14er's near Leadville for beginner!

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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rtayon
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14er's near Leadville for beginner!

Post by rtayon »

Hello, I will be traveling to Leadville from 8/25 to 8/31. I would like advice on one to three 14ers near Leadville that would be doable for a beginner. Looking for 14ers with great views, easy access to trailheads, and well defined trails. I will be renting a Tacoma-ish or similar truck.

Your advice is greatly appreciated.

Below is the result of a google search:

Trailheads for three 14ers are just half an hour from Leadville:
Mt. Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak (14,433′), Northeast Ridge route.
Mt. Massive, the state’s second-highest peak (14,421′), all routes.
Mt. Sherman (14,036′), West Slopes from Iowa Gulch.

Minutes from Twin Lakes and under an hour from Leadville, you can access trails for these adventures:
Mt. Elbert, by the East Ridge and Southeast Ridge routes.
La Plata Peak (14,336′), Northwest Ridge and Ellingwood Ridge.

The area is also a great base camp for these 14ers, all within an hour’s drive of Leadville and Twin Lakes:
Huron Peak (14,003′)
La Plata Peak (14,336′), Southwest Ridge
Missouri Mountain (14,067′)
Mt. Antero (14,269′)
Mt. Belford (14,197′)
Mt. Columbia (14,073′)
Mt. Harvard (14,420′)
Mt. Oxford (14,153′)
Mt. Princeton (14,197′)
Mt. Yale (14,196′)

THANK YOU!

Steve
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painless4u2
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Re: 14er's near Leadville for beginner!

Post by painless4u2 »

The first 3 listed would be perfect. Save Massive for last in the group.
Bad decisions often make good stories.

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In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9
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daway8
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Re: 14er's near Leadville for beginner!

Post by daway8 »

Sherman is by far the easiest/best beginner peak in that list - take the Iowa Gulch route if starting from Leadville.

Elbert would be my 2nd pick - longer day, more effort required but still doable for a beginner and fits your other requirements.

After that, if you're new to 14ers, you might find that's enough to bite off for a short trip anyways...
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Barnold41
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Re: 14er's near Leadville for beginner!

Post by Barnold41 »

Sherman.
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waynebp
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Re: 14er's near Leadville for beginner!

Post by waynebp »

OP mentioned great views and renting Tacoma-ish truck. I have always taken newbie visitors up Huron. Not a bad drive from Leadville and Tacoma would provide easy access to upper TH. Views of 3 Apostles and from atop are spectacular. I think we would all agree that Sherman is a dog.
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MtnHub
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Re: 14er's near Leadville for beginner!

Post by MtnHub »

Well, I agree with the suggestions regarding Sherman or Elbert being the easiest for a beginner. They are both straight forward and 'easy' climbs for the most part. But if you're only going to have 6 days for climbing, I would go with something a little more interesting and scenic. I found both of those peaks to be rather boring, especially Sherman which just seemed like a long slog over rocks and boulders. Not much diversion.

I don't think any of the others listed are really that much more "difficult" but I found Massive (SW route) or La Plata to be among the most pleasant and scenic. Beautiful hikes, both, and really quite easy access. So if I only had 6 days, I would try either or both of them first.

You don't mention where you are from, but if you're a flatlander like myself, you may need a day or two to recover after an initial hike and really only have a couple of good days to do a hike. If you're already acclimated and in and in extremely good shape, that may not be an issue for you. But whatever you decide, have fun and enjoy the mountains! They are truly addicting.
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rtayon
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Re: 14er's near Leadville for beginner!

Post by rtayon »

Hello, thank you for the advice! I actually live in below sea level and very South, South Florida. After only being in CO for 14 hours, I hiked Bierstadt and Evans without too much effort on 7/23. However, due to inexperience, stubbornness, and pure hubris stupidity, I found myself in a severe lighting/thunder and hail storm which completely flooded the exit gully. I was forced to re-hike Bierstadt. I achieved acclimation by "fire" (actually hail!). I spent the next 5 days at elevation. So, I feel I know my limitations and would like to hike a couple more 14ers with a bit of situation awareness experience behind me and a little grit in my guts. So, besides Sherman and Elbert, what would be the most scenic of the next level 14ers?

Thoughts?

Steve
Dan Wiedrich
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Re: 14er's near Leadville for beginner!

Post by Dan Wiedrich »

For 14ers near Leadville, Huron is a good one view wise. It has excellent views of the 3 Apostles.
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rtayon
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Re: 14er's near Leadville for beginner!

Post by rtayon »

Thanks Dan! I will check it out!

Steve
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SamWerner
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Re: 14er's near Leadville for beginner!

Post by SamWerner »

I'll second the recommendations for Huron, it has great views compared to the others!

Also if you'd like to tackle Elbert and are willing to add a bit of mileage and elevation in exchange for better views, the Southeast Ridge route is far better in my opinion. It's definitely more difficult, but not to an extreme degree, and the views are much better. Should see fewer people too, which is always a plus!
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daway8
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Re: 14er's near Leadville for beginner!

Post by daway8 »

It's always fascinating to see different people's takes on mountains in a thread like this...

I would agree with the above comments that Sherman itself is a rather homely looking mountain but I would argue that the views from the top are still quite nice (but beauty is in the eye of the beholder I suppose). The 3 Apostles do make a nice backdrop for Huron though.

I've heard various people say in different threads that La Plata is nice but I remember it mostly for hellish loose scree even along the main route, but then I really enjoyed the challenge of taking Ellingwood Ridge up it (definitely NOT a beginner route) while most people on this site seem to hate that route.

So in short, I think the winner in terms of views is very highly subjective but the winner for ease on this list is hands down Sherman given the short milage and lower elevation gain.
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JChitwood
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Re: 14er's near Leadville for beginner!

Post by JChitwood »

I can’t recommend Sherman from Iowa Gulch. Three friends from Illinois came out last week wanting to hike some easy 14ers. We did Bierstadt early in the week then Sherman from Leadville because it was closest to their rental house. I did the route in 2010 continuing over Sherman to Dyer so didn’t descend it and didn’t remember it being bad but it’s terribly steep and loose and absolutely zero fun. Several falls in our group and you could see hikers below falling. Sherman is a lousy hike up a mine road from the Fairplay side but that’s way better than Iowa Gulch.
"I'll make it." - Jimmy Chitwood
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