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First Fourteener Suggestions

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First Fourteener Suggestions

Postby Michael56 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:21 pm

Coming to CO mid September. Want to climb a challenging 14er not too far from Denver. Research is a bit overwhelming! I'm 56, she is 27, both in great shape. Daughter was ski instructor at keystone 4 years. I've done winter mountaineering in new Hampshire presidential range and some technical, including devils tower 12 yrs ago. Would like to hike in, camp at lake, summit, hike out. Have equipment and can rope up if necessary. Thanks for suggestions.

Mike

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Re: First Fourteener Suggestions

Postby godsnthemtns » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:46 pm

I'd say Humboldt. It's three hours from Denver though : /
But the lake there with the crestones on the background is so beautiful and makes 4 a beautiful backdrop on your hike!

Re: First Fourteener Suggestions

Postby zephyr_pelicante » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:53 pm

Crestone Needle or Peak fits every portion of your description except it's not incredibly close to Denver.

South Maroon is also a good one to hike in and camp - a bit closer to Denver, and I didn't find the rock to be as "loose" as everyone says (the hike up to where the class III climbing begins is the hardest part -- and it is quite a workout)

And of course there is the ubiquitous Long's Peak, but camping won't help you save much distance unless you want to camp in the boulder-field (which really scares me because it's well above treeline and if a storm came it might get hairy).

Another option is Holy Cross. It's not technical but the distance makes it challenging to some, plus the Halo Ridge makes for an incredible loop.

I know you said you want challenging - but you may want to make sure the high altitude doesn't bother you and try an easier one first. For that I recommend Mount Bierstadt form Guanella pass or Mount Evans from Summit Lake (easy day hikes very close to Denver).

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Re: First Fourteener Suggestions

Postby wildlobo71 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:03 pm

From central Denver, South Colony TH, for Crestone Peak/Needle, is about 1/2 hour shorter in travel time (3h:20m vs 3h:50m)than it is to Maroon Lake TH (either I-70 or over Indy Pass). For my time, money, and effort I'd say Crestones are option 1A, and Bells are option 1B. You won't miss on either climbs. You don't need ropes on any of it, and the climbs are challenging, semi-technical and fun... and both from car-car are similar in length RT-wise.

Flip a coin and win-win.
Bill W.
Yes, I have my Scotch.

Re: First Fourteener Suggestions

Postby zephyr_pelicante » Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:06 pm

Crestone Peak/Needle, is about 1/2 hour shorter in travel time

You're correct - for some reason Maroon seemed closer but the Crestones are indeed a bit closer.

Flip a coin and win-win.

Exactly

Another thing to consider is that to get into the Maroon area it is 2WD as long as you pay a $10 (or so) fee, but to get into the South Colony Lakes TH it's several miles across a very rugged 4WD trail.

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Re: First Fourteener Suggestions

Postby wildlobo71 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:16 pm

zephyr_pelicante wrote:
Another thing to consider is that to get into the Maroon area it is 2WD as long as you pay a $10 (or so) fee, but to get into the South Colony Lakes TH it's several miles across a very rugged 4WD trail.


Enter Maroon Lakes after 7pm and you can park for free, just stay at the lower overflow lot or lower down camp areas like Silver Bar or Silver Bell, then at wake up - drive up to the TH...
Bill W.
Yes, I have my Scotch.

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Re: First Fourteener Suggestions

Postby Michael56 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:25 pm

Thanks for the input! I thought crestone looked good, nice to have confirmation. Maroon peak looks difficult and some challenging navigation? I think I'm settling on crestone.

Mike

Re: First Fourteener Suggestions

Postby zephyr_pelicante » Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:36 pm

Yeah, Maroon is a bit harder of an overall climb IMO. Both are amazing hikes and really fun.

If you have the 4WD capabilities of getting into South Colony Lakes I highly recommend it. It's also good because there is so much accessible from there (5 14ers & several 13ers) you won't run out of peaks to climb!

Like godsnthemtns said: climb Humboldt too. You can easily do a Crestone and Humboldt in the same day (or do Humboldt on the day you pack out) since you've already hiked all the way to the lake it's only an hour or so to get up there and it's totally worth it for the views.

I think I read somewhere on this forum that "God created Humboldt purely for the purpose of viewing the Crestones" and it's true, great view from there. Watch out for the false summit though; the real summit isn't too far off though!

Best of luck!

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Re: First Fourteener Suggestions

Postby SpringsJeff » Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:52 pm

+1 for the Needle

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Re: First Fourteener Suggestions

Postby Phill the Thrill » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:14 pm

Kit Carson/Challenger is another great choice: backpack to Willow Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in the CO high country. I also recommend the class 4 north ridge route on Kit Carson - solid rock with some good exposure to get the adrenaline going.
"Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it." - Andy Rooney

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Re: First Fourteener Suggestions

Postby Michael56 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:35 pm

Thanks for all the great input. Definitely going south to Crestone area, sounds like lots of great options. I assume it's much more remote and less crowds? I like that idea too.

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Re: First Fourteener Suggestions

Postby mtree » Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:36 pm

Ahhh...for a FIRST 14er, I would not recommend Crestone, Creston Needle, Challenger/Kit Carson, Longs, Holy Cross, or S. Maroon. Those are all tough climbs. Without being acclimated to altitude, you could get yourself in deep scree...if you know what I mean. (I'm assuming you're coming from around sea level.) I've hiked the White Mountains of NH and the 14ers listed above are waaaaaay more strenuous. Perhaps you're in the type of shape and experience to pull these off, but if not, you could get yourself into trouble real fast. Just saying, these aren't in a typical "first 14er" category.

If you have a decent 4x4 with good clearance, Humbolt Peak would be a good choice for camping in. But it is a rough road. Others I'd recommend that have a little more "challenge" with camping and closer to Denver would be Harvard or Columbia, Missouri, Massive, and even La Plata. If you want to ratchet down the challenge, anything in the Sawatch range (except Holy Cross and Belford/Oxford combo) or Mosquito range would suffice, but camping is probably limited. Then again, you might find these too easy. But, better safe than sorry.

Use good judgement. Have fun.
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