clothing for Longs Peak

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clothing for Longs Peak

Postby AZ Hiker » Tue Apr 12, 2005 7:28 am

I'm planning on hiking Longs Peak the end of July. I know layering is vital, but I've never done a hike with this much elevation gain and am not sure what all I'll need. Thinking medium-wt baselayer pants with hiking pants over them and medium-wt long-sleeved baselayer/outerlayer top with fleece over that. Also packing rain pants and wind/rain jacket. Any suggestions from others doing similar climbs? Thanks!
AZ Hiker

Postby DayHiker » Wed Apr 13, 2005 10:02 am

I've always dressed for "fourteens" this way: Top: non-cotton tee shirt, long sleeve sun shirt, fleece (e.g. Polartec 100 or 200), rain/wind shell. Bottom: Hiking shorts (Ex Officio) and rain/wind pants (with zipper so you can put then over shoes when the wind comes up). Hat and gloves.
More importantly for a non-technical hike, Longs Peak seems too dangerous for a first timer. Be careful.

Postby Bob T. » Thu Apr 14, 2005 6:32 am

I don't know that the elevation gain makes that much difference in preparation -- for most hikes in an area like Rocky Mountain National Park, you want to be prepared for your hiking weather to be near freezing with a fierce wind, and for it to be very warm, regardless of whether your elevation gain is 2000 feet or 5500 feet.

Unless you aren't going to be very far from the trailhead, I'd go with DayHiker's attire for most any hike around RMNP, because the weather is changeable on very short notice. The only change I would make to DayHiker's recommendation is that I like to wear convertible pants instead of shorts, since then I can have shorts on when I want to, but have on long pants for when I want some protection from the sun, want some extra warmth, or want protection from bugs or brush.

It does sound to me like your bottom layers both top and bottom aren't suited for hot weather. If you get a good, early start up Longs (and you really want to be heading down no later than noon if you can manage it, to avoid those afternoon thunderstorms you will get most days in late July), you probably won't get too warm going up, but if you get a good weather day, you could get pretty hot heading back down, so you should be prepared for very warm hiking.

And yes, be careful. Something like, say, Mt. Whitney on the main trail is like walking on a sidewalk compared to Longs Peak. Longs is a six mile hike plus a two mile climb, a non-technical climb, but a climb and not a hike, and a climb at high elevation.
Bob T.

Postby AZ Hiker » Tue Apr 19, 2005 3:36 am

Thanks for your replies and words of caution. Bob, I hear ya, the heat on the way back down is what I've been worried about as far as clothing. I am planning to hike Mt. Humphrey (12,633) here in AZ in June to really get an idea of how prepared I am. I am going to shoot for Longs Peak because I will be in the area on vacation anyway, and have done lots of research and preparation for it, but I am not a daredevil. I'll remember your advice and will be sure to turn back if I'm getting in over my head. Thanks again.
AZ Hiker

Postby Gutcan » Tue Jul 05, 2005 1:48 am

I've hiked both Humphrey's and Long's. The two don't compare. Hiking Humphrey's is like hiking to the boulderfield at Long's (which is the beginning of the "climb" portion mentioned above). You're getting good advice here, just thought I'd add two more cents worth.

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