Aborted Attempts and Successful Re-dos

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Re: Failed Attempts and Successful Re-dos

Post by nsaladin »

Little Bear and Crestone Peak. Did them both as snow climbs and turned around due to deteriorating snow conditions in the hourglass and just too late in the day for a safe summit of the Peak with the red gulley full of slush snow. Turned around a long way into both of those, and have never regretted either decision. Got Little Bear the following spring with perfect snow from the base of the hourglass to the summit. Did Crestone Peak a few weeks later completely dry. Also had a previous attempt on Little Bear where I turned around at the lake, just wasn’t feeling it that day (earlier spring conditions, snow from 10,000’).


Oh and Bierstadt... Attempted it in a whiteout in February (poor noob choice by not checking weather forecast in the middle of winter). Got across the willows and decided to call it, not being able to see the slopes right after the willows until I was on them. Went back and did it later that spring and got super sun burnt snowshoeing it from the normal winter closure on the pass.

Oh and attempted Columbia in super high winds during calendar winter, turned around at tree line. Came back a few weeks later for a summit.
Last edited by nsaladin on Fri Sep 04, 2020 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Failed Attempts and Successful Re-dos

Post by greenonion »

CaptCO wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 7:59 pm Humboldt — 14ers member was tired so turned around before treeline during winter conditions, got my truck almost stuck on SCL the second time, summit 3rd “attempt”

Tabeguache — afternoon hike with dog on Shavano, gusting 50+ at the saddle and getting dark; called it after Shav summit. Came back for alternate route

Lindsey — Florida boy didn’t understand driving in snow, even with a V8 & Blizzak tires. Got totally stuck and barely winched out the next day in freezing temps; by the only Jeep who made it to Lily Lake TH late fall

Antero — slow going and moderate avy risk/blizzard turned around at 13k, came back and did LBC route instead

Oxford - Windy, cold, and hard snow blow on Belford first summit; called off Oxford. Next attempt postholing up to the gulch with snowshoes, sunset summit on Oxford. Follow friends advice to go down alternate gulley.. Get lost in the dark, run into a couple mountain lions, jump off some ice falls, and spend the night frozen in a tiny mining “cave”. Overdue automatically called S&R and I came back from being half-asleep to a chopper around 4-5am (1/2 mile from truck visible in daylight)

Damn the 14ers are great
Attempting to intercept others' anticipated spew of CaptCo's Oxford experience... Dude owns up to it and is learning a lot doing all the 14ers in less than a year, coming from FL. Hoping we can all simply learn from these experiences, while keeping covid, dogs being shot, and other irrelevant things incommunicado. Thanks so far for all yall's experiences - they're important, and as one of you told me recently... even the worst hikes are the best days of my life.
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Re: Failed Attempts and Successful Re-dos

Post by lodgling »

I put up a Crestone Needle ski TR that fits this topic pretty well: https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepo ... trip=16001
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Re: Failed Attempts and Successful Re-dos

Post by 9patrickmurphy »

Curiously, after well over a hundred summits under my belt, I've only turned around maybe five times? Most of the time my plans fall through from just being too tired to get out of bed, or the weather looks bad. If the weather looks bad, I just don't go.

I did have a blast on the Apostles in early June this year where I hit it on a day where it rained all night before, making the rocks wet and the snow as soft as can be despite it being super cold. Went through the bushwack and a lot of postholing before calling it off on an exquisite weather day. Went back a month later for the slog and got it done.

Ended up not getting Mt Columbia a couple days after I climbed the Apostles (I blame the Apostles for taking it all out of me). Gained 13,374 first, went over to Harvard, was going to go to Columbia but who knew that Harvard is a tedious bitch on its own... Oh well, it'll be an easy winter summit or a spring ski!

The first time I tried for Bald Mountain A was in May the day after a snowstorm where wind was ripping up on the ridge. The closest I ever felt to actually freezing. I even went up later in the day to see if the wind had died down but no luck. Was a lot of workout for little reward. Went back a couple months later to a gorgeous day on a fun ridge, no wind. Being able to drive te 4WD road helps too.

