Welcome to our "home page" for climbing the Colorado 13ers. The purpose of this site is to provide definitive route information on all of Colorado's thirteen thousand foot summits. By "definitive," we mean that each peak described herein, has been personally climbed by us. There is no "second" or "third" hand information or reports that read something like," it's been reported that the Northeast ridge of this peak will go." We will include some alternate route beta provided by highly trusted sources, but you can have the assurance that the primary route described has been successfully climbed by us. Our general assumption is that if you are interested in climbing Colorado 13ers, you are already a fairly experienced peakbagger/climber and hence, you are not looking for a detailed, step-by-step, let us hold your hand description of how to get to the summit. Our goal is to provide enough basic information to help you avoid any potential pitfalls or dead-end routes, and enough information on each route so you can anticipate what difficulties you'll encounter and how to best overcome them. You will not have to wade through countless "trip reports" where you consume a great deal of time in trying to ferret out actual route information from all the other extraneous beta that includes things like where Suzie left her water bottle or what restaurant somebody ate at. Be aware though that our trip reports date back as far as 1987. With each report, we provide the year we climbed that peak. The further back the year, the more you may want to add additional research to your trip plan in case some of our information has become outdated. And one more thing, there are obviously many ways to climb a peak. We're not suggesting you have to do it "our way" by providing these routes. Feel free to try other options. Report what you find to us. Use this beta to help plan your trip and anticipate possible difficulties. And so we hope you may have many successful climbs.
Something you should know about us that's intended to encourage those just starting out climbing Colorado summits. We are not and have never been Olympic caliber athletes, neither are we skilled, lead rock climbers. You do not have to be either to climb all these peaks. While we have always kept ourselves in decent physical shape, there are many climbers/peakbaggers far superior to us in physical capabilities and mountain climbing skills. In climbing all these mountains, we generally always took the easiest and simplest route we could find. We seldom took on difficult ridge traverses and most of our multi-summit days were kept within reason in regards to time. Sometimes, poor decisions or lack of better information placed us in more difficult situations. And there were some days where obtaining the goal of multiple peaks led to long hours or excessive elevation gain. But generally speaking, you should find on this site, the easiest, simplest and shortest routes available for these peaks.
The peaks listed on this site are primarily based on the 13er list used on ListsofJohn. ListsofJohn has become a popular site for recording peak ascents and contains a wealth of additional information regarding many summits in many states. Once you link on this site to a specific peak, there will be a link (LoJ) that will take you to the specific page for that peak on ListsofJohn. This is provided for your convenience, especially if you are recording your ascents on that site. In addition, we have attempted to provide a reconciled listing to the 13ers listed in "Colorado's High Thirteeners" by Mike Garratt and Bob Martin. (Now out of print.) This reconciliation is based on their third edition. So with each peak, you will see two rankings, one that follows ListsofJohn (LoJ) and another that follows Garratt and Martin (G&M).
It's difficult to be consistent here, so what we basically tried to do was to stick with USGS Map names for the primary name of a peak and then we added a "Nickname" area to help distinguish summits of identical height. G&M used letters (A,B,C,D,E,etc) to distinguish same elevation peaks. (So whenever you see a letter designation following a name, that is taken from G&M.) LoJ has used a basically "ungoverned" system of "nicknames" suggested by Gerry Roach and/or others to help resolve this issue. It's also much easier to remember a peak by name than by UNxx,xxx. In addition, peak names such as the S.x series, T.x, U.x, or V.x, will not be found on USGS quads but we went ahead and used those designations because of their long time acceptance among the mountaineering community and use by G&M as well as LoJ.
We climbed all 637 summits without ever using a GPS for navigation of any kind. I know - we're so retro! But the point here is that good map reading and compass skills can get you there and having & knowing how to use GPS without good map reading skills can still result in disaster. The GPS coordinates you'll find on this site have NOT BEEN FIELD TESTED." They are obtained from Google Earth using their coordinate system and are approximate, at best. Use these coordinates at your own risk. In regards to mileage estimates, these are all based on horizontal USGS map estimates, usually using the distance measuring function on CalTopo maps. In most cases, our mileage estimates will be less than what you will actually walk. We have typically "rounded" off to quarter or half miles. Use these estimates to help you determine the length hike you want to do and for planning purposes, but remember that we make no guarantees regarding their accuracy. The same may be said for elevation gain estimates. We have typically rounded off to the nearest fifty or hundred. There's little sense in most cases of providing a precise number like 2,143 ft. The estimates are based on the difference between trailhead and summit elevations with some effort to calculate drops and gains on connecting ridges. We did not use cumulative elevation profiles that can be obtained from GPS and similar units. So our estimates will typically be less than what you will actually do.
Map Routes & Google Earth Images: The routes we have drawn onto the CalTopo USGS maps and the Google Earth images are approximations only and should only be used to determine general direction. We do not guarantee their accuracy. Do not take too literally. They are not "field tested."
With 584 summits to post beta on, this is a multi-year process. By summer of 2015, we planned to have summits ranked from 201 - 300 completed. Each year thereafter, we plan on posting the next 100, ranked from 301 to 400, etc. In the process of doing this project, we have found it easier and a more efficient use of our time to go ahead and create reports for all peaks associated with a given trailhead or locale. Hence, our focus now is less on completing a certain range of peaks (like 300 -400 ranked) and more "cleaning out" a particular area by creating reports for all the 13ers there. So our goal now is to add a minimum of 100 peak reports annually. By the end of May 2016, we should have 200 peaks finished. Why are we starting with #201? Because there has been and continues to be resources available for the 100 and 200 highest summits such as Gerry Roach's book and Garratt & Martins classic on the 200 highest. (Even though out of print, there are still many copies floating around and being used.) Once we have posted all peaks down to #637, we'll go back and fill in beta for those ranked from #54 - #200.
The "Climbing Cooneys" (Tim & Carrie) have been visiting Colorado summits for all 36 years of their married life. Married in 1978, in 1983, Tim finished all the 14ers and Carrie finished in 1987, after having given birth to our two children, Shaun and Sharon. In 1994, Tim & Carrie finished the 100 highest Colorado summits; by 1995, they had finished the 200 highest. Then in 2002, it was the 300 highest. At that point, they began to realize that finishing all the Colorado 13ers could become a reality and so with a revised plan, they set about to do so. That goal was finished on August 3, 2013 on Boreas Mountain, accompanied by friends, family and some noteworthy fellow-peakbaggers.
But climbing Colorado 13ers has not been their only interest. From their Grand Junction home, Tim & Carrie have put in thousands of miles of road biking including some notable "century" rides both in and out of state. They also enjoy mountain biking in and around the Grand Junction area as well as Moab. And in the winter, they relish the fresh powder snow of the Grand Mesa and spend many weekends enjoying the snowy backcountry and Nordic Council trails.
In more recent years, they have branched out into technical canyoneering and have enjoyed an entirely different world than the Colorado high country by venturing into the Utah desert to clamber through remote slot canyons and have frequently visited the famous, Zion National Park.
We invite you to join us on our outdoor adventures and use this site to enhance your own appreciation and enjoyment of this beautiful creation. Help yourself as well to our photography site which is one small way we can share together in enjoying the beauty that surrounds us. Visit highestgroundphotography.com. Any photos you see on Climb13ers.com can also be made available for sale.