Forum
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...

Ski-the-Teeners Standards

Items that do not fit the categories above.
User avatar
Posts: 790
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 7:07 pm
Location: The High Country

Ski-the-Teeners Standards

Postby RoanMtnMan » Wed May 20, 2009 2:08 pm

It has been really cool to see so many people getting after the 14ers on skis this year. Since I am not skiing today, I am living vicariously through the internet.

Reading Dawson's blog this morning rekindled some thoughts and discussions that have lingered around in my head this spring. The topic has come up in various forms during some monotonous approaches. I have gathered the opnions of a number of parnters, but I was curious what others thought. Dawson and Dav set a rough outline for what is considered a 14er ski descent, but I think there are questions unanswered. A few:

1) Skiing off of the summit seems like a reasonable requirement, but has the peak not been "officially skied" if a person down climbs 50 feet of rock to access a much more difficult and aesthetic line? One that never goes from the summit? Or are 14er skiers relagated to sometimes skiing boring lines in order for it to be official?

2) Ski belays. Yes or no? Safety first of course. But on the other hand about any reasonably good skier could ski peaks like Capitol and Pyramid if belayed all the way down. Of course it would take forever but it could be done. Is there a "sometimes" answer? For most of us the belay comes out when our legs say "no way". But that point is very subjective.

3) Vertical skied. How much vert does one need to ski for it to be a ski descent. I have seen wild variations on this one. Just curious what others think. 1,000 seems like a reasonable though admittedly arbitrary number.

4) Skis coming off. It seems that there is an unsaid rule that skis must stay on if at all possible. Until I moved to CO I had never really heard of this. I guess because the west coast has generally deeper snowpacks. I have left my fair share of P-Tex on rocks in what they call "billy-goating" or "Davenporting". Some of the folks I have skied with, who are accomplished in their own right, but are not as familiar with the 14er ski ethic, look at me like I am crazy, and I honestly con't really think of a logical rebuttal.

Perhaps I have toomuch time on my hand, which is what my wife says. I just think it's a new and still somewhat unexplored subject.

Thoughts?
Last edited by RoanMtnMan on Fri May 22, 2009 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Always follow the 7 P's. Proper Planning & Preparation, Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.

"An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” --Marco Polo

www.CalebWrayPhotography.com

User avatar
Posts: 1205
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:37 pm
Location: Aspen, CO

Re: Ski-the-Teeners Ethics

Postby Jcwhite » Wed May 20, 2009 2:30 pm

I know that I'm not the one that you are really asking since we've had much of this conversation before but I guess I do have a couple points. I imagine you are referring to something like the snake couloir in your first question. I rapped off of the summit boulder to get to the couloir, and I wouldn't change that as it was probably one of the best descents I remember on the 14ers. I think asthetic lines are a big part of it.

Lou used a rope a few times for belayed skiing. I don't think it changes whether you claim it or not, but it may be a "cleaner" descent without using them. I've used a couple of standards for number 3. When snow conditions warrant an escape, get the hell out of there (for instance when Joe and I skied Kit Carson last year) we skied over 1000 feet, but the line down cole couloir kept going. I think the best way of looking at it is ski til the line is over. If the line is the Landry Line then ski all 4000 feet, if it's the North face on Longs then you probably are only going to get 800 feet of good skiing.

The whole skis on the feet thing came about with Dav for sure. I think for me it ends up being laziness as well....kind of like skinning up the trail...most people don't take their skis off to cover 15 feet of rock before the snow starts again...we just walk carefully across keep going.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming WOW! WHAT A RIDE."- Hunter S Thompson

User avatar
Posts: 1065
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:33 pm
Location: PUEBLO

Re: Ski-the-Teeners Ethics

Postby sgladbach » Wed May 20, 2009 2:35 pm

If I get sphinter constriction looking at your photos, then you can claim the descent.

Steve
"We knocked the bastard off." Hillary, 1953
"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." Hillary, 2003
Couldn't we all use 50 years of humble growth?

User avatar
Posts: 1205
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:37 pm
Location: Aspen, CO

Re: Ski-the-Teeners Ethics

Postby Jcwhite » Wed May 20, 2009 3:05 pm

sgladbach wrote:If I get sphinter constriction looking at your photos, then you can claim the descent.

