Climb a Fourteener

There’s nothing quite like standing at the summit of a Colorado fourteener literally above it all. Many are accessible by hiking trails with no special climbing skills or gear required which means business and leisure groups that are in good health can tackle one while visiting Colorado for the thrill of a lifetime.    The term ‘fourteener’ refers to mountain peaks over 14,000 feet in elevation, and Colorado boasts 58 of them, more than any other state. This could be a unique activity for meeting participants or as a spouse program and is also well suited as a strenuous leisure group activity.

A large concentration of fourteeners can be found in the central Rockies region of the state near many of the larger ski resort towns such as Breckenridge, Vail, and Beaver Creek, however many are also in the south western portion of the state, near Telluride, as well as south central, west of Colorado Springs.  Fourteeners offer rock, ice, and mountaineering – rock usually done roped with a partner, ice as well along frozen waterfalls and steep mountain sides, and mountaineering can include winter snow climbs – all of these techniques can be attempted with the proper guidance, gear, and preparation.  Many climbing enthusiasts begin with what are known as Class I routes: Bierstadt, Quandary, Grays, and Torreys, none of which require special gear but note weather conditions can be ever changing.  Mount Evans is also a popular choice, and if you would prefer you can even drive to its peak.  These Class I routes are close to Denver and the Front Range.  From the Colorado Springs area Pikes Peak is accessible, a recommended route is from the east side via Barr Trail with overnight accommodations available at Barr Camp.  And in the central Rockies, several resorts offer guided hikes to some of the more challenging peaks.

It is recommended to acclimatize oneself to the higher altitudes before attempting a climb.  If coming from less than 1,000 feet elevation, spend a few days in the Colorado high country to adjust.  The costs for most climbs are minimal – basic gear, gas, and time.  For more advanced climbs one may incur more costs due to the need for more gear and guidance. Depending on the mountain, a climb can take as little as four hours or as much as two to three days for the more technical hikes.