NYT Article: Has Anyone Really Summited the World's 14 Highest Mountains?

Tricia

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Not to take away from the efforts of those who've logged these summits, but this was a very interesting article.

 

dbostedo

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Interesting... but for some mountains it does seem to get a little silly. The Annapurna examples, where there's apparently a reasonably flat area that's the "summit", and some are saying you didn't truly get the summit if you didn't stand on the one spot that's a little higher than the rest? Seems kind of silly. But other peaks do seem more clear cut.

Still, if someone had been within rock throwing distance of the summit on all those mountains, I wouldn't think much differently of it than if they'd truly "summited". But I'm not really into mountain climbing.
 

dbostedo

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I dare them to speak to Reinhold Messner about this... :geek:
He's quoted in the article several times. And agrees he may technically have not made every summit. “If they say maybe on Annapurna I got five meters below the summit, somewhere on this long ridge, I feel totally OK,”
 

KevinF

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New Hampshire has the 4,000 footers list -- 48 peaks that are over 4,000 feet high.

If you claim to reach them all, the AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) will send you a certificate of completion. It's a fairly popular endeavor to start; finishing takes some perseverance, although in the 50 years or so the "list" has been in existence, it's seen around 10,000 "official" finishers and probably many more who didn't bother recording their accomplishment with the AMC.

At any rate, the most remote peak is Owl's Head. Reaching it involves a bushwhack, an 18 mile hike, and eight river crossings -- and your reward is a summit thought to be at 4,001 feet and nothing else because there's absolutely no view. Just a rock in the middle of the forest. Somebody a few years ago with their GPS found a second summit at 4,005 feet, thus leading to a similar question -- how many people have actually tagged the "real" summit of Owl's Head, or various other peaks with broad summits.

I know I didn't find it -- I wandered around with my GPS and found a spot at 4,003 feet. Close enough? I'm not turning in my AMC completion certificate. As far as I can recall off-hand, Washington is the only one with a sign marking the exact geographic summit. The other 47 "you're on your own".

There's a saying that "close" only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. Hiking / climbing to the "real" summit seems like a worth third entry on that list.
 

James

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“The implications for mountaineering are massive. Or maybe they do not matter at all.”

Not really. It’s just the difference between climbing it and reaching the true summit.
I do think establishing true summit is important, but you can still say you climbed it if you’re that close. Messner sums it up, he’s ok with the false” summit.
Are people going to be climbing atop the tripod on top of Mt Everest now? If you turn around 1-2m below Everest summit because there are 30 people up there, that’s fine. waiting the extra

9EF33703-DBA0-4B60-8708-AA6DD234FA2C.jpeg

I’ve read about this one before.
I think “close enough” counts as climbing it. It’s not worth the hour exposed to shimmy that ridge.
So you didn’t reach the true summit.
 
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