Ok, so don’t kill the messenger. This long-debated question of “How many 14ers are there in Colorado?” can get heated, but let’s go by the ones that exceed 14,000 feet in elevation and have at least 300 ft. of topographic prominence. Putting aside the debates on the final count, our research shows 53 of these mountains that can crush the average hiker. Only the brave will take on the toughest, but luckily most people can find one that will be on their level. Starting with Bierstadt, this can be hiked in as little as 4 hours or up to 2 days depending on your route.
According to many hikers, they say the hardest 14er is one of the following.
- Capitol Peak
- Little Bear Peak
- Longs Peak
- Mount Wilson
- Pyramid Peak
Now, these hardest 14ers take a serious climber to reach the peak. Don’t try these mountains unless you have the experience to take them on. The 53 can be found all over Colorado and give hikers and climbers the difficulty level you need. This is the list, according to wonderful Wikipedia.
You will find upwards of 140 routes on these mountains, so customizing the ultimate hike or climb is up to you! Choosing a leisurely hike or a couple days’ worth of climbing while making memories is your choice. Just be prepared and bring the gear you need to complete your expedition.
When you’re taking on any of these 14ers, pack at least these essentials.
- Hat and sunscreen
- Pocket Knife
- Cell Phone
- Maps and Compass
- First Aid
While hiking, wear layers of clothing, so you can take off or put on layers to keep from sweating. Hiking shoes or proper footwear is paramount to keep your feet from blistering, your ankles from twisting, and help to relieve fatigue. Another consideration is AMS- Acute Mountain Sickness. You will be in a low-oxygen situation that can make you really sick. AMS can be as minimal as fatigue or as bad as Cerebral Edema. Training slowly in these high elevations is key to be able to take on higher climbs. If you don’t have experience in dealing with these elevations, bring an experienced hiker/climber with you until you build up your conditioning.
Most importantly, when you go out hiking or climbing, you should have a plan and share it with someone trustworthy. Make 2 sets of plans documenting when you plan to start to climb and when you plan to be back. Map out the route and go over it with someone back home (parent, friend, wife or husband).