(Cover Photo: Longs Peak, Colorado 14er. Photo credit: National Park Service)
Preparing to hike a fourteener
There’s nothing quite like looking out over the world from an elevation of 14,000 feet above sea level. Therefore, we’re not surprised that the Colorado 14ers have become world-famous, drawing adventurers from near and far. Although there are 14er hikes that are ranked as “easy,” don’t be fooled. Hiking a 14er is not something you decide to do spontaneously; you need to properly prepared. Even the easiest hike can be dangerous. So, before you start to venture up the mountain, make sure you are properly equipped, both with gear and with knowledge.
The first rule of mountaineering safety is to talk about mountaineering safety. The more you know about the dangers of taking on these peaks, the better and the more enjoyable your experience will be. When you are heading towards an elevation of 14,000+ feet, you’re going to encounter changing weather and terrain. You need experience and common sense to keep you safe on the peaks. You have to account for altitude sickness and fast-building storms, and you need to have the right gear and supplies to keep you hydrated, warm, and dry.
Before you take on any peak, familiarize yourself with the route, weather, and terrain. Take a class and do your research. If you are a beginner, head out with experienced mountaineers who can help you get to the top and make the right decisions in a pinch. The weather report may say something different than the dark clouds forming above. Don’t ignore warning signs because you insist on getting to the top. We know it sucks to have to turn around halfway up the peak, but it’s better to cut your hike short than to let your pride lead you into a life-threatening situation.
Camping gear for hiking 14ers
If you are staying overnight, be sure to get an all-weather tent. You’re also going to want a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, a properly fitted backpack and waterproof pack cover. You may also want to bring some waterproof bags and rope to keep your food and hang it in a tree. You could also bring a bear canister and a carrying case.
14er essential supplies
You’re going to need supplies to keep you hydrated. Make sure you have a lot of water and a hydration system that is easy to carry. Besides a lot of water, you’re going to need navigation equipment. There are great satellite GPS systems, but we also recommend a good old fashioned map and a compass. You can’t always rely on technology in the wild. Finally, you’re going to need proper shoes, clothing, hiking equipment, and a safety/emergency kit.
Camping gear in Denver
If you’re feeling ready to take on a 14er, head to Outdoors Geek retail shop for the best camping gear in Denver and rent all the camping gear and hiking essentials.