fourteener

A mountain peak whose summit exceeds 14,000 feet above sea level. The name has been used for many years in Colorado, a state with fifty-four or so fourteeners—more than any other. Climbers and hikers speak of “bagging fourteeners” and collect them like destination badges tacked to an alpenstock. Individual fourteeners have their particular lore, such as when a climbing party from New Haven built a cairn atop Mount Yale (14,196 feet) in Colorado’s Collegiate Range so that it overtopped nearby Mount Princeton (14,197 feet). Pikes Peak (14,110 feet), easily the most famous fourteener, and Mount Evans west of Denver (14,264 feet) have automobile roads to their summits. In the Pikes Peak summit house, flatlanders find souvenirs, postcards, coffee and donuts, and oxygen masks.

Robert Michael Pyle