I visited with my long-time climbing friend Jim this afternoon, catching up on the past few years, trading tales about favorite climbs, and hashing over some of the disagreements we've had about climbing ethics. Jim and I have been at opposite sides of the spectrum of ethics or so it has seemed at times over the past four years. But after our long conversation this afternoon it actually turns out that we both want a lot of the same things for our beloved climbing areas.
Jim is passionate about climbing at the Garden of the Gods, a spectacular Colorado Springs' city park and one of the first established rock climbing areas in the United States. For Jim, as for myself, the Garden is a special and sacred place. The Garden of the Gods was the place where I really learned to become a climber when I was in high school in the late 1960s, a place to develop the skills to go out into the world to places like Yosemite Valley and climb big walls and do new routes. Jim, who moved to Colorado from his native Tucson, Arizona, quickly came to love the Garden and its adventurous climbs and spectacular red rock scenery.
Right now I'm working with a bunch of Colorado Springs climbers to create the Pikes Peak Climbers Alliance, an advocacy group to address the growing climbing issues on public lands in the Pikes Peak region. The time is right now for us local climbers to address the sustainability, accessibility, and safety of our climbing areas, particularly those in the four Colorado Springs' city parks including the Garden of the Gods, so that we can continue to enjoy our unique climbs now and in the future. Brady Robinson, the executive director of The Access Fund, is helping shepherd us through the process.
Today we had a meeting at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center to discuss our mission statement and begin to figure out the direction and process we need to go forward with the PPCA. Afterwards, Brady went over to visit with Jim and I caught up with them later in the afternoon at the hospice unit at a local hospital.
Jim, a couple years younger than me, is dying of pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed back on December 20 and given a few months to live. Jim, passionate as ever about climbing and the Garden of the Gods, wanted to do something to give back to the climbing community and ultimately decided to donate a substantial amount of money as a legacy gift to Garden of the Gods climbing. The funds are to be administered through The Access Fund and will provide the seed money for us to create the Pikes Peak Climbers Alliance, including registering it as a non-profit entity and other legal expenses.
Jim wanted to talk to me in private today about the climbing issues that he sees that need addressing, what he would like us to do with his gift, as well as about the disagreements he and I have had about retrobolting and adding new bolts to existing routes. After talking and laughing and remembering climbs for three hours, while a snowstorm raged outside the sixth-floor windows, Jim and I agreed that we are both kind of stubborn and we just haven't communicated enough about the issues, haven't sat down and talked and found common ground. We discovered today that it wasn't too late to find that we really aren't that far apart and that we both want the best for our favorite climbing area.
While Jim's disease and prognosis is an intensely private matter, I did want to write and acknowledge the generosity of my friend and to let the world know that we can each make a difference in both other people's lives as well as in the special places that we love, climb, and share with each other. I assured Jim this afternoon that I would do my best as a climber and Garden lover to make sure that his financial gift enhances this wonderful public space and parkland.
Thanks Jim. I appreciate your honesty and our frank discussion. We know it is always possible to be friends and not always agree all the time. I look forward to visiting with you again tomorrow and talking more about rock climbing and Colorado Fourteeners and the fragility and beauty of life...
Photograph above: Jim climbing a limestone route on The Caveman Wall in Williams Canyon near Colorado Springs in 1997. Photograph © Stewart M. Green
Mount Everest is not only the highest mountain in the world but is also the world's highest garbage dump. After 60 years and thousands of climbers attempting the iconic peak, there is garbage everywhere. Climbers have left as much as 50 tons of refuse scattered on the mountain, including oxygen bottles, tattered tents, torn sleeping bags, ice-encased ropes, batteries, plastic bottles, food containers, as well as human waste and the frozen corpses of human victims.
Now the Nepalese government is getting serious about cleaning up the sacred mountain and reducing the footprint of climbers on it. On Monday, March 2, the government instituted a new rule that requires each climber on Everest expeditions that venture above 17,388 feet (5,300 meters) to bring down 18 pounds (8 kilograms) of trash, including all of their own litter and human waste. After proving they have brought garbage down, they can then receive back a $4,000 deposit. Penalties besides fines include a possible ban on future climbing permits.
