14ers Reopening

Iconic Colorado 14ers to Reopen Thanks to Stop-Gap Measure: Long-Term Solution Still Needed

The Fix CRUS Coalition, a broad-based group advocating for access to outdoor recreational spaces, is excited to announce the reopening of two iconic Colorado 14ers: Mount Lincoln and Mount Democrat. The two peaks, along with Mount Cameron – which can only be reached via the two aforementioned mountains – form part of the renowned DeCaLiBron loop and will reopen on July 28, 2023. The mountains were closed since March due to concerns about landowner liability.

A kiosk at the trailhead where hikers can sign a liability waiver for Mt Democrat & Mt Lincoln.

John Reiber, the landowner of mining claims on Mount Lincoln and Democrat, worked alongside the US Forest Service and the Town of Alma to establish a cooperative liability waiver system. This solution, while temporary, represents a significant step towards enabling public access to these peaks. Reiber stressed that while this process required a great deal of collaboration, hard work, and financial investment, it is a worthwhile endeavor that benefits both the local community and mountain climbing enthusiasts.

Despite this victory, Mount Lindsey will remain closed indefinitely. This closure underscores the ongoing need to amend the Colorado Recreational Use Statute (CRUS) to enhance landowners’ liability protection when they provide free public access to their land.

Southern Colorado 14ers: Mount Lindsey
Mt Lindsey remains closed to the public due to liability risk.

The Fix CRUS Coalition, consisting of 36 members including Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, The Colorado Mountain Club, Access Fund, National Ski Areas Association, The Trust for Public Land, as well as local businesses, counties, and municipalities, emphasizes that this is a temporary solution to a larger problem. They stress the importance of collective action and creative thinking to advocate for a long-term, sustainable solution by amending Colorado’s recreational use statute.

Anneliese Steel, Coalition Chair, emphasized that “we must continue working to strengthen the protections in the Colorado Recreational Use Statute, to protect free access to outdoor recreation.” Alex Derr, Secretary of the Coalition, further added, “The efforts to reopen Mount Lincoln and Mount Democrat are proof of what we can achieve through cooperation and creative thinking.” 

“Hat’s off to John Reiber for launching this temporary fix using the electronic waiver to reopen Mounts Democrat and Lincoln,” said Colorado Fourteeners Initiative Executive Director Lloyd Athearn. “However, as owners of another 14er summit (Shavano), CFI knows that the long-term solution to landowner liability for everyone will come through fixing CRUS in the 2024 Colorado legislative session.”

Nicole Budine, Conservation Policy Manager at the Colorado Mountain Club added, “We are excited to see this beloved trail reopen to hikers. This reopening underscores the need for a sustainable, long-term solution for recreation access throughout Colorado.”

Hikers interested in accessing Mt Lincoln, Mt Democrat, and Mt Cameron must sign a waiver, which is available online here. While the summit of Mt Bross remains closed, the “Bross bypass” trail will be open for hikers completing the full loop. 

Support Colorado Recreation Access!

Help us protect access by finding a long term solution to this problem. Here are three quick ways to support the coalition:

  1. Sign up for our newsletter or join as a grassroots member to stay updated.
  2. Sign our petition urging lawmakers to take action to strengthen the recreational use statute.
  3. Donate $14 to support 14er access and keep our advocacy moving forward.
Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

Enjoy this Article? Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Join 4,000+ other subscribers and receive mountain news updates, route guides, gear reviews, and other articles in our twice-monthly email newsletter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

Learn more about how we protect public lands and prevent SAR calls through education & advocacy.

Join 5K Subscribers!

Get the latest mountain news, hear about training opportunities and gear discounts, receive new resources, and learn to advocate for public lands as a Next Summit Newsletter subscriber.

Don't Miss the Latest Mountain News!

Receive an email update every other Sunday with news on the mountains of the west: rescues, wildlife, 14ers, and more.

Your privacy is important to us: We keep our subscribers’ data 100% secure.

14er Planner

Download my Colorado 14ers Planner for Your Next Summit!

Become a subscriber and download my spreadsheet planner with all 58 peaks listed in the best order to climb them.

We keep your data secure; Unsubscribe anytime at the bottom of our emails.

14er Planner

Download my Colorado 14ers Planner for Your Next Summit!

Become a newsletter subscriber and get my free spreadsheet planner with all 58 peaks in the perfect order to climb them.

We keep your data secure; Unsubscribe anytime at the bottom of our emails.