semitrueskerm wrote:Which 14er holds the biggest cairn? So far, my vote goes to the one on the ridgeline heading up to Culebra...6-7 feet?
I would agree.
This is the biggest I have seen.
It is also a good example of how just a single cairn can be useful, when I climbed Culebra a few years back, it was the only cairn there was on the mountain.
Even on a mountain with no trails it was the only cairn that will ever truly be useful.
For the most part I would avoid "trusting" any cairns, any time, any where!
The ones which are accurate are usually useless; for example the ones being made in the video shown on this thread, if you can't follow the trail the cairn builders were standing on, you probably won't be able to follow the cairns either, and should not be climbing mountains either.
In my experience, when the routes where unclear, cairns have been more often than not - wrong, and often dangerous.
The worst example I can think of is when climbing Longs Peak. I was descending from the west side of the Loft via Clark's Arrow (in reverse) several years ago. Cairns pointed to the top of every chimney on the NW side of the loft, except the right one. I ignored the cairns, and used my own route finding skills, and descended the right (and safer) chimney.
All in all, I say Leave No Trace is the best policy; most 14ers are too easy as it is, leave the cairns for the easy routes, where they can help avoid the destruction of all the social trials.