The beauty of not being too discerning in what mountains you climb means you always have a good weather window somewhere. This weekend my girlfriend endured miserable graupel on Mt Evans while I enjoyed bluebird skies on Mt Powell on the same day. 13ers are more fun, but it's the good weather that makes it!
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Re: Failed Attempts and Successful Re-dos

Post by greenonion »

lodgling wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:03 pm I put up a Crestone Needle ski TR that fits this topic pretty well: https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepo ... trip=16001
VERY sweet... glad you didn't end up looking like your avatar :-D
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Re: Failed Attempts and Successful Re-dos

Post by Scott P »

Capitol took me three times and three different seasons.

We went up there in May 2005 (a very heavy snow year) and the avalanche danger was too high. The slope just below K2 was too unstable by the time we got there and had a huge fracture line. It was way too risky. We lost time attempting the direct ridge from Daly Saddle, which was harder than expected that time of year (near record snowpack) and arrived near K2 too late in the day for the conditions (it was still morning, but after sun-hit).

In early March 2006 we went up there, this time from Moon Lake. Conditions were pretty good (for winter), but by the time we broke trail up West Snowmass Creek everyone was too tired to make a summit attempt. Breaking trail up to the base and in virgin snow was very arduous. The others were demoralized and I was the only one that wanted to try it (I was in a bit better shape back then), but I didn't want to solo it in winter.

In September 2010, I climbed it with my 8 year old son and his 7 year old friend and her dad. It was straight foreward in September.
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Re: Failed Attempts and Successful Re-dos

Post by andrew85 »

Oh I've definitely had my fair share of failures, mostly due to not knowing how to choose good weather windows. Not really having any blueprint on how to get into the 14ers when I started and pretty much doing all of them solo, I've found I've had to be a lot more conservative in my decision making and if it's not meant to be that day, so be it. These are the ten I've had to turn around on, nine of which I've avenged:

2) Longs - Failed March 23, 2015, Summited July 3, 2015
Lol have no idea what I was expecting thinking I could just waltz up Longs as my second 14er in March with only Yaktrax as traction. Learned what postholing was that day as I gave up shortly after the Chasm Lake junction, honestly have no idea how I even got that far. Was able to come back for it in July though.

3) Capitol - Failed September 5, 2015, Summited September 27, 2015
That first attempt really had no chance in hell, somehow I had it in my mind that if I attempt Capitol from the West Snowmass Creek drainage, I could leave the door open to go after Snowmass as well. Ended up losing the trail and bushwacking for hours and by the time I finally found some idea of where I was, I was hours behind schedule and well below tree line. I came back three weeks later and was able to get it from the standard route.

4-5) Grays & Torreys - Failed February 2016, Summited March 13, 2016
First winter attempt, should have known something was up when I saw people ahead of me turning around but I drove all the way out there and needed to see for myself what was up. The wind was so brutal resulting in whiteout conditions that I was pretty much forced to turn back. Came back and summited in March (lol ran into a whiteout there too on Torrey's summit, but it wasn't as brutal as the February one and it was just a matter of waiting for visibility to advance).

X6) Snowmass - Failed July 2016
My first nemesis and currently only unavenged summit. I had day summited Capitol a few months prior and thought I could do the same with Snowmass only to get past Snowmass Lake, start ascending the scree slope, and get hit with altitude sickness so badly I was stopped dead in my tracks on a bluebird day. More than four years have passed and this still burns as my greatest failure, hiking 18+ miles and nothing to show for it. What was originally supposed to be my #6 hopefully will be my #50 in a few weeks.

6) Pyramid - Failed September 2016, Summited October 2016
Chose a bad weather window Labor Day weekend and had to turn around at the top of the amphitheater, came back a month later and summited on the first time I was literally the only person on the mountain.

7) Elbert - Failed February 2017, Summited March 2017
Same as Grays and Torreys, turned back due to wind. Was able to get the winter summit a few weeks later.

X11) Princeton - Failed March 2018
Had to turn around due to poor gloves and purple fingers on ideal winter conditions around 12,000'.

X17) Princeton - 2nd Failure March 2019
Saw recent avalanche activity on Tigger. Knowing that's the winter route, I didn't feel comfortable continuing and turned around before the radio towers.

