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View Full Version : Who wants to climb a 14er?



Laser Jock
2005-Jun-10, 05:12 PM
It's summer time in the Rockies =D> =D> , so it's time to start climbing the mountains instead of skiing them. The tallest mountains in Colorado are the mountains over 14,000 feet (4267 m), and are affectionately known as "14ers" (http://www.14ers.com/). We officially have 53 of these 14ers -- more than any other state including Alaska (they may have some that are taller, but we have a larger number that are over 14,000 feet). I have climbed 10 of these and climbing all 53 of them is a point of pride here in Colorado.

I plan to climb several more of these beauties this summer, and I'm always looking for a climbing partner. If any of the Colorado BABBlers (or anyone outside the state for that matter) wants to climb one, let me know. I could either meet you at the trailhead, or if it's convenient, pick you up along the way. A note of caution: there's not a lot of oxygen at high altitude so unless you are in good shape (especially if you live at sea level), you will be hurting if you try one of these. I'm not carrying anyone down. [-(

Tomorrow, I'm planning to climb Mt. Sherman (http://www.14ers.com/photos/MtSherman/p_mtsherman.html). It's considered to be one of the easiest ones so it will be a good warm-up. Anyone interested?

teddyv
2005-Jun-10, 05:22 PM
I won't be in Colorado to join you unfortunately.

What kind of elevation are the trailheads at? Can you do them in a day?

A friend of mine did Mt. Baker last year (its only 10,000') but its an overnight trip because of the glacier walking (the crevasses open up in the afternoon). You also need mountaineering gear.

As an aside, I was on Mauna Kea (also around 14,000') and can attest to the lack of oxygen. Just walking a short way was amazingly tiring, even though I'm in pretty good (not great) shape.

Russ
2005-Jun-10, 05:25 PM
I've been up "Longs Peak" in Rocky Mountain National Park and Pikes Peak near COsprings. I think that's all the long term panting I care to do. :roll:

Laser Jock
2005-Jun-10, 05:34 PM
What kind of elevation are the trailheads at? Can you do them in a day?



It depends. The trailheads can be as low as 6,600 feet (Pikes Peak) and as high as 12,000 feet (Mt. Democrat, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Bross). I think just about all of them can be done in a day (if you get an early enough start). I've never taken more than a day to climb any of them. They are a lot easier to climb if you don't have to carry camping gear.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Jun-10, 05:39 PM
So how long would you have to camp at 10K feet to make 14K less challenging? I mean, is acclimation a worthy thing to do, or does it not make much difference?

In skydiving, we can go to 15K without O2. From 15K to 20K we need O2 in the plane. Above 20K you need the addition of a bailout bottle.

There has been a couple occasions where we were cruising around at 14 - 15K looking for a hole in the clouds and you can definitely start to feel yourself getting lightheaded.

Laser Jock
2005-Jun-10, 05:58 PM
So how long would you have to camp at 10K feet to make 14K less challenging? I mean, is acclimation a worthy thing to do, or does it not make much difference?


I think it would help a little to camp the night before at 10K. Full acclimation takes almost a month, but I've heard that you can get about 50% acclimated in the first 48 hours.

Argos
2005-Jun-10, 06:37 PM
Oh, happy you. The highest elevation in my area is...150 feet. Have fun in the Rockies. :)

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jun-10, 07:03 PM
I've been up "Longs Peak" in Rocky Mountain National Park and Pikes Peak near COsprings. I think that's all the long term panting I care to do. :roll:
Once started up to climb the diamond (http://www.philarmitage.net/rmnp/rockies207.html) on Longs Peak the day after Thanksgiving. A storm blew in while we camped the night before on Chasm Lake at 12000 ft. We drank the lake water but we had to chop through about a foot of ice first, and our poly bottles would freeze shut before we got them back in the tents. A storm blew our (their new) tent down in the night, and visibility was near zero in the morning. We walked down.

tlbs101
2005-Jun-10, 09:23 PM
I wish I could go. :(
I have too many commitments in Albuquerque.

Keep me informed, though. I might have a spare weekend within a month.

Living at 6000' elevation gives me a leg (lung) up. I have hiked Sandia Peak (10,300) and S. Sandia Peak (9,800) a few times without difficulty. It's great fun.

I notice that the rating is class 2. Have you ever done any technical climbs (class 5)? I used to be rated for class 5.0, but I never got any better than that. I also climbed up to 12k ft. on Mt. Rainier, but weather kept us from the summit.

