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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 Kitten » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:40 pm

Columbia for me. Oh, and Longs because of the huge steps on the trail, after a long distance! :-"
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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby ameristrat » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:02 pm

Lindsey was certainly uncomfortable. I'd second the earlier poster who mentioned he wished that he had descended his ascent route (NW Ridge). Seconded - I'd take the solid rock to the slip n' slide any day.

The descent down Columbia's west slopes after the Harvard-Columbia Traverse was probably the most miserable descent I've done. After a ridiculously long day (I was the Ultimate Slow Poke that day), nothing makes you wish you were anywhere else than on a mountain like slipping every three seconds while you descend a couple thousand feet.

I also second Snowmass' East Slopes being the most fun descent. Be sure to climb it when the snow field is full, and you can glissade pretty much from just under 14k down to 12k. It's an absolute blast, and something everyone should do if you're comfortable with an ice axe.
You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know. - Rene Daumal

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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:47 pm

Strange bunch, are we not?

One would think we absolutely adore suffering.


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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby Shawnee Bob » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:02 pm

Yale, between the summit ridge and treeline. Sandy, loose mess. Fell on my butt a few times. I hated that downclimb for other reasons, but even in perfect health that would have sucked. Interesting take on HC. It's gorgeous, but I agree -- regaining the pass after going down the mountain is pretty tiring.
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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby DrewR » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:40 pm

For me it was the ledges on Mt. Eolus. A combination of short ledges comprised of rock, dirt, and a stiff rain made for a slick and scary descent.

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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby Vermont Mike » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:47 am

I think for me I'd say Princeton. I was pretty new to hiking in Colorado at the time, and on the descent I mistakenly took a social trail that quickly got into some nasty ball-bearing scree (that stuff doesn't exist in New England!). Nothing particularly dangerous, but very very annoying. I bypassed the Bross stuff by just returning back over Cameron, didn't think Challenger was that bad, and Pyramid's descent back down into the amphitheater was a breeze compared to the nasty stuff we went up in the dark because we didn't see the proper route. I guess it all depends a lot on personal perspective and routefinding. It sounds like Maroon will be an interesting one though . . . hope to find out in a few months :-D

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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby Duffus Kentucky Climber » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:02 am

Columbia is just nasty loose scree and affords much unpleasantitude. Holy Cross because even "Wrong Way Jeff" can get off route on the descent, as, I have heard, many others have done.
It looks like the ridge is just right up there!

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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby Tornadoman » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:17 pm

I would second Sneffels standard route. I climbed the SW Ridge and descended the standard route which was loose and craptastic with people and a dog above us kicking down a bunch of rocks. If I had to do it again, I'd take the SW ridge both ways.

Lake Como after doing Blanca/Ellingwood. The first 1,000 feet down from the summit of Ellingwood was loose rock crap. Then breaking camp and hiking that long road with a heavy pack was less than thrilling, especially all those baby heads on the road!

El Diente via Kilpacker- This route had seemingly endless talus once the more technical terrain ended. It just seemed like a twisted ankle waiting to happen!

I ascended Bross, but I bet that would have been a tough descent. I haven't done any of the other much maligned peaks- Columbia, Challenger or Maroon, so we'll see how those go!

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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby Jeff Valliere » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:15 pm

Not so much difficult, but I found S. Maroon to be the most tedious to descend, constantly on the verge of your feet coming out from underneath you for 3,000+ vert.

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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby Corndiggs » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:53 pm

Don't see it mentioned yet so I'll add the standard route on Mt. Wilson. After leaving the Navaho lake trail I the ascent went quicker than expected but the descent seemed to take longer and was torture on the knees! Not too loose or dangerous but tedious for sure!
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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby 12ersRule » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:56 pm

Little Bear Southwest Ridge, worse descending than ascending.

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Re: Toughest 14ers to go down

Postby mtree » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:11 pm

Blanca definitely. Never heard the term "baby heads"! Hah! Describes that road perfectly. I did it in one day so was extra tired.
S. Maroon would be next. A long, steep, descent with maximum mental strain. It didn't help I was off-route and busting around cliff benches.
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