Thursday, April 10, 2014

Colorado 14er Finisher Summary Stats (2 of 5)

This is a compilation of various statistics and opinions on the whole experience of climbing all of Colorado's 14ers, for those who may be interested.

Total Distance hiked:
430.5 miles
Total Elevation Gained (and lost):
180,120' (6 times the height of Mt. Everest)
Average hiking elevation:
~12,000'

Number of "two in one day" summits:
16 (and one day was 4)

Overnight backcountry camps (different):
9

Miles Driven:
~15,000 (too lazy to calculate an exact figure!)

Times aborted summit attempt due to weather:
0

Times summitted in low visibility:
3 (Challenger, Kit Carson, Little Bear)

Beers on Summits:
? Probably about 12

Most difficult CO 14ers/Routes:

1) El Diente to Mt. Wilson Traverse:
A difficult class 4 upclimb, a crazy exposed narrow fin, loose rock, and an airy class 4 summit pitch make this one the worst.



2) Maroon Peak to N. Maroon Traverse:
If the 2nd crux's crazy exposure and difficult move 50' off the deck don't concern you, the difficult vertical chimney and tremendous exposure of the 3rd crux might.


3) Crestone Peak to Crestone Needle Traverse:
Some very airy moves and a stunningly committing final summit pitch put this route high up on the list. The downclimb from Crestone Needle is no cakewalk.


4) Little Bear Peak:
Not only is the hourglass a dangerous and difficult obstacle to negotiate, but the terrain above the hourglass is steep, loose, unmarked, and misleading. It's also often wet or icy.


5) Capitol Peak:
The knife edge is a real physical and mental difficulty, and there is plenty of additional class 3 climbing (and exposure), to get your blood pumping.


Honorable Mentions:
N Maroon: Steep, loose, and exposed. Route can be difficult to ascertain.

Sunlight Peak: Fairly easy until you summit the terrifying summit block

Snowmass Mountain: The rock near the summit is loose and deadly. The snow can provide a challenge.

Mt. Eolus: Extremely steep, confusing, and exposed climbing to the summit

El Diente: Very loose rock, steep near the top, and a tiny exposed summit.

This pic is not exaggerated

Overrated:
South Maroon Peak: Not very steep or very loose, no real crux to speak of
Pyramid Peak: A few overrated obstacles, crux is more of a routefinding puzzle
Crestone Peak: Some easy class 3 climbing that lacks any exposure, plenty of rest stops and easy routefinding.

West Spanish Peak

13,626'

West Peak Trail from Cordova Pass

Climb date: October 5, 2013


Scott and I had seen this mountain so many times on our way across the state to hike 14ers. After finishing on Capitol the previous month, we decided to get one last high summit in before snow became a common sight. West Spanish Peak is the Easternmost 13er / 4,000m peak in the US and is the Las Animas County highpoint.

It's a long and interesting drive to the top of Cordova Pass, at 11,248'. There are restrooms, ample parking, and a picnic area. After a brief hike through some trees you come out to a big open meadow and the summit is visible right there in front of you.
West Spanish Peak from the trail

Very pretty and easy hiking at first

Further along

At treeline, looking ahead

It gets steep and just goes up
I should mention that once above treeline the trail isn't that great, and it's fairly slippery. Rockfall isn't a big concern though.

Nearing the top, but it seems like it never ends

The slope relents, and it's an easy walk to the summit
Once on the summit ridge the views are immense and the hiking is easy. From the point where it levels off, you are probably 5 minutes away from the true summit, maybe less. The views from this peak and pretty incredible in every direction.

East Spanish Peak from West Spanish Peak
Igneous dikes some 5,000 feet below us.
Scott, Kerry, and Dan on the summit

There is tremendous vertical relief from the summit
Every Sangre De Cristo 14er is in this picture!

Little Bear, Blanca, Ellingwood, and Mt. Lindsey (Blanca Group)
Crestone Peak, Needle, Humboldt (maybe more)
Culebra Peak (center)
Iced up waterfall

Conglomerate rock

Coming down the ridge, happy to find something resembling a trail
Beautiful Day, nice trail, great friends

Wish you could bottle up this feeling

All in a days work


If you haven't been to West Spanish, I highly recommend it. It's not difficult, although the trail above treeline is lacking. The experience is somewhat unique, the geology interesting, the views are tremendous, and it's a nice area of Colorado you probably haven't been to yet. This was our first 13er trip and we enjoyed it.