Laser Jock
2005-Jun-10, 09:38 PM
I wish I could go. :(
I have too many commitments in Albuquerque.

Keep me informed, though. I might have a spare weekend within a month.


Will do. I have this weekend free, but it's the last one for while. I'm planning to climb Mt. Harvard (http://www.14ers.com/photos/MtHarvard/p_mtharvard.html) or Mt. Princeton (http://www.14ers.com/photos/MtPrinceton/p_mtprinceton.html) on July 9, something else (I'm not sure what) on the 16th, Mt. Elbert (http://www.14ers.com/photos/MtElbert/p_mtelbert.html) on the 23rd, and Pikes Peak on the 26th.


I notice that the rating is class 2. Have you ever done any technical climbs (class 5)? I used to be rated for class 5.0, but I never got any better than that. I also climbed up to 12k ft. on Mt. Rainier, but weather kept us from the summit.

No technical climbing for me. I might consider a class 3, but that's it.

Maksutov
2005-Jun-10, 09:50 PM
I won't be in Colorado to join you unfortunately.

What kind of elevation are the trailheads at? Can you do them in a day?

A friend of mine did Mt. Baker last year (its only 10,000') but its an overnight trip because of the glacier walking (the crevasses open up in the afternoon). You also need mountaineering gear.

As an aside, I was on Mauna Kea (also around 14,000') and can attest to the lack of oxygen. Just walking a short way was amazingly tiring, even though I'm in pretty good (not great) shape.
They all can be done in a day. But the catch is you have to start really early, not so much due to the length of the hike, but instead, to be up to the peak and down below treeline before the afternoon thunderstorms come rumbling in.

Due to a late start I got caught above treeline in the Sawatch Range and spent a hectic hour or so in a rockfall "cave" enjoying the lightning dancing around and the booming thunder. Plus some of the electrostatic effects were quite interesting.

The highest peak, Mt. Elbert, is, if you're acclimated, a relatively easy walk up after the snows are mostly gone. The trailhead in Twin Lakes is around 10000 feet, so it's about 4500 feet vertical, with no technical areas.

Colorado is a beautiful state.

Laser Jock
2005-Jun-10, 10:00 PM
They all can be done in a day. But the catch is you have to start really early, not so much due to the length of the hike, but instead, to be up to the peak and down below treeline before the afternoon thunderstorms come rumbling in.

Due to a late start I got caught above treeline in the Sawatch Range and spent a hectic hour or so in a rockfall "cave" enjoying the lightning dancing around and the booming thunder. Plus some of the electrostatic effects were quite interesting.


I had a similar experience on Pikes Peak once. Very not fun.


Colorado is a beautiful state.

=D> =D> =D>

hippietrekx
2005-Jun-11, 03:59 AM
Mountain Climbing would seem neat to do, but I couldn't... At least not as long as these asthma symptoms are always as bad as they are... :roll: They seem to be getting worse with age. I'm barely even able to do my 3-mile bike ride each day anymore. :-?

I hate my stupid respratory system... :(

I hope you have fun though!

--htx

gethen
2005-Jun-11, 01:12 PM
I'm extremely jealous, Laser Jock. I got my first taste of altitude hiking last summer, doing Flat Top (about 12,300) with a friend who has lots of experience at altitude. The trailhead was somewhere around 9000 and that was one of the most difficult and exhiliarating things I've ever done. I'd like to try Long's Peak someday, but at my age, and considering the two day drive to Colorado, it might not happen.
Be careful and stay safe. Probably don't need to tell you that. :wink:

Laser Jock
2005-Jun-11, 09:19 PM
I'm back from climbing Mt. Sherman. It was great (despite the cold, a lot of wind, and a lot of snow :o ). I'll give all the details later.

Brady Yoon
2005-Jun-11, 10:43 PM
The highest elevation I have been to is around 12,500 in Rocky Mountain National Park, near the Alpine Visitor Center at the very top.

I want to climb a 14er so much...maybe Mt. Whitney over summer with my family. :)

Torsten
2005-Jun-11, 11:13 PM
I'm back from climbing Mt. Sherman. It was great (despite the cold, a lot of wind, and a lot of snow :o ). I'll give all the details later.
Count me amongst the jealous folks!

