Carl Blaurock

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Carl Blaurock
Born(1894-04-22)April 22, 1894
Denver, Colorado, United States
DiedFebruary 1, 1993(1993-02-01) (aged 98)
Denver, Colorado, United States
Alma materColorado School of Mines
SpouseLouise Forsyth

Carl Blaurock (April 22, 1894 – February 1, 1993) was an American mountaineer. He pioneered many climbing routes throughout Colorado and Mount Blaurock (13,616 feet (4,150 metres)) is named after him. Blaurock and climbing partner Bill Ervin were the first to climb all of the 14,000-foot peaks (known as "fourteeners") in the state of Colorado, doing so by 1923.

By 1957, he had also climbed all of the 14,000-foot (4,300-metre) peaks in California as well. In Wyoming, Blaurock 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 and Bill Ervin on Labor Day 1929.[2]

In 1912, Blaurock became an early member of the Colorado Mountain Club, but was not a charter member.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in Denver, Colorado. He studied at North Denver High School and later went on to study metallurgy at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, 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]


Blaurock's first major climb was Pikes Peak.[when?]

In 1912, he became a member of the Colorado Mountain Club.[4] 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 one of Colorado's Saint Vrain Glaciers and landed in a crevasse.

In 1920, Blaurock made an expedition to the Sangre de Cristo Range in southern Colorado 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.

Blaurock and his climbing partner, Bill Ervin, were the first to summit all of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, completing this feat in 1923.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

In 1924, he made an expedition to the Wind River Range in Wyoming with Albert Ellingwood, Herman Buhl, and Emma Buhl. There, the group managed to make first ascents of Mount Helen, Mount Turret, and Mount Warren.[12]

In 1925, Blaurock and two others retrieved the body of his friend Agnes Vaille, who had succeeded in making the first winter ascent of the East Face of Colorado's Longs Peak, but died on the descent as the weather deteriorated into a blizzard.

In 1926, Blaurock 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.

Blaurock was known 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 (also in Colorado). He joked that it was his method of getting his feet higher on the mountains than anybody else.

His 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 photograph.


To honor Blaurock's legacy of climbing, the U.S. Department of the Interior named a 13,616-foot peak Mount Blaurock on July 11, 2004.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Euser, Barbara (1984). A Climber's Climber: On the Trail With Carl Blaurock. Cordillera Press. ISBN 0-917895-01-0.
  2. ^ Kingery, Hugh (1988). The Colorado Mountain Club: The First Seventy-Five Years of a Highly Individual Corporation, 1912-1987: Cordillera Press. ISBN 0-917895-25-8.
  3. ^ Colorado Mountain Club archives, Golden, Colorado
  4. ^ a b MacDonald, Douglald (2004). Longs Peak: The Story of Colorado's Favorite Fourteener. Big Earth Publishing. ISBN 1-56579-497-4.
  5. ^ Obmascik, Mark (2009). Halfway to Heaven: My White-Knuckled – and Knuckleheaded – Quest for the Rocky Mountain High. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1-4165-6700-3.
  6. ^ Garratt, Mike; Martin, Bob (1992). Colorado's High Thirteeners: A Climbing and Hiking Guide. Big Earth Publishing. ISBN 0-917895-39-8.
  7. ^ Rennicke, Jeff (1986). Colorado Mountain Ranges. Falcon Press. ISBN 0-934318-66-2.
  8. ^ Rosebrough, Robert F. (1986). The San Juan Mountains: A Climbing & Hiking Guide. Cordillera Press. ISBN 0-917895-07-X.
  9. ^ Jacobs, Randy; Ormes, Robert M. (2000). Guide to the Colorado Mountains. Mountaineers Books. ISBN 0-9671466-0-7.
  10. ^ Scott-Nash, Mark; Dawson, Louis (2009). Colorado 14er Disasters: Victims of the Game. Big Earth Publishing. ISBN 1-55566-431-8.
  11. ^ Dawson, Louis W. (1998). Wild Snow: Historical Guide to North American Ski Mountaineering. Mountaineers Books. ISBN 0-930410-81-5.
  12. ^ American Alpine Club (2012). The American Alpine Journal: 2012. American Alpine Club. ISBN 1-933056-75-4.
  13. ^ [dead link] [1] Archived January 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Summit Daily.
  14. ^ Database (undated). "Mount Blaurock & Ervin Peak". Retrieved June 10, 2015.

External links[edit]