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Article: Mountain Climbing for the Over 50 Set- WSJ

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Article: Mountain Climbing for the Over 50 Set- WSJ

Postby Rock-a-Fella » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:22 am

Today's WSJ


http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303342104579099201088472802

I meant to post in Beginner 14er thread, sorry.

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Re: Article: Mountain Climbing for the Over 50 Set- WSJ

Postby Brian Thomas » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:35 am

I do not like this article.

My takeaway from it is: now that you're bored with golf, and have lots and lots of disposable income (to spend on guides who charge several hundred dollars a day), you too can pay your way to become a "climber".

No camping, no route-finding, no discomfort or inconvenience, and no experience or preparation required. Just bring your black AmEx card and we'll make you a "mountaineer".
"I try my best to be just like I am, but everybody wants you to be just like them" - Bob Dylan

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Re: Article: Mountain Climbing for the Over 50 Set- WSJ

Postby Dave B » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:03 am

Brian Thomas wrote:I do not like this article.

My takeaway from it is: now that you're bored with golf, and have lots and lots of disposable income (to spend on guides who charge several hundred dollars a day), you too can pay your way to become a "climber".

No camping, no route-finding, no discomfort or inconvenience, and no experience or preparation required. Just bring your black AmEx card and we'll make you a "mountaineer".


Ya.

Reminds me of a group that we ran into on the Grand Teton this summer. Had never climbed anything before but were paying Exum Guides to drag their asses up the OS. I don't understand the desire to "conquer a mountain" for the captain of the industry types. Can't they just stick with cocaine and murdering strippers instead.
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Re: Article: Mountain Climbing for the Over 50 Set- WSJ

Postby alpinenut » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:13 am

The article says "Speaking of guides…the purpose of the guide isn't so much to show you the way (that's usually apparent). It is to show you the how. Trial and error isn't the way to learn climbing; there are no mulligans in this game." They forgot to include - "and to bail you out when you're in trouble and have no clue what you're doing." Not to be negative but what happens when the guide gets hurt/lost/sick...

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Re: Article: Mountain Climbing for the Over 50 Set- WSJ

Postby RobertKay » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:25 am

Dave B wrote:
Brian Thomas wrote:I do not like this article.

My takeaway from it is: now that you're bored with golf, and have lots and lots of disposable income (to spend on guides who charge several hundred dollars a day), you too can pay your way to become a "climber".

No camping, no route-finding, no discomfort or inconvenience, and no experience or preparation required. Just bring your black AmEx card and we'll make you a "mountaineer".


Ya.

Reminds me of a group that we ran into on the Grand Teton this summer. Had never climbed anything before but were paying Exum Guides to drag their asses up the OS. I don't understand the desire to "conquer a mountain" for the captain of the industry types. Can't they just stick with cocaine and murdering strippers instead.


That's a little harsh. Your takeaway is both arrogant and wrong. Further, the word "conquer" isn't even in the article, nor implied. My interpretation was that if you are in decent shape then you are able to climb and a guide will help you learn how to do it. He is appealing to non-climbers who will have valid reservations about partaking in an activity they know nothing about but suspect is terribly difficult and dangerous. This is why he talks about the hut systems as a way to avoid camping.

Not everyone knows people who can show them the ropes. Not everyone is 18 years old (and therefore bullet proof) when they start climbing. Many people desire to learn properly from a knowledgable source vs figuring it out for themselves and hoping they survive the learning curve. And many people aren't certain if they will enjoy climbing so they want a taste of it with a guide vs spending years acquiring the needed skills and knowledge. Don't disrespect people who don't fit into your pigeon hole of climbing purity.

Why do climbers need to be so arrogant, condescending and exclusionary? It's almost as though having a successful career disqualifies you from the joys of climbing and being outside. One day I am going to write an article entitled: "Why I hate a few of my fellow climbers!". You are the 1% of climbers who make the other 99% of us look like jerks.
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Re: Article: Mountain Climbing for the Over 50 Set- WSJ

Postby patternmike » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:47 am

The first mountain I ever climbed was Mt Whitney at age 40. I researched, read and trained for it, and then climbed it with 2 friends who had no experience. I loved it and there my passion started. I climbed Mt Rainier with a guide as I felt the technical aspects were out of my experience level. I also climbed (not drug up) the Grand Teton with a guide. There my passion for rock climbing started. I have been to the rock gym in my area once a week the last 4 years and now go down to Red River Gorge frequently and have been out to Eldorado Canyon and Boulder Canyon the last few years.