The highest I've been in the Rockies is Wolf Creek Pass (http://sangres.com/features/wolfcreekpass.htm), on a motorcycle, in snow. The closest I've recently come to a climb like yours is a hike to Berg Lake in Mt. Robson Park (http://wlapwww.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/mt_robs/berg.htm) with my kids. Mt. Robson stands tall above the surrounding terrain, and the thought of climbing it is frightening to me.)

But what I really want to do is a hike to The Burgess Shale (http://www.burgess-shale.bc.ca/). Maybe next summer. This one's booked.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jun-12, 12:54 AM
The closest I've recently come to a climb like yours is a hike to Berg Lake in Mt. Robson Park (http://wlapwww.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/mt_robs/berg.htm) with my kids. Mt. Robson stands tall above the surrounding terrain, and the thought of climbing it is frightening to me.)
Yes, even though Mt. Robson is less than 13,000 ft, it's a real mountain, compared to the ones in Colorado.

SeanF
2005-Jun-13, 01:33 PM
Gee, the highest I've ever been is Harney Peak (http://www.peakware.com/encyclopedia/peaks/addapeak491.htm), at a mere 7200 ft.

Laser Jock
2005-Jun-13, 03:38 PM
Gee, the highest I've ever been is Harney Peak (http://www.peakware.com/encyclopedia/peaks/addapeak491.htm), at a mere 7200 ft.

:lol: As I write this, I'm sitting in my office at 7100 ft.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jun-13, 03:49 PM
My old office (http://www.waitansee.com/Laramie/PrexysPasture.php), 7200 feet.

John Kierein
2005-Jun-13, 03:50 PM
I'm such a couch potato that the only times I've been above 14,000 ft on the ground is when I drove to the top of Mt. Evans, and when I drove to the top of Pike's Peak. One of my daughters has climbed Long's Peak a couple times.

As much fun is to do the white rim in Moab. A week long bike ride in Canyonlands. Best done in May or October when it isn't too hot.

SeanF
2005-Jun-13, 04:02 PM
Gee, the highest I've ever been is Harney Peak (http://www.peakware.com/encyclopedia/peaks/addapeak491.htm), at a mere 7200 ft.
:lol: As I write this, I'm sitting in my office at 7100 ft.

My old office (http://www.waitansee.com/Laramie/PrexysPasture.php), 7200 feet.
Geez, nothing like rubbing it in, guys. :cry:



:wink:

teddyv
2005-Jun-13, 04:21 PM
I'm back from climbing Mt. Sherman. It was great (despite the cold, a lot of wind, and a lot of snow :o ). I'll give all the details later.
Count me amongst the jealous folks!

The highest I've been in the Rockies is Wolf Creek Pass (http://sangres.com/features/wolfcreekpass.htm), on a motorcycle, in snow. The closest I've recently come to a climb like yours is a hike to Berg Lake in Mt. Robson Park (http://wlapwww.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/mt_robs/berg.htm) with my kids. Mt. Robson stands tall above the surrounding terrain, and the thought of climbing it is frightening to me.)

But what I really want to do is a hike to The Burgess Shale (http://www.burgess-shale.bc.ca/). Maybe next summer. This one's booked.

I did the hike to the Burgess shale back during university days as a field trip. We were fortunate to have a gorgeous day considering it was late September or early October. It's a beautiful area and if you have two cars you can make it a one way, starting at the parking lot, then heading to the quarry, and continue south (I think) and drop back down into Field. You end up right near the visitor centre.

While up around the quarry (not active at this time) we found lots of neat but typical fossils for this area just in the talus.

rigel
2005-Jun-13, 05:45 PM
I've hiked up several of the 14 and 13's, having lived in CO for half my life. Would like to go back. Now too old and recoverying from surgery to do any technical climbing in the the canyons.

