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Colorado 14,000-foot Peaks

Ranked Peaks have 280 feet of Clean Prominence

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List Description

The Colorado Fourteeners are one of the best-known peakbagging lists in the world. Every single Rocky Mountain summit rising to over 14,000 feet lies in the arbitrary rectangle of Colorado, and these summits that cross the magic threshold have become iconic landmarks of the state. Maps and atlases try to show as many of these peaks as possible, road signs point them out to car travellers, and the hikes to summits of fourteeners are thronged on summer weekends.

The popularity of this peakbagging pursuit is easy to understand. 53 or 54 peaks is not too many, but enough to make it a real project. All but about eight or so of the peaks are just walk-up hikes, and the difficult ones are not a problem for experienced scramblers. In summer there are few, if any, snowfields to contend with, and afternoon thunderstorms are the major weather hazard. These summits are all among the highest in the United States, too, giving this list high appeal to those who like simply to be above it all.

Carl Blaurock and Bill Ervin were the first to climb all the fourteeners in the 1920s, based on the surveys at that time. Recently, climber number 1000 completed the entire list, based on the records of the Colorado Mountain Club.

As with many famous threshold-based peak lists, there is ongoing debate over which summits belong on the list. Above, summits are ranked if they have 280 feet or more of clean prominence (300 feet of interpolated prominence), giving us a consistent list with 53 summits. Traditionally, El Diente and North Maroon Peak are included on most versions of Colorado Fourteener lists, mainly because of the difficulty of traversing the ridge to these peaks despite a low saddle rise from their nearest higher neighbors. Also, Challenger Point has long been left off traditional lists, and Ellingwood Peak was in a similar situation not too recently.

If you include El Diente and North Maroon, and you want a strict prominence cutoff, then Northwest Massive (and perhaps South Elbert) must also be included on your list.

Of course, it is up to the climber to decide which peaks to climb. You can pick a rigid prominence cutoff that fancies you, use an official club list, use an isolation cutoff, or just climb the peaks that inspire you the most.

Selected Guidebook(s) for this List

       Colorado's Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs (Roach)
       Dawson's Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners, Vol. 1: The Northern Peaks (Dawson)
       Dawson's Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners, Vol. 2: The Southern Peaks (Dawson)
       A Climbing Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners (Borneman, Lampert)

Caution: These books feature many of the peaks on this list, but may not have information on all of them.

 


Map Showing Location of Peaks

 = Peaks climbed by Bob Schwab   = Unclimbed peaks

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