14er itinerary/roadmap Suggestion for a first timer

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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januse86
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14er itinerary/roadmap Suggestion for a first timer

Post by januse86 » Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:41 pm

Hello from New England folks!

So the way things are looking currently Sneffels may be my 1st 14er. I will be coming down from the tetons to the ouray/telluride region and will probably Attempt the summit on the 1st or 2nd of september. After this I was just going to wing everything until my flight out of denver on the afternoon of sept 8th. Most likely going to take a trip to mesa verde and check that out, and then start heading towards denver from there on. Any other doable 14ers (max class 3) on the way from mesa verda to denver?

I'm guestimating i'll have from the 3rd until the 8th to get from mesa verde/durango region to Denver. If I could fit one or two more 14ers in that time span on my way to denver that would be amazing. Just looking for some thoughts and suggestions. Or maybe even see something else that is also worth visiting.

Thanks!

P.S. i'll be in a rav4 or equivalent rental the entire time, not sure if that may make some difference for some trailheads vs a regular 2wd sedan.
roy1745
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Re: 14er itinerary/roadmap Suggestion for a first timer

Post by roy1745 » Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:42 pm

With that amount of time you really have all sorts of options. One option could be to head east on 160 towards Walsenburg and climb Lindsey. When I hiked it we drove my brother in laws outback to the upper trailhead and based on the trailhead reports looks like you should be fine in a Rav4 type of vehicle. From there you could head north and either look at Humboldt or go all the way to the springs and hike Pikes Peak.

Another option would be to take 160 over to 285 and head north towards the Buena Vista or Leadville area and have all sorts of options. If you went this direction I'd say Huron, Yale, Missouri, La Plata or Massive would be peaks I'd take a look at based on what you're looking for and your vehicle. The Huron road says 4wd to the upper trailhead, but I don't remember it being that bad and current reports seem to state the same. If you were to do Massive I would recommend the SW Slopes route instead of the standard route.
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Cruiser
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Re: 14er itinerary/roadmap Suggestion for a first timer

Post by Cruiser » Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:01 am

If you're going to be that far south anyway then I'd suggest spending more time climbing in the San Juans. For us sad front rangers the San Juans are like Shangri la. You get down there and you never want to leave. You could drive to grizzly gulch and camp for a couple of days while you climb Handies, Redcloud & Sunshine. Or head over to Lake City and have a go at Uncompaghre.

I love the Sawatch and driving back up 160 & 285 after Mesa Verde would get you closer to DIA but, again, if you're already in the San Juans then you want stay there as long as you can.
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januse86
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Re: 14er itinerary/roadmap Suggestion for a first timer

Post by januse86 » Fri Aug 21, 2020 9:33 am

Cruiser wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:01 am
If you're going to be that far south anyway then I'd suggest spending more time climbing in the San Juans. For us sad front rangers the San Juans are like Shangri la. You get down there and you never want to leave. You could drive to grizzly gulch and camp for a couple of days while you climb Handies, Redcloud & Sunshine. Or head over to Lake City and have a go at Uncompaghre.

I love the Sawatch and driving back up 160 & 285 after Mesa Verde would get you closer to DIA but, again, if you're already in the San Juans then you want stay there as long as you can.
I was contemplating doing more peaks in the san Juans as well. Plus I've been reading reports that the san Juans are not as affected by the smoke from the fires as the other ranges are. At the same time if go up 285 I'll be able to significantly up my 14er count by simply smashing the DeCaliBron loop real quick, as it seems like a fairly easy loop by my hiking standards.

But speaking of the Grizzly Gulch TH in the san juans... is doing redcloud, Sunshine, and Handies in the same day something that is doable? In terms of mileage that would make it a 20 mile day with roughly 8200ft of elevation gain which isn't foreign to me. I've banged out a few 20-25 milers with 7-10k of elevation gains out here in the north east before. Clearly that would have me being on at least one of the summits past noon and I know the general rule of thumb is you want to be off the peaks by noon due to afternoon thunderstorms. Should I follow that rule strictly? or are there exceptions that can be made if the weather outlook looks clear?
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Re: 14er itinerary/roadmap Suggestion for a first timer

Post by glenmiz » Fri Aug 21, 2020 11:30 am

There are no "easy" 14ers, only easier ones. Be careful and have a great trip.
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Re: 14er itinerary/roadmap Suggestion for a first timer

Post by Cruiser » Fri Aug 21, 2020 2:06 pm

By early September the afternoon rains are starting to become less frequent so longer days are a little more reasonable but you certainly have to keep your head on a swivel looking for clouds building in any direction.

