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How many 14ers are hikable?

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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How many 14ers are hikable?

Postby BearCrawl » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:19 pm

I know that I can find this easily enough else where. But I'm looking for an easy answer. I'm recovering from an ankle surgery and looking forward to a summer full of hikes. My nine year old son has fallen in love with the mountains and so we're planning a few trips. I'm curious how many we can realistically get through in a couple season's time. Obviously a lot will depend on us, but without exposing ourselves to too many risks, how many of the 14ers can we hike before the technical aspects of climbing become more necessary to possess? In time, we look forward to learning all that we need to, but considering his age and my tentative nature, (better to be safe out there than sorry, especially with my son), I'm just looking for some guidance as to how many we can realistically challenge ourselves with.

We'll be hiking a lot for the pure enjoyment of it, (bow hunting areas-scouting), spending some time in Montana for a fishing trip with the boys and other scenic starts, camping and then leaving base for some 14ers. I'm just curious on this topic about the 14ers. It's a great goal and gives him something to always work towards, not necessarily for the bagging just to bag, but more for the goal setting and attack on something spectacular. He's already gained a ton of confidence through the reference of overcoming tough obstacles. It has been a great tool in helping him overcome his dyslexia, losses in wrestling, tough days on the soccer field, etc. Relating tough times to the mountains and the mental edge he has in making it to the top gives him both a literal and figurative understanding of what it means to excel and achieve great heights.

Thanks for all the help. You're always great for advice. Thanks for the conversation!
Last edited by BearCrawl on Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How many 14ers are hikable?

Postby peter303 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:24 pm

Theres a page for that under routes:
http://14ers.com/php14ers/usrpeaksrall.php
Probably in the mid-blues somewhere.

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Re: How many 14ers are hikable?

Postby Wish I lived in CO » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:25 pm

Generally class 2 would be "safe" and "hikeable". Difficult class 2 (such as Lindsey and others) would be somewhere inbetween a hike and a scramble.

Consider also the distance of the hike if that's of any issue for either of you.
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Re: How many 14ers are hikable?

Postby wildlobo71 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:27 pm

This is such a can-of-worms question because my skills and concerns may or may not equate to you, and definitely not to your son's.

1. It depends on how much you realistically can get up into the mountains.
2. It depends on your definition of acceptable risk. Class 2? Class 3? 10 miles RT too long? Leaving at 4am from a TH too much to consider?

I think the only way you can reasonably answer this is to go by the list here on 14ers, and try a few of the "Class 1" peaks... they have a mix of "shorter" and "longer" routes. I wouldn't, without a season of just hiking, try to set a reasonable goal for how many you can achieve.

When I was pursuing the 58 - I found my pace ended up being about 15-18 new 14er summits a year, with a smattering of repeats and other summits in between and during the off-season (for me, that's winter.) The first 4 years I climbed, I averaged 2 - 3; my lifestyle wasn't ready to change then. It took doing 2-3 in a summer to realize I wanted to make that change so I could go for 10, 15 or more in a summer.
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Re: How many 14ers are hikable?

Postby BearCrawl » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:37 pm

Good can of worms to open man! Thanks.

To be more specific, we've climbed, Quandary, Bierstadt, Grays, DeCalibron and Sherman. I think we can get through 10 or so this summer based on time. Time in the morning to start isn't an issue. Max distance is probably between 7-10 RT with exposure as my primary limiting factor.

Maybe this is a better question. Can all the 14ers be hiked?

Lobo-I see you're from the Sloans area. I grew up eating at Edgewater Inn and taught at Skinner, Denver North and Jefferson. Great area!

Thanks Peter! Great chart.
Last edited by BearCrawl on Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How many 14ers are hikable?

Postby wildlobo71 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:45 pm

BearCrawl wrote:Good can of worms to open man! Thanks.

To be more specific, we've climbed, Quandary, Bierstadt, Grays, DeCalibron and Sherman. I think we can get through 10 or so this summer based on time. Time in the morning to start isn't an issue. Max distance is probably between 7-10 RT with exposure as my primary limiting factor.

Maybe this is a better question. Can all the 14ers be hiked?

Lobo-I see you're from the Sloans area. I grew up eating at Edgewater Inn and taught at Skinner, Denver North and Jefferson. Great area!


Most of the 14ers have routes that max out at Class 3... define hiking v climbing, then? Anytime you use your hands you've entered the climbing realm? After doing 30 or so Class I and II "hikes" I look forward to using the arms to get a break! I think you could safely say anything listed as Class I or II on the 14ers list of difficulty are clearly hikes. Mountains like Wetterhorn and Uncompaghre are mostly Class II with some raised degree of difficulty at the top - some call Uncompaghres top Class II, Some say it's 2+...

I live South of Colfax in the area - it's up and coming!
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Re: How many 14ers are hikable?

