Columbia Point is a high mountain summit of the Crestones in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,986-foot (4,263 m) is located 5.5 miles (8.8 km) from the Town of Crestone in Saguache County, Colorado, USA. Columbia Point is a subpeak of Kit Carson Mountain, known informally as Kat Carson. But it was officially named Columbia Point in 2003 to honor the seven astronauts who died when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry on February 1, 2003.
The USGS Board of Geographic Names approved the name of Columbia Point in June, 2003. On the weekend of August 7, 2003, a group consisting of family members, astronauts, friends and climbers installed a memorial plaque on the summit. The trip included a dedication service for the memorial, and an F16 flyby in missing man formation.
Today, we name a point in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado in honor of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Seven brave astronauts perished during her final mission on February 1, 2003. Columbia Point is an appropriate honor for this shuttle's last voyage. Those who explore space in the days ahead may gaze back at Earth - and know that Columbia Point is there to commend a noble mission. The point looks up to the heavens and it allows us, once again, to thank our heroes who soared far beyond the mountain, traveled past the sky -- and live on in our memories forever. — Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton
The plaque reads:
COLUMBIA POINT, 13,980'
In Memory of the Crew of Shuttle Columbia
Seven who died accepting the risk,
Expanding humankind's horizons
February 1, 2003
"Mankind is led into the darkness beyond
our world by the inspiration of discovery
and the longing to understand. Our
journey into space will go on."
President George W. Bush