Western Outing 2017 - Sangre De Cristo Range

Distant view of Sawatch Range

CMC Western Outing 2017 - Sangre De Cristo Range

The Western Outing dates are August 6th through the 12th

Have you ever wanted to climb a 14,000 foot mountain? Are you looking to bag some 14ers in Colorado? Do you just want to goto the mountains for a week?

Well, If you answered yes to any of those questions, then the Chicago Mountaineering Club’s Western Outing is for you! We will be staying near 914ers!!!! So, if you are in super killer athlete shape you could come home with 9 new 14ers under your belt or if your more like me probably just a couple. Also, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve will be in close proximity which, is a cool break day trip. So, what do you need to do joins us on the western outing? Well, to start you should email Al Graber the Expeditions Chair get on the email list and let Al know you want to go. You don’t have to be a member to go on this outing and if your not a member and go on the western outing, you can then apply for membership and bypass the three outing needed to apply. It’s deal that only comes around every two years!

This year there will be no objective peak for the group to climb on one day, as has been done in the past. So, What peaks should you climb or plan to climb? That question is hard to answer. You have to do some research on the Sangre De Cristos and to be more specific the Crestone Group of 14ers and the Blanca Group of 14ers to see what routes you are capable of climbing. Some of the mountains are technically easy hike ups and others are full on alpine climbs. I would recommend that, if you are not trad leading now or last year it may be too difficult for you to attempt an alpine route on a 14,000 foot mountain without at lest two other partners that can lead. If you are unsure of what you are able or capable to climb please feel free to ask Al Graber the expeditions chair. I recommend looking at summit post, mountain project, and Colorado’s Fourteeners book by Gerry Roach for doing your research on the area and climbs. Those are not the only sources of information on the Sangre De Cristos but, will give you a good idea of what climbs are in the area.

What kind of shape should I be in for the outing? Should I train for this outing? Yes, you should be in shape and being round is not the shape you want to be in! Yes, you should train for this outing. The more fit you are the better you will be able to over come the elevation gains and make your outing more enjoyable. There are many ways to train your body for climbing and I recommend that you make a plan that will work for you. You don’t have to be at an elite athlete’s fitness level but, be ready for long and possibly 14 hour days of hiking and climbing with a pack. So, start reaching for the fruit bowl instead of the doughnut pile at the office break room.

Camping? The first day we will all meet at the Alvarado Campground not far from the town of Westcliffe. You will need to make your own reservations and you are only asked to stay at the camp ground the one night of the 6th and if your plans have you in the backcountry for the rest of the trip that is fine as long as you let club know you have made it out of the backcountry safely. There is free camping at the trailheads and on the routes due to most of the climbs being in the national forests. The east side of the mountains is the San Isabel National Forest and the west side of the mountains is the Rio Grande National Forest.

So, thats a lot to look over and I know there are questions and there is much much more to talk about. So, get started by emailing Al Graber the Expeditions chair at jibho146@gmail.com to get on the email list or ask any questions you may have regarding the western outing or you’ve heard enough and your in no matter what we are climbing! Once Al gets enough people on board more info and planning will follow through emails.

photo: David Herrera