Madhusudan Burlakoti, the Tourism Joint Secretary of the Nepalese Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, says, "Our earlier efforts have not been very effective. This time, if climbers don't bring back garbage, we will take legal action and penalize them."
Thousands of climbers go to climb Mount Everest every year now and the numbers are increasing. Many expeditions are led by guides that are more concerned with money than environmental Leave No Trace ethics so anything extra is left on the mountain. The problem is that nothing degrades in the harsh, cold weather on Mount Everest so trash accumulates. Parts of the mountain, like the South Col, are literally litter dumps. A few expeditions, including one in 2010 and another in 2013, carried two tons and four tons of garbage down respectively, but that hardly makes a dent in the dump.
This new rule, with sharp teeth in it, is a long time coming and should make an impact on climbers as well as clean up Mount Everest's litter-strewn camps. Madhusudhan Burlakoti, joint secretary of Nepal's tourism ministry, says, "We will not compromise on it. Defaulters will face serious legal action."
Photograph above: Many climbers attempt Mount Everest, carrying loads of equipment up the mountain and leaving loads of trash behind. Photograph © Doug Allen/Getty Images
If you're traveling to the high mountains like the Rockies, Denali in Alaska, the Andes in South America, or the Himalayas, the highest peaks in the world, then you need to make sure that you're properly acclimatized. If you're coming from a low elevation, it's important to take steps to combat altitude sickness, which afflicts about 25% of mountain recreationists.
Besides spending plenty of time at altitude and gradually letting your body adjust or acclimate to the decreased oxygen, you can also take ibuprofen to help alleviate and prevent symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS). Studies also show that you can take a herbal medication made from the leaves of the ginkgo biloba, an ancient tree with medicinal qualities.
Several studies, beginning with a French study in 1996, show that climbers benefit from taking the ginkgo extract, drastically reducing the symptoms of AMS, including nausea, headache, and if you're traveling to the high mountains like the Rockies, Denali in Alaska, the Andes in South America, or the Himalayas, the highest peaks in the world, then you need to make sure that you're properly acclimatized. If you're coming from a low elevation, it's important to take steps to combat altitude sickness, which afflicts about 25% of mountain recreationists.
Besides spending plenty of time at altitude and gradually letting your body adjust or acclimate to the decreased oxygen, you can also take ibuprofen to help alleviate and prevent symptoms of acute mountain sickness. Studies also show that you can take a herbal medication made from the leaves of the ginkgo biloba, an ancient tree with medicinal qualities.
Several studies, beginning with a French study in 1996, show that climbers benefit from taken the ginkgo extract, drastically reducing the symptoms of AMS, including nausea, headache, and fatigue so that you can sign into the coveted summit register atop your chosen mountain.
Read a new article about gingko and climbing: Ginkgo Biloba: Miracle Natural Drug for Altitude Sickness?
Photograph above: If you're climbing to 14,115 feet on Pikes Peak, a dose of gingko biloba extract might help avert altitude sickness. Photograph © Stewart M. Green
Jessie Benton Fremont (1824-1902), wife of explorer, Senator, and presidential candidate John C. Fremont, was passionate about Yosemite Valley and was instrumental in having President Abraham Lincoln establish the Yosemite Grant, officially called "An Act authorizing a Grant to the State of California of the `Yo-Semite Valley' and of the Land embracing the `Mariposa Big Tree Grove,'" in 1864. This action allowed for the preservation and protection of Yosemite Valley and the nearby Mariposa Grove and kept them from being overrun with settlers and privatization.
At her homes in San Francisco and Bear Valley, Jessie Fremont hosted numerous salons and gatherings to discuss the future of Yosemite Valley. These salons were attended by numerous political bigwigs as well as writers like Herman Melville, Horace Greeley, and Bret Harte, who were all affected by Mrs. Fremont's enthusiasm for the Valley.
On March 14, 2013, California Representative Tom McClintock introduced a bill to rename Mammoth Peak, not to be confused with Mammoth Mountain and its ski area, in Yosemite National Park to Mount Jessie Benton Fremont.
