Carl Blaurock

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Carl Blaurock
Born (1894-04-22)22 April 1894
Denver, Colorado, United States
Died 1 February 1993(1993-02-01)

Carl Blaurock (22 April 1894 – 1 February 1993) was an important early mountaineer in the United States. He pioneered many climbing routes throughout Colorado and Mount Blaurock (13,616') is named after him. Carl and climbing partner Bill Ervin were the first to climb all of the 14,000-foot peaks in the state of Colorado, doing so by 1923. By 1957, Carl had also climbed all of the 14,000-foot peaks in California as well. In Wyoming, Carl participated in the first ascents of Mount Helen, Mount Turret, and Mount Harding along with Hermann Buhl, Elmina Buhl, and Albert Ellingwood.[1] In Colorado, he also made the first ascent of Lone Eagle Peak with Stephen H. Hart. In 1912, Carl helped to found the Colorado Mountain Club as a charter member.


Early life[edit]

Carl Blaurock was born in Denver, Colorado on April 22, 1894. He studied at North Denver High School and later went on to study metallurgy at the Colorado School of Mines, graduating in 1916. After graduation, he worked for his father and took over the family business until his retirement in 1972. His business helped to finance his hobbies, including mountaineering and photography, but it also limited the amount of time he could spend outside of Colorado.[1]

In 1925, he met a woman named Louise Forsyth while on a Colorado Mountain Club outing. They were married soon after and their marriage lasted until her death, 65 years later.


Carl's first major climb was Pikes Peak. In 1912, Carl became a charter member of the new Colorado Mountain Club.[2][3] He was very active in the club throughout his life, participating in club hikes all over the state of Colorado. In 1916, he had what he described as his closest brush with death when he slid several hundred feet from the top of St. Vrain Glacier and landed in a crevasse. In 1920, Carl made an expedition to the Sangre de Cristo Range and climbed the Crestone Needle. Initially, he thought it was the first ascent, but later discovered that Albert Ellingwood and Eleanor Davis had climbed it in 1916.

Carl and his climbing partner, Bill Ervin, were the first to summit all of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, completing this remarkable feat in 1923.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] In 1924, he made an expedition to the Wind River Range in Wyoming with Albert Ellingwood, Hermann Buhl, and Emma Buhl. There, the group managed to make first ascents of Mount Helen, Mount Turret, and Mount Warren.[11] In 1925, Carl and two others retrieved the body of his friend Agnes Vaille, who had attempted to climb the eastern face of Longs Peak in a blizzard. In 1926, Carl traveled to Europe to climb in the Alps.

In 1957, he completed his goal of climbing all 14,000-foot peaks in California.[1] This made him the first person to summit all fourteeners in the continental United States. He declared that his favorite climb was Longs Peak's east face, which he completed 18 times.

Carl was famous among the mountaineering community for doing handstands on the summits of mountains and pictures exist of him doing so on Longs Peak and Sunlight Peak. He joked that it was his method of getting his feet higher on the mountains than anybody else.

Carl's last climb was in 1973, to the summit of Notch Mountain in Colorado. The trip was to commemorate William Henry Jackson's photograph of the Mount of the Holy Cross and he placed a plaque at the position from which Jackson took his famous photograph.


To honor Carl's legacy of climbing, the U.S. Department of the Interior named a 13,616' peak Mount Blaurock on July 11, 2004.[12][13]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Barbara Euser, A Climber's Climber: On the Trail With Carl Blaurock, (Cordillera Press, 1984) ISBN 0-917895-01-0]
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Dougald MacDonald, Longs Peak: The Story Of Colorado's Favorite Fourteener, (Big Earth Publishing, 2004) ISBN 1-56579-497-4]
  4. ^ Mark Obmascik, Halfway to Heaven: My White-knuckled--and Knuckleheaded--Quest for the Rocky Mountain High, (Simon and Schuster, 2009) ISBN 1-4165-6700-3]
  5. ^ Mike Garratt and Bob Martin, Colorado's High Thirteeners: A Climbing and Hiking Guide, (Big Earth Publishing, 1992) ISBN 0-917895-39-8]
  6. ^ Jeff Rennicke, Colorado Mountain Ranges, (Falcon Press, 1986) ISBN 0-934318-66-2]
  7. ^ Robert F. Rosebrough, The San Juan Mountains: A Climbing & Hiking Guide, (Cordillera Press, 1986) ISBN 0-917895-07-X]
  8. ^ Randy Jacobs and Robert M. Ormes, Guide to the Colorado Mountains, (The Mountaineers Books, 2000) ISBN 0-9671466-0-7]
  9. ^ Mark Scott-Nash and Louis Dawson, Colorado 14er Disasters: Victims of the Game, (Big Earth Publishing, 2009) ISBN 1-55566-431-8]
  10. ^ Louis W. Dawson, Wild Snow: Historical Guide to North American Ski Mountaineering, (The Mountaineers Books, 1998) ISBN 0-930410-81-5]
  11. ^ American Alpine Club, The American Alpine Journal: 2012, (The American Alpine Club, 2012) ISBN 1-933056-75-4]
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Summit Post - Mount Blaurock". Retrieved 2012-10-23.