These are the 7 most difficult 14ers in Colorado: Here's what you should know before climbing them

These are the 7 most difficult 14ers in Colorado: Here's what you should know before climbing them
Posted at 5:12 PM, Aug 02, 2017

DENVER -- Climbing a Colorado 14er is rite of passage for transplants and natives alike, but there is a growing concern that many underestimate the risks involved. 

Many of the peaks -- known as "approachable Everests" -- can be climbed by the average person, but experts warn even the easiest peak can be treacherous. 

Here are the 7 most difficult 14ers in Colorado: 

1. Capitol Peak - Class 4 (Most Difficult) 

Climbing aficionados call Capitol Peak "arguably the most difficult 14er in Colorado," due to is rugged terrain, a relentless climb up and arduous backpacking trip to Capitol Lake. 

2. Little Bear Peak - Class 4 (Most Difficult) 

Climbers call the approach to Little Bear Peak "terrible," as it means either driving on a rocky road under hot weather or partaking on an Jeep ride over some pretty challenging obstacles. The "Hourglass" section of the climb can be potentially fatal, as you have to watch out for ice and water and rock fall from above. 

3. Pyramid Peak - Class 4 (Most Difficult) 

Climber say the climb up Pyramid Peak can prove difficult due to its notoriously loose rock, making the climb and the descent very challenging, especially under wintry or rainy conditions. 

4. Maroon Peak - Class 4 (Most Difficult) 

As you can see from the rock formations in the pictured above, the climb up to Maroon Peak can prove fatal for the unskilled. Climbers say this 14er has "some of Colorado's worst rock," that even experienced climbers have difficulty with. 

5. Mount Wilson - Class 4 (Most Difficult) 

Climbers have called Mount Wilson "easily one of the most challenging 14ers" in the state. Why? They cite very loose rock at the summit and a very long trek from the Rock of Ages as part of the challenge. 

6. Crestone Needle - Class 3 (Most Difficult) 

The route up Crestone Needle is steep, followed by difficult-finding routes. Climbers say that even though the rock is solid, a tiny mistake can prove fatal -- especially during severe weather conditions. 

7. Sunlight Peak - Class 4 (Most Difficult) 

Climbers say the terrain in the Chicago Basin -- where Sunlight is located -- is quite loose and can be dangerous as it is susceptible to quickly changing extreme weather conditions.

What you should know before climbing

Thinking about climbing, or are you preparing to climb soon? The Alpine Rescue Team offered some advice as to what you should know before taking the trip:

Officials say you should let someone know your planned route and time to finish and when they should call the sheriff if you have not returned. 

Additionally, you should also be physically and mentally prepared, know the route you're taking and the risks associated with the climb, as well as respect the mountain you're climbing up. 

If you're still set on embarking on an incredible 14er journey, you may want to check out our checklist crafted by experts from the Colorado 14ers Initiative.

Editor's note: Information about the difficult of each peak in this article was obtained from


PHOTOS: See all of Colorado's 53 14ers