With true, honest-to-God calendar winter beginning today, Friday, Dec. 21, it’s the perfect time to give a brief rundown of what exactly counts as a winter 14er, strictly speaking, and why anyone even cares.
The allure of a 14er summit beckons to people from all walks of life. To some it’s simply a thing to do during summer break, to others it’s the realization of a lifelong dream. Colorado’s mountains are tools used to achieve personal fulfillment, escape the doldrums of urban life, seize the vitality waiting untapped in the alpine or feed a fragile ego. Whatever brings them to the base of the mountain, most 14er hikers fall into one — or a combination — of the following categories.
How you choose to fill your backpack on a given day is about as personal as picking your own bellybutton. Most people who have ever set foot in the backcountry know of The 10 Essentials. Even hikers who skimp are likely to take along sunscreen, food and water, an extra layer and a basic first-aidContinue reading “The Other 5 Essentials”
Her origin story will always remain a mystery. One of the few known facts is that she was born on or around March 3, 2015, near the Mescalero Reservation in southern New Mexico. This is a familiar tale. Stray dogs on Native American reservations are a growing epidemic. It blew me away the first time I sawContinue reading “Rescued: A Boy and His Dog”
I chose the following five winter 14ers based on access, minimal avalanche danger, ease of routefinding and general popularity. Many others are doable as relatively safe winter daytrips. These are simply the lowest-hanging fruit.
Mountain(s): Conundrum Peak (14,060′) and Castle Peak (14,265′) Route: Conundrum Couloir (Steep Snow) Date: July 11, 2015 RT Distance: 14.5 miles RT Gain: 4,850′ RT Time: 10 hours Climbers: Ben, Jeff Summer is here. It’s crazy how fast the Colorado mountains transitioned from buried to dry. Most standard 14er routes only require a few short snow crossings these days, which isContinue reading “One More Drink, and I’ll Move On (Conundrum Couloir)”
Mountain: Torreys Peak – 14,267′ Route: Southpaw Couloir Date: July 3, 2015 RT Distance: 8 miles RT Gain: 3,000′ RT Time: 6 hours 45 minutes Climbers: Speth (speth), Adam, Jeff This snow-climbing season was disappointing. Between major life changes, a new puppy, a minor finger injury and the unsettled weather, I accomplished almost none ofContinue reading “Cornice Busting on Southpaw Couloir”
I respect the right of everyone to spend a day in the mountains free from annoyance and fear, just like I enjoy the right to hike with my four-legged adventure buddy. So, how can the gun-toting dog hunters and Susie’s gaggle of mountaineer pugs coexist? Like most raging debates in the hiking community, it really doesn’t have to be that hard.