Colorado has 58 Fourteeners – the most of any state in the Union.
The Elk mountain range surrounding Aspen contains seven peaks above 14,000 feet, all in Wilderness Areas, and are some of Colorado’s most rugged and beautiful mountains. Difficult and dangerous, these peaks will inspire and challenge climbers. The Elks Mountain Range provide relatively easy access to a superb mountain playground.
While climbing up a fourteener can lead you to breathtaking views, the increasing number of hikers and climbers ascending these peaks impacts our alpine environment. It is up to all of us to minimize damage to their fragile ecosystems. Learn more about the Care for Colorado Principles, which provide tips on how to care for these special places.
Before climbing “The Deadly Bells” and any other peak, know the dangers, the route, the weather and your ability. Death on these mountain peaks is not uncommon and every year produces it’s share of incidents. You may consider arriving early and using your stay at the Tyrolean Lodge to get acclimated.
NORTH MAROON PEAK 14,014 feet and SOUTH MAROON PEAK 14,156 feet are 10 miles from Aspen and have been immortalized in countless post cards and calendars. They are red, rugged and rotten, but with careful route finding, not exceedingly difficult to climb. The traverse between North and South Maroon is one of the great classic fourteener traverses. Several fantastic spring snow climbs exist on the North Face, Gunsite, and Bell Cord Couloir.
14,018 feet dominates the Maroon creek valley with its towering mass of crumbling spires and superb beauty. Steep slopes, loose rock, exposed ledges and occasional class 4 moves prove for challenging and spectacular climbing. Stay on route and look for Mountain Goats.
14,265 feet is the highest in the Elk Range. With a 4-wheel-drive road to 12,800 feet, it is a relatively easy hike and a good introduction to the Elks. This peak also provides excellent spring skiing on a fourteener. The trailhead is located up Castle Creek Rd, past Ashcroft.
14,092 feet is a remote wilderness peak with an 8.5 mile hike to the base camp at Snowmass Lake and is named for the huge permanent snow filled basin below its summit. The route is long but beautiful and the airy summit block is solid. Snowmass mountain is a coveted ski descent and good first 14er with backpacking.
14,130 feet is seen clearly jutting into the sky from just outside Aspen to Snowmass even Basalt. Precipitous and formidable, Capital may be Colorado’s hardest fourteener. The spectacular knife edge ridge is the easiest route and the granite is quite solid. Approach is from a camp at Capital Lake. Capital’s dramatic 1800 foot North Face draws rock climbers.