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March 4, 2010 Hike No Comments

Peak Steward field training in June 2009. Photo by Brian Wallace

The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative is making a big push to expand its eight-year-old Peak Stewards program, in which 14er fans volunteer to spend several days educating visitors about the alpine environment, Leave No Trace practices, and peak-specific regulations. The nonprofit has added six one-day training sessions this winter and spring, hoping to more than triple its volunteer corps. We asked CFI education and outreach coordinator Brian Wallace to fill us in:

Mojo: So, briefly describe the Peak Stewards program.

Wallace: CFI’s mission statement in general is to protect and preserve the natural integrity of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks through active stewardship and public education. The Peak Stewards program exclusively focuses on the education portion. Peak Stewards receive specialized training in alpine ecology, 14er-specific Leave No Trace, Forest Service regulations, and visitor interaction techniques.

Mojo: How many volunteers do you have?

Wallace: We had 40 trained at the beginning of last summer and 30 active, completing a total of 140 days. This year I am hoping to recruit and train at least 100 more individuals, with aspirations of over 500 volunteer days on the peaks. … Continue Reading

14er Skiing: Best of the Best

January 11, 2010 Ski No Comments
The gorgeous south face of South Maroon. Courtesy of 14skiers.com

The gorgeous south face of South Maroon. Courtesy of 14skiers.com

Frank Konsella, the fourth person to ski all the 14ers from their summits, recently posted a great series on his blog speculating on a new 14er skiing challenge. He writes: “There are still some firsts left on the 14ers—first snowboarder (maybe Eric Kling or Jarrett Luttrell), first woman (Brittany Walker, Pam Rice, and Christy Sauer are all closing in), and first to do them all in one season. But for somebody who isn’t in a hurry to be first at something, maybe getting the best possible descents would be the crowning achievement.”

In six posts, Konsella lists his nominations for the best descent line on each of the 54 peaks, including beauties like South Maroon’s southwest face, “a wilderness classic.” Inspired by his posts, we asked Konsella to pick a few superlatives—the best of the best: … Continue Reading

Every 14er in Lower 48 by Bike and Foot

December 16, 2009 Hike No Comments

Longs Peak: First of 73.

Longs Peak: First of 73.

You know that sticker that says, “My best vacation is your worst nightmare”? Josh Holley  is planning a summer vacation that’s jaw-droppingly difficult. Time will tell if it turns out to be a dream or a nightmare.

Holley, 20, is going to attempt to climb every 14er in the Lower 48, solo and self-supported, without ever getting into a car or plane. Holley, who lives in Fort Collins and works at Noodles & Company (and also builds and sells single-speed and commuter bikes for extra cash), is building a custom bike on which he’ll carry all the gear for his three- or four-month odyssey. We asked him to describe his plan in more detail:

I got the idea for this journey about four years ago, just after I got my first car. I was then able to get to the mountains on my own, which was huge for me. While on the long drive to Holy Cross one day, I had a lot of time to think—and watch my gas gauge go down. I remember thinking that I could save so much money if I just rode my bike to the 14ers I wanted to climb.

… Continue Reading

Ken Nolan on ‘The Grid’

December 11, 2009 Hike 1 Comment
Ken Nolan below Rio Grande Pyramid in February 2008. Photo by Ken Nolan

Ken Nolan below Rio Grande Pyramid in February 2008. Photo by Ken Nolan

Climbing all of the 14ers is challenging enough, and only three people are known to have climbed them all in calendar winter. Now imagine climbing each of the 14ers in every month of the year. Welcome to “The Grid,” a peakbagging concept that will seem utterly impossible to most people and yet inspiring to a few.

Ken Nolan, the third man to climb all of Colorado’s 12,000-foot peaks, is inspired. At age 62, Nolan says completing the requisite 708 ascents (59 14ers X 12 months) in his Grid is a “no hoper,” but that’s not stopping him from trying, and he’s more than halfway through the list. We decided to ask him about it.

Mojo: When did you climb your first peak in Colorado?

Ken Nolan: I came to Colorado from the San Jose area in 1978 and climbed Longs Peak two days after arrival. During a pre-move business trip, I picked up a copy of the Borneman and Lampert 14ers guide and was obviously itching to get started.

Mojo: Who came up with the Grid idea? … Continue Reading

The Lists of John

December 3, 2009 Hike 3 Comments

John Kirk during the day he completed the 231-summit Park County list. Photo by Steve Knapp

Let’s say you really want to know the name, elevation, and location of every peak in the state along the Continental Divide, from 14,270-foot Grays Peak to an unnamed 9,296-foot summit north of Kremmling. Or all the mountains in Colorado that require fifth-class climbing. Or the high point of each of Colorado’s 64 counties. If categorizing and tracking peak ascents is your thing, you need Lists of John, the compulsive climber’s ultimate online resource.

John Kirk, 33, created this remarkable website in 2005, building upon his personal online database. Kirk, who lives in Arvada, moved to Colorado in 2001 and has climbed all the 14ers and county high points. Curious about the Lists of John, we sent him a few questions:

Mojo: What was your first Colorado peak, and what’s on your personal tick list?

