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341 Colorado's Fourteeners, Third Edition - Review 2011-02-02


Colorado's Fourteeners, from Hikes to Climbs, Third Edition by Gerry Roach is finally out. Rumors of the new edition have been circulating in the mountains for a few years. It was definitely time for a new edition - the second edition was printed in 1999 and though most of the information had not changed, there were some things that needed updating (that is the problem with print). Regardless of it's dated faults, the Second Edition was still the basic research volume for anyone interested in the Fourteeners. The book just needed to be refreshed.

When we were climbing the Fourteeners in 2009, we used the Second Edition extensively for planning and then when actually climbing, we referred to it's pages nightly. Soon our book was falling apart. The binding took a lot of abuse before it finally started loosing it's grip on the precious pages. We nursed the poor book through the rest of our summer's adventures. We needed a new book.

On 25Jan11 the new edition became available. We ordered a copy immediately and began to flip the pages. There are new maps, new photos, Mountain Essentials' Lists, and the "Roach Points" - the "R" rating system.

The new maps are still very small.

The photos are refreshing.

The Essentials list gives in a nutshell important information about each peak. Included in the list are the summit elevation (including the NAVD88 elevations), peak ranking, prominence, maps used, summit coordinates, nearest town, easiest route, and accolades - to name a few. Most of the Essentials were also listed in the Second Edition; but the new layout nicely combines all the data into one list.

Roach Points is the authors rating system. R points are given for each route for the overall elevation, approach, time required to climb the route, distance of the route, total elevation gain, and technical difficulty of the route. The higher the R Point the more difficult the route. The R Point system allows climbers to compare routes and hopefully would help to prevent novices from getting in over their heads. The full list of the R ratings is in the Appendix.

The most important edition update was Roach reviewing all of the routes. The old guide book had dated information. (The Second Edition has an extensive list of Corrections and Additions (climb.mountains.com)). Many physical changes to the trails have occurred over the ten (+) year cycle of the Second Edition. Groups such as CFI (Colorado Fourteeners Initiative), have performed trail maintenance to improve the routes. Access to certain mountains have changed. In the new edition, the route and peak information has been checked and updated.

A few other changes in the Third Edition ...

  • The 2nd Edition had 306 pages, the 3rd Edition has 376 pages.
  • The Classic routes list, found in the appendix of the 2nd Edition, was not included in the 3rd Edition.
  • Needed comments were added, such as: "You can minimize further damage to this slope by only ascending it and descending another route, since boots skittering down the slope cause the most damage." (Talking about Mount Colombia's West Slopes Route - p142.
  • Coordinates were included for key waypoints.
  • There were two Additions to the "Classic Commandments of Mountaineering" - "Geologic time includes now." And "Experience does not exempt you from danger; physics wins." (Introduction page - xxii)

Happy Fourteeners trails.


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