Breckenridge Hikes

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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huffy13
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Re: Breckenridge Hikes

Post by huffy13 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:39 pm

Sniktau and Cupid from Loveland Pass are good. There are some good trails that start at Hoosier Pass too that don't require a ton of elevation gain but have fantastic views. My wife and I took our niece and nephew up to Wildernest and did a hike to Lily Pad Lakes, which was very nice too.
Seems like the times that I need a mountain the most are the times that I can not get to them.
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Re: Breckenridge Hikes

Post by Blamo » Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:12 pm

OK I think we are going to start with the McCullough Gulch trail just because my friend had such issues with the altitude last year and I want to make sure she is ok before we get into anything more demanding. (I suppose that applies to me as well, I guess I can't assume that I will be fine this time just because I was last time.)

Anyways I just want to make sure a 2wd vehicle can make it to that trailhead. I understand that 851 is unpaved and I would like to avoid damaging my rental.
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kingshimmers
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Re: Breckenridge Hikes

Post by kingshimmers » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:48 pm

Blamo wrote:Anyways I just want to make sure a 2wd vehicle can make it to that trailhead. I understand that 851 is unpaved and I would like to avoid damaging my rental.
You will make it to the trailhead just fine :-D
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Re: Breckenridge Hikes

Post by kingshimmers » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:56 pm

There's also a number of trails that start from the top of both Boreas Pass and Hosier Pass right outside of Breckenridge. Hosier Pass is actually the start of the trail for North Star Mountain (13er), but it has other trail spurs too. Might be worth looking into if you want other hikes right in the area even after you complete Quandary. Good luck!
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Re: Breckenridge Hikes

Post by Jorts » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:39 pm

Baldy is on a shitty old mining road most of the way the standard route. Boreas is a decent option. Off trail from Section House. Gain the saddle then the summit. Kind of short though. Loveland and Vail Pass aren't exactly Breck.

Truly around Breck: Boreas for elevation and scenery ~3mi RT from Boreas Pass. Hoosier and the Reds are good too ~8mi depending on how far out you go from Hoosier Pass. And speaking of Wheeler Trail... Crystal Peak is a nice walkup too ~7 mi from Spruce Creek. And consider Helen's sky ramp for immediate off trail hiking to 13k in a beautiful alpine setting ~5 mi RT from Spruce Creek.
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Re: Breckenridge Hikes

Post by Blamo » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:53 pm

Hey everyone. Just an update. Got back from Breck on Saturday and the trip was fantastic.

The condo we rented ended up being at about 10,000', just west of town. Just getting our suitcases up two flights of stairs resulted in several minutes of catching our breath.

Next morning we headed over to the McCullough Gulch trail. I wanted to start off with something easier and since you have to pass by the Quandary trailhead to get there, I thought it would be a good opportunity to familiarize myself with the area since we would be coming back there anyway. We only made it about 1.75 miles up the trail but I didn't want my friend to push it since she had so much trouble with the elevation last year.

The next morning (Wednesday) she wasn't feeling well (headache) so she opted to hang out at the condo and I went up the Spruce Creek trail, which was beautiful. Made it up to Lower Mohawk Lake, checked out the waterfall and the old mining buildings, which were very cool.

Side note: dirt roads-not used to them. In the end, not too bad and my apprehension was probably due more to being in a rental than having trouble with the road. Nothing worse few potholes and bumps but being a city boy it was a new experience for me.

Thursday morning she insisted she was feeling better so we left the condo at about 5:40 or so and hit the trail around 6AM. We parked in the lower parking lot. Probably 15-20 cars already there, another 10-15 total along the road and in the upper parking area. My friend, although not looking sick as she did on Bierstadt last year, was lagging behind me and running out of breath quickly. I'm sure it didn't help that she had missed the 'practice' hike the day before. After about a half mile, she insisted that I go at my own pace and that she would go at hers. I wasn't real thrilled about leaving her behind, and I asked "are you sure" more than once. But she said she was okay and I pressed on, fully expecting to see her back at the parking lot.

As I made my way above the tree line, I made sure to stop and eat my cliff bars and put down a half bottle of water every so often. I passed a few people, mostly people passed me. I used the same strategy I used on Bierstadt last year: Look up, pick out a rock, walk to that rock, stop and catch my breath. At about 12,500 I took an extended break, and what should I see as I gazed back down the trail? My friend, a few hundred feet below me in her bright pink & purple shirt (she said she wore it on purpose in case she fell off the mountain someone would see her).

Eventually I got to that spot where it gets very steep about 1000 feet below the summit. I found this section to be pretty brutal. My 'pick a rock' strategy changed to 'ten steps, ten breaths' and then 'ten steps, twenty breaths'. Although it was more rocky there, which I found infinitely preferable to the dirt and gravel of other parts that threatened to cause my feet to slide out from under me with each tentative step. I reached the base of that section at 8:30 and thought I could reach the top in an hour. Nope, I hit the summit at 9:50. I had a bag of M&Ms, half a shot of victory bourbon that I brought up with me (the other half was for making it back down) and some more water. At 10:20 I saw that purple shirt come over the top of to the flat-ish area right before the summit. "There she is", I said to the person standing next to me, who looked at me like I was crazy. It's just that last year she spent most of the trip waiting in the car, completely miserable and trying not to puke. So seeing her make it up was a real thrill for me. Probably for her as well although she was pretty wiped and wasn't in the mood for celebrating.

We descended together and got back to the car around 1. Stopping for a few more breaks and to snap some more photos. Mountain goats appeared on the trail on the way down and I wasn't sure if they were going to let us pass, as they had babies with them. So we just stood there until they wandered off the trail. Honestly I don't think they could have cared less that we were there or not.

Also, on the way down I experienced my first taste of what I have read about so often on here - people who don't belong on the mountain. It was a family of four; mom, dad, and two older teenage kids. We passed them just about at the treeline. Around noon. They were heading up, wearing clothes that looked more suitable for walking around Breckenridge than hiking a mountain. The clouds had started to roll in around 11, and few stray raindrops had already begun to fall. They were resting because mom was 'dizzy'. A rumble came from behind us. Dad insisted it was an airplane. I'm pretty sure it was thunder. That was the last part I overheard before continuing out of earshot. It was a steady drizzle by the time we got to the parking lot. I didn't hear about any incidents but I wondered later whether those people had run into any trouble.

Also, the crowds. I would guess there were about 150 people on the mountain. Is that really a crowd? There were that many people on my plane ride home, now that was crowded.

Anyways had a great time. Happy to get my second. Already thinking about next year.

Thanks again for all the info on this site and all the good advice.

Safe travels,
Dan
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