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Assessing Human-Environmental Impacts on Colorado's 14,000-Foot Mountains by Jon J. Kedrowski A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Geography College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Jaya jit Chakraborty, Ph.D. Robert Brinkmann, Ph.D. M. Martin Bosman, Ph.D. Date of Approval: March 6, 2006 Keywords: fourteeners, climbing frequenc y, trails, erosion, alpine degradation Copyright 2006, Jonathan James Kedrowski
To everyone who knew I could climb every f ourteener in Colorado for this thesis in the summer of 2005. I did it in only 42 day s, and yet nobody ever said a thesis could be this fun! To my closest family, best friends, and finest colleagues, thanks for believing in me and in this project you know who you are.
Acknowledgments A special thanks goes out to my advi sing committee, headed by Dr. Jayajit Chakraborty. My committee members, Dr. B ob Brinkmann and Dr. Martin Bosman have also been exceptional people to work with. Kudos especial ly to Dr. Jay, who has been my statistics mentor, and who has had enough fa ith and patience in this project despite it being focused on the fourteeners so far away, and not on natural or technological hazards. Perhaps this can serve as a new specialty for you! I give props out to some of my flat-la nder colleagues at USF, primarily those in my grad-assistant office (Josh, Heather, Erin, Clay, Scott, Curt). They have been hearing about this mountain topic for so long they probably want to pack up and leave the Gulf Coast for good to live in the mountains for them selves! I also want to give Ray Miller and Miller Time GIS some special recognition. Ray played an intricate role in not only endless hours of digital elevation models and GISing Colorados Fourteeners, but for giving valuable advice in the actual naming of the index (FEDI) created in this project. All of my fellow Geograph ists , you have become great friends to me, so I thank you. Many people have had a positive influence upon my life along this journey to the top of the fifty-eight highest peaks in Colo rado, and beyond. First and foremost I want to extend my heart-felt appreciati on to my long-time best friend Valerie Jean, soon to be Ph.D. Without you these peaks may have still been climbed and studied, but the amazing memories and stories behind them would neve r come to life like they have. Youve
taught me how to make it happen, and this Thesis has been a testament to that inspiration. I need to thank my entire family, especia lly my parents, who have always been there for me. To my mother and father (Barb and Bob), thanks for giving me a N.O.D. Mountaineering home base in Eagle-Vail, Colorado for me to recover and work inbetween the mountain madness of collecting da ta from all the Fourteeners from June through August of 2005. To everyone that joined me for a climb at one point during my data collection or at anytime before that, my brothers Jared and Robbe, my sister Krista, thanks for coming along. I am especially ha ppy that the weather was cooperative most of the time. For that I give credit to my long-time friend and fellow climber, Denver-FOX Meteorologist Chris Tomer. During the project help also came from people in the field serving as valuable sources of data and information to the overa ll completion of this Thesis. Thanks to Woody Smith of the Colorado Mountain Cl ub Archives who was generous enough to give access to the summit registers for data collection. Sarah Gor ecki, Field Projects Manager and Assistant Director for the Co lorado Fourteeners Initiative, became a common familiar face on the trails and routes. Her help on fourteen er trails and route information, fourteener restora tion projects, and other inside resources was a very kind addition to this work. There are many other people I wish to th ank, and for those of you who have been a part of this project, or my life, if even for only a moment, thanks for always believing in me. There will be many other days and ma ny other mountains to climb, and so this project is only the beginning, and I want to thank God for giving me this opportunity.
Note to Reader Note to Reader: The original manuscript of this document contains color that is necessary for understanding the data, maps, a nd information presented. The original thesis is on file with the University of S outh Florida (USF) library in Tampa, Florida, USA.
i Table of Contents List of Tables iv List of Figures vii Abstract x Chapter One: Introduction 1 1.1. Theoretical Context and Project Ob jectives 1 1.2. Human-Environmental Interaction Fr amework 5 1.2.1. Peakbaggers and First-nature Adve nturists 5 1.3. Colorado Ecotourism 8 1.4. Problem Statement 11 Chapter Two: Physical and Social C ontext 14 2.1. Defining the Study Area: The Unique Fourteeners Regional Geography 15 2.1.1. Physical Geography of the Study Area 16 2.2. Social Context of Colorados F ourteeners 22 2.2.1. History of Climbing Colorados Fourteeners 23 2.2.2. Recent History and Climbi ng Records for Colorados Fourteeners 25 2.2.3. Outdoor Wilderness Code of Ethics on Colorados Fourteeners 27 2.2.4. Current Fourteener Restor ation and the Organizations Involved 30 2.3. Prior Research and Studies of the Fourteeners 36 2.3.1. Alpine Environmental Degradation 39 2.3.2. Trail Erosion and Degradatio n 41 2.4. Private Property Conflicts on Colorado s Fourteeners 44 2.5. Special Measures To Contro l Overcrowding on Colorados Fourteeners 50 2.6. Linking the Overall Social, Economic and Physical Contexts 55 Chapter Three: Analysis of Mountain C limbing Frequency (Phase One) 56 3.1. Sources of Information and Data Coll ection Overview 57 3.1.1. Sources of Information and Study Limitations 58
ii 3.1.2. Determining Relative Annual Climbing Frequency From the Summit Registers 59 3.2. Descriptions of the Variables and Data Collection 61 3.3. Analyzing Factors Affecting Relative Mountain Climbing Frequency (Phase One) 64 3.3.1. Comparison of Group Means to Classify Annual Relative Climbing Frequency 66 3.3.2. Correlation Analysis Results 68 Chapter Four: Physical Trails and Route Peak Analysis (Phase Two) 71 4.1. Physical Trails and Route An alysis Fieldwork Data Collection 72 4.2. Descriptions of the Variables and Da ta Collection 72 4.2.1. Route Conditions on the Fourteeners 73 4.2.2. Descriptive Statistics from Data Collection 87 4.3. Standardizing the Environmental Impacts Variables for the Interim FEDI 93 4.3.1. Calculating the Interim Fourteeners Environmental Degradation Index (iFEDI) 94 4.4. Results of the Physical Tra il and Route Analysis Fieldwork (Phase Two) 98 4.4.1. Interim Fourteeners Envir onmental Degradation Index (iFEDI) 98 Chapter Five: Analysis, Formulati on, and Discussion of the Fourteeners Environmental Degradation Index (FEDI) 111 5.1. Formulating the Fourteeners En vironmental Degradation Index (FEDI) 114 5.2. Application of the FEDI to Compare and Rank the Fourteeners 115 5.3. Geographic Distribution of the FEDI 127 5.4. Multiple Scenarios to Adjust Relative Importance of FEDI Input Variables 134 5.4.1. Multiple Scenario FEDI Equations 138 5.4.2. Multiple Scenario FEDI Results 140 5.4.3. Fourteeners Attention to Restor ation Status 144 Chapter Six: Conclusions 151 References 162 Appendices 171 Appendix A: Index of Fourteeners Studied in this Project 172 Appendix B: Climbing Difficulty Classifications of Colorados Fourteeners 176
iii Appendix C: Data Collection Temp lates for Archive and Fieldwork Collection (Phases 1 and 2) 180 Appendix D: Additional Maps and Tables (Project Chronicles) 186 About the Author End Page
iv List of Tables Table 2.1. 53 Official (58 Unof ficial) Fourteeners Ranked by Elevation 16 Table 2.2. Original List of First Men and Women Who Climbed All of Colorados Fourteeners 25 Table 2.3. Organizations and Groups that Contribute to Restoration Efforts on Colorados Fourt eeners, and Often Work With the USFS, CFI, and RMFI 32 Table 2.4. Projects on Colorado s Fourteeners Completed by the CFI in Partnership With the USFS and Help From Many Other Organizations. List ed in Order of Completion, Years Work Was Done, and Route That Was Constructed or Restored 34 Table 2.5. Projects on Colorados F ourteeners Currently in Progress as of 2005 by the CFI in Partnership With the USFS, and Help From Many Other Organi zations. Listed in Order of Completion, Years Work is Being Done, and Route That is Being Worked On 35 Table 2.6. Weights Given to Each Criteria in CF Is Method of Assessing Which Fourteeners Have the Highest Priority for Trail and Route Restoration 38 Table 2.7. Fourteeners in Colo rado Located on Land Under Private Ownership By Someone Other than the U.S. Forest Service, BLM, or National Park Service 45 Table 2.8. Eleven Federally Design ated Wilderness Areas in Colorado And the Status of Permits to Access Fourteeners Within the National Forest Service Jurisdiction 53 Table 3.1. Criteria Used to Clas sify Yearly Relative Climbing Frequencies for Colorados Fourte eners 60
v Table 3.2. Descriptive Statistics fo r the Factors That Affect Relative Annual Climbing Frequency of Colorados Fourteeners (n = 58) 66 Table 3.3. Ranking Colorados Six Most Difficult 14,000 Peaks 66 Table 3.4. Comparison of Group M eans for Annual Relative Climbing Frequency of Colorado s Fourteeners (three groups total n = 58) 67 Table 3.5. Pearson-Product Corre lation Values Between Variables That Effect Relative Climbing Frequency of Colorados Fourteeners 69 Table 4.1. Descriptive Statistics for the Nine Variable Attributes Collected in the Trails and Routes Analysis (Phase Two) of Colorados Fourteen ers (n = 58) 87 Table 4.2. Fourteeners Trail and R oute Attributes: Absolute Versus Potential Impacts and How Each One Contributes to the Interim FEDI 95 Table 4.3. 53 Official ( 58 Unofficial) Fourteeners Ranked by Interim FEDI 100 Table 4.4. Colorados Fourteener s Compared by Range for iFEDI Values 101 Table 5.1. 53 Official (58 Unofficial) Fourteeners Ranked by FEDI (Equal Weights) 116 Table 5.2. Colorados Fourteeners Compared by Range for Composite FEDI Values (Equal Weights) 117 Table 5.3. Summary of Different FE DI Combination Macro Scenario Strategies 136 Table 5.4. Summary of Diffe rent FEDI Combination Scenarios 137 Table 5.5. 53 Official (58 Unofficial) Fourteeners Ranked by FEDI (Scenario #2) 141 Table 5.6. Colorados Fourteeners Compared by Range for Composite FEDI Values (Absolute Impacts Doubled, Scenario #2) 142
vi Table 5.7. 53 Official (58 Unofficial) Fourteeners Ranked by FEDI (Scenario #3) 143 Table 5.8. Colorados Fourteeners Compared by Range for Composite FEDI Values (Potential Impact s Doubled, Scenario #3) 144 Table 5.9. Attention to Restoratio n Status: A Practical Application For the Fourteeners Level of Environmental Degradation Based on FEDI Outcomes 145 Table 5.10. Attention to Restoration Status: Averages for the Three FEDI Scenarios 146 Table 5.11. Attention to Restoratio n Status: Rankings for the Three FEDI Scenarios 147
vii List of Figures Figure 1.1. Colorados Fourteeners 4 Figure 2.1. Major Colorado Mountain Ranges 17 Figure 2.2. Colorados Fourteener Ranges Spatially 18 Figure 2.3. A Typical Backcountry Ethics Sign Placed by CFI and the USFS at the Trailhead for the Standard Route for Belford, Oxford, and Missouri Mountains in the Sawatch Range, Peaks that Have Had Restoration Projects Completed 36 Figure 2.4. Signs Placed at the Trai lhead for the Route to Wilson Peak in Silver Pick Basin to Keep Climbers from Trespassing and Accessing the Peaks 47 Figure 2.5. The Private Property Line in Silver Pick Basin: Another Sign Placed to Warn Trespassers 48 Figure 2.6. Wilderness Use Permits Th at Are Self-issued by Visitors at the Trailheads of Colorados Fourteeners and the Surrounding Backcountry 52 Figure 2.7. An Electronic Gauge Placed at the Guanella Pass Trailhead for Mount Bierstadt in the Front Range to Monitor the Climbing Frequency of the Peak 54 Figure 4.1. Trail Spurs and Braided Tr ails On Sunshine Peaks North Slopes, San Juan Range 76 Figure 4.2. Trail Switchbacks, La Plata P eak, Sawatch Range 77 Figure 4.3. Double Wide (Dw) Tr ail, Mount Bierstadt, Front Range 79
viii Figure 4.4(a). Social Trail Degradati on Due to Lack of Constructed Trail or Route Markers, Thus No Single Route Corridor. A Few Markers Are Shown Here, But Were Not Continuous on the Route. South Slopes of Mount Columbia, Sawatch Range 81 Figure 4.4(b). Culebra Peak, Sangre de Cristo Range. Peak Remains Pristine, Without Trails or Even Cairn Markers 82 Figure 4.4(c). Without a Trail, Cairn Systems Maintain a Single Route Corridor. Mount of the Holy Cross, Sawatch Range 83 Figure 4.5. Visible Campsite Observ ed Above the Main Maroon Bells/ Snowmass Wilderness Trail. Snowmass Mountain, Elk Range 84 Figure 4.6(a). A Four-Wheel-Drive Road as Part of the Route, Lake Como Basin, Blanca/Little Bear/Ellingwood Peaks, Sangre de Cristos 85 Figure 4.6(b). A Four-Wheel-Drive Road as Part of the Route, Lake Como Basin, Ellingwood Point, Sangre de Cristo Range 86 Figure 4.7(a). Maroon Peak South Ri dge Route Just Below the South Ridge at 13,100 89 Figure 4.7(b). A Need For A Clear Trail and Switchbacks To Be Constructed Up the Grassy Slopes of Lower North Maroon Peak Between 11,500 and 12,800 90 Figure 4.7(c). Gully on North Maroon at 13,000 is Severely Eroded 91 Figure 4.7(d). New Trail and Sw itchback Constructed Summer 2005 Pyramid Peak 92 Figure 4.8(a). Colorados FourteenersMRV iF EDI Values By Range 102 Figure 4.8(b). Front RangeiFEDI Values 103 Figure 4.8(c). Central Front RangeiFEDI Values 104 Figure 4.8(d). Tenmile / Mosquito RangeiFEDI Values 105 Figure 4.8(e). Sangre de Cristo Rang eiFEDI Values 106
ix Figure 4.8(f). Northern Sawatch Range iFEDI Values 107 Figure 4.8(g). Southern Sawatch Rangei FEDI Values 108 Figure 4.8(h). San Juan RangeiFEDI Values 109 Figure 4.8(i). Elk RangeiFEDI Values 110 Figure 5.1. Conceptual Framework for Combination of Relevant Variables to Formulate the FEDI 113 Figure 5.2(a). Colorados Four teenersMRV FEDI Values By Range 118 Figure 5.2(b). Front RangeComposite FEDI Values 119 Figure 5.2(c). Central Front RangeComposite FEDI Values 120 Figure 5.2(d). Tenmile / Mosquito RangeC omposite FEDI Values 121 Figure 5.2(e). Northern Sawatch RangeComposite FEDI Values 122 Figure 5.2(f). Southern Sawatch RangeComposite FEDI Values 123 Figure 5.2(g). Sangre de Cristo RangeCom posite FEDI Values 124 Figure 5.2(h). San Juan RangeComposite FEDI Values 125 Figure 5.2(i). Elk RangeComposite FEDI Values 126 Figure 5.3. Relationship Between a Peaks Distance From Denver and Environmental Impacts (FEDI) 127 Figure 5.4. Relationship Between a P eaks Distance to the Nearest Paved Road and the Environmental Impacts (FEDI) 130 Figure 5.5. Relationship Between a P eaks Length of Trail and the Environmental Impacts (FEDI) 131 Figure 5.6. Relationship Between a P eaks Trailhead Elevation and the Environmental Impacts (FEDI) 132 Figure 5.7. Relationship Between a Peaks Climbing Route Difficulty and the Environmental Impacts (FEDI) 133
x Assessing Human-Environmental Impacts on Colorados 14,000-foot Mountains Jon J. Kedrowski ABSTRACT This research focuses on documenting and analyzing the factors that affect mountain climbing in the state of Colorado and assessing the potential environmental impacts caused by the growing number of climbers visiting the Fourteenersthe 58 mountain peaks located within the Rocky Mountains exceed ing an elevation of 14,000 feet. Key objectives were to: 1. identify factors that have a significant effect on mountain climbing frequency; 2. collect information from physical trail a nd route evaluation to develop an interim classification index; 3. combine relevant variables to formulat e a composite Fourteeners Environmental Degradation Index (FEDI) and use it to evaluate, rank, and compare the 58 fourteeners within the six ma jor mountain ranges; and 4. examine sensitivity of this composite index based on changing relative importance of the input variables. Results from the first phase, based on st atistical tests, indicated that annual climbing frequency has a significant positive as sociation with (a) distance from Denver; (b) direct distance from the summit to the near est paved road; (c) length of the trail/route;
xi and (d) climbing route difficulty. Elevation of a peaks trailhead, however, is the only variable with a significantly negative rela tionship with climbing frequency of the fourteeners. The second phase of the study involved the assessment of adverse impacts (trail erosion and trail status) through extensive fiel dwork. The data was used to develop an interim FEDI. Peaks in the Front Range (e.g., Mount Evans, Longs Peak, and Pikes Peak) indicate the most advers e human-environmental impacts. Variables from both previous phases were combined to develop the final FEDI. Analyses indicated that Mount Evans (Front Ra nge) was ranked highest (highest level of adverse impacts), while Culebra (Sangre de Cristo Range) ranked lowest. The mountain ranges closest to Denver (Front Range a nd Tenmile/Mosquito) yielded the highest average ranks, while ranges farthest from Denver showed lowest ranks. Sensitivity analyses of the FEDI suggest ed that rankings were not dr astically altered by adjusting relative importance of input factors. The findings provide important insights on identifying preservation needs within heavily visited mountain environments and can be used to guide future protection efforts, trail construction, and maintenance for existing trails and routes.
1 Chapter One: Introduction 1.1. Theoretical Context and Project Objectives The Colorado Rocky Mountains are part of the North American backbone which stretches 3,000 miles from Al aska through western Canada and the United States into northern Mexico. The centerpieces of Colora dos impressive uplift are the fifty-plus peaks over 14,000 feet, or "fourt eeners," as they are presumably referred to by climbers. Fourteeners in the Rocky Mountain State are now visited by virtually 500,000 people each year (Kenworthy, 1998, 2001; Woodbury, 1999; Roach, 2004; Borneman and Caudle, 2005; Colorado Fourteeners Initiati ve (CFI), 2005). While some of the more remote peaks appear flawless and pristine, increased recreational use has critically impacted many peaks and their alpine basins. This thesis focuses on documenting and an alyzing the factors th at affect mountain climbing in the state of Colorado. Knowledge of these explanatory factors is necessary to assess the potential human-environmental im pacts brought on by pe ople who visit the fourteeners. A fourteener, by definition, is one of the 53 official (58 unofficial) peaks that rise above an elevation of 14,000 feet. In th is study, available data on mountain climbing frequency was collected and analyzed from the Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) Archives for the 53 official fourteeners, from the ten most recent and reliable seasons
2 (1995-2004). Reliable seasons in the scope of this project refer to the highest amount of complete and up to date information collected from either the CMC Archives or out on the fourteeners themselves, and are further us ed to draw conclusions about which peaks in Colorado have the highest level of envir onmental degradation associated with their relative climbing frequencies. Data were coll ected from the standard route of each peak and used to conduct a human-environmental impa ct analysis of trails and routes. The key research goals of this study were to: 1. Identify the factors that ha ve a significant effect on mountain climbing frequency; 2. Collect and use information from the physical trail and route evaluation to develop a classification index called th e interim Fourteeners Environmental Degradation Index (iFEDI); 3. Combine relevant factors from the two pr evious steps to formulate a composite Fourteeners Environmental Degradation Index (FEDI) that can be used to evaluate, compare, and rank the fourteen ers within the six major mountain ranges in Colorado; and 4. Examine sensitivity of this composite index based on changing the relative importance of the input variable s that comprise the FEDI. Assessing the extent to which the trails and routes are eroded and how erosion has damaged the natural landscape of a fourteener is the intended objective of the FEDI. The standard route, which is the route most ofte n used and climbed by fourteener enthusiasts (usually the easiest route), is used as th e basis for comparing each fourteener to one another. The standard route was evaluated fo r several physical landscape characteristics. For each peak studied, the numerical value of the formulated composite classification
3 index indicates the relative magnitude of potentially adverse human-environmental impacts that are occurring on any particular fourteener. If a peak reveals a high value FEDI, attention should be directed to impr ove existing trails, educate the public about venturing into certain areas, and actively examine other solutions to preserve the mountains for sustained usage and recreation. Trails can be renovated and reconstructed to handle the volume of people who want to climb any particular peak and management of the peaks of a higher index risk (e.g., a higher level of r oute travel and trail damage) can be more easily accomplished if a sp ecific rating system is in place. The first phase (Phase One) of the study involved collecting information on climbing frequencies from the Colorado M ountain Club Archives and data on basic human visitation to the fourteeners, followed by statistical analyses to identify factors that have a significant effect on mountain climbing frequency. The second phase (Phase Two) of the study required field work and data collection on specific physical characteristics of each peak to formulate the interim classification index (iFEDI). Variables selected through the statistical anal ysis in Phase One were then analyzed and incorporated with Phase Tw o data to develop the fina l composite FEDI and rank Colorados Fourteeners (Figure 1.1) on the basis of the index values.
4 Figure 1.1. Colorados Fourteeners
5 1.2. Human-Environmental Interaction Framework In order to identify the underlining pur pose of this study, it is necessary to understand the nature and scope of the hum an-environmental interactions that are occurring within the mountains of Colora do. In the last decade, over one million fourteener-visits have oc curred on Colorados 14,000-foot peaks (Roach, 2004; Best, 2005a; Borneman and Caudle, 2005; CFI, 2005a; Stein, 2005). The visitation is becoming exponential, as a testament to the fact that less than 200,000 visitors per year were thought to be climbing the peaks in the early 1990s (Benner, 1992, Woodbury, 1999; Kenworthy, 1998, 2001; Blake, 2002). No w that more and more people are coming into the wilderness and climbing thes e peaks each year, the current level of visitation (as mentioned earlier) is exceeding 500, 000 per year and is expected to increase even further. The knowledge of which peaks are climbed more often than others can be used to assess the environmental damage th at is occurring on account of their overvisitation. Consequently, e ffective ways of managing th ese peaks and their pristine wilderness areas can be formulated in the most effective and efficient manner. Trails can be renovated and reconstructed to handle the volumes of peop le who want to climb any particular peak. Effective management of this recreational resource is the key to preserving it for the enjoyment of generations to come. 1.2.1. Peakbaggers and First-nature Adventurists It is inevitable that population growth, which contributes to sheer numbers of climbers, is quite simply the easiest explanati on for the growing number of visitors to the fourteeners. In this day and age, there is also a specific type of person that is
6 progressively becoming an adventure seeker and thus the driving force behind the increasing visits to the mountains as a whole. The desire of so many to reach out and touch a fourteener transformed what had been primarily the domain of the mountaineer looking for a technical climbing challenge, or the denizen of a mountain mystic seeking spiritual renewal, to the playground of the "peakbagger" (Blake, 2002). Peakbagging implies that the mountains are collectibles a nd that the hikers are devoted to completing all of the climbs in a meticulous collection. Most of the peakbaggers are people who are looking for a way to get into the mountains and out of the city and suburbs a nd who are nature-loving enthusiasts. They are also the type of people seeking a unique kind of tourism. These ecotourists are attracted by the concept of f irst-nature (Driver, 2001; Smith and OKeefe, 1996). Firstnature in the context of Colorados high count ry is defined as isolation and pristine mountain wilderness. The feeling of firstnature involves a 14,000foot peak, including the experiences of high-altitude sheer rock faces, mountaine ering challenges, and for the most-part, non-human influences. While clim bing to the top of a fourteener, a person feels a physical challenge and gets to experience the true feeling of a Rocky Mountain High as John Denver emphasized in one of hi s famous songs. First-nature is the concept of untouched, unmolded, and even undiscovered by the infl uence of human-kind, as defined ideally by Richard Hart shorne (1939) in the following: At any one time there is only one la ndscape and only in areas untouched by man can it properly be called "natural." In pl ace of the use of these terms for a wide variety of different concepts that need to be carefully distinguished, the following solutions are suggested: (1) For the sum of all the natural factors in an area, the term "natural environment "is well-est ablished and clearly understood. (2) "Natural landscape" should be used only to indicate the original landscape of an area as it existed before the entry of man, because of past corruption of the term, clarity may require the redundant phrase "ori ginal natural landscape," or that may
7be avoided by using the term "primeval landscape." (3) The concept of the theoretical landscape that would now exist in an inhabited area if that area had never been touched by man is not a con cept frequently needed and therefore had best be spelled out in full if used at a ll. (4) The landscape of areas of primitive development, prior to the entry of civiliz ed man, is not a natural landscape, since even primitive peoples may cause notable alterations, but may be called a "primitive landscape." (5) Likewise th e general landscapes of such primitive areas, as well as the patches of uncontrolled areas in the midst of well-developed lands may be called it wild landscapes" in contrast to the "cultivated" or "tamed" landscapes of fields, farmsteads, roads and cities (Hartshorne, 1939, 5). Natural environment and natural lands cape are at the center of defining what the fourteeners have to offer the adventurer. Even though Ha rtshorne (1939) talks about these terms and their subsequent involvement with the entry of man, it needs to be emphasized that the fourteeners are still relatively pristine and continually absorb the visitation of many without compro mising their status. This is exactly the original natural landscape that the fourteeners enthusiasts seek, along with the exciting rush that they get from climbing to the tops of these peaks. Overall, these high mountain peaks are to be kept in their natura l state just like the final point Hartshorne describes; the idea that these wilderness areas are still very much the original natural landscapes compared to any fields, farms, roads, and especially ur ban and suburban developments in the Front Range Plains of Colorado. What is at stake t oday and in the very near future is indeed these pristine mountain areas. The negative environmental consequences that abound from recreational overuse attract additional attention to the fourteeners as icons of ideal nature, and bond people with the fourteener sense of place (Blake, 2002). Throughout the course of this research and trail evalua tion, it became evident that without the mindful efforts of all adventurists, the fourteener se nse of place may be in jeopardy. The level
8 of human-environmental impacts can only be absorbed for so long, and this studys valuable purpose is an effort to understand and improve that absorption. The first-nature approach (Driver, 2001; Smith and OKeefe, 1996) to the fourteeners gives the people w ho venture to these pristine mountain areas an experience they enjoy and treasure. The concept of nat ure-fabulous, derived from the content of geography-fabulous (Driver, 2001), takes th e visitor of a four teener by storm and engulfs him or her into the adventure of clim bing to the top of one of Colorados finest (Roach, 2004). The role of explorer is t hus also assumed by these types of outdoor enthusiasts (Driver, 2001). Even though ther e have been many people who have touched and gone into these areas before, the peopl e who set foot into the realms of the fourteeners get a feeling that they are the first to set eyes upon these magnificent landscapes. This is the essence of f irst-nature and nature-fabulous. To lay eyes upon a lake, a peak, a species, for the first time, was the dream of every aspiring explorer (Driver, 2001, 9). In effect, this dream is the sensation that a person gets when he/she experiences any one of Colorados highest peaks, thus being the end result of the overall journey towards the reaches of nature-fabulous. 1.3. Colorado Ecotourism The Colorado tourism industry is increas ingly catering to, as well as becoming the beneficiary of the first-natur e fourteener adventurists. The people that venture to the
9 high summits of the states 14,000-foot peaks are essentially dubbed ecotourists. Ecotourism has been defined in many ways by various scholars of the discipline (Valentine, 1992; Weaver, 1998; Hall and Page, 2005). Each of the following definitions from the aforementioned resear chers are undoubtedly linked to fourteener outdoor recreational ecotourists: 1. Ecotourism as any form of tourism development which is regarded as environmentally friendly and has the capaci ty to act as a branding mechanism for some forms of tourist pr oducts (Valentine, 1992); 2. Ecotourism as green or nature-based tourism which is essentially a form of special interest tourism and refers to a specific mark et segment and the products generated for that segment (Hall and Page, 2005); and 3. Ecotourism as a form of nature-based tourism that involves education and interpretation of the natural environmen t and is managed to be ecologically and culturally sustaina ble (Weaver, 1998). Each one of the above definitions can be applied to Colorados Fourteeners. The first and second definitions (Valentine, 1992; Hall and Page, 2005) both imply the environmental worth of the Fourteeners as an invaluable resource to the people of Colorado. There is no doubt that the beauty of Colorados mountains is a huge marketing pedestal for the social and economic well-bei ng of all the people in Colorado, especially the local areas within close proximity to any of the 58 14,000-foot peaks. People traveling throughout this region for their ow n personal climbing adventures partially contribute to the states $8.7billion per year tourism industry gains (Freed, 2003). For example, people often spend money in Summit and Park Counties for lodging and gas on
10 their way to climbing the six peaks of the Ten Mile / Mosquito Range (Best, 2005a). Visitors to peaks such as Quandary, Democr at, and Lincoln, located near Breckenridge and Alma may also stop in the late after noon following a tough days climb to enjoy dinner and a beer in one of the many restaurants. The Historic Hand Hotel, located in Alma, books an average of 250 nights per year to hikers in the 11 -room lodge (Stein, 2005). It has always been known that the wi nter season in Colorado brings in money from the skiing tourists, but the summer mount ain ecotourism that the fourteeners offer generates some much needed revenue for the local businesse s during their slower times of the year. The third definition of ecotourism by W eaver (1998) includes a fragment that precisely illustrates what this thesis project is setting out to complete: the education and interpretation of the natural environment. Th e overall priority is to manage and sustain the fourteeners for future recreation. Applyi ng the three stated definitions of ecotourism, therefore, serves as a logi cal way of accomplishing that goal. Without sustaining the resource, the local businesses will not benef it because people will not continue to venture into the areas and enjoy every part of the fourteener experience, including the aprs climb at the local pub before heading home to the city. Thus, the fourteeners have also become towering and intangible peaks of id entity, engendering a collective sense of attachment between communities and thei r surrounding idealized landscape (Blake, 1999). This study fits within the travel ecotour ism research because it parallels many other studies that examined the human-environm ental impacts of venturing into pristine natural environments and mountain areas. One of the greatest problems of ecotourism is
11 the extent to which such experiences can be supplied without a limit on the number of people who visit natural areas. Visitation ma y not only lead to environmental damage, but also perceptions of crowding thereby reduc ing the quality of the experience. Various scholars have studied crowding in nationa l parks (Mitchell, 1995; Wilkinson, 1995; Manning, 2001, 2002), an increasingly importa nt theme due to the large amount of tourists. Approximately 300 million people annua lly continue to flock to lands that our government has set aside as a national treasure (Manning, 2002). Wilderness areas, Rocky Mountain National Par k, and National Forest lands which contain most of Colorados Fourteeners also fall under this classification. In the same way, this study on the fourteeners looks at the dynamics involved with the incr eased crowding and overall visitation of Colorados peaks, and draw s conclusions based on the physical humanenvironmental impact relationships. 1.4. Problem Statement In order to address the broa der goals of this researc h, the case study is organized into two phases, with a series of questions for each phase that collectively explain human-environmental interactions on Colora dos Fourteeners. The results from two phases of this study combine to formulate the Fourteeners Envir onmental Degradation Index (FEDI), an indicator that represents th e magnitude of environmental damage to the pristine areas surrounding the highest peaks in Colorado.
