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Posted: 4/9/2021 2:31:51 PM EDT
I've decided I'm going to start attempting 14'ers this summer.

I'm interested in what the proper loadout is from experienced climbers.

I know some are easier than others and I'd like to start on the easier side to assess my abilities. Any recommendations for which peaks to start with?

Is there a forum for this kind of thing?

I have a couple framed packs from past hiking days that I plan on using

Thanks in advance folks!
Link Posted: 4/9/2021 2:47:54 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/9/2021 4:21:07 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/9/2021 5:12:21 PM EDT
Awesome, thanks guys!
Link Posted: 4/11/2021 1:26:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/11/2021 1:27:25 AM EDT by powderhound]
How do you feel about heights?  Every rock climb before?  Have you done quite a bit of hiking?  If you live in the front v range I'd start with Bierstadt and Quandry.  If you like scrambling Kelso's ridge on Torrey's is lots of fun, as is the sawtooth ridge between Bierstadt and Evans, if your more into just hiking maybe progress to some of the collegiate parks. I really enjoyed Mt Yale.  If you're trying to do a few this summer, and you're enjoying it, try to do Long's peak in early  September, it won't be too crowded.

Remember there will be snow up high on most mountains until early July, which is fun if you know how to handle it safely, but if you don't it can make a little slip in the wrong spot serious.
Link Posted: 4/11/2021 7:09:59 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By powderhound:
How do you feel about heights?  Every rock climb before?  Have you done quite a bit of hiking?  If you live in the front v range I'd start with Bierstadt and Quandry.  If you like scrambling Kelso's ridge on Torrey's is lots of fun, as is the sawtooth ridge between Bierstadt and Evans, if your more into just hiking maybe progress to some of the collegiate parks. I really enjoyed Mt Yale.  If you're trying to do a few this summer, and you're enjoying it, try to do Long's peak in early  September, it won't be too crowded.

Remember there will be snow up high on most mountains until early July, which is fun if you know how to handle it safely, but if you don't it can make a little slip in the wrong spot serious.
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Solid advice right here. You could also knock off two by doing Grays/Torrey’s via the standard route.
Kelsos ridge is super fun. Added bonus you can really speed up the descent by glissading down Dead Dog couloir if you know what you’re doing.
Link Posted: 4/11/2021 8:32:51 AM EDT
one thing i keep in my pack is a couple of immodium and a few tums.  you don't want to get 8 miles down a trail or at 14,000' and get the squirts.  You may never need them--but they only cost you a few grams of weight
Link Posted: 4/11/2021 9:07:38 AM EDT
You can knock out four with the set in northern Park County--Belford, Cameron, Democrat and Lincoln, IIRC.  And Quandary lies fairly close by as well, just on the other side of Hoosier Pass.
Link Posted: 4/11/2021 7:35:32 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Darrellbear:
You can knock out four with the set in northern Park County--Belford, Cameron, Democrat and Lincoln, IIRC.  And Quandary lies fairly close by as well, just on the other side of Hoosier Pass.
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This.  All of fairly easy for 14ers.  

I would take BCAA/electrolyte mixed in with water as a drink and one of those disposable oxygen canisters.  They saved me on Quandary when I lived in TX and came here to hike (granted I am a fat fuck and former flat lander).  

Knock out the easier ones where you do not need to do any scrambling first.
Link Posted: 4/12/2021 1:16:46 AM EDT
I'm nearly totally inexperienced climbing. Haven't been bouldering since I was young, probably 15 years ago. I haven't been hiking in close to 8 years. I've been doing lots of cardio the last couple months and would like to challenge myself and cross some things off my list. Guess I should've included all that in my first post.

Perhaps I'm biting off more than I can chew to start...
Link Posted: 4/12/2021 8:23:54 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Calculating:
I'm nearly totally inexperienced climbing. Haven't been bouldering since I was young, probably 15 years ago. I haven't been hiking in close to 8 years. I've been doing lots of cardio the last couple months and would like to challenge myself and cross some things off my list. Guess I should've included all that in my first post.

Perhaps I'm biting off more than I can chew to start...
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You’ll be fine if you just use some common sense. Pick some easy ones to start on. I suggest Grays and Torrey’s via the standard route. It’s essentially a long day hike. Start early so you don’t end up a human lightning rod, hydrate more than you think you should, know your limits, and don’t be afraid to bail if you need to.
Especially if you start feeling the affects of the altitude.

