southwest Slopes on La Plata, and Antero from 11,800 in Baldwin Gulch. On all of these trips, I failed to reach the summit. I have done all of the Mosquitos successfully, as well as Quandary, and Grays. I was wondering if there is a route that I overlooked on one of the mountains in the Sawatch range that is fairly easy? I only do class 1's and 2's at the moment, so I was looking for a hike that is not too long with relatively little elevation gain compared to other Sawatch 14ers. Any suggestions?
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Re: Easiest Sawatch 14er route.

Postby djkest » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:54 pm

Mt. Princeton from the Radio Towers
Mt. Yale from the Highway

What kind of transportation do you have- 4WD a problem?
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Re: Easiest Sawatch 14er route.

Postby Lemmiwinks » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:55 pm

djkest wrote:Mt. Princeton from the Radio Towers
Mt. Yale from the Highway

What kind of transportation do you have- 4WD a problem?


Agree with both of those
“If you're bumming out, you're not gonna get to the top, so as long as we're up here we might as well make a point of grooving." -Scott Fischer

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Re: Easiest Sawatch 14er route.

Postby shaberer0511 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:31 pm

4WD is not really a problem, I should have mentioned this but I have a stock 1997 Ford Expedition. Which route are you talking about when you say Yale from the Highway?
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Re: Easiest Sawatch 14er route.

Postby gdthomas » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:00 pm

Every day is different but if you failed to summit Huron for physical reasons, I don't think your body will like Yale all that much. The TH is right off of CR 306 but the mileage (9.5) and elevation gain (4,300') far exceed Huron's (6.5 mi., 3,500'). Yale sports a steeper pitch from treeline to the high ridge than anything you encountered on Huron. Princeton is the better choice. From the radio towers it's about 7 mi. RT and 3,400'.

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Re: Easiest Sawatch 14er route.

Postby Jim Davies » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:15 pm

Missouri from Clohesy Lake might be the shortest, if you can get your vehicle up there. It's not a developed route, so not as easy as following a trail, and there's a bit of rock-hopping on the summit ridge.
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Re: Easiest Sawatch 14er route.

Postby rockchalker » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:21 pm

Standard route on Huron is about the easiest of the Sawatch routes. I also thought Shavano was relatively straight forward and easy. While Princeton was fairly short, all of the rocks made it not so much fun.
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Re: Easiest Sawatch 14er route.

Postby Tornadoman » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:26 pm

I would choose Huron out of the several I have done. It also has the best views!

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Re: Easiest Sawatch 14er route.

Postby jdorje » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:28 pm

It's all about elevation gain, and most of the Sawatch have over 4000' of it even though they are all walk-ups.

Huron at 3500' is about the shortest you're going to get.

Elsewhere, particularly the nearby Mosquito mountains, there are shorter climbs. See http://14ers.com/routes_2.php .

The way to prepare for elevation gain is to strengthen your legs. Cardio is irrelevant. Squats are your friend.
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Re: Easiest Sawatch 14er route.

Postby zdero1 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:39 pm

Agreed with many others that Huron standard route is easiest, and your expedition should get you to the upper TH. Also agreed on Princeton. When I climbed Princeton I was able to park about 1/2 mile from the Towers, cutting the route to 6mi RT and 3k gain I think. I think that's about as good as you're gonna get. No 5.5mi RT like sherman or roads to the summit like Pikes/Evans in this range. The vast majority of the routes in the Sawatch are gentle, beautiful, and LONG! I would recommend climbing one of the routes that you have previously attempted, as you are familiar with the logistics, route conditions, and level of physical exertion required to get up the mountain.

If you would care to expand on the factors that prevented you from summiting perhaps we could give you more detailed advice. If the obstacles were related to conditioning, just keep training and trying to eat better. I'm usually one of the slowest climbers on the mountain but started running this spring and have kept it up and it has really improved my climb times and overall enjoyment of the experience. I've advanced to being one of the slowER climbers on the mountain :-D Anyway I'll cut my post here as I may be jumping the gun on why obtaining a Sawatch summit has been so difficult. Summit or not, as long as you're safe and having a blast while enjoying beautiful views that's as good as it gets!

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Re: Easiest Sawatch 14er route.

Postby Tortoise1 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:38 pm

jdorje wrote:The way to prepare for elevation gain is to strengthen your legs. Cardio is irrelevant. Squats are your friend.


This must vary by individual or age or something. Cardio is everything to me, my only serious limitation. My legs never give out, never even get tired really. But I have a 42 inch verticle leap, or did the last time I checked it 45 years ago.

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Re: Easiest Sawatch 14er route.

Postby shaberer0511 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:45 pm

The reasons why I failed on the Sawatch Range:

Elbert 1st Time: Weather

Elbert 2nd Time: Weather and Knee Pain

La Plata: Another climber had a heart attack, so we waited and tried to call in Flight For Life. Another climber with a personnel locator beacon got a signal and called in Flight For Life. We stayed with the other climber and his friends until Flight For Life took off. After that, it was way too late and the weather was coming in.

Huron: Knee Pain. I had a very busy week before I climbed, and was on my feet for a solid week before climbing.

Antero: Got a late start, and hadn't climbed in a month or so. The weather was moving in too fast, and we were moving too slow. I think I could have driven up farther and we could have made it. Next time I will drive up farther and leave Denver earlier.

* All of these trips were day trips from just North of Denver.
"The Good Lord gave us mountains so we can learn how to climb. (Lonestar)"

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