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How to get into winter 14ers.

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How to get into winter 14ers.

Postby mattyh » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:01 am

Hey guys, Im new to the whole mountaineering scene and would love to hear any advice from more experienced guys as to how to get into it. My current plan is to do some easy winter 14ers this winter. Ive done some 14ers in the summer, and most of them seem pretty straight forward. Greys, Torres, Pikes. What I have done to prepare: I have been rock climbing for 8 years, took an AMGA SPI course, I took my WFR this spring along with AAIRE level 1, and did a winter 13er in the Wind River Range WY in January this year.
Any Advice on classes, or just general tips would be much appreciated.
Thanks.
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Re: How to get into winter 14ers.

Postby WyomingSummits » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:24 am

mattyh wrote:Hey guys, Im new to the whole mountaineering scene and would love to hear any advice from more experienced guys as to how to get into it. My current plan is to do some easy winter 14ers this winter. Ive done some 14ers in the summer, and most of them seem pretty straight forward. Greys, Torres, Pikes. What I have done to prepare: I have been rock climbing for 8 years, took an AMGA SPI course, I took my WFR this spring along with AAIRE level 1, and did a winter 13er in the Wind River Range WY in January this year.
Any Advice on classes, or just general tips would be much appreciated.
Thanks.

Just curious.....if you live in Littleton, then why did you come all the way up here to climb a 13er in winter? Seems as if you've done your research and prep to learn how to climb. Just get your avy forecast, do your own snow analysis when you're there, know your weather, and be in good shape. Elbert is a good one if you want safer general conditions to get used to the winter deal. A winter tent is nice if you don't want spindrift blowing in your face all night. :)
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Re: How to get into winter 14ers.

Postby mconnell » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:43 pm

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Re: How to get into winter 14ers.

Postby mattyh » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:34 am

mconnell wrote:http://www.summitpost.org/colorado-14ers-in-winter/337648

Thanks. Should have started there.
Wyoming summits, I lived in Riverton WY, near Lander For my spring semester this year at college.
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Re: How to get into winter 14ers.

Postby Grampahawk » Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:48 pm

A winter pace will be slower. You will have more on/off gear changes. Be cautious of working too hard so you don't get soaked with sweat,and make sure you have a dry clothes to change into once you make camp.
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Re: How to get into winter 14ers.

Postby BigRob » Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:29 am

Learn all you can about avalanches and snow. Look for good weather patterns and good luck. Don't do stupid things. Don't ever press your luck. Learn to do a self arrest like you mean it. The best winter training peak in my experience is Engineer Peak north of Durango. It is very prominent, but only a 12er. Has a safe approach and ridge line. A lot of people rope up for it, buy we did not. I will not even act as though I am an expert. I have spent a lot of days climbing in winter with little little success as far as summits go. Elbert is fairly safe, but I only have an early spring summit. I mostly ice climb in the winter, but have had a major neck injury.
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Re: How to get into winter 14ers.

Postby mattyh » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:54 pm

My current plan is to go up to st marys glacier in october ish. maybe late october, early november to practice self arrest. Ive skied there so i know the area and know about the avy danger. From there Im planning on joining a guy to do quandry ( hes already done it in the winter) to learn from him, then hit Greys and torreys, follwed by elbert in the spring. Any thing you guys would add, detract?
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Re: How to get into winter 14ers.

Postby Wiktoria Plawska » Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:35 am

I did three winter 14ers in two days for the first time several months ago. It wasn't all that bad, I just wore what I would for skiing.
I did Quandary, Bross, and Cameron.
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Re: How to get into winter 14ers.

Postby snows » Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:05 am

Wiktoria Plawska wrote:I did three winter 14ers in two days for the first time several months ago. It wasn't all that bad, I just wore what I would for skiing.
I did Quandary, Bross, and Cameron.

wowza, nice!
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Re: How to get into winter 14ers.

Postby Kiefer » Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:13 pm

mattyh wrote:Hey guys, Im new to the whole mountaineering scene and would love to hear any advice from more experienced guys as to how to get into it. My current plan is to do some easy winter 14ers this winter. Ive done some 14ers in the summer, and most of them seem pretty straight forward. Greys, Torres, Pikes. What I have done to prepare: I have been rock climbing for 8 years, took an AMGA SPI course, I took my WFR this spring along with AAIRE level 1, and did a winter 13er in the Wind River Range WY in January this year.
Any Advice on classes, or just general tips would be much appreciated.
Thanks.


Mattyh,
My thoughts on winter 14ers (or any 'big' summit for that matter)
They can be very rewarding and unlike summer endevours, I guarantee once you get back to the car, you'll feel
like you really earned the summit. In winter, everything is compounded.

  • You can hike/scramble/climb any mountain in summer and have a great time, carry minimal gear, carry extraneous gear, get away with light fluids or less food that longer days and warner temperatures affords. But in winter....no. The general rules and de facto requistes get thrown out the window. Easy hikes in summer become magnified in winter.
  • Carry EXTRA fluids. Bring EXTRA clothing. I typically carry 2-3 pairs of gloves (varying thickness), 2 hats (both covering the ears), a balaclava and depending on expected conditions, a full-head balaclava. I carry 2 long-sleeve shirts and an extra pair of wool socks. Don't skimp on clothing and always layer.
  • Winds can and will drain your resolve faster than Barney vs. a pint at Moe's Tavern. Winds will aggrevate you beyond belief. In winter, winds are the norm. When you set out on a trip, go expecting winds.
  • Start hiking BEFORE dawn. Daytime is drastically shortened. Take advantage of what you have by starting early. Eliminate most of the easy approach pre-dawn and climb through the crux, summit while you have daylight.
  • Re-think and double-check your pack. Miscellaneous items you'll find, no longer have stowed room because of needing more necessary items. Fact, it might be more useful to make a checklist. If you forget something, in summer, it's usually no big deal. In winter, it becomes a big deal. And the cold temperatures and winds WILL remind you of that.
  • And lastly, don't take ANYTHING for granted. Don't be lassiez-faire. I personally view climbs 95% of the time to be a battle against the elements. Complacency will quickly turn into emergency.
    Start out easy. Peaks like: Bierstadt, Elbert, Pikes and Evans are great starters. From there, try Mt. Massive, La Plata, Princeton, Yale etc.

Have fun!

Are you on 14ers.com?
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Re: How to get into winter 14ers.

Postby Scott » Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:41 pm

Good advice above.

More:

Make sure to take something to keep your water from freezing. Frozen water is hard to drink.

On the easier 14ers, the biggest obstacle is often the cold and wind. Someone above said that it wasn't that bad for her trip, and sometimes it isn't bad at all, but it certainly can be. -60F windchills and howling winds are also possible and happen several times each winter.

Make sure you bring something to cover your face that will also allow you to wear your glasses/goggles.

As mentioned, starting before dawn is the best idea, but even if you do getting back after dark is also still a possibility, especially in December and January. Go prepared.

Consider posting here and on 14ers.com for partners. A lot of us do a lot of winter climbing and don't mind others coming along.
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