Steve



What if you get sphincter constriction during the descent?
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming WOW! WHAT A RIDE."- Hunter S Thompson

User avatar
Posts: 393
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:22 pm
Location: highlands ranch, co

Re: Ski-the-Teeners Ethics

Postby SchralpTheGnar » Wed May 20, 2009 3:15 pm

Good topic. We covered this one in detail on TGR maybe 3 or 4 years ago, I can't seem to find the thread but it was a good one. Ethics are what you make of them and in general it should be the community consensus that becomes the final world, not just the opinion of one or two people. The four topics are good ones to start with.

#1 Skiing off the summit - in most cases this should be the rule, not the exception. However in the case of something like the Snake Couloir vs. the Birthday Chutes from the summit, I seriously doubt the community in general would say that the Snake didn't count as a ski of Sneffles. From a climbing perspective, if you climb one of the routes on the Diamond but don't summit Longs, then that counts as a sick accomplishment but not a climb of Longs, as the summit must be obtained for a Peak to be climbed. There will always be dissenters that's why I think it's important for the community consensus to be the rule, and the consensus is allowed to change. I do think that at a minimum you do have to summit the Peak to claim a Peak descent.

However, if you happen to summit a peak in bad weather, but ski from lower down than planned due to the weather, claiming a descent is dubious at best. I think that it is poor form, because you couldn't claim an rock ascent if you got halfway up, then stormed on and had to bail up an easier route. No one would consider this route climbed.

#2 I couldn't care less if belays are used for the skiing, as in climbing if you free solo you get extra props, but the climb is still counted the same whether you climb with or without ropes

#3 Vertical skied - I think you need to ski all of the snow on the route. Again consensus here would be the rule, if someone climbed up Grays and skied 500 feet off of the summit, does that count? I don't think so.

#4 This leads to some of the most interesting pictures, I love pics of dowclimbing rocks with skis on. I like to caption the photo with "maximizing the vert"

In general, I think you have to climb the peak, ski from the summit and ski it while it is in fair condition on an average year, generally sometime between December and June. For almost all of the 14ers this will naturally take care of #1, #3, and #4.

More important than ethics, or claiming descents is enjoying being outdoors surrounded by beauty and friends. If you do that than you won't give a crap about 1,2,3,or 4 or whatever else anyone says.

User avatar
Posts: 575
Joined: Sun May 14, 2006 7:33 pm

Re: Ski-the-Teeners Ethics

Postby Geof3 » Wed May 20, 2009 4:38 pm

I look at the summit thing like this: To "ski" a "peak" then it should be as close to a summit drop as is reasonable. If you are on the top and down climb 50 ft. Fine. Skiing "on" a peak is different. Like skiing Pikes Peak above Glen Cove. I would say "I'm skiing Pikes Peak today" which, I am. If asked I would say not from the summit. But, to me it's still skiing on the Peak. I would not consider it a 14er "decent".

The skis on/off thing, whatever works. That is a pretty silly one. I've done both, just depends on the route. Some areas have rock bands that are more of a pain in the ass to deal with with skis on than off. So, they come off. Usually though, it would be a traverse or down climb situation though.

Belaying? I guess it just depends. Are you belaying because you are in over your head, or because you need to drop a 100ft cliff to access the rest of the line? If the former, stay off the line, if the latter, do whatever it takes.
Blue Steel

Re: Ski-the-Teeners Ethics

Postby pioletski » Wed May 20, 2009 5:00 pm

SchralpTheGnar wrote:More important than ethics, or claiming descents is enjoying being outdoors surrounded by beauty and friends.
Bravo, Schralp. That is the true core of this question.

That said, however, I'm glad Roan started this thread. I had never been a peak-bagger before, in fact I somewhat looked down on the whole idea of following rules and keeping records, but now I find that I need the structure of goals and records to keep myself focused - it is way too easy to get bogged down in the material necessities of life and end up losing out on one's deeper needs. So in order to pursue the goal of skiing the 'teeners, I need to define the task.

