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best place for a first winter summit?

Information on peaks other than the CO 14ers and 13ers.
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best place for a first winter summit?

Postby Dark Helmet » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:31 am

The winter climbing thread in the climbing connections subforum got me thinking...



I don't really care if its an 11, 12, 13, or 14er... but what are some good first-time-in-winter summits that are challenging without being particularly dangerous (accepting that there are always dangers, etc...)

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Re: best place for a first winter summit?

Postby Scott P » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:35 am

Best first time winter peaks I can think of in each catagory:

11er: Shrine Mountain
12er: Colorado Mines Peak
13er: Mt Flora (if you don't mind staying at the Section House, Boreas Mountain would be an equally good choice).
14er: Quandary (Bierstadt if the road to the trailhead is open, but this seems to vary year to year).

PS, we're doing Shrine Mountain and staying in a cabin November 30-December 1 if anyone is interested in a good introduction to winter conditions climbs.
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Re: best place for a first winter summit?

Postby Floyd » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:49 am

Gore 12ers! Bald Mountain (12er) was my first winter summit. Not really much to worry about as far as danger. I did Outpost (another 12er and Roach Classic Peak) last March and, while a long hike (expect 12 miles) it was very safe as well. Uneva/Sneva go well too, but you may find you're surrounded by pretentious skiiers (long story).

My first winter backpack trip was to Snow Mesa (Baldy Cinco 13ers in the San Juans) a few years ago. Excellent place and the best part is that the CD trail that cuts through there is packed by snowmobiles.

While I haven't done these, Lady Washington and St Vrain in Rocky Mountain National Park are good options. Also, for higher peaks, Quandary, Silverheels, Buckskin.
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Re: best place for a first winter summit?

Postby Jim Davies » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:52 am

Depending on your definition of "challenging", there are several 12ers and 13ers accessible from Loveland, Hoosier, or Berthoud passes. Low commitment and low avalanche risk.
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Re: best place for a first winter summit?

Postby steelfrog » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:54 am

Colorado Snow Climbs is a good book that has a bunch of options.

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Re: best place for a first winter summit?

Postby michaelgrundy » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:05 am

I know my friend Rohit (username Rohit) and I are going to try and do Quandary this winter. We have had some nice people on here giving us tips and advice for doing our first winter ascent and we have even had an awesome member volunteer to go with us since he has experience climbing 14ers in the winter. You are more than welcome to tag along if you want!

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Re: best place for a first winter summit?

Postby Jesse M » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:09 am

My one and only winter summit is Bison Peak in the Lost Creek Wilderness. I went with other members of this site during the LCW winter hike. You may not have a Derrick or Claybird to break trail the day before so the hike could present some more challenges with route finding through the trees.

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Re: best place for a first winter summit?

Postby DanR » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:36 am

Floyd wrote:Gore 12ers! Bald Mountain (12er) was my first winter summit. Not really much to worry about as far as danger. I did Outpost (another 12er and Roach Classic Peak) last March and, while a long hike (expect 12 miles) it was very safe as well. Uneva/Sneva go well too, but you may find you're surrounded by pretentious skiiers (long story).


Thanks for these great tips! It's always nice to hear less common recommendations.

For the OP, I second the previous posts suggesting Quandary, Colorado Mines and Flora from Berthoud Pass, Hoosier Ridge and the Reds, Silverheels and Mount Lady Washington (for me, the scenery makes this one particularly good) and I also might add Squaretop to the list.

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Re: best place for a first winter summit?

Postby lurker » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:45 am

A standard winter hike for me is Grizzly "D" off of Loveland Pass. Add Sniktau and it becomes a full day. I second Mt. Lady Washington. The view of the Diamond dusted in snow is fantastic. You may even be treated to watch intrepid climbers and skiers on Longs.
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Re: best place for a first winter summit?

Postby Dark Helmet » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:50 am

Scott P wrote:
PS, we're doing Shrine Mountain and staying in a cabin November 30-December 1 if anyone is interested in a good introduction to winter conditions climbs.



wow, wonderful info and thanks to all for the (fairly epic) response!

that actually sounds interesting... I have a race back here on Dec 4... but its only a 5K, so prep/training-wise I won't screw anything up with a good hike 3-days prior.



hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.






Otherwise, MLW does sound like a perfect start, as I'm sure I could drag wifey out to Estes for another weekend mid-winter.

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Re: best place for a first winter summit?

Postby djkest » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:55 am

I wonder if you could (or have) come up with a rating system for couloiurs? For example- I've heard Refridgerator Colouir is really tough. I've heard the Angel of Shavano is pretty mild. I'm not sure how the rest of them stack up or what criteria would be used. I realize the condition of the snow makes a big difference as well.

Interesting about Shrine- I have hiked up there twice now in the last month. Really nice views to be had in the area, and it doesn't seem like it would be avalanche prone due to the low slope angle.
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Re: best place for a first winter summit?

Postby mtree » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:00 am

Quandary due to the trailhead being easily accessible.
Sherman - along with nearby 13ers: Gemini, White Ridge, Peerless, Dyer, and Sheridan. The length is dependent on road conditions, but you can usually make it to the Leavick site with a good 4x4.

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