A “fourteen” is a mountain peak that is 14,000 feet or higher. In the US, climbers attempt to climb all North America’s fourteen, while in Europe, climbers focus on peaks over 4,000 meters. Peak baggers aim to climb a particular group of mountains in their lifetime. Colorado has the highest concentration of fourteeners in the US. Climbing a fourteener can be exhilarating and challenging, and climbers can record their accomplishments in a logbook.
In mountaineering terms, a fourteen is a mountain peak that is 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) above sea level or higher. The summit of a fourteenth must be independent of neighboring peaks, and various climbers have different standards for determining this independence, but usually the summit must project at least 300 feet (91 meters) for the mountain to be considered a fourteenth. The term “fourteen” is only heavily used in the United States: most of the rest of the world uses the metric system, and therefore measures peaks differently.
In the United States, many heavy-hitters attempt to climb all of North America’s fourteen, a list that includes over a hundred mountains such as Mount Alaska. McKinley, the highest peak in North America, Californian Mt. Whitney, Quandry Peak in Colorado and Liberty Cap in Washington. In Europe, some climbers focus on climbing all peaks over 4,000 meters (13,123 feet), a similar quest to climbing every available 14-year-old. Wherever in the world a 14 year old is a challenging climb, and requires a good level of fitness from the climber.
In mountaineering terms, a “peak bagger” is someone who is trying to climb a particular group of mountains in their lifetime. Examples of accumulation peak lists include all peaks on a particular height, all mountains in a particular region, or hitting the tallest mountain on each continent, called the seven peaks. Some peak baggers also make the search more challenging by climbing free, not using assisted oxygen, or climbing with minimal equipment.
The highest concentration of 14-year-olds in the United States is in Colorado, which has 52-54, depending on how they’re measured. Colorado is already known throughout North America for being a popular outdoor recreation area and people come from all over the world to ski, snowboard and rock climb there. Peak baggers often take group trips to Colorado and attempt several peaks in one season, and numerous magazines and organizations have been formed to help peak baggers connect with one another in Colorado.
Climbing as a 14-year-old can be an exhilarating and challenging experience. Some peaks are more challenging than others, but nearly all offer breathtaking views when the climber successfully scales. In many cases, a 14-year-old’s base camp has a logbook, so climbers can record their accomplishments for others to read. Many climbers warn that, like other outdoor sports, quad climbing can be highly addictive.