Lightning danced on the Front Range Peaks Wednesday afternoon.
It’s a sight veteran climber and the Executive Director of the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, Lloyd Athearn, is familiar with.
“I’ve stood atop a fourteener around sixty times,” Athearn said.
He and C.F.I. work with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land management, and volunteers to build and maintain trails on Colorado’s fourteeners.
“We’ve got, depending on how you want to count them,” Explains Lloyd, “fifty-three to fifty-eight mountains over fourteen thousand feet,” explained Athearn. “Most of the peaks are pretty straightforward hikes or modest scrambles. That allows a lot of people to get up into these beautiful alpine areas.”
These mountains still demand the respect of those who climb them.
Five people have died climbing fourteeners in Colorado so far in 2017.
One on Maroon Bells and four on Capitol Peak.
“Anyone that’s considering climbing the fourteeners or mountains in Colorado needs to be aware that there are inherent hazards with them,” cautions Athearn. “People need to have a lot of humility when they go into the mountains. They need to realize that these mountains have killed a lot of people many of whom have been very skilled.”
Here are some things the C.F.I. says climbers should always have when climbing in the mountains:
- Plenty of food and water
- Protective rain gear
- Navigational equipment
- First Aid equipment
- Strong physical fitness
- Appropriate clothing including hiking boots, and extra layers.
For the more dangerous climbs the C.F.I says you should be aware of:
- Steep routes
- High exposure levels
- Brittle rock
- How your body reacts to high altitude
- Skill level
The C.F.I. also says to make sure to educate yourself before heading out. Check the weather. Find routes that fit your skill level. Climb with more experienced climbers. You can find more information at :