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Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Dogs, dogs and even some cats
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Let's try to keep the topics related to mountaineering, please.
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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby kdavies314 » Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:12 pm

I have hiked many 14ers with my dog, (Elbert, Grey's, Torrey's, Lincoln, Democrate, Bross, Cameron-if it counts, and Quandary). A couple weeks ago I went to hike Mt. of the Holy Cross, and naturally I was planning to take my dog. However, when I mentioned this to my friends everyone was shocked. So, I started to second guess taking my pup. I have a very fit 6 year old border collie and I have never had issues with him on mountains, but he also carries his own food, water and he wears booties to protect his pads.

I called my vet to get his opinion and he thought if I ended up getting into trouble I would have to not only think of my safety but also my dogs. In the end I chose not to take him on this adventure. I felt guilty the whole way up, I have never hiked without him. We got to about 13500 ft and the trail became less noticeable-maybe due to recent snow- and we had to do a bit of climbing boulders and finding our way up to the top. At this point I was so thankful of my decision to leave my pup at home. The thoughts of what if he wasn't able to jump from rock to rock or climb between the rocks was going through my mind, which is why I am writing this. I just wanted other people to be aware of the hazards in that last 500 ft that a dog might struggle on. In the Holy cross wilderness there is a leash law and if you slip or your dog slips on one of these rocks it could mean trouble for either you or your beloved dog. This is the first time I have thought my dog might have struggled, he might have been fine, but I am happy I didn't test his ability. My love for my dog is greater than my desire to have a photo with him on the top!

On a different note, my friends and I decided to do the Halo ridge route from the top of Holy Cross. It was tons of scrambling and managing big rocks, and there is no defined route until you get to the Notch shelter. Be prepared for a challenge if you choose to do this trip. It was amazing and rewarding in the end, but the hardest hike I have done to date. The work done on the Halfmoon trial this past summer is amazing, kudos to everyone who helped with that endeavor.

I hope people find this helpful.

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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby annabella » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:44 pm

What everyone else said: class 1 or 2. The rocks can definitely be hard on their pads, so if it's a first 14er, try to keep it to one of the shorter ones to see how they do. I haven't been able to find booties that fit my little guy, but luckily he's small enough (11lbs) that I can just throw him in my pack if his feet get sore (although I've only had to do this once, coming down from Grays/Torreys).

One thing I also do is have him wear a harness when we're going over rocks. It gives me an easy way to grab him if he needs some help getting up or down bigger rocks, and then I leash him to my waist, so that if he were to slip, he's not going to fall off the mountain (and it would be less painful for him to be saved by his harness than by his collar). I always bring his "snowsuit" too, because small dogs are more sensitive to cold weather (it's a waterproof, fleece-lined coat).

Know your dog's fitness level and abilities. My teeny guy maxes out around 10 miles, but that drops a LOT when the weather heats up. He's a good scrambler, too - but I have a friend with a big Lab who got a little freaked when we did Evans. Luckily it was a short route, but that's how we learned that he doesn't do well above class 1, so now he stays home. Just remember not to get them into a situation you aren't prepared to get them out of.
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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby d_baker » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:53 pm

Are you sure that's a dog?

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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby annabella » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:32 pm

Nope. But if not....he's a pretty awesome marmot.

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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby cheeseburglar » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:40 pm

That is the first photo documentation I've seen of an Ewok on the summit of a 14er.
The marmot said “Nobody is perfect and you are not nobody.”

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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby TallGrass » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:27 pm

:wft:
Image
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby DaveSwink » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:55 pm

Nicest dog thread ever. :-D Great pics too.

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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby mckillio » Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:45 am

I just did Grays last weekend with my 13 and a half year old German Shepherd mix and he got up just fine but was pretty wiped halfway down and did have some pad wear. He's been up Evans, Grays (twice), Sherman (had quite a bit of trouble due to his pads getting messed up), and Elbert. Doing Richtofen this Saturday, we'll see how it goes.

As far as a leash goes, I don't believe in it for him, he behaves much better off leash than on and I think it's safer for both of us. I do carry it with me just in case.

I got him boots but he just unstraps them and takes them off, otherwise I would recommend them.

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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby ahrendse » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:17 pm

I agree with what has been said so far, especially the fact that Class 2 routes vary in difficulty for dogs. My dog (a large bullmastiff) struggles with large boulders. He's made is up Massive, Uncompahgre, Antero, and Holy Cross. He was not able to make it up Shavano, mostly because the large boulders made him nervous and he would not go on.

My dog carries his own food, water, and waste. To keep him cool, I often pour water on his head and back. He gets picky with regular food on hikes, so I often bring plenty of tasty treats for him to fuel up on.

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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby rijaca » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:20 pm

mckillio wrote: Doing Richtofen this Saturday, we'll see how it goes.

As far as a leash goes, I don't believe in it for him, he behaves much better off leash than on and I think it's safer for both of us. I do carry it with me just in case.



Not sure your dog will do well on Richthofen. Lots of rocks, no trail. And if you're making the approach from the east, you'll be in RMNP (no dogs).
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Spent a little time on the hill"

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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby James Dziezynski » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:42 pm

My older border collie has done around 30 14ers (really, all the dog safe ones) and over 100 total peaks. My younger guy (border collie also) is fast on his heels! They are great dogs and I really cherish their company in the mountains. A few thoughts:

* This time of year, I'm very aware of how hot it gets. I like autumn hiking the most for my dogs, so I like to do technical stuff without them mid-summer. Hot dogs are not happy dogs!

* We don't use booties and rarely do we have any foot issues, though to be fair we worked up slowly to getting their feet tough enough for long days. In the winter, I use paw wax that works well to keep snow from gathering.

* One final thought: some of my very favorite days out with them have been mountain hikes on non-14ers. A few of my favorites have been: Bison Peak, Mount Flora, Argentine Peak/Pass, Mount Parnassus and Vail Pass.
Check out my book Best Summit Hikes in Colorado at http://amzn.to/WKkWOH

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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby Tortoise1 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:55 pm

James Dziezynski wrote:* We don't use booties and rarely do we have any foot issues, though to be fair we worked up slowly to getting their feet tough enough for long days. In the winter, I use paw wax that works well to keep snow from gathering.


Good to know, always thought paw wax was to be used on your father, and once spent an inordinate amount of time at REI looking for ma wax. Very helpful forum this is.

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