Top 10 Colorado 14ers (peaks/routes)


Original Post
Emilio Rivera · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Wish I had the opportunity to tag all 53, but I'll settle with a Top 10 for now!
From experience, what would you consider your favorite or a noteworthy Colorado 14er peak/route. I've heard good things about Mt. Elbert, Mt. Sneffles, Mt. Wilson, Longs Peak, North Maroon Peak. Not looking for anything too technically demanding (nothing harder than 5.9 or WI4.)

RangerJ · · Denver, CO · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 0

Aside from a very few of the 14ers you should look elsewhere for technical climbing.

John Peterson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2002 · Points: 4,603

Not much good technical on 14ers but some really nice routes on a few. Check out Capitol - you can do the NW face at about 5.7 if you stay to the left (?) of the smooth slab at the start of the route:

A rough topo of the route. Dawson's 14er guide has a better detailed one. . Been 40 years since I've been there so I can't remember for sure.

Crestone Needle is the other one that will get mentioned.

Jeff G. · · Fort Collins · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 820

1)Longs peak - diamond (of course)
2 & 3) Little Bear to Blanca Traverse
4 & 5) N. Maroon to S. Maroon traverse
6 & 7) Elingwood ledges on Crestone Needle then traverse to Crestone Peak
8) The Prow on Kit Carson
9) Sunlight
10) Capitol

Josh Janes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2001 · Points: 7,953

I basically agree with Jeff G but would substitute Pyramid for Sunlight.

Maroon Bells (via the traverse)
Pyramid (up one ridge, down the other)
Longs (any route)
Capitol (via the Knife Edge Ridge)
Little Bear and Blanca (via the traverse)
Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, and Kit Carson (Ellingwood Ledges & the Prow)

That's ten.

Close behind would be:

Torrey's and Grey's (via the Kelso Ridge)
Bierstadt and Evans (via the Sawtooth Ridge)
Wilson and El Diente (via the ridge)
Sneffles
Quandary (via the Inwood Arete)
Eolus, Windom, and Sunlight

Buff Johnson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 545

You could wander a little bit on Evans and make it technical

A pretty good scramble is kelso on Torreys. You can even write a book and overly-describe your self-indulged epic dipshittery.

Seriously, you've heard good things about Elbert... I guess for those that use a walker

Emilio Rivera · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

There must be some fun ways to the top RangerJ!

Emilio Rivera · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Thanks John, I have Dawson's guide I'll be sure to check out Capitol topo. Creston seems to a theme I'm seeing here. Will definitely check it out.

Emilio Rivera · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Jeff and Josh thanks for the solid list guys. Route research begins now. Think I'll start with Longs.

goingUp · · over here · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 25

Capital peak
Little bear - Blanca (the traverse is amazing, climb the hourglass on LB, traverse to Blanca, tag captain bivwacko tower for the bonus points - and if you have the energy continue to ellingwood point then descend the west ridge back to the lake) )
If your climbing Wilson, you should traverse to El Diente (you can climb el Diente's north buttress then traverse with about 50 ft of 5.easy climbing, or climb Wilson and rap 50 ft. on your traverse back to el Diente).

Pyramid- with thunder pyramid

Ski the east coulie on Eolus.

climb the sunlight spire (climb the third class east ridge stay the ridge true to Sunlights summit, then decent the gulley and scramble to the spire. climb the spire, then climb the broken north northwest face of Windom, if theres time tag Jupiter.

Then go climb the stuff in the grenadiers. Jagged, Pidgeon, Turret peaks. The Trinities, wham ridge on Vestal peak and Arrow peak.

Emilio Rivera · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Casual Route looks amazing.

Eric Klammer · · Boulder, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 1,430

I tend to go for longer scrambling routes that you don't need to carry a rope on so here's some of my favorites.

-Longs: Keiners up, Keyhole Ridge down OR Crescent ridge up Pagoda, traverse to Longs, descend Keiners or Keyhole Ridge.

-Maroon Bells: Bell Chord up, do the Bells traverse finishing on N Maroon, continue north and descend the N Couloir. (Spring/early summer only obviously)

-Capitol: Knife edge ridge is a good time. Feeling particularly lucky? Traverse Satan's ridge to Snowmass.