The bill stands a good chance of approval in the House of Representatives although the National Park Service, the management agency for Yosemite National Park, testified on Wednesday before the House natural resources subcommittee on public lands and environmental regulation that the naming was inappropriate.
Read more about the possible renaming of the peak and Representative McClintock's response to the NPS testimony, which included "absolutely laughable" and "rank partisanship," in the Los Angeles Times article Bill would rename Yosemite peak after 19th century preservationist.
We'll see what happens but I think it's a good thing to honor a woman who loved our beloved Yosemite and helped preserve it for future generations to enjoy its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities.
Art above: Lithograph of Jessie Benton Fremont in 1856. Art courtesy American Antiquarian Society
An essential climbing skill to know when you go sport climbing is how to lower your partner done the route from the anchors and how to be lowered down. Lowering off routes is statistically one of the most dangerous activities in sport climbing.
A lot can go wrong when you're being lowered or you're lowering someone. The belayer can be talking and not paying attention and drop you to the ground. You can improperly thread the anchors. You can tie back into the rope wrong after threading the anchors. And that's for starters.
Read my newly revised article 9 Steps to Safely Lower off a Sport Climb for the step-by-step process to thread bolt anchors at the top of the pitch as well as tips on clear communication between climber and belayer and how to check the bolt anchors and bolt hangers before lowering. Take lowering seriously and you will live long and prosper.
Read more about lowering off sport routes:
How to Lower from a Climbing Route
9 Steps to Safely Lower off a Sport Climb
Tips on Threading and Lowering from Anchor Bolts
Communicate Before Lowering off Sport Climbs
Photograph above: Sherman Springer shows good lowering form at Red Rock Canyon near Colorado Springs. Photograph © Stewart M. Green
While most of the United States shivered from yet another cold front and snow, I went climbing with my friend Susan Joy Paul, a mountaineer and fellow FalconGuides author, at the Garden of the Gods a couple days ago. It was one of those bluebird afternoons with clear, sunny skies, a 59-degree temperature, and occasional wind gusts, the kind of day that's a bookend to winter and a harbinger of spring.
Our chosen route, a mountaineering-type of expedition rather than a pure rock climb, traversed Grey Rock, a twin-summited sandstone formation that at 6,740 feet is the second highest summit at the Garden. The route, mostly 4th class climbing with a couple sections of 5.0 climbing, works up the blocky north ridge to Grey Rock's airy summit, then downclimbs the south ridge.
The route can be easily soloed without a rope, but since it is a technical rock climb, the climbing rules and regulations at the Garden of the Gods, a Colorado Springs city park, require the proper use of climbing equipment and techniques. Before we left the parking area, I stopped and chatted with Snook, the park ranger, and let him know that we would be the maniacs up on Grey Rock and he didn't have to yell at us to get down or call the police for illegal climbing.
As I scrambled across the North Ridge of Grey Rock, I thought about the origins of rock climbing and the rudimentary techniques for protection and belaying that our climbing ancestors used a hundred years ago. Back then in 1914, the famed Colorado climber pioneer Albert Ellingwood did this very same route and undoubtedly used many of the same techniques that I was using to climb it.
These days climbers chase the numbers, trying to dance up their first 5.10 route at Shelf Road or projecting a 5.13 climb at Rifle Mountain Park. They use long ropes, place high-tech gear like cams, clip pre-placed stainless steel bolts, and use belay devices.
The North Ridge route, however, requires a different mindset. I reverted back to an earlier era to climb it and channeled my inner Ellingwood as I scrambled across the long ridge. The techniques I used to lead the route harkened back to Albert Ellingwood, who was America's leading climber in 1914.
Ellingwood, a political science professor at Colorado College, had been a Rhodes scholar in England and learned the rudimentary techniques of leading and belaying on cliffs in the Lake District. I've often imagined Ellingwood standing atop the famous Napes Needle after making an ascent of W.P. Haskett Smith's landmark 1886 route in those early years.