X26) La Plata - Failed January 2020
Not sure what was going on with my boots, but I couldn't feel my toes around 12,900' and decided to turn around. Got back and checked and both my big toenails had turned black and stayed that way for five months.

26) Princeton - Failed March 2018 & March 2019, Summited February 2020
My second and perhaps greater nemesis as it took three winter attempts to summit. Knew I could get it anytime I wanted in summer conditions, but I was determined to even the score in winter for this one.

27) Yale - Failed February 2020, Summited March 2020
Lol continuing my trend of not being able to summit any of my winter 14ers on the first attempt. Simply got tired on this one having to break trail through the forest on the east route and didn't even make it to tree line. When I came back and summited a couple weeks later, it was clear no one had been there as my trench was still largely in tact (with so little snow pack this year, it seems people were just doing the standard route).

34) La Plata - Failed January 2020, Summited June 2020
Came back and got it from the SW route, saving the standard route to even the score for my winter failure.
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Re: Failed Attempts and Successful Re-dos

Post by JChitwood »

This thread will generate a lot of posts. I think overall I’ve been pretty lucky with turn backs. It helps that for many years I could I pick a good forecast and go at the last minute. Now I can go anytime so that’s even better.

Audubon - Still lived in Illinois but while visiting a friend in Lyons drove up for a “quick” attempt. Altitude sick half way up and stumbled back to the car. Was back in CO a month later and made the summit. Altitude sick again on way down. A recurring problem for me.

La Plata - Turned back twice in fall of 1999 first time due to a late start second time a rare October electrical storm. Finally made summit on Oct 23 after attempting 3 straight weekends.

Huron - Attempted first Sunday of November in 1999. Was in such disbelief at the sheer volume of vehicles at the trailhead that I decided to try the non-standard Southwest Slopes. Ended up on steep talus at 2 in the afternoon with no idea where the summit was, no headlamps, and 3 hours until sunset. Lucky we could backtrack and make it to the trailhead by dark. I went back on July 4 the next year and wisely went the standard route to the summit. Still feel bad the turnaround the previous attempt cost my wife a summit. She never went back and now can’t hike the big peaks.

Sunlight/Windom - Fast forward many years to 2014. Hiked into Chicago Basin and set up camp with the intention of doing all the 14ers and Jupiter. Got Eolus and North E the first day, then snacked on some salami back at camp that had been open for several days. Thought dried meat was good for a long time like jerky. Not the case as the next morning I was ralphing. Gave it a go but didn’t even make it to Twin Lakes. The hike back to the train was no fun either lots of visits to the bushes in a downpour. Went back the next July and got the 14ers but got stormed out of Jupiter. That’s when I christened it the Weminuche Rain Forest. Still haven’t been back to get Jupiter.

Ice/Apostle - In July 2016 got invited to hike all the Apostles with two folks who had done them several times. Unfortunately I had sprained my ankle on Thunder one month before and it was still tender. Gave it a go but turned around after a half hour on talus. Still haven’t been back.

Gladstone - Attempted from Cross Mtn side in Sept 2019. Nothing in the tank that day and gave up at the pass. Went back a month later on October 8 and made the summit on a perfect day. Still pretty shocked about that one.

Meeker - My current white whale. Attempted solo on a perfect day just after Labor Day of 2017. Was mentally out of it and turned back half way up the Loft. A nice doctor from Wyoming had died the week before descending Challenger and I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Also that was the summer of carnage on Cap which weighed heavy on everybody. Attempted Meeker again this July another day with no energy. Lots of reasons including little sleep and starting too fast. Just guesses.

All in all not too many failed attempts for 26 years of hiking peaks.
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Re: Failed Attempts and Successful Re-dos

Post by Harrison »

I've had to turn around twice, but I'm also not out there as frequently as others.

2015 Mt. Massive via Southwest Slopes. Spent too long going the wrong way (ill-prepared) and when we finally got back on trail and were nearing the ridge, a storm shut us down.
2017 Mt. Massive via East Slopes was the redemption day, although I nearly pulled the plug shortly above treeline. I had spent my effort trying to get the group on the road, field questions about our route, expectations, where to get water, etc. and forgot to eat until well into the hike.