I think plenty of folks knock those 3 out in a day from grizzly gulch. Like you said, it's a big day. But it's not unrealistic since both hikes are on good trails pretty much the whole way. I'd do it in 2 days tho because there is no reason to rush in that area since the scenery is so darn pleasant. Maybe shoot for R&S the first day. Then, on day 2, do the loop up Handies from grizzly gulch and down through the American basin. Day 3 you could cruise down to Lake City for a resupply before heading up Unc on day 4? Heck, if you were frisky you could do Unc and Wetterhorn as a combo on day 4 from Matterhorn creek.
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Re: 14er itinerary/roadmap Suggestion for a first timer

Post by nunns » Fri Aug 21, 2020 2:34 pm

Don't want to be your mom but if you have never been near 14000', watch out for the altitude. Hiking mountains in New England and hiking/climbing mountains in CO are different animals. For some people a little different; for others, an entirely new planet. If you are hanging around Ouray for a little while before climbing, you will probably figure out pretty quickly how well you handle altitude though.

Sean Nunn
"Thy righteousness is like the great mountains." --Psalms 36:6
januse86
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Re: 14er itinerary/roadmap Suggestion for a first timer

Post by januse86 » Fri Aug 21, 2020 7:39 pm

Cruiser wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 2:06 pm
Then, on day 2, do the loop up Handies from grizzly gulch and down through the American basin. Day 3 you could cruise down to Lake City for a resupply before heading up Unc on day 4? Heck, if you were frisky you could do Unc and Wetterhorn as a combo on day 4 from Matterhorn creek.
I did take a look on the alltrails app and did see the wetter and unc combo being done in about 17-18 miles, mileage wise would be long but doable. Altitude would be the biggest factor, I could always camp it out in the basin and stretch that out for another day too. Definitely an option after a resupply.
nunns wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 2:34 pm
Don't want to be your mom but if you have never been near 14000', watch out for the altitude. Hiking mountains in New England and hiking/climbing mountains in CO are different animals. For some people a little different; for others, an entirely new planet. If you are hanging around Ouray for a little while before climbing, you will probably figure out pretty quickly how well you handle altitude though.

Sean Nunn
I've never been in colorado, but I have been as High as 16,500ft down in peru, and yea.... the whole air situation was gnarly. At a less then average uphill pace I was gasping for air worse than after a suicide sprint drill lol. But ill be in the tetons going for the south and middle teton on the 29th and the 30th, so hopefully that will help with the acclimatization. From there Im planning to do a straight shot to ouray, either stay in town or camp out near the sneffels trail head before attempting that. I shall play it all by ear! But thanks for the concern mother!

Just messin, all suggestions, concerns, and advice is taken with utmost appreciation and will take into serious consideration especially from more experienced folk who have been around the block so to speak. I thank you :bow:

Another question, is driving from the san juans through the aspen area a good use of my time as a first time CO visitor? or would my time be better spent going toward the sand dunes and checking that out? thanks
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Re: 14er itinerary/roadmap Suggestion for a first timer

Post by januse86 » Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:56 pm

Hello again folks, just finished sneffels earlier today via the SW ridge to grab my first 14er summit. The ice and snow made it nice and sketchy. But it got done lol.

From ouray, what's the best way to get to the grizzly gulch trailhead for sunshine/redcloud/handies peaks? I'm In a Chevy equinox rental and was wondering if going through Silverton was a possibility since it's the shorter option, or do I drive the 3 hours around to lake city?
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Re: 14er itinerary/roadmap Suggestion for a first timer

Post by osprey » Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:58 pm

Lake City.
"Rocks, mountains, snow and ice: what more do we desire?" - Reinhard Karl

“I breathed in the air on the summit and liked it better than the air below.”
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