14ers aren’t that bad but it can still sneak up on you. Have fun and post pics.
Link Posted: 4/12/2021 10:00:59 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Darrellbear:
You can knock out four with the set in northern Park County--Belford, Cameron, Democrat and Lincoln, IIRC.  And Quandary lies fairly close by as well, just on the other side of Hoosier Pass.
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It's Bross not Belford, if you knock them out in one day you can say you did the Decalibron...  I did it a few years ago with a friend from sea level who had a pretty good altitude headache by the end of the day.  Bross is private property but your odds of getting caught are low.  The descent is super loose.
Link Posted: 4/13/2021 1:23:33 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By powderhound:

It's Bross not Belford, if you knock them out in one day you can say you did the Decalibron...  I did it a few years ago with a friend from sea level who had a pretty good altitude headache by the end of the day.  Bross is private property but your odds of getting caught are low.  The descent is super loose.
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Originally Posted By powderhound:
Originally Posted By Darrellbear:
You can knock out four with the set in northern Park County--Belford, Cameron, Democrat and Lincoln, IIRC.  And Quandary lies fairly close by as well, just on the other side of Hoosier Pass.

It's Bross not Belford, if you knock them out in one day you can say you did the Decalibron...  I did it a few years ago with a friend from sea level who had a pretty good altitude headache by the end of the day.  Bross is private property but your odds of getting caught are low.  The descent is super loose.


Thanks, yes, Bross.

OP, I'd suggest you work on endurance, not just cardio.  Start hiking, including uphills and downhills.  You may find that long, steep downhills wear on you as much or more than uphills, and on different muscles.
Link Posted: 4/13/2021 5:52:10 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Darrellbear:


Thanks, yes, Bross.

OP, I'd suggest you work on endurance, not just cardio.  Start hiking, including uphills and downhills.  You may find that long, steep downhills wear on you as much or more than uphills, and on different muscles.
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Originally Posted By Darrellbear:
Originally Posted By powderhound:
Originally Posted By Darrellbear:
You can knock out four with the set in northern Park County--Belford, Cameron, Democrat and Lincoln, IIRC.  And Quandary lies fairly close by as well, just on the other side of Hoosier Pass.

It's Bross not Belford, if you knock them out in one day you can say you did the Decalibron...  I did it a few years ago with a friend from sea level who had a pretty good altitude headache by the end of the day.  Bross is private property but your odds of getting caught are low.  The descent is super loose.


Thanks, yes, Bross.

OP, I'd suggest you work on endurance, not just cardio.  Start hiking, including uphills and downhills.  You may find that long, steep downhills wear on you as much or more than uphills, and on different muscles.

Solid advice, as well as everyone else in the thread. Thanks a ton guys, lots of good info.
Link Posted: 4/14/2021 1:58:43 PM EDT
Go with experienced hikers/climbers
Link Posted: 4/14/2021 4:46:19 PM EDT
Yes i think thats the most important part.
If you remember a few years ago the guy that went missing early fall in the san de cristos?? I personnaly knew him and he told me he liked doing 14ers by himself!!!!   Hes still up there and he had two girls and a wife he left behind.   Be carful
Link Posted: 4/15/2021 11:23:48 AM EDT
Be well off the summit by 2:00, which means start early.  Lightning up there is no joke.
Link Posted: 4/15/2021 1:18:54 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By DVCER:
Be well off the summit by 2:00, which means start early.  Lightning up there is no joke.
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i always wondered about the lightning.   When's the last time someone was killed by lightning above the treeline?  Is it because the early summit rule is followed to the T?  Hardly.  Every time I'm coming off a summit I'm passing people that have no chance of summitting before these summit time suggestions.
Link Posted: 4/16/2021 1:04:36 AM EDT
Your goal should not be to summit the mountain.  Your goal should be to get home safe at the end of the day.  The top of the mountain is an objective to reaching that goal.

Don't push yourself so hard you ignore all the warnings - weather, time, physical considerations, gut feel, etc to summit the mountain.  It'll still be there tomorrow.  It's okay to not meet an objective as long as you still meet your goal at the end of the day.

You lose 3% horsepower per 1000ft elevation.  Better to jet for a lower elevation so the mix is rich going up, than jetting for higher elev and burning a hole through your piston(s) going down.  
Link Posted: 4/16/2021 10:13:45 AM EDT
I literally have no one to go with. Between my ex and living the oilfield life for 10 years, I've lost contact with any friend I could consider asking to do a 14'er with.