Laser Jock
2005-Jun-13, 05:54 PM
Mt. Sherman

It took just over 2 hours to get from my house to the trailhead. The drive itself was beautiful. I left the apartment at 5:20 AM, and the sun was not yet up. As I headed south on I-25, the eastern sky brightened and the fresh snow on Pikes Peak started to glisten as the first rays of the sun illuminated the top half of the mountain. It was a terrific morning for hiking: cool, crisp, and a perfectly clear sky. After winding up the canyon and past the north slope of Pikes Peak, I pass the towns of Woodland Park, Divide, Florrisant, and Lake George. After these towns, the signs of civilization become sparser as the terrain becomes more rugged. Suddenly, I run into a cloud. There is one just sitting there on the road. Visibility drops from unlimited to 100 yards in seconds, and I enter a strange twilight world. I know that it will burn off in an hour, but for several miles it is very eerie. As quickly as it appeared, I pull out of the cloud and back into brilliant sunshine. As I climb toward Wilkerson Pass (9507 ft), I can see the cloud behind me sitting in the valley like spilled milk. Approaching the pass, my pulse quickens slightly. I know what awaits on the other side. Pulling over the crest I gasp; even though I have lived in Colorado most of my life, there are some scenes that always take your breath away. Stretching out before me is a huge valley, 20 miles across and twice that long. The vast emptiness of the valley is broken only occasionally by small pine-covered hills. Glimmering in the distance are the 14ers. To the west is the Sawatch Range, and a little to the north is the Tenmile and Mosquito Range. Taking all this in and staying on the road prove to be a major challenge, so with extreme difficulty, I turn my focus back on my driving.

Soon I come to the town of Hartsel, a tiny village nestled in some hills about half-way across the valley. As I pull out of town, I see a flock of strange white birds flying low in a V-formation right over my head. They are clearly not geese, but look too large for ducks. As they pass overhead, I get a clear look at one of them. They appear to be a flock of Ö PELICANS?!?! Here I am, in the middle of Colorado, surrounded by 14ers, and I just got passed by a flock of pelicans. No, I was not drinking. Immediately I turn off Highway 24 and start heading NW on Colorado 9. Looming in front of me is the Tenmile Range, and the mountain I wish to climb. Iíve never climbed it before so Iím unsure which one it is. I conclude (correctly I find out latter) that it must be the whitest one. Off to my left, I see a small herd of bison. Once nearly extinct, these animals are making a comeback. Not only can they be found in the wild, but (as is the case with these) they are raised by ranchers for their lean meat. Iíve never had it, but I hear itís pretty good.

I reach the town of Fairplay, and a couple of turns puts me on CR 18. After about a mile, I cross a cattle grate, and the road is no longer paved. At first itís not too bad with only an occasional washboard or rock you have to dodge. But after a while, it starts to sorely test the clearance and suspension of my poor little car. When I donít think my car can take it anymore, the road opens up and I find the parking area for the trailhead. The underbelly of my car finds one more rock as I pull in next to the only other car in the parking lot. Several hundred yards up the road I see the figures of a couple of other hikers. Since Iím alone, I decide that will catch up with them. However, they have about a 10-minute head-start since I have to change into my boots and apply sunscreen. I start hiking at 7:37 AM.

The hike continues to follow the road up a narrow valley. At times I pass vehicles with better clearance parked off to the side. All through the valley are abandoned mining buildings. Iím really pushing hard now. The road is not real steep, and I want to catch those hikers I saw. Occasionally I catch glimpses of them about a half a mile ahead. The trail gets steeper and goes right by several abandoned mining buildings. At this point, there seems to be several trails/roads that you can choose from, but they all seem to end up in the same place. At about 12,800 feet, I finally catch up with the other hikers. Their names are Scott and Wade, and Iím welcome to join them for the rest of the ascent. Wade is from Alabama, and itís his first 14er. I find it slightly ironic that a Southerner is climbing Mt. Sherman (a mountain named after the Union general who burned much of the South).

The trail just seems to disappear into the fresh snow. I know the directions say that we are supposed to climb up to the shoulder between Mt. Sherman and Mt. Sheridan. However, there is a huge mound of snow with a large overhang at the shoulder. Since we arenít in the mood to get caught up in an avalanche today, we decide to follow some fresh footprints that go straight up the mountain. Obviously the folks in front of us must know what theyíre doing, right? Right? Wow, what a climb. We are going about a foot up for every two feet forward. The ground is also rather loose, so itís hard to keep going. After about 900 feet of climbing, we reach the ridge about 200 feet below the summit. We find the trail we were supposed to take, but that is little consolation since we are now battling fierce winds. Itís hard enough to breath at that elevation without the wind sucking the air from your lungs. The cold is just stunning. The air temperature is about 20 F (-7 C), but the 40 mph wind makes the wind-chill frightening. Scott and Wade are wearing shorts. The trail is narrow and slippery with snow. We slowly work our way around the sharp rocks to the top. Strangely, the wind at the top is much lighter. In this case, the wind prefers to go around the mountain rather than directly over the top. It has taken me about 3 hours.

