Your favorite Colorado mountains? It's a tough question, especially when asked of someone who's topped all of those most prominent points.

But Gerry Roach obliged.

He has spent his life peak-bagging in Colorado and far beyond - and writing the definitive guides to the state's 14,000- and 13,000-foot summits along the way.

Roach, who now lives in Montrose, gave The Gazette his top-five list, the first two being nostalgic picks from his Front Range upbringing.

1. Longs Peak

Specs: 14,255-foot summit, 5,100-foot elevation gain and 14.5 miles (round trip) on standard Keyhole route

Range/location: Front Range, in Rocky Mountain National Park

Roach says: "Best peak in Colorado for technical routes. Pre-driver's license, I used to hitchhike up there and have at routes on the east face. I climbed Longs 12 times via technical routes before I did the Keyhole route."

2. Green Mountain

Specs: 8,172-foot summit, 2,366-foot elevation gain and 5.7 miles (round trip) on Gregory Canyon Trail

Range/location: Front Range, near Boulder

"Right above Boulder and festooned with rocks to climb. Humble Green harbors hundreds of adventures, a lifetime of adventures."

3. Jagged Mountain

Specs: 13,824-foot summit, about 6,000 feet of elevation gain in what is typically a multi-day adventure involving almost 850 feet of technical climbing, with some class 5 sections

Range/location: Needle Mountains, part of the San Juan Mountains outside Silverton

"In my soon-to-be reprinted high thirteener guide, I proclaimed Jagged the best peak bag in Colorado. That superlative has survived for 20 years and will be reprinted in the second edition. A magic combination of hard-to-reach solitude and a tough climb place it above all others."

4. Peak Fifteen

Specs: 13,700-foot summit, about 7,800 feet of elevation gain from the Needleton stop off the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, requiring class 5 climbing

Range/location: San Juan Mountains, outside Silverton

"Colorado's second-hardest thirteener. It is the hardest peak on Colorado's 200 highest list. Again, a combination of a difficult approach and a difficult climb place it apart from nearby neighbors."

5. Peak "K"

Specs: 12,940-foot summit, reached by going off trail on Lost Lake Trail in the Eagles Nest Wilderness, requiring route-finding skills and Class 4 and 5 climbing ability

Range/Location: Gore Range, outside Vail

"Most climbers have never considered it," Roach says. "Therefore, it should be their next climb."

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