12 Phase One of this research focuses on identifying the variables that have a significant effect on mountain climbing frequency of the four teeners and investigates the following research questions: 1. Is there a relationship between the amount of people who climb to the summit of any given 14,000-ft. peak and the distance (accessi bility) of the fourte ener to the largest (and nearest) urban center (e.g., the Denver Metropolitan area)? 2. Does the distance from the summit to the nearest paved road influence the amount of people who climb a fourteener peak? If so, how? 3. Does the length of trail from the easiest accessible trailhead on the standard/easiest route effect how many people vis it a fourteener? If so, how? 4. Are more difficult and technical climbing four teeners visited less frequently than the hike-up or walking fourteeners? If so, to what extent? Phase Two of the project involves the a ssessment of environmental impacts such as trail erosion and overall trail status by direct fieldwork and actual travel to these routes for examining the damages caused by foot-tra ffic. Data was collected and analyzed to develop the interim FEDI. The following research questions we re investigated regarding erosional and environmental trail issues: 1. Which fourteeners are classified to have the most adverse human-environmental impacts as rated by the interim FEDI? 2. Does a clear-cut trail (defined as a cl ear and walking-adequate man-made path) remain in existence from the trailhead th roughout the entire rout e all the way to the summit? If so, to what extent does this affect the potentially adverse impacts on the peak?
13 The results from Phases One and Two we re used to develop a composite FEDI and answer the following questions: 1. When significant variables from Phase One and Phase Two data are combined to formulate the composite FEDI, which fourt eeners have the highest overall impacts? 2. What is the geographic distribution of human-environmental impacts within and across the regions six mount ain ranges? Which region/ra nge/group of fourteeners yields the highest and lowe st values on this index? 3. Do changes in relative weights of the imp act variables within the FEDI affect the geographic distribution of human-environmental impacts on the Fourteeners? Combinations of several statistical analysis techniques were used in conjunction with a Global Positioning System (GPS) and extensiv e fieldwork to explore these research questions. In the chapters that follow, this project uncovers the answers to the stated research questions and many other relationships in troduced. Chapter Two investigates the physical and social context of the Fourteen ers, introduces the study area, reviews the relevant literature important to this re search, and describes the variety of humanenvironmental relationships of the past, presen t, and future. Chapter Three describes the specific questions, sources of information, data organization, and methods that were used to conduct Phase One (Archival Data Collection) of the research. Chapter Four focuses on Phase Two (Physical Trail and Route Fieldw ork Analysis) formulation of the interim FEDI and its application towards the compos ite FEDI. Chapter Five discusses how the results from Phases One and Two are combined to formulate final composite FEDI and applies the analysis of the geographic distribu tion of all three FEDI scenarios. Finally,
14 Chapter Six summarizes the results from all steps of the project and concludes with practical applications as well as future directions for the research findings.
15 Chapter Two: Physical and Social Context 2.1. Defining the Study Area: The Uni que Fourteeners Regional Geography The setting for Colorados highest mountains rests upon the Rocky Mountain region. The Rocky Mountains of North America run an extensive Cordillera beginning in Northwestern Canada and reaching through the United States and then thousands of miles into Mexico. Good regional geography should begin wit h, and should probably be organized around the dominant theme of each region. (Hart, 1982, 23). The grandest mountains and mountain scen ery are found in Colorado. The highest peaks rise, snow-clad, proudly and defiantly in the clear blue sky; their gray sides and white crests being visible in this clear atmosphere for many, many miles away. -George A. Crofutt, 1881 (Blake, 2002). In these descriptions, the four teeners truly create their ow n dominant region, a total land area that covers the entire western portion of the state of Colorado, some 9,000 square miles. Their appearance as a dominant them e was best described by Crofutt, an 1880s explorer and surveyor of the area, and this de fining appearance of the peaks clearly hasnt changed much in over 100 years.
16 Table 2.1. 53 Official (58 Unofficial) Fourteen ers Ranked by Elevation Rank Peak Name (Elev.) Mtn. Range Rank Peak Name (Elev.) Mtn. Range 1 Mount Elbert (14,433) Sawatch 30 Mount Democrat (14,148) Ten Mile/Mosquito 2 Mount Massive (14,421) Sawatch 31 Capitol Peak (14,130) Elk 3 Mount Harvard (14,420) Sawatch 32 Pikes Peak (14,109) Front 4 Blanca Peak (14,345) Sangre De Cris to 33 Snowmass Mtn. (14,092) Elk 5 La Plata Peak (14,336) Sawatch 34 Mount Eolus (14,083) San Juan 6 Uncompahgre Peak (14,309) San Juan 35 Windom Peak (14,082) San Juan 7 Crestone Peak (14,294) Sangre De Cristo 36 Challenger Point (14,081) Sangre De Cristo 8 Mount Lincoln (14,286) Ten Mile/Mosqu ito 37 Mount Columbia (14,073) Sawatch 9 Grays Peak (14,270) Front 38 Missouri Mountain (14,067) Sawatch 10 Mount Antero (14,269) Sawatch 39 Hum boldt Peak (14,064) Sangre De Cristo 11 Torreys Peak (14,267) Front 40 Mount Bierstadt (14,060) Front 12 Castle Peak (14,265) Elk 40 *Conundrum Peak (14,060) Elk 12 Quandary Peak (14,265) Ten Mile/Mosquito 42 Sunlight Peak (14,059) San Juan 14 Mount Evans (14,264) Front 43 Handies Peak (14,048) San Juan 15 Longs Peak (14,255) Front 44 Cule bra Peak (14,047) Sangre De Cristo 16 Mount Wilson (14,246) San Juan 45 Ellingwood Point (14,042) Sangre De Cristo 17 *Mount Cameron (14,238) Ten Mile/Mosquito 45 Mount Lindsey (14,042) Sangre De Cristo 18 Mount Shavano (14,229) Sawatch 47 *North Eolus Peak (14,039) San Juan 19 Crestone Needle (14,197) Sangre De Cristo 48 Little Bear Peak (14,037) Sangre De Cristo 19 Mount Belford (14,197) Sawatch 49 Mount Sherman (14,036) Ten Mile/Mosquito 19 Mount Princeton (14,197) Sawatch 50 Redcloud Peak (14,034) San Juan 22 Mount Yale (14,196) Sawatch 51 Pyramid Peak (14,018) Elk 23 Mount Bross (14,172) Ten Mile/Mosqu ito 52 Wilson Peak (14,017) San Juan 24 Kit Carson Mountain (14,165) Sangre De Cristo 53 Wetterhorn Peak (14,015) San Juan 25 *El Diente Peak (14,159) San Juan 54 *North Maroon Pk. (14,014) Elk 26 Maroon Peak (14,156) Elk 54 San Luis Peak (14,014) San Juan 27 Tabeguache Peak (14,155) Sawatch 56 Mount Holy Cross (14,005) Sawatch 28 Mount Oxford (14,153) Sawatch 57 Huron Peak (14,003) Sawatch 29 Mount Sneffels (14,150) San Juan 58 Sunshine Peak (14,001) San Juan unofficial fourteeners, but included in this study. 2.1.1. Physical Geography of the Study Area The fifty-eight summits over 14,000 feet (Tab le 2.1) are further broken down into six distinct mountain ranges (Figure 2.1): Front Range, Tenmile/Mosquito, Sangre de To be classified as official, a peak must rise at least 300 feet above the saddle that connect s it to the nearest fourteener peak (if another exists nearby). This guideline has been in use in Co lorado for some time and accepted in all the climbing guidebooks (Borneman and Lampert 1998; Dawson, 1999a, 199 9b; Bueler, 2000; Roach, 2004). The follow ing peaks are not official because the y do not fit this criteria, but they are on this fourteener list because they are named and recognized on USGS maps. Mt. Cameron rises 138 feet above its saddle with Mt. Lincoln El Diente rises 259 feet above its saddle with Mt. Wilson Conundrum Peak rises 240 feet above its saddle with Castle Peak North Eolus rises 179 feet above its saddle with Mt. Eolus North Maroon Peak rises 234 feet above its saddle with Maroon Peak
17 Cristo, Elk Mountains, Sawatch, and San Juan ; all of which combine to create the fourteeners region of Colorado. Each mountain range holds a different name and also a very distinct experience and sense of place fo r the climber who chooses to venture there. The Front Range contains six fourteener s within Colorados longest mountain range that extends 175 miles (Roach, 2004) an d offers views of over one-hundred miles onto the eastern plains. These peaks, with their giant granite bouldered slopes, are all easily accessed from the Denver metropolitan area and other cities that stretch across the Front Range Plains of the state (Figure 2.2). It is likely that the Front Range peaks are indeed the most heavily climbed summits out of the six total subreg ions of fourteeners simply because they are nearest to the populat ion centers along the Interstate 25 corridor. Figure 2.1. Major Colorado Mountain Ra nges (Source: Colorado Ranges, 2005).
18 The Tenmile/Mosquito Range is bisected by the continental divide and contains six fourteeners that have easy routes on gentle sloping rocky peaks. The range runs north and south with access to these pe aks generally from the east as most of the trailheads are high (11,000 to 12,000 feet) and above timberlin e. High winds and sudden storms are most common in this range that sees weather patterns often coming from the east or west without warning (Dawson, 1999a; Roach, 2004). Figure 2.2. Colorados Fourt eener Ranges Spatially (Source: Colorado Ranges, 2005). The Sawatch Range is another north to south chain of mount ains running 80 miles through the heartland of Colora dos high country. There are fifteen fourteeners within this range; the most of any of the states mountain ranges, including four of Colorados five highest peaks. The ra nge takes its name from a phonetic spelling of saguache, a Ute word meaning water of the blue earth, which was given to hot springs near Mount
19 Princeton and to a former lake in the San Luis Valley (Blake, 2002). It has been said that the only way to pronounce Sawatch is to sneeze it (Rennicke, 1986). There are few technical climbing challenges within this ra nge, and the easiest route on each peak is generally moderate to steep talus-hiking (see climbing difficulty and classification explanations in Appendix B). Some of the most famous summits in this range are known as the Collegiate Peaks, named after some of the Ivy League schools in the eastern United States. Notably, Mt. Elbert (14,433), the highest peak in Colorado, and the second highest in the lower 48 United States is al so located in this range (Delorme, 2002). The Sangre de Cristo Range, translated in Sp anish as blood of Christ, is a fourth fourteener range that extends north and sout h. The range rises high above the San Luis Valley to the west and the Wet Mountain Vall ey to the east (Del orme, 2002) containing ten fourteeners all within Co lorado and extending 220 miles a ll the way into New Mexico (Roach, 2004). The peaks within this range are very steep and among the most difficult to scale, including some of the finest techni cal climbing routes out of all the fourteener ranges. The embedded knobs of igneous rock within the conglomerate rock are the signature of this subregion, and often aid clim bers with needed foot holds. Trailheads are generally located within the valleys on each side of the range, and a steep but abrupt approach to a high camp among the peak s is how most people climb them. The Elk Mountain Range is the only fourteener chain in Colorado extending in a northwest to southeast direct ion from south of Glenwood Springs toward Aspen. The Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness within th ese mountains makes them the most picturesque group of fourteeners in the entire state. Most of the fourteeners in the Elk Mountains are not visible from roads or town s and so only the people that enter into the
20 backcountry are rewarded with their beauty. In the authors 20 years of experience in Colorados mountains, these seven rugged p eaks are the most difficult and dangerous peaks to climb with some of Colorados wo rst rock: the crumbling red sedimentary shale. The most remote and isolated group of Co lorado Fourteeners are the San Juans. They cover nearly 4,000 square miles in the southwest corner of the state (Hart, 1925; Dawson, 1999b; Delorme, 2002; Roach, 2004). Other Colorado ranges are long, narrow, linear, and generally run north to south, but the San Juans are a vast mountainous realm of six wilderness areas and f ourteen fourteeners. With a good mix of technical climbing and gentle slopes, the San Juan peaks offe r unique isolation, long trails, rugged mountain beauty, and disintegrating loos e rocks. The fourteeners of the San Juans generally receive more snow than the other ranges of Colorado, so the likelihood of climbing into snow during all months of the year is a realit y. Climbers are urged to always carry an ice ax and crampons while trekking within this mountain range. Wildlife here is most abundant with deer, elk, moose, black bear, mo untain goats, and some locals still debate as to the remaining existence of grizzly bear that was on ce thought to be hunted out of this region in the 1970s and may still be present today. Although the six mountain ranges of Colora dos unique fourteener region are not bound by political markings, one could argue th at the region contains a bit of political flavour. For example, there are no peaks that rise above 14,000 feet in elevation in the Rocky Mountains within the United States ex cept for in Colorado. Of course there are some fourteeners in the Sierra Nevada a nd Cascade ranges of California and Washington, but those mountains lie outsi de of the Rocky Mountain Re gion. Other Rocky Mountain
21 states such as Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, and Montana all have peaks that reach up past 11,000 feet, and some reach into the 13,000-foot realm, but none are privileged enough to rise above that ma gical 14,000-foot pinnacle (Blake, 2002; Rand McNally, 2003). In that regar d, the height of the fourteen ers in Colorado reign supreme over the nations western midsection; the mona rchs of the country that create their own island of land in a region that rises to elevations superior to any of the surrounding landscapes. Systematic geography is a concept that has been described by many scholars, (Sauer, 1925; Hartshorne, 1976; Hart, 1982; Pudup, 1988; Murphy, 1991), as comprising the very pieces of which all components poi nt to the development of defining regional geography and sense of place. The eminen ce of elevation is truly a defining, yet distinctive, piece of systematic geography th at unites with the many other systematic geographies to create the f ourteeners region. Fourteen-thous and feet, arbitrary as that elevation may be, in part gains a distinct se nse of place because of physical extremes and challenges, including thin air, rockfalls, av alanches, volatile weat her, lightning, rugged terrain, and verticality (Nes bit, 1953; Wright, 1966; Trimble, 1970; Barry, 1992; Dawson 1999a, 1999b; Blake, 2002). Despite improve d climbing gear and hiker awareness, hardly a year passes without a fatality on the Fourteeners (Ble vins, 1999; Gutierrez, 2000). Fourteener popularity continues to soar, however, pushing hikers of all levels of experience into the danger zone (Blake, 2002). Landschaft, the German term for landscape, as first described by Sauer (1925) and then others (Hartshorne, 1939; Olwig, 1996), has been given as a synonym for region, a nd rightly so. The Fourteeners region as a testament to the sense of place is a prove rbial realm of excitement loaded with
22 systematic geographies; a place of high peaks, de ep valleys, cool crisp air, and refreshing snow-melt streams. Often the piles and piles of boulders that compos e the height of these magnificent peaks above timberline give the m ountains a very awe-in spiring appearance. These colorful bouldersthe reds, whites, maroons, purples, oranges, browns, and greys all compose yet another systematic geography of the region. There always appears to be something brewing within the wilderness area s and a chance to explore the valleys and trails that run to the fourteeners gives th e push for the summits an added interest, and brings the feelings full circle within th e fourteeners and their sense of place. 2.2. Social Context of Colorados Fourteeners In the grand scheme of things, the fourt eeners region is truly a functional region. The functional region does indeed concentrate on process, but on one particular process, the process of movement (Hart, 1982). The landschaft is ever changing, and as a result of human activity and visits to the region and particularly its peaks, there is an ever increasing concern over the ch anges to the functional re gion. With the rise in recreational mountaineering, the Fourteeners have become a prize that represents the ultimate climbing experience, yet this also cau ses the type of environmental degradation that clouds their image as centerpieces of prot ected, wild nature (Vale and Vale 1989). The fear is that the changes will not be favorable for the continuance of the ecosystem and the preservation of the mountains in the conditions they were when the first summits were reached in the mid 1800s to the early 1900s.
23 2.2.1. History of Climbing Colorados Fourteeners The birth of climbing to Colorados highe st summits dates all the way back to 1806. Lieutenant Zebulon Pike, a young army officer was the first non-Native American to lead a documented attempt at climbing a fourteener in Colorado (Bueler, 2000; Borneman and Caudle, 2005). On November 15, 1806, Pike first sighted a very high summit from an eastern vantage point on the pl ains of Colorado. For ten days he led 22 men towards the summit that now bears his name (Pikes Peak). By November 27th, due to dwindling energy and supplies, Pike wa s forced to turn around and abandon his attempt to make the summit of the peak with the four men he had chosen to accompany him on his final summit push. The rest of his detachment waited at a camp in the Arkansas valley near what is now Pueblo, Colorado. Even though Zebulon Pike was not the first to make it to the summit of Pikes Peak, the mountain was named in recognition of his exploration of the west, and for fi rst documenting the peak as a significant Colorado landmark. Pikes Peak would be later successfully climbed on July 14th, 1820 by Edwin James and two unknown companions who were a part of Major Stephen Longs exploration of the Front Range and pl ains of Colorado (Bueler, 2000; Macdonald, 2004; Borneman and Caudle, 2005). Some of the Front Range fourteeners may have been climbed by Native Americans, or other ear ly explorers of the area, but this was the first documented ascent of a fourteener, a nd thus begins the jo urney into what the fourteeners have become today, visited a nd climbed by many modern day explorers. By August 23, 1868, Longs peak, located in Rocky Mountain National Park was summitted by a party of climbers including L. W. Keplinger and famous explorer John Wesley Powell. Surveys of all of Colorado s peaks continued into the 1900s by Powell,
24 Ferdinand Vandemeer Hayden, and Lieutenant George Wheeler with numerous first ascents of fourteeners (Bue ler, 2000; Macdonald, 2004; Bo rneman and Caudle, 2005). By 1910, the focus shifted to more of a mountai neering interest rather than surveying. Famous climbers from the early 1900s included William Cooper, Percy Hagerman, Harold Clark, Dwight Lavender, and Albert Ellingwood. Each of these men now have either a peak or a route which bears their na me within Colorados mountains, some being on the fourteeners (Borneman and Lamp ert 1998; Dawson, 1999a, 1999b; Bueler, 2000; Roach, 2004). In 1923, the then-official 46 fourteeners we re climbed by a pair of climbers, Carl Blaurock and Bill Ervin. New surveys conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in the early 1950s added mountains to the present tota l of 53-official peaks, and in turn the two climbed those in the years that followed (B ueler, 2000). Many people have trekked in their footsteps, including the author of this thesis project. Men and women from the early 1900s that first climbed all of Colorados Four teeners are listed in Table 2.2 (Kingery, 1968). As of December 2004, 1,118 people have climbed to the summit of every fourteener in Colorado (Crockett, 2004), a nd the grand total will continue to grow exponentially as time progresses.
25 Table 2.2. Original List of First Men and Women Who Climbed All of Colorados Fourteeners (Source: Kingery, 1968) Rank Climber Year StartedYear Finished Rank Climber Year StartedYear Finished 1 Carl Blaurock 1911-1923 30 Ted Cooper ????-1950 2 William Ervin 1911-1923 31 Stirling Cooper ????-1950 3 Albert Ellingwood ????-???? 32 Harold Brewer 1937-1950 4 Mary Cronin 1921-1934 33 Wilbur F. Arnold ????-1950 5 Carl Melzer ????-1937 34 Jack McDowell ????-1951 6 Robert B. Melzer ????-1937 35 Don Peel ????-1951 7 Elwyn Arps 1920-1938 36 Richard J. Stenmark ????-1951 8 Joe Merhar ????-1938 37 Virginia E. Nolan ????-1952 9 O.P. Settles 1927-1939 38 Dwight Hamilton ????-1952 10 Harry Standley 1923-1939 39 Bill Bueler ????-1952 11 Whitney M. Borland ????-1941 40 H.B. Van Valkenburgh III ????-1952 12 Vera Devries 1936-1941 41 Jo McDowell ????-1952 13 Robert M. Ormes ????-1941 42 Hugh W. Hetherington 1924-1952 14 Jack Graham ????-1941 43 Robert Bartheld ????-1953 15 John Ambler ????-1943 44 Neil Wernette ????-1953 16 Paul Gorham 1926-1944 45 Milton Camps ????-1953 17 Ruth Gorham 1933-1944 46 Carl Besse ????-1953 18 Henry Butchel ????-1946 47 Mike Blecha ????-1953 19 Herb Hollister 1927-1947 48 Dolores Greenwell LaChapel ????-1953 20 Roy Murchison 1908-1947 49 Corvin Simmons ????-1953 21 Evelyn Runnette 1931-1947 50 R.S. Fink ????-1954 22 Marian Rymer 1926-1948 51 Robert S. Bader ????-1955 23 Charles Rymer 1927-1948 52 Alex Carson ????-1955 24 Nancy E. Perkins 1937-1948 53 Wesley Rader ????-1955 25 John Spradley 1943-1949 54 Richard F. Sullivan ????-1955 26 Eliot Moses 1921-1949 55 Jack Eggleston ????-1957 27 Elizabeth S. Cowles 1932-1949 57 Robert. W. Ellingwood 1932-1957 28 Dorothy Swartz 1941-1950 100 Barbara Ann Scheer 1961-1969 29 Robert Swartz 1941-1950 920 Jon Kedrowski 1996-1999 2.2.2. Recent History and Climbing Reco rds for Colorados Fourteeners People have now become more interested in various climbing records in regards to the fourteeners rather than just simply cl imbing them. Besides the fact that numerous people have climbed them all, as mentioned in the last subsection, there has been a push for other achievements on the mountains of Colorado. Seasoned mountaineers have
26 climbed all the fourteeners in winter months. Extreme skiers have skied from the summit of all the fourteeners, as Lou Dawson was th e first to achieve this feat in 1991 (Dawson, 1999a, 1999b; Miller, 2005). The record for the highest number of times one person has climbed all the fourteeners is now at l east 12, a feat accomplished by Jim Gehres, a retired attorney from Denver who had 648 as cents of the fourteeners by 2001 (Bueler, 2000; Roach, 2004; Borneman and Caudle, 2005). Tyle Smith finished climbing all the fourteeners in 1968 at the age of eight, wh ile Megan Emmons in 1997 broke his record because she was only seven at the time (Bueler, 2000; Roach, 2004). Speed records have become the newest inte rest especially in the past thirty years on the fourteeners. Cleve McCarty was the first to climb the then-known 52 fourteeners in 52 days in the summer of 1960. In 1974, Quade and Tyle Smith climbed the fourteeners in 33 days. Even better yet wa s Steve Boyers 22-day set of climbs in 1976, soon to be broken by Dick Walters who climbed them all in 18 days, 15 hours, and 40 minutes. By 1990, the pace intensified even mo re as Quade and Tyle Smith returned to the peaks and finished the 54official fourteeners in 16 days, 21 hours, 25 minutes. Adrian Crane, an ultramarathoner, cut the record down to 15 days, 17 hours and 19 minutes in 1992. Rick Trujillo and Ricky De nesik, known as Rick-Squared, took to the trails and routes in 1995 with a time of 15 days, 9 hours, and 55 minutes, covering 156,130 vertical feet and 337 miles. In August of 1997, Ricky Denesik began a new attempt at the record with his partner Rick Tr ujillo. Trujillo got in jured during the event, but Denesik set a new record, finishing the fourteeners in 14 days 16 minutes (Bueler, 2000; Roach, 2004). By the turn of the centu ry, Ricky Denesik held the record for climbing all the fourteeners. However, a new man came on the scene by the end of 2000,
27 and his record still stands today. As of September 2000, the M4, or Mighty Mountain Megamarathon record has been seized by Te d E. "Cave Dog" Keizer. After two and a half years of preparation, sc outing, and training, he was able to fine tune the course to 138,558 vertical feet, and a record time of 10 days, 20 hours, 26 minutes (Keizer, 2005). By contrast, the data collection for the 58 four teeners studied in this research project was collected in 42 days, with over 95% of those climbs being done solo. 2.2.3. Outdoor Wilderness Code of Ethics on Colorados Fourteeners As very evident by all the social infl uences within Colorados Mountains, the environmental impacts are a concern because of the increased level of visitation to these pristine mountain areas. There is no doubt th at the increasing number of visits to fourteeners in the Colorado high country has the continuing promise of negatively impacting the pristine wilderness of the mount ain ecosystems. Keeping the first-nature feel and the nature-fabulous experience requires that the ad venturists of today take the necessary steps to ensure the protection of the fourteener landscapes and their surrounding environments. Becoming educated in the ethics of sustainable use, and then carrying out the guidelines of those outdoor ethics will certainly help to protect the recreational first-nature res ource that the fourteeners have to offer everyone who takes to their trails and routes. The solution to sustainable environmentalism in regards to the fourteeners, and any ecosystem for that matter, is to follow the rules of Leave No Trace (U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior/Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv ice, 1999). This five-step process is exactly what any mountaineering traveler to the Colorado mountains should adhere to, whether he or she is hiking and climbing a p eak for the day, or conducting an overnight
28 trek and climb. The Leave No Trace princi ples are specifically presented here because of the relevance it has to this research proj ect as a whole. If these guidelines were followed by each and every person who visited th e fourteeners, then the outcomes of this study would be much less of an impact on the frail alpine landscape. However, the final interpretations of this proj ect are a reflection of when all people do not follow these principles accordingly. The first concept of Leave No Trace is to plan ahead and prepare Every person should know the regulations and special concerns for the area they will visit. Education is the key to helping in the prot ection of an ecosystem. Individuals should visit the backcountry in small groups and avoid popular areas duri ng times of high use (i.e. weekends and holidays). Less people climbi ng at one time is always better and helps to keep the impacts lower. The second component, which is very important to overall fourteener trail impact, is to camp and travel on durable surfaces Climbers should stay on designated trails (or routes). Walking in single file in the middle of existi ng paths and never shortcutting switchbacks is the best way to pr event trail erosion a nd land degradation. Sometimes on the fourteeners, pa rticularly above timberline, th ere is no trail to follow. In this situation, choosing the most durable surface availabl e, such as rocks, boulders, gravel, dry grasses, or snow, is the best wa y to prevent further damage to vegetation and will help curb the erosion process. Maps and compasses can be used to eliminate the need for trail-marking rock cairns (often a favorite fourteener tra il marking monument), tree-scarring, or plastic ri bbons. When selecting a campsite, choose an established, legal site that will not be damaged by an over night stay. The famous saying goes, good
29 campsites are found, not made. Be sure to re strict activities to th e area where vegetation is compacted and absent, a location shouldn t involve destroying vegetation any further to achieve a perfect campsite. Camping at leas t 200 feet (or 70 adult steps) from lakes and streams is a must to keep pollutants out of the water. The third step of outdoor ethics is pack it in, pack it out, and dispose of wastes properly Everything that is carried into the wilderne ss should be brought right back out. Take pictures and leave only footprints, is another famous sayi ng to live by. Storing rations of food securely while on the trek and picking up or burying all spilled foods is a must so that wildlife cannot find and cons ume them. Depositing human waste in holes dug six to eight inches deep at least 200 feet from water, ca mp, and trails ensures that nothing is affected by the waste. Climbers s hould cover and disguise the waste hole, but use toilet paper or wipes sp aringly. Using small amounts of biodegradab le soap, once again 200 feet from any water source, and scat tering the dishwater is a campsite practice that will also prevent excessive stream c ontamination. Controlling pets at all times, keeping them on a leash and picking up after the pet is also ethical. Finally, when leaving a campsite, inspect it for trash and evidence of human presence. Leave the site better than it was found and pack out all trash. Concept four is minimize the use and impact of fires Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Always carry a lightweight stove for cooking, especially above timberline. Enjoying a candle lantern in stead of a fire will prevent damage from a plot of land for a fire-ring. Where fires are permitted use established fire-rings and keep the fire moderate as to not scar larger surr ounding rocks or overhangs or to disturb nearby wildlife. When obtaining firewood, gather stic ks no larger than an adults wrist and do
30 not snap branches off of live, dead, or dow ned trees. When leaving the campsite for good, put the fire out completely by dousing it w ith plenty of water. Remove and pack out all unburned trash and scatter ashes away from camp. If po ssible, fill in the ring with dirt, unless the ring was previously established. Finally, the fifth step toward s sustainable outdoor land ethics on the fourteeners is leave land as it is and leave what you find Do not build structures, such as shelters (unless there is an emergency), campsite fu rniture, or dig unnecessary trenches near a campsite, creek or trail. Leave plants, rocks, and historical landmarks as they were. Keep loud voices and noises to a minimum a nd let natures sounds prevail. There may also be other people in the vi cinity and they should be able to experience the beauty of the first-nature and have a trip that is just as nature-fabulous. Following all these concepts towards ethical land use is a sure way to ensure the landschaft that contributes to the fourteeners experience will be preser ved and lived to be seen by generations many years down the road. 2.2.4. Current Fourteener Restorati on and the Organizations Involved The U.S. Forest Service is the main governing body when it comes to management of the fourteeners in Colorado. Because of the love fo r reaching the top of these high mountains, and the increasing popul arity of them in the 1990s, a group of resource management officials, forest se rvice personnel, mountaineers, and Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) members held a meeting at the former CMC offices near West Alameda in Denver, Colorado (Borneman and Caudle, 2005). The end result of this 1993 meeting was the creation of the Colorado Fourte eners Initiative (CFI), founded officially in 1994, which is a money-raising and non-pr ofit volunteer organiza tion. With an annual
31 budget estimated in millions of dollars, all from private and corporate donors, the CFI has partnered with the U.S. Forest Service as the primary manager for preserving Colorados Fourteeners through projects of trail restoration, minimumimpact trail construction, public education, and stewardship programs. Th e following is an excerpt from the CFIs mission statement, and it explains why the orga nization has taken a pr imary role with the U.S. Forest Service to help preserve the m ountains against the ever increasing visitation from climbers and ecotourists. Without intervention, and continued stewardship, impacted areas will continue to deteriorate rapidly as the frequency of people climbing the peaks increases. At the same time, the federal agencies responsible for protecting the peaks have experienced recurring budget shortfalls and cutbacks. Land management agencies must look to innovative programs like the Colorado Fourteeners Initia tive to accomplish their missions in Colorado's high country (CFI, 2005b, Mission Statement). In the mission statement, the CFI refers to land management agencies, and how they use the CFI to accomplish preservati on efforts on Colorados mountains. These management agencies, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), have been experiencing the budget cuts for many years. Following CFIs inception in 1994, there was a quick pa rtnership created be tween the USFS, BLM and the CFI because of the need for these tw o governmental land agencies to keep the trails and routes of the four teeners in sustainable condition as a valuable resource given those budget shortcomings. In this unique relationship, the CFI was granted governance over the complete task of preser ving the trails and routes of fourteeners indefinitely. Out of the 58 fourteener trails and routes analyzed in this research, 47 are located within the boundaries and jurisdictions of the USFS, BLM and also the National Park Service (NPS), which works closely with the USFS a nd BLM. The remaining six fourteeners are
32 located primarily on lands under private ownership, and an additional five can be considered semi-private based on a variet y of reasons. The ownership status can complicate restoration efforts due to the wishes of the private land owners themselves, a topic that will be discussed furthe r in section 2.4 of this chapter. The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CF I) has been the leader of nearly all restoration projects on the fourteeners, and has also used as many as twenty additional volunteer organizations to complete their sust ainable trail projects (Sarah Gorecki-CFI, personal communication, August 11, 2005). Since 1994, the Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI), is a second organization form ulated to work specifically on restoration of Colorados Fourteeners. Organizations a nd groups that are contracted out by the CFI, and work for the CFI and RMFI projects, or their adopt-a-peak progr ams are all listed in Table 2.3. Table 2.3. Organizations and Groups that Contribute to Restoration Efforts on Colorados Fourteeners, and Often Work With the USFS, CFI, and RMFI (Source: Sarah Gorecki-CFI, personal co mmunication, August 11, 2005) 1. Colorado Mountain Club 8. Rocky Mountain Princeton Club 15. Trailhead Wilderness School 2. Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado 9. Gay & Lesbian Sierrans 16. Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center 3. Continental Divide Trail Alliance 10. Outward Bound West 17. High Mountain Institute 4. Colorado Trail Foundation 11. Hard Rock 100 Run 18. Sanborn Western Camps 5. Colorado Youth Corps Assoc. 12. Cheley Colorado Camps 19. Eastern Mountain Sports 6. Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteer 13. DU-Environmental. Awareness 20. Ouray Trails Group 7. Cottonwood Institute of Colo. 14. Colorado Yale Association 21. Longmont Youth Services
33 Work has been fully completed for the standard route on almost twenty of Colorados Fourteeners. A sustainable trail has been constructed for nearly the entire route on peaks that had previously been in very poor condition with a high level of natural landscape and resource damages. Proj ects that have been completed by the CFI in partnership with the USFS are listed in order of completion in Table 2.4. Projects currently in progress are summarized in Table 2.5. The following information was documented during the physical trails analys is fieldwork, and then further verified by contact with CFIs Field Projec ts Manager Sara Gorecki as well as other sources (Hesse, 2005; Rapoport, 2005). For the peaks listed in Table 2.3, educating the public about Leave No Trace backcountry ethics (described in s ection 2.2.1.) is a final aspect of the restoration efforts done by the CFI. To do this CFI has installed very large trail education signs at the trailhead of the standard route of each peak th at has had restoration work completed (Figure 2.3).
