I wanted to deviate from our usual blog posts and highlight one of our favorite activities here in CO – hiking fourteeners (14,000 foot plus mountains). As those living in Colorado know, these peaks draw significant traffic from those looking for an athletic accomplishment and adventure in the mountains.
Routes up 14ers can take hours to several days depending on logistics and difficultly, so it is advised to do your homework and use one of the many reliable guidebooks or online sources. Due to fast moving thunderstorms in the high country, hikers recommend leaving before dawn to be able to summit and begin the return trip before noon. Be prepared and know your ability!!
One fourteener I was able to check off the list this summer was Mt. of the Holy Cross in the Sawatch Range just outside of Minturn. One interesting feature of this hike is the approach over Half Moon pass. As you come over the top of the pass you are greeted with a beautiful view of the summit (see picture). False summits are often the norm when hiking mountains so to be able to see the top from mid way through the hike is an encouraging sight. My trip worked out perfectly as I set out on a bluebird Colorado day and had no weather issues or injury.
Climbing 14ers is a very popular activity in Colorado and full parking lots at 5:30am can be the norm on busy summer weekends. Crowds tend to thin out as overnight temps drop into the teens and snow starts coming down in the fall. Ask an adventure seeker and there’s a good chance the winter season is his/her favorite. Little crowds, potential for great powder skiing and access to different seasonal routes offer a whole new set of opportunity. Hopefully winter ‘12/13 produces snowfall closer to long term averages and I’ll do another 14er post next spring!!