Fraser climber claims all of Colorado’s 13,000 ft. peaks
Ryan Summerlin July 26, 2013
Kathee Thomure, 55, of Fraser, is now the 25th known person to claim all of Colorado’s peaks over 13,000 feet.
There are 54 peaks over 14,000 feet high in Colorado and 637 peaks over 13,000 feet.
Thomure recently claimed the last 13,000-foot peak with her sister, Linda Monje, and Thomure’s husband of 30 years Gary Spruytte. Thomure said she waited a year to check the last peak off of her list because she wanted to complete the peak with her sister, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012.
Thomure has been living in Grand County since 1980 and has spent her time reaching peaks with her husband and traveling around the world in search of excitement. She also competes in triathlons and marathons and has cycled on numerous treks throughout the globe.
“I never thought I would finish it. It just kind of evolved.”
mountaineer who has reached 637 of Colorado’s highest peaks
She has also competed in the Boston Marathon, which is made up of only elite runners who qualify for the event.
Her husband is close on her tail to be the 26th person to claim all of the thirteeners in Colorado, with only 20 more peaks to go until he claims the spot.
Thomure’s climbing experience started with backpacking and claiming a few fourteeners when she first moved to the state.
After getting bit by the peak-bagging bug, she joined the Colorado Mountain Club and slowly started to rack up her number of summits. The Club keeps record of known-hikers’ achievements.
When she first started checking peaks off of her list, she never thought she would complete such a long list in Colorado.
“I never thought I would finish it,” she said. “It just kind of evolved.”
When she became more involved with adding to her list of peaks, she and her husband participated in a basic mountaineering class through the Colorado Mountain Club, where they learned to use ropes and various pieces of climbing gear.
Her husband became the rope gun of the group and was soon leading the way to the top of many of the more difficult climbs.
Thomure and her husband do not limit themselves to peaks in Colorado. They travel to South America to climb as well as other parts of the word. They have traveled north hike to remote peaks including Mount Logan in Canada, a very remote peak over 19,000 feet high. While nearing the summit of Mount Logan, the leader of their four-person party slipped and drug the other three members on a violent 300-foot fall down a 50-degree slope. The party was roped together and was eventually stopped by Spruytte’s self-arrest. After descending to the bottom of the mountain face, the party regrouped and summited the peak via another route.
Her husband also enjoys prospecting for gold in his free time, and since Thomure has checked off her last 13,000-foot peak, he plans to take advantage of extra time to take part in his hobby. Everything he finds while prospecting goes toward the couple’s retirement, according to Thomure.
After crossing off the last peak on her list in Colorado, Thomure holds an accomplishment that no mountaineer can shake a stick at; only 24 other people can say they have accomplished this as well.
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334