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Hiking to Mt. Ida

Binghamton, New York
Level Contributor
261 posts
1 review
8 helpful votes
Hiking to Mt. Ida

Hi, I was wondering if anyone has climbed Mt. Ida .... how was it? I understand that it's a less popular trail, but will you be completely alone or do you see anyone on the trail in August? How is the trail marking? Is it clear? Do you need to scramble on all four?

13 yo boy and his mom are looking for a hike that's moderately challenging but not too risky/crazy. We are both in decent shape but have never done altitude hiking. We'll be entering the park from Western side through Grand Lake and will spend a couple of nights on the park campgrounds (first night in Timber Lake and the other nights in Moraine).

How does Mt. Ida compare to Twin Sister Peaks and Chasm Lake hike?

Binghamton, New York
Level Contributor
261 posts
1 review
8 helpful votes
1. Re: Hiking to Mt. Ida

Also, for my son, is there any second-hand store for hiking shoes? His feet gets bigger every year and I'm wary of paying $100 for a few hiking just for a summer. I thought I'd ask, since, RMNP is sort of like a mecca for hiking and I thought maybe a store like that may exist.

rky
Estes Park, Colorado
Level Contributor
646 posts
9 reviews
2 helpful votes
2. Re: Hiking to Mt. Ida

Mt Ida is a great hike! You will usually see a few people along the way but probably not over a dozen or so. I have seen kids under 10 years old on the summit. There's not a lot of trails heading up from Milner Pass so while you will not see a lot of signage, there is enough to point you in the right direction. The trail itself is obvious and not a faint footpath. Other than the mileage itself, the challenges are the elevation and exposure since you spend most of the hike above treeline. Mt Ida is a walk-up summit and you will not need to scramble on all fours at any point. Overall, I would say it is comparable to Chasm Lake. The views are awesome all along the way and I have always seen big horn sheep on the flank of the mountain near the summit.

I am unfamiliar with stores on the Western slope so I cannot recommend a boot store there. If you find yourself in Estes Park, check out the Estes Park Mountain Shop.

You can check out some online stores, too. Campmor has a good selection and often has great deals. Their store is located just under 3 hours from you down in Paramus, NJ. Another online option is SierraTradingPost.com. I recommend purchasing boots before hitting the trails just to break them in some.

Binghamton, New York
Level Contributor
261 posts
1 review
8 helpful votes
3. Re: Hiking to Mt. Ida

Thank you rky! I'm glad to know that markings are clear. I will have two full days in RMNP and scratching my head which trails to try. It'll be the first time for us to visit.

I'm thinking of the following hikes as candidates. What are your recommendations? It's our first time to RMNP ... which one do you think I shouldn't skip? Obviously I think one of these hike each day will be enough so we can only pick two.

*Sky Pond hike (9 mi rt)

*Chasm Lake (8.4 mi)

* Mt. Ida (9 mi)

* Twin Sister Peaks (7.4 mi)

Does Estes Park Mountain shop has second hand shoes? I will check online stores.

rky
Estes Park, Colorado
Level Contributor
646 posts
9 reviews
2 helpful votes
4. Re: Hiking to Mt. Ida

You can't go wrong with any of these hikes. All top-notch. When you are on the west side, go ahead and do Ida. When you get to the east side, any of the other three will be great. Maybe do Sky Pond because it is so different from the hike up Ida. Hard to pass up Chasm though. And Twin Sisters has a different feel from a lot of other summits in the area since it kind of sits off by itself. Tough decision. Just know that you are not short changing yourself regardless of which one you end up doing.

The Mountain Shop only has new items at a good discount. There is a thrift shop on the west end of Elkhorn Ave (the main street through downtown). They get a lot of stuff from locals (obviously) and may have what you need. What size does he wear? I can also ask around . . . with so many hikers out here, maybe someone can hook him up.

Binghamton, New York
Level Contributor
261 posts
1 review
8 helpful votes
5. Re: Hiking to Mt. Ida

Oh rky, that is so nice of you! Actually I'm planning for the trip next summer in 2014 - so it's still a little time ahead. He has BIG feet - right now he's wearing size 12/13. So next year he'll be probably wearing 13 or 14.

It is a bit of a heartache for me since I have to get him basketball and cross country shoes too for each season ... I'm starting to notice that I have to get lucky to find basketball shoes his size at a local thrifty store and I am turning pale.

Since I still have plenty of time to work on this problem, I am going to try and post an ad on local craigslist and see if I can find one for him. If it fails by the next summer, I will get in touch with you.Thanks so much!

And I will remember about the thrifty store. If anything, I must grab the size 15 for the year 2015!

