When do I count a summit?

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When do I count a summit?

Postby Swithich » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:26 pm

Okay so since so many of the peaks up here have roads to their summits...do I get to count that or do I have to put in at least some nominal amount of effort in getting to the summit?

-Swithich
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Re: When do I count a summit?

Postby davebobk47 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:45 pm

When I lived in ABQ I only counted Sandia if I started at the bottom. You can hardly consider it summiting if you drive from the bottom. I did not even count it if I rode the tram and hiked the remainder. Its all a personal thing.
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Re: When do I count a summit?

Postby Layne Bracy » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:34 pm

Personal choice, and you can always upgrade a summit effort later should you choose.

For example, on Pikes Peak in Colorado, you can:
drive or take the tram to the top
start your hike at Devils Playground, ~13,000'
start at Crags TH, ~10,000'
take the Barr Trail, with 7,000' gain over 13 miles
Where do you draw the line?

In the county highpointing world, all you have to do is 'touch the top', so driving is OK. In the 14er bagger world, I suspect most wouldn't claim a 14er completion including a drive-up of Pikes or even starting at Devils Playground. I'm fine claiming ascents from Crags, but someday I'll do the Barr Trail.

I suspect that many of us have some drive-ups in our lists which we are OK with. As a teen, I was in a car that drove up Mt Washington. I count that, but should I ever complete the 50 state hp's, I would re-do that one with a 'proper' hike. I recall a fellow on 14erworld who would make a marathon out of little hp's like the Delaware hp to make them worthy efforts; beyond the motivation of most, I think.

My suggestion is to err on the side of counting your summits, even if drive-ups.
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Re: When do I count a summit?

Postby Swithich » Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:17 am

Ah. Well I'm trying to avoid having to do peaks over. Usually I'm not a Nazi on this. My rule usually is something I did some sort of work to get to the top. Like Hillman peak I only did about 400 feet (although it was pretty steep). Anyway, I was wondering. Maybe I'll bike Sandia. As long as I get up there on my own power, I'm fine with it.

Just wanted to clarify with the community. I can see myself moving away and people going "no actually those peaks don't count" and having to make a special trip back to NM to pick up 15 peaks.

Thanks for the responses.

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Re: When do I count a summit?

Postby KentonB » Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:21 am

It can get very subjective. While I count a "drive up", I really only do that with minor peaks (and usually when I'm attempting to get multiple peaks in a day). Some peaks, because of their location, are almost impossible to do without a drive up (like "The Needles" which I just did in Minnesota... a high point bordered by lakes with the access road going up the middle).

John Kirk lists the following criteria on the web site which is what I follow:

"Arriving at the highest natural ground is required to claim an ascent of a peak. This means if a 10ft pillar of stone sits atop an otherwise flat and expansive summit, one must get atop this stone. Some feel it is sufficient to "touch the top" with a hand, while others require standing or sitting on the highest rock. Use your own judgment, but at a minimum your body should touch the highest natural surface.

A peak should be counted only once per calendar date. Going over the same peak twice in a day does not constitute a new ascent of that peak, as one could revisit the same peak's summit a virtually unlimited number of times in a day unless a minimum gain is required. Minimum gain requirements are not used for a variety of reasons including subjectivity/error and the fact that many peaks do not have sufficient rise to allow a minimum gain to be possible.
"
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Re: When do I count a summit?

Postby BrianR » Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:21 pm

I count a drive-up as an ascent of a peak. However, I do all of my peakbagging using a 2WD compact sedan. I just did Brian Head in Utah by driving up the good gravel summit road, just 900ft above a paved road. One could certainly think about walking the summit road or using one of the trails in the vicinity plus the final stretch of the road. However, many peakbaggers routinely cut hundreds of vertical feet (or more) off a peak by using 4WD vehicles without much heartburn. Thus, I take sort of a holistic approach; if I can drive it in my little car, fine, but I do quite a lot of hiking on 4WD roads which sort of makes up for the drive-ups. The reality is that only a tiny fraction of "ranked" summits are accessible in a lowest common denominator highway vehicle, and still a very small fraction can be summited even in a high-end 4WD. Heck, even with a helicopter and permission to land wherever there's a safe place, most peaks will require some footwork.

