Hardest 14er? 2012

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KeithK
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Re: Hardest 14er? 2012

Postby KeithK » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:05 am

This whole issue is too subjective to answer authoritatively.

For me, the hardest day of them all was Longs, as I was in no physical shape to complete such a route. I called in sick from work the next day, wrecked from it. Lightning and hail trapped us in the trough on the descent.

Hardest day overall in my best condition - El Diente/Mt. Wilson traverse. That day almost kept me from finishing in 2010. I will not repeat these peaks without a very hefty bribe.

I felt that Snowmass (S-Ridge) was harder than either of the Bells, Capitol or Pyramid. Why? Because I climbed North Maroon the day before! On a fresh day, it wouldn't have been that hard. I plan to repeat all of these.

From a purely technical standpoint, I would say Capitol is the hardest. IF I had attempted it earlier on in my little quest, I likely would have had a harder time. As I climbed it after all of the other harder ones, I was completely prepared. BIG, important factor, that.

Little Bear without snow is probably as dangerous as any, along with Pyramid with regard to rockfall. El Diente and Mt. Wilson are just waiting for a strong wind event to blow them over completely.

I've never climbed class 5 or done any rope training of any sort, and don't intend to. I would say that unequivocally it would be beneficial to do so, however.
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Re: Hardest 14er? 2012

Postby Scott P » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:25 am

Along with others, my list would be skewed because the 14ers I’ve climbed were spread out through various times of the year (I’ve climbed various 14ers in all seasons) and with various ages of people. There are many different reasons why a mountain can be challenging.

For example, Holy Cross or even Massive in winter is much more demanding than Capitol is in summer, at least under normal conditions. Just getting to the base of Capitol in the winter is a real bear (at least it was for me).

For summer the most challenging would have been the Mt Wilson/El Diente Ridge and the Bells.

South Maroon has the most difficult descent of any 14er I’ve climbed. It’s one I don’t care for again, at least via the standard route. It’s probably the least fun of any standard routes I’ve done. Because of rockfall danger, the Bells are certainly the most dangerous 14ers I’ve done in summer (I haven’t done Little Bear).

Some 14ers were challenging for other reasons. For example, Windom could be challenging because I did it with my son who just turned four. We were within 300 feet of Belford when he just turned three and only failed because of bad weather. Capitol might be considered challenging because we did it with a seven year old girl and an eight year old boy. The Bells Traverse could be considered challenging because I had my ten year old son with me (he can outclimb me, but it's still challenging because I tend to be more concerned about the climb when he's with me). As with winter ascents, those are a different kind of challenge.

Kessler wants to climb all the 14ers, so maybe I could say that forking out $400 to climb Culebra might be the hardest.
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Re: Hardest 14er? 2012

Postby Chicago Transplant » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:37 am

Keep in mind this is a very subjective question, a lot of it has to do with when in ones career one does a peak too, sometimes a "less hard" peak seems harder if you do it before the "hardest", so really its just what was the hardest for me at the time...

Which 14er, in your opinion, was the most difficult? Sunlight

What made it the most difficult? Wet rock, couldn't pull the summit move and had to face climb the adjacent block which is low 5 with thin handholds

Was bad weather a factor? Sort of, the wet rock was from rain the night before

Was rockfall a hazard? No, its very solid, just didn't want to slip off, ironically the harder move felt safer because of less fall hazard with a spotter

Were you overwhelmed, underwhelmed, or did you experience pretty much what you expected? I guess slightly overwhelmed because I didn't expect to need to make those 5th class moves

What hazards did it pose and how comfortable were you with those hazards? Mostly a fall hazard on the standard way, we felt we could spot the face climb better so we went that route. We were comfortable with that aspect because a spotter could guide you a safe landing if you slipped, but on the standard "pull" move you would have potentially fallen in a crack and it was not an easy place to spot.

Would you repeat it and why or why not? Yes, I would repeat almost anything that is solid rock and class 3 and up, its the loose junky class 2 peaks that I would be less likely to repeat

How much did roped climbing (Class 5) help you prepare? A bunch because the small crimpy holds were already familiar to me from some rock climbing I had done

*Bonus question: if you have done difficult 13ers, which ones were harder than any 14er and why? Several are harder than any 14er, could be quite a dissertation actually to get into the whys, so to keep the answer simple, I will stick with the "big 3" Centennials seeing as I just got back from Jagged. Jagged is the hardest, the exposure and fall hazard is almost constant, the cruxes were damp and harder moves than I expected, and we were off route on the first crux due to wet ramps so we ended up making it a class 5.4/5 start instead of class 4. Dallas is #2, the 5th class is 2 moves, but there is a good amount of class 3 and 4 on the approach and some of it is tough. Teakettle is #3, the final tower is the only truly hard part, the black gully has one class 3 move and the rest of the route is class 2, just loose dinner plate in a lot of places. No 14er requires any move as difficult to reach its summit as those 3 peaks do, and those are the only 3 peaks I would not want to climb without a rope out of the highest 100. Might be able to ascend w/o, but I'm not downclimbing those 3, give me a rappel on those.
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Re: Hardest 14er? 2012

