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Longs Peak for First 14er?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: Longs Peak for First 14er?

Postby DArcyS » Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:00 pm

MountainMedic wrote:A friend of mine tried this and turned around at the Boulder Field (~12,000 ft; vomiting with awful AMS), and he was in excellent shape. I'd take a week to come out to Colorado and start with some easier hikes.


Which brings up the issue of pace, which somebody already noted. Go slow. If you need to stop frequently, you're going too fast. I remember one of my friends being young and in good shape trying to blast his way up the peak. Not a pretty ending. Sometimes being in excellent shape can work against people, because it's not a substitute for acclimization.

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Re: Longs Peak for First 14er?

Postby TallGrass » Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:01 pm

MountainMedic wrote:Wisconsin is pretty much at sea level
Then how does water in Lake Michigan ever make it hundreds of miles to the ocean? :-s :-s :-s Average WI elevation is about what it is in KC and it didn't stop me. It's easy for a local to say "start with a Class 1" when they don't have to travel 1,000 miles to get to the trailhead, but I for one would rather aim for Longs and have to turn back then aim for [south] Bross and summit.

Beckygluc, everyone is different. Their limitations aren't necessarily yours; yours aren't necessarily theirs.
If both of you enjoy the journey as much or more than the destination,
enjoy the time with family,
plan/train/gear-up for it,
go in ahead of time agreeing either can turn back and WHAT signs you'll be looking for to tell you to (e.g. clouds, HAPE/HACE symptoms, comfort-factor, ...),
understand and accept the risks,
then GO FOR IT!

"You miss 100% of the shots you do not attempt," -- Wayne Gretsky*

Proper planning & preparation prevents piss poor performance.

No risk, no reward. Can't get to second base w/o taking your foot off first.

* I've seen various versions, but the point is the same.

P.S. For my last 14er, rode from 1,000' through the night, no sleep, to the trailhead (11am, *sigh*) and summited (6pm :oops: ). No regrets.
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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Re: Longs Peak for First 14er?

Postby MountainMedic » Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:33 pm

TallGrass wrote:
MountainMedic wrote:Wisconsin is pretty much at sea level
Then how does water in Lake Michigan ever make it hundreds of miles to the ocean? :-s :-s :-s Average WI elevation is about what it is in KC and it didn't stop me. It's easy for a local to say "start with a Class 1" when they don't have to travel 1,000 miles to get to the trailhead, but I for one would rather aim for Longs and have to turn back then aim for [south] Bross and summit.

Beckygluc, everyone is different. Their limitations aren't necessarily yours; yours aren't necessarily theirs.
If both of you enjoy the journey as much or more than the destination,
enjoy the time with family,
plan/train/gear-up for it,
go in ahead of time agreeing either can turn back and WHAT signs you'll be looking for to tell you to (e.g. clouds, HAPE/HACE symptoms, comfort-factor, ...),
understand and accept the risks,
then GO FOR IT!

"You miss 100% of the shots you do not attempt," -- Wayne Gretsky*

Proper planning & preparation prevents piss poor performance.

No risk, no reward. Can't get to second base w/o taking your foot off first.

* I've seen various versions, but the point is the same.

P.S. For my last 14er, rode from 1,000' through the night, no sleep, to the trailhead (11am, *sigh*) and summited (6pm :oops: ). No regrets.


TallGrass, you have a tremendous knack for completely missing the point. Sea level-3,000 ft = no functional difference in acclimation whatsoever. To the OP: go for Longs. It's fun and it's a top favorite of many CO natives. But don't come out to Colorado and go 10,000 ft higher than you ever have in your life. You will almost definitely get AMS. Start with some shorter hikes at the same altitude, at you're much more likely to succeed on Longs a couple days later.

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Re: Longs Peak for First 14er?

Postby summitrunner » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:15 pm

It was my first 14er. I attempted it in August of 2004. I do not do very well with exposure. I scared myself off the mountain at the keyhole. I vowed that I would return.

