In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

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CaptCO
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by CaptCO » Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:55 am

I will add two things if I remember correctly. The initial gulley from Lake Como was much more inviting with snow. I also believe I went to a second gulley past the hourglass, and had to come back 50~ yards to find the hourglass? Does that make sense to anyone, the SW ridge is a slog I’ll never do again (unless Winter ascent). Early June 2020
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by CaptainSuburbia » Thu Mar 25, 2021 11:22 am

You can avoid the hourglass by going around it on the west ridge. It's less steep, mostly class 3 and there are no rock projectiles raining down on you. I've only done the hourglass in snow so I can't compare the 2 routes, but staying on the west ridge seems like a much better option.
Here's my trip report for that route.
https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepo ... m=tripmine
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by CaptCO » Thu Mar 25, 2021 11:25 am

CaptainSuburbia wrote:
Thu Mar 25, 2021 11:22 am
and there are no rock projectiles raining down
Umm no comment Judd :mrgreen:
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by jerseybrian » Thu Mar 25, 2021 6:44 pm

Jbrow327 wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:11 pm
What peak and by what route?
Also, what were the most overrated and underrated peaks for you?
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by CoHi591 » Thu Mar 25, 2021 7:59 pm

jerseybrian wrote:
Thu Mar 25, 2021 6:44 pm
Jbrow327 wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:11 pm
What peak and by what route?
Also, what were the most overrated and underrated peaks for you?
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by GeezerClimber » Thu Mar 25, 2021 8:40 pm

highpilgrim wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 2:27 pm
CheapCigarMan wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 2:21 pm
The ask was to rank them in order of difficulty by standard route only.

Rank Peak Route Class RT Gain Exposure
1 Capitol Peak Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake 4 17 5,300 4
2 Little Bear Peak West Ridge and Southwest Face 4 14 6,200 4
3 Pyramid Peak Northeast Ridge 4 8.25 4,500 4
It's hard to quibble with 1 or 2. Opinions vary with conditions and personal likes/dislikes for what hard means.

But I don't put Pyramid anywhere near 3 on the list. I thought it overrated, starting with the "Leap of Faith". It was fun throughout, the exception being gaining the ridgeline initially. That was crappy. The rest was fun. I had a hard time seeing any of it at class 4.

Certainly it's not 3rd on my list.
I agree that Pyramid is not a class 4. It is a steep one though. And one of my favorites! I thought that #3-9 on the list kind of blend together. How any one person ranks them depends on how one weighs the various factors i.e. technical, exposure, overall effort, rock quality and route finding. It makes for a fun discussion though.

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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by justiner » Fri Mar 26, 2021 12:02 am

CaptainSuburbia wrote:
Thu Mar 25, 2021 11:22 am
You can avoid the hourglass by going around it on the west ridge. It's less steep, mostly class 3 and there are no rock projectiles raining down on you. I've only done the hourglass in snow so I can't compare the 2 routes, but staying on the west ridge seems like a much better option.
Here's my trip report for that route.
https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepo ... m=tripmine
West Ridge route looks really fun - how far down the ridge do you think one could start? Seems as if you could begin before the usual notch that gives you access to the Hourglass I suppose.
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by nyker » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:05 am

Hmmm, "hard" is a bit subjective.

Here are my thoughts.

If by "hard" you mean, longest sustained climbing on Class 3+ terrain, then I'd say The Needle and it's a long day, your need your focus up and down, but it is pretty fun climbing/scrambling on good rock.

Little Bear, with its long approach on the public standard route and then sections where you are "at risk" from rockfall in and around the Hourglass, would make me think that's the most difficult,
especially climbing it dry when rockfall would be unfettered. In consolidated Spring snow would be better to reduce rockfall risk but then you have the deeper snow on
the approach, postholing and steep ice/snow higher up as well as the need to carry more gear which makes for a long tiring day albeit safer in my opinion than when dry.

If you have any fear of exposure and heights, then I'd say Capitol, since going up parts of K2 and the Knife Edge could tie your stomach in knots, is a long
day from the TH and has a decent amount of sustained climbing where you are in a no fall zone for a while and exposed to weather coming in with no fast/easy way back.

Note though that a peak's difficulty is linked to its ease of which you can stay on route or the ease of which the "route" is easy to follow and the consequences
of going off route. Capitol and the Bells are quite unforgiving of route errors for those who get off route and often find themselves cliffed out and the terrain on the Bells is dangerously loose in many spots.

I'd add that whole most of the climbing was on steep but grassy slopes/ledges, North Maroon was the only peak I recall feeling scared due to the silent rockfall we experienced,
as a half dozen microwave sized widowmakers came careening down, often silent until you heard it whiz past your head and when they bounced once or twice off the ground it was often
on the grassy sections making no sound.

The most overrated peak, for me was Pyramid. This was my first harder peak and in contrast to Longs which was my first (and before I knew of any online resources, ignorance is bliss),
I had by then become aware of many sources of information on these peaks much of which was hyped up so my expectations were blown out from reading about it before going.
It was hard and challenging, but seemed more doable than many of the opinions I had read back then would lead one to believe.
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by Barnold41 » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:31 am

IMO Pyramid can be kept at class 3 even on the green wall. You can definitely make it class 4 if you want, though. That is still the "hardest" one I've done and I have no experience on the Bells, LB, or Capitol. A friend who has done Capitol said it was easier than he thought it was going to be and he doesn't do well with exposure. He camped at the lake and made a two day trip of it.

One question about Snowmass: is the gulley going up from the lake the "hard" part? I've only attempted it from the west side, which was fun until it was whiteout.
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by highpilgrim » Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:42 pm

Barnold41 wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:31 am
is the gulley going up from the lake the "hard" part?
Don't stay in the gulley too long and it's not hard. If you stay in it, it sucks, especially while wet, which it would be usually. You want to cross the gulley to the climbers right and there is a reasonable use trail there that is MUCH easier.

The upper mountain is standard third class and fun, but as you know from the west side, be careful nonetheless. Sometimes big rocks move on that mountain.
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by Sglm14 » Fri Mar 26, 2021 3:25 pm

Snowmass S ridge was my finisher and the hardest one for me.
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by Matt » Fri Mar 26, 2021 4:24 pm

Well, the experts at Out There Colorado must have seen this thread. They have spoken at this link.

While I agree that Handies via American Basin is the easiest of all, they rate Sherman, Cameron, Bierstadt, and Bross as more difficult than Pikes.
Interesting...
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