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Fastest/easiest acclimatization peak near Boulder

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Fastest/easiest acclimatization peak near Boulder

Postby cosimon » Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:46 pm

Hey everyone,

I live in Boulder - I'm hoping to do an alpine climbing route in RMNP, and was wondering where the closest good place is to acclimatize - a short drive and a safe peak to hike up would be ideal.

My alpine route is on Longs, so anything around 13,000 should work.

The closest I can find is Mt. Sniktau.

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Re: Fastest/easiest acclimatization peak near Boulder

Postby TheOtherIndian » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:40 pm

I dont have any recommendation. But I am curious if a day hike up to 13000 feet and then back to Boulder will provide any acclimatization at all. From posts here and other reading, I was under the impression one needs to spend some time, a night at elevation to be acclimatized.

On the plus side, you are already acclimatized to 5k feet!
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Re: Fastest/easiest acclimatization peak near Boulder

Postby geojed » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:56 pm

Mount Lady Washington, plus you could scope out your climb at the same time! :D

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Re: Fastest/easiest acclimatization peak near Boulder

Postby DaveSwink » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:01 pm

Twin Sisters Peaks will get you to 11.4K quick and easy. Go a bit further for 13K at Mt Lady Washington or Storm Peak.

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Re: Fastest/easiest acclimatization peak near Boulder

Postby Wookie Horn » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:08 pm

Cosimon - assuming we are talking summer Mt. Audubon is probably the easiest, shortest, closest 13K day hike from Boulder with a class 1 trail up to the last 400 feet of talus hopping class 2. Winter on Audubon is longer with the Brainard Lake Rd closed requiring extra miles hiking, biking or skinning to the Summer TH depending on snow conditions. Audubon is relatively safe from an AVY perspective. My pick for the next closest, safe, easy 13Ker in Winter from Boulder would be Mt Flora from Berthoud Pass via CO Mines Peak.

Depending on a bunch of factors like your fitness, the amount of hiking you do, how soon after your acclimatization you plan to hike Longs, etc. your acclimatization hike may help or hurt your chances on Longs. A day hike to a 13er is going to have more of an impact in terms of soreness and dehydration, which could negatively impact your acclimatization more than the "positive impact" of breathing thinner air for a while. Honestly, several hikes up and down Green and Bear over a few weeks may do more to acclimatize your body than a day hike up a local 13er.

I am curious what alpine route you are considering on Longs?

If you are interested I just moved to Boulder and am looking for partners. I have a few 14/13ers under my belt and looking to grow my skills and partners now that I can hike here more than a couple weekends a year. Hit me up if you would like a local partner.

Other Indian - I am no expert but my experience is that a singular day hike up to 13K-14K has little positive impact on your overall acclimatization. If you try going again the next day, the dehydration and fatigue from the prior day alone can make you more susceptible to altitude effects. Acclimatization is a much longer multi-day to really multi-month process. In the short run, individual variability due to a whole bunch of factors and variability from outing to outing seem to have more of a role in my acclimatization. To your point about sleeping high, depending on how high it too could do more harm than good. Sleeping 2K below your highpoint and moving camp up slowly over days has always been my approach when I am going high for multiple days at a time. That said, I also have come from sea-level to a TH overnight and hiked above 12K for several days without any ill effects.

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Re: Fastest/easiest acclimatization peak near Boulder

Postby DaveSwink » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:23 pm

TheOtherIndian wrote:I was under the impression one needs to spend some time, a night at elevation to be acclimatized.


"Climb high, sleep low" is an adage for acclimatization. I think that is usually practiced as going high for several hours to trigger the body's response to lowered air pressure, then descending to rest and allow the body to make adaptations. I find it useful to think of going high as catching a cold and then giving the body rest to repair itself.

Going high and then forcing the body to make the adaptions to the stress (lower air pressure) while still under the stress (sleeping high) is less productive.

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Re: Fastest/easiest acclimatization peak near Boulder

Postby cosimon » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:14 pm

Wookie Horn wrote:Cosimon - assuming we are talking summer


I was going to acclimatize tomorrow and go up the Diamond later in the week.

I'm in good hiking shape, so I don't think a local 13er will do me too much harm, but I don't want to push too hard since I will only have a couple days of rest. Contemplating driving to a trailhead tonight, sleeping in the car and hiking in the morning.

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Re: Fastest/easiest acclimatization peak near Boulder

Postby Wookie Horn » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:41 pm

cosimon wrote:
I was going to acclimatize tomorrow and go up the Diamond later in the week.

I'm in good hiking shape, so I don't think a local 13er will do me too much harm, but I don't want to push too hard since I will only have a couple days of rest. Contemplating driving to a trailhead tonight, sleeping in the car and hiking in the morning.



Well if that is the plan, I agree with the prior posts. Go for MLW and get a good look at what is in store. Take a good camera and (if I were you) extra undies. Be sure to post a TR on your trip up the Diamond so we can all share in the accomplishment.

Good Luck!

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Re: Fastest/easiest acclimatization peak near Boulder

Postby I Man » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:07 am

Which route will you be attempting on the Diamond?
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Re: Fastest/easiest acclimatization peak near Boulder

Postby ajkagy » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:35 am

If you live in Boulder you should be fine, since it's not like you are coming from sea level. If you are already in good shape then an acclimatization hike won't do much good, especially if you're just going back down to Boulder. To get any marginal performance results you'd probably have to sleep at 9-10k for 3-4 weeks.
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Re: Fastest/easiest acclimatization peak near Boulder

Postby mtree » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:58 am

I agree that acclimating takes time...as in WEEKS. That said, an initial climb to 13,000ft can't hurt and will likely be helpful. Your lungs will get a chance to expand and "exercise". Your legs and muscles will know what oxygen deprivation feels like and will get a good hiking workout. You'll get a chance to experience and adapt your pace, ascent speed, etc. to the altitude. And your body won't be so shocked the next time you climb high. So there are benefits to just a single climb. To truly get acclimated, you'll have to hike above 12,000ft multiple times over a period of weeks. I find going up at least weekly works great. The more the merrier. But you do have to give your body time to adjust. Once acclimated, keep it going by getting up there at least once or twice a month.
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Re: Fastest/easiest acclimatization peak near Boulder

Postby cosimon » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:48 pm

I Man wrote:Which route will you be attempting on the Diamond?


We'll be going for D7. Did it last year in January as well... hoping for a faster time this year.

I ended up going up Sniktau, 13,200 or so, if only because I'm bored of the hike up the Longs Peak area. I figure with spending a bunch of time climbing in and around Ouray lately, maybe 7,000-10,000, a little stimulus at 13,000 could work. We'll see how it goes...

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