Suggestion...

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Suggestion...

Postby Matt Lemke » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:30 am

So I was browsing around the statistics leaders in all the categories recently and noticed that there are already some users with over 50 summits this year and I thought to myself...."How is that possible"????

To my dismay I looked at what peaks these people had climbed and noticed they were all mere foothills no more than 6500 feet in elevation in Colorado and this got me thinking of a suggestion.

Regarding the peakbaggers award, there should be an added filter similar to the one that filters out repeats. This filter however, will filter out all climbs of non-alpine summits (aka, peaks below treeline).

Now I'm not sure if there is any way to know which peaks are alpine or not as the treeline elevation is different in every mountain range but I don't really think someone can win a peakbaggers award by counting Green Mountain 365 times if said person runs up it every day.

John, is there a way of attaching an "alpine" or "non-alpine" status to all the peaks in the database? If so I think this filter should be added to all the stat categories.
I simply suggest this because I know there are other mountaineers out there that really only care about climbing alpine peaks getting high above treeline and don't climb non-alpine peaks.
Thanks
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Re: Suggestion...

Postby drdickie » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:22 pm

I reject the assumption behind this suggestion--that some peaks are inherently virtuous and some are spurious. Certainly there is a group of hard core alpinists within the peakbagging community who are uninterested in anything else, but my guess is that they are a very small minority. Most folks who climb foothills also climb above timberline at least occasionally. And there are serious high altitude technical climbers who are also county high pointers and do 14ers, prominence ultras, but also rises in Midwestern corn fields. LOJ already has several measures that do privilege high peaks such as average height of peaks climbed, average prominence, and the various lists of peaks above a minimum height threshhold.
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Re: Suggestion...

Postby Steve Knapp » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:40 am

Interesting suggestion, I can understand your frustration with this Matt. Years ago I was soley focused on the 14ers and then the centennial 13ers to the point of excluding any other peaks. That was pre LoJ, and I never really knew where the other peaks were or cared. No doubt it is a lot more work to go climb a 13er or 14er in the winter than climb lower peaks. You actually might want to try some of the lower peaks particulary in winter, it is a lot of fun and gives you a decent workout depending on what you do and how many you put together. I've had some 25+ mile days with 7-8k of gain just climbing a bunch of lower peaks, which is a great workout and worlds apart from the cold, windy, avalanche prone alpine peaks this time of year. But to each his own. I have nothing but respect for those that seek the challenge of the high alpine in winter. I just choose to go there mainly in the calmer months and thus am able to climb a huge variety of peaks year round in various weather conditions.

The awards and "leader boards" on this site are interesting and tend to motivate some to do more peaks and have their name appear. Others think it's silly and ignore it. You can choose if you want to look at that or not. The filter you suggest would be interesting but as you say hard to assign a alpine/non alpine status to every peak in the USA. A peak is a peak, and John is using the commonly accepted 300-ft prominence rule whether it's Pikes Peak or lowly Green Mtn in Jeffco. I think John has considered some ways to add a quality measure to peaks, perhaps a combination of altitude, steepness, prominence, etc. But there are too many variables that mean different things to different people. Is the Grand Teton more of a peak than 8er Big Rock Candy in Douglas County? Climb both and form your own opinion. You can certainly look at the peaks by elevation and see who is leading the pack for 13ers or 14ers in a given year. You might find that the people climbing foothills in January have climbed the most 13ers by the end of the year. The "exclude repeats" filter will weed out somebody who only climbs Green Mountain every day of the year. But that too is an accomplishment and deserves some recognition.

I was once scolded by someone that it's not a race, which is definitely true. Enjoy every peak for what it is and don't focus on numbers too much, unless you are the type that likes to do that. I can see both sides.
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Re: Suggestion...