Do you guys think Gray's peak would be dumb to attempt solo?
Link Posted: 4/16/2021 12:12:52 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Calculating:
I literally have no one to go with. Between my ex and living the oilfield life for 10 years, I've lost contact with any friend I could consider asking to do a 14'er with.

Do you guys think Gray's peak would be dumb to attempt solo?
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You won’t be solo on Gray’s. There will most likely be tons of people there. If you get in a bind 99.9999 % would be willing to help out. For that matter you may be able to just tag along with a group. Most folks involved in that activity are quite friendly and would just respect the fact you’re out doing something.
Link Posted: 4/16/2021 4:02:41 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By denverdan:


You won’t be solo on Gray’s. There will most likely be tons of people there. If you get in a bind 99.9999 % would be willing to help out. For that matter you may be able to just tag along with a group. Most folks involved in that activity are quite friendly and would just respect the fact you’re out doing something.
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This is absolutely true.  If the weather is good enough for you to hike it, then there will be several other people out there - even on a weekday.  Bring enough water and drink lots of it even if you're cold.  Gray's is also not a long enough or hard enough hike where you'll need to bring the kitchen sink in your backpack.  Water, snack or 2, sunscreen, rain jacket, hat, gloves, extra layer or 2 and extra pair of socks.  I bring a dinky first aid kit, too. Don't be shy about asking a stranger to take your photo on the summit and offer to do the same for them.
Link Posted: 4/17/2021 8:49:35 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By 13crows:



i always wondered about the lightning.   When's the last time someone was killed by lightning above the treeline?  Is it because the early summit rule is followed to the T?  Hardly.  Every time I'm coming off a summit I'm passing people that have no chance of summitting before these summit time suggestions.
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Not sure when the last fatal lightning event up high was, but I was damn near one a few years ago on Handies.    

My brother and I got a late start (9:30) and hit the summit at 2:00.
We were watching storms with lightning way off on a beautiful day.
In 15 minutes they were not way off.  We were trying hard to get off the summit when lightning/hail/sleet started pounding us.  I mean close strikes, deafening booms.   Told brother to go faster, and I would keep back 300’ so we both wouldn’t die.   By the time we got halfway down the skies had cleared and we didn’t die.   Got some amazing vid of it somewhere.
Any of those peaks near Denver will have lots of company for you.
We only saw a few groups on Handies , including one healthy family that passed us and hit the summit at least an hour before us.
Link Posted: 4/30/2021 9:07:34 PM EDT
Attempted last Saturday. Made it to the base of the saddle ridge(I'd guess 1.5 mi to summit), ate something and tried to recharge my legs and continue but I was toast. Weather looked shitty, was probably 30 mph winds gusting to 50, and was worse up top. I was worried about falling on ice on my weak legs. So pissed I couldn't finish, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I severely overloaded my pack, it was 36 lbs. as I brought waaay too much shit, including 6.5 liters of water. I drank maybe .5 liters

There were probably 5 guys that I passed on the way up that decided it was a bad idea. There was lots of snow as it had snowed a few times the week leading up to Saturday, and snowshoeing was required about 200 yds past the bridge. I still fell waist deep several times even with my snowshoes on. There was only 1 guy that passed me and it turned out there were two up on the peak that caught up to me on my way down.

Still enjoyed the shit out of it, and learned lots of lessons. Start earlier was one. I started at the parking lot by I-70 around 7:30 am, and turned around at about 13:30. Took me 6 hours to fight my way up the snow, then about 2 hrs to get back to my truck. Another lesson in case anyone else is interested, BRING SUNSCREEN. I forgot mine on the table at home and my face was tingling when I got down. It's still pretty red and tender today, including under my chin where the sunlight was reflecting off the snow.

I will try again soon to challenge myself before the snow melts.

Thanks for all the information fellas. I will conquer some 14'ers this year!

Link Posted: 4/30/2021 9:11:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/18/2021 2:49:53 AM EDT by Calculating]

Made it to that next ridge before turning around.
Link Posted: 4/30/2021 10:31:46 PM EDT
Lincoln, Democrat and Bross are now all off limits, at least for the time being:

https://coloradosun.com/2021/04/30/colorado-fourteeners-14ers-closure-lincoln-democrat-bross/
Link Posted: 5/1/2021 8:13:14 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Calculating:
Attempted last Saturday. Made it to the base of the saddle ridge(I'd guess 1.5 mi to summit), ate something and tried to recharge my legs and continue but I was toast. Weather looked shitty, was probably 30 mph winds gusting to 50, and was worse up top. I was worried about falling on ice on my weak legs. So pissed I couldn't finish, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I severely overloaded my pack, it was 36 lbs. as I brought waaay too much shit, including 6.5 liters of water. I drank maybe .5 liters

There were probably 5 guys that I passed on the way up that decided it was a bad idea. There was lots of snow as it had snowed a few times the week leading up to Saturday, and snowshoeing was required about 200 yds past the bridge. I still fell waist deep several times even with my snowshoes on. There was only 1 guy that passed me and it turned out there were two up on the peak that caught up to me on my way down.

