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Thoughts about WA vs. CO climbing communities

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Re: Thoughts about WA vs. CO climbing communities

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:24 am

planet54 wrote:
Matt Lemke wrote:Just trying to see if geography is somehow related to the mental game of various climbers


I climb Colorado peaks because I prefer to live in Colorado. Ain't no way I'm trading 300 days of sunshine per year for 300 days of drizzle.

THIS!

Oh, and I climb for adventure. For fun, I ski at the ski areas.
Only SNOW will end the madness

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Re: Thoughts about WA vs. CO climbing communities

Postby Gahugafuga » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:19 am

I've come to appreciate that I can come home from a climb in WA with enough foraged wild mushrooms, blackberries and huckleberries to completely offset the cost of gas used to get to the mountains.

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Re: Thoughts about WA vs. CO climbing communities

Postby shredthegnar10 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:07 am

12ersRule wrote:Washington- climb in any whether, glacier shredding, flannel wearing, grunge listening MACHINES. :shock:

Colorado- fair whethered, drive as close to the summit as possible, complain when Roach is off by 0.1 miles, string cheese eating/listening, guide loving loosers.

Dude, it's not the 90's. They all listen to Macklemore now. Ceiling can't hold them because they are such rad climbers, duhhhh.
There's a fine line between being a badass and being a dumbass.

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Re: Thoughts about WA vs. CO climbing communities

Postby 12ersRule » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:22 am

shredthegnar10 wrote:
12ersRule wrote:Washington- climb in any whether, glacier shredding, flannel wearing, grunge listening MACHINES. :shock:

Colorado- fair whethered, drive as close to the summit as possible, complain when Roach is off by 0.1 miles, string cheese eating/listening, guide loving loosers.

Dude, it's not the 90's. They all listen to Macklemore now. Ceiling can't hold them because they are such rad climbers, duhhhh.


I wish it were still the 90s. That no talent asshat Eminem was bad enough. Mackle$more or whatever that is is worse.

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Re: Thoughts about WA vs. CO climbing communities

Postby HikerCurt » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:07 pm

One of the great things about CO 14ers is that someone with reasonable skills, nerves, time and decent equipment can complete the very respectful list of the CO 14ers. If someone chooses to get more adventurous they can go to those same mountains and try different routes or winter ascents or steeper climbs. The term adventure means something different to each hiker/climber/skier.

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Re: Thoughts about WA vs. CO climbing communities

Postby vip-valet1 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:41 am

On my second trip out to climb rainier, I had a chance to talk with IMG guide/part owner George Dunn. He has summited Rainier over 400 times and has guided thousands of climbers form all over. When he was asked about this very thing - the difference between CO climbers and WA climbers he said- that WA climbers tended to be better expedition climbers but CO climbers were better technical climbers.

This makes a lot of sense if you think about it. As has been stated, in the Northwest it seems most climbs are multi day mini expeditions. a day or 2 in just to reach a climb and a couple days out. Here in CO, we have such incredible access to our peaks that most things can be "done in a day" alpine style. We can drive an hour or so and be on a climb within hours of waking up. Here we can spend much more time on the technical part of a climb. Here you can log alot more time on rock and ice much sooner.

I don't agree that they are "better" climbers simply because they have a lot of glaciated peaks. I have climbed rainier twice and did not find it to be any more difficult than doing a class 3 14er in spring snow conditions. I remember the 1st time I climbed it, everyone talked about the Clever( a 3rd or 4th class spine of rock that juts out of the glacier) as the nasty crux of the climb. After climbing over the clever I remember thinking, that was it...this clever is something you experience dozens and dozens of times if you climb a fair share of CO 14ers. To me, it didn't seem all that daunting. But the giant, engulfing crevasses, now that definitely caught my attention! But to the Northwest climbers, that was mundane terrain..just another monstrous glacier.

As has been pointed out, in Colorado the "climbing" community is much larger and includes hikers who may dabble in various aspects of technical climbing. But you will most certainly find a core group of climbers in CO that are every bit as capable as you will find anywhere, they just happen to also be surrounded by many others who also venture into the mountains and "climb" in a less technical way. Where as in WA due to the glaciers, all who venture onto them are roped up with harness and so all "climbing" have to be versed in at least the basics of climbing technics. But once you know the safe ways to travel on glacier, it is no more difficult than a non glaciated climb, maybe just more entailed with ice ax and crampons and such.

Our climbs generally done alpine style favors a climber who moves efficiently in their craft. Also requires one to be fit to complete long technical climbs in a single day push. Their remote climbs requires them to be well versed in many aspects of climbing from the approach hike, overnight backpacking, navigating skills and glacier travel, often in poor weather.

In general, the differences in access, terrain and weather dictates an emphasis on different skill sets but don't know if it creates a climbing community that is superior in some way than another...just different.

