3,000 foot rule in question

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Postby Aubrey » Fri Jun 08, 2007 8:07 pm

Personally, I don't know what to think of the "3,000-foot rule." I like the "guideline," but the fact that it's so arbitrary makes it kinda' silly. And, in my opinion, people that staunchly defend it are the same as those that harshly criticize it. The argument has no real substance.

My personal rule: Start at the standard trailhead (or similar, alternate trailhead). If there's a road to the top, I use the 3k rule or an "accepted" alternate route.

That said, almost all of the 14ers I've done have satisfied the 3,000-foot rule, according to my interpretation. On Antero we parked far enough down, even though we could've driven further up. And I've done Bierstadt multiple times, so I guess I have that one covered. I've also done Grays and Torreys a few times, so I guess they're covered, too. And then I've ascended at least 7 or 8 thousand feet trying to get Sneffels, so I more than have that one. This is all assuming that multiple climbs on separate days satisfy the rule, of course.

Until I get Handies again and maybe a few others, I won't check that 3k box, out of respect for those that have made that extra effort. If I end up getting 3k on all of 'em, great. If not, great. It's not that important to me at all. I know what I've climbed and I'm satisfied.

I don't believe in bragging or trophy-dragging, either. I like to share, but I hope I never come off as bragging. The more experience I acquire, the more humble and curious I become.

Climbing 14ers is a very personal goal, even though I've splayed it out all over the Internet. I'm not religious, but it's as close as it comes for me.

Bottom line: I think mountain climbing should be more of a personal objective that isn't so tied to "rules" and numbers and what not. I totally agree, as others do, that climbing any mountain from just below the summit isn't really "climbing" the mountain. But if someone says, "Hey, I just climbed Mt. Evans from Summit Lake!" You know where they stand, and that's that. No need to be elitist and put them in their place, according to your perspective. Totally cool for them. Let 'em bask in the glory. Who cares? As long as they're enjoying life and respecting the mountain (and not being a total brag ass ... or writing blogs or books about climbing 14ers), I'm totally cool with it.

Think of this hypothetical: What if a 98-year-old person climbed Evans from the parking lot? That's a climb in my book! Thus, there's a lot of relativity here ...

More important than adhering to any rule such as the 3k rule, is just being honest (with others and yourself). Very few, if any, true mountaineers lie about climbing a peak when they didn't ... or saying they climbed Evans from Guanella Pass when they climbed it from Summit Lake.

Before cameras/documentation, honesty was a hallmark of climbing. I think it still is, and every climber I've met adheres to this hallmark. Most climbers are really real people, anyway, IMO. :wink:

When masses of people start posting trip reports on here about their climbs from the Pikes Peak summit parking area to the true Pikes Peak summit, or from the Evans parking lot to the summit, we'll have to regroup, and I'll have to rethink my thoughts.
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Postby Aubrey » Fri Jun 08, 2007 8:09 pm

"Personally, I don't know what to think of the '3,000-foot rule.'"

:lol: and then I go on a huge analysis. Oh, man, I crack my s**t up :lol:

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Postby Chris P. » Fri Jun 08, 2007 9:18 pm

I agree with you Aubrey on pretty much everything you said there. For instance, when I climb Sneffles on the Southwest ridge/South face from Yankee Boy Basin, I may only gain 2000-2500 vertical, but according to my standards I've definitely climbed that mountain. I guess that I'm not so much into "peak bagging" as some people though so it doesn't really bother me if I don't make a summit, or if I don't gain as much elevation while climbing. That's just my .02.
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Postby ccunnin » Fri Jun 08, 2007 10:33 pm

I just climbed Harvard via the Cottonwood TH in my gym tonight on the Gauntlet. I'm going to do Mt. Whitney tomorrow. 3000ft? For wimps. :wink: I'll have all the 14er's completed while watching the TV in a month. Weather? What weather? It's 65degrees and no wind.
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Postby AlexMack » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:14 am

