Crestone Needle (14,197) and Crestone Peak (14,294)
This is what my brother Robert and my father spent this past weekend climbing. For my bro, these are the last two fourteeners — mountains the summits of which are 14,000 feet above sea level or higher — that he needed to summit in order to have climbed them all. Congratulations, Robert! My father has been climbing since he moved to Colorado in 1966, and he's now 65. His stamina amazes me. So congrats to him, too! He still has two more fourteeners to climb to have done them all.
Crestone Needle is rated among the most difficult peaks in the state, while Crestone Peak is rated among the difficult peaks.
Colorado has 53 14,000-foot peaks — more than any other place in North America. By contrast, Canada has only 15. Alaska has 21, I believe. And my brother has climbed the two in Washington State, as well as Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere at 22,841 feet.
Did I mention at some point that I come from a climbing family?
There are people in Colorado who love to "bag" peaks. They try to climb them as fast as they can or keep a checklist. I've always found that distasteful. It doesn't really seem respectful of the mountains to turn it into a competition. My brother and my father just love to climb. In fact, one day when he was bored, my brother climbed his own chimney. I'm not joking. I came outside, saw him and asked, "Is that a first ascent? What are you going to name that route?" But I digress...
My brother climbing one of the Crestones. Notice how high that is at the top — and apparently they didn't use ropes.
In addition to climbing the fourteeners, they've climbed a lot of the state's many, many thirteeners and the peaks that are 14,000 or higher but aren't counted as fourteeners because the saddle between them and the next highest fourteener is less than 300 feet wide. (Those are the rules.)
I gave up mountain climbing after I fell. Actually, I re-climbed that mountain — Mt. Ida — just to show that I could, and then gave up climbing. I prefer hiking now to anything seriously vertical. I have to say it was cathartic to put details about my own fall into Naked Edge. And it was fun to have a hero who climbs. I got to put in lots of fun climbing lingo.
I'm so glad they made it to the top and back down safely!