Lifes Adventures

Tenmile and Mosquito Ranges

These two mountain ranges of the Colorado Rockies are typically considered to be one and the same; they only differ in their respective side of the Continental Divide.  The Tenmile Range consists of ten peaks commonly known as Peaks 1 – 10.  Peaks 7 – 10 are part of the Breckenridge Ski Resort although all ten peaks are known for their skiing potential.  The Mosquito Range stretches for 40 miles from Summit County to the boundary between Lake and Park Counties. 

The ranges were formed as part of the Sawatch Uplift around 35 million years ago and are separated from the Sawatch Range by a trough formed by a collapse in the center of the continental plate.  Aside from the areas geological importance it is also historically important.  Gold, oceanic fossils, mountain passes, and ghost towns are littered throughout the mountainous territory.  Once the destination of prospectors and outlaws the Tenmile-Mosquito range is home to some of Colorado’s best hiking. 

8. Mount Lincoln – 14,286’ – The Mountains of the Mosquito Range are easily accessible and contain fairly easy ascents.  Mt. Lincoln, Mt. Bross and Mt. Democrat are commonly climbed in a single day by those looking for a more demanding adventure.  Mt. Lincoln is also near Mt. Cameron (an unofficial 14’er) with which it creates a twin summit, due to the topographic prominence of only 158’.  This fairly easy mountain is most commonly climbed from Kite Lake and has a knife like ridge leading up to the summit. 

For the extra adventurous there is ice climbing available on the northeast face of the mountain.  The routes range in difficulty from WI 2 to WI 5 with mixed ice alternatives as well.  There are three main portions of the Mt. Lincoln Icefall each with their own sub-portions allowing for creativity and route finding.  In addition, there are already many bolts placed in boulders allowing for toprope climbing.   

13. Quandary Peak – 14,265’ – The Tenmile Range is essentially considered to be part of the Mosquito Range, but is separated by the Continental Divide.  Four of the Tenmile Range peaks are serviced by the Breckenridge Ski Resort and along with the other peaks in the area are famous for their great backcountry skiing.  Backcountry Skiers and boarders can easily climb the East Ridge which is basically a walk-up with low avalanche danger.  Quandary Peaks other faces allow for more technical climbs with class 3, class 4 mixed, and even obscure class 5.0-5.4 slabs. 

22. Mount Bross – 14,172’ – Typically climbed in conjunction with Mount Lincoln and Mount Democrat this fairly easy mountain is good for beginners or families.  From the Kite Lake Trailhead it is only a 2.8 mile, class 1 climb to the summit and a class 2 descent due to the scree.  There are concrete bunkers at the summit which are a good indicator that you have reached your goal.    

28. Mount Democrat – 14,148’ – It is rumored that Mount Democrat was named first and in order to balance the political presence within the Mosquito Range the Republicans claimed Mount Lincoln.  The Kite Lake Trailhead starting at 12,000’ is the most popular route and is a class 2 climb.   

45. Mount Sherman – 14,036’ – Mount Sherman is considered to be one of easiest peaks in the Mosquito Range to climb.  Its landscape is very gentle and nondescript but the views from the summit are simply stunning.  On a clear day more than a couple dozen 14’ers can be seen strewn across the backdrop.  If you are a beginner looking for a first Mount Sherman is a good choice.   The summit is about the size of a football field lending to the historical fact that Mount Sherman is the only 14er to have an aircraft to land on its summit.

If you approach the mountain from the east there are old mines and cabins scattered alongside the route adding a little history to the hike.  The Dauntless and Hilltop mines were part of the Colorado mining town of Leavick.  The Hilltop mine was most profitable in the late 1800’s due to the abundance of silver ore in the area.  The mine was connected to the town of Leavick by a 13,000’ tram that could carry 10,000 lbs of ore at one time.  The mines are located on private property and are very old and fragile.  Please respect private property and be cautious when exploring this unique part of history.


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