2020 Little Bear via West Ridge & Southwest Face. No successful re-do, yet. Hiked through fog early, with us remaining in clouds and some drizzle the entire route. Some debate on if we arrived at the hourglass or not due to the poor visibility, but the route turned significantly more vertical. Between poor visibility and wet rocks, we called off the hike.
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Re: Failed Attempts and Successful Re-dos

Post by rgsaxman »

Attempting to complete the 14ers from Florida over the years, I value efficiency as my time is limited. That being said, I've had a few days where I had to bail on plans for one reason or another.

2011: Crestones, didn't even make the planned approach because I blew out a pair of boots on a successful ascent of Rio Grande Pyramid (coupled with my uncle's terrible blisters covering the entirety of both heels). Got redemption on the Needle in 2015.
2012: Massive, Turned back on a bluebird day after hiking Elbert the day prior (feeling fatigued due to poor acclimation/sinus infection)...got redemption the following year.
2013: Crestone Peak, Went up Cottonwood Creek in pretty steady rain and after spending a damp night at 11,100' we made the decision to not push our luck with all of the water coming down.
2014: Sunshine/Redcloud, Turned around about a mile in. Feeling the effects of antibiotics and a climb of Sneffels SW Ridge the day before....redemption came the following year.
2015: Lindsey, Bailed around 12,000' after getting a late start and T-storms coming in fast and heavy...got redemption in 2017.
Ellingwood, gave up on making the simple traverse from Blanca. Feeling fatigued after driving from Denver overnight and hiking from the bottom of the road....this one still stings, I should have
just followed the ridge! Looking forward to attempting the SW Ridge at my earliest convenience.
2019: Meeker, This one isn't so much a failure, more of a failure-to-launch. Backpacked in along Hunters Creek and slept in because the weather was sketchy. Later in the morning I went up on a recon
hike to about 11,600' and realized I could have made it easily had I started earlier. Will definitely come back via the same approach as the area was so nice.

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Re: Failed Attempts and Successful Re-dos

Post by TomPierce »

And now for something completely different...

The OP's query was about "any mountains" or "adventures in general," so...I've been a broken record on this site about my love for more obscure adventures in the "high desert." I only do a trip report about every 5-10 years, thus it's hard to share pics, but I recalled that Dave Goldstein put up a short, excellent report with great photos about a mesa out west that I got up a few years back, it's a good example of what I'm talking about:


With that as a backdrop, here are some categories of my aborts:

Routefinding/Partner Issues: Pt. 6716, above, and several others. Some of these obscure mesas and towers, all 5th class fwiw, have no known ascents. It thus takes a lot of time just to find a viable ascent route. Multiple trips, sometimes over a couple of years. Just figuring out where to attack leads to many aborts. So too with partner issues. Sometimes various partners aren't comfortable going forward, and I fully respect that. I too have turned around when on a climbing team due to what I thought was just too much risk, e.g. a possible avalanche concern. It's a totally independent decision each climber needs to make for him/herself.

Cowardice?/Gear: On one mesa/peak in Dinosaur National Monument I wimped out on a line, just cowardice. If I'd fallen I would have decked, and the gear was mostly psychological in crappy sandstone. Being in approach boots didn't help. I actually bailed off and left a piece behind for a rappel anchor, I hate doing that. I later went back with arguably better gear and rock shoes, summitted with a long time partner, just a great day of climbing. But it's a climb I won't repeat, too risky if I fell.

Weather/Cowardice: Lizard Head: Lizard Head took me 3 attempts, due to weather and nerves. First time was way back in the early/mid 90's, well before social media and thus before LH had been cleaned up by traffic. The looseness of the rock was horrific, so hard to convey now. So we backed off at the base. Weathered off another time years later before we even launched (lightning), then we came back a few weeks later and had a great day of climbing up the "Original Route."

Just a few examples, fun thread.

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Re: Failed Attempts and Successful Re-dos

Post by rijaca »

Too many failed attempts to list.

It's a success if I get out of the vehicle and start hiking.
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