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THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

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THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby blonderoadkill » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:17 am

So I just started this whole 14er thing 11 days ago. On that day, I hiked Bierstadt and remember mentioning to my buddy how useless those stupid cairns are. "I mean, really...the peak is RIGHT THERE!" I remember saying to him. But today I just finished my fifth 14er, and my first sunrise summit. I decided to make my first pre-dawn climb on a relatively easy mountain with high traffic, thinking that the trail would be easy to find alone and without light. But on my way up Mt. Sherman, all I could keep thinking to myself is "thank God for those 'stupid' cairns!" I would have been completely lost, and likely would have ended up on top of Sheridan without them (as would the second hiker of the day, apparently, as when we met on the summit he mentioned that he kept route following my light on the side of the mtn. So a big THANK YOU goes out to all the creators and curators of those precious cairns. The next time you see one that could use another rock, don't hesitate...put it up there. At the very least, it'll save someone from unintentionally double summiting, and it could possibly save a life.

-Kyle

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Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby peter303 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:46 am

You might invest a few hours in an REI map-and-compass workshop for those times
when you cant see the peak or cairn. Or when the batteries go out in your GPS or heavy
rain blocks the satellite signal. Could be one of the best investments of your life.

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Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby coloradokevin » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:51 am

Rock cairns can be an extremely useful navigational aid in some places, but they are so grossly overused by some folks that they've become a bit of a nuisance on many trails. Simply put, a cairn isn't required every 5 feet on a 10ft wide trail, nor is it appropriate to build cairns to designate a bunch of social trails that are off-route. Sometimes I think tourists (or the uninitiated) see the cairns, then build more cairns just for fun.

But, again, they can be quite useful in certain terrain. The rule of thumb I've always heard about them is that you should just be able to see the cairn ahead of you and behind you from the cairn you are standing at. Oh, and they don't need to be 26' tall.

Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby its_not_a_tuba » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:00 am

blonderoadkill wrote:The next time you see one that could use another rock, don't hesitate...put it up there. At the very least, it'll save someone from unintentionally double summiting, and it could possibly save a life.


It is considered good luck to add to a cairn - it makes the Mountain Gods smile. I think it's a great rule however it can get out of control, some cairns in Europe are the size of houses!
"Wilderness settles peace on the soul because it needs no help. It is beyond human contrivance." -- E.O. Wilson

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Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby jdorje » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:08 am

its_not_a_tuba wrote:It is considered good luck to add to a cairn - it makes the Mountain Gods smile. I think it's a great rule however it can get out of control, some cairns in Europe are the size of houses!


Perhaps I simply lack the skills, but half the time when I try to do that I knock the cairn over. Is there an REI cairn-building workshop somewhere?
-Jason Dorje Short

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Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby larkinrx2 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:13 am

it is always good luck to take the rock from the saddle of a previously unranked 14er to help its lowly status by building the cairn on its summit
What do you think I'm some kind of a jerk or something! - That's all I need the ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, and this magazine, and the chair and I don't need one other thing, except my dog.
[Shithead growls at him]
I don't need my dog.

Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby its_not_a_tuba » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:25 am

jdorje wrote:
its_not_a_tuba wrote:It is considered good luck to add to a cairn - it makes the Mountain Gods smile. I think it's a great rule however it can get out of control, some cairns in Europe are the size of houses!


Perhaps I simply lack the skills, but half the time when I try to do that I knock the cairn over. Is there an REI cairn-building workshop somewhere?


You inspired me to look that up and I can't believe that people actually write things like this, enjoy:

http://www.ehow.com/how_2303084_build-cairn.html

"While constructing the cairn focus your thoughts on honoring the creation." *facepalm*
"Wilderness settles peace on the soul because it needs no help. It is beyond human contrivance." -- E.O. Wilson

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Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby CO Native » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:37 am

"Do attempt to build a cairn while feeling negative emotions." :twisted:

:lol:

Where's the don't build or even add to a cairn unless it's at least your second time on the trail (or on your way back down the same trail at a bare minimum) so that you don't perpetuate your own mistakes.
Remember what your knees are for.
http://www.hikingintherockies.com

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Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby CO Native » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:40 am

There was a link on that one to another ehow article that added this advice:

"If necessary, use hot glue or epoxies to spot glue cairns. Once you get the hang of building a cairn, try to create taller and more balanced towers. You may need or want to use hot glue or epoxy appropriate for concrete and stone."
Remember what your knees are for.
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Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby Kovar » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:42 am

I'll take an American made cairn over an emo Euro-cairn anyday.

Keep it country!!!!!

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Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby jaymz » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:43 am

There have been several instances where I've said "thank you" out loud to whomever built this or that cairn. It's truly a sight of relief during those times where you worry if you've gone off trail, especially on class 3 routes.

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Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby screefieldstevie » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:48 am

coloradokevin wrote:Rock cairns can be an extremely useful navigational aid in some places, but they are so grossly overused by some folks that they've become a bit of a nuisance on many trails. Simply put, a cairn isn't required every 5 feet on a 10ft wide trail, nor is it appropriate to build cairns to designate a bunch of social trails that are off-route. Sometimes I think tourists (or the uninitiated) see the cairns, then build more cairns just for fun.

But, again, they can be quite useful in certain terrain. The rule of thumb I've always heard about them is that you should just be able to see the cairn ahead of you and behind you from the cairn you are standing at. Oh, and they don't need to be 26' tall.


Prime example would be the talus field on the Southwest Approach to La Plata...........there were 4,000 cairns scattered all over that field, it was so overwhelming that I just said the hell with it and made my own route
"Cause the Rocky Mountain Way Is better than the way we had" - Joe Walsh

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