The North Ridge required all of Ellingwood's old-school tricks. I carried a handful of slings up to four feet long and two carabiners for each sling. My rope was a thin 9mm cord that was a mere 150 feet long, necessitating, as they did in days of yore, short pitches. My belaying technique did not use a belay device like a Petzl Grigri or a tube device, but instead I did the basic body belay with the rope wrapped around my waist for maximum friction. Natural protection was used, basically one sling around a horn or flake on each of the three short pitches along the ridge and my belay anchor was simply a sling wrapped around a large block.
After reaching the breezy summit, I watched a redtail hawk glide below my dangling feet while I belayed Susan up. We didn't linger on top long since the sun was declining on Pikes Peak and we still had a lot of hand and foot movements to get down. The preferred descent is downclimbing the wide south ridge with the hardest part, a couple 5.0 moves, just below the top. I belayed from the top while Susan went first, then downclimbed unroped behind her.
Back at the base we changed from rock shoes to street shoes and talked about old-style climbing. It's a blast, cruising over easy terrain, handling the rope efficiently, not worrying about getting lots of gear in, and just having fun on the rock. If you love climbing, you don't worry about ratings and protection. You just move over stone and have fun. The ancient ones would smile...they knew that secret.
Photographs above: Susan Joy Paul climbing on the North Ridge of Grey Rock, one of the classic old-time routes at the Garden of the Gods. Photographs © Stewart M. Green
This winter, according to weather experts, is shaping up to be one of the worst avalanche seasons in the last 20 years. Since February 8, six people have been killed in avalanches in Colorado, Utah, and Oregon. Two people died in Utah in separate avalanches on February 8 and 9; two avalanches killed two people in Colorado on February 10; and two people died in a single accident on February 11 in Oregon.
Twelve people have died in avalanches so far this winter--five skiers, four snowmobilers, and one snowboarder, snowshoer, and climber. Conditions are not expected to improve with a line of storms set up to drop more snow in the western mountains.
Here in Colorado I won't go up in the mountains to do any peak climbing or skiing right now since avalanche conditions are dangerous in the back country. The northern Colorado Rockies currently have high avalanche danger while the central Rockies have considerable danger.
Spencer Logan, a forecaster for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, told the Denver Post, "We're seeing avalanche runs larger than we've seen in the last 20 years." Logan added, "We are looking at continuing serious problems -- avoid traveling in or below steep slopes. You are going to want to be very careful about where you're going in the backcountry."
Colorado, of course, is the most dangerous state for avalanches with 259 fatalities between 1950 and 2013, far ahead of Alaska's 141, Utah's 110, Washington's 107, and Montana's 100. Climbing is the third-most dangerous winter activity with 173 avalanche fatalities between 1950 and 2013, trailing only snowmobiling with 225 and cross country ski touring with 190 deaths.
The best way to avoid being in an avalanche is to follow advisories issued by avalanche organizations, avoid areas prone to avalanche including steep slopes, carry avalanche survival gear, and to recreate closer to home where there is no avalanche danger.
For more information about avalanches, read these articles:
8 Tips for Safe Snow Travel
3 Types of Hazardous Avalanche Terrain
What is an Avalanche?
Recognize and Survive Wet Snow Avalanche Conditions
Photograph above: An avalanche sweeps down a couloir in the Colorado Rockies. Photograph © Connor Walberg/Getty Images
Climbers have always been great explorers. Climbers search for the unknown, the hidden, the unseen, and the unclimbed. A lot of climbers have the exploring gene hard-wired into them and so they go into the world to discover new places to climb.
Right now the great beyond beckons climbers as all the major peaks and cliffs have been climbed on our blue planet. Someday, however, climbers will be on the Moon, that luminous disk that hangs in the night sky above the earth's horizon, and will explore and climb there. Perhaps an objective will be Mons Huygens, the Moon's tallest mountain at 5.5 kilometers high, on the edge of the Mare Imbrium, a giant crater caused by a meteorite impact.
Read a new article Is There Rock Climbing on the Moon: First Ascents for Lunar Astronauts and find out about the mountains of the Moon and the Apollo 17 expedition, which explored some of the Moon's boulders...then set your sights and goals on becoming an astronaut and doing some rad Moon ascents.
