14er season isn’t over. October may be the best time to hike one.
Leaves have changed in the high country and some of the high peaks have seen dustings of fresh snow, but that doesn’t mean fourteener season is over in Colorado. The fall can be an especially enjoyable time to climb Fourteeners, even in October.
“It’s generally a little bit cooler, a little bit less crowded, so people are able to enjoy the hike a little bit more,” said Reed Fischer of the Colorado Mountain Club. “The fall colors make for a really unique look at a lot of the peaks.”
And while fourteener climbers must always be vigilant about weather, the threat of thunderstorms boiling up over the high peaks the way they do in the summer is significantly reduced in the fall.
Monsoonal flows common to summer typically are shut off. Cold fronts also help wring moisture out of the air. The goal doesn’t have to be getting off the summit by noon to avoid lightning, something that is highly advisable in the summer.
“You get those fronts in the fall where it clears everything out and there is zero chance of thunderstorms, so you can be up there all day,” said Jon Kedrowski, who slept on the summit of every Colorado fourteener in 2011 and produced a photo book about the adventure called “Sleeping on the Summits.” “You don’t have to leave at 3 a.m. to summit,” he said. “You can leave at 6 or 7 a.m.”
Read more via The Denver Post
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