The mountains are always calling us, as John Muir so famously said. When we love the outdoors, mountains define us: They provide something to measure ourselves against, whether we climb them via trails and talus scrambles or test our skills on technical routes. Here in Colorado, the most famous mountains are the state’s 53 fourteeners. That number is determined not by just every rock outcrop that scrapes 14,000 feet or higher but also by prominence, how high a particular summit rises from the next highest point around it (in Colorado it must be 300 feet, but some places have different definitions). No matter how high you climb, here are some mountain facts to entertain you.
Feet of topographic prominence required in the state of Alaska to define separate peaks.
Number of fourteeners in Alaska with 500-foot topographic prominence, a number established by the Mountaineering Club of Alaska.
Number of thirteeners in Colorado defined as having a 300-foot topographic prominence.
Major mountain ranges located in the state of Colorado.
Number of 4,000-footers in New Hampshire as defined by having a 200-foot topographic prominence. The original number was 46, set in the 1950’s; it grew to 48 in 1982 thanks to better surveying equipment. The Appalachain Mountain Club created the list, and while they call it the 4,000-ers of the White Mountains, some call it the New Hampshire list because it does not include the 4,170-foot Old Speck Mountain right across the border in Maine.
Number of fourteeners in Washington (Mount Ranier and Liberty Cap), defined by 300-foot topographic prominence.
Number of fourteeners in California as defined by having a 300-foot topographic prominence.
Number of thirteener summits in Colorado with the name “Grizzly,” including the highest, in the San Juan Mountain range, Grizzly Peak (13,738 feet)—not to be confused with the 13,700-foot Grizzly Peak also in the San Juans.
Year that Barbara Washburn became the first woman to climb 20,320-foot Denali, the U.S.’s highest peak.
Six Hundred and Thirty Seven
Number of summits in Colorado over 13,000, which includes fourteeners. Just over 20 people claim to have reached all these summits.
Number of fifteeners, defined as having 500-foot topographic prominence, established by the Mountaineering Club of Alaska.
Percent of the glacial ice mass of South America’s Andes that has disappeared over the past 30 years.
Width in miles of Utah’s Wellsville Range, which begins in the 4,500-high Cache Valley and rises to a highpoint of 9,372 feet in Box Elder Peak. With that incredible, narrow rise hikers often call them the steepest mountains in the world.
Number of people to have climbed Mount Kailash in Tibet. The 22,028-foot peak is sacred to four religions: Buddhists, Jains, Ayyavazhi Hindus and Tibet’s ancient Bon denomination. The god Shiva is said to sit in meditation, waiting for his eye to open and the world to end here. Reinhold Messner once gained a permit to scale the unclimbed peak, but decided that the summit should remain untouched.