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Re: Article: Mountain Climbing for the Over 50 Set- WSJ

Postby Derby Ale » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:12 pm

RobertKay wrote:That's a little harsh. Your takeaway is both arrogant and wrong. Further, the word "conquer" isn't even in the article, nor implied. My interpretation was that if you are in decent shape then you are able to climb and a guide will help you learn how to do it. He is appealing to non-climbers who will have valid reservations about partaking in an activity they know nothing about but suspect is terribly difficult and dangerous. This is why he talks about the hut systems as a way to avoid camping.

Not everyone knows people who can show them the ropes. Not everyone is 18 years old (and therefore bullet proof) when they start climbing. Many people desire to learn properly from a knowledgable source vs figuring it out for themselves and hoping they survive the learning curve. And many people aren't certain if they will enjoy climbing so they want a taste of it with a guide vs spending years acquiring the needed skills and knowledge. Don't disrespect people who don't fit into your pigeon hole of climbing purity.

Why do climbers need to be so arrogant, condescending and exclusionary? It's almost as though having a successful career disqualifies you from the joys of climbing and being outside. One day I am going to write an article entitled: "Why I hate a few of my fellow climbers!". You are the 1% of climbers who make the other 99% of us look like jerks.


Well stated. I know a number of serious fly fisherman (former clients) in Utah, Idaho and Montana (and I suppose here as well!) who look down on people who use fly fishing guides. I never understand this mindset. About 90% of the fishing I do is without a guide. And for the most part, I don't really care if I catch fish when I go - my goal is to find peace on a section of water. But the 10% of those times I end up with a guide, I learn new skills, catch more fish (many more fish!) and generally grow my enjoyment on the river. I see a parallel to your comment: It seems serious fly-fishermen (and women) view anyone other than their highly skilled peers as unworthy of deriving enjoyment from the same rivers they love unless that person can enjoy it the same way they do.

I guess that's true for almost all enjoyment of the back country. Sounds like a similar story with Snowmobilers and Skiers ... or Skiers and Snowboarders even for that matter.

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Re: Article: Mountain Climbing for the Over 50 Set- WSJ

Postby RobertKay » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:16 pm

Here is a partial list of the occupations of friends and people I've known who have used guides:

Retired high school principal, fireman, retired sheriff, supervisor at a software company, jewelry store salesman, Google employee, architect, safety director for an oil and gas company, farmer, writer, student (who's father worked at a ski resort), housewife (who's husband works for an investment company), a small factory owner, physician (several), attorney (several), philosophy professor, business consultant (and not terribly successful at it!), nurse, engineer, USA memory champion, US Army Ranger, a retired Major in the Singaporean army who was about to enter business school, a retired Realtor, several software engineers, etc.

As you can see, the cross section of people using guides is almost as broad as the general population and none of them use cocaine or have killed anyone (strippers included). Now if Bill Gates or Carlos Slim wanted to hire a guide, I also have no problem with that. In fact, I'd love to join them and try to learn a little from them. I don't fall prey to the class envy that our politicians use to divide people.
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Re: Article: Mountain Climbing for the Over 50 Set- WSJ

Postby Dave B » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:25 pm

RobertKay wrote:That's a little harsh. Your takeaway is both arrogant and wrong. Further, the word "conquer" isn't even in the article, nor implied. My interpretation was that if you are in decent shape then you are able to climb and a guide will help you learn how to do it. He is appealing to non-climbers who will have valid reservations about partaking in an activity they know nothing about but suspect is terribly difficult and dangerous. This is why he talks about the hut systems as a way to avoid camping.

Not everyone knows people who can show them the ropes. Not everyone is 18 years old (and therefore bullet proof) when they start climbing. Many people desire to learn properly from a knowledgable source vs figuring it out for themselves and hoping they survive the learning curve. And many people aren't certain if they will enjoy climbing so they want a taste of it with a guide vs spending years acquiring the needed skills and knowledge. Don't disrespect people who don't fit into your pigeon hole of climbing purity.

