first winter 14er

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Justinrbiggs
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first winter 14er

Post by Justinrbiggs » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:09 pm

I've completed 6 summer 14ers, dabbling into some class 3 stuff this year on the traverse between columbia and harvard. I'm experienced in camping in the summer as well as the winter. however, i have not camped in the mountains during the winter. i usually ski the resorts in the winter but am wanting to do some 'back country' travel this winter due to the covid situation. so i have a fair amount of cold weather gear. i also just got a pair of salomon mountaineering boots and crampons. id eventually like to get a AT setup and do some back country skiing but a little gear at a time is all i can afford. i guess my question is where/how should i begin to plan my first winter trip. any advice or guidance is welcomed
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cottonmountaineering
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Re: first winter 14er

Post by cottonmountaineering » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:14 pm

If it isn't cancelled, there is usually a "winter welcomer" on quandary every year. Quandary is pretty easy to bail off and receives a lot of traffic, so it's a good mountain to start on
Justinrbiggs
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Re: first winter 14er

Post by Justinrbiggs » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:27 pm

was actually just searching for that get together. ive heard of it but couldnt remember what it was called. hope its not cancelled or hopefully someone puts something similar together.
Ptglhs
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Re: first winter 14er

Post by Ptglhs » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:37 pm

Quandary is the easiest winter 14er imo. Basically the same length as summer, well travelled by skiers so you won't be alone, low avy risk. Bierstadt from the closure on the i70 side also ticks most of those boxes but it's longer by a fair bit.

Going with someone who has done a few winter ascents is usually good, though with Covid that may be a non starter for you. My 1st winter 14er was my 20th 14er and I did it by myself in March. Humboldt from the 2wd TH. It was 11 hours without seeing another person. That may have been a bit on the green side for such an outing. It is certainly possible to do your first winter 14er alone, but bear in mind things can get scary if the weather turns or the snow conditions aren't what you were expecting or you get cold. Pay attention to what the avalanche forecast are saying and wait for a sunny day with highs in the teen's or twenties to maximize your success.
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CaptainSuburbia
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Re: first winter 14er

Post by CaptainSuburbia » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:48 pm

Pick nice weather days and watch the conditions report page to see what others are doing. Also, climb peaks in October, November and early December with snow to gradually gain experience with winter conditions before the true winter starts.
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Will_E
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Re: first winter 14er

Post by Will_E » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:51 pm

Most of the 14’ers can be done as a day trip, no camping necessary, but it’s a lot more work, and takes a lot more time/energy.

Highly recommend a Garmin inReach, in 19 winter summits last winter, I didn’t see another person all day on all but 3 or 4.
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Gandalf69
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Re: first winter 14er

Post by Gandalf69 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:16 pm

Double check all your camping stuff. My first winter camping in boy scouts we brought liquid soup!! It froze, lol Quandary is great because you get same parking as summer, and as others have said have a trench to follow.
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geg86
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Re: first winter 14er

Post by geg86 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:38 pm

I like getting out in the winter, but it takes a little more planning and lugging some extra things. I highly recommend an in reach as well as an extra back up phone battery (cold zaps your phone...I keep mine close to my body). Also, I always bring enough stuff (layers, bivy, chemical warmers, extra socks) to spend an unplanned day or two outside without hypothermia. In short: be prepared to stay warm in the event of unpredictable and changing conditions. I’ve been caught in a total whiteout on a forecasted sunny day and it’s scary- you want to be prepared for that situation so you’re warm/safe..preferably with an in reach to be able to communicate so your loved ones don’t freak out if you’re taking longer than planned.

Also, it’s really helpful to have some understanding of avalanche terrain and signs of instability (e.g. read snow sense or staying safe in avalanche terrain, take an AIARE course...preferably all of these). Watch the weather the week before to get an idea of conditions and go on a day with a good avy forecast and weather forecast.

Have fun and enjoy no crowds!
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Barnold41
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Re: first winter 14er

Post by Barnold41 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:58 pm

geg86 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:38 pm
I like getting out in the winter, but it takes a little more planning and lugging some extra things. I highly recommend an in reach as well as an extra back up phone battery (cold zaps your phone...I keep mine close to my body). Also, I always bring enough stuff (layers, bivy, chemical warmers, extra socks) to spend an unplanned day or two outside without hypothermia. In short: be prepared to stay warm in the event of unpredictable and changing conditions. I’ve been caught in a total whiteout on a forecasted sunny day and it’s scary- you want to be prepared for that situation so you’re warm/safe..preferably with an in reach to be able to communicate so your loved ones don’t freak out if you’re taking longer than planned.

Also, it’s really helpful to have some understanding of avalanche terrain and signs of instability (e.g. read snow sense or staying safe in avalanche terrain, take an AIARE course...preferably all of these). Watch the weather the week before to get an idea of conditions and go on a day with a good avy forecast and weather forecast.

Have fun and enjoy no crowds!
All of this. Please don't go alone if you've never done anything like this, regardless of the "easy" factor. Going into the backcountry because of covid is great but please make smart decisions before you get there. Buy a beacon, shovel, probe (even if you're not skiing, and know how to use them before you go), and all the things listed above, and understand the snowpack before it ends up on top of you. I'm trying to stay positive about the increase in the number of new people to backcountry travel this year... With the increase in summer recreation on trails this year, we will see the same for winter since certain resorts have certain reservation systems. Be safe.
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SchralpTheGnar
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Re: first winter 14er

Post by SchralpTheGnar » Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:13 pm

not no crowds, but certainly less people, get an AT setup for sure, although the peak skiing is best in spring it’s a nice way to get around in the mountains once they are covered in snow.
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greenonion
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Re: first winter 14er

Post by greenonion » Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:52 pm

Ptglhs wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:37 pm
Quandary is the easiest winter 14er imo. Basically the same length as summer, well travelled by skiers so you won't be alone, low avy risk. Bierstadt from the closure on the i70 side also ticks most of those boxes but it's longer by a fair bit.

Going with someone who has done a few winter ascents is usually good, though with Covid that may be a non starter for you. My 1st winter 14er was my 20th 14er and I did it by myself in March. Humboldt from the 2wd TH. It was 11 hours without seeing another person. That may have been a bit on the green side for such an outing. It is certainly possible to do your first winter 14er alone, but bear in mind things can get scary if the weather turns or the snow conditions aren't what you were expecting or you get cold. Pay attention to what the avalanche forecast are saying and wait for a sunny day with highs in the teen's or twenties to maximize your success.
+1 very well stated
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rpdawes
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Re: first winter 14er

Post by rpdawes » Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:22 am

Go solo climb up Quandary Peak if you can regardless of what barnold41 said provided that you have winter gear ready and the weather forecast is favorable. I did it at the age of 74 on Happy Valentine's Day. That day I saw 3 or 4 souls. It is most likely that you will find a trench almost all the way to the summit.
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