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Best winter 14er climb

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Best winter 14er climb

Postby noxinj » Sat Nov 28, 2009 10:15 am

A buddy and I are looking to climb a 14er this winter. We were wondering which 14er would be the best for winter climbing and when would be the best time in the winter to climb. Thanks for any help

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Re: Best winter 14er climb

Postby timf » Sat Nov 28, 2009 10:51 am

Not sure what "best 14er for climbing in winter" means? Safest and having the most spectacular scenery may not be the same thing although draped in their winter white on a bluebird day, one can hardly go wrong.

Most would say Sherman, Quandary, Bierstadt, Pikes, etc can provide safe passage in winter by staying on the right route. Other's are certainly possible, but one like the Sawatch 14ers are really really long days in winter when the days are shorter.

Time of winter? Depends on conditions, but you probably can do any of these all 12 months of the year. March is statistically the snowiest month. Try Quandary late December or january sticking to the south side of the east ridge. Easy access and great views.

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Re: Best winter 14er climb

Postby globreal » Sat Nov 28, 2009 12:21 pm

noxinj wrote:A buddy and I are looking to climb a 14er this winter. We were wondering which 14er would be the best for winter climbing and when would be the best time in the winter to climb. Thanks for any help


noxinj,

If you are somewhat new to climbing 14ers in Colorado, and especially in winter, the BEST thing you can do is to get educated. The risks and dangers are magnified in winter. A simple sprained ankle could mean you don't get out of the back country and an overnight stay could mean death from exposure. Choosing the wrong route could mean death from avalanche. So, you might consider taking an avalanche class as a prerequisite.

Even some seemingly simple hikes can turn dangerous. Here's two threads WORTH reading.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10691&p=122689&hilit

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19309&start=0&hilit

Good luck and be safe out there.
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die."
~John 11:25

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Re: Best winter 14er climb

Postby jwagner » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:40 pm

I just did Democrat last weekend. Good early winter climb. Minimal snow and big cairnes made it really easy to navigate. Only two other people up there with us.

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Re: Best winter 14er climb

Postby Tim A » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:41 pm

NoxinJ, I was in a similar situation to yourself this past spring when I was looking for a first 14er to climb with a few friends from Texas. We chose the Quandary East Ridge route and successfully climbed it in March. I can't stress enough how important doing research and being prepared is before going out there, especially in winter. I had zero experience in any kind of alpine terrain before this trip, but thanks to great online resources like this website, I went prepared with snowshoes (useful below treeline on another pre-14er acclimation hike), microspikes (which were completely necessary car to car), and the various clothing layers and shells required to keep us alive in sub-zero temperatures. I also researched the route and general mountain-hazards meticulously which probably saved my party a night out there because we got lost coming down Quandary and strayed too far north, which led to bushwacking and post-holing through the forest for over an hour near dusk. Only being really familiar with the TOPO map I'd studied earlier as well as having a GPS with a TOPO map handy did we find the car before it got too dark to stay mobile. I could also recognize dangerous snow-pack and keep my party away from those areas.

All this is to say you don't necessarily need an avalanche class or thousands of dollars worth of gear to be safe in the mountains in winter, but you do need to educate yourself on every contingency.

While I haven't climbed Democrat myself, I was told during my planning stages to avoid all the peaks of the Decalibron in winter given that their avalanche conditions may change. While it may have been fine with minimal snow last weekend, it might not be when you get there. I strongly recommend Quandary.

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Re: Best winter 14er climb

Postby sunny1 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:58 pm

There are some reasonable, low avy risk routes on 14ers in winter.
Some of the 14ers are accessible, no matter how much snow there is. Right now, it's (waaaaay too) dry.
No telling what the conditions will be in December, Jan, Feb or March.
Keep in mind that in winter, your access may add a few extra miles from the summer trailhead.

Some options that come to mind, meeting the low avy risk criteria:
Quandary
Elbert (East Ridge)
Bierstadt
Pikes
Sherman (see the winter route on this site)

Here's a great link, credit ScottP, may be helpful:
http://www.summitpost.org/colorado-14ers-in-winter/337648
The older you get, the better you get, unless you're a banana.

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Re: Best winter 14er climb

Postby pseudoghost » Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:01 pm

Deleted, since the OP is long gone.
Last edited by pseudoghost on Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Best winter 14er climb

Postby TheOtherIndian » Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:03 pm

The OP was 3 years ago! And hasnt even visited 14ers.com since then :-D
"There's only one thing I hate more than lying. Skim milk. Which is water that's lying about being milk" -Swanson, Ron

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Re: Best winter 14er climb

Postby Tim A » Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:26 pm

Oops. And normally I check those timestamps before responding.

On this note, what is it with new registrants making their first post on a dead thread? In the past week alone I can remember three new members making a somewhat senseless first post in either an old thread or just posting an off-topic "quip" in a current thread. I don't really get it...

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Re: Your best winter 14er climb?

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:35 pm

Well, what the hey, I like the title. Let's run with it.

Let's tweek it just a nudge to make it more interesting and appropos: "What was your best winter 14er climb?" I'll go first.

Actually, I have a few I really liked. First one that comes to mind was a failed ascent: Capitol Peak. What a gorgeous day last January 2! Sunny, calm, spring-like. Too bad we didn't get it...

Second one that comes to mind was Little Bear, SW ridge. Took three tries - two in December, and finally the success in January. Particularly sweet as a solo effort on the successful attempt - but no less wonderful than meeting LynnKH on the first attempt on Dec 12, 2010.

And lastly, my first true calendar winter 14er, a solo effort: Columbia. Many thanks to Sarah Thompson and Dominic Meiser for the beta on that one, and the opinion that (at least at that time) it was fairly avy-safe. Descending the last hour or two, in the dark, alone, by headlamp... it was priceless. The whole day was awesome. Right down to the frozen scree which stayed pretty stable underfoot. A real confidence-builder for winter-fourteenering.


So what the heck, tis the season...
...Share with us your best winter 14er climb!!

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Re: Best winter 14er climb

Postby DaveSwink » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:02 pm

TheodenKing1 wrote:Oops. And normally I check those timestamps before responding.

On this note, what is it with new registrants making their first post on a dead thread? In the past week alone I can remember three new members making a somewhat senseless first post in either an old thread or just posting an off-topic "quip" in a current thread. I don't really get it...


In many forums, newbies are jumped upon for asking a basic question without searching the archives first. Maybe noobs are searching, finding a relevant thread, and posting their question to it without noticing the date. I dunno that it hurts anything. There is a good chance that a revived thread will spark interest with folks who did not discuss it in the past. Kind of a weird circle of life on the forum thing? :lol:

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