The Summit 62: Summit County’s highest mountains
O.K. – I am a mountain freak. This could’ve been a day to get things done. This could’ve been a day to sleep in. This could’ve been an easy day. But I go running off to Summit County to climb Quandary Peak. … And I hurt myself, BAD. I thought I was about to puke on the ground and then fall in it. But that didn’t happen and I got home, and I bagged my first 14’er.
– August 18, 1999
SUMMIT COUNTY – Four and a half years ago I was living in Denver and decided spontaneously one night to climb Quandary peak the next morning. The evening after that climb, I wrote the journal entry above.
Little did I know, in that small house on Parkview Avenue in downtown Littleton, that four years after I would be living in Wildernest with a commanding view of the Williams Fork Mountains and living my life around climbable mountains.
Whoever named Summit County picked about as appropriate a name for this place as possible.
Earlier this year, I picked up a copy of Gerry Roach’s “Colorado 13ers, From Hikes to Climbs.” Tucked away in the back is a lengthy list of the Centennial state’s ranked and named thirteeners. With over 600 peaks listed, it was a few weeks before I realized just how many of the listed mountains are in Summit County.
Then one night I sat down in front of my vast collection of maps, opened up that book and a beer and started plotting. Three hours later, I had a number: 62.
Including Summit County’s three fourteeners, that’s how many peaks around here rise above 13,000 feet.
The Gore Range has the most high points with 29 thirteeners. The Continental Divide along the eastern and southern borders contains 20 summits on the list, though it also contains the county’s two highest points, Gray’s and Torrey’s peaks. The Tenmile only has 13 peaks on the list, but it rounds out the top five with Quandary Peak, Fletcher Mountain and Pacific Peak.
Altogether, over 30 of Colorado’s 500 highest peaks are right here in Summit County. Eight of them are among Colorado’s 100 highest.
The statistical possibilities of this list rival that of an interleague baseball game, but eventually I’d simply like to stand on top of every mountain on this list.
Hopefully I’ll never feel as bad as I did coming down off of Quandary Peak in 1999.
Hiking Peaks 101:
Time is running out to climb Summit’s peaks. With so many high-mountain possibilities located within a hiking distance of virtually anybody’s front door, a few things are worth keeping in mind:
* Start early and finish early. Summer thunderstorms can come unexpectedly. Always try to be off of a summit and heading back to treeline by noon.
* Always carry the ten essentials: extra food, extra water, map, compass, rain gear, emergency fire starter, sunscreen, sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, and pocket knife. A first-aid kit is also a good idea.
* Study the route above treeline before you get there, both on maps and by scouting it by eye from below.
* Leave word of your itinerary with others. Make note of how long you expect the hike to take, when you expect to be back, and how long to wait before sending out the cavalry.
The List of Summit’s Peaks
1 Grays Peak,14,270 feet, Divide
2 Torrey’s Peak, 14,267 feet, Divide
3 Quandary Peak, 14,265 feet, Tenmile Range
4 Fletcher Mountain, 13,951 feet, Tenmile Range
5 Pacific Peak, 13,950 feet, Tenmile Range
6 “Drift Peak,” 13,900 feet, Tenmile Range
7 Crystal Peak, 13,852 feet, Tenmile Range
8 Mt. Edward, 13,850 feet, Divide
9 “Atlantic Peak,” 13,841 feet, Tenmile Range
10 Argentine Peak, 13,738 feet, Divide
11 Wheeler Mountain, 13,690 feet, Tenmile Range
12 Bald Mountain, 13,684 feet, Divide
13 Peak 10, 13,633 feet, Tenmile Range
14 Father Dyer Peak, 13,615 feet, Tenmile Range
15 North Star Mountain, 13,614, feet Divide
16 Mt. Powell, 13,580 feet, Gore Range
17 Grizzly Peak, 13,427 feet, Divide
18 Eagles Nest, 13,420 feet, Gore Range
19 Mt. Guyot, 13,370 feet, Divide
20 “Mt. Silverthorne,” 13,357 feet, Gore Range
21 Hoosier Ridge, 13,352 feet, Divide
22 “The Thorne,” 13,333 feet, Gore Range
23 Ruby Mountain, 13,277 feet, Divide
24 Geneva Peak, 13,266 feet, Divide
25 “Peak G,” 13,260 feet, Gore Range
26 “Peak Z,” 13,245 feet, Gore Range
27 Landslide Peak, 13,238 feet, Divide
28 “Peak Q,” 13,230 feet, Gore Range
29 “Peak F,” 13,230 feet, Gore Range
30 Red Mountain, 13,229 feet, Divide
31 “Peak C,” 13,220 feet, Gore Range
32 “Peak E,” 13,220 feet, Gore Range
33 Red Peak A, 13,215 feet, Divide
34 “Peak L,” 13,213 feet, Gore Range
35 Jacque Peak, 13,205 feet, Tenmile Range
36 Lenawee Mountain, 13,204, feet Divide
37 Peak 9, 13,195 feet, Tenmile Range
38 Red Peak B, 13,189 feet, Gore Range
39 Santa Fe Peak, 13,180 feet, Divide
40 Mt. Valhalla, 13,180 feet, Gore Range
41 Mt. Helen, 13,164 feet, Tenmile Range
42 Guyselman Mountain, 13,140 feet, Gore Range
43 Sullivan Mountain, 13,134 feet, Divide
44 “Rain Peak,” 13,130 feet, Gore Range
45 Black Benchmark, 13,129, feet Gore Range
46 “Peak N,” 13,121 feet, Gore Range
47 “Cupid,” 13,117 feet, Divide
48 Gore Thumb, 13,100 feet, Gore Range
49 “Peak C Prime,” 13,100 feet, Gore Range
50 “Peak H,” Gore Range
51 “Mt. Solitude,” 13,090 feet, Gore Range
52 Keller Mountain, 13,085 feet, Gore Range
53 “Peak ,” 13,085 feet, Gore Range
54 “North Traverse Peak,” 13,079 feet, Gore Range
55 Whale Peak, 13,078 feet, Divide
56 “Z Prime,” 13,075 feet, Gore Range
57 East Partner Peak, 13,057, feet Gore Range
58 “Peak D,” 13,047 feet, Gore Range
59 “Grand Traverse,” 13,041 feet, Gore Range
60 “Peak U,” 13,041 feet, Gore Range
61 “Golden Bear Peak,” 13,010 feet, Divide
62 “Climber’s Point,” 13,005 feet, Gore Range
Peaks in quotations marks have names are not accepted by the U.S. Geological Survey.
This list created by Richard Chittick based on Gerry Roach’s list of thirteeners found in the back of “Colorado 13ers” and USGS and Trails Illustrated maps. Input on the accuracy of this list is
encouraged and suggestions can be e-mailed to email@example.com.
Richard Chittick spends his free time hiking in an effort to climb every named peak in Summit County. He can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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