34 Table 2.4. Projects on Colo rados Fourteeners Completed by the CFI in Partnership With the USFS and Help From Many Othe r Organizations. Listed in Order of Completion, Years Work Was Done, and R oute That Was Constructed or Restored (Source: Gorecki-CFI, personal communi cation, August 11, 2005; also verified by fieldwork). Peak Name Years of Project Route Name Restored Mountain Range 1. Mount Elbert 1994 Northeast Ridge Sawatch 2. Mount Belford 1995-1996**, 2002-2003 West Slopes Sawatch 3. Mount Oxford 1995-1996, 2002-2003 West Ridge Sawatch 4. La Plata Peak 1995**, 2003-2004 Northwest Ridge Sawatch 5. Humboldt Peak 1997-1998**, 2003-2004* West Ridge Sangre De Cristo 6. Huron Peak 1998, 2001 Northwest Slopes Sawatch 7. Mount Harvard 1999-2002 South Slopes Sawatch 8. Mount Bierstadt 1999-2002 West Slopes Front 9. Missouri Mountain 2000-2001 Northwest Ridge Sawatch 10. Grays Peak 2000-2002, 2005* North Slopes Front 11. Torreys Peak 2000-2002, 2005* South Slopes Front 12. Quandary Peak 2000-2002 East Slopes Ten Mile / Mosquito 13. Capitol Peak 2000, 2002 Capitol Lake to Saddle Sawatch 14. Mount Tabeguache 2002 SW Ridge (Jennings Creek) Sawatch 15. Mount Sneffels 2003 South Slopes San Juan 16. Crestone Needle 2004-2005** South Face Ridge & Broken Hand Saddle Sangre De Cristo 17. Crestone Peak 2004-2005** South Face Sangre De Cristo *Ongoing Trail and Route Maintenance **Rocky Mountain Field Institute (R MFI) Organized Project with CFI
35 Table 2.5. Projects on Colo rados Fourteeners Currently in Progress as of 2005 by the CFI in Partnership With the USFS, and Help From Many Other Organizations. Listed in Order of Completion, Years Work is Being D one, and Route That is Being Worked On (Source: Gorecki-CFI, personal communi cation, August 11, 2005; also verified by fieldwork). Peak Name Years of Project Route Name Restored Mountain Range 1. Mount Evans 2003-2006 Upper Chicago Crk NE Face Front 2. Wetterhorn Peak 2004-2005* Southeast Ridge and Basin San Juan 3. Mount Massive 2003-2006* Upper N. Halfmoon to Summit Ridge (East Slopes) Sawatch 4. Pyramid Peak 2004-2006* To Amphitheater at Timberline (NE Ridge) Elk 5. Blanca Peak 2004-2006** Northwest Face Sangre De Cristo 6. Windom Peak 2005-2006** West Ridge San Juan 7. Sunlight Peak 2005-2006** South Slopes San Juan 8. Eolus Peak (w/ N. Eolus) 2005-2006** Southeast Slopes (Below Catwalk) San Juan *Planned Completion by October 2005, still work to be done in 2006. **Evaluation and Planning of Sustainable Routes is U nder Way. Actual Construction and Restoration in 2006.
36 Figure 2.3. A Typical Backcountry Ethics Sign Placed by CFI and the USFS at the Trailhead for the Standard Route for Belf ord, Oxford, and Missouri Mountains in the Sawatch Range, Peaks that Have Had Rest oration Projects Completed (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, June 8, 2005) 2.3. Prior Research and Studies of the Fourteeners With all the work taking place primarily ove r the past ten years to preserve the pristine peaks of Colorados Fourteeners, ther e has also been some research conducted to determine which peaks have a higher priority of restoration than others. The results of the research directed by colla borative efforts of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Colorado Fourteeners Initiativ e (CFI) have been ongoing since 1995. Every few years
37 the priority list created by the overall inve stigation of the peaks is further updated, and thus a better idea is grasped as to which p eaks should next be worked on. Unfortunately, the CFI has never taken its results and me thodologies from their studies and published their findings into any professional or scholar ly journals (Sarah Gorecki-CFI, personal communication, August 11, 2005). The basic premise of the ongoing research of the CFI is determining which peaks should be restored next. This process involves a peak assessme nt with a six variable, raw score weighted criteria. Each peak asse ssment includes the following: a segment by segment description and evaluation of dama ge occurring along standard hiking route corridors; a map of the peak with routes and route segments delineated; and color slides documenting impacts along the hiking route corr idor (Colorado Fourteeners Conference, 1997). Additional information gathered during the peak assessment process, such as agency documents (environmental assessments and other supporting materials), news stories, information about safety issues or hazards, private land holdings, any impacts associated with the usage on the peak such as camping or parking, rare or endangered plant and animal inventory, a nd other environmental inform ation (Colorado Fourteeners Conference, 1997). All the data collected by the CFI studies are ca taloged and filed in the appropriate peak file for future refere nce, and used on the peak during the actual restoration project. Although the exact numeri cal values and formulas for calculating the raw scores for each peak from the criteria ar e not available, the summary of the weighted criteria of six variables for assessing the fourteeners is listed in Table 2.6.
38 Table 2.6. Weights Given to Each Criteria in CFIs Method of Assessing Which Fourteeners Have the Highest Priority for Trail and Route Restor ation (Source: Colorado Fourteeners Conference, 1997). Criteria Weight 1. Resource Damage 24% 2. Threatened, Endangered Species 21% 3. Land Managers Priority 18% 4. Rate of Change 17% 5. Feasibility 12% 6. Available Resources 8% For each individual fourteen er peak, a raw score value was calculated from the criteria based on data collected and orga nized by land managers and Forest Service officials from the six fourteener mountain ra nges. The raw score was used to rank each peak both statewide and within their range. Overall the p eaks were assigned priority values into five categories of Highest, High, Medium, Low, or Lowest (Colorado Fourteeners Conference, 1997). The result s of the CFI studies are re-evaluated continually, but the methodology appears to be mo re qualitative than quantitative overall. The only quantitative emphasis li es within the breakdown of cr iteria, as previously seen in Table 2.6. As described in Chapters Three, Four, and Five, the methods of this project exceed simply just weighting some of the f actors involved and calculating a raw score. Furthermore, a complete analysis was done fo r each peak by one single researcher instead of a collaboration of land mana gement officials. Therefore the goal for the results and outcomes of this study provide more consiste nt and conclusive data and results for Colorados Fourteeners than the previous studies and research.
39 Although the literature on fourteener-specific studies is scarce, there was one particular case study performed by member s of the Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) in the Sangre de Cristos addressing the restoration effort s on Humboldt Peak (Hesse, 2000). Human-environmental degradation on the peak was mitigated by extensive erosion control and trail restoration techniques in the summer months of 1997 and 1998. During this time, route improveme nts were undertaken with a focus on use and impacts. The goal was to reduce the le vel of impact from climbers, and direct visitors away from sites of critical or special concern. Also, in cases where multiple social trails (visitor created trails worn into the landscape) or trail braiding was occurring, the establishment of a single path created opportu nities for restoration, thus improving wilderness conditions (Hesse, 2000). This research project is different than that of the RMFI study presented, but the info rmation presented in the case of Humboldt Peak provides a good qualitative descripti on of what is occu rring on all of the fourteeners. The Hesse case study provides an adequate way to manage a fourteener route after a valid a ssessment of the route has been made. The overall Fourteeners Environmental Degradation Index (FEDI), th e product of this thesis research, will indicate peaks that have a hi gh level of degradation, many that are in high priority of being restored through some of the same t echniques that were used within the RMFI Hesse studies (2000, 2005). 2.3.1. Alpine Environmental Degradation There is a reasonable amount of literature on the subject of degradation to alpine environments. It is well accepted and documen ted that alpine ecosystems are vulnerable to even low levels of human disturbance. Th e impact recovery rates for some alpine flora
40 communities in the Colorado Rockies, once damaged or compromised, are long. In comparison to plant communities in lower elevat ion ecosystems, the threat to plants in higher elevation fourteener environments is in order of ten to a thousand times more impacted (Zwinger and Willard, 1972). This is du e to several factors that include alpine climatic characteristics including short growing seasons, low seasonal increase in biomass, and unpredictable diaspore production (Chambers et al ., 1990). Alpine realms of the fourteeners are by nature unstable environments. Boulder, scree, and talus fields constantly move and shift. The estimated tim e for the revegetation of a kobresia meadow at a minimum, is 500 years (Zwinger and Willard, 1972). Recovery is based upon the assumption that a disturbed area is stabili zed and that disturbance is controlled or eliminated. On steeper slopes, seasonal runoff or snow melt, and high winds radically accelerate soil and vegetation loss in disturbe d sites. These factors create a positive feedback system that effectively prevents recovery to pre-dist urbance conditions. Additional studies in both Colorado (Ebe rsole, 2002) and Wyoming (Cole and Monz, 2002) as well as in the Alps (Klug et al. 2002) have been done to show that alpine tundra vegetation is extremely fragile. It wa s determined by the various researchers that alpine environments subjected to increased trampling are especially a concern. Although Ebersole (2002) did not study a fourteener in his evaluation of plant communities above timberline, he did address high altitude tundr a plant species on Niwot Ridge, Colorado, a location with analogous environmental conditions to that of the fourteeners in the same state. Cole and Monz (2002), studied tram pling effects on plants in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming and also noted how up to 500 people stepping on the same area of tundra can lead to high levels of degradati on. This information is al so true of climbers
41 on alpine tundra of the four teeners in Colorado. The st udy conducted in Austria by Klug et al (2002) examined four different areas of the central and eastern Alps. Results, similar to many other studies presented here show that trampling effects of tundra are degrading to the landscape and the negative effects force the t undra to take even longer to recover and regenerate. The firs t step of degradation to the land is when the vegetation is trampled and destroyed, thus making way for the trails that are developed and formed on any particular fourteener. Tr ails following initial degradation are also constructed and restored to sustainable levels, and some of these erosional trail issues are introduced in the next subsection. 2.3.2. Trail Erosion and Degradation As mentioned earlier in section 2.3, the first formal case study documented addressing erosional trail issu es and environmental degrad ation on a fourteener was on Humboldt Peak in the Sangre De Cristo Ra nge (Hesse, 2000). Trai l erosional studies have increased due to higher levels of b ackcountry visitation in recent years. A 1975 survey of wilderness managers indicate that trail deterioration and erosion were beginning to become a major backcountry concern (Godin and Leonard, 1979). Even though the issues were being raised by the mi d-1970s, trail erosion within the topic of recreational environmental degr adation of wilderness has been one of concern since at least 1933 when Bob Marshall noted the impact s of excessive use at campsites and the need for user education programs (Lu cas, 1987). The increasing degradation of wilderness recreation resources is primarily restricted to tra ils (Godin and Leonard, 1979), other frequent use corridors such as saddles between popular drainages, and near or within established campsites. On a four teener such as Holy Cross in the Sawatch
42 Range, trail vandalism has occurred recently. Climbers have used paint on rocks and tree trunks to mark trails and routes on the popul ar fourteener near Vail, Colorado in an isolated incident (Lipsher, 2005). However, mu ch of the research done on the impacts of recreational use prior to 1990 had focused on backpacker impacts on soils and vegetation at campsites (Price, 1985; Cole, 1989; Cordell et al. 1990) and was descriptive in nature (Cole 1986). More recent quantitative studies docu ment the influence of variables such as use, vegetation density and fragility, a nd topographical variables on the amount of degradation at wilderness campsites in Ro cky Mountain National Park (Cole, 1992; Steele, 1998). Even though fourteener-specific erosional trail studies have been very limited, analogous studies covering a large portion of the literature regarding recreational impacts focusing on trail erosion are very relevant to this research pr oject. Increasing resources have been devoted to trail erosion studi es since the late 1970's, (McQuaid-Cook, 1978; Summer, 1980,1986; Quinn et al. 1980; Fish et al. 1981; Cole, 1983, 1991; Bayfield, 1985, 1986; Tinsley and Fish, 1985; Lance et al. 1989; Seney, 1991; Urie, 1994; Wilson and Seney, 1994), where most of the studies took place in Colorados Rocky Mountain National Park, the Mountains of Western Montana, and in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. The type and amount of use have been identified as important controls on the amount of trail erosio n (McQuaid-Cook, 1978; Summer, 1980; Cole, 1983; Vogler and Butler, 1996; Seney, 1991), although studies have been hampered by the scarcity of data on users in back country areas (Daigle et al. 1994; Krumpe and Lucas, 1995). More people tracking over the sa me land reduce the vegetative cover and increase disturbance to the soil surface. Differe nt user types, such as hikers, bikers and
43 horses, all may eliminate vegetation and distur b soil particles, but each produces different amounts and rates of soil erosion on trails. Wilson and Seney (1994) found that different user types caused differing amounts of soil displacement depending on whether they were ascending or descending a trail. Generall y, horses caused the most soil displacement when descending trails, followed in quantit y by hikers and mountain bikers. Mountain bikers produced the most soil displacement wh en ascending trails, followed by hikers and horses. Even though a majority of the four teeners in Colorado are located in National Forest governed wilderness areas, which prohib it bicycles, this res earch for hikers and horses nevertheless plays a role for a major ity of the visitors to the fourteeners. In regards to soil erosional effects, Mc Quaid-Cook (1978) found that the type of terrain, user type, soil type, soil water content, and intens ity of use were the primary factors controlling soil compaction and the resu lting trail "incision" Incision occurs because soil compaction reduces soil volume a nd therefore depresses the elevation of pathways and trails. Incised trails, with th eir low permeability, act as intermittent stream channels, funneling water during precipita tion and melt events (McQuaid-Cook, 1978; Quinn et al. 1980; Harden, 1992; Oyarzun, 1995; Leung and Marion, 1996; Vogler and Butler, 1996). This funneling can increase th e velocity and subse quently the erosive power of water. According to Vogler and Bu tler (1996), paths on level ground at their University campus were more susceptible to compaction than they were to water erosion. Their assertion is based on previous resear ch by others (Liddle, 1975; Bratton et al. 1979; Coleman, 1981; Morgan and Ku ss, 1986; Garland, 1990; Ferris et al. 1993; Wilson and Seney, 1994) showing the effects of trampling on tr ail soil, and they suggest that soil bulk
44 density data on paths and in adjacent untra mpled areas be collected to evaluate differences in compaction. They observed a weak correlation between depth of path incision and slope, though they ascribed the relationship more to the user types than specific terrain attributes. They found that the steeper paths were located next to stairways and used almost exclusively by bicyclists. Even more relevant to trail and route damage on fourteeners, laboratory based experiments found that the maximum compressive load occurs as a hikers heel places pressure on a small contact area of the ground (Quinn et al., 1980). In keeping with their findings regarding the compressive effects of the heel, Quinn et al (1980) viewed the shearing action associated with toe action at the end of each step, and loss of vegetation, as the major controls on soil detachment. U nderstanding some of these effects can lead to an overall concept of gauging the effects of the hikers footsteps on all the trails and routes on Colorados Fourteeners. All of these erosional dynamics are taking place on the peaks, and the indices created in th is study will accurately effect those humanenvironmental interactions. 2.4. Private Property Conflicts on Colorados Fourteeners As stated before, a majority of the four teeners (47 total) are located on National Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Mana gement (BLM), and National Park Service (NPS) lands. The 11 remaining fourteeners can be classified as either privately owned or semi-privately owned (Table 2.7).
45 Table 2.7. Fourteeners in Colorado Locat ed on Land Under Private Ownership by Someone Other than the U.S. Forest Service, BLM, or National Park Service (Sources: Roach, 2004; Balough, 2005; Best, 2005b, 2005c; Stein, 2005; also verified by fieldwork) Peak Name Mountain Range Name of Land Owner Ownership Note 1. Culebra* Sangre de Cristo Cielo Vista Ranch Entire Peak, Trailhead to the Summit is Private 2. Wilson Pk* San Juan Rusty Nichols Mining Claims Along Most of Route on Private Land 3. Democrat* Ten Mile / Mosquito Maury Reiber Various Mining Claims on Most of the Land 4. Lincoln* Ten Mile / Mosquito Maury Reiber Various Mining Claims on Most of the Land 5. Cameron* Ten Mile / Mosquito Maury Reiber Various Mining Claims on Most of the Land 6. Bross* Ten Mile / Mosquito Maury Reiber Various Mining Claims on Most of the Land 7. Quandary** Ten Mile / Mosquito Various Holders Peak is in USFS Lands, But Standard Route Monte Cristo Trailhead is Private 8. Little Bear** Sangre de Cristo Arrowhead Ranch Southwest Half of P eak is Private Land, Standard Route is Sangre de Cristo Wilderness 9. Lindsey** Sangre de Cristo Unknown Southern Slopes and Summit on Private Property, All of Standard Route is Wilderness 10. Mt. Wilson** San Juan Rusty Nichols Peak is in Wilderness, But Standard Route Silverpick Trailhead is Private 11. El Diente** San Juan Rusty Nichols Peak is in Wilderness, But Standard Route Silverpick Trailhead is Private *Privately Owned **Semi-privately Owned Even though the majority of the fourt eeners are open for public climbing, the peaks listed in Table 2.7 have a variety of so cial conflicts in rega rds to their ownership status. The obvious is that there are many people who would like to climb the peaks, but some of the owners are very much agains t anyone trespassing on th eir land. The conflict has turned ugly on peaks owned by Maury Reib er and Rusty Nichols in the San Juans and Ten Mile Mosquito Ranges, respectively. Reiber and Nichols both contend that the
46 biggest liability comes from people who do not stay on the trails, wander off and are placed in danger by getting into mines and hi storical buildings. There is a fear of impending lawsuits as a result of peopl e potentially falling th rough the hundreds of mining tunnels and shafts (Balough, 2005; St ein, 2005). Reiber ow ns a total of 211 mining claims for 233 acres on Mount Lincoln alone which is more than half of the total land area the U.S. Forest Service controls as part of the Pike Na tional Forest in the surrounding area (Best, 2005b). The environmenta l degradation is also a concern to both men, and in Nichols case, he has been taki ng action towards protec ting his 238 acres of land in Silver Pick Basin. Nichols has put up numerous signs to intimidate any climbers that trespass (Figures 2.4 and 2.5).
47 Figure 2.4. Signs Placed at the Trailhead for the Route to Wilson Peak in Silver Pick Basin to Keep Climbers from Trespa ssing and Accessing the Peaks (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, July 28, 2005)
48 Figure 2.5. The Private Property Line in Silver Pick Basin: Another Sign Placed to Warn Trespassers (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, July 28, 2005) Nichols has even gone as far as to prosecu te people with the local police officials and has been seen on the front porch of hi s cabin along the fourteener route on Wilson Peak with his shotgun in hand. While many fourteener enthusiasts have heeded the trespassing warnings, many still do not abide by the rules, and continue to trespass on private lands that according to Reiber and Nichols, will be renewing mining operations soon. (Best, 2005c; Stein, 2005). Culebra Peak in extreme southern Colorado gets credit for being the most expensive peak to access. The owners of Cu lebra, Cielo Vista Ranc h, charge visitors a
49 $100 fee to climb their peak. This fee may se em outrageous to some people, but it can be viewed as a very good management strategy taken by the owners. Cielo Vista Ranch only allows about 100 to 200 people per year access to their pristine hunting ranch for climbs. By keeping numbers down and charging a high price, the peak is not subjected to a high level of environmental de gradation. Visitors are also required to sign a waiver that releases the ranch from any liability associat ed with climbing the peak (A. Foleoto, Cielo Vista Ranch, Personal Communication, 7-9-2005) In addition, the owners use the funds to maintain their road networks on the ranch and to keep the peak patrolled on days that people climb (Roach, 2004). In fact, so fe w people climb Culebra that a trail is not constructed anywhere on the peak and the peak has been left in its natural tundra state. Because climbing frequency is kept down here the peak will probably remain pristine for a long time. Culebra is just one example of how priv ate land management of a fourteener can be handled properly by someone other than the USFS, BLM or NPS. With the amount of climbers on the fourteeners rising so rapidly in the past decade, even the privately owned peaks will have a large amount of people that de sire access. In the cases of Maury Reiber and Rusty Nichols, the solution to their i ssues are not as simple as charging people money to pass through. Various groups su ch as the CFI, USFS, Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative (MRHI), and Ouray-Silv erton-Telluride Coalition (OSTC) have approached the men with solutions to satisfy both the climbers and the owners (Best, 2005b; Stein, 2005). One proposal is for the mine owners to lease the marked trails that cross their land on the fourteen ers to the Forest Service (B alough, 2005). In another plan, the CFI and the USFS have negotiated a way to reconstruct new trails around the various
50 land holdings on private peaks (Best, 2005b). In yet another scenario, a land swap has been offered. In a land swap, the land owners and Forest Service could strike a deal that gives the land owner acreage in a separate nearby desirable location in exchange for the land the USFS wants to give the public more access to. For example, on three separate occasions Rusty Nichols has proposed trades th at would, in exchange for all of his above timberline property in Silver Pick basin, yield him 2,000 acres of developable aspencovered land on nearby Wilson Mesa. The USFS has rejected all three proposals (Best, 2005c). Finally, people representing the MRHI and the OSTC have attempted to buy the land from Reiber and Nichols and then turn it over to the Forest Service, something the Wilderness Land Trust of Colorado has done with over 5,000 acres since 1992 (Best, 2005b). Whatever the solution to this conflict may be, it is in the best interest of all people involved to come up with something that is in favor of the ove rall preservation of the resource. 2.5. Special Measures To Control Overcrowding on Colorados Fourteeners Section 2.3 described how erosional trail i ssues in wilderness areas have been a concern since the early 1900s. Since that time, there has be en an ever increasing number of wilderness users (Lucas and Stan key, 1989) and access to many areas is now restricted. At the same time, most user s are willing to accept the restrictions with few complaints (Lucas, 1983). The acceptance of restrictions is frequently the result of impact studies that show that wilderness areas are suffering in some ways under the
51 increased pressure of use. In the case of Colorados Four teeners, there have been a variety of measures taken that evaluate the amount of peopl e that hike and climb. The goal of these measures is to be able to dire ct attention to sustaini ng the resource based on the level of use. In section 2.2, it was noted that fourt eener restoration projects have been completed for the past ten years. Besides re storing the peaks themselves, a permit system for certain wilderness areas within the National Forest has been implemented to document the number of visitors. The purpos e of these permits is to obtain accurate wilderness visitor use data and to educate vi sitors about backcountry sustainability ethics (Figure 2.6). There are 38 fourteeners loca ted within the National Forests Federally designated Wilderness Areas. Fifteen of those fourteeners in Wilderness Areas require visitors to have a permit on possession in or der to climb a peak, camp in a basin, or dayhike into the area (Table 2.8). For now, most of the permits are free for wilderness areas, but that soon could change based on increasi ng use. Some basins, such as Yankee Boy (Mount Sneffels) in the San Juans, or Kite La ke in the Ten-Mile Mosquito Range, charge a monetary fee to access the nearby fourteeners. Prices range from $3 to upwards of $10. Private peaks, covered in section 2.4, char ge climbers money to access the land, or simply have cut off access to the peaks all together. Not only does the $100 fee on Culebra Peak limit climbers from accessing the peak, but the private ownership controls overcrowding and the negative im pacts on the ecosystem. The same is true for the other privately owned fourteeners.
52 Figure 2.6. Wilderness Use Permits That Are Se lf-issued by Visitors at the Trailheads of Colorados Fourteeners and the Surr ounding Backcountry (Source: www.LNT.org, Obtained by Researcher Duri ng Fieldwork, August 7-8, 2005).
53 Table 2.8. Eleven Federally Designated Wilder ness Areas in Colorado and the Status of Permits to Access Fourteeners Within the National Forest Service Jurisdiction (Sources: National Wildlife Preservation System, 2005; also verified by fieldwork). Wilderness Area Mountain Range Fourteeners in Wilderness Area Permit Fee 1. Mount Evans Front Evans, Bierstadt Free 2. Holy Cross Sawatch Holy Cross Free 3. Mount Massive Sawatch Massive Free 4. Collegiate Peaks Sawatch Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Belford, Oxford, Missouri, La Plata, Huron None Issued 5. Maroon Bells-Snowmass Elk Maroon Bells, Pyramid, Snowmass, Capitol, Castle, Conundrum Free 6. Sangre de Cristo Sangre de Cristo Kit Carson, Challenger, Humboldt, Crestones, Blanca, Little Bear, Ellingwood, Lindsay None Issued 7. La Garita San Juan San Luis None Issued 8. Uncompahgre San Juan Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn None Issued 9. Mount Sneffels San Juan Sneffels $10 10. Weminuche San Juan Sunlight, Windom, Eolus, N. Eolus Free 11. Lizard Head San Juan Mt. Wilson, El Diente None Issued Studying overcrowding on the Front Range a nd other peaks has also become more than just counting the summit registers. For example, the Guanella Pass Trailhead, which provides access to the standard route on Mount Bierstadt, as well as routes on Mount Evans has been under evaluation. It is not uncommon to have 500 people make the hike to the top of Bierstadt on any day in July or August, especially on the weekends. The trailhead is fenced in with only one gate to access the Mount Bierstadt trail. The U.S. Forest Service has inconspicuously placed an electronic gauge to count the number of climbers that enter and exit the wilderness area (Figure 2.7).
54 Figure 2.7. An Electronic Gauge Places at the Guanella Pass Trailhead for Mount Bierstadt in the Front Range to Monitor th e Climbing Frequency of the Peak (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, June 1, 2005) With more precise information on visitors to the fourteeners, the peaks can be better maintained. Depending on the reliability of th e electronic gauges, other areas of entrance into the fourteeners and the wilderness ar eas will be studied. Higher impacted and overcrowded areas will therefore be identified and the priority for attention to restoration and overall protection will be met accordingly.
55 2.6. Linking the Overall Social, Ec onomic and Physical Contexts The overall goal of this study was to take in consideration that the environmental impacts occurring on Colorados highest peaks go way beyond just the humanenvironmental relationships and the past st udies on trail erosion and degradation as introduced in this chapter. In spite of all the research conducted, there is something missing. A practical indicator for determ ining the net effect of all the humanenvironmental impacts to Colorados Fourteeners is what is developed in this project, and this research will hopefully reach beyond wh at has already been done. The first two chapters have introduced the economical, social, and physical human-environmental dynamics of the fourteeners region in Colorado. Chapters Three, Four, and Five will describe the statistical and phys ical methodologies that furthe r apply to the dynamics that have been set forth in these first two chap ters. The goal of backcountry management, including the fourteeners, is to maintain a healthy and sustainable recreational and natural resource (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1981). Brooks et al. (2003) state that where erosion is concerned, best management prac tices (BMPs) are well known for agriculture, forestry, and road construction activities. Re search on erosion in backcountry areas that could lead to the development of appropriate BMPs, however, is scarce. Therefore, the overall outcome of the data collected and the indices created will be subject to development into an appropriate BMP to re spond to the increasing human environmental impacts relationships mentioned and to stri ve to keep the four teeners a sustainable resource for many more years to come.
