Lots of people see this unnamed peak, though not from this angle. Very few climb it. It's one of my favorites. Why, then, invite everyone to it?
That is the question.
Before I go on, let me state that what follows is based on personal feelings and judgments. Although I am a site moderator, what I am going to talk about is not a new SP policy and is not under discussion as a new policy. Also, I am not going to bring it up for discussion among the staff as a new site policy.
But please read with an open mind and consider this as something SP contributors might want to think about.
I have deleted almost all of my pages for peaks that have no official names and no locally or historically accepted unofficial names as well. By this, I mean the many "Point..." and "Peak..." pages I had posted, not peaks unofficially named for the benchmarks found on them. In a few cases, I changed the page to a trip report or route or incorporated essential information into another page, and there are two over which I'm still pondering what to do, but most of the pages are gone. So are many of the pictures, though I left several behind if they were relevant to other pages.
With a few exceptions, the deleted pages were from the Calico Hills of Nevada's Red Rock Canyon (no great loss-- locals climb those peaks all the time, they are easily seen from the road, and anyone with decent route-finding skills will find his or her way up) and the wilderness areas of Montana and Wyoming.
Why have I done this, especially since I have long been among those who think SP's greatest value is as a source of information for obscure peaks and since I still am among those?
- With very few exceptions, no one had signed the climber's logs, leading me to think few members were using the pages.
- These pages had far fewer hits than did pages for named peaks in the same area written by me and other SP members, suggesting that few non-members were using the pages as well.
- How many people are really putting something like "Point 8466, Rocky Mountain Front, Montana" into search engines, anyway?
- I suspect that most people interested in such peaks are less interested in others' beta and more interested in finding their own ways to the summits.
- Finally, and most importantly, some of the peaks in question are among my all-time favorites, and I am a lover of obscure peaks for which there is little or no beta, so exactly why was I posting beta on those peaks? Power Points? Vanity? Boredom? To show off my pictures? All I can say for sure to that is that I know I most certainly was not posting the beta out of a desire to invite the rest of the world to those summits.
Collectively, those pages took a lot of time to create, especially the ones for which I also added a route page or two (also deleted), so this was not an easy decision to make, but as time has passed since the deletions, I have come to feel better and better about what I did, especially in the cases of peaks whose summits had few or no traces of prior human visits.
Take, for example, the peak shown above, and also the one in this page's Primary Image. The included caption expresses some thoughts about the first. The second-- not visible from any roads, it truly is a wilderness gem. As far as I know, the only trail with a view of it requires a long trip to get to that view. For the most part, the peak is only visible from other obscure peaks and ridges. Although it wasn't that difficult to climb it, I found no obvious signs of previous human visits, which does not prove no prior ascents but does suggest that very few ever go there, likely because it is unnamed and remote and reaching it requires a long drive with rugged sections and three stream crossings.
So why exactly do I want to trumpet these mountains' secrets to all the world?
Pages that are gone:
Absaroka Range, WY
- "Steercalf Mountain" (Point 12,327)
- Point 11,883
- "Bear Creek Pass Peak" (Point 11,694)
Beartooth Range, MT
- "Little Thunder Mountain" (Point 10,583T)
(Note-- information for this peak still exists; I incorporated it into the Thunder Mountain page.)
Little Thunder Mountain
Calico Hills-- Red Rock Canyon, NV
- "West Calico Tank Peak" (Point 4850)
- "Tinaja Peak" (Point 4760)
- "Sandstone Quarry Peak" (Point 4708)
- "Red Book Peak" (Point 4608)
Death Valley National Park, CA
Gros Ventre Range, WY
- Point 10,700 (noted in the Bonney Guide as "Terrace Peak" although it shouldn't be)
- "Pillar Peak" (Point 10,405)
(Note-- information on these peaks still exists; I incorporated it into the Terrace Peak page.)
Madison Range, MT
- "Jerome Rock Peak" (Point 10,175)
Rocky Mountain Front, MT
- "Headquarters Peak" (Point 8789)
- "Hidden Lake Peak" (Point 8466)
- "Blindhorse Peak" (Point 8295)
Sawtooth Range, ID
Pages I'm still pondering over:
- "Eagle Canyon Pinnacle" (San Rafael Swell, UT)
- "Badlands Peak" (Death Valley NP)
Eagle Canyon Pinnacle
Eagle Canyon Pinnacle is easily seen from I-70, from which it is little more than a stone's throw away, in Utah's San Rafael Swell. Even though the name is something I made up and I haven't found any other climbing information about it on the Internet, posting a page on this easily visible and easily accessible formation is not exactly spilling the secrets of the wilderness. Thus, I don't feel so conflicted about posting that page.
Deciding what to do about the Badlands Peak page involves factors that are almost identical. Prominently visible from Zabriskie Point, probably the most popular roadside stop in Death Valley National Park after Badwater, Badlands Peak is hardly a prize beheld by only a few hardy backcountry travelers. It's probably been photographed by millions of people. However, it's been climbed by few (but there is a cairn at the summit), and climbing it from Zabriskie Point feels like a wilderness experience because it takes one into and through some rugged, spectacular desert terrain that most certainly will not appeal to most casual hikers even though the route is not very long (1.5-2 miles to the summit).
Again, I am not proposing a new site policy here. Admittedly, I hope this essay will make some people who have posted pages like the ones I did take a closer look at why they have done so and whether it was a good thing to do. But I am not shouting out that everyone should just delete all their pages for unnamed peaks.
In closing, I want to offer two apologies:
- First, an apology to anyone who has been even partially motivated to post pages like the one I have deleted because I have helped set that precedent. If you now feel burned by my about-face on an issue I once saw from the opposite side I do now, I apologize.
- Second, an apology to anyone who has posted pages like the ones I have deleted and who feels that this essay devalues his or her efforts in creating those pages. That is not my intention at all. The pages on these kinds of peaks are among the best and most valuable on SP, and you have made these pages for relatively little recognition and return since the masses here tend to view and vote on the pages for popular peaks, even when the author has not climbed the peak. I am simply questioning why we lovers of the obscure and the overlooked want to publicize these pristine places that inspire us so.