Steve Knapp Completes Park County

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Steve Knapp Completes Park County

Postby John Kirk » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:19 pm

Steve has taken away my status as sole completer of Park County's 231 summits... It's a bit of work.

Congrats Steve!
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Re: Steve Knapp Completes Park County

Postby mikeofferman » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:00 pm

Congrats Steve, not an easy list!
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Re: Steve Knapp Completes Park County

Postby Brian Kalet » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:47 pm

Congratulations! I had the pleasure of accompanying Steve on 64 Park County peaks.
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Re: Steve Knapp Completes Park County

Postby MikeRodenak » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:42 pm

Way to go Steve! I know its my own fault for missing out on the festivities, I wish the local roads were in better shape so I could have joined you! Looks like you and Brian had a productive day down there 8)
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Re: Steve Knapp Completes Park County

Postby RyanSchilling » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:13 pm

Well done, Steve!!
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Re: Steve Knapp Completes Park County

Postby aaronvoth » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:18 pm

Great job Steve, I'm glad I could join you on a few of them.

What were your favorites? Least favorite?
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Re: Steve Knapp Completes Park County

Postby lukePlumley » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:37 pm

Wonderful completion Steve! Congratulations. Larimer is waiting......
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Re: Steve Knapp Completes Park County

Postby Steve Knapp » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:25 am

Thanks everyone! The Park county peaks were a lot of fun; I had a great time climbing all of them. Many thanks to all the partners I had on these peaks, I didn’t have to climb many of them solo. A special thanks to John Kirk who preceded me on this list completion, his website was essential for finding all these peaks. From the high snow-capped peaks of the Mosquito range, the very special Lost Creek Wilderness, to South Park, I loved it all. Too many favorites to mention, but the Buffalo Peaks, Castle Mtn, Bison, 11180, technical peaks 9242 and 9300, and countless others in the LCW are high up there. It was fun to climb some of them with my kids, got the whole family up high 12er Sheep Mtn this summer. They thought it was pretty cool to sign their name on a peak register. There was no least favorite peak as this county mostly escapes the plague of scrub oak and cactus found just a bit further south (note my despise of the Gribble Mtn quad in Fremont county). Black Mountain was the perfect peak to finish on; isolated far from anywhere, prominent, with great views of the place I had come to love.

Park county is huge; at 2,194 square miles it is larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware! It is only the 18th largest in Colorado though, Las Animas county leads the way at 4,771 sq. miles. With only 16,000 residents mostly living in Bailey and closer to Denver much of the place is deserted. At 231 ranked peaks it has the fourth largest number of peaks among Colorado counties, following only Gunnison, Saguache, and Larimer counties. Great variety too, here is the breakdown by elevation:

14ers: 4
13ers: 21
12ers: 24
11ers: 43
10ers: 70
9ers: 59
8ers: 10

I started this list back in 1991 when I climbed the 14ers of Lincoln, Democrat, Bross, and Sherman. For 15 more years the only peaks I touched here were Centennial 13ers. If Kansas and Nebraska are flyover country, Park county was drive by country to me in those days as I raced to and from the higher peaks of the Sawatch, Sangres, and San Juan. My other middle name was Cherry Pick. Finally in 2006 I climbed my first peak in the Lost Creek Wilderness (Kenosha Peak) and I was soon hooked as many are to this special place close to home. Through 2008 I had only climbed 16 peaks, just 7% of the list. It was really just the last three years that I tackled most of the list - 55 peaks in 2009, 95 peaks in 2010, and 65 in 2011.

One of the key ingredients to taking on a list this large is year-round access, which Park county has in spades. Since my true love is climbing high peaks in summer, I was able to do many peaks below treeline in the winter and shoulder seasons without being slowed by deep snows. It’s all about aspect, elevation, microclimates, and recent weather. With a large list there is so much to choose from. Many of these peaks lie in the rain/snow shadow of the higher ranges to the west and thus do not accumulate much snow. 150 peaks were climbed between Nov-May, when the high peaks are largely inaccessible or difficult and dangerous.

So it’s on to something else but I’m sure I’ll be back to revisit some of these. I love all peaks and will continue my life-long 13er and 12er projects while working on other counties and wilderness areas (like RMNP). Larimer, Grand, Summit, Eagle, Lake, Chaffee, and Fremont counties still have plenty of unvisited terrain not too far from home for me.
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