Monday, November 26, 2007

Just a few feet shy of being the hardest fourteener

Visitors to Chicago Basin have probably seen sunlight spire, a nasty little gendarme sitting just to the side of sunlight peak. Sunlight, and the rest of the 14ers in the area are just a tough scramble. The spire, however, which falls short of the 14er club by 5 feet, is a stiff climb (a full pitch of 5.10 crack). There's a description of the route here.
The question is, what's the real height of Sunlight Spire. After all, Pikes Peak was long thought to be 14,110 feet, but upgraded in the late 1980s to 14115. An extra five feet in the spire's case could make a big difference. This is something we'll have to look into.

9 comments:

Teleken said...

But doesn't it have to be 3,000 feet from the next 14er to qualify (according to CMC) as an individual peak? Someone has to pull off the climb wearing one of those GPS backpacks now.

radbluebill said...

The drop between Sunlight Peak and Sunlight Spire is approx. 215 feet. Roach and others consider a peak to be prominent if it rises >300 feet above the low point in the saddle. It is interesting to note that USGS had added five feet to the elevations of all three Chicago Basin 14ers. I think its fair to say that the adjusted elevation (NAVD 88) of the Spire is 14,000'.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't somebody just stand on top of it with a properly calibrated GPS and figure it out?

Dave Philipps said...

OK, here's another question: what about other high 13ers that meet the criteria of prominence and distance from an existing summit? Are there some?

radbluebill said...

Grizzly Peak near Indy Pass was the best candidate It was bumped up from 13,988' to 13,995' (NAVD 88). Perhaps a cairn building party could add five feet to the summit?

zen said...

I think the criteria should be whether or not the top of your head breaks the 14,000 foot plane. That would make it a whole lot more interesting.

:0)

Dave Philipps said...

Sure, but then it would come down to how tall you are. Taller people would be able to bag more 14ers, and the dwarfs would riot. That's something I think we want to avoid.

Verne Troyer said...

There are only 34 14ers in Colorado.

zen said...

You can still jump can't you Dave? Tall or short, there's no room for excuse. :0)