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Hikers traverse the saddle between Grays Peak and Torreys Peak; Photo by Jeff Nelson

Fourteeners Check-Up

A look at the state of our beloved fourteeners.

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As Coloradans, we’re not used to failing. (Hello, top five fittest state, second best startup city, etc.) But when it comes to protecting our high peaks, in some cases, we’re coming damned close. This month, the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) rolls out the first-of-its-kind 14er Report Card, a multifactor analysis of the state of our mountain routes, and let’s just say the Front Range isn’t on the honor roll. The report card is the result of a three-year survey that tracked 10 factors—everything from trail erosion to the abundance of natural materials that can be used to improve trails. The nonprofit CFI spends more than $500,000 annually to maintain pathways on 42 of Colorado’s 54 fourteeners. “The report card is kind of our way of taking inventory,” says Lloyd Athearn, the organization’s executive director. “It helps us determine what our priorities should be for projects.” And Denver’s close-to-home peaks are a big priority: Estimates suggest that the CFI would need $24 million to bring trails on its 42 fourteeners up to scratch, with $5 million of that—or 20 percent—earmarked for five peaks near Denver. Here’s a look at what needs fixing.

(Check out 5280‘s ultimate guide to hiking Colorado’s fourteeners!)

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