One year later I completed it. I was coming off my senior season of collegiate track and was in marvelous shape. My friend and I started at 6:45 AM, made it to the summit around 10:30 AM, and were back in the car by 2:00 PM. This is not a typical time. By the time we made it back down to the Chasm Lake Junction, we had run out of water (we each brought 1.5 gallons). It was hot, blazing hot, and there was no relief from the sun. My friend and I were exhausted on all levels: metally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

It was challenging on all levels: the length, the exposure, the scrambling, and the heat. You could get up there and get chased off by weather just as easily.

If I can make a suggestion: get into Denver. Spend a day messing around town (eat dinner downtown, catch a Rockies game...cheap seats). Head up to Estes the next day and hike twin sisters (northeast of Longs on the same road). Stay the night in Estes. Get a hotel room and relax. Go to bed at 8. Get up and start Longs early. Be prepared for anything: heat and snow. Climb that massive beast, get back down, and rest.

Get yourselves into shape, practice hiking around 2:00 AM before you come out, and get some exposure practice (somehwere...the Dells perhaps?). If Longs eats you up and spits you out, try again. I was in great shape my first attempt and got scared off by my fear of heights. You could get up there and rock it! Schedule a plan. Make realistic goals considering your fitness and preparedness: we will be at Chasm Lake by x:xx AM, we will pass through the keyhole by y:yy AM, we will summit by z:zz AM. Start early, steady pace, plan rest stops, and have fun!
"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." PRE

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Re: Longs Peak for First 14er?

Postby edhaman » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:17 pm

I have attempted Longs three times, and succeeded twice. The most recent time was last summer. I would NOT recommend it as a first 14er, especially for someone in their 50s coming in from a much lower elevation. All three of my attempts were multi-day trips, with a stop-over for the night at the Boulderfield. For some point of reference, last year I hiked about 180 miles, did about 51,000 feet of vertical, and climbed 7 14ers and 12 13ers . I'm not equal to the super-fit 20 and 30-somethings, but I'm not doing too bad for someone approaching 60. I would not be inclined to attempt Longs as a day-hike. If you have never climbed a 14er, or a 13er, you have no idea what you are in for.

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Re: Longs Peak for First 14er?

Postby TallGrass » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:21 pm

MountainMedic wrote:TallGrass, you have a tremendous knack for completely missing the point. Sea level-3,000 ft = no functional ...
Just because someone doesn't agree with your point doesn't mean it was missed.

MountainMedic wrote:... wouldn't recommend Longs for one simple reason: you'll be at a high altitude ... Even if you stay in Boulder for a week before the climb, you're likely (70% on Longs in one study) to have altitude issues once you get to 10,000 ft. A friend of mine tried this and turned around at the Boulder Field (~12,000 ft; vomiting with awful AMS), and he was in excellent shape.
So your point as stated they'll "likely ... have altitude issues" over 10k' even if they "stay in Boulder for a week" followed by an availability heuristic about your friend.

So, yes, I disagree with a e-physical diagnosis, that 14ers should be off limits to lowlanders in-state for less than a week, and that what happened with one guy's health should determine what she or her dad does. There are too many counter-examples of lowlanders who make weekend getaways to 14ers, and you can't apply a population statistic* to an individual (only like populations). They're showing signs of responsibility by seeking info and willingness to invest (e.g. training) in their success, so why obstruct?

How many of you would have liked to gone on a hike with a parent or child on Longs regardless if you summited?
They won't know if they don't try.
There isn't always tomorrow.

* much less an anecdote
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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Re: Longs Peak for First 14er?

Postby speth » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:34 pm

"Your Mileage Will Not Vary"

Man Up.
I'll be damned if I feel like I will ever know anything, but if we don't keep moving on that last hill, we'll never know what's on the other side.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The rain and thunder, the wind and haze are bound for better days. My life, my dream. Nothin's gonna stop me now.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[-X What are you insinuating? Do you think I'm Ranger? =; Because if you do than you are dead wrong.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sarcasm or not, it's not even funny to post something like this. Not at this time. Reported.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
rage-quit mountaineer wrote:I give up. Bill, just delete my account.

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Re: Longs Peak for First 14er?

Postby MuchosPixels » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:41 pm

beckygluc wrote:Hi all,

My dad and I want to start hiking the 14ers this summer. I'm 21 and he's 51. We're from Wisconsin, so we aren't used to high altitudes. We also aren't very active and don't exercise often, though we do hike at some of our state parks.

