where to go by the end of february

3:01 a.m. on January 1, 2010 (EST)
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hi everybody!
we are two romanian guys and we are living right now in chicago.
we want to go for a mountaineering trip for a week or more, by the end of february somewere in the rocky mountains. i have some experience from back home and my partner, the same. we prefer a pretty easy trail like a grade II (2), but if the trail has few spots of grade III(3), that's fine too.
we wanted to go into chicago basin, colorado, but after a month of making plans i found out that the durango-silverton train is riding just from may to october, probably because of the snow. we could walk, but it is a 2 day hike to get in and 2 days to get out of the basin, so we decided to look for another place to go to...
and now we need your help. so please give us some suggestions. the mountain or the peak can be over 9000 feet or 12000 feet or can be a 14er, anyone is fine. or can be more than one, if we have enough time, food and the weather is good.
i also know somebody in boulder, colorado. i was thinking about the "rocky mountains NP". this guy has a suv and a pick-up truck and he could drive us as close as he can into the park, because as i know, in winter the park is closed.
what about the bears? are they hungry by the end of february? in romania the shepherds told me that the february 2nd is the day of the bear. he gets out of his bed. if the day is warm he goes back to sleep because he knows that another wave of cold will come, but if is cold, he stays out and begins to search for food, because he knows the the spring with its sunny days will come. it's like up side down, but this is what they told me. of course that is the carpathian bear, but is realy big and hungry and they are a lot.
i'm waiting for your answers and your help! thanks a lot for your help and patience!!
cristian

5:36 p.m. on January 1, 2010 (EST)
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Rocky Mountain National Park is open year-round. That would be a good choice for someone who does not know Colorado well. You should get a Trails Illustrated map of the park and start looking at the trails. They range from easy to very difficult. The bears should still be hibernating in Feb., but I would not worry about them anyway. Just practice good bear technique (hang food, etc). Be prepared for snow. That time of year we get storms that dump six feet of snow in a day or two.

4:25 a.m. on January 2, 2010 (EST)
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There is the 10th Mountain Division hut system in the Leadville area. Lots of trails, great scenery, and also a bunch of snow in February. There are other hut/yurt systems around the state. Just google Colorado huts for more info.

10th Mountain huts:

http://www.huts.org/

9:43 p.m. on January 3, 2010 (EST)
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cristian,

There are a lot of areas in the Rockies for backcountry ski touring. Lou Dawson's books on the Colorado Fourteeners will give you some good route choices (you have over 50 of the 14ers to choose from). However, be aware that the Rockies are also a location of huge and dangerous snow avalanches from Dec through March or April. People are caught in these every winter, and several die. So be sure you are trained in avalanche awareness and carry beacons, shovels, probes, etc.The 10th Mountain Division huts offer a good way to do backcountry ski tours on everything from easy to challenging terrain. March is a better time in terms of avalanche danger, as is April. Don't worry about the bears - the avalanches are much more dangerous.

RMNP is closed for vehicles, but not for backcountry travel. You can get to the border of the park just outside Estes Park. There are several good shops there who can provide good advice. Also, in Boulder, stop by Gary Neptune's shop near the Univ of Colorado campus (Neptune Mountaineering).

I might also suggest considering the Wasatch mountains in Utah or the Uintas. There is excellent backcountry winter travel there, and the Avalanche Center in Salt Lake has arguably the best reporting network around. Ice climbing as well as backcountry ski touring. Don't worry about the bears in Utah, either. Moose are second only to avalanches (I've had a personal encounter with one, closer than I wanted to be!)

6:47 p.m. on January 13, 2010 (EST)
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thank you everyone for your help and suggestions! i'm still waiting for more opinions. good luck!

September 20, 2014
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