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Hiking Elbert Next Weekend

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Hiking Elbert Next Weekend

Postby nboyer941 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:17 am

I'm attempting my first 14er next weekend. I'm going with one person who has experience. We'll be arriving in Denver Thursday morning at 10:00AM. We will be camped at 10-11,000 feet on Saturday night so we can get up early and make a summit attempt on Sunday. This will give us three full days to acclimate (We're from Minnesota).

I'm looking for any advise you guys can give me. Is there anything we should watch out for? Any precautions? It looks like they're getting snow this weekend. We plan on having snowshoes with us.

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Re: Hiking Elbert Next Weekend

Postby denvermikey » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:39 am

Being from Minnesota I can assume that you have good cold weather (& windproof) gear. That is obviously a critical factor. There are several other very important things to bring.

-Layers, layers, layers (no cotton)
-Good waterproof gloves or (even better) mittens
-Windproof and waterproof shell
-Waterproof boots with gaiters
-Sunblock (yes, even in December) for the very small part of your body that is exposed (face)
-Sunglasses or goggles
-Lip Balm
-Plenty of drink and energy type food (camelback may not work due to feeder line freezing)
-Snowshoes may be overkill, but if you have them already may as well bring them
-Microspikes

Prepare for sunny, calm weather in the 20's and snowy, very windy conditions with wind chill at sub zero temps - could easily experience both on same day.

There are probably a few other things that I am forgetting that other people may chime in with but this is a good start.
Hope you and your partner are in pretty good cardio shape!

Good luck!
"Every man dies, not every man really lives" - William Wallace
"Because it's there" - George Mallory
"In the end it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years" - Abraham Lincoln
"You only live once but if you do it right, once is enough" - Mae West
"Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world." - Unknown

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Re: Hiking Elbert Next Weekend

Postby nboyer941 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:48 am

That's a great list. I have all of that ready to go! Anything else?

edit*
I'm 28 and in good shape.

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Re: Hiking Elbert Next Weekend

Postby denvermikey » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:59 am

The route(s) is(are) fairly straight forward (have you decided which route you are going to take?) but weather can change that quickly. Even if it is not snowing at the time, wind can turn ground snow into white-out conditions. Also, if there is a decent amount of new snow, the trail may be covered completely. GPS is probably a good idea too.

What type of vehicle will you have? This may be a big deal when it comes to how long your route is and which trailhead you can get to (or how far up). If you are renting, it may be worth the extra $$ to get a 4x4 SUV.

*even though it is going to be quite cold - staying hydrated is critical
"Every man dies, not every man really lives" - William Wallace
"Because it's there" - George Mallory
"In the end it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years" - Abraham Lincoln
"You only live once but if you do it right, once is enough" - Mae West
"Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world." - Unknown

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Re: Hiking Elbert Next Weekend

Postby nboyer941 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:04 pm

I'm not sure about the route. My partner has that planned. I believe we'll be entering from the East. We're renting a 4x4.

We will have GPS on our phones, but that's it.

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Re: Hiking Elbert Next Weekend

Postby cory1223oh » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:16 pm

I would definitely take goggles as well as a balaclava or other face covering. If it's cold and windy (good chance of this) I wouldn't want to have any exposed skin at all.

As far as GPS goes, if you don't already have a dedicated backcountry GPS app for your phone I would recommend X-Motion GPS (I'm sure there are others that are just as good, but this is what I have used). It's only a few bucks, but allows you to download the .gpx file for your intended route from this website. This lets you to see fairly easily if you are off route. It also allows you to save the topo maps for a given area since you likely won't have cell signal.

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Re: Hiking Elbert Next Weekend

Postby B[3] » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:36 pm

Didn't see this mentioned yet: consider how you will keep your water insulated the night you camp between 10,000-11,000 feet. When I tent camped at a similar elevation in early November this year, I left my water in the car and didn't think to insulate it. Well, it froze overnight, and I couldn't get any of my water bottles open come morning. I resorted to running the car for ~10 minutes in order to be able to open one of the water bottles and break through the ice for a drink. When I started hiking, the bottle refroze. It was hard to stay hydrated that day.
Learn from the mistakes of others--you can never live long enough to make them all yourself.--Unknown
Don't chase your dreams, catch them.--Unknown

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Re: Hiking Elbert Next Weekend

Postby nboyer941 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:40 pm

We have water bottle insulators.

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Re: Hiking Elbert Next Weekend

Postby wildlobo71 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:42 pm

B[3] wrote:Didn't see this mentioned yet: consider how you will keep your water insulated the night you camp between 10,000-11,000 feet. When I tent camped at a similar elevation in early November this year, I left my water in the car and didn't think to insulate it. Well, it froze overnight, and I couldn't get any of my water bottles open come morning. I resorted to running the car for ~10 minutes in order to be able to open one of the water bottles and break through the ice for a drink. When I started hiking, the bottle refroze. It was hard to stay hydrated that day.


Are you car camping or pitching a tent (or in a room)? Either way, wrap them in a spare layer and throw them in your bag down by the feet, or under you in the pillow. A Nalgene filled with warm water shouldn't freeze solid in your car or in your tent as long as it's near your body heat.

I have a Nalgene external insulator that I carry on my bag - after 6 hours in 10-degrees and wind chills well below 0, there was ice forming only at the neck - which was easily consumed or otherwise removed... may be a good investment, and it will remind you to drink - something that get's forgotten by many on cold days.
Bill W.
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Re: Hiking Elbert Next Weekend

Postby Dave B » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:48 pm

B[3] wrote:Didn't see this mentioned yet: consider how you will keep your water insulated the night you camp between 10,000-11,000 feet. When I tent camped at a similar elevation in early November this year, I left my water in the car and didn't think to insulate it. Well, it froze overnight, and I couldn't get any of my water bottles open come morning. I resorted to running the car for ~10 minutes in order to be able to open one of the water bottles and break through the ice for a drink. When I started hiking, the bottle refroze. It was hard to stay hydrated that day.


Bury your water bottles in the snow, upside down as close to the ground as possible. It will keep them from freezing.
"There is no cheating in climbing, only lying." - Semi-Rad

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Re: Hiking Elbert Next Weekend

Postby peter303 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:52 pm

Bring the coldest weather gear you can.
-10F showing at Breckenridge the next few days.
Could be more like -30F, -40F with altitude and wind.

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Re: Hiking Elbert Next Weekend

Postby nboyer941 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:01 pm

We'll be far from our car. sleeping in a tent.

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