Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

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HikerGuy
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by HikerGuy » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:29 am

CHWitte wrote:
HikerGuy wrote:
CHWitte wrote:
Interesting. Which 14er(s) has a route that is more difficult than another route simply based on the TH feasibility? I'm curious.
Little Bear for one.
What's the better route up Little Bear?
To quote Gerry Roach, "This is the most frequently climbed route on Little Bear (West Ridge), but it is not Little Bear's easiest route. The easiest route-from Arrowhead Ranch, to the south-is not open to the public."

Lindsey also has an easier route that is not available to the public.
Last edited by HikerGuy on Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by pmeadco » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:32 am

To me being off route isn't that big of an issue. I mean all first attempts are "off route" simply due to the fact that no common route has been established. I feel that it all comes back to personal abilities. For this discussion it means having the ability to assess routes, the feasibility of various options for the skill levels being applied, and the risks involved. An experienced mountaineer develops the ability to look at a challenge, decide which way is the most likely to be safe and successful, or that they should back off entirely. Those who don't have the experience, or just don't have the aptitude (and perhaps never will), are more likely to get into trouble. Some people know themselves really well, and can make a wise decision about what they should take on and what they should defer till they have more skills and experience. Other people may simply feel that if they don't push the envelope they will never improve, so Go for it!

It's all fine, till somebody has to come along and pick up the pieces. Then we have endless postmortems, like this one, where we struggle to strike a balance between the rights of the individual to go out and put themselves at risk in the name of adventure and self improvement against the rights of society to limit how much risk others take so that we don't have to deal with broken bones, broken families, and high cost rescues. If we are willing to accept people fulfilling their Darwinian destiny then I suppose we shrug these things off. If we are tired of clarion calls for somebody to help these poor, luckless adventurers when they get in trouble, then we have to consider restricting freedoms. Where is the happy medium? I can't tell you.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by justiner » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:33 am

These are always hard discussions to agree on, as the hill walking-technical alpine climbing spectrum isn't a sport, it's just a pastime/hobby, so there's no one clear way to progress. It's also an activity filled with a history anti-establishment people. Indeed, it may be the free for all of just going up something the way you want that attracts many, even if you don't see yourself as so extreme.

I do feel the, "crawl before you walk" advice is good, within reason. I also do feel that getting some climbing skills is good, within reason. Same goes with backcountry skills - the list goes on. Many people skirt many of these skills and make it up the mountain. It's only when conditions expose a weakness in their skillset do we scream bloody hell.

I dunno what to do about that, since it's only a matter of time that anyone of us (including me) is going to get in trouble (potentially) when we're not fully prepared. Thesis being, you can't be prepared for everything. Ways to mitigate that, especially with accidents on Cap. that seem to follow a pattern?

* The knife edge, although easy, seems to really make people uncomfortable - so much so, that people want a way to not have to do it twice.
* The approach is long, and people get tired, and look for shortcuts that don't exist
* Groups dynamics are dissolved and disagreements lead to people going off route.

That's well and good. I don't quite know how to communicate that information to a group of people who seem clearly not to want to be educated. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I was at the Second Flatiron yesterday, and management recently put up a sign there. It's a similar sign that many want at the trailhead for Capitol. It basically said, "hey be prepared, the terrain gets tricky and you can get into a bad situation; rescue takes time". Very clear points - you can't miss the sign. The climb is Class 4. It's where you go for a date scramble (or like me, make it a main point of your weekly training, since you're a scaredy-cat)

Last night, 30 feet above, was a dude that seemed to kinda not want to be up there anymore - I don't know what his plan was, since his friends were still on the ground. He threw his pack to someone waiting on the ground, then decided to just allow himself to slide down to the bottom - a controlled fall. Thankfully, he was OK. They then asked what the route was, and where it ended.

I don't think the sign had much of an effect.
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CHWitte
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by CHWitte » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:36 am

HikerGuy wrote:
CHWitte wrote:
HikerGuy wrote:
Little Bear for one.
What's the better route up Little Bear?
To quote Gerry Roach, "This is the most frequently climbed route on Little Bear (West Ridge), but it is not Little Bear's easiest route. The easiest route-from Arrowhead Ranch, to the south-is not open to the public."