Postby sanjuanmtneer » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:47 pm

Fifteen peaks that are harder (I think) than any 14er (in no particular order):
Thunder Pyramid
Precarious
"N" (Gore)
"Q" (Gore)
Jagged
Vestal
Dallas
Lizard Head
Peak 15
Coxcomb
V10
South Lookout
El Punto
Ice Mountain
Middle Trinity

It's been mentioned that on some days, the climb is just harder for whatever reason, than others.
For some on this list, that might've been the reason.
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Re: Hardest 14er? 2012

Postby MtHurd » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:51 pm

sanjuanmtneer wrote:Fifteen peaks that are harder (I think) than any 14er (in no particular order):
Thunder Pyramid
Precarious
"N" (Gore)
"Q" (Gore)
Jagged
Vestal
Dallas
Lizard Head
Peak 15
Coxcomb
V10
South Lookout
El Punto
Ice Mountain
Middle Trinity

It's been mentioned that on some days, the climb is just harder for whatever reason, than others.
For some on this list, that might've been the reason.


None of those peaks are as hard as the 14er Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt goes at 5.9.
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Re: Hardest 14er? 2012

Postby Scott P » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:04 pm

None of those peaks are as hard as the 14er Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt goes at 5.9.


If out of state 14ers are listed, might as well list Hunter as it is the hardest 14er in North America (possibly the world according to some). I think the intent was Colorado though. :wink:
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Re: Hardest 14er? 2012

Postby gdthomas » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:06 pm

Barry Raven wrote:... None of those peaks are as hard as the 14er Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt goes at 5.9.


Does this mean I haven't climbed all of the 14ers?
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Re: Hardest 14er? 2012

Postby DeucesWild » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:32 pm

gdthomas wrote:
Barry Raven wrote:... None of those peaks are as hard as the 14er Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt goes at 5.9.


Does this mean I haven't climbed all of the 14ers?



No worries, Quixote, Thunderbolt is a mere subpeak of North Palisade. It's irrelevant.
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Re: Hardest 14er? 2012

Postby blazebo » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:37 pm

Fletch wrote:
blazebo wrote:Mt hunter is the hardest 14er that I have come across. Two attempts and I still havent stood on top of that beast. 2014 shall be the year of redemption!

You're over peoples heads here. Hunter might be the hardest 14er on Earth, if not for sure in North America. Not too many successful attempts on that one. Roach and David Hart have done it, as I imagine a few (very quiet) others on this site have, but not many. Good luck in 2014. Make sure to post a TR...


touche!
we got close on our second attempt, but the winds come off denali with a vengence. i am hoping a 5year hiatus will be the key. :shock:
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Re: Hardest 14er? 2012

Postby Papillon » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:41 pm

blazebo wrote:
Fletch wrote:
blazebo wrote:Mt hunter is the hardest 14er that I have come across. Two attempts and I still havent stood on top of that beast. 2014 shall be the year of redemption!

You're over peoples heads here. Hunter might be the hardest 14er on Earth, if not for sure in North America. Not too many successful attempts on that one. Roach and David Hart have done it, as I imagine a few (very quiet) others on this site have, but not many. Good luck in 2014. Make sure to post a TR...


touche!
we got close on our second attempt, but the winds come off denali with a vengence. i am hoping a 5year hiatus will be the key. :shock:


You guys familiar with Waterman's 140+ day solo siege of Hunter back in '78? Or was that a foolish question?
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Re: Hardest 14er? 2012

Postby blazebo » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:44 pm

touche!
we got close on our second attempt, but the winds come off denali with a vengence. i am hoping a 5year hiatus will be the key. :shock:[/quote]

You guys familiar with Waterman's 140+ day solo siege of Hunter back in '78? Or was that a foolish question?[/quote]

yes. still wonder what ever happened to him. the "other" waterman has some good alaska tales too.
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Re: Hardest 14er? 2012

Postby gdthomas » Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:54 pm

DeucesWild wrote:
gdthomas wrote:
Barry Raven wrote:... None of those peaks are as hard as the 14er Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt goes at 5.9.


Does this mean I haven't climbed all of the 14ers?



No worries, Quixote, Thunderbolt is a mere subpeak of North Palisade. It's irrelevant.


Appreciate the beta Douches.

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