Photograph above: The Apollo 17 astronauts explored the Moon's surface and found numerous large boulders that are still unclimbed. Photograph courtesy NASA
On Monday, January 27, Colorado climber, trailbuilder, and climbing access activist Mark Hesse tragically passed away from unknown causes at the Boulder Rock Gym in the early afternoon. Mark, a very fit 63-year-old man, apparently fell off a wall in the gym while bouldering. Gym employees heard him fall and rushed to helping him, doing CPR until paramedics arrived.
I've known Mark Hesse since the autumn of 1970 when Billy Westbay and I, both freshman at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, would go up to Boulder from Colorado Springs every Friday to climb at Eldorado Canyon, the Flatirons, and Rocky Mountain National Park. We would usually stay at a house on The Hill that Mark shared with his brother Jon and, of course, Mark would sometimes join us on Eldo adventures when he wasn't studying.
Mark Hesse, a long-time Colorado Springs resident, made numerous ascents of mountains, cliffs, and desert towers in his long and storied climbing career. One of Mark's many amazing achievements was a solo ascent of the Scott-Haston Route up the huge South Face of Denali in 1982. A few years later in 1986, Mark, partnered with Craig Reason, Jay Smith, and Paul Teare, made an alpine-style first ascent of the northeast buttress of 22,241-foot Kangtega in Nepal.
Hesse also climbed extensively in Colorado, Utah, and other states, doing many first ascents. In 1973, Mark joined Dan McClure to aid climb a new route up the overhanging right side of the The Diamond on Longs Peak, which they called Its Welx, as well as the Central Ramp up the remote East Face of Mount Alice in Rocky Mountain National Park. Mark also made ascents of many sandstone towers in the red-rock desert around Moab in eastern Utah.
It was these many vertical adventures that instilled in Mark not only a life-long love for climbing but also an abiding passion for climbing environmentalism and the protection of the natural areas at our sensitive climbing areas. In 1982, Mark Hesse started the American Mountain Foundation (AMF), which morphed into the Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) in 1987, serving as the organization's executive director until 2008.
The conservation and protection of climbing areas became the mission of RMFI. The organization under Mark's leadership build sustainable climber access trails to cliffs and at staging areas below routes. If you've climbed at western areas like Shelf Road in Colorado, Indian Creek Canyon south of Moab, hiked up the trail to Castleton Tower in Utah, accessed routes on Eldorado Canyon trails, or hiked up Colorado Fourteeners like Crestone Needle, then you've used trails built under Mark's guidance by RMFI (pronounced "Rim-fee" by Mark).
When I wrote the first edition of my Rock Climbing Utah book in the mid-1990s, I talked to Mark Hesse about the trail work at Indian Creek Canyon, the world's most famous crack climbing area. Mark told me, "The trails aren't built to make it easier for the climbers to get to the cliff base, they're built to protect the fragile desert from the climbers walking all over it."
Mark Hesse was one of the founders of the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, an organizations the protects delicate alpine environments in Colorado. Through Mark's efforts with CFI, sustainable trails were built in the South Colony Lakes Basin in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area, balancing recreation with resource preservation. Trails requiring thousands of hours of volunteer help were built on the area's popular Fourteeners, including Crestone Peak and Needle, Kit Carson Peak, and Humboldt Peak.
Over the past decade Mark and RMFI has been involved in trail and restoration work at the Garden of the Gods, a Colorado Springs city park. Climber access trails to cliff sectors were identified and built, sensitive areas over-run by other park visitors were fenced off, and heavily eroded hiking trails were stabilized using thousands of volunteers.
For his conservation efforts and stewardship of climbing areas, Mark Hesse was awarded the David Brower Conservation Award by the American Alpine Club in 1995. The U.S. Forest Service gave him the Bob Marshall Champion of Wilderness Award twice in 2005 and 2007.
Mark Hesse had recently cut back on his environmental work, enjoying climbing, hiking, and mountain biking, and moving from the Springs up to Boulder with his wife Julie, while their two daughters Hartley and Laurel attended college.
