Unclimbable Summits

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Unclimbable Summits

Postby davebobk47 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:42 am

Okay so this is driving me nuts. There are two summits in the quad I live in that I cannot climb. They are easy class 1 walk-ups but they are on the military base here in Albuquerque and within that base they are in a secure area. Therefore even if you have access to the base you cannot climb them. An attempt to treapass would have you in jail rather quickly since it is a guarded area. With the exception of these two summits I would have the quad complete. Anyone else have this problem elsewhere in the US?
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Re: Unclimbable Summits

Postby John Kirk » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:39 pm

I know similar problems exist for Nevada. Are the summits really guarded 24/7? I guess communication with the base about access gets you nowhere?
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Re: Unclimbable Summits

Postby davebobk47 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:01 pm

I work on base and am on the SAR team with a guy that works in there. He said there is absolutely 0% chance to get me or anyone else up there. They are without a doubt unclimbable. I think there are also a few in the White Sands Missile Range, I believe a few are 2k prom peaks.
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Re: Unclimbable Summits

Postby tracyfoutz » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:50 pm

I think "unclimbable" is a relatively subjective misnomer. Since there are different risks involved in climbing or hiking certain peaks - some may deem them "unclimbable." Risks involve physically failing on some peaks and "getting caught" on other peaks. The idea is to return alive and return undetained by law enforcement.

There are peaks on the Nevada Test Site that some people deem "unclimbable." They probably are for most people. Mt. Rushmore is deemed "unclimbable" by some people. Morro Rock in California, Shiprock in New Mexico, Cave Rock at Lake Tahoe, and some sea stacks along the Oregon Coast are others that come to mind. You don't know until you try, and before you try you have to ask yourself is it worth the risk - not only to yourself but the bad rap it may give the climbing community.

If you picked a windy, rainy, moonless night and had night vision goggles, is there a chance you could get away with climbing a restricted "off-limits" peak? Possibly - but is it worth it to you. You don't know for certain until you (or someone else) does it succesfully. :disturbed:
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Re: Unclimbable Summits

Postby davebobk47 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:33 am

tracyfoutz wrote:I think "unclimbable" is a relatively subjective misnomer. Since there are different risks involved in climbing or hiking certain peaks - some may deem them "unclimbable." Risks involve physically failing on some peaks and "getting caught" on other peaks. The idea is to return alive and return undetained by law enforcement.

There are peaks on the Nevada Test Site that some people deem "unclimbable." They probably are for most people. Mt. Rushmore is deemed "unclimbable" by some people. Morro Rock in California, Shiprock in New Mexico, Cave Rock at Lake Tahoe, and some sea stacks along the Oregon Coast are others that come to mind. You don't know until you try, and before you try you have to ask yourself is it worth the risk - not only to yourself but the bad rap it may give the climbing community.

If you picked a windy, rainy, moonless night and had night vision goggles, is there a chance you could get away with climbing a restricted "off-limits" peak? Possibly - but is it worth it to you. You don't know for certain until you (or someone else) does it succesfully. :disturbed:


I agree that "unclimbable" is subjective but in this case the area is under 24/7 surveillance and knowing the guards if they saw someone dressed in black with night vison googles they would be likely to shoot first and ask questions later. I guess I would put these at the "more unclimbable" spectrum of "unclimbable".
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Re: Unclimbable Summits

Postby TWorth » Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:55 pm

One peak which may be unclimbable due to access in CO is Chimney Rock. Not on a military base, but USFS archeological area. Getting permission seems very unlikely. Also requires technical climbing and the rock looks rotten.

For military base access, maybe try this sort of approach to negotiation:

(warning: nonsensical, year 2000 internet bubble humor)

http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/base
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Re: Unclimbable Summits

Postby John Kirk » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:50 pm

tracyfoutz wrote:Shiprock in New Mexico, Cave Rock at Lake Tahoe, and some sea stacks along the Oregon Coast are others that come to mind.


Ship Rock is quite climbable if you can handle the seemingly unending sequences of technical pitches:
http://www.summitpost.org/trip-report/5 ... climb.html
There was an excellent route page up also, but that was taken down at the request of a different user who doesn't really understand the access situation. There is no enforcement and no monitoring of access. Plenty of people climbed it in the very recent past and will in the future.

Bald Mountain NV is a completely different type of situation
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Re: Unclimbable Summits

Postby cftbq » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:12 pm

Can't resist putting in my $.02 worth here. This is another sad consequence of the paranoid militarization of America.
The fact that the military has been turned loose, with all their secrecy and penchant for violence, to block American citizens from peacefully climbing mountain peaks in America should be all that any rational American needs to see that this has all gone much too far...but, unfortunately, it isn't. RIP, democracy.
"from mountains high, I gained strength for my soul" --Dave Cousins
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Re: Unclimbable Summits

Postby BradD » Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:49 am

I currently work on a secure military base, in the secured area of the base. The military police will almost 100% likely see anyone entering the secured area. It has cameras, motion sensors, etc. And, the police have guns. A sign that appears along the fence at regular intervals indicates the authority to use deadly force. Like Patrick said, we are a scared society and the government has given themselves the authority to deny American citizens many civil liberties.

So, one way to approach the "unclimbable" peaks is to ask. Almost all military bases have an Outdoor Recreation Center where trips are organized, gear rented, etc. Go see them and ask about putting together a guided hiking trip. You may stir up some interest in other parties for your climb. In Colorado, there are 7 ranked peaks on Fort Carson, but they are accessible. These peaks are in areas that one day is hosting live fire exercises, and the next day folks hiking. I believe that "unclimbable" peaks is subjective like the rest, but persistence will get you the prize, at least in most cases.
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Re: Unclimbable Summits - another

Postby Jeremy Hakes » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:22 am

Here is another one: Cathedral Rock

http://www.listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/Cl ... hp?Id=5774

I know that Bob Ormes climbed this with a friend back before the USAFA existed, but I don't know of any ascents since. It sits within the firing range, but cadets run around there during non-firing times. It sits VERY close to the NF boundary, but also absolutely requires 5th class climbing on questionable rock.

Maybe a more appropriate term would be "Inaccessible Peaks".
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Re: Unclimbable Summits

Postby Jeremy Hakes » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:24 am

cftbq wrote:Can't resist putting in my $.02 worth here. This is another sad consequence of the paranoid militarization of America.
The fact that the military has been turned loose, with all their secrecy and penchant for violence, to block American citizens from peacefully climbing mountain peaks in America should be all that any rational American needs to see that this has all gone much too far...but, unfortunately, it isn't. RIP, democracy.


I'm in total accordance with you on this, Patrick. Further, whilst peacefully and unobtrusively climbing those said peaks, we are doing no damage to the mountain, either.
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Re: Unclimbable Summits

Postby BradD » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:23 am

I agree that Cathedral Rock and Monument Rock have questionable rock that will likely do damage to you, the rock, or both, and thus are probably not really climbable. I like the "inaccessible" label though.
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