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Wear out the flatlanders. 2 proposed itineraries.

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Wear out the flatlanders. 2 proposed itineraries.

Postby Cruiser » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:00 am

So an old buddy of mine from New Orleans called me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I could put a couple of possible itineraries together for myself, him, and one of his friends to come out to CO and do some hiking sometime late this summer or very early fall.

Long's is a real peach, but I would sort of prefer to do itinerary #2 since it would offer us some more solitude. Anyone care to comment on the options? Want to propose another alternative?

#1: Long's Peak
Day 1: Fly to Denver International Airport (DEN). Stay at my house in Littleton.
Day 2: Get up very very early and drive to Estes Park. Hike in 6 miles and set up camp at the Boulderfield Campground
Day 3: Get up early and attempt to summit Longs Peak shortly after sunrise. Head down, break camp, drive back to Littleton to my house
Day 4: Fly back to MSY

#2: San Luis with Shav / Tab
Day 1: Fly to Denver International Airport (DEN). Go straight from the airport to the middle of nowhere and tent camp at the trailhead
Day 2: Attempt to summit San Luis Peak. Drive to Mt. Shavano trailhead and tent camp there.
Day 3: Attempt to summit Mt. Shavano. The truly hearty men (not me) can traverse over to Tabeguache Peak. Drive back to town and spend the night at my house in Littleton.
Day 4: Fly back to MSY
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Re: Wear out the flatlanders. 2 proposed itineraries.

Postby peter303 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:44 am

RMNP Boulderfield permits are very competitive from mid July thru Labor Day.
The good news is you still have to time to request them this year, which may sell out March 1.
http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/upload/backcountry_camping_guide_2012.pdf

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Re: Wear out the flatlanders. 2 proposed itineraries.

Postby Brian Thomas » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:15 am

Cruiser wrote:Want to propose another alternative?

I love this topic as I have had at least one group of flatlanders come to visit every summer since I moved here from the Midwest in 2009. First question is are you limited to a four day itinerary? What are your friends' previous experiences with travelling from sea level to high altitudes, and can they get Diamox scripts?

Some flatlander itineraries I have hosted in the past few years:

1) Ma and Pa flatlander drive cross-country with the kids to stay in Estes Park (adults not on Diamox meds). Driving to top of Trail Ridge Road makes Pa flatlander and some of the kids feel sick, but no issues hiking at lower elevations in RMNP to about 10,000'. Five days after arriving in Estes Park, Ma and Pa flatlander and their oldest (then 11yo) successfully summit 13er Mt Lady Washington without any issues.

2) Thirty-something female flatlander not particularly physically active (on Diamox meds) flies in from the Midwest and stays overnight in Denver. Next day hiking in RMNP up to 10,500' feeling physically challenged but not describing specific altitude issues, then stays again in Denver overnight. The next day, we drive to Kite Lake TH and she successfully summits 14er Mt Democrat less than 48 hours after getting off the plane, again with no specific altitude issues.

3) Pa flatlander and son (then 12yo) from itinerary 1 fly to Denver arriving early morning (Pa is on Diamox meds, son is too young to get a Rx for those). Drive directly to Barr TH and up Manitou Incline to Barr Camp without any issues (other than Pa flatlander b*tching about the Incline). Camp that night at 8,000' then summit Bison Peak 12,400' the following day without issues. Camp again at 8,000', then spend a "rest day" mountain biking in Crested Butte up to 11,000' without issues. Then camp at 10,000' and commence attempt on 14er Huron Peak 72 hours after getting off the plane. We make it to about 13,500', Pa flatlander is feeling good but son is feeling sick so we bail on attempt.

I selected Democrat and Huron as our highest objectives so that if one of the flatlanders got sick or hurt, bailing would be an easy option, as happened in itinerary 3. Both of your proposed itineraries sound good, but I would highly highly recommend your friends get Diamox scripts if you will be going for high summits only 24 hours after getting here.
"I try my best to be just like I am, but everybody wants you to be just like them" - Bob Dylan

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Re: Wear out the flatlanders. 2 proposed itineraries.

Postby Cruiser » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:41 am

@Peter: Thanks for the reminder on the permit. I sort of thought that I might just let fate decide. If I apply for the dates we need and get them then we'll go for Longs. But if the permit isn't available then we could just head south instead. Fortunately we're not limited to weekends on this trip so that may slightly increase our chances.

@Brian: Good call on the diamox. I'll mention that to them. My one friend has been out to CO once before to hike with me and he had no issues at 14k less than 24hrs off the plane. But I don't know what the other guy's history is regarding altitude.

A big part of the (selfish) reason for #2 is that it would check a couple of more relatively easy peaks off my list. I have been itching to hit San Luis for years but just haven't found the time since it's such a long drive. Then last summer I had a great day on Tab but decided to skip the traverse to Shav so it'd be nice to go back for it.
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Re: Wear out the flatlanders. 2 proposed itineraries.

