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THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

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Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby RMSAR » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:46 pm

semitrueskerm wrote:Which 14er holds the biggest cairn? So far, my vote goes to the one on the ridgeline heading up to Culebra...6-7 feet?


I would agree.
This is the biggest I have seen.

It is also a good example of how just a single cairn can be useful, when I climbed Culebra a few years back, it was the only cairn there was on the mountain.
Even on a mountain with no trails it was the only cairn that will ever truly be useful.

For the most part I would avoid "trusting" any cairns, any time, any where!
The ones which are accurate are usually useless; for example the ones being made in the video shown on this thread, if you can't follow the trail the cairn builders were standing on, you probably won't be able to follow the cairns either, and should not be climbing mountains either.

In my experience, when the routes where unclear, cairns have been more often than not - wrong, and often dangerous.
The worst example I can think of is when climbing Longs Peak. I was descending from the west side of the Loft via Clark's Arrow (in reverse) several years ago. Cairns pointed to the top of every chimney on the NW side of the loft, except the right one. I ignored the cairns, and used my own route finding skills, and descended the right (and safer) chimney.

All in all, I say Leave No Trace is the best policy; most 14ers are too easy as it is, leave the cairns for the easy routes, where they can help avoid the destruction of all the social trials.

RMSAR

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Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby giarcd » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:04 am

Not a 14er, but the tallest Mt. in New Mexico, I remember a huge cairn( or two )on the ridge approching the summit block of Wheeler Peak. Hard to miss!

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Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby MtnHigh » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:43 pm

I knock down useless cairns whenever possible. Too much human impact on the peaks anyways. Someone Lindsay must have built a big cairn every 20 feet, and that on an open and safe slope with a well-worn trail. Now that was some FUN cairn destruction! And then I pick up trash, break apart old fire rings and scatter the rocks, basically do whatever I can to erase someone else's "I was here, trashing the place because I'm cool" statement. But then, my climbing buddies also berate me on the trail for cleaning out the erosion berms (lots of forest duff built up in those lately!) and spread tree limbs on bad forks, etc.

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Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby Barrett Cooper » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:25 pm

Cheap maps someone said... I still point folks to good old free topos.
http://libremap.org/data/state/colorado/

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Re: THANK YOU to all cairn builders and maintainers!

Postby wildlobo71 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:20 pm

MtnHigh wrote:I knock down useless cairns whenever possible. Too much human impact on the peaks anyways. Someone Lindsay must have built a big cairn every 20 feet, and that on an open and safe slope with a well-worn trail. Now that was some FUN cairn destruction! And then I pick up trash, break apart old fire rings and scatter the rocks, basically do whatever I can to erase someone else's "I was here, trashing the place because I'm cool" statement. But then, my climbing buddies also berate me on the trail for cleaning out the erosion berms (lots of forest duff built up in those lately!) and spread tree limbs on bad forks, etc.


I guess this could be looked at as doing more harm than good by removing fire rings and the like... Some of those rings have been in their same location for decades, which means they aren't being rebuilt over and over again in different areas, shifting damaging effects of camping around in even more areas of the forest. And lastly, who are you to determine what is a useless cairn? I mean, I know excessively cairned areas when I see them, too... but do you honestly get sickened by seeing cairns? I don't walk past man-made un-natural trash, but I leave cairns alone.
Bill W.
Yes, I have my Scotch.

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"1st route cairners"

Postby Marmot72 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:58 pm

I think the problem with cairns on the harder routes is that too many people are "pioneering a route" (for them anyway, if not the first time for anyone) and they think they're doing well, so they erect cairns to mark their path...and then they cliff out or run into some difficulty. They either retrace their steps and fail to take down the misguided cairns, or they do some precarious move or heck, maybe they drink enough red bull to literally grow wings - but the follower is left asking "WTF?"

When I was less experienced, I tended to trust a cairn over my own eye for the best line, and I'd follow them - sometimes to my chagrin. It brings to mind one of my favorite statements made by Gerry Roach: "trust your own judgment, not some stranger's pile of rocks!"
I have phenomenal route-finding abilities. Specifically, I have an uncanny knack for selecting the path of most resistance.

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