The view is magnificent. Off in the distance to the east, I can just make out Pikes Peak. To the south and west is the whole of the Sawatch range. I can identify Mt. Yale, Mt. Harvard, La Plata Peak, Mt. Elbert, and Mt. Massive. In the valley between us and Mt. Massive is the town of Leadville. To the north is the rest of the Tenmile and Mosquito Range including Mt. Democrat, Lincoln, Bross, and Quandary. All around us are smaller (but still impressive) mountains that are unknown to me.

Since it is so cold, we decide to not linger at the top for very long. Also, clouds for the obligatory afternoon thunderstorms are already starting to build. We discuss it and decide that we donít want to return exactly the same way we came. We continue to follow the trail down towards the shoulder. There is a snow field without an overhang a little bit up from the shoulder on Mt. Sherman that, from above, looks passable. It turns out to be a bit steeper than it looks, but we go for it anyway. We ski/slide on our backsides for about 100 feet until it levels out enough for us to walk. Latter from below, you can clearly see where we slid. It looks like a small avalanche has occurred there. That turns out to be the last significant challenge of the hike.

We meet another fellow and his (young) daughter near one of the abandoned mining buildings. He had forgotten to bring his emergency kit, and his daughter has a bad blister. Fortunately, Scott is prepared and lends him some supplies. While he was not well-organized today, this fellow is quite the accomplished hiker. He claims to have climbed all but 3 of the 53 14ers in the state, and I have no reason to doubt him. Because of the building clouds and the steepness of the remaining climb, he (wisely) decides to picnic here and then go back down. We bid them good-bye, and continue on our way. The rest of the way down is uneventful. I make it back to my car a little after noon; 4 hours and 30 minutes total.

Laser Jock
2005-Jun-30, 05:11 PM
I wish I could go. :(
I have too many commitments in Albuquerque.

Keep me informed, though. I might have a spare weekend within a month.

Living at 6000' elevation gives me a leg (lung) up. I have hiked Sandia Peak (10,300) and S. Sandia Peak (9,800) a few times without difficulty. It's great fun.

I notice that the rating is class 2. Have you ever done any technical climbs (class 5)? I used to be rated for class 5.0, but I never got any better than that. I also climbed up to 12k ft. on Mt. Rainier, but weather kept us from the summit.

If you're still interested, I'll be planning to climb Mt. Yale on July 9. So far, my father and one or two other friends are planning to make the trip. If that doesn't work for you, I will need a climbing partner (since neither my father or those friends are available) to climb La Plata Peak on July 16. For either of these I would recommend coming up and camping near Buena Vista on Friday night and meeting at the trailhead on Saturday morning.

If that doesn't work either, a friend and I are going to try to climb Blanca Peak (and maybe Ellingwood Point) on July 23. Since this one is close to New Mexico, it might be a good choice. It will be a long hike, so be prepared.

Laser Jock
2005-Sep-27, 04:09 PM
I'm finally finished with climbing 14ers this season. Soon the snow and cold will make it too difficult (for me) to climb any more. Besides, my wife has promised to fill the rest of my Saturdays with a huge honey-do list (the only reason I was able to climb yesterday is because she is out of town). I made 10 summits this year -- 7 of those were new for me. They were:

Mt. Sherman (http://www.14ers.com/photos/MtSherman/p_mtsherman.html) (new, twice)

Mt. Yale (http://www.14ers.com/photos/MtYale/p_mtyale.html) (new)

La Plata Peak (http://www.14ers.com/photos/LaPlataPeak/p_laplatapeak.html) (new)

Blanca Peak (http://www.14ers.com/photos/BlancaGroup/p_blancagroup.html) (new)

Pikes Peak (twice)

Longs Peak (http://www.14ers.com/photos/LongsPeak/p_longspeak.html) (new)

Mt. Belford and Mt. Oxford (http://www.14ers.com/photos/BelfordOxford/p_belfordoxford.html) (both new)

Most enjoyable: La Plata Peak. The wildflowers and animals were both abundant and beautiful.

Most physically demanding: Blanca Peak. The trail is very long (~6000 foot climb) and rough. I could hardly walk after finishing this one. I also got hailed on during the descent.

Most crowded: Longs Peak. It's the most-climbed 14er in Colorado. There was a continuous stream of people going up and down the mountain. I would guess that there was at least 100 people at the summit.

Least crowded: Mt. Belford and Mt. Oxford. That's what you get when you climb on a weekday in late September. I saw exactly one other hiker (as I was descending) all day.

I will miss climbing, but I can consul myself with the knowledge that soon it will be ski season. :dance: I love Colorado.