New measurements chop 2 feet off every Colorado peak

Every 14er in Colorado is now 2 feet shorter than you thought. So is the Imperial Chair at Breckenridge, the entire Tenmile Range, Loveland Pass, and even the “mile high step” at the state capitol.

Colorado Sun reports on elevation measurement changes from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA has developed a new and more accurate way to measure ocean levels, starting with the National Spatial Reference System.

For years this system was accurate to a couple of feet. But measurements are less accurate the further you are from the ocean, meaning a landlocked state like Colorado – and it’s 58 recognized 14ers – gained a few extra feet on paper.

Now, the updated system is accurate to a couple of inches. It’s based on years of satellite GPS imagery.

But don’t fear – the two shortest 14ers in Colorado, Sunshine Peak (14,004.5 feet) in the San Juans and Huron Peak (14,004.1 feet) in the Collegiate Range are still 14ers.  

And if you’re a diehard hiker worried that this will sully your decades of peak bagging?

Take advice from the folks at the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative and NOAA itself: “If you want to achieve the heights of those old, outdated lists, start a couple feet back in the parking lot.”

Or maybe stand on a slightly taller rock at the summit.