Postby John Kirk » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:46 am

Check this page out:
http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/leadersyeare.php?e=13&s=CO

You'll notice last year the leader for 13ers was also tied with me for the year for first place on first-time peaks (no repeats). I was the leader for 12ers last year. I only have 28% of Colorado's highest 1000 peaks left and I'm getting close to completing half of all CO peaks. The latter makes me a "peakbagger". Doing only alpine summits would make me an "alpine-only peakbagger". If I only climbed alpine peaks, I'd already be done and everything would be a repeat if I wanted to climb again.

I think this alpine measure in a compromised or related form would make sense as a separate category, similar to the 5th class award, but not as a filter on "peakbagging". I say compromised/related because treeline in New Hampshire or Maine can be 4,000'. Treeline in Alaska is as low as 1,500'. So obviously, elevation alone is not enough to qualify this measure. I'm not going to go through the database and determine on a one-by-one basis what is an alpine peak and what isn't. Some alpine peaks are easier to do than foothills (some are driveups). Mount Sniktau is short and easy year-round, whereas some front range foothills are the worst bushwhacks to be found and will surpass effort required for many alpine peaks. Chair Rocks is at least an 8 hour climb with 5.10 rock climbing required. How do we handle these exceptions? This gets into the realm of defining "quality", which is too subjective, often too self-serving, and too nebulous for me. I'm open to ideas, nevertheless.

As an aside, foothills in the off-season is the best training for pulling off alpine days like this:
http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/mapasc.php?M=John+Kirk&d=2011-07-16
http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/mapasc.php?M=John+Kirk&d=2011-09-04
http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/mapasc.php?M=John+Kirk&d=2011-09-07
http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/mapasc.php?M=John+Kirk&d=2011-09-24
http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/mapasc.php?M=John+Kirk&d=2011-09-25
http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/mapasc.php?M=John+Kirk&d=2010-09-11
http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/mapasc.php?M=John+Kirk&d=2010-08-11
http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/mapasc.php?M=John+Kirk&d=2009-08-30
http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/mapasc.php?M=John+Kirk&d=2009-07-13
http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/mapasc.php?M=John+Kirk&d=2008-09-20
http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/mapasc.php?M=John+Kirk&d=2008-08-16
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Re: Suggestion...

Postby Matt Lemke » Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:14 pm

Thanks so much for the reply. I definently understand how foothill peaks can be difficult and of high quality and I know where you're coming from John regarding having already done all the 13ers in CO. Any of those climbs you do would be a repeat and myself being one who NEVER repeats peaks there is no way I'd suggest to you to do those again.

However, myself also being an alpine peak-bagger, I have my plans for when I run out of alpine peaks in Colorado as you have. I will relocate. I will finish the Montana 12ers and 11ers, the Bulger list in Washington,
the California 14ers and 13ers, The Idaho 12ers, the Wyoming 13ers, the Alberta top 100, Oregon top 50...you get the idea. I could never stay in one location for so long that I run out of "worthy" peaks in my own mind" to the point I only have foothills left. But, to each his own. Don't take any of my opinions the wrong way. Go after your own goals whatever they may be. I've just stated some my goals here which may be radically different than the normal peak-bagger.

I think what everyone can expect from me in the future is someone who will climb thousands of summits but all alpine summits all over the continent.
BTW John, you have done a fantastic job with this site. I really love it.
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Re: Suggestion...

Postby JoeGrim » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:36 pm

Unlike Matt, I do almost all my peakbagging near or below timberline, because of an issue I have with serious altitude sickness. I wish I could be racking up the alpine peaks like so many here on LOJ, but at least LOJ allows me to compare my progress on low peaks with others. I have found foothills peaks to be very diverse.
Many foothills peaks:
- require challenging scrambles (e.g., "Gem Peak": http://www.listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/Climbers.php?Id=3995)
- allow impressive views of higher peaks from below (e.g., East Glacier Knob: http://www.listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/Climbers.php?Id=2993)
- have fun route finding (e.g., The Needles: http://www.listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/Climbers.php?Id=3124)
- require full day hikes just to bag a single peak (at least at my moderate pace, e.g., 10720: http://www.listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/Climbers.php?Id=2619)
- and best of all, there are a lot more foothills peaks than alpine peaks, especially close to the populated places most of us call home!

