Beginner looking for guidance

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Daggermonkey
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Beginner looking for guidance

Post by Daggermonkey » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:18 pm

Just moved to Denver earlier this summer. I've driven up Evans a few times and also been to the trails in Montrose (Glacier Mountain area). Looking for tips on getting started and possibly someone to hike up a mountain with. Still need to buy gear but I have seen the checklist. What basic starter equipment would you recommend for going up onto Bierstadt (with room for expansion) as I plan to continue my list of summits. Also when/where is a good starting point or TH for going up with other hikers (unless someone is willing to meet me and show me the ropes of mountain hiking). I currently don't know anyone willing to hike/climb and I just want to be safe/smart about the whole thing.
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miniarmstrong
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Re: Beginner looking for guidance

Post by miniarmstrong » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:26 pm

Get a comfortable backpack and a 2 liter reservoir (Camelbak or Osprey). Pack lots of snacks and a first aid kit. Amass other items on the "10 essentials" checklist.

Hike at lower altitudes first. Good to do hikes like Green Mountain or Bear Peak in Boulder as a tune-up for your first 14er. There are similar hikes around the Denver metro. You could also do a ten mile or so hike at Rocky Mountain National Park or a similar altitude.

Beyond that, if you don't demonstrate altitude sickness, you should get after Grays or Bierstadt (and you're never alone on those peaks).
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Re: Beginner looking for guidance

Post by Ptglhs » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:57 pm

If you're wanting to hike a front range 14er on a summer weekend you'll have several hundred people with (near) you. Just take the basics:

Wind/water shell.
Fleece or wool or down vest type thing as insulation.
Sunblock, glasses, maybe a hat.
2-3L of water.
A couple of snacks
small 1st aid kit, whistle, pocket knife.
Map/compass if you really feel it's needed. I don't on Bierstadt, Evans, Grays/Torreys, Sherman, Quandary, or Pikes.

When you looking to Hike? I could do an easy one with you during the week next week, if I can't get a ride for Princeton or a partner for the Needle.
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kingshimmers
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Re: Beginner looking for guidance

Post by kingshimmers » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:06 pm

Daggermonkey wrote:Just moved to Denver earlier this summer. I've driven up Evans a few times and also been to the trails in Montrose (Glacier Mountain area). Looking for tips on getting started and possibly someone to hike up a mountain with. Still need to buy gear but I have seen the checklist. What basic starter equipment would you recommend for going up onto Bierstadt (with room for expansion) as I plan to continue my list of summits. Also when/where is a good starting point or TH for going up with other hikers (unless someone is willing to meet me and show me the ropes of mountain hiking). I currently don't know anyone willing to hike/climb and I just want to be safe/smart about the whole thing.
To get started, you'll first want a "day pack". That's a backpack that can fit the gear you need for a day hike plus some items for if you get lost and end up having to spend the night outside. I usually have with me:

- 2L of water (give or take, depending on length of hike)
- layers (one layer to insulate, one layer to protect you from wind and water)
- food
- first aid (I usually keep waterproof matches, a small pocketknife, and water purification tablets in my first aid kit also)
- headlamp (or flashlight)
- navigation (map/compass and phone/GPS)
- emergency bivy
- sun protection
- whistle (keychain on pack)

Once you have your daypack, do some test hikes to get used to things. Something like Mt. Morrison in Morrison or Bear Peak, South Boulder Peak, Green Mountain or Mt. Sanitas in Boulder would be good. Doing some hikes like these first are useful because they'll help you figure out your hiking pace. Figuring out your pace is important because you don't want to get caught above treeline in an afternoon thunderstorm. Those are all popular trails, so you won't be alone. When you go to hike Bierstadt, start from the Guanalla Pass trailhead and do the west slopes route (https://www.14ers.com/route.php?route=b ... +Bierstadt). If you start at 5am or so, you definitely won't be alone. The trail is also very easy to follow, so you won't have to worry much about getting lost. Good luck!
"Be the beta you wish to find."
Daggermonkey
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Re: Beginner looking for guidance

Post by Daggermonkey » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:07 pm