BTW, I quibble with calling this subject "ethics." Ethics have to do with decisions one makes, or actions one takes, that affect someone else's experience - i.e. a moral choice. Going to the aid of an injured climber, not leaving trash behind, advocating for reasonable access, etc. - these are ethical issues. But why would the next climber care whether your tracks start at the summit or at the next saddle? Call this philosophy, or the rules of the game, but I don't call it ethics.

So... on to my opinions... which, btw, I am still wrestling with, thus my gratitude for Roan starting this thread.

#1: I generally consider skiing from the very summit to be a luxury rather than a necessity. (In Heaven you get to do that every day.) I'm having fun playing the game, shoveled a little snow for a "true" summit descent of Democrat the other day, plus I already plan to repeat 2 peaks where conditions didn't allow a "close enough" summit descent, but I hold to the spirit of Schralp's comment and value the aesthetics of the line above starting from the exact summit. Besides, there is at least one peak (Sunshine?) that basically can't be skied from the true summit. I'm not sure where to draw the line. 100 vertical feet? Highest skiable point on the chosen route, subject to some arbitrary constraint?

In any case, I definitely agree about summiting before skiing - WITH YOUR SKIS (or board), no stashing 'em for the last 300 vert - and skiing from the summit when it is possible (on your chosen line).

#2: There are places I've skied where only an idiot would go without a belay - think crevasses and zero visibility. Of course it counts if you're roped up.

#3: I think you have to ski to "the bottom of the mountain," i.e. where you either run out of snow or gravity. When climbing, there is a point where you no longer feel that you are on the approach and now are actually climbing the peak - that's where the descent ends, IMHO. This reflects my general attitude that "the run" should be defined by geographical reality, not by an arbitrary number.

#4: We all indulge in a little billygoating from time to time, whether out of laziness or necessity, but I personally can't make it a requirement. "Skiing" means sliding on your skis. Walking with skis on does make for amusing pictures, but I wouldn't disqualify a descent because someone took off the skis to cross a dry patch.

And let me add... #5. I think there needs to be a limit on how much of the approach can be done with a motorized vehicle. I could perhaps justify taking a snowmobile to, say, a summer trailhead, but the sled is starting to become the "poor man's helicopter."

And... #6. My personal 14ers quest involves 59 summits, not 54. (The standard list, plus Cameron, Challenger, Conundrum, North Eolus and South Elbert.) It has long bothered me that certain peaks that are obviously distinct enough to deserve a name "don't count" because they are too close to slightly taller peaks. Another case of imposing a numerical requirement on a geographical phenomenon. (For the same reason, I don't hold with the "thousand foot rule" for climbing two peaks in one day - the saddle is where it is; if it makes the hike easy, use it, there are plenty harder challenges out there as well.)

And to answer JCWhite: (Congrats, by the way.) Sphincter constriction during descent is a good thing, better than leaving brown streaks on the snow...
The greater danger, for most of us, is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low, and we reach it.
- Michelangelo

User avatar
Posts: 270
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:24 pm

Re: Ski-the-Teeners Ethics

Postby DArcyS » Wed May 20, 2009 5:12 pm

I have an issue with the word "ethics." A violation of ethics implies a person is of poor moral character. The better word is "standards."

User avatar
Posts: 737
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:29 am
Location: Centennial, CO

Re: Ski-the-Teeners Ethics

Postby benners » Wed May 20, 2009 5:32 pm

This is an interesting topic and one I've thought a lot about. Claiming a 14er ski descent involves more gray area than simply climbing one, as comparatively there's not a lot of gray in saying you've stood on the top. Here are the thoughts commonly shared by the group I've been skiing with:

1. Skiing off the summit is generally a given. With a couple exceptions like the Snake on Sneffels or Wetterhorn's standard route, skiing off the top has sort of become the standard to claim a descent. My only caveat is that I would say if the register can be touched with your ski pole then its good enough, standing on top of a summit boulder like on Longs or Belford with snow all around its base seems sort of ridiculous to me, and a great way to jack up your skis.

2. I've never and probably never will think skiing belayed detracts from the validity of a descent in any way. Like the post above, I equate it to unroped/roped climbing.

