Climax, Colorado – Leadville, Colorado - Atlas Obscura

Climax, Colorado

At one time this small mining village was the highest town in America but now it sits abandoned while the mine churns on. 


Next to a molybdenum mine in the Fremont Pass among the Colorado Rockies was the highest human settlement in the United States at 11,360 feet above sea level. Titilatingly known as Climax, Colorado, the settlement now sits empty.

The residents of Climax worked at and supported the Climax Mine, a site that for many years was the source of three-fourths of the world’s molybdenum. A school, hospital, and post office with number 80429 were raised in the town, giving it a sure sense of permanence. However in 1965, the town’s residential buildings were all moved to nearby Leadville. While the town was moved around, the Climax Mine had periods of boom and bust following the price of molybdenum, and was shuttered in 1995. It laid dormant for 17 years until it was fully re-opened in 2012, but the town of Climax remains abandoned.

Today, the site at the top of Fremont Pass has a small parking area, and on some days, a jerky vendor. Behind the old train engine and car that has the Climax sign are some mining relics and exhibits that tell the story of the mine and the old town at the top of America.

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