56 Chapter Three: Analysis of Mountain Climbing Frequency (Phase One) This chapter collectively summarizes the objectives, specific que stions, sources of information, data organization, and methods that were used to conduct Phase One of this study. This phase of the research project focused on collecting and analyzing available data from the Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) Archives for the 53 official fourteeners from the ten most recent and data abundant seasons (1995-2004). As stated in Chapter One, the key research objective of Phase On e was to identify the factors that have a significant effect on mountain climbing frequency. The values of factors examined in Phase One are ultimately used to supplement th e final values in the overall classification index for Colorados Fourteener s (FEDI), as formulated and described in Chapter Five. In order to address the fi rst thesis objective, the first phase (Phase One) of the study examined relationships between the amount of people who climb to the summit of any given 14,000-foot peak (mountain cl imbing frequency) and the following explanatory factors: (a) the distance (accessibi lity) of the fourteener to the largest (and nearest) urban center; (b) the distance from the summit to the nearest paved road; (c) the length of trail from the easiest accessible tra ilhead on the standard/easiest route; (d) the level of difficulty in climbing a fourteener; and, (e) the elevat ion of the tra ilhead for the standard route on each peak. The data collec tion and methods used for meeting the thesis
57 objectives for Phase One and answering the research questions are further explained in the next few subsections of this chapte r, followed by a discussion of the results. 3.1. Sources of Information and Data Collection Overview In todays world, geographic data is often obtained from complicated and extensive computer databases a nd government organizations. This study is unique in that all work was done by one single researcher, and the information was not compiled or collected from a publicly available data sour ce or existing comput er database. Prior studies by the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI), partnering with the U.S. Forest Service, as mentioned in Chapter Two, have examined these peaks over a number of years with many people collaborating informa tion on all the peaks from all the different fourteener mountain ranges separately. The ar chive data collection (described in this chapter) and the fieldwork conducted during this project (explained in Chapter Four), represents the first attempt to collect data for all 58 named fourteener peaks in a systematic way. The archive data collection (Phase One) for all the fourteeners was done in May 2005, while the fieldwork data coll ection (Phase Two) was completed between June 1, 2005 to August 11, 2005. Evaluating al l peaks within a s hort time frame may demonstrate a significant advantage for this study, because changes in environmental degradation over time will not be considered a limitation for the standard route on each peak. Data for Phase One was collected from an uncomputerized paper source, the Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) Archives in Golden, Colorado, while the data for Phase
58 Two of the research was collected from actua l physical trail and r oute fieldwork on each standard route of all 58 of Colorados 14,000-foot peaks. 3.1.1. Sources of Information and Study Limitations The key variable of interest in this study, the number of people recorded as climbing to the top of any part icular fourteener, (called a fourteener-visit ), was obtained from the Colorado Mountain Club (CMC). Data from the CMC Archives have been collected, and tallies of the number of people who climbed any given peak were recorded in the fourteener summit logs for each specific mountain. The CMC has filed all the summiting registers for the official 53 four teeners with the exception of a few peaks (refer to Tables A1-A2 Appendix A). In formation on the number of people climbing each peak was organized and analyzed to determine which peaks were climbed how many times in each year. During the summer or climbing months (May through October) when these peaks are relatively snow free, pe ople who reach the top of any peak open the summit log and sign it with their name, hometo wn, date of summit, and other comments. Because the date of the climb is recorded in the logs, the study originally had the potential to just be organized by climbing s eason (May 1 to October 31), and off-season (November 1 to April 31). However, the collection of an annual climbing frequency value for each peak in any given year (f rom 1995 to 2004) was found to be the most effective way to formulate the index develope d in this thesis because it accounts for the overall number of visits, and therefore repr esents an aggregate measure of the overall impact to any fourteener. This would also minimize some of the limitations of collecting accurate data for the entire year from all the summit registers, especially during the winter months, when registers may become buried under snow and are unlikely to be
59 signed by a successful climber. An additional problem is that some people climbing to the summits of the peaks do not sign the regist er either for personal reasons or because there may not actually be a register available at the time. While the use of annual relative climbing frequency values might introduce pot ential errors, the results of the overall study are not likely to be significantly affected by such minor errors. According to the data collected from the CMC Archives, over 90 percent of the climbs on any of the fourteeners occur duri ng the months of May through October, and primarily during July, August, and Septembe r. During these periods, people from the Denver Metropolitan area and adjacent subur bs, termed by this study as fair weather climbers, come to the mountains only when the weather conditions are favorable. Data collected from the CMC Archives are generally sufficient and complete for the times that most climbers visit the four teeners. Therefore, the re lative annual climbing frequency values collected can be considered a reliab le source of information, for the purpose of formulating the composite FEDI. 3.1.2. Determining Relative Annua l Climbing Frequency from the Summit Registers For this project, relative annual climbing frequency fo r each of the fourteeners were classified into three qua litative categories: low, m oderate, and high. Two factors were used to determine this classification based on the quantitative values for each peak obtained from the CMC Archives: 1) yearly ar chival climbing freque ncy; and, 2) monthly archival climbing frequency. For almost half of the peaks, the summit registers from the CMC Archives contain at least one complete year of climbing records, with some peaks having two or three years of complete data within the years 1995-2004. Peaks that have a complete year of climbing records or at l east one complete mont h of climbing records
60 during the climbing season months (May 1 to October 31) were classified with high, moderate, or low relative climbing frequency based on criteria summarized in Table 3.1. Table 3.1. Criteria used to cl assify yearly relative clim bing frequencies for Colorados Fourteeners. Relative Climbing Frequency Value Fourteener-visits Yearly Archival Frequency (Number of Climbers); n = 28 Highest Monthly Archival Frequency (Number of Climbers); n = 25 Low 0-500 0-50 Moderate 501-1500 51-300 High 1501+ 301+ Twenty-eight of the 58 14,000-foot peaks included in this study were classified under yearly archival frequenc y, having at least one year of complete climbing records, and therefore assigned a relativ e climbing frequency value to be used in the statistical analysis. If a peak did not have a complete ye ar of archival data, as was the case with 25 of the fourteeners, then monthly archival frequency was us ed to classify them (Table 3.1). However, five peaks (Mount Cameron, North Eolus Peak, Challenger Point, Mount Evans, and Pikes Peak) did not have any summit registers in either the CMC Archives or on their summits. Therefor e, a special classification scheme was implemented for determining their relative climbing frequency status. Since Cameron, North Eolus, and Challenger are sub-summ its of nearby peaks, they were assigned relative climbing frequency values based on their nearest neighboring peak. For example, Mount Cameron is climbed most often when Mount Lincoln is climbed (Borneman and Lampert 1998; Dawson, 1999a 1999b; Roach, 2004). In fact, most people cross directly over Camerons summ it (14,238) on their way over to reach the
61 higher Mount Lincoln (14,286). Therefore, Cameron was assigned the same value as Lincoln (both moderate) for their relative a nnual climbing frequency. The same logic was used for North Eolus peak, which is located within close proximity to Eolus Peak. Challenger Point (14,081) is a mere 400 ya rds from the summit of Kit Carson (14,265) and are both classified as m oderate. Pikes Peak, as well as Mount Evans, have thousands of visitors each year, both by their standard routes to the summit and because of unique other means of transportation (roads and railro ads to the summit). Thus both peaks were rated high with regard to their rela tive climbing frequencies. Since the data organization and overall anal ysis of the logs for every year since 1940 would be too time consuming and labor intensive at the present time, the information used in this study is limited to th e past ten years. The potential to go back and complete a comprehensive analysis for all the years, however, remains a future research option. Table C1 in Appendix C shows a template that was used for accounting for each peaks summit registers for data collection from the CMC Archives that was entered systematically into a spreadsheet. 3.2. Descriptions of the Vari ables and Data Collection The key variable of interest, fourteener-visits represents the number of people that have signed the registers at the top of each fourteener, was organized into three qualitative categories: high, moderate, and lo w (as explained in se ction 3.1.). It is important to note that fourteener-visits and relative annual mountain climbing frequency
62 are two terms with essentially the same mean ing, and will often be used interchangeably within the remainder of this thesis. Why are there so many people venturing in to Colorados high country for a hike or climb to any one of the highest summits ? The original hypothesis regarding the development of this study wa s that the distance from a mount ain to higher concentrations of people is a significant fact or. The peaks within close proximity to a major population center are likely to have more visitors. The Denver metropolit an area, in general, is the center of an urban metropolis that is steadily growing in population. As the population of Colorado approached five million residents in 2005, nearly 75 percent of those people reside along the Front Range of the state within close proximity to the Denver metropolitan area (Colorado Demographic Servic e, 2004). This agglomeration of people on the eastern side of Colorados mountains is a clear factor into the continuing accessibility to the mountains of Colorado as the means of valuable outdoor scenery and recreation. Given this development, it is e ssential to better unde rstand the reasons why there are more visits to fourteeners closer to the Front Range of Colorado than the peaks that are tucked away further to the west a nd southwest. For example, one would speculate that a peak such as Mount Bierstadt (Front Range) is going to have significantly more hikers than a peak such as El Diente (San Juan Range). The obvious reason is that Bierstadt is less than 50 miles from the cente r of the Denver metro area, while El Diente is over 200 miles from Denver. Additionally, El Diente is a peak that has a climbing difficulty rating of Class 3 for its standard easiest route without a trail leading to the summit. By contrast, Bierstadt is only a simp le Class 2 hike and has a trail reaching all the way to the summit. Logically, one would assume that more climbers, and therefore
63 more environmental degradation will occur on Bierstadt due to these factors of easier climbing difficulty, easier access, and a comple te routed trail. Although there are other factors which affect mountain climbing frequency, distance fr om any peak to the nearest urban area is likely to be a predominan t explanatory factor, along with climbing difficulty, and a continuous trail. This research project uncovers these answers and related issues but begins by formally intr oducing these important explanatory factors. Explanatory variables included character istics that are assumed to have an impact on the number of fourteener-visits to any particular peak, and described below. 1. distance (in miles): to the center of the nearest and most significant urban center (the Denver metro area; the Colorado State Capito l building to be used as the measuring point). 2. accessibility (in miles): direct distance from th e summit to nearest paved road. 3. trail/route length (in miles): distance from the trailhead to the summit (standard / easiest route was used). 4. climbing difficulty: the easiest route to the summit to be used. All the peaks have an easiest route that can be classified as a qualitative variable (1, 2, 2.5, 3, or 4). These climbing classifications ar e fully defined in Appendix B. 5. trailhead (in feet): the elevation of the peaks trailhead for the standard route. An atlas/gazetteer (Delorme, 2002) along with a Magellan Sportrak Pro Global Positioning System (GPS) were used to accurately measure and record the relevant contextual factors that aff ect the relative annual clim bing frequency of Colorados Fourteeners. GPS waypoints we re taken from the summit of each fourteener as well as
64 from the steps of the State Capitol building in Denver, and an accurate calculation was made from these coordinates to determine the direct distance (in a straight line as the crow flies) from each peak to the center of the Denver Metropolitan area. Direct distance from the nearest paved road to the summit (a s the crow flies) was collected by using the Delorme Atlas (2002). The trail length factors as well as the trailhead elevation for the standard route on each peak were determined by climbing and measuring the exact route from trailhead to the summit using the handhe ld GPS system. Climbing difficulty factors were recorded courtesy of a fourteen ers guidebook by world-renowned mountaineer Gerry Roach (2004). The results of the statis tical analyses are discussed in section 3.3, while the complete formulation of the FEDI from these results are described later in Chapter Five. 3.3. Analyzing Factors Affecting Relative Mountain Climbing Frequency (Phase One) The effect of each variable collected and described on the fourteener-visits was evaluated using various statistical methods Based on data collected from the summit registers from the Colorado Mountain Club Arch ives, descriptive summary statistics for the factors that affect relative climbing fr equency for the states 58 named summits over 14,000 feet are provided in Table 3.2. The aver age distance of any given fourteener from the Denver Metropolitan area is just over 122 miles. El Diente (14,159) is the furthest peak from Denver, a direct distance of 209 miles. Mount Evans (14,264) is located nearest Denver at a mere 36.5 miles. The m ean direct distance for all the peaks to the
65 nearest paved road is just over 5 miles, with Windom (14,082) located a maximum of 9.6 miles from the nearest pa ved road, and Mount Evans ( 14,264) the minimum of 0.1 mile near. The average length of the standard route/trail from trailhead to the summit for the fourteeners is 5.35 miles. The longest sta ndard route/trail is found in the Elk Range approaching Snowmass Mountain (14,092), a distance of 10.2 miles. The shortest standard route/trail is Mount Bross (14,172), only 1.56 miles in length. The average elevation of the trailheads fo r the fourteeners is just be low 10,000 feet. The highest standard route trailhead is located at Kite Lake (12,048) in Park County and used for climbing Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, and Bross. By contrast, the lowest trailhead for a standard route on a fourteener is the Lake Como trailhead. At 8,000 feet, this very low trailhead near Alamosa permits climbing access to the standard routes on Little Bear, Blanca, and Ellingwood, which are deep in the heart of the Sa ngre de Cristos. The most difficult standard routes on Colorados Four teeners do not exceed a Class 4 in climbing difficulty, and the easiest standard routes are Class 1 (Borneman and Lampert, 1998; Dawson, 1999a, 1999b; Roach, 2004). The mean level of difficulty for the 58 peaks evaluated in this study is 2.35. There are six Class 4 climbs on the fourteeners evaluated in this study. By the autho rs experience and route evaluati on, the level of difficulty of the six Class 4 climbs are summarized in Table 3.3. The peaks are all Class 4 climbs, listed in order of decreasing difficulty with Little Bear rated as the most difficult challenge. (A complete list of the 58 fourteeners ra ted from most difficult to easiest to climb can be found in Appendix B, Table B1).
66 Table 3.2. Descriptive Statistics for the F actors That Affect Re lative Annual Climbing Frequency of Colorados Fourteeners (n = 58). Dependent Variables Climbing Frequency Factors Mean Std. Deviation Max Min direct distance from Denver (mi) 122.53 51.19 209 36.50 direct distance from summit to nearest paved road (mi) 5.01 2.47 9.60 0.10 length of trail/route from trailhead to summit (mi) 5.35 2.08 10.20 1.56 class and standard route climbing difficulty 2.35 0.77 4.00 1.00 elevation of peak's trailhead (feet) 9999.48 1156.33 12048 8000 Table 3.3. Ranking Colorados Si x Most Difficult 14,000 Peaks Peak Name (Elevation feet) Mountain Range Route Name 1. Little Bear (14,037) Sangre de Cristo West Ridge Hourglass 2. Capitol (14,130) Elk Northeast Ridge Knife-edge 3. Pyramid (14,018) Elk Northeast Ridge Amphitheatre 4. North Maroon (14,014) Elk Northeast Ridge 5. Mount Wilson (14,246) San Juan North Slopes 6. Sunlight (14,059) San Juan South Slopes 3.3.1. Comparison of Group Means to Class ify Annual Relative Climbing Frequency The first step was to estimate and compare the group averages for each variable on the basis of fourteener-visits classified into three categor ies (low, moderate, and high) as described previously. Th e results are summarized in Table 3.4 which provides the number of peaks in each group; the group m eans for each of the five climbing frequency variables; the test st atistic (F-value); and, the probab ilities associated with the ANOVA
67 test of difference in means between the gr oups. The F-statistic for the one way ANOVA test is used to evaluate the degree to which to tal variation in a variable is associated with the grouping of the observations and to test the null hypothesis of equal group means. All five variables in this anal ysis yield large F-values and small P-values which allows us to reject the null (hypo thesis of equal means). Thus, it can be concluded that the group means for all five variables included are sign ificantly different from each other (Table 3.4). Table 3.4. Comparison of Group Means for Annual Relative Climbing Frequency of Colorados Fourteeners (thr ee groups total n = 58) Annual Climbing Frequency ANOVA Variables n = 26 HI n = 18 MOD n = 14 LOW F-value P-value direct distance from Denver (mi) 98.40 130.23 149.41 5.98 0.0044** direct distance from summit to nearest paved road (mi) 4.06 5.67 5.91 3.82 0.027* length of trail/route from trailhead to summit (mi) 4.82 5.12 6.62 3.90 0.026* class and standard route climbing difficulty 1.85 2.53 3.07 20.33 2.45 x 10-7** elevation of peak's trailhead (feet) 10379.19 9913.94 9404.29 3.61 0.033* *p < .05 **p < .01 The nature of change in mean values across the three groups also provides important insights on relative annual mountain climbing frequency for the fourteeners. According to Table 3.4, the means of four va riables, (distance from Denver, distance from the summit to the nearest paved road, length of trail/route, and route difficulty) not only differ significantly between groups but also tend to increase across groups, as
68 relative annual climbing frequency increases from low to high. On the other hand, the mean trailhead elevation tends to decr ease gradually, as relative annual mountain climbing frequency drops from high to low. Therefore, a quantitative coding scheme was used in the next phase of th e statistical analysis, to exam ine the associations between fourteener-visits and th e five explanatory fact ors. The three qualitative categories of relative annual mountain climbing frequency were coded as 1 (high), 2 (moderate), and 3 (low), respectively, to facilitate the next step of the statistical analysis. 3.3.2. Correlation Analysis Results The second step focused on assessing the strength and direction of the relationship between relative annual mountain climbing frequency (code d as 1, 2, or 3) and the five explanatory variables. A Pearson-Product Co rrelation Analysis was utilized for this purpose, because the descriptive skewness and kurtosis measures of the variables analyzed in Phase One did not suggest si gnificant departures from normality. The correlation matrix obtained from the explan atory variables and re lative annual climbing frequency are given in Table 3.5. In the table, the first column demonstrates a significant correlation between each explanatory factor a nd the values for the coded variable of relative annual climbing frequency for the ye ars of interest in this study (1995-2004). Four of the five were positively correlated, while the fifth variable (elevation of the peaks trailhead) was negatively correlated with relative annual climbing frequency. These correlations are all stat istically significant at a 99% (p< .01) level of confidence.
69 Table 3.5. Pearson-Product Correlation Values Between Variables That Effect Relative Climbing Frequency of Colorados Fourteeners Relative climbing frequency yearly (19952005) Direct Distance (miles) from Denver Direct Distance summit the nearest paved road (miles) Length of trail/route from Trailhead to summit (miles) Class and standard route climbing difficulty Elevation of Peak's Trailhead (feet) Relative climbing frequency yearly (19952005) 1.000 Direct Distance (miles) from Denver .419 .001** 1.000 Direct Distance from summit the nearest paved road (miles) .325 .006** .672 .000** 1.000 Length of trail/route from Trailhead to summit (miles) .327 .006** .305 .010* .421 .001** 1.000 Class and standard route climbing difficulty .651 .000** .443 .000** .235 .038* .335 .005** 1.000 Elevation of Peak's Trailhead (feet) -.340 .004** -3.14 .008** -.374 .002** -.873 .000** -.415 .001** 1.000 *p < .05 **p < .01 A logical explanation can be provided fo r the correlation between each variable and the dependent variable of relative annual mountain climbing frequency, or fourteener-visits as seen in Table 3.5. Direct di stance from the center of the Denver metro area was positively correlated with cl imbing frequency. In other words, peaks closer to Denver are more likely to be climbe d that those that are further away. Direct distance from the summit of a fourteener to the nearest paved road was also positively correlated with climbing frequency. Basicall y, the more accessible or closer a paved road is to the summit of a fourteener, the more frequently the peak will be climbed. Similar positive correlations can be explained fo r both length of the tr ail on the standard route and difficulty of the trail on the standard route. The shorter the trail and the lower
70 the level of climbing difficulty, the higher the climbing frequency, and therefore the higher the number of fourteener-visits are recorded in the summit registers. Finally, the fifth variable, elevation of a peaks trailh ead, was negatively correlated with relative annual climbing frequency, which implies that st andard fourteener routes that start at higher trailheads will be climbe d more frequently than those starting at lower trailheads. In summary, the five explanatory factors: distance from a major urban center (Denver), distance from the nearest paved ro ad, length of trail on the standard route, climbing route difficulty, and elevation of the trailhead indicate a statistically significant effect on relative annual m ountain climbing frequency The correlation analysis shows that climbing route difficulty has the most significant impact on relative annual mountain climbing frequency. In other words, more pe ople tend to hike up the easy Class 1, 2, and 2.5 routes that exist on 42 of the 58 fourt eeners, and shy away from the dangers and difficulties associated with Class 3 and 4 clim bs for the remaining 16 peaks, as suggested by the high and positive r-value (.651). Add itionally, the ANOVA test indicated that the means of all five variables are significantly different with respect to the qualitative classification of relative a nnual climbing frequency at the 95 percent level of confidence ( = .05), with climbing difficulty and distan ce from Denver being the most significant variables at 99 percent ( = .01). These factors all appear to be only the tip of the iceberg in terms of explaining how many people are climbing to the top of any of the fourteeners. Because all chosen variables had a signi ficant effect on relative annual mountain climbing frequency, the results of all five factors were includ ed, interpreted, and integrated further in the final formulation of the composite FEDI as described in Chapter Five.
71 Chapter Four: Physical Trails and Route Peak Analysis (Phase Two) The second phase of the study (Phase Two) focuses on collecting and calculating results of the physical trail and route evalua tion to develop a classi fication index called the interim Fourteeners Environmental Degr adation Index (iFEDI). The iFEDI was formulated to investigate the following research questions: (a) Which fourteeners are classified to have the most adverse humanenvironmental impacts on their standard route? (b) If a clear-cut trail (def ined as a clear and walking-adequate man-made path eight feet wide or less (NPS, 1983)) remain s in existence from the trailhead throughout the entire route all the way to the summit, doe s this lead to potentially adverse impacts on the peak? The values calculated to determine the interim Fourteeners Environmental Degradation Index (iFEDI) are ultimately used to supplement the final values in the overall classification index for Colorados F ourteeners (FEDI), formulated and described in Chapter Five. The following sections of this chapter summarize data collection, methods, and results of Phase Two of the proj ect. The iFEDI valu es are presented and discussed near the e nd of this chapter.
72 4.1. Physical Trails and Route Analysis Fieldwork Data Collection The interim Fourteeners Environmental Degradation Index (iFEDI) formulated for each peak was developed from field-based information on the presence of switchbacks, lack of trails, number of tra il branches (spurs), visual campsites observed from the main route corridor, and presence of cairn route markers in bouldered areas. All of this information was collected in the fi eld by physically climbing the standard route on each of Colorados 58 summits over 14,000 f eet. GPS technology, as mentioned in Chapter Three, was again used to collect and document the presence of all the various human-environmental impacts of interest. In nearly all cases, the el evation and exact trail mile (TM) of the particular impact was collected and systematically recorded. The variables having a significan t effect on relative annual mountain climbing frequency (Chapter Three) were later incorporated in to the Phase Two field collection and the end result was a final composite FEDI (to be fully explained in Chapter Five). 4.2. Descriptions of the Vari ables and Data Collection The two components of the physical trails analysis portion of th is project included evaluating and documenting trail and route conditions both above the timberline (approximately +11,000 feet) and below th e timberline (to approximately 11,000feet). The physical trails analysis separated above-t imberline data from below-timberline data for each peak studied. Despite this separa tion, all of the information was accumulated together and used to describe the cond itions and human-environmental impacts found on
73 each peak as a whole, thus allowing each peak to be compared to the others on a single complete scale of measurement. The iFEDI components for classifying trail status and route condition variables above and be low timberline accounted for the potential environmental impacts and the importance of having one clear cut trail/route to the summit on the peaks. The absolute value m easurements (as described in section 4.2.1.) are broken down into either derived per mile values or percentages for each variable collected. 4.2.1. Route Conditions on the Fourteeners Trail status on any given f ourteener is important when evaluating and comparing standard routes on each peak. The most ideal trail conditions would entail a clear, easy route to follow from a peaks trailhead to the summit, especially above timberline. Any deviations from normal standard trail conditions can pose se veral adverse impacts to the surrounding environment, mainly the fragile t undra. Although most of the peaks have trails extending to the summit, other peaks ma y have two or more separate trails along a route. These trails later c onverge near the summit or conve rge and divide again as the route continues up the mountain. This phe nomenon, known as trail braiding (Hesse, 2000; Blake, 2002) further increases the trampli ng effect to wider areas of the delicate tundra. Some fourteeners are steeper and more technical (cliffs, rocks, steep gullies) than others and so a trail is not always clearly constructed for the duration of the standard route. Peaks are very rocky, hence the Rocky Mountain region and thus a trail may not be present through a series of boulders. Ho wever, some peaks use cairns (rock pile monuments) and trail markers to define a r oute. The clearer a r oute is defined above treeline, the lower the degree of potential enviro mental impacts. The best case scenario is
74 represented by a peak with one clearly define d trail and route corrido r all the way to the summit. Keeping people on one trail for the en tire duration of a climb to the top of a fourteener would surely curtail the am ount of overall damage to the surrounding environment. The interim FEDI developed in this second phase of the study accounts for these factors, giving comparative values for par ticular variables in regards to trail status that would be hypothesized to have a higher impact upon the fr agile alpine environment. For this reason, human-environmental impacts are also likely to be dependent on the number of people (relative annual climbing fre quency) that travel in to a certain area and on any particular route. Ther efore, the results from the Phase One statistical analysis were eventually linked to information colle cted in Phase Two fieldwork to precisely formulate the overall composite FEDI. Digital photography of routes on the fourteeners was us ed to visually document the conditions of trails on the standard rout e of each peak. Images show examples of degradation, such as multiple trails in one area or mountain-side, excessive erosion and trail gullying of a la rge area from high volumes of usag e, extreme tundra/soil loss, and standard ideal trail conditions. This informa tion does not quantitativel y contribute to the formulation of the FEDI, but it does qualitatively describe co nditions of trails and routes (photos shown later in this chapter), and may be considered useful to restoration efforts on the peaks (discussed in Chapter Two). Scores were calculated for the interim FEDI based on physical trails and route informati on documented for each category, and at each of the variable attributes sp ecified below. See Appendix C for physical trails fieldwork data collection templates.
75 1. Trail/Route Status (in miles and feet of elevation gain ): This was used to answer the following question: Is there a continuous tra il from the trailhead all the way to the summit? On some of the fourteeners, the an swer is yes, and therefore a trail spans the entire route for the fourteener of in terest. On other oc casions, there are many peaks that do not have a trail extending all the way to the summit from the trailhead. The peaks without a continuous trail to the summit were listed as no, followed by the documented elevation gain indicating no tr ail as well as the measured trail miles (TMs) that the route was found to have no tr ail. This information is important to comparatively recognize the percentages of routes for distance and elevation gain on each of the fourteeners that are devoid of a clear trail ca lculated into the variables under #5 and #6 below. 2. Trail Spurs (per mile): The total overall number of trail spurs counted on the peak from trailhead to the summit, per mile of tr ail. The larger this value, the higher the impacts because if there are more braided tr ails and social trails in an area, there will be more ways for people to access areas and further damage the landscape (Sunshine and Redcloud Peaks, Figure 4.1).
76 Figure 4.1. Trail Spurs and Braide d Trails On Sunshine Peak s North Slopes, San Juan Range (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, June 22, 2005) 3. Switchbacks (per mile): The total overall number of trail switchbacks counted on the peak from trailhead to the summit, per mile of trail. The larger this value, the lower the impacts. Trail switchbacks can be added to a trail to keep a steep mountainside, slope, or gully from eroding and destr oying the fragile landscapes due to the trampling effects of people (Figure 4.2).
77 Figure 4.2. Trail Switchbacks, La Plata P eak, Sawatch Range (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, June 29, 2005) 4. Switchbacks Needed (per mile): The total overall num ber of trail switchbacks, per mile of trail, that are recommended by the res earcher to be added to the current route, placed in special areas of the trail that n eed them to prevent in creasing erosion, trail braiding, and deep trail-gullying on steep sl opes. Restoration crews could use this information to their advantage during trail a nd route work on a peak. The larger this value, the higher the observed impacts to the land because of the observed degradation. For all the recommended sites on routes documented for this study,
78 photographic evidence of the impacts was al so obtained; some of these photos are presented later in this section. 5. Percent (%) Elevation (in feet) No Trail : The total overall pe rcent of the routes elevation gain from trailhead to the summit th at was recorded as having no trail. This is simply calculated by taking the elevation gain for the peak that was documented as having no trail, a value collected from the tr ail and route status fieldwork (#1 on this list), and dividing this value by the total el evation gain for the entire route from trailhead to summit. The higher this percentage, the lowe r the present human environmental impacts are upon the land, but the potential human-environmental impacts are dependent upon the relative cl imbing frequencies for that particular fourteener. If the climbing frequencies fo r the peak are high, then the environmental degradation is higher and therefore a highe r impact index value will be assigned for this particular variable. 6. Percent (%) Trail Miles No Trail (miles): The total overall percent of the routes distance in miles from trailhead to the summ it that was recorded as having no trail. This is simply calculated by taking the dist ance for the peak that was documented as having no trail, a value collected from the tr ail and route status fieldwork (#1 on this list), and dividing this value by the total trail and route distance for the entire route from trailhead to summit. The higher this percentage, the lower the present human environmental impacts are upon the land, but the potential human-environmental impacts are higher, dependent upon the re lative climbing frequencies for that particular fourteener. If the climbing frequencies for the peak are high, than the
79 environmental degradation is higher and ther efore a larger impacts index value will be assigned for this particular variable. Figure 4.3. Double Wide (Dw) Trail, Mount Bierstadt, Front Range (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, June 1, 2005) 7. Percentage of Trail Miles as Double Wide (% Dw): The overall totals for data on trails collected from trailh ead to the summit and converted to a percentage. This information describes sections of trail that are classified as double-wide (Dw), or
80 wider than 5 feet (Figure 4.3). A normal ma intained man-made trail for the scope of this project generally is no more than 2-4 feet wide and is not eroded to a width of wider than 5 feet. Any trail is considered by the National Pa rk Service to be in fair condition as long as it is le ss than 8 feet wide (National Park Service, 1983). Trails and routes with very large hiker volumes will inevitably create trails that are unnecessarily wide and degraded (Figure 4.3) thus the higher the Dw percentage, the higher the human-environmental impacts. 8. Percentage of Route Miles With No Trail or Markers (%): The overall percentage of the routes trail miles (TMs) from trailh ead to the summit of the peak that has no trail nor a human-marked route to follow when there is no trail. This percentage is debatable as to whether or not it can be considered more of an impact on the land than if the portion of the route with no trail rema ins unmarked for two reasons: First, if there is only a trail to follow and then nothi ng to mark the route when the trail ends (as in the Percent (%) Trail Miles No Trail (miles) variable #6 previously described), climbers will not remain within a single corridor. Instead the people will climb on multiple routes, a practice that can create increased degradation and many social trails in one area over time (pre viously seen in Figure 4.1 and shown in Figure 4.4(a)). Second, if an ar ea with no trail has very few visitors (such as the case with Culebra peak, Figure 4.4(b)), even ha ving a trail present is scarring the land and leading to a higher impact because the alr eady low amount of visitors to the peak do not impact the land negatively and social tra ils are not even created. As a rule of thumb, having a trail that ends and is followe d by an area with no trail, but is marked by some sort of cairn system, is better than having a trail end that has no markers to
81 track because with the former, there will at least be a route to follow in a single corridor (Figure 4.4(c)). This may lead to a minimization of degradation to the surrounding areas. Therefore, this variab le was treated both as a negative humanenvironmental impact, and a positive impact and was based solely on the trails and routes evaluation performed by the resear cher, taking into account the impacts potential of the route in co mbination with the relative climbing frequency values for each peak collected from Phase One of this study. Figure 4.4(a). Social Trail Degradation Due to Lack of Constructed Trail or Route Markers, Thus No Single Route Corridor. A Few Markers Are Shown Here, But Were Not Continuous on the Route. South Slopes of Mount Columbia, Sawatch Range (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, June 6, 2005)
82 Figure 4.4(b). Culebra Peak, Sangre de Cristo Range. Peak Remains Pristine, Without Trails or Even Cairn Markers (P hoto by Jon Kedrowski, July 9, 2005)
83 Figure 4.4(c). Without a Trail, Cairn Systems Maintain a Single Route Corridor. Mount of the Holy Cross, Sawatch Range (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, August 6, 2005) 9. Fire Rings (Per Mile): Total overall number of visible campsites and/or visible fire rings, per mile of trail observ ed from the main trail/route from trailhead to the summit (Figure 4.5). Campsites can be visually seen from the main route and were tallied for each peak. The greater the number of ca mpsites, the higher the impacts to the landscape. In some areas, a simple fire ring would be counted and thus indicate a campsite. Other basins, like the Needle Creek drainage, East Cross Creek/Holy Cross, and Snowmass Lake areas, campfires are not permitted. Stoves must be used by campers, and therefore campsites that were visibly degrading the land were
84 counted, and could usually be spotted because of the bare ground from overuse that scars the alpine environment. Figure 4.5. Visible Campsite Observed Above the Main Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness Trail. Snowmass Mountain, Elk Range (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, May 28, 2005) 10. Percent of Route Miles as 4WD Road : The overall percentage of the routes trail miles (TMs) from trailhead to the summit of the peak that uses a four-wheel-drive road (4WD) as part of the tr ail (Figures 4.6(a) and 4.6(b)). This percentage can be considered more of an impact on the land than if the portion of the route were to have no 4WD road at all. In additi on, this percentage is of an even higher impact than the
85 Dw classification defined in the Percentage of Trail Mile s as Double Wide (#7) component previously. Figure 4.6(a). A Four-Wheel-Drive Road as Part of the Route, Lake Como Basin, Blanca/Little Bear/Ellingwood Peaks, Sangre de Cristo Range (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, July 8, 2005)
86 Figure 4.6(b). A Four-Wheel-Drive Road as Part of the Route, Lake Como Basin, Ellingwood Point, Sangre de Cristo Range (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, July 8, 2005) The effect of each variable described he re and collected on the status of the physical trails and routes of Colorados F ourteeners was organized using an interim standardization index. The index is calculat ed for each factor for each peak to help answer the key research questions posed in Ch apter One that were al so revisited at the beginning of this chapter. The details on how this standardization is performed and its contribution to the formulation of the com posite FEDI are chronicled in section 4.3.
