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Sawtooth vs Kelso

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Re: Sawtooth vs Kelso

Postby ChrisRoberts » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:25 pm

Jay521 wrote:
SurfNTurf wrote:Once on the summit, college girls in running shorts will fawn over you.
Kelso Ridge wins.

'nuff said!'

You have to be shirtless, correct?
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Re: Sawtooth vs Kelso

Postby SolarAlex » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:46 pm

sawtooth was my first class 3...i found it to be scary, but the climbing itself was extremely easy. the exposure on the exit ramp was a little unnerving to me but it was just walking really. id call the sawtooth class 2+ w exposure. I did kelso for my next one, and thought it was harder...i think we may have gotten off route a little bit which upped the difficulty. the knife edge on kelso is not scary...its very short and over before you know it. kelso is a really, really fun route and i cant wait to try it again.

both routes are really cool in my opinion

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Re: Sawtooth vs Kelso

Postby RoanMtnMan » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:59 pm

More importantly than difficulty, because that can be argued all day long, Kelso is a much more enjoyable pure class 2-3 climb. Airy, sustained, decent rock, and very straight forward. Usually not crowded either. It's one of my favorite routes close to home. Put a little snow on there and it gets sporty. I've gone back to it over and over. No real desire to do the Sawtooth again.
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Re: Sawtooth vs Kelso

Postby YooperJonKornely » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:35 pm

I really appreciate the replies! Even some pictures, that is awesome! I'm excited for both of these hikes, and this helps give me some stuff to think about.

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Re: Sawtooth vs Kelso

Postby Monte Meals » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:17 pm

Yooper: I really appreciate the replies! Even some pictures, that is awesome! I'm excited!

My friend, if you are excited simply by replies, you have not yet entered nirvana.
Behold that which awaits you:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=38975

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Re: Sawtooth vs Kelso

Postby ChrisinAZ » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:25 pm

Pretty much this. I'd call the actual scrambling on the Sawtooth somewhat easier, but I did not like that sloping scree traverse at the end of the tough section one bit! Kelso is mostly devoid of that sort of crap, and involves exhilarating scrambling on more solid rock (and it becomes even more exhilarating when it has a dusting of snow :shock: ). On both routes, the class 3 is pretty solid where it needs to be, and I'd describe the exposure as moderate with some breaks on both routes.

Having done both routes once, I can say that the Sawtooth was a factor in Evans being my least favorite 14er, and that Torreys moved up the list considerably in terms of both fun factor and respect once I'd done Kelso Ridge. I'd go back for the latter anytime...

SurfNTurf wrote:Sawtooth is barely Class 3, but perhaps more unnerving on the exposed scree ledges. Far less aesthetic of a line. You might run into people trying to pretend they're search and rescue (but for dogs) with no regard for that pesky "months of intense training" thing.

Kelso Ridge is a flat-out classic. Sustained Class 3 with a few Class 2 areas for mental breaks. The Knife Edge is short and not as exposed as its name would suggest. Once on the summit, college girls in running shorts will fawn over you.

Kelso Ridge wins.

EDIT: to answer the OP's question more directly, Kelso Ridge was my first Class 3 and somewhere around my fifth 14er. I had no issue, even though it was my first taste of exposure. At the time I was still afraid of single-pitch sport routes, so it's not like I had balls of steel. It was a blast. I did the Sawtooth much later in my 14er journey, but if I'd done it earlier I think the scree ledges would have given me pause. Kelso Ridge, in my opinion, is more fun and less scary.
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Re: Sawtooth vs Kelso

Postby DeTour » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:01 pm

SurfNTurf wrote:EDIT: to answer the OP's question more directly, Kelso Ridge was my first Class 3 and somewhere around my fifth 14er. I had no issue, even though it was my first taste of exposure. At the time I was still afraid of single-pitch sport routes, so it's not like I had balls of steel...

All Yoopers are born with balls of steel so I think you've got the green light on both routes JonK.
when you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Re: Sawtooth vs Kelso

Postby atalarico » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:46 pm

I loved Kelso. I solo'd it and it was enough to keep my attention but not enough to freak me out. However, I've been climbing (rock and ice) for about 7 years otherwise, so I'm biased. Incidentally, I crossed the knife edge in my crampons because I thought I already crossed the knife edge earlier.

Check out my video and make up your own mind! http://youtu.be/EvuLYJk6psk

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Re: Sawtooth vs Kelso

Postby YooperJonKornely » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:14 am

DeTour wrote:
SurfNTurf wrote:EDIT: to answer the OP's question more directly, Kelso Ridge was my first Class 3 and somewhere around my fifth 14er. I had no issue, even though it was my first taste of exposure. At the time I was still afraid of single-pitch sport routes, so it's not like I had balls of steel...

All Yoopers are born with balls of steel so I think you've got the green light on both routes JonK.


Oh hey der, you betcha ;)

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