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Toughest 14ers to go down

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby JTOlson26 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:53 pm

sheller wrote:Columbia- standard


Yes! Hated most of that descent!

Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby MonGoose » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:17 pm

The peak I most hated downclimbing was South Maroon Peak. The most technically challenging downclimb for me was Capitol Peak, below the summit and around K2.

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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby smoove » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:18 pm

By far, the East Slopes of S. Maroon. Neverending steep, loose dirt and scree. Miserable. The ridge itself is so much fun but I think I'll avoid repeating that one until there's some major "trail" improvement.

The standard descent of Challenger used to hold the top spot for me.

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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby SilverLynx » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:19 pm

My least favorite descents out of the 14ers I've done so far...

-The Class 2+ gully on Mount Lindsey: Rocks can and will fall on your head!

-The Kite Lake side of Bross: Not only did I biff it several times, I watched every other person fall over repeatedly too. What a spectacle!

-Ellingwood Point: The Lake Como Road, ugh!

and lastly, I thought I would mention this one even though it's a 13er, because it's how I "descended" from Missouri Mountain:

-Emerald Peak: Steep, intimidating scree. Every step you take will shift, and you'll be dumping a ton of rocks out of your shoes when you reach the bottom of the scree field. Trekking poles would have been nice to have...

Regarding Mount Columbia, I would highly recommend Columbia's Southeast Ridge if you want to avoid the agonizing scree descent!
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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby KentonB » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:37 pm

SilverLynx wrote:Emerald Peak: Steep, intimidating scree. Every step you take will shift, and you'll be dumping a ton of rocks out of your shoes when you reach the bottom of the scree field. Trekking poles would have been nice to have...

Wow... Everyone has different tastes... I thought this was one of the most fun descents I've done. :-) Scree-Skiing all the way down... I practically ran down it in record time. That said, one of my hiking partners felt the same way you did... hated every step he took.

Oh, and for me, the worst was Little Bear... it was wet, and I didn't trust the ropes... Made for a nerve-racking descent down the hourglass when every foothold was on a sloped surface with little round pebbles covering it. It's the only 14er I couldn't enjoy because I was dreading the descent.

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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby Jim Davies » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:14 pm

anna wrote:that Como road is a beast that never ends.

Jeez, I'd almost forgotten that one. Miles of ankle-twisting baby-heads, ending in a hot dry desert. And we're planning to do it again this summer sometime. Oh, boy... :?
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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby FCSquid » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:24 pm

SilverLynx wrote:Regarding Mount Columbia, I would highly recommend Columbia's Southeast Ridge if you want to avoid the agonizing scree descent!


Thanks for the tip - I've been looking for a good alternative route to do Columbia and Harvard while avoiding that scree. Looks like a big day, but a much more aesthetic route.
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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby sunny1 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:39 pm

Least favorite descent for me remains Bross - this may have be colored by the fact it was one of the 1st 14ers
I climbed after recovering from a broken leg. Baaaad place to be!

Other runner-ups for me are Challenger, El Diente, Little Bear's SW ridge (lost toenails!), W slope of Snowmass.
Personally did not mind S Maroon #-o - but it's steep.
No more ascents or descents of Lake Como Rd for me, ever.

On many of the 14ers, there are alternate routes definitely worth considering.
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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby wildlobo71 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:53 pm

I also don't mind the Challengers, Bross', South Maroon's and the like - they are steep but over with quickly, all things considered. I personally hate long (4+ miles) gradual descents when you are already tired from the ascent and Elvis knee (or my personal nemesis, the rolling of the ankle,) is more apt to strike on surfaces that you'd otherwise think were safe and "gentle". These are peaks and mounts like Pikes Peak, Elbert, Harvard, Yale, Anything in the Blanca group because it's both steep, and then gradual for another few miles.
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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby painless4u2 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:20 pm

sunny1 wrote:
Least favorite descent for me remains Bross - this may have be colored by the fact it was one of the 1st 14ers
I climbed after recovering from a broken leg. Baaaad place to be!

Other runner-ups for me are Challenger, El Diente, Little Bear's SW ridge (lost toenails!), W slope of Snowmass.
Personally did not mind S Maroon - but it's steep.
No more ascents or descents of Lake Como Rd for me, ever.

On many of the 14ers, there are alternate routes definitely worth considering.


+1 on El Diente (North Slope): Ughh.
Also, yes, all the Blanca group can be done without ever touching Como (I've never set foot on it), but I'm not sure the SW ridge of Little Bear is a lot better.
Coming off the ridge of Pyramid isn't a lot of fun.
My personal worst: West slopes of Castle. :wft: Never, ever, again.
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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby nkan02 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:12 pm

In my mind, there are "unpleasant" descents, and there are "dangerous" descents.

I would put Bross, Columbia, Challenger (and Como Road) in the 1st category. If you are careful and patient (just take your time despite the urge to get down), you should be ok.

In the 2nd category, there are descents that no matter how careful, precise and patient you are, $hit can still happen, as the mountain/route is just too loose. It is a bad place to be in a group.

I would put Snowmass West Slopes, El Diente (was slightly off route too), a section on Princeton back side (via Grouse canyon), Emerald (hated that loose descent) in the second category.

But my personal "least favorite" got to be some random loose gully off Mt. Adams. By comparison, Challenger the next day seemed practically rock solid highway.:(

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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby DeTour » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:18 pm

I think Sneffels held a (relatively short) stretch of the most miserable terrain for me personally, just below Lavender Col. Maybe I was off route, but I just could not find a way to navigate that scree. It was the only time I know that I sent a rock flying, way too close to clipping a climber below.

But for total misery index, I'd have to say Longs, because it's so loooonnnnnnng. Both times I climbed it (with inadequate acclimation from the Midwest), I thought it was going to put me in a wheelchair for the knee misery. Rock-hopping through Boulder Field, a blast on the way up, torture on the way down.
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