DENVER -- Climbing a Colorado 14er is rite of passage for transplants and natives alike, but there is a growing concern that many underestimate the risks involved.
Many of the peaks -- known as "approachable Everests" -- can be climbed by the average person, but experts warn even the easiest peak can be treacherous.
Here are the 7 most difficult 14ers in Colorado:
1. Capitol Peak - Class 4 (Most Difficult)
Climbing aficionados like Matt Payne of 100summits.com call Capitol Peak "arguably the most difficult 14er in Colorado," due to is rugged terrain, a relentless climb up and arduous backpacking trip to Capitol Lake.
2. Little Bear Peak - Class 4 (Most Difficult)
Payne called the approach to Little Bear Peak "terrible," as it means either driving on a rocky road under hot weather or partaking on an Jeep ride over some pretty challenging obstacles. The "Hourglass" section of the climb can be potentially fatal, as you have to watch out for ice and water and rock fall from above.
3. Pyramid Peak - Class 4 (Most Difficult)
Payne says the climb up Pyramid Peak can prove difficult due to its notoriously loose rock, making the climb and the descent very challenging, especially under wintry or rainy conditions.
4. Maroon Peak - Class 4 (Most Difficult)
As you can see from the rock formations in the pictured above, the climb up to Maroon Peak can prove fatal for the unskilled. Payne said this 14er has "some of Colorado's worst rock," that even experienced climbers have difficulty with.
5. Mount Wilson - Class 4 (Most Difficult)
Payne called Mount Wilson "easily one of the most challenging 14ers" in the state. Why? He cites very loose rock at the summit and a very long trek from the Rock of Ages as part of the challenge.
6. Crestone Needle - Class 3 (Most Difficult)
The route up Crestone Needle is steep, followed by difficult-finding routes. Payne says that even though the rock is solid, a tiny mistake can prove fatal -- especially during severe weather conditions.
7. Sunlight Peak - Class 4 (Most Difficult)
Payne said the terrain in the Chicago Basin -- where Sunlight is located -- is quite loose and can be dangerous as it is susceptible to quickly changing extreme weather conditions.
What you should know before climbing
Thinking about climbing, or are you preparing to climb soon? The Alpine Rescue Team offered some advice as to what you should know before taking the trip:
Officials say you should let someone know your planned route and time to finish and when they should call the sheriff if you have not returned.
Additionally, you should also be physically and mentally prepared, know the route you're taking and the risks associated with the climb, as well as respect the mountain you're climbing up.