3. As a general rule for myself I've tried to ski 1,000' off the summit to count it, however there will undoubtedly be a few exceptions like Oxford where we skied only 700'. This is the most arbitrary of the 4 rules listed above, I've never really heard a suggestion to try to standardize the vertical to claim a descent other than "the longest continuous line available at the time". Well this is obviously going to be broken at times like, for example, I can't imagine skiing a 1,500' line off the wrong side of the mountain just to claim a "legit" descent when there's a perfectly good 1,200' line that leads back to the trail I came in on. Please, either way you've skied the mountain in that situation.

4. I've always thought the skis could come off as long as they were put back on at an equal or higher elevation, this way you still ski every inch of the mountain's vertical and your skis can be saved from unnecessary damage. Even if there is a small discontinuity in the line, and the only option is to down climb through it as there is no possible way to ski from an equal elevation, well then so be it, I would still count it and I know others before me have counted it as long as its not a ridiculous vertical distance (on Sherman for example we hiked down about 100 feet through a talus band from 13,500' to 13,400' before putting the skis back on).

Overall I've sort of realized that while there needs to be some standard to claim a descent, ultimately its about you and the standards you set for yourself. For example I wouldn't ski 100 feet off a mountain and down climb the rest and claim a descent, as I personally feel that crosses the line, however others may not. The real question is, in trying to establish a set of standards for 14er ski descents, are you going for recognition by others that the descent is legit? Or are you simply going for what feels right to you for your own satisfaction? I'm somewhere in the middle; yes I will do what I can to adhere to the ethics set before me, but you may never see me walking across rocks for 50 feet off a summit to "davenport" 5 vertical feet because someone before me skied those 5 feet, I would most likely be satisfied with myself foregoing the 5 feet and skiing from the snow's high point.

User avatar
Posts: 1539
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:13 am
Location: Littleton, CO

Re: Ski-the-Teeners Ethics

Postby Tory Wells » Wed May 20, 2009 6:21 pm

Jcwhite wrote:
sgladbach wrote:If I get sphinter constriction looking at your photos, then you can claim the descent.

Steve



What if you get sphincter constriction during the descent?

Constriction is allowed......it is the yin to that yang that would nullify the descent. :wink:

Bad form, indeed.
"Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, am I." -David Gilmour, Pink Floyd

"We knocked the bastard off." Hillary, 1953
"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." Hillary, 2003
Couldn't we all use 50 years of humble growth?
-Steve Gladbach

Online
User avatar
Posts: 7217
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:23 pm
Location: Colorado Springs

Re: Ski-the-Teeners Ethics

Postby Jim Davies » Wed May 20, 2009 6:34 pm

How do you guys feel about Jason Ivanic? He skied all the 14ers from the highest point possible at the time, finishing all but Culebra in one season (then did Culebra the following spring). Since he had his own "ethic", namely skiing from the highest point that year, does it count? Dawson doesn't think so, although Ivanic's descent of Pyramid (the big sticking point, apparently) was pretty gut-wrenching to think about (he dropped a 25-foot cliff on one ski onto a 50-degree slope, after the other ski came off during a traverse...gulp....)

Here is his own commentary during a thread on TGR on this topic in 2005 (when Davenport had just announced his goal).
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

Re: Ski-the-Teeners Ethics

Postby Bean » Wed May 20, 2009 6:58 pm

Jim Davies wrote:How do you guys feel about Jason Ivanic? He skied all the 14ers from the highest point possible at the time, finishing all but Culebra in one season (then did Culebra the following spring). Since he had his own "ethic", namely skiing from the highest point that year, does it count? Dawson doesn't think so, although Ivanic's descent of Pyramid (the big sticking point, apparently) was pretty gut-wrenching to think about (he dropped a 25-foot cliff on one ski onto a 50-degree slope, after the other ski came off during a traverse...gulp....)

Here is his own commentary during a thread on TGR on this topic in 2005 (when Davenport had just announced his goal).

I don't know the details of all of Ivanic's descents, but as long as they weren't ridiculous, I'd say count it. Dawson's done a lot of great things, I read his blog, etc., but as Jason said, he's not president of the 14ers.
gdthomas wrote:Bean, you're an idiot.

http://throughpolarizedeyes.com

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bucketlistiowa, Jakomait, Jim Davies, RadioJay, REM12082010, SolarAlex and 38 guests