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.
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13. Sunshine Peak | 14,001 feet – San Juan Range
Barely squeaking over the magic 14er altitude near Lake City, Sunshine Peak is often mentioned in the same breath as Redcloud Peak (14,037 feet) – they’re connected by a long ridgeline that drops little in altitude.
Climbers summited both in 1874, and both underwent the typical naming and renaming process of Colorado 14ers. Sunshine Peak has been known as Station 12, Niagara Peak and Sherman Peak. Finally, in 1904 the U.S. Geological Survey officially named it Sunshine Peak.
14. Conundrum Peak | 14,060 feet – Elk Range
Is it a 14er or not? The debate rages about whether Conundrum Peak is just a subpeak of Castle Peak (14,265 feet). Apparently, to be an official mountain, a summit must rise at least 300 vertical feet higher than the saddle connecting the neighboring peak. By this reckoning, there are several more 14,000-foot summits in Colorado that are not considered official 14ers. So Conundrum Peak is not an official 14er, but the good news is that you can summit both these peaks from Aspen in a day.
But this conundrum wasn’t the original conundrum. Miners found traces of gold in the creek coming down the mountain, but could never find the source. They did, however, find some of Colorado’s only remaining wilderness hot springs. Soak, look up and go hunt for gold.
(This story originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Colorado Life Magazine)