I've gotta put in 2 cents on this one:

My only real gripe with the 3000 foot rule it is that there are 14ers out there that "practically and enjoyably" cannot be done within the rule. Bierstadt is a fun hike, what's the point of walking up and down a dirt road when you could be hiking a nice trail? Sherman is the same. Can I leave my truck at the Iowa Gulch trailhead, summit, grab a beer at my truck and walk all the way down to the paved road and back to my truck as a cool down after my hike? It just seems silly that really only a few peaks don't have 3000+ options and this became a rule. If it was originally made 2500 it still would be legit and maybe make it less of a big hassle for people. How many peaks are there like this? Sherman, Bierstadt, Bross...others?

I say go with whatever feels good to you. Start at the standard trailhead. Make it a 15 mile rule. That last one is definately not for me though #-o
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Weekend range

Postby dbd » Sat Jun 09, 2007 9:26 am

The 3000' rule sounds like a good game when you are in weekend range. I live in San Diego, CA so, while the 3000' rule would 'cost' me 8 or 9 of my 20 CO 14ers, I don't figure I'll worry about it.

In CA I've only been up 4 of the 14 14ers, a total of 50 summit visits. The 3000' rule wouldn't cost me any of them. 13 of the 14 14ers are in weekend range so maybe I should use a 6000' rule. It would 'cost' me 1 peak and 11 summit visits. The 8500' rule would 'cost' me all but 1 peak and 1 summit visit.

Someone in this thread suggested starting at sea level, but you can't do that in CO. The best you can do in state is a 11,000' rule which would leave only about half a dozen 14ers available. In CA there is even an 11er that has been day hiked that has it's 2WD parking at -250 feet (4WD parking at 3500'). We all have to work with what we've got.

Just a distant perspective.

But today at least, I'm in Buena Vista, CO!

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Postby rob runkle » Sat Jun 09, 2007 11:15 am

I got just under 13,000 gain on Kili...

Cool! That's 4 14ers that I don't even have to climb... :D

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Postby MountainHiker » Sun Jun 10, 2007 7:14 pm

The first time I climbed Sunlight a guy arrived at the summit who announced he would be heading back down the trail 3000'. He would then head back up to climb the next peak in the group. Then he had someone boost him up - little kid bunk bed style - onto the summit rock! I couldn’t resist asking him if that fit with his 3000' rule!

I have never worried about the 3000' rule when it comes to recording if I have summit. I’ve climbed Bierstadt more than any other 14er and most of those climbs have been from Guanella Pass. A couple winters ago I inadvertently covered the 3000' rule on Bierstadt when my car wouldn’t make it all the way up the snowy road!

The first few times I climbed Evans it was from Summit Lake. Even though I did the Evans Spalding loop which has a nice scramble I felt there was an asterisk next to Evans on my list. This lead me to climbing Evans via Bierstadt and the Sawtooth. This still wouldn’t fit for some with having to start 3000' below the summit, but I felt after crossing the Sawtooth I could say I climbed it!

The article at http://www.thedogteam.com/14ers-Web_Pag ... frame.html about the 3000' rule as it relates to the speed record is a good read. It’s author allows traverses and finishing a climb at a different trail head than the one started at, but is firm on starting 3000' vertical below the first summit, no counting cumulative gain.

I’m interested in the interpretations of the 3000' rule by those who check the box on their personal peal list. Do they allow themselves traverses? Are the people checking the 3000' rule always following it for every climb they record as a re-climb? For instance if they climb Quandary from the dam to ski down do they count that climb as one of their re-climbs? Do the people who want a fresh 3000' for each mountain never do traverses, or do they just worry about that at least once for each peak?

