Hiking 14ers In Colorado – In September I came across another item on my 14er Mountaineering bucket list in Colorado! A 14er is a mountain over 14,000 feet tall and Colorado has 58 of these giant mountains! The impact of this climb makes it harder than your normal climb and becomes even more rewarding when you reach the top!
My friend and I hiked Bierstadt Mountain (14,065 feet), one of the 14 planes near Denver, for about 90 minutes. Highly recommend having a buddy for this tough climb, especially if it’s your first 14er!
Hiking 14ers In Colorado
Depending on where you’re going, it’s important to consider altitude and allow a few days to acclimate to Denver’s 5,280 feet. It’s also a great time to shop for food, snacks, and anything else you might need for a great hike! If you have enough time, I recommend hiking up to 12,000 feet or 13,000 feet to understand how your body reacts to changes in altitude.
Skip The Crowded Colorado 14ers And Hike One Of These Beautiful 13ers
We camped on Bruno Gulch Rd, a rural, free campground 15 minutes from the start of the road. Since this is a free campsite, I would recommend arriving early to claim a spot with an amazing view. The road to the camp is a bit rough, so be a little late and you’ll be fine! I don’t have four wheel drive and we have no problems. For reduction, I found it helpful to sleep and spend hours at about 9,700 feet at night before climbing to 14,065 feet! From 5,280 feet to 14,065 is very high for a jump of about 4,300 feet in height from camp. I will note that as the cold is coming there will be a lot of wind and we will wake up at night. We prepared everything we could to clean in the morning as soon as possible.
We woke up bright and around 4:30 so we saw a crazy star in the sky as it was still dark. We packed up our tents and accessories, quickly changed into hiking gear and all the layers, and set off on our 15 minute hike to the trailhead! Don’t forget to apply a good sunscreen daily to protect your skin from bad weather.
Because the hike takes about 6-8 hours, most hikers start in the morning around 5:30-6:30 when it’s often dark. Because of the early morning wake ups, I recommend camping nearby and taking the short 1.5 hour drive from Denver. Be sure to use the bathroom before you start climbing as there is no one on the hill.
We started many layers where it was about 30 degrees and our headlights and followed the trail of the other headlights up the hill. This is a popular and “easier” 14er, so it was good to see a lot of people on the trail, especially if something happened to us.
Climbing A 14er: How To Train
This climb is really hard WOW! I’ll share my recommended packing list below, but I’m so thankful I brought my walking stick. The climb is about 2,850 feet and the trekking poles really help with both the incline and the descent. As we climbed the mountain, the sky started to light up and we enjoyed the sunrise, a cool experience. Because of the cold, the bladder freezes and does not fit into the tube. Luckily, I also have a convenient water bottle (which I highly recommend) that can keep you hydrated. Towards the top there should be a slight crack. There are no scary props, but you have to be careful with your footing and create a strategic path to the top! Basically follow the other hikers and you should be fine.
It’s easy to fall at this point and we’re close to the top! My fingers and toes feel really cold and I honestly think the lack of oxygen is affecting me. I feel a little crazier but still very determined to reach the top since we all came here. So we do! We found some official stamps in the ground, took a few quick photos and grabbed some snacks before heading off on our tour.
We walked down the hill and took our “we’re done” pictures in the bathroom (finally!) and returned our remaining winnings. I packed cold cuts and skis and my friends packed their favorite soft drinks and snacks. We changed into hiking gear, put on comfortable shoes, and headed out to get some post-hike pizza!
For those looking to climb their first 14′ mountain or need refueling for their next climb, here are some additional packing tips and tricks:
Ers + Mountaineering
Overall I felt we were well prepared, dressed in lots of layers, packed lots of snacks for the climb, suitable for altitude, but there were three main things I would consider changing, all related to staying warm and knowing about the weather:
I hope you find these tips helpful and inspire you to climb a Colorado mountain over 14,000 feet! If you have any questions or additional tips for 14er climbing, please comment below!
Haley works full time and loves to extend her vacation with frequent travel! Based on the events of 2020, she is making the most of her long-term job by embarking on a major US road trip starting in September 2020!
Haley will continue to work remotely through 2022, with plans to visit over 15 National Parks, explore the West and East Coasts, and visit select international destinations in between!
Most Deadly Colorado Fourteeners, And Why
She loves being outside, taking pictures, discovering life and living in a healthy and good environment! Colorado has 58 mountains over 14,000 feet and Quandary Peak is the most popular. Credit: Antonio Olivero, Summit Daily
Recent data released by the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative shows that the most popular 14er for climbers last year was Quandary Peak in Summit County. Their annual climbing usage report shows historical traffic rates at Quandary with a record 49,179 visitors. This is 29% more than the second most used route is Mount Bierstadt.
The 14er, also known as the Fourteener, has become a mountain peak that exceeds 14,000 feet. Because of its geographic instability, Colorado has 58 mountains of this type, more than any other state. Reaching Peak 14 is an admirable feat and therefore a major climbing challenge for Colorado residents and tourists alike.
At 14,265 feet, Quandary Peak has always been a popular 14er for its comfort and accessibility. Located just south of Breckenridge, there are several different ways to reach the summit. The standard 6.6-mile route along the East Ridge is generally considered the easiest, making it a common choice for first-time hikers. In 2020, Quandary saw unprecedented traffic, with visitors accounting for nearly 12% of all Colorado 14er lane usage.
Colorado 14ers: A Guide To Hiking Colorado’s Tallest Mountains
Although the number of Quandary climbers continues to increase each year, the trail remains well maintained. Lloyd Athearn, chief executive of the Fourteeners Initiative, credits seasonal staff, volunteers and local partners for helping to pave the way to achieve Condition A in 2018. This is an improvement from the 2011 C+ rating.
“Our investment in trail building and maintenance means that the path on the summit is in good condition, despite a significant increase in climbing use.” -Lloyd Athearn
Other routes also see visitor numbers. Colorado trail use is up 44% since 2019, with the number of hikers reaching a record 415,000. It’s likely that the restrictions caused by COVID-19 have something to do with this increase in popularity as people search outside. More fun than ever before. The alarm clock rang at four in the morning. A beep reminded me that those who wanted an appointment got up early. I blinked out of my sleeping bag in frustration, a light layer of frost covering it from the frosty night of the Alps. After gloves, underwear and a bra that had prepared me for the cold outside, I came out and shook the tent with joy in my eyes and listened to the teenagers protesting from inside. . .
Bags of day towels, breakfast towels, and properly fed kids, our Colorado summer camp team is on its way. We had a pineapple named Señor Colada and walked past the headlights until the rope broke. Sunrise found us snacking at about 11,500 feet. Above us is Mount Elbert, one of the 50 plus 14,000 foot mountains in the
Quandary Peak: The Best Mountain For Your First 14er In Colorado — Dirty Shoes & Epic Views
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