87 4.2.2. Descriptive Statistics from Data Collection Based on data collected from the standard routes of each of Colorados fifty-eight 14,000-foot peaks, maximum, minimum, and average values were obtained for each variable attribute and are listed in Table 4.1. Table 4.1. Descriptive Statistics for the Nine Variable Attrib utes Collected in the Trails and Routes Analysis (Phase Two) of Colorados Fourteeners (n = 58) Trail and Route Environmental Impacts Mean Max Min Max Peak Min Peak Trail Spurs / mi (Total # of Trail Spurs) 12.02 (58.43) 36.14 (118) .19 (1) Democrat (Kit Carson) Culebra Switchbacks / mi (Total # of Switchbacks) 5.54 (26.28) 30.29 (112) 0.00 (0) Belford (Oxford) Culebra Switchbacks Needed / mi (Total # of SBs Needed) .60 (3.07) 4.86 (26) 0.00 (0) Maroon 26 Peaks Fire Rings / mi (Total # of Campsites) 1.74 (10.98) 5.10 (39) 0.00 (0) Little Bear (Blanca & Ellingwood) Bierstadt & Handies % Elevation No Trail 12.22 97.04 0.00 Culebra 16 Peaks % Trail Miles No Trail 7.54 90.19 0.00 Culebra 16 Peaks % Route Miles with no Trail or Markers 4.43 90.19 0.00 Culebra 24 Peaks % Trail Miles as Dw 49.55 97.67 9.81 Grays Culebra % Route Mi as 4WD RD 18.84 88.23 0.00 Antero 34 Peaks *If There is No Peak Indicated in Parenthesis, Then the Max or Min Peak With a Per Mile Value Was the Same for Its Raw Number or Percentage. Table 4.1 highlights the attributes that we re further standardized and used to formulate the interim FEDI. Some of the phys ical trail and route information collected
88 that is very noteworthy incl uded a maximum number of trai l spurs for Mt. Democrat at 36.14 per mile (73 overall trail spurs) which would equal a high amount of environmental degradation. Culebra peak only had one trail spur for a value of 0.19 trail spurs per mile, obviously a low level of imp act. A maximum number of trail switchbacks on Mt. Belford (106 total, 30.29 per mile), wa s once again compared to Culebra, which has no trail switchbacks at all. Although Mt. Oxford (112) has six more switchbacks than Belford (106), the route to Oxford simply follows Belfords route and so Belford has more switchbacks per mile than Oxford. To a certain degree, depending on mountain climbing frequency, more switchbacks should indicate lower environmental degradation, but this may not always be the case. By evaluation and photographic documentation, routes with steep eroded slope s were also identified for locations where a switchback should be constructed along the trail to prevent the landsca pe damage to the area. Maroon Peak in the Elk Range was documented to need 26 new switchbacks (4.86 per mile) constructed along its south ridge route (F igure 4.7(a)). In the Figure, the trail splits to the right to short cut the main trail which takes a more gradual right turn into the gully directly ahead. At this point in the rout e, multiple switchbacks should be added on the grassy slopes to the right to avoid further er osion and rockfall in th e gully, and to prevent excessive trail-braiding, also seen at the location. North Maroon and Pyramid Peaks, also located within close proximity to Maroon, we re estimated by fieldwork to need 11, (2.56 per mile) and 10 (2.58 per mile), switchback s respectively, added to their standard northeast ridge routes (Figures 4.7(b), 4.7(c), and 4.7(d)). Work is being done on lower portions of Pyramid Peak (Figur e 4.7(d)) to create a sustaina ble route to timberline. This work is scheduled to be completed by Oct ober 2006 (CFI, 2005a). Conversely, there are
89 26 other fourteeners that have been sustaine d and by current observation do not require construction of any switchbacks along their trails (Table 4.1). The peaks that are in this category have been less impacted overall than peaks such as the Maroon Bells and Pyramid, at least from phys ical trails observation. Figure 4.7(a). Maroon Peak South Ridge Route Just Below the South Ridge at 13,100* (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, August 3, 2005) *Green = Current Trail/Route. Red = Trail Spur and/or Braide d Trail Branching from Main Trail. Blue = Where a Sustainable Trail Should Be Added to Improve the Current Trail or Route (Trail Switchback Recommendations Included).
90 Figure 4.7(b). A Need For A Clear Trail and Switchbacks To Be Constructed Up the Grassy Slopes of Lower North Maroon Peak Between 11,500 and 12,800. *The Climbers Trail is Faintly Visible Headi ng up the Gully at Center. (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, August 2, 2005) *Green = Current Trail/Route. Red = Trail Spur and/or Braide d Trail Branching from Main Trail. Blue = Where a Sustainable Trail Should Be Added to Improve the Current Trail or Route (Trail Switchback Recommendations Included).
91 Figure 4.7(c). Gully on North Maroon at 13,000 is Severely Eroded (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, August 2, 2005). *Green = Current Trail/Route. Red = Trail Spur and/or Braide d Trail Branching from Main Trail. Blue = Where a Sustainable Trail Should Be Added to Improve the Current Trail or Route (Trail Switchback Recommendations Included).
92 Figure 4.7(d). New Trail and Switchback Constructed Summer 2005 Pyramid Peak (Photo by Jon Kedrowski, August 2, 2005). The total number of visible campsites we re counted along the standard route of each peak. Thirty-nine campsites were observe d in the Lake Como basin for Blanca and Ellingwood Peaks, while Little Bear had the highest campsite s per mile out of all the fourteeners (5.10 per mile). Bierstadt and Handies Peaks both had no visible campsites along their trails, thus indi cating a lower impact upon the landscape. Percentages indicating various trail and r oute characteristics for all th e fourteeners are collectively summed up in Table 4.1. Culebra peak ofte n shows as a low impact maximum or minimum value, according to these results and the relationships between all the
93 fourteeners and these attribut es will be further determined in the overall FEDI and resolved in the Discussion and Conclusions of Chapter Six. 4.3. Standardizing the Environmental Impacts Variables for the Interim FEDI The nine environmental impacts variable s, previously defined in section 4.2.1. and obtained during the physical trails and routes fieldwork, were initially collected as raw data along each peaks standard route. To normalize the nine variables and make each peaks data comparable, the values were either converted to a percentage, or divided by the trail/route length for the peak in order to have a per mile value (i.e. percent of trail miles with no trail, or trail spurs per mile ). For standardizing the nine variables, labeled interim variables at this stage, the calcula tion into the interim FEDI required using the following formula; (Eq. 1) Interim Variable = (Actual Value Min Value) / (Max Value Min Value) Where, Interim Variable: standardized value of the variable for any given fourteener, Actual Value: variable (raw data) being compared to the others in the data set, Max Value: largest observed value for the variable among all 58 fourteeners, Min Value: smallest observed value for the variable among all 58 fourteeners. This formula (Equation 1) uses the maximum and minimum values of each variable attribute to calculate and then co mpare the value observed for each peak within the specified variable of interest. Th e method has been commonly used by many
94 researchers who have worked in the social sciences creating the Human Developmental Index (HDI), an index that tracks changes over time in evaluation of human development for any given country (Anand and Sen, 1994; Agostini and Richardson, 1997). Indices have also been used in a similar fashion in assessing vulnerability to natural and humaninduced hazards (Cutter et al ., 2000; Chakraborty et al ., 2005). Because the same logic can be applied to the research on the environm ental impacts of the fourteeners, the FEDI created in this research tracks changes over time. The changes are due to the environmental degradation created by the rela tive climbing frequencies in relationship to the trail and route attributes identified dur ing the fieldwork and data collection as grouped in section 4.2.1. 4.3.1. Calculating the Interim Fourteeners Environmental Degradation Index (iFEDI) When all nine of the interim variables are standardized, it allows them to be formulated into an interim FEDI index that is not inclusive of the variables related to fourteener-visits. The interim FEDI is basically the ca lculation of the status of the physical route environmental impacts for each of the 58 Fourteeners for Phase Two of the study only However, the goal of this research is to assess the ove rall status of the peaks in terms of their level of human-envir onmental impacts with relationship to relative annual climbing frequencies, and so significan t variables from Phases One and Two also must be combined into one composite FEDI (as described in Chapter Five). The nine trails and route attributes at this st age are classified into two categories, absolute environmental impacts, and potential environmental impacts in order to arrive at the interim FEDI. Table 4.2 indica tes how the values were calcu lated into the interim index, and the calculations formulating the index are expressed in the equations that follow. As
95 a rule of thumb, the larger th e index value, the higher the extent of the adverse humanenvironmental impacts to a ny particular fourteener. Table 4.2. Fourteeners Trail and Route Attri butes: Absolute Versus Potential Impacts and How Each One Contributes to the Interim FEDI Trail and Route Environmental Impacts Equation Abbreviation Absolute Potential Impact on FEDI Magnitude (+ or -) Trail Spurs / mi TS X + Switchbacks / mi SB X Switchbacks Needed / mi SBN X + Fire Rings / mi FR X + % Elevation No Trail %ELNT X + % Trail Miles No Trail %TMNT X + % Route Miles with no Trail or Markers %RMNT X + % Trail Miles as Dw %Dw X + % Route Mi as 4WD RD %4WD X + Impact on the FEDI Magnitude Refers to the Expected Impacts (positive or negative) for Each Trail and Route Attribute Upon the Landscape. Increasin g or decreasing the Magnitude of th e FEDI is Dependent Upon Relative Annual Climbing Frequency Determined in Phase One (Chapter Three). Based on the information in Table 4.2, the interim index is calculated from the attributes listed and their potentially adverse impacts upon the landscape. Due to the effect of the attributes on the environment, it is necessary to average the absolute impacts and add or subtract the potential impacts valu es to create the interim index. Attributes such as trail spurs per mile, and fire rings per mile are absolute or expected for well established reasons. For example, the larger the number of trail spurs and campsites
96 found along the route of a fourteener, the hi gher the human-environmental impacts, and thus an increase in the FEDI magnitude. The three potential environmental impacts attributes are dependent upon the classification of the relative annual climbing frequency values of each peak. Because the relative climbing frequencies from the statis tical analysis for the 58 fourteeners from Phase One were significant, the three potentia l environmental impacts attributes were added for high climbing frequency, subtract ed for low climbing frequency, and held neutral (averaged and added) for moderate climbing frequency, respectively. Thus, the computation of the iFEDI values depends on the category of relative annual mountain climbing frequency as given below in equations 2, 3, and 4. If relative annual climbing frequency of a peak is high then take the average of the six absolute variables and add them to the sum of the three potential variables: (Eq. 2) RMNT TMNT ELNT WD Dw FR SBN SB TS iFEDIhigh% % % 6 4 % % If relative annual climbing frequency of a peak is moderate then take the average of the six absolute variables and add them to the average of the three potential variables: (Eq. 3) 3 % % % 6 4 % % RMNT TMNT ELNT WD Dw FR SBN SB TS iFEDImaderate
97 If relative annual climbing frequency of a peak is low then take the average of the six absolute variables and subtract them from the sum of the three potential variables: (Eq. 4) RMNT TMNT ELNT WD Dw FR SBN SB TS iFEDIlow% % % 6 4 % % For the equations presented above TS : Trail Spurs per mile; SB : Switchbacks per mile; SBN : Switchbacks Needed per mile; FR : observed campsites or Fire Rings per mile; %Dw : Percent of trail as Double Wide; %4WD : Percent of the trail/route as a Four-Wheel-Drive road; %ELNT : Percent Elevation of route with No Trail; %TMNT : Percent Trail Miles with No Trail; %RMNT : Percent of Route Miles with No Trail or markers. The reasoning behind the three separate equations is that all three of the potential impact attributes give information about the r outes percentage without a trail. However, information about the route itself has been collected in a qualitative manner, and not quantitative. Basically, there is nothing excep t a percentage measure that tells us about the actual status of the portion of route that has no trail. The area may have lots of erosion from tundra being trampled and imp acted. There could be eroded gullies on
98 steep slopes from foot traffic across narrow ledges. Conversely, there may actually be only minor traces of human impacts because so few people venture into the area, or because a boulder field and snowfield covers the r oute. In the end, the actual status of the section of mountain with no trail is in question, and the onl y way to rate the impact of the area is to link it to the relative climbing fre quency that was obtained and tested from Phase One of the study, calculating the index based on high, moderate, and low relative values. A second linkage of Phase One info rmation to Phase Two information will be explained in Chapter Five to show how the significant variables from Phase One are used as additional variables for c ontribution to the overall composite FEDI as well as the multiple scenario FEDIs. For now, the at tention will be turned to the results by calculation of the iFEDI, presente d in the next section (4.4). 4.4. Results of the Physical Trail and Ro ute Analysis Fieldwork (Phase Two) The nine variables deemed important for assessing the status of the humanenvironmental impacts on Colorados Fourteener s were collected, standardized, and then incorporated into the interim index prior to being formulated into the final composite FEDI. The interim FEDI cal culated for each peak is pres ented in this section and depicted on maps to show th e geographical distribution of the iFEDI within each of the Colorado Fourteener mountain ranges. 4.4.1. Interim Fourteeners Environmental Degradation Index (iFEDI) The nine variable attributes from the trai ls and route analysis were aggregated and calculated. Each of the 58 Fourteeners in Colorado were given an interim Fourteeners
99 Environmental Degradation Index (iFEDI) score that is listed in Table 4.3. The higher the rank and index value, the higher the degree of adverse environmental impacts. Three of the five highest iFEDI sc ores were from Evans (#1, 1.487), Longs (#2, 0.853), and Pikes (#5, 0.626), located in the Front Range The Sangre de Cristo Range also placed two peaks, Blanca (#3, 0.777), and Humboldt (#6, 0.625), into the highest six iFEDI. The three lowest iFEDI values came from the Sangre de Cristo, San Juan, and Elk Ranges: Culebra (-2.802), El Diente (-0.570) and Snowmass (-0.444), respectively. The San Juan Range in the far southwestern porti on of the state was the only range of the six mountain ranges studied that did not have at least one peak ranked in the top ten based on the iFEDI. Mount Sneffels, re corded the highest iFEDI in the San Juans (#12 overall, 0.468). By contrast, the lowest rated iFEDI in the Front Range was that of Bierstadt. At #29 (0.366), Biestadt still remained in the uppe r half of the highest ranked iFEDI peaks. The Front Range was the only range evaluated in this study which had no peaks ranked in the bottom half of the iFEDI (f rom #30 to #58). This indicates that the range as a whole is very much impacted by high climbing activit y, more than any other mountain range in Colorado.
100 Table 4.3. 53 Official (5 8 Unofficial) Fourteeners Ranked by Interim FEDI* Rank Peak Name iFEDI Value Mtn. Range Rank Peak Name iFEDI Value Mtn. Range 1 Evans 1.4871 Front 30 Elbert 0.3566 Sawatch 2 Longs 0.8532 Front 31 Harvard 0.3289 Sawatch 3 Blanca 0.7771 Sangre de Cristo 32 Crestone Pk 0.3268 Sangre de Cristo 4 Castle 0.7742 Elk 33 Bross 0.3232 Tenmile / Mosquito 5 Pikes 0.6259 Front 34 Conundrum 0.3212 Elk 6 Humboldt 0.6257 Sangre de Cristo 35 Uncompaghre 0.3212 San Juan 7 Democrat 0.5930 Tenmile / Mosquito 36 Challenger 0.3124 Sangre de Cristo 8 Columbia 0.5605 Sawatch 37 Kit Carson 0.3074 Sangre de Cristo 9 Antero 0.5516 Sawatch 38 Little Bear 0.3045 Sangre de Cristo 10 Sherman 0.5409 Tenmile / Mosquito 39 N. Eolus 0.2783 San Juan 11 Ellingwood 0.4750 Sangre de Cristo 40 Quandary 0.2738 Tenmile / Mosquito 12 Sneffels 0.4683 San Juan 41 Shavano 0.2620 Sawatch 13 Wilson Pk 0.4588 San Juan 42 Redcloud 0.2547 San Juan 14 Cameron 0.4456 Tenmile / Mosquito 43 Sunshine 0.2507 San Juan 15 Huron 0.4417 Sawatch 44 Wetterhorn 0.2419 San Juan 16 Sunlight 0.4390 San Juan 45 Tabeguache 0.2398 Sawatch 17 Torreys 0.4291 Front 46 La Plata 0.2341 Sawatch 18 Windom 0.4242 San Juan 47 San Luis 0.2318 San Juan 19 Eolus 0.4207 San Juan 48 Handies 0.2175 San Juan 20 Yale 0.4124 Sawatch 49 N. Maroon Pk 0.2154 Elk 21 Lincoln 0.4099 Elk 50 Missouri 0.1852 Sawatch 22 Grays 0.4057 Front 51 Maroon Pk 0.1313 Elk 23 Massive 0.3993 Sawatch 52 Oxford 0.1137 Sawatch 24 Lindsey 0.3988 Sangre de Cristo 53 Belford 0.1000 Sawatch 25 Princeton 0.3882 Sawatch 54 Capitol -0.3710 Elk 26 Holy Cross 0.3846 Sawatch 55 Mt. Wilson -0.4424 San Juan 27 Pyramid 0.3766 Elk 56 Snowmass -0.4442 Elk 28 Crest. Needle 0.3694 Sangre de Cristo 57 El Diente -0.5702 San Juan 29 Bierstadt 0.3661 Front 58 Culebra -2.8025 Sangre de Cristo *A Higher Ranking Indicates a Higher Level of Human-e nvironmental Impacts Based on the Trails and Routes Analysis Comparing All the Fourteeners Table 4.4 shows the descriptive statistics resulting from the iFEDI. Within this table for each range, the iFEDI values were averaged to get a mountain range value (MRV). Front Range peaks were mentioned as scoring high by indi vidual iFEDI values, and the MRV iFEDI value for the Front Range (0.6945) was the highest out of all the mountain ranges studied. The tabl e also indicates that Culebr a peak had a large influence upon the MRV iFEDI for the Sangre de Cristo Range. Because Culebra was classified
101 with such a low iFEDI, it makes the Sangre de Cristo range the lowest rated iFEDI range when Culebra is included in the MRV. Ho wever, Culebra peak is really quite an exceptional peak in terms of pris tine stature as opposed to all the other fourteeners in this study. Therefore the best MRV iFEDI for the the Sangre de Cristos is observed without considering Culebra, and that yielded the th ird highest MRV iFEDI of the six ranges, a relatively high value of 0.3897. The lowe st two ranges for MRV iFEDI were the Elk (0.1434), and San Juan (0.2139), both relatively isolated mountain ranges. To further examine the relationships between the si x major Colorado mountain ranges in this project, MRV iFEDI values are summarized in Table 4.4, and shown on the map in Figure 4.8(a). The values of this interim inde x are also mapped for peaks in each range to show the geographical distribution of impact s depicted in Figures 4.8(b)-4.8(i). Table 4.4. Colorados Fourteeners Co mpared by Range for iFEDI Values Mountain Range (# of peaks in range) MRV iFEDI iFEDI Max (Peak Name) iFEDI Min (Peak Name) 1. Front (6) 0.6945 1.4871 (Evans) 0.3661 (Bierstadt) 2. Tenmile / Mosquito (6) 0.4311 0.5930 (Democrat) 0.2738 (Quandary) 3. Sangre de Cristo (9) 0.3897* 0.7771 (Blanca) 0.3045 (Little Bear) 4. Sawatch (15) 0.3306 0.5605 (Columbia) 0.1000 (Belford) 5. San Juan (14) 0.2139 0.4683 (Sneffels) -0.5702(El Diente) 6. Elk (7) 0.1434 0.7742 (Castle) -0.4442 (Snowmass) 7. Sangre de Cristo w/ Culebra (10) 0.1095 0.7771 (Blanca) -2.8025 (Culebra) Culebra Peak was omitted from the MRV iFEDI calculati on because of its extremely low iFEDI value (-2.8025) being such an outlier.
102 Figure 4.8(a). Colorados FourteenersMRV iFEDI Values By Range
103 Figure 4.8(b). Front RangeiFEDI Values
104 Figure 4.8(c). Central Fr ont RangeiFEDI Values
105 Figure 4.8(d). Tenmile / Mosquito RangeiFEDI Values
106 Figure 4.8(e). Sangre de Cristo RangeiFEDI Values
107 Figure 4.8(f). Northern Sa watch RangeiFEDI Values
108 Figure 4.8(g). Southern Sa watch RangeiFEDI Values
109 Figure 4.8(h). San Juan RangeiFEDI Values
110 Figure 4.8(i). Elk RangeiFEDI Values
111 Chapter Five: Analysis, Formulation, and Discussion of the Fourteeners Environmental Degradation Index (FEDI) This chapter focuses on combining the results of the two previous phases of the study which focused on: (a) arch ival data collecti on with statistical analysis; and, (b) physical trail and route assessment, respectivel y. The formulation and analysis of the final composite Fourteeners Environmental Degradation Index (F EDI) meets the final objectives of this study: 1) compare and rank the fourteeners within the six major mountain ranges of Colorado; and, 2) examin e the sensitivity of the indexing method by adjusting the relative importance of the factor s that comprise the FEDI. By meeting these objectives, the following research questions can be answered on the basis of the FEDI: 1. When significant variables from Phase One and Phase Two data are combined to formulate the composite FEDI, which fourt eeners have the highest overall adverse impacts? 2. What is the geographic dist ribution of adverse human-e nvironmental impacts within and across the regions six m ountain ranges? Which region/r ange/group of fourteeners yields the highest and lowe st values on this index? 3. Do changes in relative weights of the input vari ables within the FEDI a ffect the geographic distribution of human-environmental impacts on the Fourteeners? This chapter describes all the steps us ed to arrive at the final composite index as well as answer the research questions posed.
112 Figure 5.1 summarizes the conceptual framework which illustrates how significant variables from both Phase One (sta tistical analysis) and Phase Two (physical trails analysis) were integrated to devise and calculate the FEDI. The comparison of group means (ANOVA test) and correlation an alysis described in Chapter Three, identified five significant variables that in fluence the number of people who have reached the summit and signed the registers on any par ticular peak. Phase Two, as outlined in Chapter Four, further validated and indicated which peaks have the highest impacts, by the evaluation of physical trail resource com ponents on each peak that need the most attention, protection, and restoration. The analysis integrates a ll of the components (a total of fourteen variables) to formulate the overall FEDI for the 58 fourteeners, which were then classified into five evenly sepa rated categories, and ra nked according to their overall level of human-environmental impacts. These categories were next labeled on the basis of their Attention to Re storation status, a practical application for the use of the FEDI in Colorados mountain ranges, described in the last section of this chapter.
113 Figure 5.1. Conceptual Framework for Combin ation of Relevant Variables to Formulate the FEDI Only significant attributes as determined by statis tical analysis contribute to the final composite FEDI. FEDIAttention to Restoration Status *Significant Attributes Of Annual Relative Climbing Frequencies (Five Variables: Phase One Archives) iFEDI (Nine Variables: Phase Two Fieldwork) A. Number of 14er Visits Annual Relative Climbing Frequency Hi, Moderate, Low B. *Annual Relative Climbing Frequency Attributes (Phase One) 1. Distance from Denver 2. Distance from Paved Road to Summit 3. Trail/Route Length 4. Climbing Difficulty 5. Trailhead Elevation C. Absolute Environmental Impacts Trail & Route Attributes 1. Trail Spurs / mi 2. Switchbacks / mi 3. Switchbacks Nec. / mi 4. % Trail Miles as Dw 5. Fire Rings / mi 6. % Route Mi as 4WD RD D. Potential Environmental Impacts Trail & Route Attributes 1. % Elevation No Trail 2. %Trail Miles No Trail 3. % Route Miles with no Trail or Markers
1145.1. Formulating the Fourteeners Enviro nmental Degradation Index (FEDI) Unique index scores were computed for each fourteener by combining the different factors examined in Phases One and Two of the study. It is important to consider that the simple addition of all the im pact values would not be the most effective or accurate way to compute the FEDI and to adequately compare the fourteeners to each other. This is because the relative effect of each variable depends on the relative annual climbing frequency and will thus result in different environmental impacts on the standard routes of each peak. For this purpos e, different equations were again used to calculate the final equally weighted FEDI as given in equations 5, 6, and 7. Calculating equally weighted FEDI If relative annual climbing frequency of a peak is high then take the iFEDI value (Phase Two) and add it to the sum of the five potential (Phase One) variables: (Eq. 5) EVTH Class Dmi DDmi DDDmi iFEDI FEDIhigh If relative annual climbing frequency of a peak is moderate, then take the iFEDI value (Phase Two) and add it to the average of the five potential (Phase One) variables: (Eq. 6) 5EVTH Class Dmi DDmi DDDmi iFEDI FEDImaderate
115 If relative annual climbing frequency of a peak is low, then take the iFEDI value (Phase Two) and subtract it to the sum of the five potential (Phase One) variables: (Eq. 7) EVTH Class Dmi DDmi DDDmi iFEDI FEDIlow For the equations described above, iFEDI: interim Fourteeners Environmental De gradation Index, as calculated and explained in Chapter Four; DDDmi: Direct Distance from Denver to each fourteener; DDmi: Direct Distance from nearest paved road to summit; Dmi: Distance or length of trail/route from trailhead to summit; Class: Climbing route difficulty; EVTH: Elevation of standard route Trailhead. 5.2. Application of the FEDI to Co mpare and Rank the Fourteeners To obtain the final composite and equally weighted FEDI, the five attributes of each peak (Phase One) were given a standard ized value and were integrated as five variables in conjunction with th e nine variables from trail and route attributes (Phase Two). Fourteen total variables were weighted equally to develop the FEDI; the values are listed in Table 5.1. For each of Colora dos six fourteener ranges, the FEDI values were averaged to get a m ountain range value (MRV). The MRV FEDI values are compared in Table 5.2, and represented visually on the map in Figure 5.2(a). The results
116 of this index are also depicted for peaks in each range [Figures 5.2(b)-5.2(i)], followed by a discussion of these results and geographical distribution of the FEDI in section 5.3. Table 5.1. 53 Official (58 Unofficial) Fourteeners Ranke d by FEDI (Equal Weights) Rk Peak Name (grade*) FEDI Value Mtn. Range Rk Peak Name (grade*) FEDI Value Mtn. Range 1 Evans (5) 1.6669 Front 30 Shavano (3) 0.4100 Sawatch 2 Longs (5) 0.9657 Front 31 Lindsey (3) 0.4074 Sangre de Cristo 3 Pikes (5) 0.8470 Front 32 Handies (3) 0.3864 San Juan 4 Castle (5) 0.7801 Elk 33 Tabeguache (3) 0.3835 Sawatch 5 Democrat (5) 0.7399 Tenmile / Mosquito 34 Challenger (3) 0.3708 Sangre de Cristo 6 Sherman (5) 0.6643 Tenmile / Mosquito 35 Redcloud (3) 0.3676 San Juan 7 Columbia (5) 0.6504 Sawatch 36 San Luis (2) 0.3565 San Juan 8 Blanca (5) 0.6372 Sangre de Cristo 37 Sunshine (2) 0.3458 San Juan 9 Bierstadt (5) 0.6334 Front 38 Ellingwood (2) 0.3397 Sangre de Cristo 10 Cameron (5) 0.6160 Tenmile / Mosquito 39 Kit Carson (2) 0.3395 Sangre de Cristo 11 Grays (5) 0.6111 Front 40 Missouri (2) 0.3342 Sawatch 12 Lincoln (5) 0.5955 Tenmile / Mosquito 41 Wetterhorn (2) 0.3199 San Juan 13 Torreys (5) 0.5931 Front 42 Oxford (2) 0.3137 Sawatch 14 Bross (4) 0.5621 Tenmile / Mosquito 43 Belford (2) 0.3102 Sawatch 15 Antero (4) 0.5583 Sawatch 44 Conundrum (2) 0.3095 Elk 16 Humboldt (4) 0.5493 Sangre de Cristo 45 Windom (2) 0.2987 San Juan 17 Yale (4) 0.5405 Sawatch 46 Eolus (2) 0.2864 San Juan 18 Quandary (4) 0.5282 Tenmile / Mosquito 47 Sunlight (2) 0.2645 San Juan 19 Elbert (4) 0.5185 Sawatch 48 Crestone Ndle (2) 0.2478 Sangre de Cristo 20 Sneffels (4) 0.5116 San Juan 49 Crestone Pk (1) 0.2246 Sangre de Cristo 21 Huron (4) 0.4990 Sawatch 50 N. Maroon Pk (1) 0.2114 Elk 22 Princeton (4) 0.4773 Sawatch 51 N. Eolus (1) 0.1410 San Juan 23 Holy Cross (4) 0.4758 Sawatch 52 Maroon Pk (1) 0.1052 Elk 24 Massive (4) 0.4754 Sawatch 53 Little Bear (1) 0.1014 Sangre de Cristo 25 Wilson Pk (3) 0.4498 San Juan 54 Capitol (1) -0.3898 Elk 26 Harvard (3) 0.4454 Sawatch 55 Mt. Wilson (1) -0.4489 San Juan 27 Pyramid (3) 0.4311 Elk 56 Snowmass (1) -0.4665 Elk 28 La Plata (3) 0.4268 Sawatch 57 El Diente (1) -0.5471 San Juan 29 Uncompaghre (3) 0.4107 San Juan 58 Culebra (1) -2.6719 Sangre de Cristo *Grade and Ranking Level for Values in Parenthesis are Described in Ta ble 5.9 Attention to Restoration Status, page 145 Quantiles Considering Equal Breaks and Natural Breaks Were Used to Separate the Five Separate Grade and Ranking Levels. **A Higher Ranking Indicates a Higher Level of Huma n-environmental Impacts a nd a Higher Attention to Restoration Status Based On the Trails and Routes Analysis Comparing All Fourteeners.
