Hey everybody, first post here at the SP, so if I'm breaking procedure somehow-don't castrate me. That being said, thanks for having me!
I'm trying to get into mountaineering and would like some input on good (read: easy) ridge climbs to do this winter. Later in the season I'd like to get into some lower angle couloirs as well. I have a background in rock climbing, but don't really want to incorporate any 5th class just yet. I've been steadily accumulating my gear and am ready to go, but up until now have been playing with the proverbial box.
Any routes/advice/encouragement would be greatly appreciated! oh, and what was your introduction to CO mountaineering?
I'd highly recommend Dave Cooper's "Colorado Snow Climbs" as the starting point. He's got most of the classic routes for each season from winter ridge climbs to spring/summer couloirs and from easy/moderate hikes to mildly technical climbs.
They're both in the aforementioned Colorado Snow Climbs book, but North Star Mountain and Atlantic Peak have fun beginner ridge runs. Kelso Ridge on Torreys Peak can be done in winter, you just have to skirt a slide path on Kelso Mountain during the approach. A few 14ers have easy, broad ridges too, but they're not as exposed as the routes in Colorado Snow Climbs. Elbert, Quandary, Humboldt, La Plata and Yale spring to mind (all walk-ups).
I completed my first couloir season this year with climbs, in order, of the Angel of Shavano, Cristo, Boudoir, Dead Dog and Lost Rat. None exceeded a "moderate" rating except perhaps the last few feet on Dead Dog. They all served well for a beginner, particularly Cristo (a popular group training ground for the CMC and other organizations). These sufficiently built my confidence and skillset, and I'm excited to try some harder routes this spring.
The east ridge of Mt Lincoln, Is always a favorite of mine. It looks intimadating from Hoosier pass, but only has a short section of 2nd class, with maybe a move or two of third class. The avy danger is minimal, , and the route is straight forward. Follow the Lincoln Amphitheatre route, discribed in Roaches book, or 14ers.com, when you are around, and above the Lincoln ice, and just entering the bowl, head right for a couple of hundred feet of 2nd class to the ridge. Then it's just a ridge hike to the top.
Make mental note of where the 2nd class scramble meets the ridge, so you can find that spot for the decent. Although Quandary is not a ridge climb, it is a good winter fourteeneras well.