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My rules for peak bagging

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Re: My rules for peak bagging

Postby Steve Knapp » Tue May 14, 2013 8:31 pm

Looks like you got into some deep water with this one D'Arcy. Nothing wrong with that, makes for an interesting discussion. I'm glad you have rules, more power to you. But I head to the peaks to get away from rules. I don't need to define mountaineer versus peakbagger. Its all about doing what you like, spending time outside, getting some great exercise, challenging yourself, spending time with others, I could go on. Its the old quality versus quantity argument, and I have just as much fun on quantity days as I do on quality days, if that can even be defined. I've climbed all the 14ers and over half the 13ers so far and have a great time doing it. But I also enjoy a 10-peak day of 8ers and 9ers, and have even climbed 4ers (ranked peaks far below the elevation I live at). If mountaineering is climbing Jagged, Dallas, the Grand Teton, etc then I love that. Some of the hardest peaks in the state are peaks far below the mountaineer's radar. Try something like Big Rock Candy Mountain, Chair Rocks, the Palisade. Get the skills to do it, and you can have as much fun as you would on Lizard Head. Just do what you love and don't worry about classifying it.

Peakbagging is not a bad word, embrace it.

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Re: My rules for peak bagging

Postby zdero1 » Tue May 14, 2013 8:32 pm

I think the OP did a fair job of saying that these rules are his own (I don't know what he edited and when). It's not a bad thing that he posted his perspective. Some things we agree with and some things we don't. We all get into the backcountry for different reasons that can be deeply personal to us (or you can go for no reason at all, OR to get high on meth like those two ppl in California). This was just his version of it. I didn't find the OP to be condescending. Personally, I'm trying to soak in as much perspective as possible especially now that the 14ers I have yet to finish are quickly becoming more difficult. This thread seems to be a precursor for some 14ers forum summer drama.

I will say is that I'm not a huge fan of labeling. Climbing/hiking/EPIC/etc. For me it's just a waste of time that could be better spent planning the next great trip.

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Re: My rules for peak bagging

Postby JROSKA » Tue May 14, 2013 9:31 pm

inthemtns wrote:1) Set a goal to climb a reasonable number of peaks in a year. There are a number of factors to consider when setting the number, such as your age, job, family, the size of the list, and the number of lists you are climbing simultaneously.

2) Do not avoid climbing the hardest peaks and leave them for last. This rule makes sense for the 13ers and top 100, but for the 14ers, it needs to be modified.

3) Climb the peaks with class 3 or harder climbing in July and August and finish with walkups in the fall months. This has an element of safety – you won’t be tempted to climb harder peaks that are best done without snow on them.

4) Have fun – don’t forget why you started climbing in the first place.


I suppose I am in the minority, but I think that the OP offers some helpful guidelines here. Maybe he should have used that word “guidelines” instead of “rules”; that probably wasn’t the best choice of words. Very few people want to be ordered around in that fashion; maybe that’s what has caused a backlash. While I agree with everyone else that point 2, about saving the difficult ones until the end, is very odd (I don’t know what he is trying to say here), his other 3 points are sound, in my opinion. This is what I perceive (subjective of course):

His first point pertains to pace, and priorities. Nothing wrong with that. I think that he’s just saying “don’t become addicted to the list”. I actually think that’s helpful advice. It’s sometimes tempting for me to plan a mountain trip for every day that I have off during the summer and early fall, but I know that if I did that, I would come to despise the mountains in a very deep way. Balance is important. I think maybe he’s just trying to suggest setting a yearly plan, balance it with the rest of your priorities, don’t let it take over your life and control you.

His last point, about having fun, seems to tie into his first point. And again, to me, very sound advice. If you engage in an activity out of routine, and find yourself not having any fun or enjoying it at all, whether it’s going out to a bar with friends every Saturday, a weekly round of golf, or climbing mountains, chances are, there are better ways you could be spending your time. There have been a couple of instances where I did reach a 14er summit (always satisfying), but with a bad hiking partner, spending an entire day with someone whose company I didn’t enjoy, and really, did not have any fun, despite the summit. That’s terrible. I think he’s just saying that the top priority is for the mountain experience to be enjoyable, and if for whatever reason, you’re finding that it’s not any fun, it may be time to analyze why you are doing this in the first place. Again, advice that I agree with.

