Peak Season

Scrambling up Colorado's famous 14,000-ft. mountains has become a popular summer sport. Too popular

As he threaded his way up through fields of jagged boulders and knee-deep snow toward the summit of Colorado's Mount Bierstadt last week, Denver banker Don Pritchett looked forward to the splendor and isolation of the 14,060-ft. peak. But when he reached the top, he found he had to share the wind-torn precipice with nine other climbers and a Labrador retriever. According to a logbook wedged in the rocks, a dozen more climbers had already beaten him to the summit that morning.

It's a scene that will be re-enacted on mountaintops across the U.S. this summer, from the Sierras in...

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