Every true Coloradan has made the trek up at least one 14er, some have made the trek up all of them. While the “official” number of 14ers is still debated from time to time, we did the research to determine where the 53 most legitimate ones got their names. For tips on how to climb and where to find each 14er, just click the links! Enjoy!
1. Blanca Peak – 14,351 feet
There are two different reports of how this mountain got it’s name. One account stems from the literal translation of “Blanca Peak” from Navajo, which is “black belted mountain”, thought to be named after it’s very visible treeline. Another possible reason for Blanca Peak’s namesake is in the Spanish translation of “blanca” to “white”, referencing another name for the mountain that the Navajo have used, White Shell Mountain.
2. Capitol Peak – 14,137 feet
Known for its famous and highly exposed “knife edge” route, Capitol Peak was named by the Hayden Geological Survey, the members of which thought it resembled the U.S. Capitol Building.
3. Castle Peak – 14,279 feet
Castle Peak got its name thanks to its castellated summit, meaning that it’s has ridges and slots similar to what you’d see on top of a castle wall.
4. Challenger Point – 14,087 feet
Challenger Point was once simply called a subpeak of Kit Carson Peak, though this was later changed to commemorate the seven astronauts that passed away during the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion of 1986.
5. Crestone Needle – 14,203 feet
The word “crestone” comes from the Spanish word “crestón”, which can translate to either “the crest of a helmet” or “the top of a cock’s comb.” However, in the miner community, it simply means “an outcropping of ore.”
6. Crestone Peak – 14,300 feet
Another 14er that’s part of the Crestones, Crestone Peak’s namesake comes from the same origins of Crestone Needle. There was almost another 14er bearing the Crestone name, as there were once talks about Kit Carson Peak being renamed as Mount Crestone. However, officials decided this would be too confusing and it kept its original name.
7. Culebra Peak – 14,053 feet
One of the only 14ers on private land, Culebra Peak is currently only open to paying customers. It’s part of the Culebra Range and is known for its pristine, unsoiled nature. To be honest, we can’t find much about the naming behind this one other than that “Culebra” can be translated to “harmless snake” in Spanish.
8. Ellingwood Point – 14,048 feet
Ellingwood Point is named after Albert R. Ellingwood, an early pioneer of mountaineering that conquered peaks throughout the Rockies during the early 1900s.
9. Grays Peak – 14,278 feet
In 1861, a botanist named Charles C. Perry made the first recorded summit of this Colorado 14er, promptly naming it after his botanist colleague Asa Gray, another botanist known for his role in documenting North American plant life.
10. Handies Peak – 14,058 feet
Another mountain with mysterious naming origins, the true meaning behind the “Handies” in Handies Peak is unknown. It used to be marked as “Tabasco” on maps after Tabasco Meat Sauce Company, the financer of a nearby silver mine, but has since become known as Handies Peak, potentially after a locally famous pioneer that went by “Handie.”
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Curious about more 14ers? Keep on reading with the links below:
[Part 2] Humboldt Peak – Mount Bross
[Part 3] Mount Columbia – Mount Princeton
[Part 4] Mount Shavano – San Luis Peak
[Part 5] Snowmass Mountain – Windom Peak
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