Crested Butte

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Crested Butte
A268, Crested Butte, Colorado, USA, 2008.JPG
Crested Butte from the north
Highest point
Elevation12,168 ft (3,709 m) [1][2]
Prominence2,582 ft (787 m) [2]
Isolation4.65 mi (7.48 km) [2]
ListingColorado prominent summits
Coordinates38°53′00″N 106°56′37″W / 38.8833256°N 106.9436547°W / 38.8833256; -106.9436547Coordinates: 38°53′00″N 106°56′37″W / 38.8833256°N 106.9436547°W / 38.8833256; -106.9436547[3]
Crested Butte is located in Colorado
Crested Butte
Crested Butte
LocationGunnison County, Colorado, U.S.[3]
Parent rangeElk Mountains[2]
Topo mapUSGS 7.5' topographic map
Gothic, Colorado[3]
Easiest routehike

Crested Butte is a prominent mountain summit in the Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 12,168-foot (3,709 m) peak is in Gunnison National Forest, 2.1 miles (3.4 km) northeast by east (bearing 59°) of the Town of Crested Butte in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States.[1][2][3] Ski lifts and runs of the Crested Butte Mountain Resort occupy the north side of the mountain.


The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for Crested Butte is "Dfc" which is continental subarctic. This climate type is dominated by the winter season with a long, bitterly cold period of minimal daylight hours, heavy snowfall and low humidity. The annual snowfall average is 198.4 inches (504 cm) with January recording the highest average snowfall at 40 inches (100 cm). July is the warmest month with an average temperature of 57.2 °F (14.0 °C) while January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 11.8 °F (−11.2 °C). The average temperature for the year is 34.7 °F (1.5 °C).[4]


Crested Butte is a laccolith, formed when magma intruded into Mancos Shale approximately 30 million years ago. Subsequently the softer, overlying sedimentary rock has eroded away, exposing the more resistant igneous rock. The bulk of Crested Butte is composed of quartz monzonite porphyry and granodiorite porphyry. The lower slopes consist of Mancos Shale overlain with debris from the granitic slopes above. The Mancos Shale at the base of Crested Butte can be an unstable substrate for building and result in geologic hazards such as landslides and earthflows.[5][6]

Crested Butte is one of over a dozen laccoliths in the Elk and adjacent West Elk Mountains. The magma intrusions associated with these laccoliths resulted in contact metamorphism of the surrounding sedimentary rock and mineralization. The metamorphism also altered the bituminous coal present in the sedimentary rock into a higher quality coal, including anthracite, which was mined extensively in the Crested Butte area during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The elevation of Crested Butte includes an adjustment of +1.940 m (+6.36 ft) from NGVD 29 to NAVD 88.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Crested Butte, Colorado". Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d "Crested Butte". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  4. ^ Climate Summary for Crested Butte
  5. ^ Prather, Thomas (1999). Geology of the Gunnison Country (2nd ed.). Gunnison, Colorado: B&B Printers. LCCN 82-177244.
  6. ^ Gaskill, David. L.; Mutschler, Felix. E.; Kramer, John H.; Thomas, John A.; Zahony, Stephen G. (1991). Geologic map of the Gothic quadrangle, Gunnison County, Colorado. Washington, DC: U.S. Geological Survey.
  7. ^ Streufert, Randall (1999). RS-37 Geology and Mineral Resources of Gunnison County, Colorado (PDF). Denver, Colorado: Colorado Geological Survey.

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