117 Table 5.2. Colorados Four teeners Compared by Range fo r Composite FEDI Values. (Equal Weights) Mountain Range (# of peaks in range) MRV FEDI FEDI Max (Peak Name) FEDI Min (Peak Name) 1. Front (6) 0.8862 1.6669 (Evans) 0.5931 (Torreys) 2. Tenmile / Mosquito (6) 0.5150 0.7399 (Democrat) 0.5282 (Quandary) 3. Sawatch (15) 0.4546 0.6504 (Columbia) 0.3102 (Belford) 4. Sangre de Cristo (9) 0.3575* 0.6372 (Blanca) 0.1014 (Little Bear) 5. San Juan (14) 0.2245 0.5116 (Sneffels) -0.5471 (El Diente) 6. Elk (7) 0.1401 0.7801 (Castle) -0.4665 (Snowmass) 7. Sangre de Cristo w/ Culebra (10) 0.0546 0.6372 (Blanca) -2.6719 (Culebra) *Culebra Peak was omitted from the MRV FEDI calculation because of its extremely low FEDI value (-2.6719) being such an outlier.
118 Figure 5.2(a). Colorados Fourteen ersMRV FEDI Values By Range
119 Figure 5.2(b). Front Rang eComposite FEDI Values
120 Figure 5.2(c). Central Front RangeComposite FEDI Values
121 Figure 5.2(d). Tenmile / Mosquito RangeComposite FEDI Values
122 Figure 5.2(e). Northern Sawatc h RangeComposite FEDI Values
123 Figure 5.2(f). Southern Sawatc h RangeComposite FEDI Values
124 Figure 5.2(g). Sangre de Cristo RangeComposite FEDI Values
125 Figure 5.2(h). San Juan Ra ngeComposite FEDI Values
126 Figure 5.2(i). Elk RangeComposite FEDI Values
127 5.3. Geographic Distribution of the FEDI There are several specific sp atial patterns observed with in groups of fourteeners (ranges/regions) based on their composite FEDI sc ores. All of the FEDI values seem to be linked to some of the hypotheses described initially for this research. The highest rated fourteeners on the FEDI appear to be located closer to the Denver metropolitan area. In fact, there appear s to be a linear and negative relationship between level of adverse impacts (high FEDI), and distance fr om Denver (Figure 5.3). A distance from the city (State Capitol Building in Denver) de creases, FEDI values tend to increase. Figure 5.3. Relationship Between a Peaks Distance From Denver and Environmental Impacts (FEDI) Fourteeners Distance From Denver vs. FEDI-3.0 -2.5 -2.0 -1.5 -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 050100150200250 Distance from Denver (mi)FEDI Value
128 This relationship regarding distan ce from Denver becomes evident when comparing individual peaks and the six mount ain ranges to each another (MRV FEDI values). The three peaks with the highest co mposite FEDI values are located in the Front Range, the mountain range nearest Denver. Mount Evans (1.667), Longs Peak (0.966), and Pikes (0.847), are very close to the De nver Capitol Building (Evans and Longs less than 50 miles) in comparison to the other fourteeners. Similarly, the three peaks with the lowest composite FEDI values, Culebra (-2 .672), El Diente (-0.547), and Snowmass (0.466) are from the Sangre de Cristo, San Juan and Elk mountains, respectively. These three ranges are furthest from the Denver metro area. In fact, El Dien te is furthest from Denver, 209 miles away and recorded the s econd lowest FEDI. People from Denver and adjacent suburbs are more likely to climb closer peaks such as Evans or Longs in day trips, whereas more planning and time (a weekend trip) is necessary to attempt a climb of El Diente or San Luis, both more isolated within the San Juans. Even Snowmass, the third lowest FEDI in the Elk range requires mo re time and planning effort to climb, and is located far away from roads and trailheads. Spatially, the Front Range fourteener s indicated the highest Mountain Range Value (MRV) FEDI for the fourteeners, an average value of 0.886. Figure 5.2(a) shows the ranges and their MRV FEDI values. The map further indicates that as the distance from Denver increases, MRV FEDI values de crease, as the Elk (0.140) and San Juan (0.225) ranges indicate the lowe st level of impacts. It can therefore be concluded, both on an individual peak basis and a mountain range basis, that peaks and ranges distant from Denver generally have the lowest level of adverse impacts as rated by FEDI. On the other hand, higher numbers of people coming fr om a large urban cente r affect the relative
129 annual climbing frequency of Colorados Four teeners on peaks in close proximity to Denver because these peaks allow easier access in the form of day trips rather than on three-day weekend or backpacking trips. Three other physical accessibility variable s that were found to have a statistically significant effect on relative annual mountain climbing fre quency also have a similar influence on the FEDI results. The first acces sibility variable is a peaks distance from a paved road or highway. This accessibility factor in turn affects relative annual climbing frequency of a fourteener and is reflected in the FEDI. Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and Mount Sherman, the latter in the Tenmile / Mosquito Range, all have high FEDI scores. Their summits are all less than a mile from a paved road or highway*. Low FEDI scores were generated for peaks in ranges isolated in wilderness, such as Culebra (Sangre de Cristo), Sunlight, and Windom (San Juan). These peaks are almost ten miles from any paved road, which makes it diffi cult for people to access them. By human nature, most of the typical fourteener hike rs would prefer an easier wa y to get to a fourteener, and roads that provide easier access appear to be a factor reflected in the FEDI values. Therefore, the closer a peak is to a paved road, the higher the FEDI (Figure 5.4). This relationship may not be entire ly true, however, as for each fourteener different factors and geographic location affect the distance from a paved road and the accessibility. This is also evident in the plot of Figure 5.4. For example, Blanca in the Sangre de Cristo range is located 6.2 miles from the nearest pave d road. The peak is in the top ten highest FEDI, yet is relatively isolated. Other factor s are clearly responsible for Blancas high The Pikes Peak Highway is not paved, but will suffi ce as a well-improved hard-packed dirt highway, and is maintained regularly by CDOT.
130 rating, mainly of the physical trail and route nature, such as four-wheel-drive roads and numerous campsites. Figure 5.4. Relationship Between a Peaks Di stance to the Nearest Paved Road and the Environmental Impacts (FEDI) Direct Distance From Summit to Road vs. FEDI-3.0 -2.5 -2.0 -1.5 -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 024681012 Distance to the Nearest Paved Road (mi)FEDI Value The two other accessibility variables (trailh ead elevation as well as distance of the trail on the standard route for each peak) are both additional factors that have an obvious effect on relative annual mount ain climbing frequency. Snowmass Mountain, within the Elk Range, has a very low trailhead (8,400 feet ) and the longest trail and route of all the fourteeners (10.2 miles). Because most cl imbers have to backpack into the area on multiple days, gain almost 6,000 feet of elev ation, and travel over ten miles into the wilderness to reach the top of Snowmass, le ss people venture there, and thus the overall
131 adverse impacts are lower. The FEDI verifi es this as Snowmass had the third lowest score (-0.466) of all the fourteeners. On the flip side, Democrat, in the Tenmile / Mosquito Range has a trail just over two miles, one of the high est fourteener trailheads at Kite Lake (12,048), and the fifth highes t FEDI (0.740). Generally, the higher the trailhead, the higher the FEDI, and the longer the trail/rout e, the lower the FEDI. Figures 5.4-5.6 summarizes the three accessibili ty variables described and shows the homoskedastic and apparent non-linear relationships of th e variables with the FEDI. Figure 5.5. Relationship Between a Peaks Length of Trail and the Environmental Impacts (FEDI) Trail/Route Length vs. FEDI-3.0 -2.5 -2.0 -1.5 -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 024681012 Standard Trail/Route Distance (mi)FEDI Value
132 Figure 5.6. Relationship Between a Peaks Trailhead Elevation and the Environmental Impacts (FEDI) Standard Route Trailhead Elevation vs. FEDI-3.0 -2.5 -2.0 -1.5 -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 7000800090001000011000120001300014000 Trailhead Elevation (Feet)FEDI Value Finally, the most significant variable attribute that a ffects relative annual climbing frequency of Colorados Fourt eeners and its relationship with the generated FEDI values is climbing route difficulty. Not only was it si gnificant based on the st atistical tests used, but it logically makes the most sense. Sixteen of the 58 fourteeners are technically difficult and rated a Class 3 or 4 climb. Pe ople have more choices of easy peaks than difficult peaks for climbing and that is the primary reason why easier peaks are climbed more frequently. The FEDI indicated that, with the exception of Culebra Peak, the ten lowest rated FEDI peaks are all Class 3 and Class 4 climbs. Additionally, the top twenty FEDI peaks, except for Longs Peak, are all Clas s 1, 2, and 2.5 in difficulty. These findings also suggest that the fourteener s climbing/hiking commun ity, on average, is
133 represented by a suburban hiker whose age is ov er 30 years who just wants to get out into the wilderness and enjoy a casual hike. Th ese casual hikers have often become the perennial peakbaggers and are the ones fitting into the clas sic example of the firstnature fourteener enthusiast as introduced in earlier chapters. A majority of the fourteener enthusiasts would pr efer to hike the Class 1 and Class 2 climbs, then muster up enough courage to tackle the Class 3 and 4 peak s. Yet others are content with looking at the more difficult peaks and never climbi ng them. This thought process would potentially contribute to th e FEDI values observed in this study, and the linear relationship observed in Figure 5.7. Figure 5.7. Relationship Between a Peak s Climbing Route Difficulty and the Environmental Impacts (FEDI) Climbing Route Difficulty vs. FEDI-3.0 -2.5 -2.0 -1.5 -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 012345 Climbing Difficulty (Class)FEDI Value
1345.4. Multiple Scenarios to Adjust Relati ve Importance of FEDI Input Variables The nine variable attributes that contri bute to the creation of the interim FEDI in Phase Two were initially combined with fi ve additional variables from Phase One to create the final FEDI that comprises a total of fourteen equally wei ghted variables. This methodology implied that following standardizati on of the variables, each of the fourteen total factors are assumed to have the same relative importance. While this assumption facilitates the calculation of the final index, in the real world it is more than likely that the variables will not contribute equally to the level of hu man-environmental impacts on Colorados Fourteeners. It is possible that at any given time the factors affecting relative mountain climbing frequency are quite different from place to place and could be adjusted in the formulation of the FEDI. Th is, in turn, would effect the level of humanenvironmental impacts on the trails and rout es of each peak. Camp sites and trail spurs may have a higher impact on the trails and routes overall than the number of trail switchbacks, the climbing difficulty, or the ove rall percentage of the route as a fourwheel-drive road. It is necessary, theref ore, to extend this methodology by assigning different weights to variables that comprise th e FEDI. In this context, various researchers (Lowry et al., 1995; Cutter et al., 2000; Chakraborty et al., 2005) have performed a weighted index analysis using many differe nt macroand microstrategy combinations with human and physical attributes to a ssess community vulnerability to hazardous materials or natural hazard s. Even though their vulnerab ility studies involved an extensive set of scenarios, and were much more detailed than the scope of this project, the same principles can be used to weight th e different variables and thus create separate
135 scenarios for ranking the fourteeners on th e basis of adverse human-environmental impacts. In order to adjust the rela tive importance of the FEDI input variables and create multiple scenarios, there needs to be a rati onal process for developing realistic impact situations. It is important to consider the definitions of absolute impact variables versus potential impact variables that were first introduced in Chapter Three. Absolute impacts are determined by logical factors that have already been observed to have taken place on Colorados Fourteeners. The number of tr ail spurs and campsites are examples of variables that have been quant itatively measured and used in the FEDI calculation. The increase in the number of each one of these f actors logically translat es to an increase in the FEDI, or higher degradation to any given fourteener. Therefore, these factors have been deemed to have absolute impacts. In contrast, potential impacts variables are dependent upon relative annual c limbing frequency. These are all measurable factors that have the potential to increase or decrease the rela tive magnitude of environmental degradation to any given four teener and therefore influen ce the FEDI. For example, direct distance from the center of the Denver Metropolitan area was found to be statistically significant and t hus has varying degrees of potential to increase the FEDI. The way the distance from Denver variable in creases the FEDI is then based on climbing frequency of any given peak. Therefore, the higher the relative annual climbing frequency, the higher the potential degradation to any particul ar fourteener closer to Denver, and the higher the increase in re lative magnitude to the FEDI. The fourteen variable attributes which fo rmulated the FEDI were therefore placed into two additional scenarios where different priorities of importance were assigned to the
136 set of absolute and potential variables at th e macro-level. Table 5.3 demonstrates the assignment of weights to the absolute and potential variables for each of the FEDI scenarios calculated. Table 5.4 indicates how the nine attributes from the trails and routes and the five variables from the statistic al analysis were weight ed in different ways to create these two additional variations of the FEDI. The weighted values were lastly multiplied by the standardized interim attribute variables and then calculated as previously described in Chapter Four. The equations established for the overall FEDI formulation are presented in the next subsection. Table 5.3. Summary of Diffe rent FEDI Combination Ma cro Scenario Strategies Description of Scenario Strategy For Each Individual Variable Proportional Weig hting Coefficient For Variable Groups Scenario #1 Any Absolute Component proportionally equal to any Potential Component Absolute: 0.50 Potential: 0.50 Total: 1.00 Scenario #2 Any Absolute Component favored (doubled) over any Potential Component Absolute: 0.60 Potential: 0.40 Total: 1.00 Scenario #3 Any Potential Component favored (doubled) over any Absolute Component Absolute: 0.27 Potential: 0.73 Total: 1.00
137 Table 5.4. Summary of Different FEDI Combination Scenarios Multiple Weighted Scenarios Trail, Route, and MCF Environmental Impacts Equation Abbreviation Absolute Potential Equal # 1 # 2 # 3 Trail Spurs / mi TS X* X .0714 2X .1000 X .0454 Switchbacks / mi SB X* X .0714 2X .1000 X .0454 Switchbacks Needed / mi SBN X* X .0714 2X .1000 X .0454 Fire Rings / mi FR X* X .0714 2X .1000 X .0454 % Trail Miles as Dw %Dw X* X .0714 2X .1000 X .0454 % Route Mi as 4WD RD %4WD X* X .0714 2X .1000 X .0454 % Elevation No Trail %ELNT X** X .0714 X .0500 2X .0909 % Trail Miles No Trail %TMNT X** X .0714 X .0500 2X .0909 % Route Miles with no Trail or Markers %RMNT X** X .0714 X .0500 2X .0909 Direct Distance From Denver (miles) DDDmi X*** X .0714 X .0500 2X .0909 Direct Distance from summit to the nearest paved road (miles) DDmi X*** X .0714 X .0500 2X .0909 length of trail/route from TH to summit (miles) Dmi X*** X .0714 X .0500 2X .0909 Class and standard route climbing difficulty Class X*** X .0714 X .0500 2X .0909 Elevation of Peak's Trailhead (Feet) EVTH X*** X .0714 X .0500 2X .0909 *All Absolute variable values were averaged and incor porated into FEDI. The absolute impacts to any given fourteener are dependent on logical factors. The variable factors were explained in Chapter Four. **Potential variable values added, subt racted or held neutral (averaged and added) to compute into FEDI. This is based on annual relative climbing frequency from archive data (Chapter Four) of any given fourteener collected during trails and route analysis fieldw ork and not statistically tested. ***Potential variable values added or averaged and inco rporated into FEDI. The pot ential impacts to any given fourteener are dependent on relative a nnual climbing frequency. The statistical significance was demonstrated in Chapter Three.
1385.4.1. Multiple Scenario FEDI Equations The computation of the FEDI for multiple scenarios #2 and #3 for the final step of this research to adjust the relative importance of the factors within the equally weighted FEDI is demonstrated in equations 8-13. Scenario #2, doubling magnitude of absolute impacts If relative annual climbing frequency of a peak is high, then double th e average of the six absolute variables and add them to the sum of the eight potential variables: (Eq. 8) EVTH Class Dmi DDmi DDDmi RMNT TMNT ELNT WD Dw FR SBN SB TS FEDIhigh% % % 6 4 % % 2 If relative annual climbing frequency of a peak is moderate, then double the average of the six absolute variables and add them to the average of the eight potential variables: (Eq. 9) 5 3 % % % 6 4 % % 2 EVTH Class Dmi DDmi DDDmi RMNT TMNT ELNT WD Dw FR SBN SB TS FEDImaderate
139 If relative annual climbing frequency of a peak is low, then double the average of the six absolute variables and subtract them from the sum of the eight potential variables: (Eq. 10) EVTH Class Dmi DDmi DDDmi RMNT TMNT ELNT WD Dw FR SBN SB TS FEDIlow% % % 6 4 % % 2 Scenario #3, doubling magnitude of potential impacts If relative annual climbing frequency of a peak is high, then take the average of the six absolute variables and add them to double the sum of the eight potential variables: (Eq. 11) EVTH Class Dmi DDmi DDDmi RMNT TMNT ELNT WD Dw FR SBN SB TS FEDIhigh2 % % % 2 6 4 % %
140 If relative annual climbing frequency of a peak is moderate, then take the average of the six absolute variables and add them to double the average of the eight potential variables: (Eq. 12) 5 2 3 % % % 2 6 4 % % EVTH Class Dmi DDmi DDDmi RMNT TMNT ELNT WD Dw FR SBN SB TS FEDImaderate If relative annual climbing frequency of a peak is low, then take the average of the six absolute variables and subtra ct them from double the sum of the eight potential variables from both phases of the study: (Eq. 13) EVTH Class Dmi DDmi DDDmi RMNT TMNT ELNT WD Dw FR SBN SB TS FEDIlow2 % % % 2 6 4 % % 5.4.2. Multiple Scenario FEDI Results When looking at the MRV FEDI and th e individual fourteeners for the six mountain ranges, the application of multiple scenarios does not substantially change the ranking order or affect the relative magnitude of the FEDI values. The results from each of the two additional scenarios that were computed by assigning equal weights to the ranges and individual peaks that would be imp acted are listed and summarized in Tables
141 5.5-5.8. For example, in both Scenario s #2 or #3, the Front (1.069 absolute, 1.231 potential) and Tenmile/Mosquito (0.702 absolute, 0.829 potentia l) ranges still have the highest MRV FEDI values, while the San Ju an (0.415 absolute, 0.394 potential), and Elk (0.387 absolute, 0.342 potential) have the lowest. Table 5.5. 53 Official (5 8 Unofficial) Fourteeners Ranked by FEDI. (Scenario #2) Rk Peak Name (grade*) FEDI Value Mtn. Range Rk Peak Name (grade*) FEDI Value Mtn. Range 1 Evans (5) 1.8658 Front 30 Harvard (3) 0.5874 Sawatch 2 Longs (5) 1.1126 Front 31 Uncompaghre (3) 0.5859 San Juan 3 Castle (5) 1.0831 Elk 32 Crest. Needle (3) 0.5634 Sangre de Cristo 4 Democrat (5) 1.0175 Tenmile / Mosquito 33 La Plata (3) 0.5545 Sawatch 5 Pikes (5) 1.0064 Front 34 Shavano (3) 0.5530 Sawatch 6 Blanca (5) 0.9757 Sangre de Cristo 35 Challenger (3) 0.5412 Sangre de Cristo 7 Sherman (5) 0.9593 Tenmile / Mosquito 36 Windom (3) 0.5301 San Juan 8 Cameron (5) 0.8590 Tenmile / Mosquito 37 Eolus (2) 0.5158 San Juan 9 Humboldt (5) 0.8527 Sangre de Cristo 38 Tabeguache (2) 0.5143 Sawatch 10 Antero (5) 0.8510 Sawatch 39 Crestone Pk (2) 0.5122 Sangre de Cristo 11 Columbia (5) 0.8473 Sawatch 40 Kit Carson (2) 0.5072 Sangre de Cristo 12 Grays (5) 0.8324 Front 41 Redcloud (2) 0.5065 San Juan 13 Torreys (5) 0.8271 Front 42 Handies (2) 0.5051 San Juan 14 Lincoln (5) 0.8190 Tenmile / Mosquito 43 Sunlight (2) 0.5039 San Juan 15 Bierstadt (4) 0.7720 Front 44 San Luis (2) 0.4829 San Juan 16 Sneffels (4) 0.7670 San Juan 45 Sunshine (2) 0.4825 San Juan 17 Yale (4) 0.7472 Sawatch 46 N. Maroon Pk (2) 0.4676 Elk 18 Huron (4) 0.7399 Sawatch 47 Little Bear (2) 0.4615 Sangre de Cristo 19 Bross (4) 0.7384 Tenmile / Mosquito 48 Wetterhorn (2) 0.4519 San Juan 20 Elbert (4) 0.7130 Sawatch 49 Missouri (1) 0.4352 Sawatch 21 Wilson Pk (4) 0.7001 San Juan 50 Maroon Pk (1) 0.4073 Elk 22 Massive (4) 0.6932 Sawatch 51 Oxford (1) 0.3757 Sawatch 23 Holy Cross (4) 0.6857 Sawatch 52 N. Eolus (1) 0.3738 San Juan 24 Quandary (4) 0.6776 Tenmile / Mosquito 53 Belford (1) 0.3648 Sawatch 25 Ellingwood (4) 0.6762 Sangre de Cristo 54 Capitol (1) -0.1981 Elk 26 Princeton (4) 0.6679 Sawatch 55 Mt. Wilson (1) -0.2448 San Juan 27 Lindsey (3) 0.6545 Sangre de Cristo 56 Snowmass (1) -0.3047 Elk 28 Pyramid (3) 0.6365 Elk 57 El Diente (1) -0.3498 San Juan 29 Conundrum (3) 0.6185 Elk 58 Culebra (1) -2.5641 Sangre de Cristo *Grade and Ranking Level for Values in Parenthesis are Described in Ta ble 5.9 Attention to Restoration Status, page 145 Quantiles Considering Equal Breaks and Natural Breaks Were Used to Separate the Five Separate Grade and Ranking Levels. **A Higher Ranking Indicates a Higher Level of Huma n-environmental Impacts a nd a Higher Attention to Restoration Status Based On the Trails a nd Routes Analysis Comp aring All Fourteeners.
142 However, doubling the absolute impacts (Scena rio #2) does not appear to increase or decrease the relative magnitude of degrada tion to any specific extent than doubling the potential impacts (Scenario #3). On an individua l peak basis, Table 5.5 indicates for Scenario #2 impacts that Democrat scored 1. 017, and increases to 1.118 (Table 5.7) when potential impacts are doubled. In both scenar ios, Democrat holds its #4 ranking overall. On the other hand, Windom (0. 531) and Eolus (0.516) ranked 36th and 37th, respectively in Scenario #2 when absolute impacts were doubled (Table 5.5). The rankings for both peaks dropped, in Scenario #3 (Windom to #47, and Eolus to #49), yet the magnitude of the potential impacts decreased (Windom, 0. 366; Eolus, 0.343). This trend was opposite of what happened to Democrat and other peak s such as Sherman (#7, 0.959 absolute; #6, 1.033 potential) and Lincoln (#14, 0. 819 absolute; #10, 0.967 potential). Table 5.6. Colorados Four teeners Compared by Range fo r Composite FEDI Values (Absolute Impacts Doubled, Scenario #2) Mountain Range (# of peaks in range) MRV FEDI FEDI Max (Peak Name) FEDI Min (Peak Name) 1. Front (6) 1.0694 1.8658 (Evans) 0.7720 (Bierstadt) 2. Tenmile / Mosquito (6) 0.7020 1.0175 (Democrat) 0.6776 (Quandary) 3. Sangre de Cristo (9) 0.6383* 0.9757 (Blanca) 0.4615 (Little Bear) 4. Sawatch (15) 0.6220 0.8510 (Antero) 0.3648 (Belford) 5. San Juan (14) 0.4151 0.7670 (Sneffels) -0.3498 (El Diente) 6. Elk (7) 0.3872 1.0831 (Castle) -0.3047 (Snowmass) 7. Sangre de Cristo w/ Culebra (10) 0.3180 0.9757 (Blanca) -2.5641 (Culebra) Culebra Peak was omitted from the MRV FEDI calculatio n because of its extremely low FEDI value (-2.5641) being such an outlier.
143 The comparison of these trends for the indivi dual peaks mentioned ar e all very specific. No particular peak or mount ain range indicates that doubling the abso lute or doubling the potential impact factors has a greater overall influence on environmental degradation for Colorados Fourteeners. Table 5.7. 53 Official (5 8 Unofficial) Fourteeners Ranked by FEDI. (Scenario #3) Rk Peak Name (grade*) FEDI Value Mtn. Range Rk Peak Name (grade*) FEDI Value Mtn. Range 1 Evans (5) 2.0124 Front 30 Wilson Pk (3) 0.6494 San Juan 2 Pikes (5) 1.2010 Front 31 Uncompaghre (3) 0.6462 San Juan 3 Longs (5) 1.2006 Front 32 Tabeguache (3) 0.6362 Sawatch 4 Democrat (5) 1.1181 Tenmile / Mosquito 33 Lindsey (3) 0.6219 Sangre de Cristo 5 Castle (5) 1.0385 Elk 34 Redcloud (3) 0.5963 San Juan 6 Sherman (5) 1.0335 Tenmile / Mosquito 35 San Luis (3) 0.5866 San Juan 7 Bierstadt (5) 1.0163 Front 36 Challenger (3) 0.5711 Sangre de Cristo 8 Grays (5) 1.0009 Front 37 Missouri (3) 0.5674 Sawatch 9 Cameron (5) 0.9888 Tenmile / Mosquito 38 Belford (3) 0.5659 Sawatch 10 Lincoln (5) 0.9673 Tenmile / Mosquito 39 Oxford (3) 0.5655 Sawatch 11 Torreys (5) 0.9521 Front 40 Conundrum (3) 0.5553 Elk 12 Bross (5) 0.9479 Tenmile / Mosquito 41 Sunshine (3) 0.5548 San Juan 13 Quandary (4) 0.9071 Tenmile / Mosquito 42 Kit Carson (2) 0.5114 Sangre de Cristo 14 Columbia (4) 0.9043 Sawatch 43 Wetterhorn (2) 0.5080 San Juan 15 Elbert (4) 0.8425 Sawatch 44 Ellingwood (2) 0.4847 Sangre de Cristo 16 Yale (4) 0.8409 Sawatch 45 N. Maroon Pk (2) 0.4209 Elk 17 Antero (4) 0.8089 Sawatch 46 Crest. Needle (2) 0.3892 Sangre de Cristo 18 Blanca (4) 0.7794 Sangre de Cristo 47 Windom (2) 0.3660 San Juan 19 Sneffels (4) 0.7677 San Juan 48 Crestone Pk (2) 0.3620 Sangre de Cristo 20 Huron (4) 0.7570 Sawatch 49 Eolus (2) 0.3432 San Juan 21 Holy Cross (4) 0.7419 Sawatch 50 Maroon Pk (2) 0.3308 Elk 22 Massive (4) 0.7330 Sawatch 51 Sunlight (1) 0.2896 San Juan 23 La Plata (4) 0.7260 Sawatch 52 Little Bear (1) 0.1984 Sangre de Cristo 24 Humboldt (4) 0.7256 Sangre de Cristo 53 N. Eolus (1) 0.1977 San Juan 25 Princeton (4) 0.7253 Sawatch 54 Capitol (1) -0.2490 Elk 26 Harvard (3) 0.6802 Sawatch 55 Mt. Wilson (1) -0.2853 San Juan 27 Shavano (3) 0.6771 Sawatch 56 Snowmass (1) -0.3540 Elk 28 Pyramid (3) 0.6567 Elk 57 El Diente (1) -0.3596 San Juan 29 Handies (3) 0.6542 San Juan 58 Culebra (1) -2.4515 Sangre de Cristo *Grade and Ranking Level for Values in Parenthesis are Described in Ta ble 5.9 Attention to Restoration Status, page 145 Quantiles Considering Equal Breaks and Natural Breaks Were Used to Separate the Five Separate Grade and Ranking Levels. **A Higher Ranking Indicates a Higher Level of Huma n-environmental Impacts a nd a Higher Attention to Restoration Status Based On the Trails and Routes Analysis Comparing All Fourteeners.
