14ers of Colorado
By Michelle Post; photo courtesy of Larry Post
Colorado Mountain Club climbers enjoying their first 14er, Crestone Needle.
Colorado’s beautiful Rocky Mountains boast 53 peaks that reach an elevation of 14,000 feet or higher, the most of any state in the U.S. These are known as “fourteeners” or “14ers” to locals. Although the Colorado Geological Survey lists 58 peaks above 14,000 feet, not all summits over 14,000 feet qualify as 14ers. The generally-accepted standard to qualify is that a peak must be independent or rise at least 300 feet above the saddle that connects it to the nearest 14er peak.
Colorado’s tallest 14er is Mt. Elbert at 14,440 feet and the shortest is Sunshine Peak at 14,001 feet, barely making the cut for a 14er. Two peaks you can drive all the way to the top on paved roads are Pikes Peak (14,110 feet) and Mt. Evans (14,265 feet). I have yet to summit my first 14er (unless you count Pikes Peak and Mt. Evans), but I have come close a few times. My husband, Larry, however is on a quest to complete all 53 of the 14ers, and he has done more than half and some multiple times.
If you are looking for beautiful hikes and breathtaking views, it’s time to add a 14er to your bucket list. The 14ers range from easy to very technical. To learn more about Colorado 14ers, visit 14ers.com. There are several 14er clubs you can join, too. You can find these clubs by Googling “14er clubs in Colorado.” Additionally, there is a great infographic about the 14ers at www.colorado.com/sites/default/master/files/14ersinfographic.pdf.
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