Wanting to go in the next few weeks. I currently work third shift until 6am which is making that difficult. I could go on a Sunday first thing though if that works at all. I'd be open to something like Grays&Torrey/Bierstadt/Quandary.
I do have work boots (not hiking, non steel toe) or should I get real Hiking boots up front? I would also need a good wind/water shell jacket. Any recommendations on that (budget friendly). So far I only notice a slight shortness of breath above 12k when walking uphill but no nausea or concerns. My job is 99% physical labor and I've lost 30lbs since starting 2 months ago. For the reservoir should I just get a basic bladder style that goes into a bag? I can probably survive on a basic backpack for the easy ones and upgrade to a real hiking pack (30-35L) in the spring. Already have knife, 1st aid, vest, glasses, hat...
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Re: Beginner looking for guidance

Post by Ptglhs » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:13 pm

For a class one or 2 tennis shoes can work. Your feet may feel it at the end of the day though. Footwear is personal, I can't tell you what will work for you. Get hiking boots if you think you need them/can weather the expense. I will say don't take brand new boots on a long outing. Try them out for 2-4 miles and see if you notice the beginning signs of blisters. Nothing is worse than having to hump it out for several miles on boots that are turning your feet to hamburger.

For a shell jacket why don't you try a 2nd hand outdoor shop? You should be able to find a lightweight one that fits for a reasonable price.

The shift work does make hiking difficult. If you're ever free during the week and want a partner hit me up.
Last edited by Ptglhs on Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Daggermonkey
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Re: Beginner looking for guidance

Post by Daggermonkey » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:13 pm

Suggestions on snacks/food?

I imagine Protein bars and high calorie/high protein items are priority
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Re: Beginner looking for guidance

Post by Ptglhs » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:17 pm

Depends on what you like to eat. Don't take things that get damaged easily / have a lot of water weight. I like trail mix with chocolate, nuts, dried fruit. I like to carry some beef jerky and candy too. I need to keep sugar around so you may be fine without. If you worry about cramping bring electolyte tablets. Nuun from REI is what I use. They taste god awful but they keep me from cramping up.

Fat is better than protein while you're hiking. It provides a lot of calories for energy and allows you to process vitamins. Carbs provide energy too. Protein is a good recovery food post hike.
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kingshimmers
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Re: Beginner looking for guidance

Post by kingshimmers » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:20 pm

Daggermonkey wrote:I do have work boots (not hiking, non steel toe) or should I get real Hiking boots up front? I would also need a good wind/water shell jacket. Any recommendations on that (budget friendly). So far I only notice a slight shortness of breath above 12k when walking uphill but no nausea or concerns. My job is 99% physical labor and I've lost 30lbs since starting 2 months ago. For the reservoir should I just get a basic bladder style that goes into a bag? I can probably survive on a basic backpack for the easy ones and upgrade to a real hiking pack (30-35L) in the spring. Already have knife, 1st aid, vest, glasses, hat...
I've been using an inexpensive columbia rain jacket for years. It's been reliable both on the peaks and in the rainforests of south america. Something like this: https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p/co ... krlksrnapo

The reservoir is handy for convenience, normal water bottles work fine as well. If you're planning on using a normal backpack now, I might wait on the bladder until you get a fancier pack later so you can make sure it fits.

As for hiking boots, have you hiked in your work boots? If you have and they're comfortable, go for it. Comfort is your number one priority. For future hiking you might also want to consider how waterproof they are so your feet don't get wet, but provided you don't get stuck in the rain the Bierstadt Trail should be dry.
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Re: Beginner looking for guidance

Post by SkaredShtles » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:26 pm

Daggermonkey wrote:Suggestions on snacks/food?
Bacon.
Daggermonkey
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Re: Beginner looking for guidance

Post by Daggermonkey » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:30 pm

i mean if I had an engine I'd totally bring bacon and a hotdog or two.

All great info so far. I've visited almost every bit of the United states east of Denver. Montezuma/Albequerque NM was the farthest west I've ever been and there's a lot more landscape out there.
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glenmiz
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Re: Beginner looking for guidance

Post by glenmiz » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:21 pm

Welcome to Colorado.

If you can go Monday 8/20, I'd be happy to join you. Don't worry about gear; I'll bring some extra stuff. We can do Bierstadt and you can wear your tennis shoes.

PM (private message) me if you're interested (even if you can't do Monday) and we'll work out a time/day/mountain.

Glen
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