The Best of the Best Colorado Peaks to Summit
The Colorado Rocky Mountains are home to 54 peaks that are taller than 14,000 feet. That’s a lot for such a small state. In fact, about 1 percent of the entire United States is covered by the Rocky Mountains. The great thing about the high peaks in this part of the world is that there’s so many to choose from! Most people only have time to climb a handful of them, but it’s not a bad idea to hone your skills on as many peaks as possible before moving on to other places. After all, if you don’t practice what you preach then who will? That being said, there are much better options than trying to summit every 14er in the state. Instead, focus on climbing peaks with moderate difficulty and a good chance of success. Some people will disagree with us and feel differently about this list because they know that there are much better peaks out there that deserve more attention. However, we believe these picks offer excellent value for money and should be sufficient challenge for most aspiring mountaineers or hiking enthusiasts looking to get into peak bagging or first ascent attempts without spending months training at a camp or hut first.
What is a Colorado 14er?
A Colorado 14er is a peak in the state that is over 14,000 feet in elevation. As you can see there’s a wide range of options here, with peaks in the 14,000 foot range scattered throughout the state. There are currently 54 peaks in Colorado that are more than 14,000 feet high, with a few minor summits not making it into the list but still reaching above 14k.
The Best Colorado Peaks to Summit List
The list of Colorado peaks that we’ve put together is by no means definitive. We’ve based this list on our own experiences as well as the experiences of others. The best way to climb a Colorado 14er is to get out and climb! Make the effort to get on a few of these peaks and you’ll soon see what we mean. You don’t need to be a seasoned mountaineer or have any climbing experience to get up the mountains in Colorado. If you’re willing to put in a little bit of effort and follow a few basic guidelines then you’ll be well on your way to climbing a few of these peaks in no time. For now, here is our list of best Colorado peaks to summit.
Difficulty of Colorado 14ers
As we mentioned above, the majority of the peaks on this list won’t be too difficult to climb. The difficulty of the peaks is largely dependent on two factors: how fit you are and how experienced you are. Having said this, some of the more technically challenging peaks may take longer to climb as a result of the difficulty of the trail. As a general rule, the higher up the mountain you go, the more difficult the climb will be. This is due to the height, the temperature, and the variety of other factors.
What do you need to climb a Colorado 14er?
Luckily, many of the Colorado 14ers are within driving distance of major cities and are thus easier to access. Unfortunately, when it comes to climbing these peaks, you’ll need to prepare for the most extreme conditions. You’re going to be hiking in all conditions and on some of the most technical looking trails you could possibly imagine. This means you’ll want to bring a lot of technical gear and clothing along with you.
How many peaks can you summit from each base?
This will vary from peak to peak, but generally speaking you can summit from one base and make one attempt on each of the 14ers in your list. If you feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, don’t worry. Sometimes you just need to back down a few peaks and try again later. There’s no shame in that.
When is the best time to climb a Colorado 14er?
This again will vary from peak to peak and we can’t give you a universal answer for this. Most will say that you should climb peaks in the winter, but that doesn’t necessarily make sense either. Most of the 14ers in Colorado are in the southern part of the state so you’ll have to travel a bit to get to these mountains in the winter. Unless you’re in the area, then you should climb them whenever you can. In fact, summer is our favorite time of the year to climb Colorado peaks due to the beautiful weather.
The Absolute Best Peaks to Summit in Colorado
The following peaks are our top picks for the best Colorado 14ers. The decision for this list was based on many factors, including the difficulty of the climb, the time of year to climb it, and the likelihood of success. These are in no particular order.
More Great Picks for Summiting in Colorado
The following list of Colorado peaks is by no means definitive or the only list available. We’ve put together a list of other great peaks to summit in the state that you might want to consider as well. These additional peaks should help round out your list of best Colorado peaks to climb. Again, our list is by no means definitive, so feel free to try others out.
The Runner-Up Peaks
Below is a list of some other great peaks to climb in the state that didn’t quite make the cut for our top picks list above. Again, these are by no means definitive and we encourage you to try out others as well.
Checklist of Colorado 14er Summits
Here is a checklist you should follow when trying to climb any Colorado 14er. – Research the peak you want to climb. You’ll want to find out the difficulty of the climb, where it is located, when the best time of year to climb it is, what gear you’ll need, and what your chances of success are. – Have a plan for how you’re going to get to the base of the peak and what you’re going to do once you get there. This could include finding a place to stay for the night or meeting up with other people who are climbing the same peak. – Bring the correct gear and clothing for the conditions you’ll be facing. You’ll want to make sure you have your mountaineering gear, appropriate footwear, food (for sustenance), water, and a first aid kit with you. – Have a plan of action in the event of an emergency. This could include trying to get help if you get stuck on the mountain or injured, trying to find your way back to your car or rendezvous point, or trying to get down from the mountain as quickly as possible. – Make sure you’re up for the challenge. It’s not worth it to climb a Colorado 14er if you don’t feel like you’re capable of doing it.
Don’t forget your rain gear and emergency supplies!
These are things you may not think of at first, but are essential to have with you if you get stuck on a Colorado 14er. You’ll want to make sure you have the following items on hand if you ever find yourself in a situation like this. – Flashlight (or headlamp) – These are essential for when you get off the trail and need to find your way back to your car or a place of shelter. – Maps – You’ll want to have a map of your position for when you get off the trail or are trying to find your way back to your car. – Whistle – This will help you alert rescuers to your location or help you find your way back to your car if need be. – Sea-to-Summit Emergency Rope – This is a very strong rope that you can use to rappel back to your car if you ever get off the trail.