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Blanca Peak Hiking (Need Reality Check)
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john braun
(Hitman) - F

Locale: West Florida
Blanca Peak Hiking (Need Reality Check) on 06/26/2012 21:35:24 MDT Print View

Myself and three pals are heading to Blanca Peak and a few other 14ers next week. I need some advice on what we are getting ourselves into. We are all very familiar with hiking the AT as we have hiked around 300 miles of it.

I need to know first about my de-natured alcohol stove. Am I allowed to use it up there? In this document it says that only petroleum based stoves are allowed. Here's the PDF Report

Do we need helmets?

Will the trails close because of fire? How do I know if they are closing or limited?

Edited by Hitman on 06/27/2012 19:23:52 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Blanca Peak Hiking (Need Reality Check) on 06/26/2012 22:17:55 MDT Print View

Call the ranger. No helmets needed.

www.14ers.com

Edited by jshann on 06/26/2012 22:18:25 MDT.

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Blanca on 06/27/2012 12:10:57 MDT Print View

Most of CO, including Alamosa and Costilla counties which split Blanca, are under a fire ban right now, and many people are reeeeeaaaaallllyy skittish about what's allowed now, with the horrific 16,000 acre Waldo Canyon fire eating up large portions of the city of Colorado Springs right now, and the 87,000 acre High Park fire just outside Ft Collins, those being only 2 of 8 active fires in the state. I've largely given up on etOH stoves for that reason.
Luckily, Blanca Massif is well away from fire so far. If a fire starts, you'll be able to see it from above when on the mountain, but yes they will close the trails to hikers going up. Going down will be encouraged to move quickly.

Rangers will have the definitive word, but you might be ok.

You don't need a helmet as long as you're careful. The approaches are all class 1 (pathed hiking) but most of the routes are class 2( rock-hopping, moderately steep) with pitches of class 3 (steep, 4-point contact scrambling)
You don't need a helmet as long as you're careful. There's some danger of falling rock, but it's low compared to other peaks. Even other peaks on the Massif. I wouldn't go anywhere near Little Bear without helmets and ropes.

Call the Alamosa Cty ranger, and get a book of CO 14ers.
Good luck on the peak bagging, 14'ers are a whole different beast than east coast hiking.

Edit: 14'ers.com is a good initial resource, but I strongly recommend an actual paper book of 14'ers for prep, and a USGS quadrangle map or two in hand on the trail.

Edited by COHiker on 06/27/2012 12:15:12 MDT.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Blanca on 06/27/2012 12:53:31 MDT Print View

John:

I did a similar trip last summer with my son to the Chicago Basin in the San Juans. I found the 14ers site to be very helpful. Honestly, the photos were the most helpful to me. There's nothing like having already seen a route you need to find.

I have not done Blanca, but I wouldn't think you'd need a helmet on the standard class II route either.

Enjoy.

john braun
(Hitman) - F

Locale: West Florida
alcohol stoves? on 06/27/2012 17:07:36 MDT Print View

Are alcohol stoves okay to use up there?

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Re: alcohol stoves? on 06/27/2012 17:29:06 MDT Print View

I'd ask the Conejos Peak Ranger District. They're the closest district to that end of the Sangre De Cristo range.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: alcohol stoves? on 06/27/2012 17:38:28 MDT Print View

Depending on your route and what county you will be in, you need the call the respective Sheriff. As in "Alamosa County, Sheriff". They have the authority and will be in sync with their counterpart over in Forest.

I'm north a bit in Chaffee County, and only stoves with "... a valve to control On and Off ..." are currently permitted. Which excludes a Cone or a Cat style, but allows a Jetboil/WhisperLite. Given the nature of things, though, I fully expect ALL fires to be prohibited, including "... campground fire ring...", BBQ, and valved.

The country is explosively dry and folks are getting real nervous. (Last week a mower blade hit a rock, sparked a fire, and closed US 50, from CaƱon City to Salida, for 5 days.) The next step would be to "... close the Forest ..." as they routinely do in New Mexico and Arizona. That hasn't happened in Colorado, but it could.

Plan accordingly. Best of luck. Be careful out there.

Edited by greg23 on 06/27/2012 18:01:55 MDT.

john braun
(Hitman) - F

Locale: West Florida
thanks on 06/27/2012 20:53:09 MDT Print View

Thanks so much guys!

john braun
(Hitman) - F

Locale: West Florida
Back on 07/25/2012 14:17:42 MDT Print View

Oh my gosh...climbing a 14er is much different than hiking the AT.

I didn't realize that actual rock climbing would be involved. I also didn't realize there could be falling rocks that could actually kill you.

I also didn't realize that Blanca Peak wasn't exactly a 14er on the "easy" list.

We had a great trip and great hike though. Now that my feet are wet with this type of thing I surely want to do it more.

John

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Re: Back on 07/25/2012 19:42:26 MDT Print View

Glad you enjoyed it. :)

Yeah, 14ers are no joke. Now that your feet are wet, try some of the ones in the middle of the state, the Sawatch range have some great ones. More difficult are the Sangres and San Juan's. Same 'actual climbing' but steeper.

Watch out, too much and you'll be hooked, and trail hiking with a stream of other people just won't cut it anymore.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
14 on 07/25/2012 19:56:39 MDT Print View

Just always start early (some long hikes will start at 2am) and plan to be headed down below treeline before storms start to build after lunch. Never be afraid to stop and turn back either.

Storms are no small matter in summer at 14000, unless you thrive on 60mph winds, 50 ft visibility and sideways sleet literally encasing you. Literally, they can put you in a life threatening situation quickly if caught exposed.

Yep, a bit different from the AT, with the possible exception of the Whites and Mt. Washington. But they dont have that altitude thing going. Last one I was on, my ears hurt, and they were equalized , but they hurt, think I had a slight cold or such. Was glad to get down.

Edited by livingontheroad on 07/25/2012 19:59:31 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: 14ers on 07/25/2012 20:14:18 MDT Print View

"Storms are no small matter in summer at 14000, unless you thrive on 60mph winds, 50 ft visibility and sideways sleet literally encasing you."

Yes, but that is only the fun part of it.

The good news: Don't worry about the sleet. The lightning is more likely to kill you.

--B.G.--