144 Table 5.8. Colorados Fourteen ers Compared by Range for Com posite FEDI Values (Potential Impacts Doubled, Scenario #3) Mountain Range (# of peaks in range) MRV FEDI FEDI Max (Peak Name) FEDI Min (Peak Name) 1. Front (6) 1.2305 2.0124 (Evans) 0.9521 (Torreys) 2. Tenmile / Mosquito (6) 0.8290 1.1181 (Democrat) 0.9071 (Quandary) 3. Sawatch (15) 0.7181 0.9043 (Columbia) 0.5655 (Belford) 4. Sangre de Cristo (10) 0.5160* 0.7794 (Blanca) 0.1984 (Little Bear) 5. San Juan (14) 0.3939 0.7677 (Sneffels) -0.3596 (El Diente) 6. Elk (7) 0.3427 1.0385 (Castle) -0.3540 (Snowmass) 7. Sangre de Cristo w/ Culebra (10) 0.2192 0.7794 (Blanca) -2.4515 (Culebra) Culebra Peak was omitted from the MRV FEDI calculatio n because of its extremely low FEDI value (-2.4515) being such an outlier. 5.4.3. Fourteeners Attention to Restoration Status Finally, each of the ranks we re converted into five categories to represent a practical application of the FEDI. This fina l step of the analysis consisted of assuming the qualitative status for each ranking categor y within the three FEDI scenarios and their incorporated Attention to Re storation status, introduced in Table 5.9. The ranking levels defined in Table 5.9 are essentially created to apply the outcomes of the three FEDI scenario ranks from Tables 5.10 and 5.11 to a realistic scale of interpretation. The status of all 58 Colorado Four teeners are listed from highest to lowest averages for the peaks in Table 5.10, and further ranked fr om #1 to #58 within each of the three FEDI scenarios in Table 5.11.
145 Table 5.9. Attention to Restor ation Status: A Practical A pplication for the Fourteeners Level of Environmental Degrad ation Based on FEDI Outcomes Ranking Level Grade of Degradation Climbing Frequency Climbers Comment 5 Extreme A High Ridge Interstate 4 High Cant Find a Good Campsite 3 Medium Follow Me to the Summit 2 Moderate Some Lonely Days 1 Low Pristine, Mountain to Yourself Tables 5.10 and 5.11 tell the story of th e Fourteeners and their Attention to Restoration status. Averages for the three FE DI Scenarios (Table 5. 10) indicated the top ten peaks, with the exception of Castle in the Elk Range, are all located within the Front and Tenmile / Mosquito Ranges. These peaks scored an average value of 5.00, an extreme level of degradation, and need for restoration efforts. Culebra Peak, in terms of both the FEDI value and Attention to Rest oration status, ranked exceptionally low compared to all the Fourteeners, and this can be attributed to the management of the peak by private ownership, with controlled and respected access (a $100 fee). Other exceptionally low rated peaks include El Dien te, Snowmass, Mt. Wilson, Capitol, North Eolus, and The Maroon Bells. There are severa l reasons why these peaks reveal such low Attention to Restoration status based on thei r low FEDIs. Each one of the peaks listed has a high level of climbing diffi culty, is relatively isolated, does not have trails all the way to their summit, has a very small portion of their route as a four-wheel-drive road, and most importantly, a low relative annua l mountain climbing frequency value from their summit registers. Each one of the peaks listed were also located in both the Elk and
146 San Juan Ranges, where campfires are prohibite d for the majority of the alpine basins entailing the standard route of these peaks, thus making it more diffi cult to spot numerous campsites. Table 5.10. Attention to Re storation Status: Averages for the Three FEDI Scenarios Rk Peak Name Scenario Total *Scenario Average Rk Peak Name Scenario Total *Scenario Average 1 Evans 15 5.00 30 Shavano 9 3.00 2 Longs 15 5.00 31 Lindsey 9 3.00 3 Pikes 15 5.00 32 Challenger 9 3.00 4 Castle 15 5.00 33 Handies 8 2.67 5 Democrat 15 5.00 34 Tabeguache 8 2.67 6 Sherman 15 5.00 35 Redcloud 8 2.67 7 Cameron 15 5.00 36 Ellingwood 8 2.67 8 Grays 15 5.00 37 Conundrum 8 2.67 9 Lincoln 15 5.00 38 San Luis 7 2.33 10 Torreys 15 5.00 39 Sunshine 7 2.33 11 Columbia 14 4.67 40 Windom 7 2.33 12 Blanca 14 4.67 41 Crestone Needle 7 2.33 13 Bierstadt 14 4.67 42 Kit Carson 6 2.00 14 Bross 13 4.33 43 Missouri 6 2.00 15 Antero 13 4.33 44 Wetterhorn 6 2.00 16 Humboldt 13 4.33 45 Oxford 6 2.00 17 Yale 12 4.00 46 Belford 6 2.00 18 Quandary 12 4.00 47 Eolus 6 2.00 19 Elbert 12 4.00 48 Sunlight 5 1.67 20 Sneffels 12 4.00 49 Crestone Peak 5 1.67 21 Huron 12 4.00 50 N. Maroon Peak 5 1.67 22 Princeton 12 4.00 51 Maroon Pk 4 1.33 23 Holy Cross 12 4.00 52 Little Bear 4 1.33 24 Massive 12 4.00 53 N. Eolus 3 1.00 25 Wilson Pk 10 3.33 54 Capitol 3 1.00 26 La Plata 10 3.33 55 Mt. Wilson 3 1.00 27 Harvard 9 3.00 56 Snowmass 3 1.00 28 Pyramid 9 3.00 57 El Diente 3 1.00 29 Uncompaghre 9 3.00 58 Culebra 3 1.00 *Grade and Ranking Level for Values in Scenario Averages are Described in Table 5.9 Attention to Restoration Status, page 145 A Higher Ranking Indicates a Higher Level of Human-environmental Impacts and a Higher Attention to Restoration Status Based On the Overall Combination of Three Scenario FEDIs Comparing All Fourteeners.
147 Table 5.11. Attention to Restoration St atus: Rankings for the Three FEDI Scenarios Ranking By FEDI Scenario Ranking By FEDI Scenario Rk Peak Name #1 #2 #3 Rk Peak Name #1 #2 #3 1 Evans 1 1 1 30 Shavano 30 34 27 2 Longs 2 2 3 31 Lindsey 31 27 33 3 Pikes 3 5 2 32 Handies 32 42 29 4 Castle 4 3 5 33 Tabeguache 33 38 32 5 Democrat 5 4 4 34 Challenger 34 35 36 6 Sherman 6 7 6 35 Redcloud 35 41 34 7 Columbia 7 11 14 36 San Luis 36 44 35 8 Blanca 8 6 18 37 Sunshine 37 45 41 9 Bierstadt 9 15 7 38 Ellingwood 38 25 44 10 Cameron 10 8 9 39 Kit Carson 39 40 42 11 Grays 11 12 8 40 Missouri 40 49 37 12 Lincoln 12 14 10 41 Wetterhorn 41 48 43 13 Torreys 13 13 11 42 Oxford 42 51 39 14 Bross 14 19 12 43 Belford 43 53 38 15 Antero 15 10 17 44 Conundrum 44 29 40 16 Humboldt 16 9 24 45 Windom 45 36 47 17 Yale 17 17 16 45 Eolus 45 37 49 18 Quandary 18 24 13 47 Sunlight 47 43 51 19 Elbert 19 20 15 48 Crestone Ndle 48 32 45 20 Sneffels 20 16 19 49 Crestone Pk 49 39 48 21 Huron 21 18 20 50 N. Maroon Pk 50 45 45 22 Princeton 22 26 25 51 N. Eolus 51 52 53 23 Holy Cross 23 23 21 52 Maroon Pk 52 50 50 24 Massive 24 22 22 53 Little Bear 53 47 52 25 Wilson Pk 25 21 30 54 Capitol 54 54 54 26 Harvard 26 30 26 55 Mt. Wilson 55 55 55 27 Pyramid 27 28 28 56 Snowmass 56 56 56 28 La Plata 28 33 23 57 El Diente 57 57 57 29 Uncompaghre 29 31 31 58 Culebra 58 58 58
148 There are many interpretations and gene ralizations that can be drawn based on each peaks rankings and average Attention to Restoration values generated in Tables 5.10. and 5.11. For example, one can examine the Blanca Massif in the southern Sangre de Cristo Range. Blanca was ranked very high at 4.67, while its close neighbor Ellingwood averaged 2.67 and nearby Litt le Bear only scored a 1.33. Factors contributing to a higher status for Blanca ba sed on its FEDI scenarios include route difficulty (Class 2 for Blanca, and Class 4 for Little Bear), more trail spurs, and a higher percentage of the route on Blanca as a f our-wheel-drive road. For Attention to Restoration status rankings (Table 5.11) Ellingwood Point, a close neighbor of both Blanca and Little Bear, Ranked 38th in Scenario #1, 25th in Scenario #2, and 44th in Scenario #3. Since Ellingwood peak is not climbed as frequently as Blanca, and a bit more than Little Bear, it holds a much lowe r ranking than Blanca. The peak is often skipped when people venture up Blanca. A lack of trail from the Blanca-Ellingwood connecting saddle perhaps makes Ellingw ood an unappealing climb for the casual fourteener hiker who prefers the higher su mmit and solid boulder hiking of Blanca over the steeper, cliff-banded, unstable talus and sc ree of Ellingwoods southeast face. Little Bears ranking in 53rd indicates a low level of attention, primarily due to the fact it is the most difficult fourteener to climb, and has no established trails with very few route markers for a majority of its route above the timber. Most climbers will skip the intimidating Little Bear because of the technical climbing dangers but will continue on up Lake Como Basin to Blanca and Ellingwood. This analysis also suggests that rankings for the highest and lowest rated peaks are not drastically altered by adjusting the relative importan ce of input factors. The
149 relationship between Blanca, El lingwood, and Little Bear desc ribed above is one example of similar trends in peaks observed for the rankings in Table 5.11, all which are highly correlated between the scenarios. The genera l trend is that some peaks show a much higher Attention to Restorati on ranking when doubling the absolute impacts (Scenario #2) and a much lower ranking when doubling th e potential impacts (S cenario #3). This simply means that doubling th e absolute variab les within the FEDI (Scenario #2) sometimes increases the magnitude of the ove rall level of human-e nvironmental impacts more substantially than doubling the potential variab les within the FEDI (Scenario #3). Peaks with a noticeable change from their eq ually weighted ranking (S cenario #1) to their absolute or potential rankings (Scenarios #2 and #3) included Humboldt, Ellingwood, Missouri, Belford, Oxford, Conundrum, and Crestone Needle. The fact that some peaks have already been placed under extensive restoration efforts by the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, and other groups is also shown in the rankings of Tables 5.10 and 5.11. The average ranks for Belford and Oxford show very low levels of environmenta l degradation. The crit eria set forth by the FEDI was indeed sensitive to the fact that both Belford and Oxford are peaks with wellconstructed sustainable trails However, Grays, Torreys, and Quandary are three peaks rated relatively high yet have received plenty of trail construction, restoration, and maintenance overall in the past few years. These peaks may be in trouble, because the number of casual fourteener hike rs is simply way too high for th e trails to ever sustain the volume. Therefore, these peaks were clearl y ranked very high in their Attention to Restoration status. As a w hole, the peaks rated 3.00 (mode rate) and above (Table 5.10) and ranked from #1 to #30 (Table 5.11) are a ll in need of continuing trail maintenance
150 and restoration. The Attention to Rest oration classificati on based on the FEDI produced in this study is the primary app lication of the research done on Colorados Fourteeners for this project. The overall si gnificance of this co mponent and practical applications of the FEDI are concluded in the final chapter.
151 Chapter Six: Conclusions The goal of this project was to assess th e relative extent to which the trails and routes have been impacted by the ever increasing number of climbers and how the erosion has damaged the natu ral landscapes of any give n fourteener. The composite measure developed in this research, the F ourteeners Environmental Degradation Index (FEDI), was used to evaluate, rank, and co mpare peaks within the six major mountain ranges of Colorado on the basis of adverse human-environmenta l impacts. This Chapter summarizes and highlights the most significant findings, prov ides recommendations for applications of this project, and conclude s with some future research initiatives. Phase One of the research project focu sed on identifying the variables that have a significant effect on annual relative mountain climbing fr equency. The statistical analysis revealed the most significant relations hip between the am ount of people who climb to the summit of any gi ven 14,000-foot peak and the di stance of the fourteener to the largest urban center, the Denver Metropoli tan area. The further away from Denver a Fourteener is located, the less frequently it is climbed. Pearson corre lation coefficients as well as the comparison of means tests revealed similar significant associations for other factors that affect re lative annual climbing frequency of the fourteeners. The frequency of climbing any given fourteener also increases with: (a) any decrease in direct distance from the summit to the nearest paved road; (b) any decrease in length of the trail on the standard route from trailhead to summit; (c) any decrease in climbing route difficulty;
152 and, (d) any increase in sta ndard route trailhead elevation. Climbing difficulty for the standard route on each of Colorados 58 Fourteeners was found to be the most statistically significant fact or contributing to relati ve annual mountain climbing frequency. The more difficult a peak is to climb, the less likely it is to be visited. A fair assumption based on these findings of this phase is that the typical fourteener enthusiast or peakbagger resides in the city, and is unlikely to be a hard-core mountaineer. Most people that climb the fourteeners prefer to tackle the easy climbs first, and this has been further verified by the FEDI values. Phase Two involved the assessment of e nvironmental impacts such as trail erosion and overall trail status by direct fieldwork and actua l travel to the routes for examining the damages caused by foot-traffic. Data was collected and analyzed to develop the Interim Fourteeners Environm ental Degradation Index (iFEDI). Mount Evans, Longs Peak, and Pikes Peak, all peak s in the Front Range of the State were classified to have some of the most adve rse human-environmental impacts as rated by the interim FEDI. In fact, the three Front Ra nge Peaks mentioned were ranked #1, #2, and #5 out of all 58 fourteeners to have the highest level of trail and route environmental degradation. The lowest degradation was observed on Culebra, El Diente, and Snowmass, from the Sangre de Cristo, San Juan and Elk Ranges, respectively. A clearcut trail (defined as a clear and walking-ad equate man-made path in Chapter Four) may not have a role in determining the level of environmental degr adation occurring on the standard route of each of the fourteeners. For example, the top five peaks with the highest iFEDI have a trail that remains in existence from the trailhead throughout the entire route all the way to the summit for over 95 percent of the route. On the five peaks
153 with the lowest environmental degradation, trails do not exist on the majority of the routes, especially above timberline. Capito l, Mount Wilson, Snowmass, El Diente, and Culebra all do not have trails or routes marked above 12, 000 feet. Although the potential on the lower rated peaks is high for degrada tion, other factors, especially those of accessibility, contribute to degradation on most of the peaks. Specifically, it appears that the factors found to be signifi cant in Phase One of the study (e.g., distance a peak is located from Denver and climbing route difficult y) influence the number of climbers that visit any given fourteener. Th ese factors are not affected by the presence or absence of a trail. The composite Fourteeners Enviro nmental Degradation Index (FEDI) incorporated all fourteen vari ables from Phases One and Two of the study to assess the overall human-environmental impacts taking pl ace on all 58 of Colorados Fourteeners. There were many specific geographical distri bution patterns observed within groups of fourteeners (ranges/regions) based on their composite FEDI scores. Mount Evans (1.667), Longs Peak (0.966), and Pikes Peak (0.847), all peaks in the Front Range of the State were classified to have the most advers e human-environmental impacts as rated by the FEDI. In fact, the three Fr ont Range Peaks mentioned were ranked #1, #2, and #3 out of all 58 fourteeners to have the highest level of trail and route environmental degradation. The lowest degradation was observed on Cu lebra (-2.672), El Diente (-0.547), and Snowmass (-0.466), from the Sangre de Cristo, San Juan, and Elk Ranges, respectively. Within the observed FEDI values, it was clear that climbing difficulty influences the amount of climbers on the fourteeners, and p eaks that are located cl oser to Denver were climbed more frequently than peaks that ar e distant. However, the FEDI shows that
154 relative annual climbing frequency overall is not limited by how isol ated or distant from civilization any fourteen er actually is. Even though so me of the mountain ranges further from the Denver Metropolitan area are less impacted, all peaks are being climbed at increasing levels and influenced by a variety of factors, wi thin unique pla ce-dependent circumstances, evident by the scores generated by the composite FEDI. Two multiple scenario FEDIs were generated in this project in addition to the equally weighted composite FEDI described th us far. The first scenario mentioned was the overall composite FEDI which equally weighted the fourteen current factors affecting relative annual climbing frequency for each pe ak analyzed in this study. The second scenario doubled the apparent absolute environmental impacts and the third scenario doubled the potential environmental impacts. The goal of this sensitivity analysis was to see if adjusting certain input factors within the FEDI led to any different ranking outcomes. Based on the multiple scenarios, it was concluded that the absolute impacts found on Colorados Fourteeners, such as multiple trail spurs, number of campsites, or percentage of a route as a four-wheel-drive road when doubled do not have a substantial positive or negative trend for effecting the FEDI. In the same way, potential impacts, such as percentage of a route w ith no trail, percentage of a route with no trail or markers, or climbing route difficulty when doubled are pr one to decrease the relative magnitude of the FEDI on some peaks, but increase the rela tive magnitude on others. Peaks with very low and high rankings show very little diffe rence in ranks across all three scenarios and this further explains that relative magnitude changes from either absolute or potential human-environmental impacts are very case spec ific and unique to any given Colorado Fourteener. In applying this information to the fourteeners, sometimes the reason the
155absolute impacts appear to have more of an influence on the FEDI than the potential is because the potential impacts are a function of relative annual climbing frequency. The method in which the FEDI was formulated is at times, dictated by the number of climbers and the potential for impacts upon the landscape. Because the potential impacts are more indicative of chance, or the likelihood of a climbe r being present on the peaks, the potential impacts are not necessarily wh at is currently being impacted on the fourteeners. What is present now on the four teeners and collected by fieldwork, in terms of human-environmental impacts, are the absolute variables. The analysis of these scenarios therefore show that both components of the FEDI are important to consider when it comes to predicting the future of the human-envir onmental impacts on Colorados Fourteeners. Regardless of the scenario used, the FEDI combinations are all a direct result of the relative annual clim bing frequency on the peaks as collected and calculated by this project. The values determined from the multiple scenario FEDIs appear to be a clear verification of this me thodology, and the values combined within the three multiple scenarios provide an important baseline for calculating and determining which peaks need the most Attention to Restoration. The extensive results demonstrated in this project may still need to be supplemented in time with further research to investigate other factors that may be contributing to the increased de gradation and visitation of the fourteeners. Examining the second most climbed route in addition to the standard route may add more information to determining which peaks have the highest impacts. Perhaps in the future, summit registers for the fourteeners can be used even more accurately to gauge the actual number of climbers on each peak. Hopefully better efforts by the Colorado Mountain Club
156 (CMC) and other groups can be undertaken to ensure that climbing frequency values on the fourteeners can be better recorded, and add even better reliability to the overall FEDI determination. The physical trails and route analysis fi eldwork that was done to formulate the iFEDI and FEDIs for this project could be ex tended further. The carefully documented data on trail spurs, switchbacks, campsites, and other trail and rout e degradation status was used in formulating the indices. Digital photography of routes on the fourteeners was also utilized to visually document the c onditions of trails on the standard route of each peak. Images show examples of degrada tion, such as multiple trails in one area or mountain-side, excessive erosi on and trail gullying of a large area from high volumes of usage, extreme tundra/soil loss, and standard ideal trail conditions. All this information helped formulate the FEDI for this thesis. However, the extensive nature of this data goes way beyond what has been used for the FEDI and needs to be used to profile each peak individually in a more descriptive fo rm. Future work will involve writing up an individual peak and individual mountain range summary utilizing all the detailed information documented from the trails and rout e analysis. Maps of the standard route on each peak will be included, along with additi onal photographs that this thesis project simply did not have the room to accommodate. The FEDI could also be extended and improve d by the inclusion of additional variables. Potentially useful variables comprise more aspects of a trail and route that may hinder a peaks accessibility, and also contribut e to a lower FEDI value. In addition to the actual climbing difficulty of a peak, a p eaks slope could also be considered. A fourteeners elevation gain fr om trailhead to the summit c ould be divided by the distance
157 of the trail to come up with a peaks slope. An alternative approach would be to compare slope to relative annual climbing frequency a nd hypothesize that the hi gher the slope of a peak, the less frequently it is climbed, and the lower the extent of adverse impact to the FEDI. Direct distance from Denver, as the crow flies, was used as a variable in this study to represent accessibility for each of the fourteeners. Driving distance from Denver to each peaks standard route trailhead could se rve as an alternativ e variable to help formulate the FEDI. Some peaks are more isol ated than others simply because they have to be accessed by longer driving distances resulting from Colorados very rough and isolating topography. Most people do not desi re to drive long dist ances to tr ailheads for access to fourteeners; therefore they will be more likely to cl imb a peak with a trailhead that requires less driving time, indicating easi er accessibility, lower climbing frequencies, lower adverse impacts, and a smaller FEDI. The number of stream crossings was another variable taken into account dur ing and after performing the fi eldwork. Stream crossings could possibly decrease the number of people gaining access to the peaks, because high and dangerous water could hinder the progress of climbing into and approaching a peak. However, after evaluating the standard route of each peak nearly all large stream crossings are resolved by bridges, log jams and other objects placed by Forest Service officials, trail construction cr ews, or private land owners. Thus, this variable probably would not be much of a factor in affecti ng accessibility or the final composite FEDI. This research could also be extended by assessing the pers onal experience of fourteener enthusiasts and using this measurement as a predictor of climbing frequency and input variable for the overall FEDI. A classification scheme, or Fourteeners
158 Attractiveness Index (14ersAI) could be developed. (Also called the Fourteeners Sweetness Index) A pool of fourteener enthus iasts could be survey ed to find out what characteristics of these peaks draws them to any given fourteener. Are most climbers attracted to the steep, dangerous, and cli ff-banded peaks, or the easy-to-access, nontechnical hiking fourteeners? Do most of th e climbers prefer to drive more than two hours or less than two hours to climb a fourteener? Many of the questions posed in this research that were answered by the FEDI valu es could also be investigated by surveying fourteener enthusiasts to identify the fact ors that influence how the peaks are climbed and how often they are climbed. In regards to the overall environmental management of Colorados Fourteeners, the private land ownerships and recent access restrictions to roughly a half-dozen peaks is something that is not going to go away anytim e soon. Many of the peaks that are located on privately owned land (11 peaks total) scored some of the lowest overall FEDI values in this study. Culebra, Mt. Wilson, and El Diente were in the top five for lowest adverse impacts. As discussed in Chapter Two, charging a $100 fee for Culebra peak is an exemplary management practice. Not only does it keep the peak pristine, but it allows the Cielo Vista Ranch owners to patrol the peak, maintain the roads, and preserve the First Nature experience. Rusty Nichols has done the same to limit access to Wilson Peak, Mount Wilson, and El Diente, not by charging any fees, but by just cutting off access entirely. Although he does not own the entire three-peak area, he and the people from Texas whom he represents own mining cl aims on portions of the route in the Silver Pick basin. They now restrict the access to these peaks from that route (Chapter Two). Maury Reiber has recently done the same to his four peaks in the Tenmile/Mosquito
159 Range (Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, and Bro ss). While closing off the peaks in the latter two examples is not the answer, neither is charging pe ople $100 to hike a fourteener. The private land-owne rship of the fourteen ers is definitely a step in the right direction in regards to the overall protection and preserva tion of these incredible mountain peaks. However, what sort of pr ice can we place on Colorados Fourteeners? On some of the 47 public access fourteeners, th e National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service, are be ginning to realize that fees are an answer only if the money goes directly to the resource. For exam ple, a permit implemented by the Forest Service to access Yankee Boy Basin and climb Mount Sneffels in the San Juans is $10. Other peaks have free permits but without adequate enforcement of the permits being issued or without a fee, the permit system at this time is quite ineffective. At this point in time, a $5 fee for a permit to climb each peak or group of peaks from a standard route trailhead is not an unreasonable step towards preservation. The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) ha s placed donation pipes at the st art of most of the trailheads throughout the state. All they ask for is a dol lar donation per peak. This effort will not be nearly enough as these peaks come under in creasing future impacts. Donations need to become a thing of the past and mandatory permits with small fees need to be implemented if we are to keep these mountai ns protected yet desira ble for the exponential growth of the fourteener enthusiasts. As far as some of the private land issues are concerned, there will be a continuing battle between the land owners themselves and the increasing number of people who want access to those private lands. From a po licy standpoint, there will be legislation and government action taking place in Colorado in the very near future to decide if the public
160 should be granted access to pr ivate lands as long as the land owners are completely waived of all liability associated with the land access (Owens, 2006). In the interest of Coloradansas well as the many people who come from out of state to en joy the outdoorslet's pa ss legislation protecting landowners from lawsuit so that thes e Fourteener lands remain accessible to all. I'd like to thank Represen tative Rob Witwer and Senator Dan Grossman for taking the lead on this legislation (Colorado Governor Bill Owens, State of the State Address, January 12, 2006). According to Governor Owens, it appears that very soon the easy access to all 58 Colorado Fourteeners both public and private will be a reality. Minor fees will likely be implemented for all peaks, and these practic es should protect the peaks and the overall beauty of Colorado for some time. Even if a fee of $5 is tough to handle for a lowincome individual that is give n the opportunity to travel and experience these mountains, there are organizations such as Meet the W ilderness that have been leading the underprivileged youth into the four teener experience for over twenty years. A fee that helps keep these areas protected is paid for by many private donors and corporate business sponsors that fund Meet the Wilderness. Th ese groups are happy to pick up the tab in a great cause for people that normally would not get the ch ance to experience First Nature on Colorados Fourteeeners. Overall, the preservation of these peaks is vital even from a policy standpoint on how some of these issues are resolved regarding private property, public access, and sustainable usage. The adverse human-environmental impacts as indicated by the FE DI in this project may help supplement how many of these issues are carried out in the future.
161 In conclusion, this study and the results will improve the way in which people and organizations can classify and recognize the need for preservation within heavily visited mountain environments. Future protection and trail construction, as well as maintenance of existing trails and routes can be better understood and pe rformed with the results and outcomes of this project. By developi ng, demonstrating, and implementing a methodology for a systematic, empirical analys is of the human-environmental effects, this research contributes substantially to the present body of knowledge on the implications of mountain climbing in Colo rado. The findings from this project will provide a detailed and accurate assessment of Colorados Fourteeners and serve as a guide in which organizations such as th e U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), CMC, Colorado Fourteener s Initiative (CFI), Alpine Club, Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI), and other environmental groups can refer to in order to preserve the mountains and their ke y routes for future generations. The methodology and classi fication index developed in this study could be applied to other areas of the United States and the World in order to understand and document the factors that affect mountain climbing and its adverse impacts. By evaluating peaks from an environmental geogra phy perspective, this research will help mountaineering preservation groups and the general pub lic identify existing trails that are at risk, educate climbers about venturing into a certain area, and activ ely seek solutions to preserve alpine environments for the betterment of soci ety and recreation.
