Gear Guide: Hiking Bald Mountain in Breckenridge, Colorado
Colorado's 13er and 14er mountains require a bit more planning than the average day hike. Be sure to pack all the hiking essentials for the trail.
When it comes to hiking, we can all agree that being prepared with the right gear can be the difference between an adventure never to be forgotten and one we wish we could forget.
When you’re gearing up for the summit of Bald Mountain (aka Mount Baldy), in Breckenridge, Colorado, hikers should expect sun, rain, wind, and an elevation gain of nearly 2,000 feet.
With an average daytime temperature of 70 degrees in the summer, breathable warm weather basics are a good start, along with lightweight water-resistant layers for encounters with those frequent afternoon thunderstorms.
Here are eight ideal companions to keep you safe and comfortable while you’re hiking in Breckenridge, Colorado:
1) Hiking Boots:
No good hiking can be done without a good shoe. Weather on Mount Baldy may be precarious even into the summer months, so a warm weather shoe with reliable traction is essential. With GORE-TEX SURROUND® product technology, these hiking boots are designed for use in moderate to warmer conditions. They are durably waterproof, which will come in handy both for the ridges and those fateful rainy moments, while being highly breathable all around the foot. Side ventilation outlets in the shaft allow moisture and warmth to escape faster, keeping your feet dry and comfortable even at higher temperatures, allowing you to enjoy the scenic beauty with happy feet.
One of the major highlights of the Mount Baldy hike is the chance to spot an elk migration and other wildlife traversing the vast and distant ridges. Plus, it’s a great reason to slow down and give yourself a rest when gaining serious elevation. Go for a binocular that is both compact and waterproof so you won’t have to worry if you find yourself scoping wildlife under a rain cloud. The Orion 8×36 VE Waterproof Compact Binoculars are a good option. They won’t fog and are more compact than a standard binocular, so they easily pack away, helping keep you light for your pursuit.
The Black Diamond Liquid Point Shell Jacket is a great choice for a likely warm but wet trek up Mount Baldy. Designed to reduce bulk from your kit, this lightweight jacket with GORE-TEX fabric is durably proofed against the wind and rain you may encounter, while being easily packed away when those afternoon storms clear. The minimal material design will give you plenty of mobility for hiking those miles and making it to the summit.
The Arc’teryx Beta SL Pant is the perfect pant for high temperature, high chance of rain trails. Another easily stowed lightweight item, these can be pulled out for those sudden rainstorms. The highly breathable GORE-TEX Pro fabric allows perspiration to escape but keeps the rain out so you stay dry, free to enjoy the view in comfort.
When exploring this famously sunny region, remembering eye protection is a must. The polarized and backcountry approved CASCADE sunglasses by Zeal Optics are a great choice for the journey. Made with plant-based, petroleum-free Z-Resin and e-llume lenses, these shades provide maximum clarity for scenic gazing, not to mention peace of mind, knowing you can feel good about your environmental footprint when purchasing them. Performance elements employed on a classic frame means your style need not be sacrificed for premium protection.
It’s never fun to realize that despite remembering every possible rain protection for yourself, you’ve forgotten to protect your pack and the belongings within. To keep your camera equipment, cottons, and snacks dry, select something lightweight like the Osprey Ultralight Raincover which packs down to fist-size. With a full wrap-around cinch, secure hipbelt, and harness attachment, it’s the only pack cover you’ll ever need.
A high-performance sock is a must when hiking long distances. Adding an item of luxury to every getaway can make a big impact on how you remember the moment. Try something like the Leslie premium performance sock from the Topstitch Athleisure Collection by Stance. Featuring graduated compression, air channeling and mesh venting these breathable silk socks will elevate your spirits so you can continue to gain elevation (in style)!
To top of your pack list, top your head with something like Outdoor Research’s Seattle Sombrero. This multi-climate sombrero is a great option to keep you protected from Colorado’s high-elevation sun and frequent sprinkling. Secure your brim to your dome using a hook and loop when you’re scanning the lush landscape for wildlife or leave it down during rainfall for guaranteed dryness and comfort. The removable chin strap provides a secure fit when you need it, making it ideal in the case of wind. Engineered to keep water on the outside, but allow perspiration to escape from the inside, you can stay comfortable in rain or shine while hiking.
So, are you ready to make the trek up to the summit of Mount Baldy? Hiking an elevation gain of nearly 2,000 feet and ending up at a summit of 13,690 feet is no joke. Take precautions against high-elevation sickness so your can enjoy the stunning views the hike is known for.
– Eat high carbohydrate meals.
– Give yourself three to five days to adjust to the high elevation before being active.
– Ascend slowly! Take extra time to take in the views and beauty that’s all around you.
– Be well-rested before setting off on your journey.
– Get medication prescribed by your physician ahead of time if you’re not accustomed to high altitudes.
– Water, water, and more water. Dehydration can exacerbate altitude sickness. It’s also a good idea to pack extra electrolytes in tab form that can be added to water. Altitude sickness can be serious, be sure you are informed and know what to do in the case you or a travel companion fall ill.
Follow these precautions and your future self will thank your past self for looking out. Bring sunscreen, a large amount of water, carbs, and make the most of your trek!