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Acclimatization hike near Fort Collins

Information on peaks other than the CO 14ers and 13ers.
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Re: Acclimatization hike near Fort Collins

Postby cougar » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:58 am

If you do Horsetooth, you'll notice most folks do the standard route to the north summit, but I believe the true highpoint is located on the south summit. There's a climber's trail leading to the base on the east side of the rock, and it's a class 3/4ish route to the top. I was up there two weeks ago, and happy to have a guy spot me on the downclimb. Horsetooth is famously featured on the Fat Tire Amber Ale logo.


Yes, the south rock is the true summit and a more fun climb, especially at night. Can keep it at class 3. The middle rock is class 4 but usually descended with a rappel, it's bolted at the top.

As far as up the canyon and altitude, I think something like Diamond Peaks from Cameron Pass would get good elevation (11k) in a short hike with views, but is a > 90 min drive each way (the RT driving time would be longer than the hiking time, in TX this is normal). Depends on their beer schedule. Might be better to end the trip with a beer day instead of starting. As far as acclimation, when I visited from TX the first time, I did Flattop and Hallett as an 'acclimation hike'. Just had been doing a bunch of cardio in the gym leading up to the trip so it was fine, didn't plan on going to the summit when I started, it just worked out. Twin Sisters is even easier than that.

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Re: Acclimatization hike near Fort Collins

Postby 12ersRule » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:27 am

herdbull wrote:
mike offerman wrote:
ChrisRoberts wrote:Wow, you must not be looking very hard


My thoughts exactly!


First off he wants to acclimate. You ain't doing much of that at 5K-6K. That's almost a complete waste of time even coming from Texas.

There's nothing absolutely nothing to the East, North and South that would qualify as "scenic". That leaves you the Poudre. The bottom half of that blows, has no views, and just doesn't offer much but a slow meandering drive.



North - Red Mountain open space
East - Pawnee Buttes
South/Southwest - St Vrain and Big Thompson canyons

Millions of options in Poudre Canyon if you get out of your car.
Red Feather Lakes - tons of 8ers, 9ers. You could drive all the way to Deadman Lookout. Or take the Kilpecker trail or roads up to South Bald/Middle Bald/North Bald/Laramie Mtns Highpoint.

RMNP less than 1 hour. Deer Mtn 10K, Gem Lake/Gem Peak - 9K, Pt8194, Round Mountain 8400, Crosier Mtn 9K+, Storm Mtn almost 10K. Signal Mtn/South Signal/Pennock Peak 11K.
Then you've got Buckhorn Canyon - Lookout Mtn and friends 3 peaks above 10K, West Pine and East Pine (might be closed due to fires) over 10K.

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Re: Acclimatization hike near Fort Collins

Postby mike offerman » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:32 pm

herdbull wrote:There's nothing absolutely nothing to the East, North and South that would qualify as "scenic". That leaves you the Poudre. The bottom half of that blows, has no views, and just doesn't offer much but a slow meandering drive.



But 49ersRule, those all blow... And don't get me started about East, North or South. When I am in town, I never even look those directions!

Txhiker42, 49ersRule and others have given you great suggestions. If you want more detailed information on any of them, let us know. If you have anything specific (lakes, stream, solitude) in mind we could narrow things down for you.

You might even be able to see Long's Peak from one of these peaks that blow, and you won't even need a telephoto lens....
http://images.summitpost.org/original/187967.jpg
Last edited by mike offerman on Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Acclimatization hike near Fort Collins

Postby happyonthemountains » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:39 pm

RMNP is about an hour from Fort Collins and there have been great suggestions for hikes in that park, but why not Pingree Park? Same amount of travel time and only 26 (I think) miles up the Poudre Canyon. You can access 10K peaks, including the mummy ridge that borders RMNP, and you don't have to pay! A useful site for you may be: poudrewildernessvolunteers.org

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Re: Acclimatization hike near Fort Collins

Postby Txhiker42 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:34 pm

mike offerman wrote:Txhiker42, 49ersRule and others have given you great suggestions. If you want more detailed information on any of them, let us know. If you have anything specific (lakes, stream, solitude) in mind we could narrow things down for you.


My original plan was to head to RMNP directly from the airport and hike one of the easier trails with waterfalls and lakes (ie. Alberta Falls and Mills Lake). A nice stroll in the woods to almost 10,000 feet. However, the plane lands at 8:00 am on a Saturday, and I figured that by the time we get out there and deal with the shuttle bus to get to the trailhead, it would be late morning. Then hike, and then an hour and a half to Fort Collins and it's late in the afternoon. Which is certainly doable, but my friend is determined to get to New Belgium so that's a priority for her (we are only staying in Fort Collins one night). And we need to get to bed early for the following day's hike. So...

1. Gem Lake sounds like it would fit the bill, and I wouldn't have to deal with the RMNP shuttle, but am I still looking at an hour and a half drive from there to Fort Collins?

