14ers the Hard Way

Colorado, United States, North America
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Colorado's Fourteeners the Hard Way (Introduction)

Here was an interesting idea that I daydreamed about one day in class, what about trying to do all of Colorado's fourteeners by a route that is more difficult than the standard route? The idea intrigued me and got me to doing some research.

Now there are a couple of problems with trying to create a list like this. One is if there are multiple routes that are more difficult than the standard route, which one do you choose? The hardest route? What about when the standard route is pretty damn hard? What about the few cases when there are other routes than the standard but none that really harder like on Mt. Yale? What about Culebra that has only one route? I had to generate a criteria, and this is, in general, what I tried to do:

1. If there are multiple routes more difficult than the "standard", I picked ones that were of particular notoriety, such as Kieners Route on Longs.

2. If other routes existed but none were particularly more difficult than the standard (which seems to happen in the Sawatch especially), I would simply choose the most intriguing, or the most adventurous, non-standard route. Occasionally the standard route is the most difficult. In those cases I went with that.

3. If the standard route is at least class 3 than it might suffice if the alternatives seem too difficult or dangerous (such as Capitol Peak).

4. If there is only one reasonable route, then there is only one reasonable route

That being said, there was also the usual considerations for a Colorado 14er list, like which mountains you are going to include. I like the 59 list. It incorporates all 53 that have the 300 feet of prominence plus a few of the sentimental "unofficial" favorites.

***NOTE*** I should also acknowledge my deep debt to Gerry Roach and his guidebook Colorado's Fouteeners: From Hikes to Climbs for much of the information and the difficulty ratings. If you don't have this guidebook, you should.

Colorado's Fourteeners the Hard Way

The list at last:


Longs Peak- Kieners Route (or North Face Route) (class 5.4)
Pikes Peak- Y Couloir (class 3)
Torreys Peak- Kelso Ridge (class 3)
Grays Peak- Lost Rat Couloir (class 2)
Evans Peak- The Snave (or via the Sawtooth) (class 4)
Mt. Bierstadt- East Ridge (class 3)


Quandary- Inwood Arete (class 5.4) or West Ridge (class 3)
Mt. Lincoln- Lincoln Ampitheatre (class 2+)
Mt. Democrat- North Ridge (class 3)
Mt. Bross- West Slopes (standard route is most difficult route) (class 2)
*Mt. Cameron- (Standard Route is only route)
Mt. Sherman- East Ridge (class 2)


Mount of the Holy Cross- Cross Couloir (or Angelica) (class 3)
Mt. Massive- "Massive Mania" (class 2+)
*North Massive- "Massive Mania" (class 2+)
Mt. Elbert- Box Creek Couloir (snow climb) (class 3?)
La Plata- Ellingwood Ridge (class 3)
Huron Peak- North Ridge or East Slopes Route (class 2)
Missouri- one of North Face couloirs (class 3)
Mt. Belford- standard route (preferably with Oxford traverse) (class 2)
Mt. Oxford- South Slopes (class 2)
Mt. Harvard- Harvard and Columbia ridge direct combination (class 5.7)
Mt. Columbia- Harvard and Columbia ridge direct combination (class 5.7)
Mt. Yale- East Ridge or Northwest Ridge (class 2)
Mt. Princeton- Standard Route (only reasonable route) (class 2)
Mt. Antero- North Ridge or Little Brown's (class 2)
Tabeguache Peak- with Mt. Shavano & Jones Peak descent (class 3)
Mt. Shavano- Angel of Shavano (class 2)


Capitol Peak- Northwest Ridge (class 5.7) or standard route (class 4)
Snowmass Mountain- West Slopes (class 3)
Maroon Peak- North Maroon/ Maroon traverse (class 4)
*North Maroon- North Maroon/ Maroon traverse (class 4)
Pyramid Peak- Northwest Ridge (class 4)
Castle Peak- West Face or West Ridge (class 3)
*Conundrum Peak- Conundrum Couloir (class 3


Mt. Sneffels- North Buttress (class 5.4)or Southwest Ridge (class 3)
Mt. Wilson- East Face (class 4)
Wilson Peak- Standard route (class 3)
*El Diente- West Ridge (class 4)
Uncompahgre- West Face (class 2)
Wetterhorn- East Ridge (class 4)
San Luis- standard route (class 1)
Sunshine Peak- Northwest Ridge (class 2+)
Redcloud- West Gullies (class 2)
Handies- East Slopes (class 2)
Sunlight- West Ridge (class 4)
Eolus- South Ridge (class 4)
*North Eolus- standard (class 3)
Windom Peak- Northwest Face (class 3)


Crestone Peak- South Face (class 3)
Crestone Needle- Peak to Needle Traverse (class 4)
Kit Carson- North Ridge (class 4)
Challenger Point- standard North Slopes Route (hardest way) (class 2+)
Mt. Lindsey- North Face (only route available) (class 2+)
Ellingwood Point- Southwest Ridge (class 3)
Humboldt Peak- West Ridge (only reasonable route) (class 2)
Little Bear- Northwest face (class 4)
Blanca- Gash Ridge (class 5.2)
Culebra- only one route available (class 2)

External Links

14ers.com- good, detailed descriptions and pictures. Get your research from as many sources as you can!