-Pyramid: Megamidal traverse is super fun. Lots of good scrambling, nothing too crazy.

-Little Bear/Blanca/Ellingwood is a fun day that has a lot of good scrambling over a relatively short distance. (Bring a 4x4!)

I've also heard good things about the Crestones but haven't made it down there yet!

Ryan Marsters · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 798

Season is a big component. Assuming summer, dry, and <5.9 I'd go with:

1. Kieners (ok, this might have a bit of easy snow). It's so damn classic. Edit - descending Keyhole Ridge per above is a good idea.
2. Pyramidal Traverse. Thunder to Pyramid. A bit of snow eases the way up Thunder, or start with Megamidal.
3. Bells Traverse. Best to start with the Cord in spring snow. Traversing on to Sexton makes it a bit more adventurous as the standard traverse is short and quick.
4. LB NW Face to Blanca to Ellingwood SW Ridge descent. Hourglass is nice if there's snow.
5. Capitol via ridge direct. Locals say the S Ridge is better.
6. El Diente N Buttress to Mt Wilson. Best in early summer and descend snow
7. Sneffles N Buttress. The climbing isn't that great but the line is cool and views are high quality. The Snake is a similar snow alternative.
8. Ellingwood Arete to Crestones Traverse. While I think Ellingwood is overrated in the context of 50 classics, it is still a cool 14er line.
9. Snowmass S Ridge
10. Chi Basin, all around a pretty cool area and trip.

(eh I could flip flop on order)

Austin Baird · · SLC, Utah · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 20
Eric Klammer wrote: -Longs: Keiners up, Keyhole Ridge down
I'm running a hundred miler in Colorado in July and I'm heading out there in June to get some altitude in. What's the earliest I could think about doing this route? (Assuming a standard snow year)
Ryan Marsters · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 798
Austin Baird wrote: What's the earliest I could think about doing this route? (Assuming a standard snow year)
Year round, but late June is primo in my opinion with just trail runners and aluminum crampons/ax. Slabby parts of Kieners just above the crux can be a bit sketchy when wet. Some use tent stakes instead of an ax and run up Glacier Rib , but I think it detracts from the quality.

Another fun descent for Kieners is Gorrell's traverse and down the Loft.
Emilio Rivera · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks guys for all the detailed descriptions, enough to keep me busy for the next couple of years.

s.price · · PS,CO · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 1,038

In no particular order other than the first one. Great route.

1. North Pillar Crestone Peak. This route is frequently passed on by people wanting to bag the classics of the Sangre De Cristo range. 5.8 of bliss.

2. The Prow on Kit Carson.

3. North Buttress of Sneffels. This one is a fairly easy Car to Car day if you choose to do so. Camping in Blaine Basin is spectacular though.

4. Wilson to El Diente includes Mt. Wilson. Bivy on the traverse and turn it into a really cool over night in the alpine.

5. Ormes Buttress on Blanca. The plumb line of the peak.

6. Northwest Face of Little Bear over to Ellingwood Point.

7. Ellingwood Arete on Crestone Needle. This was my first solo of a technical route on a 14er. I have been back 8 times. Damn fun climb.

8. Southeast Ridge of Wetterhorn. Cool peak.

9. Crestone traverse. Classic.

10. The Lincoln group including Lincoln, Cameron, Bross and Democrat.
Those are my last 4. Gonna knock them out this summer.

Pretty heavy on the Sangres I know. I just did not want to add to the "Do Kieners" thing. Although it is a great route.

Rob Dillon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 655

This thread is quite inspiring!

Klammer where would you put the Ellingwood Ridge on your sampler's list? I think we like the same things and that list is pretty tasty.

Long Ranger · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 20
Buff Johnson wrote:Seriously, you've heard good things about Elbert... I guess for those that use a walker
The west ridge is pretty fun. Descend the standard route and it makes for a pretty nice outing.

It's also the state's highpoint, so that's nice.
Ryan Marsters · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 798
Eric Klammer wrote:I tend to go for longer scrambling routes that you don't need to carry a rope
Seeing as you don't think Megamidal is just plain stupid, I posted an obscurity you might like:

Finnegan Gold Dust
Long Ranger · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 20

Pretty cool stuff, Ryan!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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