The signature of Colorado's Rocky Mountains are the 58 named mountain peaks that exceed an elevation of 14,000 feet (4267 m), referred to as the “Fourteeners.” For decades, 53 or 54 peaks were widely accepted as Fourteeners, but all US Geological Survey-named, recognized, and frequented Fourteeners are included here to bring the total to 58. This article documents factors that affect mountain climbing in Colorado, USA, and discusses the potential for adverse environmental impacts from the increasing number of climbers visiting the Fourteeners, presumably from the adjacent major population center of the Denver, CO, metropolitan area. The first goal was to determine from summit registers the amount of climbers (Fourteener-visits) on any given 14,000-foot peak by month and by year. The second goal identified distance and accessibility factors that have a significant effect on relative annual mountain climbing frequency. Findings provide important insights on identifying potential preservation needs and tourism management within heavily visited rural mountain environments.
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