Wanting to bag my first 14er over Thanksgiving.

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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nunns
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Re: Wanting to bag my first 14er over Thanksgiving.

Post by nunns » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:13 am

zackrobinson2 wrote:
I didn't say it was safe. "Safe" is a relative word that depends on the individual's experience and preparation. I just said that climbing in snow doesn't equal death, and I think your stats support that.

I'm not sure what the SAR discussion has to do with anything I've said. It seems people here think I said "Climbing 14ers in a blizzard in winter is a perfectly fine thing for a beginner to do" or that I was recommending the OP climb a 14er in November even if it is snowing. I didn't.
Sure, I hear you, but the original poster said he wanted to climb his first 14er, solo, in late November. I think Justiner and I and a few others are trying to give him the impression that it might not be a good idea, without trying to dog on him or put him down for asking advice.
SAR statement is a subtle reminder that if a person takes foolhardy risks, they can potentially put others in danger besides themselves.

Sean Nunn
"Thy righteousness is like the great mountains." --Psalms 36:6
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Re: Wanting to bag my first 14er over Thanksgiving.

Post by yaktoleft13 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:15 am

dirtwatson wrote:
Where can one find more of these maps (preferably for free)? Haven't found anything on CAIC with that much detail.
caltopo.com
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Re: Wanting to bag my first 14er over Thanksgiving.

Post by mikej959 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:19 pm

Thanks for all the replies with your advice and experiences. I realize winter conditions are less then ideal and there is a different set of risks that one may take. I still plan on going and I understand I must limit myself based on many factors that have been brought up. I feel that weather is going to be a big factor to take in to consideration and I plan to monitor it closely.
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Re: Wanting to bag my first 14er over Thanksgiving.

Post by JQDivide » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:45 am

mikej959 wrote: I realize winter conditions are less then ideal and there is a different set of risks that one may take.
Actually, winter conditions can be awesome. It's just a different experience.
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Re: Wanting to bag my first 14er over Thanksgiving.

Post by Jay521 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:42 am

JQDivide wrote:Actually, winter conditions can be awesome. It's just a different experience.
+1
I take the mountain climber's approach to housekeeping - don't look down
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Re: Wanting to bag my first 14er over Thanksgiving.

Post by justiner » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:07 am

The current Longs Peak missing hiker weighs in a lot on the type of advice I want to give on this forum. I can def. relate to the excitement of wanting to do a 14er in less than the easiest conditions (and alone). I would suggest just to bring along a buddy.
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Re: Wanting to bag my first 14er over Thanksgiving.

Post by zackrobinson2 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:50 pm

mikej959 wrote:Thanks for all the replies with your advice and experiences. I realize winter conditions are less then ideal and there is a different set of risks that one may take. I still plan on going and I understand I must limit myself based on many factors that have been brought up. I feel that weather is going to be a big factor to take in to consideration and I plan to monitor it closely.
You may know all of this already, but in case you don't, here are a few things to consider:

1. Don't be in a mindset of "I'm going no matter what." That is a bad attitude no matter the time of year. Mountains are always a contingent outing. If the weather forecast ends up looking terrible, be prepared to not do it.

2. You run the risk of finding yourself in a whiteout. Have a plan. At a minimum, a GPS/phone with a track and a backup battery are necessary. Willow wands aren't a bad idea, either. Personally, I think a backup battery bank for a phone should be the eleventh essential.

3. Have the ten essentials, and know that you have enough gear that you could survive a night or two on the mountain if you had to. To me, this is true year-round, but it takes a bit more planning in the winter.

4. Use the maps at CalTopo.com and select "Slope Angle Shading." Slopes over 30 degrees are the ones you want to avoid if there is any avy risk. Print off a topo map of the entire area and bring it with you, along with a compass. Know how to use that compass.

5. Check the CAIC before you go. Depending on when you go in November, they may or may not be doing regional avy forecasts. But they will (and already are) give out statewide forecasts. If they are doing regional forecasts, low or moderate risk is what you want. Unless you are certain that you are taking a route that avoids avalanche danger, and you are certain that you can stay on that route, moderate or higher risk is probably too much risk for a beginner.

6. Take some sort of foot traction gear, like Yaktrax or Microspikes.
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Re: Wanting to bag my first 14er over Thanksgiving.

Post by Jim Davies » Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:45 pm

Caltopo can also produce geolocated PDFs (one of the print options), which when loaded into the proper app on a phone can show you where you are on the map.
Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall — it's great when you stop. -- Chris Darwin
I'm pretty tired. I think I'll go home now. -- Forrest Gump
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Re: Wanting to bag my first 14er over Thanksgiving.

Post by clairekm » Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:59 pm

Jim Davies wrote:Caltopo can also produce geolocated PDFs (one of the print options), which when loaded into the proper app on a phone can show you where you are on the map.
Which apps? This is super useful to know!
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Jim Davies
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Re: Wanting to bag my first 14er over Thanksgiving.

Post by Jim Davies » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:16 pm

I use Avenza on Android. You can get a number of free maps from their "store", including USGS topos and Forest Service motor-vehicle route maps, and load your own geolocated maps like the PDFs I mentioned. The free version is limited to three user-loaded maps at a time, but you can load and unload them from files as needed.
Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall — it's great when you stop. -- Chris Darwin
I'm pretty tired. I think I'll go home now. -- Forrest Gump
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Re: Wanting to bag my first 14er over Thanksgiving.

Post by alpinenut » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:03 pm

Gaia GPS for Android or iPhone is great. You can load the CalTopo layer to see slope shading on the Map. You can also upload GPX route files from 14ers app on your iPhone right into the app. One thing I always do with it is draw an "Area" around the route and download the maps for offline use including the CalTopo layer (very important). Most 14ers don't have cell coverage on most of the route. Quandary and La Plata are two of the most accessible in the winter. La Plata is longer and has more avalanche danger. Read the route description for instructions on avoiding most of it. Check avalanche.state.co.us (the CAIC website) for Avalanche Conditions/Forecasts. A Spot or DeLorme would be a good idea too if you're going out by yourself. Although, I agree with all the suggestions about going with a partner. Call me old fashioned for this, but you're not bagging the peak, you're climbing it :). Best of Luck!!
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