If you plan to drive after the hike, be sure you are not tired and can remain alert! You want to slowly build your endurance, as climbing a 14er can take between 5 and 12 hours of intense hiking at higher and higher elevation. Copyright 2019 - 2020 The Next Summit | All Rights Reserved, How to Climb a 14er in Winter | Tips for Safe Ascents. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Experts encourage newcomers to train for two to four months to build up their cardiovascular endurance, core and leg strength, and flexibility. For most winter 14ers, those layers should cut it. Each of these routes is relatively short, contains very little avalanche risk, and have generally accessible trailheads. 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. Neither is a replacement for the other, but in whiteout conditions they may be the best way to safely get down the mountain. 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. My name is Alex Derr. The Denver/Boulder/Golden metro area is a great place to get used to … There are many great mountains in Colorado that require very little or no technical climbing and can easily be completed in a single day. If you are really new, take a course through your local club, REI, EMS other other organization. Colorado has over fifty 14ers, making it the highest state in the US. Acclimate to Altitude. Look for other evidence of recent avalanche activity – if you see slide paths have run, it suggests others could too. Snow and ice are the most obvious challenges of winter 14er climbing. Most trails become snow-covered for all or most of their length, making route-finding extremely difficult.

Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. “To climb a 14er is to experience all CO has to offer,” says Aspen’s Darcy Conover, Corbeaux founder and a skier and mountaineer who has climbed or skied all of the state’s 14ers and 94 of the Colorado’s 100 highest peaks . Enjoy This Post? It can make a huge difference. However, given the many risks, you have to know a few things to hike a 14er in the winter safely. Expect to feel the effects of altitude and plan accordingly. While it may sound pretty horrible, there are many good reasons to climb the 14ers in this time of year. Take your family to new heights while attempting a quintessential Colorado adventure. How To Climb a 14er: The Beginner's Guide | The Next Summit. There is less atmosphere to block UV rays at 14,000' and you will burn much more easily. Take many short rests and breathe steadily. But it isn't a walk in the park! Going straight from Denver to above 14,000 feet is a lot to ask of your body, even if you live here. Check the Weather forecast repeatedly and plan accordingly. Peak bagging is a total-body experience, as you'll need cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and strength in your legs and core to carry your body and gear to the top. Part 4: Planning for the Worst. The snow also helps provide unlimited route options, while cushioning your steps. You shouldn’t have any skin left exposed. Class 2 includes a wide range of hiking and a route may have exposure, loose rock … We talked to Jeff Golden, experienced hiker and Colorado Mountain Club marketing manager, about preparing to climb a 14er — especially if it’s your first. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and do short heights and activities in the surrounding areas. Start and summit as early as possible as thunderstorms are more likely to occur later in the day (typically 1-4pm). Activity location Finkel & Garf Brewing Company Get directions More directions and information. However, nothing is ever as simple as it seems in the winter. Great Mountain Quotes | 30 of my Favoritees. Whitney (14,491') in California. Depending on where you are from, it will be harder to breathe. If you begin to feel tired above tree line, consider turning back. Learn more about the risks here. Check for conditions and be ready for snow and ice with the right gear. Winter 14ers are not easy, but the solitude they provide is well worth the effort. Don’t … A 14er is a mountain with a summit above (4267m). This helps is evaporate, preventing wet clothes (which would get cold, fast). Have the proper gear for snow and ice trail conditions. Anytime you’re on more than ten inches of snow, on slopes between 35 and 35 degrees, there’s a chance of a slide. Colorado has over fifty 14ers, making it the highest state in the US. First, you should look up the current avalanche report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Avalanche risks are heightened immediately following storms, and you may need special gear like snowshoes to navigate post-snow drifts. So now that you've picked your goal climb and reviewed the endurance training rules, here's how to get in shape for climbing a 14er: Aerobic Endurance (3–4x a week) At least once a week, do one long aerobic workout. Bring extra water and leave it in your vehicle to drink on the drive home. Make sure you drink enough water to stay hydrated! You will want to wear gaiters in any winter conditions, to keep ice and snow out of your socks and boots. Three of the days focus on interval training and full-body strength workouts, two days will include longer steady-state cardiac-output workouts, and one day can be designated as a training hike day or bonus steady-state … Anytime the risk is higher than Moderate, you probably want to stay home, unless you have more experience or training. 