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Trip Planning
[1.] [1.] Choose a peak.
  • Depending on your skill level you may want to limit the difficulty of climb that you attempt.
  • Just because a trails distance is short, it does not mean that the climb will be easy or be completed quickly.
  • I have been on short distance climbs that took longer to climb then an alternate longer distance route.
  • Finding out the rise over run (elevation gain over distance of travel) is helpful when determining difficulty.
  • Also try to find pictures from someone who has climbed the peak before. Pictures can show the quality of trail maintenances on a route as well as help you to not get lost when on the trail.
[2.] [2.] Check the Weather.
  • Always make sure to check the weather for the area you will be climbing in; so you can prepare appropriately.
  • The weather at 14,000 feet is different then where most weather stations are reporting from.
  • For every 1,000 feet you gain, you can expect up to a 10degree (F) temperature change.
  • An afternoon lighting storm is normal in Colorado; so gather information about the weather patterns in the area that you will be climbing.
[3.] [3.] Determine the drive time; shortest drive? most scenic?
  • Will a 4X4 vehicle be necessary, just a high clearance one, or simply a passenger car?
  • Many trail head descriptions list both a passenger car and 4X4 vehicle parking areas.
  • If you plan to get to the 4X4 trail head, pack any equipment necessary to get out of a 4X4 situation (ex. shovel, jack, tow strap)
[4.] [4.] Length of climb, difficulty, have you done a comparable climb before.
  • The best way to actually determine the amount of time it will take you to climb a route is by experience.
  • If you lack the first, then try to find a summit log that list a climb time and also includes information about the climber that sounds similar to your abilities.
  • If you are in good shape and distance does not bother you but time is an issue, then when in doubt just leave the trail head earlier.
[5.] [5.] Can you carry enough water or should you bring a water purifier.
  • Again experience plays into this decision, I always try to carry enough water for the entire hike. However, if I estimate the time on the trail to be longer then 6 hours then I'll bring the purifier.
  • Now I have heard one hiker claim, "The more I climb the less I take, because I seem to find myself using less of the gear."
  • I would have to counter with, the more you climb (over confidence) the more risk taking you do, and therefore you need the gear.
  • Also, the more climbing you do, the better in shape you are, so really the extra gear seems to weigh less anyway. So just take it.
[6.] [6.] What to pack.
  • Extra Clothing.
  • Extra Food.
  • Compass.
  • Map.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Camera.
  • First Aid.
  • Knife.
  • Two different means of fire starting (ex. lighter and matches).
  • Sun Glasses.
  • Head Lamp.
  • A Friend.
[7.] [7.] Finding a friend to go with you.
  • SummitPost: Climbers
  • Someone with abilities that closely match yours.
  • Someone with the same goals in mind.
[8.] [8.] Tread Lightly & Leave No Trace.