Kirk: My first was Blanca Peak (14,345 feet). I completed the 14ers in 2004, and the 64 county high points in 2005. I’ve been chipping away at the 13ers list and have it down to a couple hundred now. I’ve completed all summits in Park County (231 peaks; first ever to complete this list), Gilpin County (22 peaks), Clear Creek County (64 peaks), and Lake County (47 peaks). Boulder County and Chaffee County will probably be completed next. I’d like to complete the highest 1,000 list—I’m over halfway. … Continue Reading

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Recent Comments

  • Jamie Jones: The secret chute was only a secret top all you easterners....
  • Jeff: Awesome!!!! Are they ever going to be published in book form! These stories need to be made into a movie!!!!...
  • Karen D McCall: What a story, I read every word, absolutely enthralled. As an aging outdoor enthusiast headed for hip replacement, I can...
  • Kirk Miller: New rats in the Platte. Well done sir....
  • Dale: I met Clerin Zumwalt hiking on the Long's Peak trail back in the 1990's. He was with his family and was wearing his RMNP...
  • Ben Collett: Dougald, I miss the updates on this site. Anyway, there is a great route on the 4th Flatiron (see MP.com for details) th...
  • Tim: Thanks for the great writeup. We just did this loop yesterday and had a blast. Do you know if anyone has skied the coulo...
  • 14er Sports: Awesome accomplishment!...
  • Kailas: Yes Wick there are that many people. And they are all from back east or Texass... booooo. I've skied up here for ove...
  • jeff: What amazing experiences Dr. Cook had. I feel so fortunate that I've found this website and have been able to enjoy Dr. ...

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A Fine Line on Arrowhead

March 26, 2010

A Fine Line on Arrowhead

Climbers Scotty Nelson and Gil Weiss have discovered (or maybe rediscovered) a great-looking moderate mixed route in Rocky Mountain National Park that might take pressure off overcrowded climbs like Dream Weaver or Martha. The line, which they called Deborah, splits the south face of Arrowhead above the high bench to the west of Black Lake […]

Shelf Road’s Hardest Route Climbed

March 10, 2010

Shelf Road’s Hardest Route Climbed

Colorado’s Shelf Road , a network of vertical limestone cliffs near Cañon City best known for sunny moderates, has a new 5.13d pitch and may soon get its first 5.14. On Sunday, March 7, Mark Anderson redpointed a striking, super-technical arête at Cactus Cliff that was bolted in the early 1990s but apparently never free-climbed. […]

New Route Likely Platte’s Hardest

February 14, 2010

New Route Likely Platte’s Hardest

Jason Haas, who’s working on a new guidebook to South Platte rock climbs, has just redpointed what’s likely the Platte’s hardest pitch, a roof seam that’s protected with removable pro and might be 5.14a. The new route, Comprometido, took about a year and a half to complete. Here, Haas tells the story. While researching routes […]

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Brain Freeze on Mt. Otis

March 18, 2010

Brain Freeze on Mt. Otis

In the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park, a granite spindle called Zowie protrudes from the convoluted south face of Mt. Otis. Just to Zowie’s left is a zigzagging chimney and gully system that holds an unlikely mixed-climbing gem. Brain Freeze was discovered very recently (early 2008) by Andy Grauch and Chris Sheridan. Several parties […]

Lake Agnes–Seven Utes Loop

February 19, 2010

Lake Agnes–Seven Utes Loop

Kevin Landolt is a skier/climber/student, based in Fort Collins, who writes the fun Alpine Ambition blog for the Mountain Shop. Here, Kevin describes a favorite midwinter ski tour near Cameron Pass offering a little of everything. Trailhead: Lake Agnes Road, 2.5 miles west of Cameron Pass Tour Distance: 7.3 miles Total Vert: ca. 2,900′ Season: […]

Mr. and Mrs. Mesa

January 28, 2010

Mr. and Mrs. Mesa

Two of the wildest and most difficult water-ice pitches in the state are in plain view from Highway 50, en route to Ouray and Telluride from points north, plunging down the sheer face of Grand Mesa. Yet few people notice them, and far fewer have climbed them. The routes are tough, to be sure, but […]

East Ridge of Mt. Bancroft

December 28, 2009

East Ridge of Mt. Bancroft

Mt. Bancroft’s rocky east ridge is a terrific mountaineering adventure for Front Range climbers, beginning less than an hour from Denver. The 13,250-foot peak is relatively close to the road, and avalanche danger can be easily managed, making this perhaps the most accessible technical winter summit on the entire Front Range. The east ridge offers […]


Rarities: Wolf Moon, Arapaho Peaks

February 5, 2010

Rarities: Wolf Moon, Arapaho Peaks

Photographer James Beissel sent us this fantastic dawn-patrol shot of the full moon setting over South and North Arapaho in the Indian Peaks, shot from Flagstaff Mountain. Said Beissel: “The first full moon of the New Year is often called the Wolf Moon. The name comes from Native American culture, in which it was associated with […]

New Deal for Great Sand Dunes

January 20, 2010

New Deal for Great Sand Dunes

By Bob Berwyn Stakeholders in the San Luis Valley have taken a giant step toward protecting Great Sand Dunes National Park from mining, energy development, and water exports. Lexam Explorations has agreed to sell its mineral rights if a $9.7 million deal can be finalized by May. Great Sand Dunes National Park was created by […]

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