Lindsey also has an easier route that is not available to the public.
Understood but as quoted, Arrowhead Ranch and the other route on Lindsey are not open to the public. So the standard routes are utilizing what has generally been accepted as the safest routes available.
Last edited by CHWitte on Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by AlexeyD » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:41 am

Regarding the standard route thing. Not all mountains are created equal. Let's face it: the Elks - beautiful as they are - are crumbling piles of choss for the most part. The melodramatic "deadly Bells" sign isn't wildly off in its exaggerations. Were it not for the magical first two digits of their elevation in imperial units, hardly anyone would ever try to climb them and we wouldn't be having this discussion now. Now with things being as they are, yes, the "standard" routes on them have been established as *relatively* safe/viable paths up these otherwise rather unfriendly peaks where at least *some* (by no means all) of the loose garbage has already been dislodged. The caveat, of course, is that this accessibility, plus the associated hype and social media and all that, has resulted in an unprecedented mass of people swarming them, many of whom have really no business being there. Blah blah blah...I know, all of this has been argued over ad nauseam. My only point is, in the overall context of mountaineering this is a highly anomalous, unnatural situation that we're dealing with in many ways, and we need to at least recognize it as such before we start applying blanket logic and solutions.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by rijaca » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:44 am

CHWitte wrote: Interesting. Which 14er(s) has a route that is more difficult than another route simply based on the TH feasibility? I'm curious.
La Plata's SW slopes route is shorter and has less elevation gain than the standard NW ridge route. Access to the NW ridge is via paved highway, SW slopes via dirt road/4wd road.

The standard routes for all the Crestone group used to be from SCL due to inaccessibility (private land) of western approaches from Willow Lake and Cottonwood Lake THs.

The west slope/S ridge route on Snowmass is shorter and has less elevation gain than the standard route from Snowmass Lake, but requires a 4wd approach.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by HikerGuy » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:45 am

CHWitte wrote:
HikerGuy wrote:
CHWitte wrote:
What's the better route up Little Bear?
To quote Gerry Roach, "This is the most frequently climbed route on Little Bear (West Ridge), but it is not Little Bear's easiest route. The easiest route-from Arrowhead Ranch, to the south-is not open to the public."

Lindsey also has an easier route that is not available to the public.
Understood but as quoted, Arrowhead Ranch and the other route on Lindsey are not open to the public. So the standard routes are utilizing the safest routes available.
That was not your question. I answered your question. You are moving goal posts.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by CHWitte » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:54 am

HikerGuy wrote:That was not your question. I answered your question. You are moving goal posts.
I agree you did, but it doesn't help the point of the original discussion about the standard routes being the safest routes up the mountain. If private property prevents someone from hiking a different route, then there is no reason to bring it into the discussion as another option for a new 14er hiker trying to find the safest route to the type of a 14er.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by CHWitte » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:02 am

rijaca wrote:The standard routes for all the Crestone group used to be from SCL due to inaccessibility (private land) of western approaches from Willow Lake and Cottonwood Lake THs.
Previous Crestone route still utilize Red Gully?

I'm sure the class 1-2 peaks can have different approaches that remain class 1-2. The discussion has really been around the class 3-4 peaks (like Capitol) where the standard route has been at the heart of the discussion as more and more people venture off on perceived "short cuts" and get hurt or killed.

Not sure why promoting standard routes to the general public should be so controversial if we are trying to promote safety on 14ers.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by yaktoleft13 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:11 am

I think a big issue is that many people have different goals in the mountains. Most people care about the summit, but many people also care about how they get there. Alternate routes provide solitude and a different mountain experience than many of the standard routes.

I think it boils down to two big things (obviously there's minutiae in between, but that's not the point):

1) know yourself
2) know YOUR route

It doesn't matter whether your route is standard or non-standard, class 1 or class 5, know it. That seems to have been a big recent problem on Capitol. And know yourself and whether the route you've selected is within your abilities, where you may run into obstacles on your route, and what you need to bring to be successful. I don't think we need to promote one route over another, as many routes offer many different things to different people. Just know YOUR route
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by jladderud » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:09 pm

justiner wrote: I was at the Second Flatiron yesterday.
Did you run into Alex Honnold? I saw on his Insta story that he was on the First Flatiron yesterday :-D
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by bmcqueen » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:44 pm

yaktoleft13 wrote:I think it boils down to two big things (obviously there's minutiae in between, but that's not the point):

1) know yourself
2) know YOUR route

It doesn't matter whether your route is standard or non-standard, class 1 or class 5, know it. That seems to have been a big recent problem on Capitol. And know yourself and whether the route you've selected is within your abilities, where you may run into obstacles on your route, and what you need to bring to be successful. I don't think we need to promote one route over another, as many routes offer many different things to different people. Just know YOUR route
Well said.
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