Are we crazy?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Postby Papillon » Wed Jul 04, 2007 5:12 pm

If you are uncertain about your ability to make it to the top you might want to do an easier 14er like Quandary or Bierstadt prior to Elbert. Get some success and use it to your advantage. Personally, I'd put RMNP at the forefront and close the trip with Elbert.

When I lived in the midwest and would venture out to The Rockies, my itinerary always included way more activities than the time permitted. I was then able to pick and choose from some well-researched hikes based on how I felt at the time.

A malleable schedule is so much more enjoyable than a rigid do-this do-that on x-day. Remember you are on vacation.

Also, consider some rainy day alternatives (read: touristy activities) just in case the weather turns or you get really blown out on a hike.

Have fun.
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Postby highaltmama » Wed Jul 04, 2007 6:39 pm

Someone told me that Gingko Biloba helps with altitude. I've never tried it, but I just thought I would put that out there...

Maybe you can research it.
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Postby badger4 » Wed Jul 04, 2007 7:34 pm

Looks like a really fun schedule. I wish i could take 10 days off and just hang out in the hills. Oh well.

The only thing that i would do differently is switch Grays/Torreys with Elbert. Elbert has over 4,000 ft of gain from all trailheads vs. Grays at 3,000 from the Stevens Gulch Trailhead. Grays/Torreys is also a shorter hike. Just my opinion though.
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Postby cheeseburglar » Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:31 pm

Consider the cog railroad instead of driving up Pikes. Unless you really enjoy driving up a narrow windy road with a lot of SUV's on it!
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Thank you!

Postby angieelz » Thu Jul 05, 2007 6:25 am

Thank you, everyone!

We're still in the researching phase, but I wanted to make sure what we were thinking wasn't going to make us never want to try again. :lol:

That being said, we both have 2 liter camelpaks and will also pack extra water, just in case. When we were out there skiing, I drank water like it was going out of style! I think that helped tremendously.
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Postby seannunn » Thu Jul 05, 2007 7:10 am

I echo what a previous poster said about perhaps switching Elbert with a different mountain, or if that doesn't fit in your plans, I would personally climb Sherman instead of Elbert. You can probably do Elbert fine, but if that is going to be your first time above 10000 feet or so, you don't know exactly how your body will react and it might be better to try an easier mountain as your first one of the trip.

If you are going to RMNP, and you have handled all of the mountains on that list up to that point without huge difficulties, then you can't pass up the chance to climb Long's Peak. :wink: I have 23 14'ers so far and Long's was my personal favorite. Very tough but nothing over class 3, and the scenery is fantastic.

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Postby Charla aka Chulabelle » Thu Jul 05, 2007 7:27 am

I agree with the switch of Elbert. I just did Elbert last weekend and - I live here - I found it to be a lot harder than I'd expected or what most books rate it. It is steep.
I've done all the others you want to do and I loved Quandry. Grays was nice, too. Torreys just flowed after bagging Grays. Bierstandt was my first, so it seemed hard then, but I took my 55 year-old dad from New Mexico and brother from Texas up it (my second time) and they did fine.

PS....The drive up Evans is much nicer than Pikes! 8)
Have fun!!!!
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Postby cbauer10 » Thu Jul 05, 2007 8:03 am

I would say that the only hitch in your plan is Day 5. If you have never been rafting before, you will be surprised how much it takes out of you. Being in the water and sun all day just drains you. Not to mention the rowing. I would not expect to be well rested after rafting and do another 14er the next day. That is just my opinion. I think you could do it, you just might be more tired than you think you will be.
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Postby roozers42 » Thu Jul 05, 2007 8:04 am

I agree that Elbert is probably the most challenging on your list of peaks to climb. If you were to spend some time acclimating in RMNP and do some hikes around 10,000, I think starting with Elbert would be fine. It's longer and steeper than the others, but not too bad. I think your biggest concern for planning should be the weather. Elbert will be your longest day so watch the forecast and hike Elbert on the day when you will have the longest amount of time on the mountain. I think your itinerary sounds very doable and your rest days will be very helpful.
For what it's worth, a friend of mine just came out from Washington DC and climbed two days in a row - one 14er, three 13ers, about 22 miles and 7500 feet total. She did fine with the altitude although she said it made her feel a lot slower.
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Postby Beebo » Fri Jul 06, 2007 12:48 pm

If you have never been rafting before, you will be surprised how much it takes out of you. Being in the water and sun all day just drains you. Not to mention the rowing. I would not expect to be well rested after rafting and do another 14er the next day.

I agree with cbauer10's assessment. After spending the day prior rafting at the Royal Gorge, I was mildly sick during a hike of Bierstadt and Evans. I attribute that to poor hydration during rafting--it's hard to stay hydrated while on the river (as strange as that may sound). I noticed my guide had brought along a Nalgene on our raft trip; if I were to do it all over again, I'd do the same. With that said, your plans sound like fun (and totally doable). :D
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Postby Duffus Kentucky Climber » Fri Jul 06, 2007 1:52 pm

Coming from 900' elevation ourselves, my wife and I have found that a moderate day hike on the first day in Colorado, along with staying someplace in the 9,000 to 10,000 ft range at night helps to acclimate before a 14er on about the third day or so. The rest days mean more to us flatlanders than the natives, although it is hard to hold yourself back from engaging in some physical activity. We've started filling in the rest days between 14ers with flyfishing. That way we get out in the mountains without being worn out.
Hydrate and not too much alcohol. Be sure to have as much caffeine as you would at home to avoid vascular headaches that feel like the ones you get from ams.

I agree with the previous posts. There are plenty of 14ers without as much altitude gain as Elbert that may be easier to start on, but just get an early start and keep's hard to restart if you stop to rest. You are in for a treat.
It looks like the ridge is just right up there!
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Postby Hiking Mike » Fri Jul 06, 2007 1:55 pm

Are we crazy?

Generally, if you can ask that question, the answer is probably not. :)

My advice is just to stay flexible. Keep a good awareness of how you're responding physically and mentally to your plan, and change it if necessary. (Don't forget you're supposed to be having a good time.) Lots of planning is good so that you're prepared, but don't hold yourself captive to a rigid idea of what you want to be doing. Just my $.02...
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