Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Have the proper gear for snow and ice trail conditions. Food and drinks available for purchase! There are far less people, providing ideal solitude experiences. It’s bitterly cold, the wind is howling, and the snow is up to your knees. For conditions in-between, microspikes provide grip without being as aggressive as crampons. For our purposes, you probably want to climb one of the easiest ranked mountains. Watch for signs of instability, like shooting cracks in the snow, or a “wallop” sound. My name is Alex Derr. How To Climb a 14er: The Beginner's Guide | The Next Summit. Each of these routes is relatively short, contains very little avalanche risk, and have generally accessible trailheads. Whoever invented the idea of layered clothing, was a genius. Here are the proper steps to minimize the existing risk. If your travels take you to central Colorado, Castle Peak (14,256ft) is roughly 30 minutes from the famous mountain town of Aspen and is an excellent, non-technical walk up. Some people are tempted to save energy on their Colorado 14er climb by packing ultralight. However, nothing is ever as simple as it seems in the winter. Enjoy This Post? Plus, the view from the top is great. This article has been viewed 73,781 times. Go into the climbs with this mindset, and it will be easier to adjust things if you come to it. Beginner’s Guide to 14ers. In preparing to tackle a 14er, aim to work out at least five days per week, with at least one day of active rest that includes light walking or a stretching/foam-rolling session. You may need to know a LOT that isn't discussed here in order to safely climb a big mountain, such as how to protect yourself with rope, harness, climbing gear, anchors etc. You should always bring one extra layer, or an emergency bivy to use if you have to spend a night outdoors unplanned. If you begin to feel tired above tree line, consider turning back. Third, wear a puffy-style insulating jacket, or something equivalent, as your main insulation layer. This course will teach you everything you need for a safe and successful first ascent of one of Colorado's 50+ 14,000ft high peaks: From research and gear, to training and emergency prep, we'll cover it all. Weather in the mountains can change very rapidly. Wear proper attire (hiking boots or trail running shoes with good traction), layers including a water proof jacket and pack extra layers, hat, gloves, socks, etc. The most difficult include up to 20 miles or more with 6,000-7,000 feet of gain. A: Go climb a mountain! (See more tips on planning these below.) The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative : The CFI is responsible for many, if not most of the trails that take us to the top of the fourteeners. How to Climb a 14er: The Complete Beginner's Course. BEFORE YOU LEAVE, decide on an turn-around time, based on weather reports and sunset. While it may sound pretty horrible, there are many good reasons to climb the 14ers in this time of year. If you’re not already adjusted to alpine altitudes, make sure you give your body time to acclimate before you attempt to ascend a 14er. If you are really new, take a course through your local club, REI, EMS other other organization. Some other famous 14ers include Pikes Peak, CO (14,110'); Mt. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and do short heights and activities in the surrounding areas. It is best to additionally wear a brimmed hat and long sleeves. Neither is a replacement for the other, but in whiteout conditions they may be the best way to safely get down the mountain. Elbert, CO (14,433'). Pack light but be sure you have all essentials. You must be able to navigate blind (that is, without any visual aids like landmarks or trail markers). If you are traveling from an altitude near sea level give yourself at least 24 hours to acclimate to an elevation of 5,000 feet (1,524.0 m) or more. So when you climb your first Colorado 14er (or 58th, to be honest), it's important to start super early. Click the links below for route info on each…. The trail is very straightforward and it's a short climb up. Several days before your actual 14er bid, spend a couple of days at high elevation (ideally 10,000 feet or higher) to really help you acclimate. Elbert is the highest of Colorado’s 14er, reaching 14,433 feet. CO 14er FAQ: This list of FAQ’s put together by the legendary climber Alan Arnette includes great information and answers to many of the most common questions people have about how to climb a 14er. NEVER continue towards the summit after your predetermined turnaround time. There are many places to look – the best sources are guide books (I recommend Gerry Roach’s classic 14er book). The highest 14er in the contiguous United States is Mt. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Colorado Rockies & Sierra Nevada. He is working to climb Colorado’s highest 100 peaks, and the 20 tallest peaks in California. Most 14er’s that can be climbed in one day don’t require extensive food packing, however, a nice lunch makes a climb a lot more fun and keeps energy levels high. They provide a good breakdown on the mountains and rank them by difficulty. Winter weather is generally more fickle than the summer. Most trails become snow-covered for all or most of their length, making route-finding extremely difficult. If you appreciate my work, consider becoming a Patron with a small monthly gift. At high altitudes (above 10,000ft), there is less oxygen. Part 5: Practicing Leave No Trace. By using our site, you agree to our. Start and summit as early as possible as thunderstorms are more likely to occur later in the day (typically 1-4pm). How to Climb a 14er while eating low sugar and no nuts…What! The snow also helps provide unlimited route options, while cushioning your steps. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. This only gets tougher in whiteout conditions, which can occur at pretty much anytime there is snow. Make sure your water doesn’t freeze, and that you can get more in an emergency. 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