Finally, his third point seems safety-related, and makes sense to me. As somewhat of a “checklister” (I would probably be defined as a “peak-bagger” under his rules), and someone who is ready to move into the realm of Class 3, I admit to be chomping at the bit to try Longs or Kelso Ridge. But as someone who has never set foot on Class 3, no way should I be up there in less than ideal conditions. If, for some reason, I don’t get around to it until September, and there is a bit of snow up there, it would be very tempting for me to still go up there, since I had set Class 3 as a goal for this summer, and I know that 9 long months of winter is ahead. In situations like this, it’s extremely important to resist that temptation, save it for another day. I think that’s all he’s saying.

The original post is a bit wordy, and long (I’m often guilty of the same thing), and “these are my rules” definitely isn’t the best way to present an opinion. But sifting through all that, most of this seems like sound advice to me.

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Re: My rules for peak bagging

Postby Gahugafuga » Tue May 14, 2013 10:00 pm

I haven't seen any mention of the switchback rule (Come to a switchback. Stop. Untie then retie shoes three times. In between each retie, snap fingers three times while counting snaps aloud). This simple rule has prevented me from ever being killed by a rockslide.

I haven't seen any mention of the switchback rule (Come to a switchback. Stop. Untie then retie shoes three times. In between each retie, snap fingers three times while counting snaps aloud). This simple rule has prevented me from ever being killed by a rockslide.

I haven't seen any mention of the switchback rule (Come to a switchback. Stop. Untie then retie shoes three times. In between each retie, snap fingers three times while counting snaps aloud). This simple rule has prevented me from ever being killed by a rockslide.

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Re: My rules for peak bagging

Postby John Landers » Tue May 14, 2013 10:21 pm

I often tell friends that I have gone hiking, sometimes from a list sometimes not, or that I have gone climbing.

Now I am confused about explaining whether I have gone hiking, peak bagging, climbing or mountaineering.

Can we have a discussion about whether we are hikers or climbers as part of this thread? ](*,)

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Re: My rules for peak bagging

Postby DArcyS » Tue May 14, 2013 10:45 pm

Steve Knapp wrote:Looks like you got into some deep water with this one D'Arcy. Nothing wrong with that, makes for an interesting discussion. I'm glad you have rules, more power to you. But I head to the peaks to get away from rules. I don't need to define mountaineer versus peakbagger. Its all about doing what you like, spending time outside, getting some great exercise, challenging yourself, spending time with others, I could go on. Its the old quality versus quantity argument, and I have just as much fun on quantity days as I do on quality days, if that can even be defined. I've climbed all the 14ers and over half the 13ers so far and have a great time doing it. But I also enjoy a 10-peak day of 8ers and 9ers, and have even climbed 4ers (ranked peaks far below the elevation I live at). If mountaineering is climbing Jagged, Dallas, the Grand Teton, etc then I love that. Some of the hardest peaks in the state are peaks far below the mountaineer's radar. Try something like Big Rock Candy Mountain, Chair Rocks, the Palisade. Get the skills to do it, and you can have as much fun as you would on Lizard Head. Just do what you love and don't worry about classifying it.

Peakbagging is not a bad word, embrace it.


Ah, Steve, the deep water doesn't bother me. And all of what you said -- which supports a balanced approach -- isn't that consistent with setting a reasonable goal on a list so you have time to do other things?

There are people who get so obsessed with a list, well I've heard of marriages being destroyed. I heard a story of a peak bagger who HAD to squeeze one more peak in at the end of the day, but that peak was at the expense of the spouse -- and soon to be ex-spouse -- waiting back in town. Another peak bagger admitted to me that the pursuit came at the expense of his or her job. If you get too caught up in this game of chasing peaks, you can loose a lot. Would setting a reasonable number of peaks to climb in a year help in these cases? "Oh, I've climbed 50 peaks this year, I guess I can go home to my spouse" versus "I still have hundreds of peaks to climb, I need the whole weekend to climb. Too bad for my love."

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Re: My rules for peak bagging

Postby sunny1 » Wed May 15, 2013 7:00 am

inthemtns wrote:There are people who get so obsessed with a list, well I've heard of marriages being destroyed. I heard a story of a peak bagger who HAD to squeeze one more peak in at the end of the day, but that peak was at the expense of the spouse -- and soon to be ex-spouse -- waiting back in town. Another peak bagger admitted to me that the pursuit came at the expense of his or her job. If you get too caught up in this game of chasing peaks, you can loose a lot. Would setting a reasonable number of peaks to climb in a year help in these cases? "Oh, I've climbed 50 peaks this year, I guess I can go home to my spouse" versus "I still have hundreds of peaks to climb, I need the whole weekend to climb. Too bad for my love."


