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Colorado has more mountain peaks above 14,000 ft. than any other state!

Climbers and mountaineers in the Uncompahgre National Forest (Telluride) face many challenges, and not all of them come from the mountains. Home to no less than four fourteeners and many more peaks in the 13,000- to 14,000-foot range, the Forest offers an endless number of demanding technical climbs in often harsh conditions. Along with loose rocks, lightning, and snow, though, the crowds that sometimes clog the paths to a few of the summits here create an additional obstacle that frustrates climbers every year. 

Uncompahgre Peak, for instance, which at a height of 14,309 feet is the highest peak in the San Juans, is a strenuous but doable hike in the Uncompahgre Wilderness that doesn't require an extensive knowledge of technical climbing. As a result, the trail to the top is one of the most heavily used in the Forest, which puts the delicate ecosystem above the timberline at considerable risk. If you're looking for the solitude that comes with leaving the rest of the world down below, you won't usually find it here.

Neighboring Matterhorn Peak (13,590 feet) is another easy summit that sees frequent use. For more technical but less crowded climbs in this region, experienced cragsmen go for Coxcomb (13,656 feet), whose rooster-crest summit ridge requires ropes, or the Wetterhorn (14,015 feet), where the easiest summit approach is a Class 3.

Perhaps the most well-known peak in the Forest, along with Uncompahgre, is majestic Mount Sneffels (14,150 feet), crown of the Mount Sneffels Wilderness Area. Perhaps because it is visible from miles around, Mount Sneffels is one of the Uncompahgre's most popular destinations, attracting weekend crowds all intent on scrambling up the scree to an unspeakably awe-inspiring panorama of the San Juans and the Uncompahgre Plateau. Other summits in the same section of range include Dallas Peak (13,809 feet) and Teakettle Mountain (13,819 feet), considered by many to be some of the most difficult climbs in Colorado.

One ascent that's daunted Grizzly Adams types for years is Lizard Head (13,113 feet), which maxes out at a 5.8 before you reach the top. Lying in the Lizard Head Wilderness at the southern edge of the Forest, the peak can claim two fourteeners as neighbors. Both Mount Wilson (14,246) and El Diente Peak (14,159) lie outside the official boundaries of the Uncompahgre National Forest but, like Lizard Head, are a part of the San Miguel section of the San Juans. Rugged and high, these two bad boys are connected by a nearly mile-long ridge that makes it possible to summit both in the same trip.

The peaks in the Forest's wilderness areas, while undoubtedly scraping the most sky, are not the only climbing opportunities in the Uncompahgre. South along Colorado 145, several Class 5 rock-climbing venues around Telluride have been scouted, among them Crooked Canyon, Ames Wall, and Ophir Wall. Just outside the southeast border of the Forest, a cluster of five thirteeners offer a variety of climbing possibilities around the Ice Lake Basin. Fuller Peak (13,761 feet), Vermillion Peak (13,894 feet), and Golden Horn (13,780 feet) are all day-hike summits that aren't too difficult. Pilot Knob (13,738 feet) and U.S. Grant Peak (13,767 feet) are major technical climbs for experienced summiteers only.

Mountain (peak) Name

Height Above Sea Level (in Feet)

Height Ranking

Mount Elbert 14,433 1st
Mount Massive 14,421 2nd
Mount Harvard 14,420 3rd
La Plata Peak 14,361 4th
Blanca Peak 14,345 5th
Uncompahgre Peak 14,309 6th
Crestone Peak 14,294 7th
Mount Lincoln 14,286 8th
Grays Peak 14,274 9th
Mount Antero 14,269 10th
Torreys Peak 14,267 11th
Castle Peak 14,265 12th
Quandary Peak 14,265 13th
Mount Evans 14,264 14th
Longs Peak 14,255 15th
Mount Wilson 14,246 16th
Mount Cameron*** 14,238 17th
Mount Shavano 14,229 18th
Mount Princeton 14,197 19th
Mount Belford 14,197 20th
Crestone Needle 14,197 21st
Mount Yale 14,196 22nd
Mount Bross 14,172 23rd
Kit Carson Mountain 14,165 24th
El Diente Peak*** 14,159 25th
Maroon Peak 14,156 26th
Tabeguache Peak 14,155 27th
Mount Oxford 14,153 28th
Mount Sneffels 14,150 29th
Mount Democrat 14,148 30th
Capitol Peak 14,130 31st
Pikes Peak 14,110 32nd
Snowmass Mountain 14,092 33rd
Mount Eolus 14,083 34th
Windom Peak 14,082 35th
Challenger Point 14,080 36th
Mount Columbia 14,073 37th
Missouri Mountain 14,067 38th
Humboldt Peak 14,064 39th
Mount Bierstadt 14,060 40th
Sunlight Peak 14,059 41st
Handies Peak 14,048 42nd
Culebra Peak 14,047 43rd
Mount Lindsey 14,042 44th
Ellingwood Point 14,042 45th
North Eolus 14,039 46th
Little Bear Peak 14,037 47th
Mount Sherman 14,036 48th
Redcloud Peak 14,034 49th
Conundrum Peak*** 14,022 50th
Pyramid Peak 14,018 51st
Wilson Peak 14,017 52nd
Wetterhorn Peak 14,015 53rd
North Maroon Peak*** 14,014 54th
San Luis Peak 14,014 55th
Mount of the Holy Cross 14,005 56th
Huron Peak 14,003 57th
Sunshine Peak 14,001 58th
*** Denotes unofficial fourteener. A mountain must rise at least 300 feet above its saddle that connects it to the nearest 14er peak (if there is another nearby) to be considered an official fourteener.
 
   
 

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