Mark was bouldering in the gym, wearing a harness, chalk bag, and climbing shoes, when he died. Rest in peace Mark and while you passed from this world of rock and ice far too young, it's a good thing that you were climbing and wearing your rock shoes when you went to the other side of the mountain. We'll catch up with you later...
Photographs above: (top) Mark Hesse at a Shelf Road trail day. Photograph courtesy Rocky Mountain Field Institute. (bottom) Mark Hesse leading "Snuggles" at the Garden of the Gods in 1983. Photograph © Stewart M. Green
There's a Rocky Mountain high right now in Colorado with the Denver Broncos football club, the beloved home team, playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday. Last Wednesday Colorado governor John Hickenlooper got in the Broncos spirit by issuing an official proclamation that temporarily renames 53 Colorado Fourteeners after the active players on the Denver Broncos football roster. The mountains go by their new names for one day only--Super Bowl Sunday.
While Governor Hickenlooper doesn't actually have the authority to rename the peaks, which lies with the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, Bronco fans across the Rocky Mountain states undoubtedly agree with his decision to honor the players.
Below is the official proclamation along with the reasons why specific mountains were named for specific players. Colorado highest peak, 14,435-foot Mount Elbert, is, of course, named for quarterback Peyton Manning, who stands tallest among all the Broncos. Someone had a lot of fun writing this proclamation, which includes a dig at Seattle's beer, something Hickenlooper knows something about since his business is brew pubs.
WHEREAS, the State of Colorado is confident that the Denver Broncos will beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII; and
WHEREAS, the Denver Broncos gave Coloradans a lot to be proud of this season, including becoming the first team in NFL history to score more than 600 points in a single season and winning the AFC Championship; and
WHEREAS, Seattle makes some, well, OK beer; and
WHEREAS, the Seahawks have a 12th man, whatever, while the Denver Broncos have the greatest fans -- men, women and children -- in pro sports; and
WHEREAS, we are proud of the majestic mountains in Colorado, which is home to 53 14ers - the same number of players on the Denver Broncos' active roster; and
WHEREAS, Peyton Manning bears a symbolic resemblance to Mount Elbert, the tallest 14er in Colorado, because he stands tall as an extraordinary leader of the Broncos; and
WHEREAS, Matt Prater kicks the football long - an NFL record 64 yards long - and could be compared to Longs Peak; and
WHEREAS, the Broncos offensive line stands together, like our Collegiate Peaks, rooted into the earth and preventing anyone from getting to Peyton Manning; and
WHEREAS, there are many other connections between other 14ers and players as referenced below;
Therefore, I, John W. Hickenlooper, Governor of the State of Colorado, do hereby hurry up and proclaim Sunday, February 2, 2014,
DENVER BRONCOS-MANIA DAY
Here is the full list of mountains (ranked by size) and the active players the peaks are being renamed for:
- Mt. Elbert: Peyton Manning.
- Mt. Massive: Terrance Knighton - AKA POT ROAST.
- Mt. Harvard: Zane Beadles - He, along with others on the offensive line, are as formidable as the line of Collegiate Peaks.
- Blanca Peak: Mitch Unrein - He blocks and tackles.
- La Plata Peak: Jacob Tamme - Just as this is an impressive peak among the Collegiate Peaks, this tight end is an impressive addition to the offense.
- Uncompahgre Peak: Steven Johnson - His defense is straight forward and uncomplicated.
- Crestone Peak: Steve Vallos - Like this peak, which is surrounded by other looming 14ers, this center is the rock of impressive offensive lines.
- Mt. Lincoln: Winston Justice - His name itself, and his humanitarian work in Uganda and Haiti, reflect the name of this majestic peak.
- Grays Peak: Eric Decker - Grays and Torreys are right next to each other, like the dynamic duo of Decker and Thomas.
- Mt. Antero: Malik Jackson - This defensive end watches everyone's back.
- Torreys Peak: Demaryius Thomas
- Castle Peak: Duke Ihenacho - Because only a duke could vanquish a castle-like offense.
- Quandary Peak: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - His coverage proves to be a quandary for opposing quarterbacks.