Here's another way of looking at this. In my personal "peaks climbed" spreadsheet, I note the lowest elevation of my hike and use that to calculate what I call my "prominence score" for a peak. I.e., what portion of a peak's rise/prominence I climbed on my "best" ascent. I wrote a tedious essay on this several years ago (http://www.eskimo.com/~rachford/mountaineering/essays/prominence_score.html). One can potentially cure the heartburn from counting a drive-up by later hiking the peak from an appropriately low elevation.
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Re: When do I count a summit?

Postby Swithich » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:03 pm

I think I'll maintain a prominence score. Traditionally, I have basically kept it at 500 feet plus of prominence hiked. Most of the time it was due to the fact that I couldn't get closer than 500 feet vertical from the summit. However, in New Mexico many peaks are drive ups...in fact, probably half of them (on my two lists). Or at least you can get very close to the top. I think I'll just maintain my rule of thumb. Obviously 500 feet can be fairly easy, however, it does offer the security in knowing that some work was done. It should also quiet any naysayers that might come to challenge any completed lists.

Personally, I'm in the camp of not caring, but I can see how a 2k prominence list becomes less impressive if you can just drive your car to the top of most of the peaks.

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Re: When do I count a summit?

Postby ClimbingCooneys » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:24 pm

The 3000 ft rule that has been encouraged for the 14ers doesn't always work when there are multiple, connected peaks - ie, Democrat, Lincoln, Bross. In those situations , we always figured that if the total elevation gain for the day was around 3000, we had met the criteria. Some peaks require extensive backpack trips just to get into. We count the elevation gain on the backpack as part of the total. If you start from a high camp at 12,000, and only gain 1,100 to summit a 13er, but packed in 8 miles and gained 2000 on the trip in, it counts as far as we're concerned.
In short, we've never been bound by the 3,000 ft rule, especially on the 13ers. When you consider all the hikes we've done where we put in 4000 - 5000 vertical in a day or even more, it seems justified to cut yourself a little slack when you can get off easy on something else. The little 13er next to Antero, we hiked to the summit from our vehicle in 14 minutes and Mt. Evans B off Mosquito pass, we did in 17 minutes. In each case, we at least gained 300 feet. There's been precious few of easy hikes like that, though. Seeing how the 602 peaks we've completed thus far have added up to over 1.8 million vertical feet gained according to our records, that's an average of 3,000 per peak. I'd say we met a decent criteria anyhow. I think in our books, since it takes at least 300 foot rise from a saddle to count as a separate peak, (in Colorado) we feel somewhat compelled to do at least 300 feet to claim a summit.
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Re: When do I count a summit?

Postby ClimbingCooneys » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:30 pm

I'll add one other thought promted by John's reply. We almost always have tried to put a foot or butt on the high point, however, in a few electrical storms, we've satisfied ourselves with a brief hand touch to the high point and a furious dash back to safer ground, and on one or two other summits, when it appeared that the high point was too unstable to support full body weight, we've gone with the hand touch. (El Punto comes to mind) On one unnamed summit near Rio Grande Pyramid, we used hands & knees, one person at a time. Thats' all there was room for and it sure seemed unstable!
Beaten paths are for beaten men.
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Re: When do I count a summit?

Postby mikeofferman » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:40 pm

ClimbingCooneys wrote:one unnamed summit near Rio Grande Pyramid


13017 :shock: ??
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Re: When do I count a summit?

Postby ClimbingCooneys » Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:50 pm

Had to get home from work & look it up - but yes, that's the one. Climbed it from the SE end of the ridge.
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Re: When do I count a summit?

Postby CandaceS » Sun Dec 22, 2019 7:51 pm

"One criterion for climbing a peak is that you should gain a vertical height under your own power equal to your peak's rise from its highest connecting saddle with a neighbor peak...Beyond this minimum gain, you are free to gain as much altitude as your peak-bagging conscience requires." - Gerry Roach, "Colorado 14ers" ;-)
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Re: When do I count a summit?

Postby VDB5590 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:53 am

I don't know what the rules are on your side of the ocean, but for the people I've climbed with, you need to do at least a half (or a third, on more difficult summits) yourself. And then, when you're a seasoned mountaineer, you can retry it from the very bottom of the mountain!
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