Still enjoyed the shit out of it, and learned lots of lessons. Start earlier was one. I started at the parking lot by I-70 around 7:30 am, and turned around at about 13:30. Took me 6 hours to fight my way up the snow, then about 2 hrs to get back to my truck. Another lesson in case anyone else is interested, BRING SUNSCREEN. I forgot mine on the table at home and my face was tingling when I got down. It's still pretty red and tender today, including under my chin where the sunlight was reflecting off the snow.

I will try again soon to challenge myself before the snow melts.

Thanks for all the information fellas. I will conquer some 14'ers this year!

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Call that a success friend. Knowing when to stop is more important than doing something dumb and getting in trouble.

Hell I bailed on Rainier when mother nature threw a temper tantrum.
Link Posted: 5/1/2021 10:42:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/1/2021 10:42:45 AM EDT by uncle_big_green]
That was a training run, Calculating.  Good job.  All I've been doing are jogs and long dog walks.
Link Posted: 5/1/2021 10:46:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/1/2021 10:48:50 AM EDT by uncle_big_green]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Darrellbear:
Lincoln, Democrat and Bross are now all off limits, at least for the time being:

https://coloradosun.com/2021/04/30/colorado-fourteeners-14ers-closure-lincoln-democrat-bross/
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That kind of sucks, but I understand and it's probably a good idea to give that area a break from all the traffic.  Also, I did those about 7 years ago.  
Link Posted: 5/1/2021 10:50:28 AM EDT
shows some smarts turning around.  but, perhaps you were out of gas because you didn't drink enough.

and, that pack weight is ridiculous.
Link Posted: 5/3/2021 2:44:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/3/2021 3:02:57 PM EDT by Lothbrok]
Bro, a 36lb pack is way overkill for a 14er. My multi-day technical climbing pack only weighs a bit more than that, and I've gotta carry a rope and gear and all sorts of other shit.

Carry the ten essentials on a day trip for a 14er. Bring lots of water, but not 6.5L worth. That's 1.7 gallons of water, which is fourteen pounds of water! I carry roughly 3L of water on loooong days, but these days I often pare that back a bit and bring a small little filter if I'm gonna be out long.

You did good for a first trip. Chalk a lot of this up to learning experiences - they're the best way to learn! Especially when you come back safe and in one piece. You'll dial your gear and such the more you get out.

If I may make a couple recommendations, as a fellow outdoorsman:
* Start on smaller peaks to get your footing. Lower consequence, but you can still gain valuable experience. My absolute favorite local training hike is Bear Peak. It's a 14er with supplemental oxygen. My wife and I hit it a few times a year with heavy packs as training, and it's a monster. There's a section where you'll gain an absurd amount of elevation in less than a mile, and you'll hate me for telling you to do it, but it's great. Consider other places in the foothills or even up at higher elevations with lower elevation gain to get your legs. I'd recommend Mills Lake in RMNP (~6 miles round trip, 1k elevation gain) or Blue Lake via Mitchell Lake Trail in the Indian Peaks (~6.5 miles, 1500ft elevation gain) or something similar.
* After every trip, find something that's not in the ten essentials that's in your pack. If you used it, keep it in the pack. If you didn't use it, take it out.
* You said you've been doing some cardio lately - that's good, keep it up! Bear in mind that not all cardio is created equal. You will use entirely different muscles than you're used to when you have a pack on and are actually walking uphill. Hill intervals are going to be your best friend. In a gym, get on a treadmill and start at X% incline for 3:30, then X+3% for 1:30. Rotate through this for 30 minutes at a minimum. When you start to not feel thwacked with those times, drop it to X% for 3:00 and X+3% for 2 minutes. Then increase the incline, or add weight, or both.
* If you want to train outdoors more heavily, throw water in your pack and go for something like the Rattlesnake Gulch trail in Eldo. Throw a lot of water in your pack and motor up to the overlook. Dump water at the top (or along the way, as need be) to save your legs a bit on the downhill. A great training method.
* If you have a heart rate monitor, try to keep yourself in Zone 2 or below on the uphill and in your training. It'll feel really slow at first but you'll make huge gains quickly.
* Snowy/icy trails will make your life a lot harder. The mountains are a lot prettier when snowy, so I get it, but generally 14er season doesn't start until late May or early June. Lower peaks will melt out quicker, and provide easier going as you get established.