Like Matt, I am very grateful to John, as well as others who have compiled these ranked peaks lists, for providing this wonderful resource for all of us: alpinists, bushwhackers, on-trail hikers, etc.
Matt, maybe you should try some of these northern CO foothills peaks I have suggested. You never know, the foothills peak bug might get you too! 8)
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Re: Suggestion...

Postby RyanSchilling » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:04 pm

Matt Lemke wrote:Montana 12ers and 11ers


Might want to lower that bar! Glacier NP's peaks top out in the 10K range (and I believe there's only 5 or 6 Glacier NP 10ers), and they're very worthy of your time. I've only climbed two of them myself, but I'd really love to go back.
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Re: Suggestion...

Postby crshortt » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:31 am

I always love my rare opportunities to get above treeline and they rank among my favorite times in the mountains, especially on my few trips out West. But as others already pointed out, being alpine doesn't necessarily make it more challenging than a peak that isn't. And in the Southeast where I live, people like Peter Barr, Shane Ashby, and myself would never get above treeline. But I can assure you that we've worked harder and suffered more to bushwhack up many of these rhododendron and briar infested 2,000' - 6,000' peaks than we have on any alpine peak with a trail. One can hardly say they don't count as peaks just because they have trees on top.

It's all good, and they all have their own rewards and challenges. Just for the sake of discussion, I fully understand and agree with the reasoning of a 300' (or whatever) prominence cutoff for being a ranked peak but that alone has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with how difficult and how much of a challenge it was, or how rewarding it was. One perhaps extreme example would be in the Indian Peaks Wilderness of Colorado. I haven't been there but I've seen pictures and read up on the area. It would probably be untrue to say that someone who climbed Apache Peak (El-13,441', Pr- 1,101') http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/Climbers.php?Id=362 had a more challenging and more rewarding and worthwhile experience than someone who climbed nearby Lone Eagle Peak (El- 11,900', Pr- 40') http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/Climbers.php?Id=1799, which when viewed from the North must be one of the most amazing sights in Colorado. And it could be considerably more challenging to spend an entire day of continuous steep ups and downs on the forested sub-4,000' peaks of the Mahoosucs or the Devils Path in the Catskills than on the generally less steeply graded ridgeline traverse of the alpine Presidentials, especially if you drove up to Mount Washington first, as opposed to one of the hideously steep trails from the valley. There are countless examples closer to my home where a lower mountain is both more challenging and also more rewarding for views than a nearby higher peak that you can driver higher on and closer to that has no views. Just as the exact opposite is equally true.

My two cents for what it's worth,
Rick
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Re: Suggestion...

Postby Jeremy Hakes » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:37 am

Matt Lemke wrote:I think what everyone can expect from me in the future is someone who will climb thousands of summits but all alpine summits all over the continent.


I think the only person who expects anything from you is you. An individual's goals are exactly that - an individual's goals. Yours are definitely lofty, and I don't just mean alpine-style lofty. I think we all feel the same about our own individual goals - they're great for each of us. Climb on!
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Re: Suggestion...

Postby Jeremy Hakes » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:40 am

JoeGrim wrote:at least at my moderate pace,


Joe - I've found that your times have been quite realistic for the hikes my wife and I have done that closely followed your TRs, where ever they may have been. Keep up your good work on posting them! :)
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Re: Suggestion...

Postby JoeGrim » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:46 am

I won't be posting nearly as many TRs now that my wife and I have a daughter. I'll be out hiking probably once or twice per month, with one of those being a peak hike. Hopefully our little Ellie will enjoy hiking along with her peak-bagging parents one day. For now, she can only go along for the ride, and we have to stay on trail.
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