14er Fitness - How to Prep for Top-Notch Climb. You need to consider the weather on the day of the climb, but also the days leading up to it, to consider snow conditions. Avoid cotton, which does not wick away moisture effectively. Find more classes. Winter weather is generally more fickle than the summer. A: Go climb a mountain! Your biggest tool, in the beginning, is patience. Whoever invented the idea of layered clothing, was a genius. They provide a good breakdown on the mountains and rank them by difficulty. When that’s not possible, see if you can bring along someone who has been on the route before. I use this undershirt.Then add a light insulation layer, like a polyester pull-over or light jacket. Here's how to prepare your body for the grueling task of climbing a 14,000-plus-foot peak. Elbert, CO (14,433'). Summiting a 14er can take up to 10 hours of hiking in some cases. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Beginner’s Guide to 14ers. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Remember that it can be 70 degrees at the trailhead but windy below freezing at the top. It is best to additionally wear a brimmed hat and long sleeves. But it could also be hard as ice, requiring an ice axe and full crampons. Wind can also be a significant factor, impacting avy conditions or even causing whiteout conditions when there is no falling snow. Make sure your water doesn’t freeze, and that you can get more in an emergency. You should plan for the forecast, but always be prepared for temperatures up to 10 degrees warmer or colder than predicted. The Next Summit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. Climbing a 14er is an adventure accessible to many people. Q: Any suggestions for a first 14er close to Denver? Your 14er Training Plan. While I don’t live in Colorado I do live close enough and have climbed enough 14ers to know what … Hiking and climbing one of Colorado's 14er peaks is a thrill! ; how to climb in balance using specialized equipment like crampons and ice axes; how to avoid objective hazards like rockfall and avalanche; how to know when conditions are becoming dangerous, etc., etc. A: Some ideas: Torreys/Grays - … Learn more... A 14er is a mountain with a summit above 14,000 feet (4,000 m) (4267m). Click the links below for route info on each…. In fact many people climb because of the challenge – we relish it! If you are experienced but want to go higher or harder, link up with an experienced party or buddy. While Quandary Peak is the only Breckenridge 14er, there are still a ton of other quad-crushing and jaw dropping hikes that’ll give you bragging rights without the crowds. Snow can be powdery and deep, requiring poles and snowshoes. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Assess Avalanche conditions and be ready to turn around. This week I’m excited to share this guest post by Ben and Jenna Thomas – Colorado natives, photographers, and authors of international travel blog Wild Imagining.As experienced hikers, they share with us their best tips for preparing to trek up Colorado’s highest peaks. If you’re going to attempt the climb yourself, remember all these key points: Alex Derr is a mountaineer and blogger based in Denver Colorado. 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. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 73,781 times. Join The Next Summit Newsletter to get advice, news & stories! While these can occur at any time, they are most prevalent between 1 and 4pm. Weather in the mountains can change very rapidly. I would start with a pair of these from Kahtoola. Bring along maps and GPS to navigate in the snow. How to Climb a 14er: The Complete Beginner's Course. Start with a base layer of Merino Wool – this is a special, odor-resistant type of worm that will also wick away sweat from your body. Features; Climbing a 14er With Kids. A weather radio will be useful to check the weather that morning if you decide to do this. You should be ready to cancel or change plans at a moment’s notice. If you have bad knees, hiking in the snow is far more comfortable than talus-hopping in the summer. Rainier, WA (14,410'); and Mt. Zip-offs, or shorts under long pants are a great way to keep cool while hiking and stay warm at the top. How to Prepare for your First Fourteener. Mountaineering Resources. For your safety and enjoyment, you'll want to pack extra clothing layers, at least 2 liters of water, plenty of food, and the 10 essentials of survival gear. Hiking a 14er is not a race however you will need to start your descent by noon at the absolute latest to avoid the severe thunderstorms that typically roll in mid day. Do not push yourself too hard. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Colorado Rockies & Sierra Nevada. If you appreciate my work, consider becoming a Patron with a small monthly gift. Always turn back if you are concerned about the level of risk – the mountain will be there next year. Not fun, trust me. Avoid alcohol and let your body adjust to the thin air. So when you climb your first Colorado 14er (or 58th, to be honest), it's important to start super early. The 14ers are much more dangerous in the winter. – Cardiovascular fitness: Running and cycling build endurance. Be prepared and bring appropriate gear. It’s bitterly cold, the wind is howling, and the snow is up to your knees. Each of Colorado’s 54 mountain peaks above 14,000 feet is graded based on how difficult it is to make the ascent. It’s the only real way to gain skill at assessing avalanche terrain. For these starter peaks, more advanced snow and ice climbing isn’t necessary. This is not a formula for summit success — and could even put you in danger. And it’s still a very do-able 14er to start with too. The most difficult include up to 20 miles or more with 6,000-7,000 feet of gain. 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