There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more
If you read back to my post #15, you can see exactly where the title of this thread and list is derived from: Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills. If you have not read the book, then I expect you would not get the reference. But the title of this thread and list really is quite appropriate, considering the focus on skills contained within that book, and the geographic location this forum speaks to. On the other hand, if you've read the book, and having read it you think the book title is "elitist," has "nothing to do with hills," and lacks "wit," then feel free to write to The Mountaineers to complain.
Sure. Why not.
Glad you're enjoying the discussion. Anyway, NOT just attitude and confidence, but competance. I agree completely that one's ability to keep their head in a difficult situation can be the difference between life and death. But too many people head off on adventures big and small with too much confidence and not enough competance, with disastrous results. When I talk about completing an objective "in good style," I'm talking about putting in the requisite time and energy to gain the physical and psychological skills to do it safely. This may mean years of training for any one of the items on the list. And it's not about "proving [one]self" to others. Anyone who has been doing this for any length of time has most likely realized that no one else gives a crap. Anyone who thinks anyone else is going to care that they climbed Moby Grape is in for a rude awakening. The same can be said for each of the objectives I listed: a negligible number of people outside the extremely small mountaineering community have heard of any of the objectives on this list.
Sure. Why not.
So which mountaineering skills can not be attained in New England? OR, conversely, which mountaineering skills are required for New England?
Freedom of the New England Hills - a list of New England classics that test a person's proficiency as a mountaineer
Mountaineering skills and knowledge
Clothing and Equipment
Camping and Food
Leave No Trace
Alpine Rock Climbing Technique
Leading on Rock
Aid and Big Wall Climbing
Snow Travel and Climbing
Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue
Alpine Ice Climbing
Waterfall and Mixed Climbing
Safety (I assume avalanche awareness falls into this category)
The Cycle of Snow
Classic New England Trips
1. Three-day winter Presi traverse
2. Summiting Washington via any of the ice routes in Huntington Ravine, having led at least one pitch.
3. Whitney G or Moby Grape on Cannon Cliff, having led at least one pitch.
4. Baxter Peak and the Knife's Edge ascent in winter conditions.
5. Any backcountry loop or traverse that requires 5 days or more of winter travel.
6. Bushwhacking the Captain or Vose Spur in winter
Last edited by Tom_Murphy; 10-30-2013 at 12:03 PM.
Home definitely misses me more than I miss home when I am on an (extended, or even a series of day) hiking, cycling or fishing trip. Likewise, when my wife takes the kids to her mom's, for example (leaving me home as I have to work), I enjoy the complete freedom of the remote control
Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.
If this is the case, then why the references to any 'objectives' at all? Objectives establish an order, and to be in an order is to bend and conform to someone else's criteria, thus removing an aspect of the freedom discussed.And it's not about "proving [one]self" to others. Anyone who has been doing this for any length of time has most likely realized that no one else gives a crap. Anyone who thinks anyone else is going to care that they climbed Moby Grape is in for a rude awakening. The same can be said for each of the objectives I listed: a negligible number of people outside the extremely small mountaineering community have heard of any of the objectives on this list.
I don't need to climb Huntington's to get to the top of Mt Washington, there are other routes, just as an example. If I encounter an obstacle, and I have on too many occasions, then I find a way to address the obstacle to reach my objective. I have bypassed climbing cliffs solo with a pack to reach the top, why would I needlessly risk damage by not seeking another avenue?
But I agree the basic skillset needed to achieve the freedom of which you speak is necessary, just not sure it's as encompassing as described previously.
Appearances are not everything, it just looks like they are.
Sure. Why not.
But I disagree with your suggestion that "most people could do" all of the items on the list given time. An extremely small fraction of the population will ever have the physical and mental abilities required to lead several pitches of 5.8 with a full trad rack. An extremely small fraction will have the abilities required to haul a full pack over exposed peaks for several days in horrific weather. Whether it's risk tolerance, physical ability, whatever, most people simply will never do it, and it's disingenuous to suggest the only limiting factor is time. Does that make this list "elitist?" Yes, absolutely. In my opinion, anyone who completes this list is an elite mountaineer, at least by New England standards. But as I've said many times, this list isn't about establishing who is or isn't an elite mountaineer. Who cares, really. It's about gaining perspective, and sometimes moving out of your comfort zone.
Sure. Why not.
hikerbrian, in my previous post, when I said "most people could do them", I meant most people who hike. I should've been more precise. Besides that clarifying statement, I stand by every word of my post, as I'm sure you do of your post(s). You will not convince me otherwise, nor will I convince you otherwise. We'll shake cyber-hands and call it a day.
Hey Billy, I left some important items off my last post - hard to believe I'm sure, but I'm trying to keep my posts reasonably brief, which is hard because this topic is meaningful to me. Anyway, aside from your clarification - which I still disagree with, but am happy to shake cyber hands on and agree to disagree - your post is important and makes several good points. You're absolutely right, being competant in any of the listed items requires real commitment. You can't just roll into the mountains some February and knock of Pinnacle gully. You have to get after it week after week after week, in the rock gym, at the crags, and eventually in the ravine. Depending on your family situation, this may represent a HUGE opportunity cost. My kids are 3 and 5, and the truth is I may not get to some of these until they leave for college. And then who knows where my physical abilities and motivation will be. The reason I still like this list is, among other things, it keeps me humble and reminds me there is plenty still to learn in the Northeast.
Sure. Why not.