Fourteen 14ers Loved by Colorado
Colorado has more than 50 mountain peaks above 14,000 feet. These 14 are the most loved, appreciated, revered and feared.
(page 3 of 5)
5. Pikes Peak | 14,110 feet – Front Range
Pikes Peak and Colorado remain synonymous. The peak was named for Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike Jr. after he spotted and tried to climb the peak in 1806, while on an expedition to find the source of the Arkansas River. Turned back by snow, Pike deemed the mountain “unclimbable.” On July 14, 1820, Dr. Edwin James and two members of Major Stephen Long’s expedition reached the summit without incident. They’re known as the first white men to summit a 14er in Colorado.
Pikes Peak remains Colorado’s best-known peak. If you don’t want to hike up it, or drive up it on the road, ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Starting in Manitou Springs, the railway climbs 8.9 miles of track to the summit, where you can drink a cup of coffee in the cafe.
6. Mount Sneffels | 14,150 feet – San Juan Range
Located in the heart of the wilderness near Ouray, Mount Sneffels is the prominent peak in “America’s Switzerland.” Despite dangerous igneous rock, four climbers from the Hayden Survey summited Sept. 10, 1874.
It’s debated, but most believe the climbers named it after Snæfell, the peak rising above the great hole in the Earth in Jules Verne’s 1864 novel Journey to the Center of the Earth. Following generations mispronounced the name until it became its current version, Sneffels.
7. Quandary Peak | 14,265 feet – Tenmile Range
Can’t decide which 14er to climb first? Tackle the East Ridge of Quandary Peak close to Breckenridge for a ridgeline walk up. However, don’t underestimate the effort; this is the highest peak in the Tenmile Range. It’s also tied for 12th, 13th and 14th highest peak in Colorado with Castle Peak and Mount Evans, all 14,265 feet.
In winter, Quandary is popular with climbers and skiers who ski down Quandary’s broad snowfields and climb Quandary Couloir II, a Class IV mixed snow and ice route. Make it your “Mountain of Firsts” – first 14er in summer, first snow/ice 14er route in winter and first ski descent.
8. Mount Harvard | 14,420 feet – Sawatch Range
Just south of Elbert, Mount Harvard is one of the Collegiate Peaks, 14ers that include Columbia, Princeton, Yale and Oxford. In 1869, a surveying party led by Professor Josiah D. Whitney started naming the peaks after famous universities, beginning with Harvard for students in his survey group, and Yale, his alma mater. Other geographers followed suit. Mount Harvard’s summit is the third tallest point in Colorado. In the 1960s, a group of Harvard men sought to make it the tallest by erecting a 14-foot metal pole at the very top of Mount Harvard to eclipse Mount Elbert, which is 13 feet taller. But geographers never recognized the peak’s pole-adjusted height, and the pole disappeared in the 1980s.