iceman wrote:There are far to many people in the mountains, on the rivers, in the canyons, on the roads who probably shouldn't be there.
For sure! We should not limit ourselves to the mountains. Roads these days are especially frightening.
iceman wrote:The qualities and education described in your post would make a great mountaineer (I assume you are describing yourself),
I agree they would make a great mountaineer. However, I am only describing what I aspire to be and what I think are worthy goals of mountaineers. I wan't tooting my own horn, nor do I desire to. Do I think I have achieved some of these skills? Yes, but I see mountaineering as a life-long process and I have plenty of room for improvement. My point in making these statements is to emphasize what I see as the true nature of being a mountaineer, not suggesting I have mastered such nature.
iceman wrote:the majority of the people (including myself) we run into in the back country are expanding their comfort zones and trying to learn and gain these qualities from their adventures and experiences. If a cairn, sign or mark on a rock gets them home safely and avoids a call out of Search and Rescue volunteers, then I think it is worth it.
This is where we disagree, in part. I do agree that many people are expanding their comfort zones and trying to obtain mountaineering skills. However, we diverge on two points (one more than the other). First, I'm not sure anymore that a majority of people on 14ers are trying to obtain mountaineering skills, as much as they are trying to tick a box, finish a list, or obtain bragging rights. I would like to think you are correct, and I have no evidence to suggest you aren't, but my gut tells me it's not a majority. However, I don't fault them for their reasons for being on 14ers. I do fault them when they put others in danger (other mountaineers or S&R) because of their disregard for the skills or time it takes to become a competant mountaineer.
Second, and this is where I particularly disagree with you, expanding one's comfort zone, obtaining skills, or increasing safety is by no means the responsibility of ANYONE besides the individual mountaineer. By replacing a topo map, compass, GPS, or even guidebook research before leaving with rock piles or signs either erected or destroyed by S&R, the CFI, or anyone esle, one is, by definition, not obtaining skills or expanding a comfort zone. Instead, this individual is disregarding primary and essential navigational skills of mountaineering and staying well within one's comfort zone by relying on the work of someone else. I have no problem with someone's skills not being ready for a certain peak or route -- mine certainly are not ready for many. However, instead of asking someone or an entity to make that peak or route safer or more understandable for me, I would work my way up to it by building skills and comfort on objectively easier peaks. Having the INDIVIDUAL skills, judgment, and self-reliance to get home safely should be used to avoid a call to S&R, not rock piles and signs. Reliance on S&R for anything should only be done in the most dire of circumstances when all other options have been exhaused.
Oh, and thank you to S&R for being there when such options are exhaused!
EDIT -- I looked at your profile and value where you are coming from for sure. We just happend to disagree...no disrespect intended.