2. Horsetooth Mountain seems like a perfectly nice hike, and my friend would like that it's on the Fat Tire Amber logo (thanks, susanjoypaul!) Are there a lot of steps, or is the elevation gain gradual, but steady? We did Bear Peak in Boulder a couple of years ago, and all those steps really took a toll the next day!

3. I'll have to look into Pingree Park based on happyonthemountains
suggestion. Does anyone have any specific trails in mind?

Basically, we just want to get our legs warmed up, gaze at some mountain scenery, and be within an hour or so of Fort Collins. If I could get an alpine lake or waterfall in, that would be a bonus. We don't want to work too hard the first day since we will be doing that in subsequent days.

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Re: Acclimatization hike near Fort Collins

Postby herdbull » Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:08 pm

Txhiker42 wrote:
mike offerman wrote:
Basically, we just want to get our legs warmed up, gaze at some mountain scenery, and be within an hour or so of Fort Collins. If I could get an alpine lake or waterfall in, that would be a bonus. We don't want to work too hard the first day since we will be doing that in subsequent days.


this you won't get near Fort Collins. Alpine Lakes and mtn scenery start just above Poudre Falls. But what do I know. I've only logged 1500+ miles in the upper Poudre.

As for the telephoto lens.... it's a whole whopping 3x zoom. Hmmmm east of Fort Collins??? Lots of grass and rolling hills to look at. Yayyyy!!

edit to add:

Pingree Park is probably your best option for close to town. There's some nice country at the end of it.

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Re: Acclimatization hike near Fort Collins

Postby susanjoypaul » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:19 am

Txhiker42 wrote:2. Horsetooth Mountain seems like a perfectly nice hike, and my friend would like that it's on the Fat Tire Amber logo (thanks, susanjoypaul!) Are there a lot of steps, or is the elevation gain gradual, but steady? We did Bear Peak in Boulder a couple of years ago, and all those steps really took a toll the next day!

If you take the South Ridge Trail (2.6 miles each way), there are no steps, and if you take the Horsetooth Rock Trail (2.5 miles each way) there are some steps. Both are gentle hikes, with the longer one being a multi-use trail in full sun and views of Longs Peak, and the shorter one (hikers-only trail) offering more shade. If I did it again I would hike in on the Horsetooth Rock Trail and out on the South Ridge Trail, and maybe add in the Audra Culver on the way out as well, which connects to the South Ridge Trail. If you want to add in a couple more miles, you can do an out-and-back to Horsetooth Falls on the Horsetooth Falls Trail, which connects to the Horsetooth Mountain Trail. Pick up a map at the entrance gate, and this will make a lot more sense :-)

I have not been to the north summit but it looked pretty easy - low 3rd class. The south (true) summit is stiff class 3 at best. If you're not a climber, stick to the north summit and enjoy the gorgeous views. I think this is a good way to stretch your legs and warm up to the elevation here in Colorado. If you try to do too much, or go too high, too soon, you might wear yourself out for the bigger days.

If you're interested in lakes and waterfalls, head to Rocky Mountain National Park. There are many, many hikes to watery destinations in the park, and plenty of peaks, too. Lots of other great ideas here, though.

Enjoy!

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Re: Acclimatization hike near Fort Collins

Postby cougar » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:52 am

Horestooth is not nearly as steep as Bear Mtn. I recommend taking the standard trail then Audra Culver trail up or down - you'll get views off both sides that way and it's fairly short. Culver is a bit less steep. If it's a clear day, you can see the high peaks of RMNP from the Culver trail. There is also a road most of the way up if you want to go a bit longer and less steep. The north rock is the most popular as the trail leads up to it, very easy class 3 last 30 ft or so. 1600 ft elevation gain.

Horesetooth Falls is very small and 'seasonal'. It's usually just a trickle late summer.

This also makes for good sunset or evening hike, you can take the road down if it's getting late (dirt maintainance road but also open for hikers/bikers/horses).

Anything alpine (>9000-10000 ft) or lush forest/lake is at least a 60-90 minute drive from Fort Collins, which is more like high desert or maybe the hill country (at higher elevation).

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Re: Acclimatization hike near Fort Collins

Postby CarrieS » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:54 am

There's always Round mountain just outside of Loveland

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Re: Acclimatization hike near Fort Collins

Postby djkest » Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:14 pm

CarrieS wrote:There's always Round mountain just outside of Loveland

Yup, Round mountain or "sheep mountain" is a great one, over 2k feet of gain and 4.75 miles one way, I've done it more than perhaps any other single mountain. I do it for time. The first 2ish miles are tough and then it gets easier, but still with an average elevation of 7k feet that is much better than sea level. :)

Signal mountain is a longer drive but ends up much higher. It's also a long hike in general so probably wouldn't meet your criteria.
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