Postby Rambler » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:38 pm

Go out to CO from Kansas City every summer at least once to climb something.
Last year we drove straight to Halfmoon Pass Trailhead, hiked in to Cross Creek for the night (group was my wife and a friend, early 30's in decent shape). Next day try for Holy Cross summit, back down and packed out (if I did it again I'd consider a second night there, elevation gain on way out is rough). Drove straight to Greys/Torreys to camp the night, hit both in the morning, drove back to KC. It was a lot of hiking but fun. My friend had some altitude problems second day but nothing too major. (see my trip reports)
This year will be doing Longs as a day trip since we're staying in Estes Park for a family reunion mid July. Boulderfield camping seems cool though.
If Longs doesn't kill me, trying Challenger/Kit Carson (5 guys in early 30's) 2 weeks later. Hike in to Willow lake, camp, summit day, camp again, hike out next day. Fishing is a good option for those who aren't up for the climb.

Those are just 2 successful ones and 2 planned ones coming from 1000 ft. Preformance at altitude would be the main factor I think in deciding, we never really did much acclimating other than the gradual drive out. Kite Lake and Decalibration might be an idea too.

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Re: Wear out the flatlanders. 2 proposed itineraries.

Postby Scott P » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:18 pm

Personally, I was not all that impressed with Shavano or San Luis, though both were still worth doing.

What about about Huron, Humboldt, Uncompahgre, or Handies? They really aren't any harder than Shavano or San Luis.
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Re: Wear out the flatlanders. 2 proposed itineraries.

Postby Dark Helmet » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:42 pm

Us Flatlanders can handle more than you give us credit for!!!

OP's second itinerary actually looks more fun than just Longs... now, Longs/Meeker/MLW all together... that sounds interesting.

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Re: Wear out the flatlanders. 2 proposed itineraries.

Postby Papillon » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:19 pm

Option 2 sounds like a lot of time in the car. I like the La Garitas but that is a long drive with a quick turnaround.

What time is the flight into DIA?

Day 1: Fly to Denver International Airport (DEN). Stay in Estes Park (e.g. Moraine Park).
Day 2: Acclimatization hike like Mills Lake or The Loch (nothing major, save the legs)
Day 3: Daytrip Longs (Lady W is consolation prize)
Day 4: Fly back to MSY
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Re: Wear out the flatlanders. 2 proposed itineraries.

Postby painless4u2 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:40 pm

What about about Huron, Humboldt, Uncompahgre, or Handies?


Yeah, if it were me (a flatlander at that) and I was down around San Luis, I'd consider Handies/Sunshine/Redcloud or Wetterhorn/Uncompahgre, all in the San Juans. Looks like you haven't climbed most of those, but have climbed Longs already. I've found if I camp high for 2 nights first, the last night near the TH, the altitude change isn't so bad, but that's an individual issue. All sounds fun, however.
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Re: Wear out the flatlanders. 2 proposed itineraries.

Postby Cruiser » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:46 pm

That sounds like a cool trip too Papillon. Not sure when the flights will line up just yet since we're still in the preliminary stages. Longs in a day would probably be right at the limit of what I'm capable of from a conditioning standpoint. Dunno about my friends, but I suspect that it would turn into a suffer fest for them towards the end. Still, another night out instead of at my house would be pretty appealing. Even if we do get the permit for a the boulderfield maybe we'll camp the first night in Estes anyway.

And I'd love to do some more Sawatch or San Juans stuff since those peaks are so scenic. My main concern is that I sold my xterra last year so that I could buy an Excursion (to tote the kids / camper around). So I have a ridiculously long wheel base and fairly limited clearance. Not exactly the lifted, locked, armored crawler that I have been used to...
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Re: Wear out the flatlanders. 2 proposed itineraries.

Postby Lemmiwinks » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:07 pm

I agree that option 2 is a lot of car time. Papillon offered a good itinerary for option 1. If you do choose Longs, I'd recommend going in September. Estes Park is much more pleasant/less crowded during that month, and you're more likely to get good weather for summit day.
“If you're bumming out, you're not gonna get to the top, so as long as we're up here we might as well make a point of grooving." -Scott Fischer

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Re: Wear out the flatlanders. 2 proposed itineraries.

Postby Papillon » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:57 pm

I'm not a big fan of camping in The Boulderfield. I think people would be better off going fast and light with a day pack versus hauling a tent, sleeping bag, etc., up there. It is a high camp (by Colorado standards) at 12,700. But you could get a permit and go up there. If you don't feel too well in the A.M., Lady W and Storm provide nice views of Longs.

There are some 13ers in RMNP with backcountry options. I've stayed up at Lawn Lake three times. The approach is 6 miles and 2400 with a camp at 11,000. Mummy, Hagues and Fairchild are right there.

Thunder Lake in Wild Basin gets you access to Alice and Chiefs Head. I have not stayed there but it is a very popular destination and permits go quick.

If you had more time, I'd say go to Lake City or the La Garitas for their 14ers.
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