- Mt. Evans: Nate Irving - This linebacker forms an imposing backdrop to opponents just like this peak does to Denver.
- Longs Peak: Matt Prater - He kicks 'em long (set an NFL record with a 64-yard field goal vs. Tennessee).
- Mt. Wilson: Shaun Phillips - Leads the Broncos in sacks this year and will be taking down Russell Wilson.
- Mt. Shavano: Marquice Cole
- Mt. Belford: Andre Caldwell - Like this peak's inclusion with other Collegiate Peaks, he joins an imposing offense.
- Crestone Needle: Brock Osweiler - At 6 feet, 8 inches', he makes all opponents appear as thin as this 14er.
- Mt. Princeton: Manny Ramirez.
- Mt. Yale: Louis Vasquez.
- Mt. Bross: Jeremy Mincey.
- Kit Carson Peak: Aaron Brewer - His long snaps find their path just as Kit Carson found paths through the frontier.
- Maroon Peak: Mike Adams - He maroons opponents due to his tackling prowess (posted a game-high nine tackles and intercepted a pass that led to a Broncos touchdown in Houston).
- Tabeguache Peak: Chris Kuper.
- Mt. Oxford: Chris Clark.
- Mt. Sneffels: Zac Dysert - In the shadow of Manning, the QB may be sniffling for not playing, but is tops nonetheless.
- Mt. Democrat: Tony Carter - Working on a second degree in political science.
- Capitol Peak: Champ Bailey - Rated the most difficult peak on 14ers.com.
- Pikes Peak: Joel Dressen - A Colorado Mountain for a Colorado State University Ram and only player on the roster to graduate from a Colorado university.
- Snowmass Mountain: Wesley Woodyard.
- Mt. Eolus: Sione Fua - An eloquent name, like this peak.
- Windom Peak: Ronnie Hillman - This runninng back runs like the wind.
- Challenger Point: Montee Ball - He was a challenger for the Heisman Trophy in 2011.
- Mt. Columbia: Orlando Franklin.
- Missouri Mountain: Sylvester Williams - He was born in Missouri.
- Humboldt Peak: Knowshon Moreno - He "bolts" off the line (Ranked fifth in the NFL in scrimmage yards at 1,586) and tied for fifth with 13 scrimmage touchdowns in 2013. Became the first player in franchise history to record 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in a single season in 2013.
- Mt. Bierstadt: Robert Ayers - Just like the way that Ayers makes tackling look easy, this peak is one of the easiest peaks to summit.
- Sunlight Peak: Omar Bolden - He is known for his power of positive thinking and is not blinded by any sunshine in his tackling prowess.
- Handies Peak: Quentin Jammer - This defensive player is known for giving a hand to his teammates and those in need through his Jammer Family Foundation helping foster teens.
- Culebra Peak: Michael Huff.
- Ellingwood Point: Britton Colquitt - He would be able to land a punt on this point.
- Mt. Lindsey: Paris Lenon.
- Little Bear Peak: Trindon Holliday - He's 5 foot, 5 inches, but is as tough as they come.
- Mt. Sherman: Wes Welker - Let's see Richard Sherman cover Wes. Right, good luck with that.
- Redcloud Peak: Virgil Green.
- Pyramid Peak: Danny Trevathan - Like the Pyramids of Giza, Danny Trevathan's defense is a wonder of the world. He posted a team high 129 tackles, beating his next closest teammate by 44 and is 11th best in the league.
- Wilson Peak: Brandon Marshall.
- Wetterhorn Peak: Vinston Painter.
- San Luis Peak: Kayvon Webster.
- Mt. of the Holy Cross: David Bruton - His alma mater is Notre Dame.
- Huron Peak: C.J. Anderson - Another impressive peak included in the Collegiate Peaks, he is a fine addition to the offense.
- Sunshine Peak: Julius Thomas - because he always makes himself available to find the sunshine through the defenders and make the catch.
Photographs above: (top) Mount Elbert, Colorado's highest peak, is named for Peyton Manning. (middle) Pikes Peak is named for Joel Dressen (bottom) Longs Peak was renamed for kicker Matt Prater.