Guide to the Colorado Mountains


Since 1952, Guide to the Colorado Mountains has been the authoritative source on Colorado’s mountains; a must for casual hikers, fourteeners enthusiasts, or veteran mountaineers. Now in a revised tenth edition, the guide is more complete than ever with route descriptions for over 1,500 hiking and climbing destinations—peaks, passes, lakes, and trails.

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This legendary classic has been updated with over 80 photos, 28 easy-to-read maps, a detailed index, sections on history and geology of the Colorado Rockies, and a ranked listing of the 200 highest summits in the state, cross-referenced to the text. Written with the famous "Ormes" wit and with route descriptions compiled and checked by the experts—trip leaders of the Colorado Mountain Club—all hikers and climbers will find this the best and most accurate book on the mountains of Colorado.

Now in its 50th year of publication, Guide to the Colorado Mountains is one of the best-selling Colorado book of all time with over ¼ million copies in print. Generations of recreationalists have depended on it for guiding them into the Colorado backcountry. Around 1950, the original CMC Publications Committee—Betsy Cowles Partridge, Carl Blaurock and Henry Buchtel—persuaded Bob Ormes to be editor of a new Colorado guidebook they were beginning to hatch. Among other things, they were looking for a writer sprightly enough to, for example, direct prospective climbers of that rotten rockpile Lizard Head to "Take photograph and go away." (Bob had made the third ascent.) This was easily the most noted quotation from the first edition, which was published in 1952. This book was based largely on many contributions from club members, and the extensive CMC trip report files. Later, principally in the 1970s and 1980s, Bob took over the publishing of the book, and by the 8th edition the text had largely become his. By then, the Guide to the Colorado Mountains had established a unique niche in mountaineering circles, and still remained the only comprehensive climbing guide to the entire state. What has made the book legendary over the past 48 years is its nonchalant conversational style, which reflects the author's wry humor and love of life.

Many mountaineers have their goals; the fourteeners, the highest 100, the highest 200, etc.; and a wealth of interpretive guides have grown around the need to satisfy these specific objectives, activities or localities. But one of the beauties of the Ormes Guide has been a statewide focus on diverse destinations not addressed in more recent guidebooks. It is the only guide to offer complete coverage of the mountains of Colorado, from the heavily-used Front Range to the remote San Juan Mountains. The guide logically groups the mountainous regions into seven geographic sections, further reduced into 42 manageable units or ranges. Guide to the Colorado Mountains should be the foundation for your Colorado guidebook library, whether you are a hiker, climber, backpacker, or mountain biker.