All that said, we think Longs Peak looks like the coolest 14er and want to hike it this upcoming August. We're prepared to exercise and get in shape for the hike. Do you think this peak is too challenging for a first 14er? What exercises should we be doing to prepare for the climb?

I know they rank the mountains from easiest to hardest on this site, but we've been looking at Longs Peak for a long time now and have been hearing all sorts of cool stories about it. Also, my dad isn't getting any younger--it would be cool to achieve Longs Peak now rather than wait a few more years, as his heath may start to deteriorate.

Thank you very much!


As a first 14er I think I would go with something easier. There are plenty of options. I would stick to something class 1.

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Re: Longs Peak for First 14er?

Postby mnmtman » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:48 pm

Every year, I drive out from Mn and usually attempt a 14er within 24 hours. I've never had an issue. If you are coming from Wisconsin and you want to attempt Longs, I would go for it. It's a long day, but it's not that bad. It was my first. I brought a buddy out from MN last year and we summited Capitol 48 hours after arriving in CO. It was his first 14er and we did it as a day hike. As long as you prepare for the peak you will be fine.

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Re: Longs Peak for First 14er?

Postby MountainMedic » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:51 pm

TallGrass wrote:
MountainMedic wrote:TallGrass, you have a tremendous knack for completely missing the point. Sea level-3,000 ft = no functional ...
Just because someone doesn't agree with your point doesn't mean it was missed.

MountainMedic wrote:... wouldn't recommend Longs for one simple reason: you'll be at a high altitude ... Even if you stay in Boulder for a week before the climb, you're likely (70% on Longs in one study) to have altitude issues once you get to 10,000 ft. A friend of mine tried this and turned around at the Boulder Field (~12,000 ft; vomiting with awful AMS), and he was in excellent shape.
So your point as stated they'll "likely ... have altitude issues" over 10k' even if they "stay in Boulder for a week" followed by an availability heuristic about your friend.

So, yes, I disagree with a e-physical diagnosis, that 14ers should be off limits to lowlanders in-state for less than a week, and that what happened with one guy's health should determine what she or her dad does. There are too many counter-examples of lowlanders who make weekend getaways to 14ers, and you can't apply a population statistic* to an individual (only like populations). They're showing signs of responsibility by seeking info and willingness to invest (e.g. training) in their success, so why obstruct?

How many of you would have liked to gone on a hike with a parent or child on Longs regardless if you summited?
They won't know if they don't try.
There isn't always tomorrow.

* much less an anecdote


This info isn't some eAnecdote, it's compiled from many studies into a medical textbook. I could keep arguing with you, but I don't feel like getting dragged down. OP, sorry for thread derailment.

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Re: Longs Peak for First 14er?

Postby SilverLynx » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:01 pm

PM sent! :-D
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."
~Nelson Mandela

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."
~Steve Jobs

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Re: Longs Peak for First 14er?

Postby TallGrass » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:21 pm

Variety of others experiences from varying backgrounds and elevations.

Longs Peak -Keyhole: My first 14er! ... "My perspective is that of a 52 year old mom from suburban New Jersey, where I have lived nearly my entire life"

Longs Peak, My First 14er (secular version)

"(Longs) was my first 14er!" -- dwoods15

"I did my first 14er (Long's Peak) about 12 years ago with my Dad. It was a very memorable experience that we still reminisce about."

My First 14er: Longs Peak via The Diamond from Chicago

"My first 14er was Longs Peak in 1992"

My first 14er: Longs Peak - 14,259 ft. from Denver

peter303 wrote:There used to be a page somewhere on this website polling "first 14er" climbed. Longs was always in the top three and hardest of the top ten.

I remember seeing something like that too but couldn't find it.
But in a similar vein, here is LoJ's Most Climbed Peaks and Longs is the 7th 14er
List Rank Name Elevation
1 Green Mountain 6,855'
2 Green Mountain 8,144'

3 Grays Peak 14,270'
4 Bierstadt, Mount 14,060'
5 Torreys Peak 14,267'
6 Quandary Peak 14,265'
7 Pikes Peak 14,110'
8 Elbert, Mount 14,433'
9 Longs Peak 14,255'
10 Sherman, Mount 14,036'
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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