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Long mountaineering challenges

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 4:25 am
by NZSam
Hi all - I'm a New Zealand-based mountaineer who is new to this forum. In NZ we have a '100 peaks challenge' that features 100 great routes. These range from very easy to very hard, from easily accessible to quite remote, from long climbs on our highest mountains to shorter climbs on smaller peaks. Any such list is of course highly subjective, but I think it helps get the ideas flowing.

Any ideas for other long (multi-month or even multi-year) mountaineering challenges around the world?

Things spring to mind like climbing the 100 highest peaks in North America, climbing all of the 14ers in Colorado and California, traversing an entire mountain range, and so on.

Elite/rich climbers have challenges like summiting all of the 8000m+ peaks. What are some more attainable goals? If you had a year or two off work and wanted to sink your teeth into a big challenge, what would you try to accomplish?

Re: Long mountaineering challenges

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:36 pm
by dadndave
G'day Sam,

Welcome to Summitpost!

I reckon a traverse of the South Island watershed (ie along its length) would be an amazing challenge. Any idea if it's been achieved? I have a vague recollection that someone was at least planning something along those lines but as far as I know such adventures (while still very creditworthy) have dropped off the Main Divide at times.

Re: Long mountaineering challenges

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 4:39 pm
by Palisades79
I do not think anyone has ever completed all of Steve Roper & Allen Stecks "Fifty Classic Climbs of North America " .I climbed with Allen at PSOM when he was working on the book in 1977 .

Re: Long mountaineering challenges

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:25 pm
by NZSam
Cheers for the replies!

The length of the Southern Alps has been traversed - a full traverse on skis in winter and a partial one on foot in summer. As you said, some dropping off the main divide in places was required, but impressive feats none-the-less!

I had also thought about the 50 Classic Climbs book, but there seems to be some discontent about that as a tick list. Partially just because some of the objectives have changed a lot since the book was written (rockfall, climate change, etc). I read about a couple (both guides I think) who spent many years and tens of thousands of dollars trying to complete the list and gave up a few short.

The great thing about the NZ 100 classic climbs list is that anyone with some time off could work their way through it, getting fit enough for the harder climbs as they go (which aren't easy, but they certainly don't require being elite). It's very accessible for 'dirtbag mountaineers' like myself.

But, yes, now you got me thinking - maybe a modified version of the 50 Classic Climbs would hit the spot for a North America road trip...

Re: Long mountaineering challenges

PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:08 am
by seano
The Lower 48 14ers and Canadian Rockies 11ers come to mind (finished the first, hope to finish the second). I'm also working on a list of 50 climbs in North America that are doable by non-elite climbers.

Re: Long mountaineering challenges

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 3:24 pm
by ExcitableBoy
There are a few great books for North America. The aforementioned 50 Classic Climbs of North America is the original. Another is 50 Favorite Climbs of North America by Bob Kruse and Fred Beckey's Favorite 100 Climbs in North America. I have all of these and they are all pretty inspiring.

Re: Long mountaineering challenges

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:43 pm
by Jow
seano wrote:The Lower 48 14ers and Canadian Rockies 11ers come to mind (finished the first, hope to finish the second). I'm also working on a list of 50 climbs in North America that are doable by non-elite climbers.


Is there an official list of 50 climbs doable for non elite climbers you could provide link to? Heard of other the original version only which is out of my skill set

Re: Long mountaineering challenges

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:16 am
by NZSam
Great idea on the 14ers and 11ers Seano, and well done ticking a lot of those off! I suppose that’s around 125 peaks total? (depending on what prominence you include). The Canadian list must take a lot longer… but I like this idea a lot!

ExcitableBoy – yeah seems like someone could take those three books and create a list of 50 or so that are iconic but also relatively achievable, sort of choosing the best from each book.

Another idea would be for someone to create a list of 50-100 classic/iconic mountains, rather than focusing on specific routes (that is actually the way the New Zealand list is structured). Then a climber can choose an easier or harder route on each mountain, depending on their level.

Re: Long mountaineering challenges

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:57 pm
by seano
Jow wrote:
seano wrote:The Lower 48 14ers and Canadian Rockies 11ers come to mind (finished the first, hope to finish the second). I'm also working on a list of 50 climbs in North America that are doable by non-elite climbers.


Is there an official list of 50 climbs doable for non elite climbers you could provide link to? Heard of other the original version only which is out of my skill set

"Official?" It's just a list of my own personal favorites over the years, and I've only chosen 40 of them so far, but you can look over the Table of Contents in the linked PDF here: http://www.drdirtbag.com/scrambles/

Re: Long mountaineering challenges

PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:24 pm
by Snowslogger
Here in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. the Cascade volcanoes is a classic goal that's not too travel intensive.

Re: Long mountaineering challenges

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:55 pm
by Sierra Ledge Rat
High Sierra, California:
Palisade Traverse
Minaret Traverse
Evolution Traverse

North Cascades, Washington:
Ptarmigan Traverse

All classics, hard, and well documented in trip reports here on Summitpost.

Re: Long mountaineering challenges

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:12 pm
by ExcitableBoy
Here is a pretty comprehensive list of enchainments and traverses in the Cascades. https://climberkyle.com/2020/04/23/wash ... traverses/