1st 14er trip

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Jorts
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Trip Reports (6)

Re: 1st 14er trip

Post by Jorts » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:31 am

gspup wrote:
timisimaginary wrote: is it really that bad?
No it's not that bad at all. Somehow people on this site will make Quandary seem hard, it's not.

I've had a friend from sea level drink all night before hiking quandary and smoke cigs on the way up and he summited, little kids in crocs carrying their Barbie's summit, kegs are carried up this peak... so chill people this is an easy one.
It becomes difficult when weather rolls in and inexperienced hikers try taking shortcuts off the summit via West Ridge or Cristo. Don't be one of those people.

But yeah, the East Ridge is a sidewalk.
Traveling light is the only way to fly.
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timisimaginary
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Re: 1st 14er trip

Post by timisimaginary » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:37 am

rob runkle wrote:Either Elbert trail should be fine. GPS, or GPS app on your phone would help, if you are afraid of losing the trail. Pull the GPX route down from here.

As for splitting up on Quandary. Agree, not a great idea, but each adult should be knowledgeable about the route that they could be solo if needed. When people plan to stay together, sometimes that means one person knows the route, and the other people are just coming along for the ride. Having said that, the standard route on Quandary is about as benign as it gets. There will be hundreds of people on the trail with you guys. I would not fault you if you still want the summit, and you wife decides that she does not. I would not leave my younger kids to fend for themselves on Quandary, but another adult should be fine separated on Quandary. Thousands of people do that route solo.
thanks. we'll both be using AllTrails and Cairn on our phones, and we'll both have maps/compasses for Quandary. i've also got all three routes on Elbert loaded on my Garmin Fenix, and i always carry a USB backup charger (or two).
i've tried to prepare her as much as possible if we do get split (and she's not a hiking noob either, just not as fit or experienced as i am). i believe everyone should at least be prepared to fend for themselves on a hike, regardless of the plan or the ease of the route.
social distancing since the day i was born...
timisimaginary
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Re: 1st 14er trip

Post by timisimaginary » Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:04 pm

so i've returned from my CO trip and was able to summit Quandary and Elbert on back-to-back days. my wife did not manage to make it all the way up Quandary, the trail became too steep, loose and rocky above treeline for her (she hates loose rocky terrain and if i'd known in advance what the terrain on this peak was like, i would have chosen a different peak for her; given the Class 1 rating of this route, the condition of the trail was unexpected). she waited for me just below treeline, which i felt was safe given the ease of the trail up to that point, and the constant flow of people up and down the trail. i trusted her not to leave until i returned, but if she had had to, there were plenty of people for her to descend with so she wouldn't have been alone, and she had a map and gps with the route mapped out. with the radios we were able to communicate the entire time, so it did not feel unsafe.

i took the black cloud trail up Elbert the next day and it was fabulous. i'll write up a trip report when i have more time, but i didn't encounter any problems with willows, treefall, or routefinding, in fact the trail was in better condition than Quandary all the way to the ridge, and even on the ridge, there was much better trail than i expected. it's not an easy route by any means, but for me it felt easier in a lot of ways, probably because i wasn't dodging other hikers the entire time, which can make a hike feel longer and more difficult for me than it actually is. i only saw one other hiker, and two CFI volunteers, the entire way up. i did come down the East Ridge route, just to make it easier on myself, and hiked all the way back to Twin Lakes where my wife picked me up.

all in all, it was a great trip, and i'm hoping i can make it back for some more 14ers in the future (and maybe an easier "easier 14er" for my wife; i'm thinking Bierstadt might turn out better, or even Elbert via the East Ridge, even though it's longer and more elevation gain, the trail was a relatively moderate dirt trail the entire way, none of the loose rocky stuff that gave her problems this time).
social distancing since the day i was born...
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