This post makes alot more sense than the original set of counter-peak bagging rules. All things in moderation. Sensible.
Does applying the set of rules in the original post save marriages or lead to a higher quality of life?
If peak bagging is pathologic or a manifestation of illness, wouldn't these same excessive behaviors during peak bagging sessions that ruin otherwise favorable aspects of one's life (jobs, marriages) ultimately be manifested in other settings?
I don't think it's a good idea to apply rules to a group one doesn't belong to or perhaps fully understand.

The only point I can agree with in your original post is to have fun. If it stops being fun, turn around, step back, take some time off.
Having a "list" can help keep one focused, see and experience new things. I've made excellent friends I wouldn't have met otherwise.
Keeping things in balance is always healthy.

Just say NO to rules!
The older you get, the better you get, unless you're a banana.

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Re: My rules for peak bagging

Postby DArcyS » Wed May 15, 2013 7:43 am

MonGoose wrote:
inthemtns wrote:So, inherent in rule 2 is don’t start a list unless you know you can finish it.

This might be the worst life advise you can give to a person. You don't know what you can do unless you try.

inthemtns wrote:3) Climb the peaks with class 3 or harder climbing in July and August and finish with walkups in the fall months. This has an element of safety – you won’t be tempted to climb harder peaks that are best done without snow on them.

I completely disagree. July and early August are the months most likely to experience thunderstorms and risk of lightning. In general, late August and early September provide longer days with less risk of thunderstorms. I believe it's best to attempt the harder peaks during this time because 1) often on the harder peaks you are exposed on a ridge and cannot easily escape a storm and 2) you will be in physically better shape towards the end of the climbing season than the beginning.


Okay, I generally agree with your "life advice" and note that it's tough for people starting out the 14ers to know how they'll handle exposure and climbing. But, encouraging people to give it a shot in mountaineering when they lack adequate skills can result in death. This isn't the same thing as counseling a high school boy that he shouldn't get discouraged when the girl says "no" because experiencing failure is a part of life.

September can be good to climb in, and I have climbed tough peaks in September. But September, especially in the San Juans, might be a little bit more wet than you expect. Generally, the monsoon peaks the last week of July and the first week of August, and I consider the first part of July the best time to climb. At the start of July, you can be on the trail at 5:00 or so and climbing on warm rock. In my experiences, if you start early enough, on most peaks you can summit in the morning around 10 or so and easily avoid thunderstorms. I start early, and very rarely do I have thunderstorm issues. But that might also be a function of me not pushing climbing on questionable weather weekends.

Also, thanks for defending me on the witch hunt comment and good luck with your climbs.

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Re: My rules for peak bagging

Postby DArcyS » Wed May 15, 2013 7:52 am

DenneyR wrote:Hey there...."intothemtns"

How is it you can find all that time and effort in beginning this post with your better than everyone attitude and not take the time to post an avatar???????

Maybe you don't really exist.


Oh, I do exist. And to prove it to you, I was just a little bit more than disappointed when the Cardinals' pitching sent the Rockies into an 0-50 funk. Now, that's hard to believe . . .

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Re: My rules for peak bagging

Postby illusion7il » Wed May 15, 2013 8:02 am

Oh, I do exist. And to prove it to you, I was just a little bit more than disappointed when the Cardinals' pitching sent the Rockies into an 0-50 funk. Now, that's hard to believe . . .
[/quote]

GO CARDINALS !!!!

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Re: My rules for peak bagging

Postby Scott P » Wed May 15, 2013 8:31 am

Also, thanks for defending me on the witch hunt comment and good luck with your climbs.


Witch hunt? Most of us know a good troll when we see one. :wink: I think the reaction you got was just what you were looking for and intentional. Worked like a charm, methinks. We all like to stir the pot at times.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.

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Re: My rules for peak bagging

Postby SingleSpeed » Wed May 15, 2013 8:40 am

Granted not many of us are not in favor of “rules” for climbing. If we were rule followers we would be playing football, baseball or cycling (well maybe not cycling.. Thanks Lance!) However, what about the 3000’ foot elevation rule? Or the 300 feet (??) elevation drop between summits? Many of us feel the need to follow these, to make it count.

I think the spirit and thought of the OP’s #2 rule is sound advice. If you save the hardest summits for last, are you willing to take chances that you would not have if you would have tried earlier. After all, you have much more experience than you did earlier in your climbing endeavors, so surely it is not a problem. Can/does success on easier peaks lead to a false sense of ability and skill. I suppose this is an individual question we must each ask ourselves and evaluate.

And besides if I wait to do the hardest ones last, it is going to be a B**** to get my walker over Columbia's knife edge


Climb On!

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