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New to area and New to 14ers, Advice

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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New to area and New to 14ers, Advice

Postby Daffron24 » Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:54 pm

I just move to the Denver area a few weeks ago and I'm itching to get to the mountains. I've read most of the threads for beginner 14ers and have checked the forecast for the upcoming days. I'm looking at possibly going this Saturday-Monday (8th-10th) to Biersdstadt, Grays, Torreys, or Quandary. What are the conditions like this time of year and will I need any winter gear (microspikes etc.)? Also what are the camping situations in this area? Any and all help is appreciated.

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Re: New to area and New to 14ers, Advice

Postby Stephen Butler » Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:07 pm

Here is a good resource for looking at recent peak conditions that other users report: http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/peakstatus_main.php

It looks like there is still a decent amount of snow up high so microspikes are probably useful. It also looks like some people carried snowshoes but didn't end up needing them. If you get an early start you may be able to take advantage of the harder snow early in the morning and avoid post-holing too much.

You may also check out the TH conditions page and recent trip reports to get a better idea about TH access and snow conditions. I believe you still cannot get quite to the summer TH on Grays/Torreys due to avalanche debris covering the road.

I can't really speak much to camping at the TH's but hopefully this helps a little.

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Re: New to area and New to 14ers, Advice

Postby jaymz » Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:29 pm

There are campsites just before Guanella pass on the Georgetown side, and the Burning Bear campground a little farther down on the Grant side. If you can make it to the summer trailhead for Grays/Torreys, there are campsites there as well. But I believe there's some avy debris blocking the road about a mile or so before.

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Re: New to area and New to 14ers, Advice

Postby B[3] » Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:14 pm

The avy debris blocking the last bit of the road to the summer trailhead for Grays/Torreys is unlikely to melt before the time frame you mention. However, there are campsites along the road that are currently accessible (if the campsites on the Grays Peak road are taken, there's a site on the Grizzly Gulch road that is accessible). We didn't take or feel the need for snowshoes on our hike of Torreys yesterday (6/4); can't hurt to bring the microspikes if you have them--you might want more traction in the early morning.

Lower trail (standard route) on 6/4 ~1pm:
lower trail.jpg
lower trail.jpg (126.58 KiB) Viewed 625 times

Snow was soft in places and we did some postholing, but it was pretty minimal.

Torreys has plenty of cornices, so if you decide to attempt it, stay back from the edge:
Torreys.jpg
looking up the ridge towards Torreys
Torreys.jpg (93.85 KiB) Viewed 625 times


another look.jpg
a closer view of the cornices
another look.jpg (57.41 KiB) Viewed 625 times


Have fun!
Learn from the mistakes of others--you can never live long enough to make them all yourself.--Unknown
Don't chase your dreams, catch them.--Unknown

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Re: New to area and New to 14ers, Advice

Postby uwe » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:43 am

Welcome to Denver.
You are going to love it, here.
Going to love 14ers.com, too.
Bill and and the 14ers.com community are awesome.

If you are interested in training and build various skill sets, think about the Colorado Mountain Club - cmc.org.
They have some pretty cool schools. They certainly helped up my game.

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Re: New to area and New to 14ers, Advice

Postby peter303 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:14 am

Snow should not be much of an issue by July 1. Transitional until then.
Every day Mt Evans turns more gray as the last snow melts.

Evans, Bierstadt, Quandry, Sherman, Democrat are good starters.

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Re: New to area and New to 14ers, Advice

Postby michaelgrundy » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:37 am

Just wanted to say welcome to Denver!

The front range seems to be holding a lot more snow than some of the other ranges. With that being said, I was on Huron peak over the weekend and there was still some snow above treeline. Granted, I was able to do the entire trip without any winter gear, but if you are not sure footed or just unsure of your capabilities, Microspikes would definitely help out. Better to have gear and not need it than need it and not have it.

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Re: New to area and New to 14ers, Advice

Postby Rambler » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:59 am

If you're coming from the Georgetown side to get Bierstadt/Evans there are some free camping spots along the Guanella Pass road, we ended up paying for one of the sites (maybe $10 a day) that had access to water and a outhouse since we didn't feel like pumping water and digging a hole. Was pretty nice. Like others suggested, check the conditions report and trip reports pages. Tons of info there on all those peaks.
Camped at Grey's/Torreys summer trailhead right by the parking lot when we did it. Doesn't sound like you can make it that far right now though due to the road being blocked. Happy hiking

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Re: New to area and New to 14ers, Advice

Postby thompsonmike » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:52 pm

This was useful to me, cmc.org. Thank you! I wonder if they have a class to cure me of my fear of heights?


uwe wrote:Welcome to Denver.
You are going to love it, here.
Going to love 14ers.com, too.
Bill and and the 14ers.com community are awesome.

If you are interested in training and build various skill sets, think about the Colorado Mountain Club - cmc.org.
They have some pretty cool schools. They certainly helped up my game.

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Re: New to area and New to 14ers, Advice

Postby 3rdGenNative » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:26 pm

[quote="thompsonmike"]This was useful to me, cmc.org. Thank you! I wonder if they have a class to cure me of my fear of heights?


Fear of heights fades with increased experience and competency. Start with the least technical routes and work from there. There are no "cliff-hangers" on the standard routes that people here are offering. Lift up your head, look around and be amazed at the beauty of this area. As you get exposed to this stuff you'll begin to venture out and do stuff that you wouldn't have imagined before. Be safe and go have fun.
"There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives, we will never again settle for less."
Kurt Hahn-Founder of Outward Bound

"Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God." George Washington Carver

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