Postby BearCrawl » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:51 pm

We wouldn't mind scrambling or even using our hands as necessary. My biggest concern would be the chance of encountering enough exposure that a fall could be dangerous for my son. That's the line I'd want to avoid. Other than that, we'd be game for whatever.

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Re: How many 14ers are hikable?

Postby SurfNTurf » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:52 pm

wildlobo71 wrote:I live South of Colfax in the area - it's up and coming!


The Denver Post wrote:The Denver Police Department is warning residents in the Sloan's Lake neighborhood to look out for a man in a dark thong.

DPD is investigating several incidents of indecent exposure in the west Denver neighborhood this week.

The suspect, who was seen at four separate locations between Sunday and Tuesday, is described as a white or Hispanic male in his 20s to 30s, from 5 feet, 7 inches to 6 feet tall, with black or brown hair and an athletic build.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the suspect's arrest.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22630496/denver-police-warn-man-thong-near-sloan-lake


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Re: How many 14ers are hikable?

Postby BearCrawl » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:57 pm

http://www.14ers.com/routemain.php?route=maro1&peak=The Maroon Bells

#18-
That's a picture of what I would consider beyond us.

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Re: How many 14ers are hikable?

Postby gdthomas » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:17 pm

Class 1 and 2 14ers are "hikable" in my opinion. If you click on "Routes" then "Grouped by Difficulty" and identify the standard routes on those 14ers described as "Easiest" and "Moderate", you've essentially found the "hikable" 14ers. Windom and Sneffels might be outside your comfort zone at this point and some of these peaks have RT distances greater than 10 miles but your threshold for distance and exposure will likely increase as you gain experience.

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Re: How many 14ers are hikable?

Postby sheller » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:49 pm

It sounds like exposure is more of your concern then some scrambling which could actually add some fun to the hike. Maybe focus on 14ers through the moderate category of the 14ers ranked by exposure list- http://www.14ers.com/routes_byexposure.php. There are a good 40 or so 14ers that contain standard routes that don't go beyond moderate exposure. There is some climbing, but if you start with the easier ones then when you get to the ones with climbing they won't feel that difficult. I'm like you and I actually take my boys (ages 7 and 12) up 14ers. My biggest concern is a fall. They enjoy the scrambling, but I make sure to take them up things that have only a small amount of risk. I did Lindsey last year and I feel they could easily handle that. Harvard also had a little scrambling as well as going down Sunshine, but I felt comfortable taking them up those ones as well. This year I have hopes of taking them on some more difficult ones. I'd like to take them up Kit Carson, Wetterhorn and maybe Eolus and Sunlight, but I'll take it one step at a time (ie. see how well they do on Kit Carson before going on to Wetterhorn and Eolus/Sunlight). Take your son on some local hikes that have some bouldering (Alderfer Sisters) and it might surprise you how much fun it can be.

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Re: How many 14ers are hikable?

Postby Chris P. » Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:26 pm

In answer to your immediate question, I would suggest the standard routes on all of the Sawatch Range 14ers as being appropriate based on the limitations you describe, with the possible exception of Holy Cross simply because of the necessary route distance/elevation gain. Further from the Front Range; Humboldt, Culebra, San Luis, Handies, Red Cloud, and Sunshine are all comparable in difficulty to those you've already completed. Slightly more challenging in technicality are Uncompahgre, Sneffels, Castle, Conundrum, Challenger, Lindsey, Blanca, and Ellingwood.

One encouragement I would give you is in regard to how you view the risks of hiking these peaks and the ability that you will gain as you and your son build your skills. Even the very easiest peaks and routes require a base set of skills, and a base set of inherent and variable risks will acompany any attempt made to complete a peak/route. With the peaks you've already done you've undoubtedly obtained a good base set of skills and encountered and dealt with a good number of risks involved.

My encouragement would be to keep your focus on honing basic skills and advancing your skillset so that you can safely and comfortably progress to some of the more challenging and potentially more rewarding routes available. Almost everyone will get burnt out from repeating a task if they're not challenged to advance in what they're doing, and I've seen many people become bored with climbing peaks because they don't challenge themselves to learn more diverse or advanced skills and progress to doing things that utilize those skills.

With regard to risk; learning and mastering a wide-ranging skillset is the best way to minimize the risk in your mountain activity, especially when it comes to the more variable risks such as weather. Avoiding many of the objective risks outright is certainly an option, but it may so tightly limit the range of what is feasible for you that you quickly lose interest.

The skills that I'm talking about could be things such as basic rock climbing skills in order to gain a safety and comfort margin with exposure and rock scrambling, navigation and routefinding skills, handling a wider variety of weather conditions or terrain types/conditions, or focusing on mastering different styles of backcountry travel such as fast and light or multi-day trekking. The opportunity to learn and advance in some of these areas with your son and to use this as an opportunity for his personal growth and the relational growth between you and him is tremendous and shouldn't be overlooked.

*Edit to add first aid and wilderness rescue as another area that I encourage everyone to become more skilled and proficient in.

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