Backpacking OutThere Colorado

The abundance of 14,000 foot peaks in the Centennial State make it a dynamic place to cut your teeth on mountaineering. The feeling of standing on top of a peak way above treeline is like no other—the wind is blowing in your face, your legs are burning, you’re probably hungry, and your cell phone doesn’t have a signal. And you’ve never felt more free. Mountaineering skills will help you stay safe in the backcountry and be able to summit peaks that require more safety gear and know-how.

Many of the peaks popular with mountaineers are peaks less traveled by conventional hikers. The Crestone Needle and Crestone Peak require arduous approaches as does Lizard Head by Mount Wilson in the San Juan mountains of Southwest Colorado. If you’ve never attempted a summit more than a Class 2 scramble, it’s worth going on a guided trip. Seek out the local guide company in the area that you’re visiting (see: San Juan Mountain Guides for Southwest Colorado), and join one of their trips for your time out.