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172Appendix A: Index of Fourteen ers Studied in this Project Table A1. 53 Official (5 8 Unofficial) Fourteeners Listed by Mountain Range and Ranked by Elevation With Standa rd Route Climbing Difficulty Overall Rank Peak Name Rank in Range Elevation Route Difficulty Front Range (Class) 9 Grays Peak 1 14,270 1 11 Torreys Peak 2 14,267 2 14 Mount Evans 3 14,264 2 15 Longs Peak 4 14,255 3 32 Pikes Peak 5 14,109 1 40 Mount Bierstadt 6 14,060 2 Tenmile/Mosquito 8 Mount Lincoln 1 14,286 2 12 Quandary Peak 2 14,265 1 17 *Mount Cameron 3 14,238 2 23 Mount Bross 4 14,172 2 30 Mount Democrat 5 14,148 2 49 Mount Sherman 6 14,036 2 Sawatch Range 1 Mount Elbert 1 14,433 1 2 Mount Massive 2 14,421 2 3 Mount Harvard 3 14,420 2 5 La Plata Peak 4 14,336 2 10 Mount Antero 5 14,269 2 18 Mount Shavano 6 14,229 2 19 Mount Belford 7 14,197 2 19 Mount Princeton 8 14,197 2 22 Mount Yale 9 14,196 2 27 Tabeguache Peak 10 14,155 2 28 Mount Oxford 11 14,153 2 37 Mount Columbia 12 14,073 2 38 Missouri Mountain 13 14,067 2 56 Mount Holy Cross 14 14,005 2 57 Huron Peak 15 14,003 2 *Unofficial fourteener
173 Appendix A (Continued) Table A1 (continued). 53 Of ficial (58 Unofficial) Fourt eeners Listed by Mountain Range and Ranked by Elevation With Stan dard Route Climbing Difficulty Overall Rank Peak Name Elk Mountain Range Rank in Range Elevation Route (Class) Difficulty 12 Castle Peak 1 14,265 2.5 26 Maroon Peak 2 14,156 3 31 Capitol Peak 3 14,130 4 33 Snowmass Mountain 4 14,092 3 40 *Conundrum Peak 5 14,060 2.5 51 Pyramid Peak 6 14,018 4 54 *North Maroon Peak 7 14,014 4 Sangre De Cristo 4 Blanca Peak 1 14,345 2 7 Crestone Peak 2 14,294 3 19 Crestone Needle 3 14,197 3 24 Kit Carson Mountain 4 14,165 3 36 Challenger Point 5 14,081 2.5 39 Humboldt Peak 6 14,064 2 44 Culebra Peak 7 14,047 2 45 Ellingwood Point 8 14,042 2 45 Mount Lindsey 9 14,042 2.5 48 Little Bear Peak 10 14,037 4 San Juan Range 6 Uncompahgre Peak 1 14,309 2 16 Mount Wilson 2 14,246 4 25 *El Diente Peak 3 14,159 3 29 Mount Sneffels 4 14,150 2.5 34 Mount Eolus 5 14,083 3 35 Windom Peak 6 14,082 2.5 42 Sunlight Peak 7 14,059 4 43 Handies Peak 8 14,048 2 47 *North Eolus Peak 9 14,039 3 50 Redcloud Peak 10 14,034 2 52 Wilson Peak 11 14,017 3 53 Wetterhorn Peak 12 14,015 3 54 San Luis Peak 13 14,014 1 58 Sunshine Peak 14 14,001 2 *Unofficial fourteener
174 Appendix A (Continued) Table A2. Standard Routes Evaluated on Each Fourteener Peak and Range Name Route Name Difficulty (Class) Front Range Trailhead North Slopes 1 Grays Peak (14,270) Stevens Gulch South Slopes 2 Torreys Peak (14,267) Stevens Gulch Chicago NE Face 2 Mount Evans (14,264) Echo Lake Keyhole 3 Longs Peak (14,255) Longs Peak Northwest Slopes 1 Pikes Peak (14,109) Crags Campground West Slopes 2 Mount Bierstadt (14,060) Guanella Pass Tenmile/Mosquito Range West Ridge 2 Mount Lincoln (14,286) Kite Lake East Slopes 1 Quandary Peak (14,265) Monte Cristo West Ridge 2 *Mount Cameron (14,238) Kite Lake West Slopes 2 Mount Bross (14,172) Kite Lake East Ridge 2 Mount Democrat (14,148) Kite Lake Fourmile Creek 2 Mount Sherman (14,036) Fourmile Creek Sawatch Range Northeast Ridge 1 Mount Elbert (14,433) Mount Elbert East Slopes 2 Mount Massive (14,421) Mount Massive South Slopes 2 Mount Harvard (14,420) North Cottonwood Northwest Ridge 2 La Plata Peak (14,336) Lake Creek West Slopes 2 Mount Antero (14,269) Baldwin Gulch East Slopes 2 Mount Shavano (14,229) Blank Gulch West Slopes 2 Mount Belford (14,197) Missouri Gulch East Slopes 2 Mount Princeton (14,197) Mount Princeton Rd. South Slopes 2 Mount Yale (14,196) Denny Gulch Southeast Ridge 2 Tabeguache Peak (14,155) Blank Gulch West Ridge 2 Mount Oxford (14,153) Missouri Gulch West Slopes 2 Mount Columbia (14,073) North Cottonwood Northwest Ridge 2 Missouri Mountain (14,067) Missouri Gulch North Ridge 2 Mount Holy Cross (14,005) Halfmoon Northwest Slopes 2 Huron Peak (14,003) South Winfield Elk Mountain Range Northwest Ridge 2 Castle Peak (14,265) Castle Creek South Ridge 3 Maroon Peak (14,156) Maroon Lake Northeast Ridge 4 Capitol Peak (14,130) Capitol Creek East Slopes 3 Snowmass Mountain (14,092) Snowmass Falls Ranch South Ridge 2.5 *Conundrum Peak (14,060) Castle Creek Northeast Ridge 4 Pyramid Peak (14,018) Maroon Lake Northeast Ridge 4 *North Maro on Peak (14,014) Maroon Lake
175 Appendix A (Continued) Table A2 (continued). Standard Ro utes Evaluated on Each Fourteener Peak and Range Name Route Name Difficulty (Class) Sangre De Cristo Range Trailhead Northwest Face 2 Blanca Peak (14,345) Lake Como South Face 3 Crestone Peak (14,294) South Colony South Face 3 Crestone Needle (14,197) South Colony West Ridge 3 Kit Carson Mountain (14,165) Willow Creek North Slopes 2.5 Challenger Point (14,081) Willow Creek West Ridge 2 Humboldt Peak (14,064) South Colony Northwest Ridge 2 Culebra Peak (14,047) Cielo Vista Ranch Southwest Face 2 Ellingwood Point (14,042) Lake Como North Face 2.5 Mount Lindsey (14,042) Huerfano River West Ridge 4 Little Bear Peak (14,037) Lake Como San Juan Range East Slopes 2 Uncompahgre Peak (14,309) Nellie Creek North Slopes 4 Mount Wilson (14,246) Silver Pick North Face 3 *El Diente Peak (14,159) Silver Pick South Slopes 2.5 Mount Sneffels (14,150) Yankee Boy Basin Northeast Ridge 3 Mount Eolus (14,083) Needleton West Ridge 2.5 Windom Peak (14,082) Needleton South Slopes 4 Sunlight Peak (14,059) Needleton West Slopes 2 Handies Peak (14,048) American Basin South Spine 3 *North Eolus Peak (14,039) Needleton Northeast Ridge 2 Redcloud Peak (14,034) Silver Creek-Grizzly Gulch West Ridge 3 Wilson Peak (14,017) Silver Pick Southeast Ridge 3 Wetterhorn Peak (14,015) Matterhorn East Slopes 1 San Luis Peak (14,014) Stewart Creek North Slopes 2 Sunshine Peak (14,001) Silver Creek-Grizzly Gulch *Unofficial fourteener
176Appendix B: Climbing Difficulty Classi fications of Colorados Fourteeners The extent of the climbing difficulty of the standard route evaluated for this project was listed by peak in Appendix A. Gerry Roachs Colorados Fourteeners, 2nd ed. 2004, p. xix-xxi, describes these classifications as follo ws, and I have supplemented these classifications with some commen ts of my own as well. Other guidebooks (Dawson, 1999a, 1999b, Borneman and Lampert, 1998) have also defi ned route difficulty in similar ways. Class 1 Trail hiking or any hiking acro ss open country that is no more difficult than walking on a maintained trail. The pa rking lot at the trailhead is easy Class 1, groomed ski trails are midrange Class 1, and some of the big step-ups on the rocks near the top of the Barr Trail of Pi kes Peak are difficult Class 1. Class 2 Steep trail and/or climbers tr ail hiking, or off-tr ail hiking. Class 2 usually means bushwhacking or hiking on a talu s or loose rock slope. You are not yet using handholds for upward movement. Occasio nally, the rating Class 2+ is used for a pseudo-scrambling route where you will use your hands but do not need to search very hard for handholds. Most people are able to downclimb Class 2+ terrain facing out and without the use of hands, while using superb balance and careful stepping. Class 3 The easiest clim bing (not hiking) category. People usually call this scrambling. You are begi nning to look for and use handholds for upward movement. Basic climbing techniques are used, which ar e noticeably past the level of any walking movements. Although you are using handholds, you dont have to look very hard to find them. Occasionally putting your hand down for balance while crossing a talus slope does not qualify as Class 3. That is still Class 2. About half of the peopl e feel the need to face in towards the rock while downclimbing Class 3. Class 4 This level of climbing is with in the realm of technical climbing. You are not just using handholds; you have to search for, sele ct, and test them. You are beginning to use muscle groups not involve d with hiking, those of the upper body and abdominals in particular. Movement at Class 4 is more focused, t houghtful, and slower. Many people prefer to rappel down a serious Class 4 pitch that is exposed rather than to downclimb it. Many Class 3 routes in Californi a would be rated at a Class 4 in Colorado. Class 5 Technical climbing and nothing less. You are now using a variety of climbing techniques, not just cling holds. Movements may involve stemming with your legs, cross-pressure with your arms, pressing down on handholds as you pass them, edging on small holds, smearing, chimneying, jamming, and heel hooks. A lack of flexibility will be noticeable, and can hinder movement, and any movement at Class 5 or above totally occupies the mind of the indivi dual. Most all people choose to rappel down Class 5 pitches. It is important to note that the standa rd routes on Colorados Fourteeners all included in this research study ra nge from Class 1 to Class 4, but I have chosen to include all classes of climbing to give the average pers on a better explanation of what is out there on Colorados Fourteeners as a whole, even if it is not a part of the r outes in this research.
177 Appendix B (continued): Ranking the Four teeners Based on Climbing Difficulty Table B1. Ranking the Standard/Easiest Routes on Colorados 14,000 Peaks. The Fourteeners are listed in Orde r of Decreasing Difficulty with Little Bear Rated as the Most Difficult Challenge. The Rankings ar e Based on Climbing Experience and Route Evaluation. Peak Name (Elevation feet) Mountain Range Route Name (Class) 1. Little Bear (14,037) Sangre de Cristo West Ridge Hourglass (4) 2. Capitol (14,130) Elk Northeast Ridge Knife-edge (4) 3. Pyramid (14,018) Elk Northeast Ridge Amphitheatre (4) 4. North Maroon (14,014) Elk Northeast Ridge (4) 5. Mount Wilson (14,246) San Juan North Slopes (4) 6. Sunlight (14,059) San Juan South Slopes Summit-block (4) 7. Crestone Needle (14,197) Sangre de Cristo South Face (3) 8. Maroon Peak (14,156) Elk South Ridge (3) 9. Crestone Peak (14,294) Sangre de Cristo South Face (3) 10. El Diente (14,159) San Juan North Face (3) 11. Eolus (14,083) San Juan Northeast Ridge Cat-walk (3) 12. Longs (14,255) Front Keyhole (3) 13. Wilson Peak (14,017) San Juan West Ridge (3) 14. Kit Carson (14,165) Sangre de Cristo West Ridge Kit Carson Avenue (3) 15. Wetterhorn (14,015) San Juan Southeast Ridge (3) 16. Snowmass (14,092) Elk East Slopes Snowmass Glacier (3) 17. North Eolus (14,039) San Juan South Spine (3) 18. Conundrum (14,060) Elk South Ridge (2.5) 19. Lindsey (14,042) Sangre de Cristo North Face (2.5) 20. Sneffels (14,150) San Juan South Slopes Exit Crack (2.5) 21. Challenger (14,081) Sangre de Cristo North Slopes (2.5) 22. Windom (14,082) San Juan West Ridge (2.5)
178 Appendix B (continued): Ranking the Four teeners Based on Climbing Difficulty Table B1 (continued). Ranki ng Standard/Easiest Routes on Colorados 14,000 Peaks. Peak Name (Elevation feet) Mountain Range Route Name (Class) 23. Ellingwood (14,042) Sangre de Cristo Southwest Face (2) 24. Castle (14,265) Elk Northwest Ridge (2) 25. Holy Cross (14,005) Sawatch North Ridge (2) 26. Blanca (14,345) Sangre de Cristo Northwest Face (2) 27. Uncompaghre (14,309) San Juan East Slopes (2) 28. Harvard (14,420) Sawatch South Slopes (2) 29. Evans (14,264) Front Chicago Creek Northeast Face (2) 30. Humboldt (14,064) Sangre de Cristo West Ridge (2) 31. La Plata (14,336) Sawatch Northwest Ridge (2) 32. Lincoln (14,286) Tenmile/Mosquito West Ridge (2) 33. Bross (14,172) Tenmile/Mosquito West Slopes (2) 34. Missouri (14,067) Sawatch Northwest Ridge (2) 35. Tabeguache (14,155) Sawatch Southeast Ridge via Shavano (2) 36. Shavano (14,229) Sawatch East Slopes Near Angel(2) 37. Sunshine (14,001) San Juan North Slopes (2) 38. Redcloud (14,034) San Juan Northeast Ridge (2) 39. Torreys (14,267) Front South Slopes (2) 40. Columbia (14,073) Sawatch West Slopes (2) 41. Yale (14,196) Sawatch South Slopes (2) 42. Princeton (14,197) Sawatch East Slopes (2) 43. Antero (14,269) Sawatch West Slopes (2) 44. Massive (14,421) Sawatch East Slopes (2) 45. Democrat (14,148) Tenmile/Mosquito East Ridge (2) 46. Oxford (14,153) Sawatch West Ridge (2)
179 Appendix B (continued): Ranking the Four teeners Based on Climbing Difficulty Table B1 (continued). Ranki ng Standard/Easiest Routes on Colorados 14,000 Peaks. Peak Name (Elevation feet) Mountain Range Route Name (Class) 47. Belford (14,197) Sawatch West Slopes (2) 48. Huron (14,003) Sawatch Northwest Slopes (2) 49. Cameron (14,238) Tenmile/Mosquito West Ridge (2) 50. Sherman (14,036) Tenmile/Mosquito Fourmile Creek (2) 51. Culebra (14,047) Sangre de Cristo Northwest Ridge (2) 52. Handies (14,048) San Juan West Slopes (2) 53. Bierstadt (14,060) Front West Slopes (2) 54. Elbert (14,433) Sawatch Northeast Ridge (1) 55. Pikes (14,109) Front Northwest Slopes (1) 56. San Luis (14,014) San Juan East Slopes (1) 57. Grays (14,270) Front North Slopes (1) 58. Quandary (14,265) Tenmile/Mosquito East Slopes (1)
180Appendix C: Data Collection Templates for Archive and Fieldwork Collection (Phases 1 and 2) Table C1. Archive Data Collection Fourteener Worksheet (Phase One) Peak Name: __________________ Mountain Range:______________________ Climbing Season Month Yrs--> 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 1995-2004 May June July August September October Totals--> # of Registers ________ Off-Season Yrs--> 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 1995-2004 Month November December January February March April Totals --> # of Registers
181 Appendix C (Continued) Table C2. Fieldwork Data Collection Sheet for a Fourteener (Phase Two) Page 1 Peak Name:_____________________________ Mtn. Range_____________________ Route Name:____________________________ Trailhead(Elev):_________________ Trail Status From Trailhead to Timberline (to 11,000ft) TH 0.0TM, TL=TM # 1 Continuous and Easy to Follow Trail A ll the Way To Timberline (Circle One) Yes No If No, List Elevations and Locations (Trail Mile ) where trail is lost. 1.______ft. to ____ _ft.--> Trail Mile___to TM___ 2.______ft. to _____ft.--> Trail Mile___to TM___ 3.______ft. to ____ _ft.--> Trail Mile___to TM___ 4.______ft. to _____ft.--> Trail Mile___to TM___ (Record More on Back of Sheet if Neccesary) #2 Multiple Trail Spurs off of Main Trail/Route. (Some spurs may reconverge with the main trail/r oute, some may not) Number of trail spurs or branches found, includes trails wider than 10 feet, or a double wide trail that is not a 4WD road. 1.______________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 2. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 3. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 4. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 5. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 6. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 7. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 8. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 9. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 10. ____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi (Record More on Back of Sheet if Neccesary) Total Spurs _____ Total Branches/Wide Sections _____ Complete Total_________ # 3 Number of Trail Switchbacks On steep terrain, the presence of more switchbacks w ill prevent erosion and degradation on steep slopes.) 1.__________ft. TM_________. 2.___________ft. TM__________. 3.____________ft. TM__________. 4.__________ft. TM_________. 5.___________ft. TM__________. 6.____________ft. TM__________. 7.__________ft. TM_________. 8.___________ft. TM__________. 9.____________ft. TM__________. 10.__________ft. TM_________. 11.__________ft. TM_________. 12.____________ft. TM_________. 13.__________ft. TM_________. 14.__________ft. TM_________. 15.____________ft. TM_________. 16.__________ft. TM_________. 17.__________ft. TM_________. 18.____________ft. TM_________. 19.__________ft. TM_________. 20.__________ft. TM_________. 21.____________ft. TM_________. (Record More on Back of Sheet if Neccesary) Total # of Switchbacks____________ # 4 Trail Switchbacks Clearly Needed to Be Constructed (Record More on Back of Sheet if Neccesary) (Evaluation of existing trails/routes can also be with photographic evidence. If a portion of a route or trail is clearly eroded on a mountainside, a trail switchback could be recommended for construction to help with land degradation). Place a Capital P next to TM if location is photographed! TOTAL_______ 1.__________ft. TM_________. 2.___________ft. TM__________. 3.____________ft. TM__________. 4.__________ft. TM_________. 5.___________ft. TM__________. 6.____________ft. TM__________. 7.__________ft. TM_________. 8.___________ft. TM__________. 9.____________ft. TM__________. 10.__________ft. TM_________. 11.__________ft. TM_________. 12.____________ft. TM_________.
182 Appendix C (Continued) Table C2(Cont.)Fieldwork Data Collect ion Sheet for a Fourteener(Phase Two)Page 2 Peak Name:_____________________________ Mtn. Range_____________________ Route Name:____________________________ Trailhead:______________________ # 7 Double Wide Trail / Trails Wider Than 5 Feet (%DW) Sections (Trail Miles) Length of Section (Distance in Miles) 1. 0.0___mi. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. ____sections @ ____mi / _______ TH to TL Distance = ___________% Dw TH to TL. Trailhead (TH) = 0.0 Trail Mile (TM) Timberline (TL) = _____TM. Distance = _______Miles #9 Fire Rings Number of Visible Campsite s / Fire Rings Visible fr om Main Trail or Route TH to TL = _______________ #10 Percent (%) Route Miles as 4WD RD Trailhead to Timberline (Trail Miles) Length of Section (Distance in Miles) 1. 0.0___mi. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Calculate Totals:
183 Appendix C (Continued) Table C2(Cont.). Fieldwork Data Co llection Sheet for a 14er (Phase Two) Page 3 Peak Name:_____________________________ Mtn. Range_____________________ Route Name:____________________________ Trailhead (Elev):_________________ TM of TL_______ TM of Top_______ Trail Status Above Timberline (11,000ft+) Trail Mile/Route Mile (TM/RM) Interchangeable #1 Continuous and Easy to Follow Trail All the Way To The Summit (Circle One) Yes No If No List Elevations and Locations (Trail Mile ) where trail is lost, Then Refer to # 5 & #6 to calculate % TM and Elevation estimate d portion of routes with no trail. 1.______ft. to ____ _ft.--> Trail Mile___to TM___ 2.______ft. to _____ft.--> Trail Mile___to TM___ 3.______ft. to ____ _ft.--> Trail Mile___to TM___ 4.______ft. to _____ft.--> Trail Mile___to TM___ 5.______ft. to ____ft.--> Trail Mile___to TM__ 6.______ft. to ___ __ft.--> Trail Mile___to TM___ 7.______ft. to ____ _ft.--> Trail Mile___to TM___ 8.______ft. to _____ft.--> Trail Mile___to TM___ 9.______ft. to _____ft.--> Trail Mile___to TM___ 10.______ft. to _____ft.--> Trail Mile___to TM__ (Record More on Back of Sheet if Neccesary) Elevation AddedTotal __________ft. Added TM/RM Total_____________mi. #8 Also Note and Calculate Which Portions Have no Trail or No Route Defined by any markers at all, Calculate the Overall TH to Top Percentage: # 2 Multiple Trail Spurs off of Main Trail/Route. (Some spurs may reconverge with the main trail/r oute, some may not) Number of trail spurs or branches found, includes trails wider than 10 feet, or a double wide trail that is not a 4WD road. 1.______________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 2. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 3. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 4. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 5. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 6. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 7. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 8. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 9. _____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi 10. ____________ft. at Trail Mile______to TM___________ft. Total Length(If Not a Spur)_____Mi (Record More on Back of Sheet if Neccesary) Total Spurs _____ Total Branches/Wide Sections _____ TH to TL______ + TL to Summit______ = Overall Complete Total_________ # 3 Number of Trail Switchbacks On steep terrain, the presence of more switchbacks w ill prevent erosion and degradation on steep slopes.) 1.__________ft. TM_________. 2.___________ft. TM__________. 3.____________ft. TM__________. 4.__________ft. TM_________. 5.___________ft. TM__________. 6.____________ft. TM__________. 7.__________ft. TM_________. 8.___________ft. TM__________. 9.____________ft. TM__________. 10.__________ft. TM_________. 11.__________ft. TM_________. 12.____________ft. TM_________. (Record More on Back of Sheet if Neccesary) Total # of Switchbacks____________ TH to TL______ + TL to Summit______ = Overall Complete Total_________ # 4 Trail Switchbacks Clearly Needed to Be Cons tructed (TM/RM = Trail Mile/Route Mile) (Evaluation of existing trails/routes can also be with photographic evidence. If a portion of a route or trail is clearly eroded on a mountainside, a trail switchback could be recommended for construction to help with land degradation). Place a Capital P next to TM if location is photographed! TOTAL_______ 1.__________ft. TM/RM_________. 2.___________ft. TM__________. 3.____________ft. TM______. 4.__________ft. TM_________. 5.___________ft. TM__________. 6.____________ft. TM__________.
184 Appendix C (Continued) Table C2(Cont.). Fieldwork Data Co llection Sheet for a 14er (Phase Two) Page 4 Trail Status Above Timberline Ca lculations (Above Approx. 11,000ft.) # 5 & #6 Route Defined Over Tundra, Boulders or Difficult Terrain, but No Trail. (Rock cairns, ribbons, or other trail mark ers can be used to define the route) #5Percent (%) of Elevation above timberli ne with no clearly defined trail Elevation of Summit______________ (--) Minus Elevation of Timberline____________ = To tal (a)__________ft. Elevation. Total(a) __________ft. Elevation (--)mi nus Cumulative Elevation from Level 1 _______= (b)_________ft. Therefore (b)_______________ft. (/) divided by (a) _____________ft. = ___________ or _________% Next calculate overall percentage, Trailhead to the Summit. Thus, ___________% of the Elevation gain for the Standard Route on __________________ is a route with no trail or single clear route constructed. #6Percent (%) of Trail Miles (TM) or Ro ute Miles From Timberline to Summit Trail Mile (TM) or Route Mile (RM) of Summit______________ (--) Minus (TM/RM) of Timberline____________ = Total (a)__________mi. Total(a) __________mi. (--)minus Cumulative miles from Level 1 _______= (b)_________ft. Therefore (b)_______________mi. (/) divided by (a) _____________mi. = ___________ or _________% Next calculate overall percentage, Trailhead to the Summit. Thus, ___________% of the distance (mi.) of the Standard Route on __________________ is a route with no trail or single clear route constructed. # 7 Double Wide Trail / Trails Wider Than 5 Feet (%DW) Sections (Trail Miles) Length of Section (Distance in Miles) 1. 0.0___mi. 2. 3. 4. 5. ADD MORE if Necessary ____sections @ ____mi / _______ TL to Summit Distance = __________% Dw TL-Top Trailhead (TH) = 0.0 Trail Mile (TM) Timberline (TL) = _____TM. Distance = _______Miles Calculate Overall Dw %:
185 Appendix C (Continued) Table C2(Cont.). Fieldwork Data Co llection Sheet for a 14er (Phase Two) Page 5 #9 Fire Rings Number of Visible Campsite s / Fire Rings Visible fr om Main Trail or Route TH to TL = __________ TL to Summit ___________ Overall Total ________ #10 Percent (%) Route Miles as 4WD RD Timberline to Summit (Trail Miles) Length of Section (Distance in Miles) 1. 0.0___mi. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Calculate Totals: Overall TH to Summit: Additional Peak Note s and Calculations: Date Peak Climbed________________
186Appendix D: Additional Maps a nd Tables (Project Chronicles) Table D1. 2005 Summer Fourteener Log of Peaks Climbed and Data Collected Peak Name (Elevation feet) Mountain Range Date (2005) Color Label on Map (Figure D1) 1. Grays (14,270) Front Tuesday, May 17 Single Day TripBlue 2. Quandary (14,265) Tenmile/Mosquito Thursday, May 26 Single Day TripBlue 3. Snowmass (14,092) Elk Thurs-Fri, May 27-28 Snowpack evalBrown 4. Longs (14,255) Front Tuesday, June 1 Single Day TripBlue 5. Bierstadt (14,060) Front Tuesday, June 1 Single Day TripBlue 6. Shavano (14,229) Sawatch Saturday, June 4 Sawatch TripRed 7. Tabeguache (14,155) Sawatch Saturday, June 4 Sawatch TripRed 8. Princeton (14,197) Sawatch Saturday, June 4 Sawatch TripRed 9. Antero (14,269) Sawatch Sunday, June 5 Sawatch TripRed 10. Harvard (14,420) Sawatch Monday, June 6 Sawatch TripRed 11. Columbia (14,073) Sawatch Monday, June 6 Sawatch TripRed 12. Yale (14,196) Sawatch Tuesday, June 7 Sawatch TripRed 13. Belford (14,197) Sawatch Wednesday, June 8 Sawatch TripRed 14. Oxford (14,153) Sawatch Wednesday, June 8 Sawatch TripRed 15. Missouri (14,067) Sawatch Wednesday, June 8 Sawatch TripRed 16. Evans (14,264) Front Tuesday, June 14 Single Day TripBlue 17. Pikes (14,109) Front Thursday, June 16 Single Day TripBlue 18. Elbert (14,433) Sawatch Friday, June 17 Single Day TripBlue 19. Sherman (14,036) Tenmile/Mosquito Saturday, June 18 Single Day TripBlue 20. Sneffels (14,150) San Juan Tuesday, June 21 San Juan TripOrange 21. Handies (14,048) San Juan Tuesday, June 21 San Juan TripOrange 22. Redcloud (14,034) San Juan Wednesday, June 22 San Juan TripOrange 23. Sunshine (14,001) San Juan Wednesday, June 22 San Juan TripOrange 24. Uncompaghre (14,309) San Juan Thursday, June 23 San Juan TripOrange
187 Appendix D (Continued) Table D1 (continued). 2005 Summer Log of Peaks Climbed and Data Collected Peak Name (Elevation feet) Mountain Range Date (2005) Color Label on Map (Figure D1) 25. Wetterhorn (14,015) San Juan Friday, June 24 San Juan TripOrange 26. San Luis (14,014) San Juan Friday, June 24 San Juan TripOrange 27. Challenger (14,081) Sangre de Cristo Saturday, June 25 San Juan TripOrange 28. Kit Carson (14,165) Sangre de Cristo Saturday, June 25 San Juan TripOrange 29. Democrat (14,148) Tenmile/Mosquito Monday, June 27 Single Day TripBlue 30. Cameron (14,238) Tenmile/Mosquito Monday, June 27 Single Day TripBlue 31. Lincoln (14,286) Tenmile/Mosquito Monday, June 27 Single Day TripBlue 32. Bross (14,172) Tenmile/Mosquito Monday, June 27 Single Day TripBlue 33. Castle (14,265) Elk Tuesday, June 28 Single Day TripBlue 34. Conundrum (14,060) Elk Tuesday, June 28 Single Day TripBlue 35. La Plata (14,336) Sawatch Wednesday, June 29 Single Day TripBlue 36. Quandary (14,265) Tenmile/Mosquito Thursday, June 30 Single Day TripBlue 37. Grays (14,270) Front Friday, July 1 Single Day TripBlue 38. Crestone Peak (14,294) Sangre de Cristo Wednesday, July 6 Sangre d. CristoGreen 39. Crestone Needle (14,197) Sangre de Cristo Wednesday, July 6 Sangre d. CristoGreen 40. Humboldt (14,064) Sangre de Cristo Wednesday, July 6 Sangre d. CristoGreen 41. Lindsey (14,042) Sangre de Cristo Thursday, July 7 Sangre d. CristoGreen 42. Little Bear (14,037) Sangre de Cristo Friday, July 8 Sangre d. CristoGreen 43. Blanca (14,345) Sangre de Cristo Friday, July 8 Sangre d. CristoGreen 44. Ellingwood (14,042) Sangre de Cristo Friday, July 8 Sangre d. CristoGreen 45. Culebra (14,047) Sangre de Cristo Saturday, July 9 Sangre d. CristoGreen 46. Torreys (14,267) Front Mon-Tue, July 11-12 Slept on SummitBlue 47. Eolus (14,083) San Juan Tuesday, July 26 San Juan TripYellow 48. N. Eolus (14,039) San Juan Tuesday, July 26 San Juan TripYellow
188 Appendix D (Continued) Table D1 (continued). 2005 Summer Log of Peaks Climbed and Data Collected Peak Name (Elevation feet) Mountain Range Dates Climbed (2005) Color Label on Map (Figure D1) 49. Windom (14,082) San Juan Wednesday, July 27 San Juan TripYellow 50. Sunlight (14,059) San Juan Wednesday, July 27 San Juan TripYellow 51. Mount Wilson (14,246) San Juan Thursday, July 28 San Juan TripYellow 52. El Diente (14,159) San Juan Thursday, July 28 San Juan TripYellow 53. Wilson Peak (14,017) San Juan Thursday, July 28 San Juan TripYellow 54. North Maroon (14,014) Elk Tuesday, August 2 Elk Range TripPurple 55. Maroon (14,156) Elk Wednesday, August 3 Elk Range TripPurple 56. Pyramid (14,018) Elk Thursday, August 4 Elk Range TripPurple 57. Massive (14,421) Sawatch Friday, August 5 Single Day TripBlue 58. Holy Cross (14,005) Sawatch Saturday, August 6 Single Day TripBlue 59. Capitol (14,130) Elk Sun-Mon August 7-8 Elk Range TripBrown 60. Snowmass (14,092) Elk Mon-Tue, August 8-9 Elk Range TripBrown 61. Huron (14,003) Sawatch Thursday, August 11 Single Day TripBlue 62. Huron (14,003) Sawatch Thursday, August 14 Single Day TripBlue
189 Appendix D (Continued) Figure D1. Field Collection of the Fourteeners, Project Chronicle Map
About the Author Jonathan James Kedrowski grew up deep in the heart of Colorado s Rocky Mountains in Vail, CO. In 1999 he became only the 920th person to successfully climb to the top of every Colorado Fourteener. Since then he ha s summitted each fourteener successfully at least 3 times each and also has numerous winter ascents and ski descents of the peaks. In the summer of 2005 Jon began his quest to c limb the highest peak on each of the Seven Continents, beginning with a successful clim b of Europes Mount Elbrus (18,510 / 5642m) in the Caucus Mountains of southern Russia. Future expedi tions include tackling other seven summits and high peaks in the Himalayas and Pamir Ranges of Asia, (Peak Lenin, August 2006, 23,405 / 7134m) where unlimited research endeavors await. Following graduation with a Masters degree in Environmental Geography from the University of South Florida in May of 2006, Jon plans on pursuing his Ph.D. degree and using the field of human-environmental impact s assessment of high-altitude regions as a means of continuing his climbing career. When he isnt hard at work on projects at the University, or training on Co lorados highest peaks, Jon can be found involved within his other passion, playing and coaching basketball.
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Kedrowski, Jon J.
Assessing human-environmental impacts on Colorado's 14,000-foot mountains
h [electronic resource] /
by Jon J. Kedrowski.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
ABSTRACT: This research focuses on documenting and analyzing the factors that affect mountain climbing in the state of Colorado and assessing the potential environmental impacts caused by the growing number of climbers visiting the Fourteeners---the 58 mountain peaks located within the Rocky Mountains exceeding an elevation of 14,000 feet. Key objectives were to:1. identify factors that have a significant effect on mountain climbing frequency; 2. collect information from physical trail and route evaluation to develop an interim classification index; 3. combine relevant variables to formulate a composite Fourteeners Environmental Degradation Index (FEDI) and use it to evaluate, rank, and compare the 58 fourteeners within the six major mountain ranges; and4. examine sensitivity of this composite index based on changing relative importance of the input variables. Results from the first phase, based on statistical tests, indicated that annual climbing frequency has a significant posi tive association with (a) distance from Denver; (b) direct distance from the summit to the nearest paved road; (c) length of the trail/route; and (d) climbing route difficulty. Elevation of a peak's trailhead, however, is the only variable with a significantly negative relationship with climbing frequency of the fourteeners. The second phase of the study involved the assessment of adverse impacts (trail erosion and trail status) through extensive fieldwork. The data was used to develop an interim FEDI. Peaks in the Front Range (e.g., Mount Evans, Longs Peak, and Pikes Peak) indicate the most adverse human-environmental impacts.Variables from both previous phases were combined to develop the final FEDI. Analyses indicated that Mount Evans (Front Range) was ranked highest (highest level of adverse impacts), while Culebra (Sangre de Cristo Range) ranked lowest. The mountain ranges closest to Denver (Front Range and Tenmile/Mosquito) yielded the highest average ranks, while ranges f arthest from Denver showed lowest ranks. Sensitivity analyses of the FEDI suggested that rankings were not drastically altered by adjusting relative importance of input factors. The findings provide important insights on identifying preservation needs within heavily visited mountain environments and can be used to guide future protection efforts, trail construction, and maintenance for existing trails and routes.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2006.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 189 pages.
Adviser: Jayajit Chakraborty, Ph.D.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.