I can appreciate wanting meet the 3000' rule at least once for each peak. To feel bound by it for every hike would get in the way of the sense freedom I feel when I’m in the mountains. Sometimes when I climb the world is more real than at any other. When I’m in the city there are all sorts of artificially created rules to follow. When I’m crossing rock or snow, or dealing with weather, or appreciating how well things are going that day, the BS of society doesn’t exist. But how well I perform on the mountain has every thing to do with my reality.

Some of my toughest climbs haven’t resulted in summits or met the 3000' rule, while many of my easiest have. Just because I’m an admitted peak bagger as part of my climbing repertoire, I will probably get 3000' by all definitions on the few 14ers where I lack it. I probably still won’t check that box because I feel all my re-climbs that don’t meet the rule are as legitimate as the ones that do.
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Postby ontopoftheworld » Sun Jun 10, 2007 7:41 pm

In my opinion, it's all about personal preference. If you don't care about a 3,000' rule, then why are you letting someone else tell you to care about it? I don't know about others, but I'm not just a peakbagger. We climb these mountains because it's fun and challenging - not just to add another notch on the bedpost... so to speak. If you truly believe that you have "bagged" all 50+ Colorado 14ers without following the 3,000' rule, then you have. Among mountaineering purists, you're not going to wow anybody just by checking off every peak on the list anyway. Do it because you love it, not because somebody tells you to love it.
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Postby guitmo223 » Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:00 pm

I guess I never have really given a flying flip about 3000'. There is a current thread comparing 14ers.com to other web sites, and it seems that the concensus is the prima donnas tend to gravitate towards summitpost, et.al. Let them do their 3000' rules. I just like to climb and enjoy the mountains, and screw the rules. I don't climb mountains to compete with anybody, but more to enjoy their beauty. I guess this is why I climb solo more often than not.

Not to disparage summitpost and other web sites (I visit them quite often), it just seems that 14ers.com is more about enjoying the "Freedom of the Hills" and less about competition.
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Postby Spam » Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:50 am

Meteor wrote:
MN teleMARKer wrote:Since I hiked Pikes Peak yesterday via Barr Trail and gained 7400 feet in elevation, can I use half of that to make up for hiking Belford and Oxford together :?: :-k :)

Tparker wrote:Yeah kind of like cellphone roll-over minutes...has potential!

Oh I'm sorry, sir, but our records here show that that hike was made on a Monday, rather than on the weekend. Oh... I'm also sorry to bring this up, sir, but I also notice that that hike would definitely fall under on-peak coverage time... and since you've already pointed out that you put in 4400 feet more than you were allotted, I'm afraid that means you're into overage at this point. But don't worry, sir, we'll have a forklift (equipped with a reverse warning beeper) to drop the bill off at your door! Thank you for choosing 14er wireless, sir! Have a GREAT DAY!! :lol:

Crap I have Verizon so I am screwed, I get no carryovers during 'peak' times!
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Postby mainpeak » Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:18 pm

Mooney Pilot wrote:Since I'm planning on climbing Antero this weekend, I was giving this some thought before this thread was posted.

Antero has a jeep trail that goes almost all the way to the top. If I drive/ride a jeep withing 1,000 feet of the summit, then hike the rest of the way, have I climbed Antero? I say no.

It's sort of like keeping your own score playing golf and not counting your Mulligans. You can claim that you broke 80, but you're not fooling anybody but yourself.

Thanks Mooney Pilot, at least someone gets it.

It would appear that most people in this community keep a 14er tick list. Is it so bad to have some measurement of what's been accomplished?

Just because I use the rule ,does it mean that I am not enjoying the climbs as much as people who drive up? Or that I'm enjoying Mt Evans/Bierstadt any less because I refuse to tick them off without some measurement of what I've done?

Please. I laugh at people who mock the rule, as if those who follow it are expecting some kind of trophy. Maybe I just want to honor those who climbed the peaks first, who perhaps did so without internal combustion engines, GPS, and GoLite products. Maybe I want the mountaineering experience of actually feeling tired at the end of the day before I publicly rattle off how many summits I've done.

To each their own.

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