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Colorado 2021 planning

Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 8:55 pm
by WanderingJim
So, in 2018 I did eight 14ers (Elbert, Oxford, Belford, Massive, Huron, Democrat, Lincoln, Bross) and I’m planning on trying to do some more in 2021. I originally was thinking of going to Japan to do the Japan alps and Fuji again this year, but COVID-19 messed up those plans. I hadn’t done it last year to avoid the Olympics, but now they are (probably) happening this year, plus flying internationally is still a big question mark that I don’t want to bet my summer on. So Looking at my list, I decided Colorado was least likely to be impacted by COVID-19 this year since it’s only a 1.5 day drive for me from California.

Baring weather problems that kept me from doing it in 2018, I plan to do 5 days or so doing the Chicago Basin and as many of the 14ers there as I can. Might be too early to know if the train will be available or not, but I can do the extra day(s) from the Purgatory Trailhead if needed.

I’d also kind of like to do Elbert and Massive again.

Other than that, I’m open for suggestions.

Since I did the entire JMT last year, I was thinking about the Colorado trail, but not all of it.
Is there a particular scenic section that I should look closer at?
Are there any good 14er combos with it?
What are typical resupply points and strategy for handling it?
I was thinking that starting around Leadville on the Colorado Trail, doing day trips west to do Massive, then Elbert, then Harvard, Columbia, Yale might be a possible long trek incorporating 14ers and part of the Colorado Trail.

Are there any permits or restrictions that have changed since 2018? I was happy that there weren’t any permits to worry about back then and I was able to adjust my plans on the fly.

I’ll have 3 weeks to do it in August.

Re: Colorado 2021 planning

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:04 pm
by dwoodward13
Since you are already planning on Chicago Basin and looking at combining 14ers with distance hiking, I'd look at the Elk Park-Needleton loop. You can add on the Basin 14ers to that. You'd need the train to be running or find a way to hitch back to Molas/Purgatory.

Permits are probably TBD still. Places last year had parking permits to limit capacity due to COVID. Off the top of my head the only ones affecting 14ers were at RMNP and Maroon Bells Scenic Area. RMNP said they will not return at this point for the upcoming season, haven't heard about the Bells though. Places you are looking at should be fine however.

Re: Colorado 2021 planning

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:52 pm
by stephakett
https://coloradotrail.org/wp-content/up ... ighRes.jpg

the CT segments 7/8 through 11 go from Breckenridge to Twin Lakes, which would afford you access to the trailheads for Massive & Elbert and would be a nice warmup for your legs before you start hitting the big boys down south in the San Juans.

OR you could hike CT segments #3-6 in Lost Creek Wilderness and then side trip Elbert and Massive on your way down to Chi Basin for a little more scenic variety.

my personal pick would be any of the Collegiate Loop segments that go from Twin lakes to Salida. on the east route you can grab Columbia and Harvard, Princeton or Yale, and from the west Huron is definitely worth the trip.

also @Justiner put this together, which is pretty neat. i think
https://justinsimoni.com/2018/11/10/how ... -included/

Re: Colorado 2021 planning

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 1:50 pm
by peter303
You can combine the Colorado Trail and 14ers in the Sawatch range. The trail bifurcates into an east branch and west branch there. Then you can make a 160 mile 2 week loop out of it, including some days to climb 14ers. It sounds that you havent climbed the southern half yet. There are ample towns for resupply on the east leg. I dont know about the west leg.

https://coloradotrail.org/traveling-the ... east-west/

Re: Colorado 2021 planning

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 6:08 pm
by Hiking_TheRockies
I'd recommend doing groups of 14ers instead of single ones at a time to maximize how many you can climb and be efficient. 3 weeks isn't a super long time period, and I'm assuming your wanting rest breaks in between hikes? If that's the case, than I'd recommend doing Torreys and Grays (day trip), Shavano and Tabeguache (day trip), Chicago Basin/Purgatory peaks (multi-day trip), Kit Carson and Challenger (1 day trip from the trailhead, but will probably be a 2-day trip if you're driving to the Sangres from the Denver area), Bierstadt and Evans (day trip), Harvard and Columbia (day trip, but you might want to camp because it's a long 15 miles), Castle and Conundrum (day trip, but possibly multi-day because of the 4-hour drive from Denver area), Blanca and Ellingwood (same as Kit Carson-Challenger note), and spending a 2-5 days in Telluride, where you have access to 4 different 14ers. I didn't add the great traverses because those are pretty difficult, but you can do any of them if you want. Those are my recommendations, and you don't have to do them in any particular order. You said you wanted to do Elbert and Massive, which is totally fine. If your hiking each independently on different days, which should take 2 days (3 if you take a day off in between the hikes), which still leaves lots of time for other 14ers. There are tons of other 14ers out there that you can hike independently, so you don't have to follow my advice and do them in groups.

I hope this was helpful, and be safe on your 14er journey!

Re: Colorado 2021 planning

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:36 am
by WanderingJim
The East-West loop looks promising.

So are there bear boxes or some other places to stash resupplies along the way?

Re: Colorado 2021 planning

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:52 am
by Jon Frohlich
WanderingJim wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:36 am The East-West loop looks promising.

So are there bear boxes or some other places to stash resupplies along the way?
Bear boxes aren't a thing in Colorado. You'd have to figure out your own method of resupply.

Re: Colorado 2021 planning

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:49 pm
by WanderingJim
Is there a good source of of an up-to-date GPX files for all the Colorado Trail Segments.

I found one, but based on the descriptions in the Colorado Trail guidebook (and the waypoints for the book) they seem to be outdated.

BTW, does early or late August have more thunderstorms? Or is it about even?

Re: Colorado 2021 planning

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:17 pm
by EatinHardtack
Dude just go into the La Garitas and take in the backcountry for a few days. Do San Luis, Organ, Stewart, something else. Take a fishing pole and enjoy not being around people.

Re: Colorado 2021 planning

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:45 pm
by DeTour
WanderingJim wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:49 pm BTW, does early or late August have more thunderstorms? Or is it about even?
First half or so of August tends to have more thunderstorms. The annual "monsoon season" typically comes to an end sometime in late August,r as temperatures drop a little. I've been coming out for 1-2 weeks yearly since 2007, generally end of August-early September, and have had good luck dodging storms most of the time.

Re: Colorado 2021 planning

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:19 pm
by peter303
The Colorado Trial splits into an East section and West section in Sawatch range. This forms a 165 mile loop. I have heard you can hike this in about two weeks and climb several 14ers, although I have not done this loop myself. I have climbed all the Sawatch 14ers several times and intercepted the Colorado Trail on many of those hikes. The East trail is urbanized with resupply options in Leadville, Grant, Buena Vista and Salida. I dont know of resupply options on the West Trail. Perhaps other readers can make suggestions.

https://coloradotrail.org/traveling-the ... east-west/

Re: Colorado 2021 planning

Posted: Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:43 am
by greenonion
Jon Frohlich wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:52 am
WanderingJim wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:36 am The East-West loop looks promising.

So are there bear boxes or some other places to stash resupplies along the way?
Bear boxes aren't a thing in Colorado. You'd have to figure out your own method of resupply.
They are at Capitol Lake. At least they have been recently. (But I realize he isn't including Cap in these plans.)