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Crews position stabilizing rock along the trail to Mount Columbia. After five seasons of work, nonprofit Colorado Fourteeners Initiative announced the job complete on the mountain. Photo courtesy Colorado Fourteeners Initiative 

Colorado's leading agency committed to safe, environmentally friendly trails on the state's biggest mountains recently released a 2021 recap of work across several slopes.

Colorado Fourteeners Initiative returned to the state's highest peak this summer, after last year finishing new trail construction on Mount Elbert's east ridge. Now multi-year construction focuses on the northeast ridge.

"The crew had their work cut out for them," reads CFI's recap, which notes "sore knees" and "twisted ankles" suffered in the process of hauling rock up to the extreme reaches of the trail to craft pathways. The labor is "often compared to the Greek mythological character Sisyphus," the report reads.

Such was the task at Grays and Torreys peaks, a pair of Colorado's most popular fourteeners. Near the saddle between the two, workers built a long, rock staircase "to help protect the ancient alpine soils from eroding away," according to the report. A barrier was also made to help prevent climbers from going off-route.

Another multiyear project launched this summer took place in southwest Colorado, from the Navajo Basin approach to Mount Wilson and neighboring summits. The goal is to create a series of bypasses around trail corridors deemed unsustainable.

One was built along a talus field, to reroute hikers who have been trampling a marshy spot north of Navajo Lake. Another trail was moved out of the tundra to another talus field near 12,000 feet. CFI tallied 4,304 feet of new trail constructed.

Also in the western part of the state, the organization returned to a mission centered on mountains near Lake City. On the Grizzly Gulch route approaching Handies Peak, "dozens" of beetle kill trees were felled to create erosion-blocking timber steps below and above treeline. Similar work was done along Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn peaks.