And thank you for your view on these four hikes - what you wrote is just what I wanted to hear. I wish I had more time. But who knows, it's next year, I may just do! :)

Baton Rouge...
Level Contributor
13 posts
27 reviews
25 helpful votes
6. Re: Hiking to Mt. Ida

As per your hiking boot question, let me share my experience. Several years ago we went to another national park to hike. We were backpacking for four days. Those four days were all we'd be using the new hiking boots we were buying. We went pretty cheap, 30-40 bucks per pair but they worked fine in rugged hiking conditions. We also bought hiking socks which worked great. My brother didn't have them and got all blistered up. So if you're just going to use them for this trip, my limited experience is that he'll be fine with less expensive boots.

rky
Estes Park, Colorado
Level Contributor
646 posts
9 reviews
2 helpful votes
7. Re: Hiking to Mt. Ida

The most important factor in buying footwear is that it fits properly. Sometimes people will purchase footwear due solely to price and not fit. Some people are luckier than others. Their feet fit comfortably into lower priced footwear. Nothing wrong with that. Rejoice and rub your hiking partner's nose in that fact. Some people buy footwear that pinches and does not fit quite right just to save a few bucks. Then their feet look like ground chop at the end of the day. Big problem. I've hiked thousands of miles - seriously, I have - so don't shirk this advice. Get footwear that fits properly. I'll step off my soapbox now . . .

Binghamton, New York
Level Contributor
261 posts
1 review
8 helpful votes
8. Re: Hiking to Mt. Ida

Thank you cheese_head and rky - I didn't realize I can get hiking boots for 30 dollars. That just sound about right for my son if it works fine like that.. this was such a good thing to hear. And I will definitely look out for one that fits my son's feet, keeping your advice in mind rky. Thank you both so much - you are incredibly helpful!

1 post
9. Re: Hiking to Mt. Ida

I am 15 years old and I just got back from a missions trip to colorado and I climbed mount Ida along with around 30 other 15 year olds. We are all from Minnesota so we are not used to the high altitude of colorado. If you are going to do it, you need to be very hydrated. I drank 1 nalgene sized water bottle the night before, one during breakfast the next morning, and then one and a half in the car ride from winter park to mount Ida trailhead. I also brought 3 nalgene water bottles in my backpack on the mountain. I did fine with the altitude because of that but some kids were not as smart and didn't drink enough water. They were hallucinating and throwing up on the mountain.

Mount Ida is beautiful and extremely fun to climb. The mountain is split into 3 equal sections. the first section is primarily hills of icy snow. It looks intimidating but it's actually not that hard. the next section is right above the tree line. it is just walking on a narrow path that winds around the mountain. watch out for marmots, moose, elk and big horned sheep, they all might look friendly but it's not a good idea to pet or go near them. the last section is the bolder field. it is the leg killer. You are walking at a steady incline making your own path over all these plates of rock. then once you get to the false summit, the incline goes up and you are walking up a hill of rocks. On the top, the view is amazing sit and eat the lunch you hopefully brought and take pictures.

the way down is a lot easier and goes pretty fast compared to going up. the best part of the whole trip for me, was getting to the icy snowy part of the trail and since it is now the afternoon and the sun is out, the ice is melted back into snow so you can slide down all the hills you climbed up!

clothes: you should wear layers. I wore leggings, sweatpants, and rain pants on bottom. with a long sleeve shirt, a light sweatshirt, and a rain jacket on top. I also brought hat and mittens and wore the mittens most of the trip and the hat some of the trip. I also wore wool hiking socks with hiking boots.

weather: once you get above the tree line, the wind can be 40 mph. the summit is not as windy. thunderstorms do roll into colorado around 2 or 3 in the afternoon almost every day so you have to know that if you go up and there is a thunderstorm, you can't continue and have to come back down. (unless you want to risk getting struck by lightning)

timing: I woke up at 4:45am, are breakfast at 5am, and left for the mountain at 5:30am. got to the mountain about 7am and made it to the summit around noon. (5 hours up with short breaks) we made it down in 3 hours and was back to the bottom by 4:15pm. so it is an all day adventure.

extra: -take only pictures, leave only footprints (you are not allowed to leave anything on the mountain including toilet paper.)

- bring marking tape for the snowy part because the trail is covered in snow so you are kind of making your own. so mark trees with marking tape on the way up and take it off the trees on your way down

- bring a backpack with water, and food in it and have room for a camera and if you want to shed some of your layers.

-bring lots of food because food and water will both help with the altitude change. pack a big lunch and some energy bars or something to snack on.

- take your time. take as many breaks as you need to. don't rush yourself

have fun!! I would definitly recommend climbing Ida. it was an amazing experience for me and my friends.

Binghamton, New York
Level Contributor
261 posts
1 review
8 helpful votes
10. Re: Hiking to Mt. Ida

Thanks Quinn N - my son is just about the same age, he's 14. Your report is very useful. I'm glad you had a good time and was well prepared - I will remember to bring a lot of water when climbing Mt. Ida! Thanks!!!!!!

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