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Colorado 14ers

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One of the biggest challenges in Colorado is to climb all 54 peaks that are above 14,000 feet, otherwise known as 14ers. The hikes are ranked according to difficulty from class 1-5 with 1 being the easiest and 5 the most difficult. Class 3 requires technical scrambling, and rock climbing which can usually be done without ropes. All of the 14ers (even class 1's) are difficult to hike/climb and involve an element of risk and excessive physical exertion. Most of the 14ers have class 2 and 3 routes but a few have class 1, and a few have only class 3 or higher.

In the U.S. there are 91 peaks that are above 14,000 feet, not including peaks that do not rise at least 300 feet from a connecting saddle to another nearby 14er. Alaska has 21 of these peaks and 19 out of 20 highest peaks in the U.S. Denali (or some call it Mt Mckinley) in Alaska is the highest point in North America at 20,320. California has 15 peaks abover 14,000, and the highest peak in the Continental U.S. with Mt. Whitney at 14494. Washington has 1 peak over 14,000 with Mt Rainier at 14410, also an active volcano. Colorado has the remaining 54 14ers with Mt. Elbert at 14433, Mt. Massive 14421, and Mt. Harvard 14420 the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th highest peaks in the continental U.S.

I heard about the challenge of hiking these monster peaks from a friend and decided to try one. My first one was Mt Bierstadt, the one in the picture at the top of the page. Since then I have been hooked and can't wait until my next hike. At least endurance wise it is the most physically challenging thing I have done in my life. Hiking these mountains takes careful preparation and education; you must also be physically and mentally up for the task. The general rule of hiking 14ers is that you must gain 3000 feet of elevation per hike and if you traverse a ridge connecting another nearby 14er you didn't really hike both of them, just one. I think this is a good rule, however since I may not live here much longer my goal is to summit as many as possible and I feel that for my purposes 2000 elevation gain is enough per hike. Many of the hikes are a minimum of 4000 elevation gain and some of the 14ers I will likely do more than once so it all evens out for me anyway.

This kind of hiking is usually refered to as mountaineering, which means it is a little more involved and in some cases techincal requiring ice or rock climbing skills and use of special equipment. However 2/3 of the 14ers in Colorado can be hiked with just a little research, lot of preparation, and a lot of desire and effort. Mountaineering gives you a sense of freedom from urban lifestyle, a closeness to nature, and an appreciation of how tough it was to live in the past when pioneers and indians crossed these mountains for survival. Other than my personal goals I hope to inspire others to get out and hike the great outdoors, if not a 14er then at least something besides that short stretch of hallway between your couch and refrigerator.

Here are a few links to mountaineering and 14er sites. I wrote the 14er checklist for myself to make sure I have all the items I want on a hike, it is not all-inclusive and may include more or less than you want to bring, but it should give people a general idea of what to bring on a hike. Also a guide book and topo map helps, I use "Colorado Fourteeners" by Gerry Roach, along with his map companion book and a Colorado topo atlas. In addition if you search in google for colorado 14ers you will find many personal sites dedicated to this sport and challenge; many have detailed journals and pictures of individual hikes.


14er Links
My 14ers checklist
www.14ers.org
www.14ers.com
www.cmc.org
www.fourteenerworld.com
Check multiple weather sources before you go, here are a few links for that.
Intellicast
Government weather
Link on the Government web site more specifically for 14ers weather
My favorite and least accurate with mountain weather, The Weather channel


Here is a list of the Colorado 14ers in order of highest to lowest Elevation, and which mountain range they are in. The ones I have hiked are hyper linked to a page with pictures and journals.
1 Mt. Elbert 14,433' Sawatch - 10/17/2003
2 Mt. Massive 14,421' Sawatch - 07/17/2004
3 Mt. Harvard 14,420' Sawatch - 09/05/2004
4 Blanca Peak 14,345' Sangre de Cristo - 10/08/2004
5 La Plata Peak 14,336' Sawatch
6 Uncompahgre Peak 14,309' San Juan
7 Crestone Peak 14,294' Sangre de Cristo
8 Mt. Lincoln 14,286' Tenmile-Mosquito - 07/10/2004
9 Grays Peak 14,270' Front Range 06/11/2004
10 Mt. Antero 14,269' Sawatch - 07/05/2004
11 Torreys Peak 14,267' Front Range 08/07/2003
12 Castle Peak 14,265' Elk 09/24/2004
13 Quandary Peak 14,265' Tenmile-Mosquito 06/06/2003
14 Mt. Evans 14,264' Front Range 07/26/2003
15 Longs Peak 14,255' Front Range - 09/10/2004 *only to the Keyhole
16 Mt. Wilson 14,246' San Juan
17 Mt. Shavano 14,229' Sawatch
18 Mt. Belford 14,197' Sawatch 06/30/2005
19 Crestone Needle 14,197' Sangre de Cristo
20 Mt. Princeton 14,197' Sawatch 08/06/2004
21 Mt. Yale 14,196' Sawatch- 05/27/2005
22 Mt. Bross 14,172' Tenmile-Mosquito 06/13/2003
23 Kit Carson Peak 14,165' Sangre de Cristo
24 Maroon Peak 14,156' Elk
25 Tabeguache Peak 14,155' Sawatch
26 Mt. Oxford 14,153' Sawatch 06/30/2005
27 Mt. Sneffels 14,150' San Juan
28 Mt. Democrat 14,148' Tenmile-Mosquito 10/02/2004
29 Capitol Peak 14,130' Elk
30 Pikes Peak 14,110' Front Range 09/2003
31 Snowmass Mtn. 14,092' Elk
32 Mt. Eolus 14,083' San Juan
33 Windom Peak 14,082' San Juan
34 Challenger Point 14,081' Sangre de Cristo
35 Mt. Columbia 14,073' Sawatch- 06/26/2005
36 Missouri Mountain 14,067' Sawatch
37 Humboldt Peak 14,064' Sangre de Cristo
38 Mt. Bierstadt 14,060' Front Range 08/31/2002
39 Sunlight Peak 14,059' San Juan
40 Handies Peak 14,048' San Juan
41 Culebra Peak 14,047' Sangre de Cristo
42 Ellingwood Point 14,042' Sangre de Cristo
43 Mt. Lindsey 14,042' Sangre de Cristo
44 Little Bear Peak 14,037' Sangre de Cristo
45 Mt. Sherman 14,036' Tenmile-Mosquito 07/12/2003
46 Redcloud Peak 14,034' San Juan
47 Pyramid Peak 14,018' Elk
48 Wilson Peak 14,017' San Juan
49 Wetterhorn Peak 14,015' San Juan
50 North Maroon Peak 14,014' Elk
51 San Luis Peak 14,014' San Juan
52 Mt. of the Holy Cross 14,005' Sawatch 09/17/2004
53 Huron Peak 14,003' Sawatch 07/30/2004
54 Sunshine Peak 14,001' San Juan


If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this site just email me at the current address listed here. I can be slow to respond but I'll eventually get back to you. If you are interested in buying any the pictures listed on this site in full resolution and quality please email me or see our JavaFoto business site.