With Longs Peak within the background, individuals decide pumpkins at Rock Creek Farm Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze on Oct. 22, 2017 in Broomfield. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Publish)
Leaves have modified within the excessive nation and a few of the excessive peaks have seen dustings of contemporary snow, however that doesn’t imply fourteener season is over in Colorado. The autumn might be an particularly pleasant time to climb Fourteeners, even in October.
“It’s usually a bit bit cooler, a bit bit much less crowded, so individuals are capable of benefit from the hike a bit bit extra,” stated Reed Fischer of the Colorado Mountain Membership. “The autumn colours make for a extremely distinctive have a look at a whole lot of the peaks.”
And whereas fourteener climbers should at all times be vigilant about climate, the specter of thunderstorms boiling up over the excessive peaks the best way they do in the summertime is considerably lowered within the fall.
Monsoonal flows frequent to summer season usually are shut off. Chilly fronts additionally assist wring moisture out of the air. The aim doesn’t should be getting off the summit by midday to keep away from lightning, one thing that’s extremely advisable in the summertime.
“You get these fronts within the fall the place it clears every little thing out and there’s zero probability of thunderstorms, so that you might be up there all day,” stated Jon Kedrowski, who slept on the summit of each Colorado fourteener in 2011 and produced a photograph e-book in regards to the journey referred to as “Sleeping on the Summits.” “You don’t have to depart at three a.m. to summit,” he stated. “You possibly can go away at 6 or 7 a.m.”
In truth, when Kedrowski completed his fourteener undertaking with an ascent of the Mount of the Holy Cross close to Vail, the date was Sept. 28.
“I knew I might go up there and keep the evening and never fear about storms within the afternoon and shoot sundown images, dawn images,” Kedrowski stated.
Cooler temperatures imply extra snug situations for climbing in the midst of the day, however in addition they imply it may be close to freezing when your hike begins, so plan accordingly and pack additional layers of clothes. There could have been current snow that melted after which froze in a single day, so you’ll be able to encounter patchy early morning ice on rocks.
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Kedrowski recommends retaining that in thoughts when selecting a mountain to climb and which route to decide on. The standard route up Quandary Peak close to Breckenridge, for instance, is through its east ridge. That facet of the mountain will catch early morning solar, which may take the coolness out of the climb.
“Some years, you get that first dusting of snow and that may be treacherous on the semi-technical ones,” Kedrowski stated. “However this yr, it actually hasn’t taken impact but. We’ve had just a few of these snowstorms however nothing main the place it’s sticking considerably. The peaks up excessive are nonetheless pretty away from snow and ice. Even the technical ones like Capitol and the Maroon Bells are snow-free. You possibly can climb them and never have to fret about anyone else.”
In truth, Kedrowski has made an annual autumnal ritual of climbing Capitol, a preferred however precipitous peak close to Aspen.
“Whenever you do Capitol in midweek in late September, there’s by no means anyone up there,” Kedrowski stated. “The final 4 falls in a row, I am going up there and do it. I simply love Capitol Peak.”
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