Why do climbers need to be so arrogant, condescending and exclusionary? It's almost as though having a successful career disqualifies you from the joys of climbing and being outside. One day I am going to write an article entitled: "Why I hate a few of my fellow climbers!". You are the 1% of climbers who make the other 99% of us look like jerks.


OK, yes that was a little harsh and I apologize for the brash comment.

How about a little more background. The group I was referring to were zero-experience asshats. This was immediately evident from a brief conversation with them. Also evident was that they lacked any respect or interest in the history or discipline of mountaineering and instead wanted a trophy summit that they could brag about back home in Chicago. Mountaineering is something that I love and hold very close to my heart, to encounter a group that had such a flippant attitude about climbing a mountain (guided) that I had spent years preparing myself to do unguided really pissed me off.

Are all guided climbers the same as this group? Of course not, but the increasing popularity of climbing and mountaineering and expanded availability of guided ventures will certainly increases this contingent on the mountain, it's simple probability. You can call this attitude elitist and exclusionary if you want to, I call it respect for tradition.
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Re: Article: Mountain Climbing for the Over 50 Set- WSJ

Postby tlongpine » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:31 pm

Brian Thomas wrote:I do not like this article.

My takeaway from it is: now that you're bored with golf, and have lots and lots of disposable income (to spend on guides who charge several hundred dollars a day), you too can pay your way to become a "climber".

No camping, no route-finding, no discomfort or inconvenience, and no experience or preparation required. Just bring your black AmEx card and we'll make you a "mountaineer".


On the other hand, I'm happy to take a few hundred of their dollars to hike a few feet ahead of them and share the occasion nugget of mountain banality.
I am unable to walk away from the mountain without climbing it. An unclimbed mountain tugs at my consciousness with the eternal weight of time itself. Until I've pressed my face into it's alpine winds, hugged it's ancient granite walls, and put it's weathered summit beneath my heal I'm unable to resist it's attraction.Knowing nature gives the mountain more time than she gives us adds urgency to the obsession. As has been said before; the mountain doesn't care.

It can wait forever. I cannot.

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Re: Article: Mountain Climbing for the Over 50 Set- WSJ

Postby tlongpine » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:36 pm

Reading it, I think the author puts the necessary emphasis on fitness and physical preparedness. It's written for a popular audience, but the appropriate disclaimers are there.
I am unable to walk away from the mountain without climbing it. An unclimbed mountain tugs at my consciousness with the eternal weight of time itself. Until I've pressed my face into it's alpine winds, hugged it's ancient granite walls, and put it's weathered summit beneath my heal I'm unable to resist it's attraction.Knowing nature gives the mountain more time than she gives us adds urgency to the obsession. As has been said before; the mountain doesn't care.

It can wait forever. I cannot.

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Re: Article: Mountain Climbing for the Over 50 Set- WSJ

Postby JROSKA » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:15 pm

Brian Thomas wrote:I do not like this article.

My takeaway from it is: now that you're bored with golf, and have lots and lots of disposable income (to spend on guides who charge several hundred dollars a day), you too can pay your way to become a "climber".


I'm maybe not quite as harsh, but yes, this is kind of my general thinking on this article as well. My problem with it, is this. Considering where it appeared, and the title of the article, we can tell exactly who this article is directed to - active, physically fit people over 50, with a lot of money. Generally speaking, these types of people will be the "can do, aim high" types. Translation - he seems to be encouraging successful people to jump right into difficult, Class 5, roped climbing, regardless of one's prior experience level, and I don't like that message. The guy admits that he started with Pike's, and moved on to the rest of Colorado's 14ers before getting into more complicated climbing - he should be advising people to follow his example. He does a nice job of explaining the basics, regarding gear, starting early, etc. But he doesn't give any breakdown of difficulty levels; he should say something like "Try a few Class 1 or Class 2 hikes before deciding if this is right for you", and I just don't see it. Also interesting to note. He almost exclusively uses the word "climb", and the one time he does use the "H" word, it almost seems to be a little derogatory, as in, "Hiking - don't bother with that. Get right into climbing". Again, in general, older, successful, upwardly mobile people will perceive this as, "Life is short; set your goals high"; and he should not be fostering that attitude. Mountains treat everybody equally. A large part of it involves experience, instincts, and quick decisions. This should all be built up on a few of the easy-to-moderate 14ers, BEFORE one even thinks about attempting some of the more difficult endeavors he encourages in this article, IMHO.

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