Put the canoe in the water, and people will start paddling.
This page is about my own Tour of the Colorado 14ers self-supported self-powered FKT in 2014.
Travel to, and ascend ALL Colorado’s 50-somethin’ Ranked and Named 14,000+ foot peaks by fair means: legally, self-powered, and self-supported.
Start the Challenge on any date, time, and location you choose. The Challenge is finished once you travel back to your original starting point. Your time to complete the Challenge will be recorded (realized or unfinished).
The idea of a self-supported challenge should be self-evident. The most important aspect is to keep your own personal integrity: say what you did, and how you did it – and do it all yourself.
The goal is to provide an off-road route (as much as possible and reasonable) for travel by bike, using known routes like the Colorado Trail and the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, as well as well-known Passes like Cinnamon, Imogene, Pearl, Taylor and Argentine.
The goal of this route is not specifically one of speed, but of adventure, as well as removing the Challenger from as many busy, paved routes as possible (although, sometimes even that is unavoidable). An entirely
different route could be created if one wanted to optimize for speed.
On Your Own
There is no entry fee, support, registration, and certainly no prize money. This challenge is run as self-timed Individual time trial. All that is provided here is a framework for your own adventure. This challenge is an amateur pursuit and resists commercialization by its very nature.
This challenge is open to anyone.
- The Challenger may pick ANY starting point they desire, but must finish their challenge at this same point.
- The Challenger may also pick any starting date/time.
- Suggested starting point: American Mountaineering Center, Golden, CO
- Suggested starting time: Mid July – Mid August
(based on Simoni’s 2014 trip)
- Total cycling: ~1,600 miles, 150,000′ elevation
- Total trails: ~350 miles, 150,000′ elevation
- Estimated Time to Finish: 30 – 35 days.
- Once the clock starts, it does not stop – one enormous stage.
This challenge will take much longer than other, similar 14er peak-bagging challenges that have a support crew and transportation to trails, as the Challenger will be burdened with the additional task of traveling to and from each summit, carrying all gear needed, sourcing food, supplies, etc. There’s just so much gear one can schlep on a bike, so choices will need to be paired down to the absolute minimum you’re willing to haul. Some peaks may well require multiple attempts at summiting. It’s gonna be a grind.
This challenge has many free-form elements: where to start; route; self-powered transportation choices; summit order – and few prior challengers, in the same spirit. It’s highly encouraged that any Challenger express their own unique style on the Challenge itself, regardless of the two main (perceived?) goals: Total time to complete the challenge, and successfully summiting of all name/ranked 14ers.
Style is wholly subjective and will in no way impact your final time – style points don’t count that way, but that’s not the goal of style. Style is leaving your own creative signature to the Challenge.
Some things to consider:
- Will you take the easiest, standard route up a peak, or a harder, perhaps slower route? Traverse?
- Do you bicycle to the top of all mountains that you can? Will this be faster or slower than walking/hiking/running up?
- Do you take advantage of all indoor sleeping resources (motels/lodges) along the way, or do you bivvy it by the trailhead?
- Are unranked peaks on your radar?
- Think: your bike just got stolen, is destroyed beyond repair: do you continue strictly on foot?
These types of style questions are left up to the Challenger.
- Cave Dog’s Might Mountain Mega Marathon
Using Transportation to and from the trailheads, (abiding by the Colorado Rule) Cave Dog was able to complete his challenge in 10 days, 20 hours, 26 minutes
- Homie’s Record Attempt
John Prater attempted to better Cave Dog’s record in 2012 –
- Andrew Hamilton
Hamilton holds the, “Self-Powered” record, having cycled to trailheads, and climbing them (abiding by the Colorado Rule), with a full support crew, including having specific bikes ready for him, at other sides of traverses.
Finding examples of people traveled to the trailhead by bike, in a self-supported-like mode are scarce. Some articles:
- Junaid Dawud and Luke DeMuth Thru Hiked the Colorado 14ers in a pretty incredible 72 days in 2013.
- Bart Miller, 7 week trip, with a mountain bike, BOB trailer
- Nick Ehrhardt, David Paquette, 2005 (2, 3)
- Roy Benton, 1995
- Glen and Pete Dunmire, 1985
“Between July 29 and September 27 of that year, Estes Park locals Glen and Pete Dunmire climbed all of the 14ers (Culebra included) by bike.”
It’s almost a given that other people have done similar trips, but felt no need to leave an easy trail of stories of their journey.
This Challenge and its rules are modeled after previous challenges, including: