Climbing a 14er the last week of September

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Climbing a 14er the last week of September

Postby levitsky3girl » Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:35 am

My husband and I have done a lot of hiking but have never climbed a 14er. We are thinking of climbing Mt. Bierstadt around the 25th of September. Are conditions usually okay this late in the month? What nearby hikes would you recommend to warm up on and acclimate to the elevation? (We are from the east coast.) Also, can you recommend some camping spots nearby? Can you park overnight at the trailhead so you can get an early start the day of your hike?
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Re: Climbing a 14er the last week of September

Postby fahixson » Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:05 am

I hiked Bierstadt on Sept 22 about 5 years ago. Temps were a little chilly and a windy day could make it downright cold. I recall wearing a ski jacket shell, gloves, and hat to cover my ears rather than my typical summer gear. I didn't have to deal with any snow or ice on the trail though.

Go to the Bierstadt Trip Reports page and turn off all the months except Sept. That should give you a decent idea of what previous folks have experienced on the trail in late Sept. Conditions will vary from year to year, but if you find reports from the last week or so in Sept across a number of years, you'd likely have an idea of what your average Sept 25th might look like.

As for your other questions, I'm sure others have better suggestions for warm-up hikes, camping spots, and overnight parking. I don't know the answers off the top of my head. You might try searching the forum for key words like "acclimate", "Guenella Pass camping", etc. If you already do a lot of hiking, you may already be well prepared for Bierstadt. Taking it slow and drinking lots of water works for me.

Good luck!
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Re: Climbing a 14er the last week of September

Postby pseudoghost » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:24 pm

Unless we get an early snowstorm, you'll be fine as far as the climb goes. Just remember that the days are a bit shorter in late september, and it will be colder up there so bring extra layers. Most years you can climb with just a few extra layers well into October or even November depending on snowfall.

I'm not sure when the road closes, so you might check on that.

As far as camping goes, there are plenty of dispersed campsites along Guanella Pass and I think there are two established campgrounds there as well. You probably won't have a problem finding a site at one of the USFS campgrounds that late in the season. All of the campsites along the pass are less than 15 minutes from the trailhead, so I would camp there instead of at the trailhead.
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Re: Climbing a 14er the last week of September

Postby Tortoise1 » Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:57 pm

No way to know what the snow conditions will be like. If snow Bierstadt will certainly have a beaten path to the top although Yaktrax or such might be a good idea. 12 miles west of Georgetown, exit 216/highway 6, you can drive up to Loveland Pass at 12k feet, paved road/good parking, then hike east or west on good trails. East in a fairly short hike is Mount Sniktau at 13.2k but about 1600 or 1700 feet of total elevation gain. It's a nice way to get some elevation without wearing out your legs to get there.

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