I haven't done a ton of cold-weather or high altitude hiking, but I can tell you that when folks mention having the right gear, they are not messing around. I still remember a trip that my family took to Mount Rainier in Washington State. We hiked off-trail because another hiker mentioned that he'd seen a momma fox and her cubs not too far from where we were.
My family is from South Florida, and we had no idea what cold really meant. We thought we'd be fine in our jackets and cheapo hiking boots. What a terrible idea! It is tough to enjoy beautiful scenery, even a brand new family of foxes, when you can't feel your toes. Luckily, it was not a long hike up and back, so we made it safely. I had no idea until much later that our little trip out into the snow was so risky!
- Backpacking.net. "The Winter Backpacker." (May 11, 2012) http://www.backpacking.net/winter.html
- GORP. "Rocky Mountain National Park." September 15, 2010. (May 11, 2012) http://www.gorp.com/parks-guide/travel-ta-rocky-mountain-national-park-colorado-sidwcmdev_067884.html
- Leave No Trace. "The Leave No Trace Seven Principles." Center for Outdoor Ethics. (May 21, 2012) http://lnt.org/learn/7-principles
- Let's Go. "Rocky Mountain National Park Overview." (May 29, 2012) http://www.letsgo.com/1892-colorado-travel-guides-rocky_mountain_national_park-d
- nationalatlas.gov. "Continental Divide of the United States." USGS. (May 21, 2012) http://nationalatlas.gov/mld/condivl.html
- RockyMountainNationalPark.com. "Butler Gulch." (May 21, 2012) http://rockymountainnationalpark.com/trails/butler_gulch.html
- RockyMountainNationalPark.com. "Hiking." (May 11, 2012) http://rockymountainnationalpark.com/pages/hiking.html
- Rocky Mountain National Park. "High Country Hazards." National Park Service. (May 21, 2012) http://www.nps.gov/romo/hicountry_hazards.htm
- Rocky Mountain National Park. "History & Culture." National Park Service. (May 11, 2012) http://www.nps.gov/romo/historyculture/index.htm
- Rocky Mountain National Park. "Maps." National Park Service. (May 11, 2012) http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/maps.htm
- RockyMountainNationalPark.com. "Plants." (May 21, 2012) http://www.nps.gov/romo/naturescience/plants.htm
- Schmidt, William E. "What's Doing in Boulder." The New York Times. November 28, 1982. (May 29, 2012).http://www.nytimes.com/1982/11/28/travel/what-s-doing-in-boulder.html?pagewanted=all
- Summit Post. “Tour de Steep Mountain.” March 27, 2009. (May 21, 2012). http://www.summitpost.org/tour-de-steep-mountain-rocky-mountain-national-park-colorado/493489
- Widman, Carolyn Grace. “Discouraging Off-Trail Hiking to Protect Park Resources: Evaluating Management Efficacy and Natural Recovery.” Virginia Polutechnic Institute and State University. June 24, 2010. (May 11, 2012) https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:9hsTy6myJ2QJ:nr.ncr.vt.edu/major_papers/Carolyn_Widman.pdf+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjiqwjMeG1pHP4U9ACWq5sIEO4bmRebP7Yz7QeGig8lW_TSXrNcRiqggKipu5ZQN94mJNIhVzkOt5QqhqCYqoNE9D_G72y9iV8ABvzY-XgEw-ZJTY42KczQscM1V_38lJa71aS0&sig=AHIEtbSgKnmD4wB8_V36ZvxlnYfRi7H_mg