First routes to open up in the spring?

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J Gregg
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First routes to open up in the spring?

Post by J Gregg »

Howdy,

Are there certain routes/peaks that traditionally clear up first for regular hiking (not requiring crampons or snow shoes)? I’m new to 14ers (did Bierstadt Greys and Torreys last year) and want to get an early start this year but don’t really want take any undue risk if I don’t have. Any suggestions critiques are welcome, I don’t get offended. Shoot it to me straight, thanks.

Joshua
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-wren-
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Re: First routes to open up in the spring?

Post by -wren- »

Sniktau is only a 13er but can be done 85-90+ percent of the year with no special gear since the trail starts on a ridge above treeline, elbert and quandary clean up fairly quick as well. My advice would be to just keep an eye on condition updates which will start rolling in very quick by june.
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hellmanm
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Re: First routes to open up in the spring?

Post by hellmanm »

I agree w/the above. Your best bet would be a A: south-facing route that B: stays mostly on a ridge in C: an area where there isn't as much annual snowfall (those are the 3 criteria that come to mind).

For 14ers, things like Shavano, Quandary, and Pikes are good early peaks. Probably Humboldt too, but I haven't climbed it so I won't speak to it.
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Bombay2Boulder
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Re: First routes to open up in the spring?

Post by Bombay2Boulder »

If you are open to non high peaks, look into doing the skyline traverse in Boulder. Will mostly be dried out in a month or require microspikes in some sections. Shoulder season is kind of all over the place and can be a slog without snowshoes. Look into SquareTop too by Bierstadt, it will require snowshoes at the least early season. Audobon is another one in front range but will require snowshoes. Check out Marble Mtn too for late May if you are hell bent for no snowshoes.
What time frame are you looking at here? All of the San Juans are pretty well covered right now and will be for all April till mid may.
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Re: First routes to open up in the spring?

Post by cheechaco »

I usually start with lower peaks in early-mid spring. I'm in the metro so I typically start with stuff in Lost Creek Wilderness, maybe even lower south facing slopes in Mt Evans Wilderness. This lets me start getting a solid base but also let's me see first hand what conditions are like. Then I just push elevation as I see fit.
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SchralpTheGnar
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Re: First routes to open up in the spring?

Post by SchralpTheGnar »

That goes for the rest of you non-snowers too, stay of the high peaks till the snow clears!
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Cide
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Re: First routes to open up in the spring?

Post by Cide »

Check daily for peak conditions with pictures, may have alot more success in the Facebook groups in this regard. I would start with potential peaks with routes of low class and low avy danger so think steepness on and above the trail you are doing. If you find something, post and ask about considerations on the route. There are common points to consider on many routes. For example Kit Carson's avenue on the standard stays snowed in for awhile longer then the surrounding terrain.

For me, I scanned routes on many peaks and looked into past posts mentioning these routes at the same time, (like trip reports for the same route at the same time of year). Takes a little investigation but with the number of picture posts and conditions updates that starts occurring soon you can make general assessments/assumptions with decent accuracy on potential hikes.
"Salients in the Void"
Permitting the CO 14ers, A Slow March to a Sad Future.
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Cide
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Re: First routes to open up in the spring?

Post by Cide »

I would also second hellman's comment with the ABC criteria as a great starting place.
"Salients in the Void"
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J Gregg
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Re: First routes to open up in the spring?

Post by J Gregg »

Thanks everyone for the input and tips. The ABC rule makes sense. I’m hoping to start putting some miles behind me by May, possibly this month if my schedule works out and the conditions are adequate.
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