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 » Wed Mar 24, 2021 5:42 pm

I think another thing to note on cap is there are few campsites, and are required to carry in a bear canister. This is one of the reasons I day tripped it, and was still a seriously long day. I also believe the juice is worth the squeeze on capitol more than the harder peaks, incredible views, less people, and awesome scrambling. Ridge direct is very loose but a doable route, the standard holds snow very late in the season, which can make for carrying unnecessary gear at times. I believe this was a 14 hour day, one of my longest.
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by Dayute » Wed Mar 24, 2021 7:59 pm

JChitwood wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 4:56 pm
Dayute wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 4:27 pm
Odd opinion here but I found Maroon Peak surprisingly hard. The Green Monster or whatever its called goes forever and the routefinding above it is very tedious. Theres plenty of loose rock there too. By comparison I thought the routefinding on LB was a non-issue and I kind of giggled to myself in the choke point at how much easier it was than I thought it would be. The loose rock right above the hourglass was tricky but I didnt think it was that much worse than the final push up Kit Carson from the Challenger traverse. Havent done Capitol yet.
Can’t remember a Green Monster on Maroon. Maybe talking about the Green Wall on Pyramid? I found Maroon difficult too the rock was horrid and the thousands of vertical up and down the Slope of Suck from the valley were brutal. Even with hiking poles I fell three times on the trail going down Maroon it’s high on the list of mountains I will never do again. In fact I may never climb a peak in that valley again the parking difficulties suck as bad as the rock.
I guess I was talking about the Slope of Suck, whatever it was I dont look forward to doing it again for the traverse.
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by Wish I lived in CO » Wed Mar 24, 2021 9:13 pm

Someone once posted a wayback interntet link to it and somehow I made an excel file for it. Here it is:
14 list part A.jpg
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14 list part B.jpg
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14 list part C.jpg
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by 4thPlaceAtFieldDay » Wed Mar 24, 2021 9:53 pm

JChitwood wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 4:56 pm
Dayute wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 4:27 pm
Odd opinion here but I found Maroon Peak surprisingly hard. The Green Monster or whatever its called goes forever and the routefinding above it is very tedious. Theres plenty of loose rock there too. By comparison I thought the routefinding on LB was a non-issue and I kind of giggled to myself in the choke point at how much easier it was than I thought it would be. The loose rock right above the hourglass was tricky but I didnt think it was that much worse than the final push up Kit Carson from the Challenger traverse. Havent done Capitol yet.
Can’t remember a Green Monster on Maroon. Maybe talking about the Green Wall on Pyramid? I found Maroon difficult too the rock was horrid and the thousands of vertical up and down the Slope of Suck from the valley were brutal. Even with hiking poles I fell three times on the trail going down Maroon it’s high on the list of mountains I will never do again. In fact I may never climb a peak in that valley again the parking difficulties suck as bad as the rock.
I think Green Monster = 2800 Feet of Suck.
Wish I lived in CO wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 9:13 pm
Someone once posted a wayback interntet link to it and somehow I made an excel file for it. Here it is:

14 list part A.jpg
14 list part B.jpg
14 list part C.jpg
I agree with Capitol being the hardest, but I did Little Bear via the SW Ridge, so I avoided the Hourglass. I certainly won't quibble with anyone who thinks Little Bear is the hardest. That ranked list was always fun to look at, but I though Pyramid and Mt Wilson were way too high and Snowmass, Longs, and Eolus were too low.
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by stoopdude » Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:11 pm

"Hardest" is so subjective but all I know is, the only 14ers I never want to repeat are both of the Bells. Every rock is trying to kill you.
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by ekalina » Thu Mar 25, 2021 7:47 am

Regarding the Hourglass, is it steep enough that people generally face in when downclimbing it? How does the steepness compare to the Homestretch on Longs or the west gully on the Needle? Sounds like the risk of rockfall is certainly higher in the Hourglass, of course.
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by CaptCO » Thu Mar 25, 2021 8:02 am

I think those are steeper but there is 1-2 sections where 3 points of contact are a great idea. I believe the hourglass is highly skill dependent, but the rockfall is unavoidable at times.
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by CoHi591 » Thu Mar 25, 2021 8:09 am

It's so hard to say because of how my skill set has grown. For example, I think I did the Crestones Traverse way before I had any business doing it and it shook me at the time but thinking back now it'd be rather easy and fun.
Capitol made me swear off climbing mountains for a while, I did it solo and felt like I was playing russian roulette for hours wondering if the rocks I was standing on were gonna just slide me down the mountain at any moment. I also did it in it's deadliest summer in 2017 and had only the Crestones and LB-B under my belt for hard 14ers, both of which had been with partners. I think I'd sort of like to revisit that now and see if it is still as scary as it was then.
I think the climbing on Little Bear and the traverse to Blanca is among the toughest technically but I had an absolute blast and don't remember feeling shaky at all. I did the Bells towards the end of my pursuit of the 14ers and had one of the best days of my life, would repeat every year, didn't feel scared once. Dangerous loose rocks lurk nearby but we didn't feel like we were in precarious positions at all as long as we were on route.

It really does depend on your preference and fears. I would (generally speaking) take extremely exposed low class 5 climbing any day over steep scree and loose rocks and the like. Descending Snowmass W slopes and Mt Wilson into Navajo were infinitely more anxiety-producing to me than the whole day of Little Bear-Blanca.
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by Dan_Suitor » Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:09 am

Non-standard routes are typically more difficult than the standard route which is why the difficult of any mountain is defined by how difficult the easiest (standard) route is.

I think the reason people’s opinion differ on this topic may be the order in which they summit the harder 14ers. The more you get used to exposure, rockfall and duration of climb, the less intimidating future peaks are. The conditions at the time of your climb also play a factor and change how difficult the standard route can be.

Little Bear’s hourglass is much easier as a snow climb. Even without snow it can be difficult when water is running down it. It is even harder if there is ice over the rock. People who rely on the rope may have an added sense of security than those who don’t. Without snow, rockfall is a significant issue, especially if people are climbing on the crap rock a hundred feet above you.

I did Little Bear after the Bells but before Capitol. I did not use the rope but made sure it was close by. The hourglass was free of snow with water going down the center. There was a climber above us who dislodged a few rocks down on us. These are some of the more difficult conditions. As a result, for me my climb of Little Bear was harder than any other 14er.

Here is a picture showing the steepness.
WP_20140921_032.jpg
Hour Glass
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by ekalina » Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:35 am

Thanks for the pictures, Alec and Dan. Dan's picture of what I'm guessing is the most difficult climbing in the Hourglass gives a really nice sense of the steepness/scale of the features there. And it certainly looks quite steep.
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by bdloftin77 » Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:38 am

It seemed like a solid 45-50 degree angle? Though I’m not the best at guessing angles... Maybe someone else will chime in.
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Re: In your opinion, what is the hardest 14er?

Post by CaptCO » Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:39 am

ekalina wrote:
Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:35 am
Thanks for the pictures, Alec and Dan. Dan's picture of what I'm guessing is the most difficult climbing in the Hourglass gives a really nice sense of the steepness/scale of the features there. And it certainly looks quite steep.
Anytime! Yeah Dan posted a great picture of the crux area. I was moving quick that day due to a multi peak trip but here’s a couple more. The one is myself trying to find a west ridge direct descent to avoid hourglass, but didn’t feel comfortable doing solo with my experience at the time. (Sold out on a rock wrapping back to hourglass and a mini fridge sized Boulder flew over my grabbing shoulder)
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