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Peakbagging

Approaching the cairn atop Organ. It's not always about the challenge of the peak.

We climbed Organ Mountain this past weekend, which at 13,801 feet, is the 106th tallest peak in Colorado. We chose Organ not because Christy and I are now setting out to climb all the top 200 Colorado summits (or Bicentennials), we were just looking for a new place to go, and to come up with ideas we often take a look at the list of Colorado peaks and pick one we haven’t yet climbed. So to Organ we went.

Some discredit the notion of ticking summits off the peak list as lacking creativity. Sure, there are some less-than-interesting peaks that get done mostly because they are on the list. But through the years, we’ve found ourselves in countless cool places we may have otherwise never known about, often arriving there because there was a nearby summit we wanted to climb that we learned of from the list. In fact, in just the past few months, Tijeras, Rito Alto, Buckskin Benchmark and Lightning Peak all come to mind as climbs that were pretty memorable outings, and all four peaks happen to reside on the list of Bicentennials.

A fun backpack and this cool campsite might have been more memorable than the summit. And the weekend's cold, wet weather combined with the arrival of the first issue of Powder Magazine were getting us excited for ski season. Winter's coming!

On a related note, I recently came across an issue of the Colorado Mountain Club’s Trail & Timberline Magazine that reported recent peak milestone finishers and some of the numbers were pretty interesting. Of course they only account for those who have contacted the CMC about their achievements, and there are no doubt many others who haven’t, but to get a general idea, here are a few of the notable finisher stats. Here are the number of people who reported to the CMC, as printed in the Winter 2010 issue, to have climbed all of the:

14ers- 1396
100 highest “Centennials”- 182
200 highest “Bicentennials”- 65
300 highest peaks- 33
400 highest peaks- 22
500 highest peaks- 20
600 highest peaks- 20
All 13ers and 14ers (listed here)- 20
700 highest peaks- 7
900 highest peaks- 6
1000 highest peaks- 6
1100 highest peaks-5
1200 highest peaks- 5
1300 highest peaks- 5
All 12ers and higher- 5
1400 highest peaks- 1
1500 highest peaks- 1
1600 highest peaks- 1
1700 highest peaks- 1
All 11ers and higher- 1

Congrats to this years big milestone finishers, Gerry Roach and Debi Hruza for rounding out the twenty finishers of all 13er and 14ers, Teresa Gergen for being 5th to climb all 1300+ 12ers and higher, and to Ken Nolan for being the only one to climb all 1700+ Colorado summits 11,000 feet and above. Talk about a massive effort, clearly Ken’s not afraid of following a list.


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2 comments to Peakbagging

  • Right on. This summer I’ve read a couple of near-apologies for running 14ers and it always gets me thinking. But you said it perfectly: it gets you out there.

    Great campfire picture; makes me think of fall.

    Snow over there already, eh? I tried running Castle two years ago (up the mining road to the summit) and was turned back by early snow (didn’t think I wanted to posthole up the lingering snowfield in shorts and running shoes, then climb slippery snowy rocks). There were people skiing/riding the snowfield :)

  • ted

    We haven’t seen snow by us, yet, but it’s not far off, usually early September. Some buddies did a Castle run last week and said it was really good.

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