Guidebook

Colorado’s 4 Great 14er Traverses

Bag four of the best mountaintop traverses in the State of Colorado, if not the entire USA!

Description

Colorado's famous 14,000-foot mountain peaks—known as the "14ers"—are home to a vast range of mountaineering challenges ranging from hikes along well-maintained trails to ultra-technical mountaineering ascents. Along with the standard routes up each mountain, there are many different route variants, including four so-called "Great Traverses" linking up two different mountain peaks. This guidebook presents all four of the Great Traverses in detail.

In addition to offering aesthetically-pleasing ridgeline linkups, the Great Traverses are also some of the most technically and physically-demanding mountaineering challenges in the state of Colorado. But of course, the technical challenge only makes these routes that much more attractive to Colorado's diehard mountaineers.

While all four of the Great Traverses are demanding mountaineering routes, this list does provide a logical difficulty progression. The linkup of El Diente and Mount Wilson only rates a reasonable Class 4 technicality. Little Bear to Blanca Peak is generally rated as a Class 4 traverse, but there are a few Class 5 moves included, blurring the line between the two ratings. The Little Bear to Blanca traverse is also much more exposed than the El Diente and Mount Wilson combo.

Moving on up, Crestone Peak to Crestone Needle is a solidly Class 5 traverse, with extreme exposure and plenty of technical climbing. Whether it is more difficult than the Bells Traverse, from Maroon Peak to North Maroon Peak, is difficult to say—both of these routes are ultra-technical mountaineering objectives in the high mountains where one misstep or missed handhold could easily spell death.

If you have to question whether or not you're up to the task of completing these traverses safely and competently, the answer is clear: you're not.

Sources:
14ers.com
AlanArnette.com

Little Bear to Blanca Peak Traverse
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Little Bear to Blanca Peak Traverse

8.0 km
951 m
One of the most technical and challenging mountaineering challenges found on Colorado's 14ers!
Difficult
Private
Crestone Peak to Crestone Needle Traverse
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Crestone Peak to Crestone Needle Traverse

Salida
18.5 km
2,015 m
The highly-technical 5th Class traverse route/combo of Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle.
Severe
Private
Bells Traverse
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Bells Traverse

Aspen Summer
16.1 km
1,570 m
This Class 5 route is one of the most technical traverses in Colorado.
Severe
Private
El Diente and Mount Wilson Combo
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

El Diente and Mount Wilson Combo

Durango
20.3 km
1,432 m
A technical combo of two San Juan 14ers.
Moderate
Private