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Re: Thoughts about WA vs. CO climbing communities

Postby ptyrg » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:37 pm

colorado climbers----- running shoes, camelback, lists. GREAT FOR (THE OVER FOURTY) ADVENTURES!

p-northwest climbers-----not so much. bushwacking at it's finest, long approaches, glacier travel, sour weather, short season, HEAVY packs. sturdy boots. some bivy required, GREAT ADVENTURES!

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Re: Thoughts about WA vs. CO climbing communities

Postby lazy climber » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:19 pm

I live in the PNW but manage to make it to Colorado 3-4 times a year to bash ice or hike the hills. This subject has come up a few times ( My son-in-law is from CO) and it seems like ( not to cause any one distress) there are more "recreational" climbers in Colorado, which is a good thing. That is also not to say there are not hard core climbers in CO ( I climb with a couple of world class climbers from CO) and I have seen my share of climbers on Hood, Adams and Rainier that should have stayed home. The joke on that one is that you can go to REI in Seattle or Porland, rent your boots, spikes and axe and within 2-4 hours be hiking to your death.( Yes I know, A fairly sick joke) I do think climbes can get in over the heads faster here than in the Rockies, or maybe it is just that since we live so close to Hood ( listed as the most dangerous mountain in the lower 48) we hear about the problems more here than we do from Colorado, Although you guys had a bad year in the Wilsons a couple years ago, so getting into trouble is easy to do anywhere.

I think the easy access to climbs and the trail/climbing information supplied by places like 14er.com help introduce more people to "climbing". I have run into several climbers who offer "advice" about the route and sometimes it is almost a direct quote from 14er.com. Thats my reasoning for the larger number of "recreational" climbers, I have run into a number of "first timers" in some fairly rough place in CO and they were pulling out printed route descriptions from this web site. We have a lot of hiking trails with lots of hikers but once you hit the brush the number drops off rapidly.

Th PNW has long approaches, Olympus is 24 miles ONE WAY, the TH are snowed in till mid july so if you go earlier the approaches are even longer and rougher. The down climb is often worse than the up climb, I never count the climb done till you are standing at the TH parking lot. The elevation gains are high, even 9000 ft peaks can have 6K-7K foot gains. And a lot of the climbs are remote, I have been out 2-3 days witout seeing anyone, get to the summit and there are 6 guys who came up a different route, you shoot the breeze a bit and then head back out and see no one for another 2 days.

I have a friend who was climbing in the Northern Cascades, had a 3 day approach, did the climb, hiked back out and once they got home realized they had not climbed the "right" mountain, so route finding can be a bit sticky sometimes.

Drives to climbing areas can be long depending on where you live and where you are going, in 7 hours we can be at Mt Shasta or southern BC and during the climbing season we are putting a lot of miles on the truck just getting to the TH. There are lots of multi day climbs that are logistic exercises, lots of two day climbs and lots of 12 -20 hour day climbs( I do not like sleeping on the ground so would rather go like crazy for 16 hours and then go home to sleep)

I would guess that once you get to a certain level, climbers are about the same, I would agree our back country / expedition skills may be a bit better ( we have to be good or you never get anywhere and in some case you cannot get there from here or from anywhere for that matter) I am not so sure about the technical skills, I suppose it depends on what skill set you are talking about. As someone said, a lot of solo climbing is done and your tecnique has to spot on or else. I would say that if it were not for my ice and rock climbing my rope skills would be lacking as I climb a lot solo ( not by myself but unroped from any climbing partners, at times it is faster and may not be any less safe)

I think there is a difference but it may be due to terrain and conditions, we have learned to cope with what the mountains give us and have developed the skill sets and experience to hopefully deal with them.

I do enjoy climbing in Colorado, and even on the "tougher" climbs I feel more relaxed than I do on a lot of climbs at home, not sure why that is.

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Re: Thoughts about WA vs. CO climbing communities

Postby MatB » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:19 am

I've read a few of your (Lemke) trip reports and others who you were with on summitpost and while I don't have the experience to support my opinion I understand your stance.

For those with experience, please continue to share as this is incredibly interesting to read. Great topic Matt. If anything, the information being shared has me thinking about a trip to the PNW this spring or summer.
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Re: Thoughts about WA vs. CO climbing communities

Postby bigtuna » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:06 pm

Colorado climbers only live to get radical. They don't understand the mountains, so they'll never get the spiritual side of it.

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Re: Thoughts about WA vs. CO climbing communities

Postby Tory Wells » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:59 am

bigtuna wrote:Colorado climbers only live to get radical. They don't understand the mountains, so they'll never get the spiritual side of it.

:-k
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Re: Thoughts about WA vs. CO climbing communities

Postby PattyCakes » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:57 am

I hope your joking bigtuna. Most of the Colorado mountain climbers I have met are climbing because they love the mountains and are trying to absorb the experience as much as possible. I would not say "Colorado climbers only live to get radical". I would recommend broadening your spectrum of Colorado climbers before making generalizations.

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