Hope that helps. I spend a lot of time hiking and rock/ice climbing all over CO, and I've learned a lot of this over the past few years of doing so.
Link Posted: 5/3/2021 10:23:44 PM EDT
Thanks fellas.

Training indeed. The oxygen concentration definitely made a big difference. Way more than I expected. Quit smoking April 1st and I guess even with the cardio I had pushed myself to do my lungs(and legs) weren't ready to process that little oxygen. And you're right, probably should've hydrated better too.

I was walking 30-90 minutes at 12% incline 2.5-3 mph on a treadmill with a fully loaded pack the week leading up to it, twice a day a couple times. Completed a couple 7-8 mi walks with my pack on around the trails in my neck of the woods, but as prepared as I thought I was, ol Mother Nature reminded me I am flesh and blood and not a young man anymore.

I will mention this too, I purchased a pair of Salomon Quest 04 boots and an Osprey Exos 38 a little over a week prior. Both performed and were so ergonomic I had absolutely ZERO issues with break in on my feet, back, shoulders or waist. They both make some damn good stuff. I was expecting some minor aches, callouses etc. Nada.

I'll take everyone's input with me as I progress. Thanks again everyone for all the insight, information and suggestions. I will update the thread as time goes on with more "training sessions"
Link Posted: 5/4/2021 8:09:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/4/2021 8:10:06 PM EDT by vim]
It is pretty cool that you quit smoking and started hiking.

I've been hiking for most of my life.  I've been ambitious, lazy, stupid, obsessed, superhuman, a sloth, overcautious, insanely aggressive, depending on life at the time.  The "10 essentials" are covered, so here's my advice.

Be patient with yourself.  Injuries will put you back.  Stretch.
Let people know where you're going.
Pay attention to weather at elevation, but don't let overcast at the house psyche you out.  Few thing are more glorious than climbing into the sun.
When it gets tough, find a lower gear.  Find as many as you need till you are recovering as you walk.
Hiking poles help you distribute effort uphill and save your knees downhill.  They're also fantastic on freeze-thaw spring trails, though microcleats are better.
A lot of 13ers are better (and less crowded) than the usual 14er suspects.

And finally,
Take the time to absorb and appreciate what you're moving through.
Link Posted: 5/5/2021 6:42:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/5/2021 6:48:54 PM EDT by R2Chief2]
best advice I've ever heard regarding hiking 14ers (really any high altitude hike):

GETTING UP IS OPTIONAL.  GETTING DOWN IS MANDATORY


You do not want to be above the tree line when weather comes in.  Pay close attention to the weather and start early to avoid afternoon summer storms.  If you're on your way up and you hear thunder, it's time to turn around...the mountain isn't going anywhere.  Of course, the getting down is mandatory part also applies to other elements that may put you at risk (dehydration, fatigue, physical limits, etc).
Link Posted: 5/5/2021 8:07:02 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/6/2021 9:17:11 PM EDT
Thanks Dave and sounds good.

If I make some more strides in my lungs and legs maybe we can set up a group 14'er hike later this summer. Right now I don't want to slow everyone down .

Link Posted: 7/14/2021 12:55:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/22/2021 4:23:03 PM EDT by djkest]
Whoops missed this before. I climbed all 58 14ers in Colorado in a span of four years. We never turned around on a 14er attempt (but have done so plenty of times since, ironically).

We always started between 430am and 6am.  We always studied the route ahead of time.

The prime climbing season for 14ers is going to be Basically the last week in June through the first 2 weeks in September. Take more water than you think you need.  We aimed to start descending from the summit before 11am most days, noon at the latest.

As far as clothing goes, we didn't go too crazy,  depends on the weather forecast.

Extra pair of wool socks
Medium-weight fleece jacket or pullover (not a cotton hoodie)
Copious amounts of water
High-calorie snacks
Hat and Sunglasses

For longer trips that would include things like a larger backpack, sleeping bag, tent, foam pad, etc.
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