There are 54 ‘official’ Colorado 14ers mountains rising above 14,000 feet and at least 300′ from an adjacent saddle. An estimated 500,000 people climb on 53 of the 14ers each year without fees or permits, today. Now, the U.S. Forest Service (NFS) is investigating charging for other 14ers starting with four highly popular 14ers in Southern Colorado. The primary issue land managers are struggling with is that many of the 14ers are being climbed so much that the trails are getting overused, scattered with trash, toilet paper and poop and all the other problems that comes with a lot of use.
Little Bear is known throughout Colorado as one tough class 4 climb. In the summer, people have been injured and even killed from rock fall. In the winter it is a tough and steep snow climb. I know, I have done both but only succeeded once. This late May, I made it to the summit on a perfect day. The snow conditions were right between too much and too little. With mild temps, blue skies and perfect snow, I left my camp at 4:00Am and 3 hours later stood on top.
It is spring time in Colorado as evidence by deep snowfall that melts away the next day. So it is time to finalize my plans for summer climbs. My priority is to compete the Colorado 14ers. But also, I want to grab a few California 14ers and perhaps something big in the Fall. I have climbed 48 of the 54 Colorado 14ers. But of course the list is actually 58 so I need to climb 58! Confused? Well here is the explanation from my 14ers page
Climbing Colorado 14ers in the winter is always a crap shoot. If the winds don’t get you, then the deep snow will. Recently I met up with a group assembled from the web community 14ers.com to climb the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, Longs Peak at 14,256′. The plan was to meet up with another climber visiting from out of state. He was motivated to claim a winter summit of Longs. However, when we met up with him, he was suffering from mild AMS and smartly declined to go up. So our team of six made the climb continue reading
There are 58 Colorado peaks over 14,000′, so to pick one as your favorite is tough. I have climbed 51 of them so this may be a tad premature but here I go anyway. For years, I told anyone who asked that Longs Peak was my favorite. It had everything a mountain could offer: a variety of routes from easy to impossible, unpredictable weather, and amazing views. Longs will always be close to the top of my list. But in the late summer of 2009, another climb took the top spot – Capital Peak in the Elk Range of central continue reading
Over President’s day weekend in mid February 2010, I joined some friends for some ice climbing in world famous Ouray Ice Park. It was a great time with perfect weather and nice ice. Ouray is famous for man-made ice and the annual Ice Festival held every January. Ouray is a small mountain town in Southwest Colorado. A longtime favorite summer destination, it is nestled in the high Rocky Mountains. Ouray, once a mining town, might have disappeared or slowly dwindled away if an accident had not occurred. A leak in the fresh water pipe running along the top of a continue reading
If you have ever driven along Colorado’s Interstate 70 from Denver to Vail, you might have noticed all the dead pine trees along the highway. Some think it is due to pollution spewed by cars but is actually nature at work. Mountain pine beetles have killed an estimated 3.6 million acres of trees in Colorado alone. Their favorite food is the lodgepole pine tree but they also enjoy the ponderosa, Scotch and limber pine. The beetles kill the trees by creating fungus under the bark, which slows growth and eventually kills it. The root issue is that the beetles are continue reading
I love to climb or more specifically to be out in nature. This past week, I took a long climb to almost 13,000′ on Longs Peak in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a rare winter day with mild temps in the high teens and virtually no wind – unheard of for Longs in January. The scenery of the snow covered Continental Divide was stunning as was the lightly peppered Diamond on Longs’ East Face. I was completely alone for the majority of the day. I had started just before sunrise and enjoyed watching the sun light up the continue reading
I received an early present from my Christmas wish list; the latest GPS Personal locator beacon from SPOT otherwise known as the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger. I took it out for a test drive on an easy hike to Bison Peak in the Lost Creek Wilderness of central Colorado. The SPOT performed well. I wanted SPOT primarily to keep my wife informed of where I was when I was out of cell phone range, which happens often with my iPhone/ATT in the Colorado back country. Also, I thought it would be nice to see my tracks when I got back continue reading
If you have explored my site, you know that Longs Peak is one of my favorite climbs. In under two hours, I can be on the trail at 9400′ and reach the summit at 14,256′ in a few hours on a good day. It has all types of routes from simple walkups to world-class technical trad climbing. And it offers the best and worst in mountaineering weather all year-round thus making for excellent training for Denali, Aconcagua or serious Himalayan climbs. Of all my pages on 14ers, I have more about Longs than any other since have climbed on it continue reading