COLORADO FOURTEENERS AND THE NATURE OF PLACE IDENTITY*

Authors


  • *

    I appreciate the research assistance of the staff of the American Alpine Club Library, located in the American Mountaineering Center, Golden, Colorado, and also the cartographic advice of Jeffrey S. Smith at Kansas State University. I cherish the physical or spiritual companionship of my family before, during, and after my Fourteener quests. Until Diana knows of it, the climb is not real.

Abstract

ABSTRACT. The fifty-four Colorado Fourteeners–mountains more than 14,000 feet in elevation–were early symbols of westward expansion, mineral wealth, and wondrous scenery, and they are increasingly popular as environmental icons in place attachment at national, regional, state, and local scales. The symbolism of this contrived yet iconic collection of peaks is examined through the evolution of the Fourteener concept, the popularity of peakbagging, and the role of the Sawatch Range Fourteeners in creating a larger community identity. Elevation is the gatekeeper into the Fourteener club, in which a distinctive landscape iconography of shape, accessibility, and aesthetics reflects the role of idealized nature and mountains in place identity.

Ancillary