Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Sawatch Range (sometimes Saguache Range) is a mountain range in central Colorado containing several of the Rocky Mountains' highest peaks, including Mount Elbert, at 14,440 ft (4,401 m) the highest peak in the Rockies.
The range is oriented along a northwest-southeast axis, extending approximately 70 miles (110 km) from in the north to 38° 33′ 19″ N 106° 17′ 32″ W in the south. The range contains 15 peaks topping 14,000 ft. The range forms a portion of the Continental Divide, and its eastern flanks are drained by the headwaters of the Arkansas River and Eagle River. The western side of the range feeds the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River and the Gunnison River.
The Sawatch mountains in general are high, massive, and relatively gentle in contour. While some peaks are rugged enough to require technical climbing techniques, most can be climbed by a simple, if arduous, hike. Notable summits include Mount Elbert, Mount Massive, the Mount of the Holy Cross, and the Collegiate Peaks (Mounts Columbia, Harvard , Princeton , and Yale ).
The town of Leadville, Colorado is located about 10 miles (16 km) east of the range, and Aspen, Colorado 20 miles (32 km) to the west. Colorado State Highway 82 traverses the range at Independence Pass, which is typically open only from late spring to mid autumn. It is also traversed by Hagerman Pass to the north, connecting the Arkansas Headwaters near Leadville with the upper valley of the Fryingpan River. Hagerman pass is traversable with four-wheel drive vehicles and on foot during summer and early autumn months. The range contains numerous hiking trails within the White National Forest and the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness .
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