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Mountain Access Debate
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Take Mt Shasta...
“In the old days, just finding the trail head for most of the climbs on the North/East sides of the mountain took a real commitment. You needed a 4 wheel drive and it was a good idea to bring a chain saw along in case there was a blow down on the way in or on your way out. Many times you parked far below the ideal "trail head" because you just couldn't get any closer. There were names of folks you use to read about in the summit register.
There were comparatively few folks climbing those routes back then, almost no trash and the number of rescues on those sides were far and few between.
Flash forward a few years. Now they charge you for going over 10,000'...the money has gone into many improvements, most badly needed. There are now very nice roads with real signs taking you to parking lots where many. many cars and trucks can now unload climbers and tourists.
Results....More trash on routes, WAY more folks climbing those routes and many more rescues. They now have to change the register on the summit a couple times a year I'm told.
Is it better, depends on who you talk to.”
“Some people get a look that suggests Daniel Boone himself just walked out of the forest. I carry a sharpie in case anybody wants an autograph. It hasn't happened yet.
As a side note has anybody ever gotten the, "Honey, take my picture with the mountain man!" bit? It hasn't happened to me but it just seems that somebody would have this pleasure at some point.”
“I always have people asking me why I am carrying ski poles. Where's the snow? Are you going skiing? No, I'm going hang gliding, thus the big pack on my back.”
“Access is part of the grand plan of making the wilderness more accessible.”
“I love the ski pole question.. I too get it.. but I loved your retort even more.
Hang gliding!!.. ROTFLMAO.”
“I'd never use the road either, almost as scarey as the cog.
But, it has been there since 1861, it's not like they could do something like that now or would want to.
Just thought of something. Can you imagine going up (or worse,down)it in a horse drawn buggy or a Model T?
Or going down the cog railway on a sliding board while it was being built?”
“Silent J - the cog train is a steam locomotive (yep, runs on burning coal) that takes tourists to the top of Mt. Washington. It uses a gear that fits into grooves on the track for added traction, since its way up is steep (for a train).”
“Mount Greylock is the highest point in Mass.
At it's peak is a stone tower that looks like a HUGE chess bishop.
It was built to commemorate The Great War.
I don't think that sort of monstrosity would be built these days.
The Appalachian Trail goes over the top as does the road.”
“I heard that the view from Greylock is amazing.. The writer of Mobey Dick was inspired to write that book by the mountain and its whale shaped profile.”
“artex, maybe you should only hike mountains that don't have auto roads. i have been to the top by road several times, last year i drove my cousin to the top. she's not a hiker, not into physical stuff, more artsie. it was a big thrill for her to experence the ride up and the weather once we got there. she had never done anything like it before. 10 years ago we took our kids camping for two weeks up in new england, they were 8 and 11. we are big into trains and rode the cog up. that too was an experence for them and us. we were prepared with long underwear, wool hats and gloves. i'm headed up there in early sept with the hubby and may try hiking up. that is one of the peaks i want to bag on my two legs, along with katadin. hey i'm a florida girl that goes to the mountains once a year to camp, hike and backpack and i'm lucky that i can. but there are people who can't but that would like to have the experence of a mountain top view. i say hike your own hike and if you don't like the auto roads the climb mountains that don't have them.”
“Eaaaaaaasy, cyndee. Eaaaaaaaasy. Your points are valid, and are similiar to some of the ones I presented in my first point. I see those, but still lean towards keeping the highest and most glorious peaks pristine. And yes, I feel summiting them should earned. I'm a peak-bagging, exercise junky and make no apologies for it. So sue me.”
“well said Artex!!”
“so how much are you worth?”
“I'm glad that everyone and their brother can experience Mt. Washington, but it's such an awesome mountain that it would be awesome if the trails were the only way to the top. Thank goodness all the other NE alpine peaks are roadless for the large part. I'm glad Mt. LeConte in the Smokies is roadless too, even though it has a lodge on the top of it.”
“Cyndee, not much. I do have some cool gear though.
I agree, Earth N' Sky.”
“That's what you get for being so curious! You gotta keep in step with the crowd. Keep your feelings to yourself. That's the way it has to be around here. We're too busy with the I'm new here threads to bother with your concerns. Haven't you learned anything here? Come on, man, move back to Florida and stay away from those mountains. It's much safer here. If you have to, you can always climb Mt. Dora. One step and you're on the top. Now, behave yourself, will ya? I don't want to have to talk to you again.
“Maybe Artex should just shell out the $49, ride to the top and see what he thinks. ;-)
I know the upper portion of the road is used for the Snocats to bring weather observatory personnel in the winter. You can also hire a SnowCoach (4WD vans with the tracks attached to the wheel hubs) to take you about 2/3 of the way up in the winter and ski or snowshoe down. I wouldn't mind doing that one day.”
“how about the kayak?”
“btw, i'm glad that pikes peaks had an auto road because there is no way i could ever climb that mountain.”
Wow interesting discussion
“I think we need to put ourselves in others' shoes. It's pretty elitist for us to deny/discount/whatever others for getting somewhere in a different way than ours. Yes, we are proud of our accomplishments, but some people don't like hiking and backpacking. That doesn't mean they don't appreciate nature. Take my mom for instance. She's 63, a little overweight and very asthmatic. She can't barely walk up a little hill. But does she love nature? More than most hikers/backpackers I know (particularly the ones zooming up the hill so fast they miss the scenery.) She cannot hike. She would be one of those people some of you are laughing at, criticizing, etc. But you know what? She loves being out there.
Besides some people are train buffs! That cog train was probably a total thrill for them and they are wondering what the heck the hikers are thinking! So there! Nah! : p”
“I wouldn't laugh at a little old lady. But I would think she were a lot cooler if she hiked to the top. :-)”
“Maybe Artex should just shell out the $49, ride to the top and see what he thinks. ;-)
I know the upper portion of the road is used for the Snocats to bring weather observatory personnel in the winter. You can also hire a SnowCoach (4WD vans with the tracks attached to the wheel hubs) to take you about 2/3 of the way up in the winter and ski or snowshoe down. I wouldn't mind doing that one day."
49 bucks?! Holy crap, that things expensive. I'll definitely stick to going up for free with my own two legs.
Cool about the skiers being taken up during adverse winter conditions. That's different, IMO.”
“One of the most beautiful places in the world is near the top of the Zugspitze. I wish I could show my slides. You can hike, but I'll take the cog train so that I can spend more time near the top.
Garmisch, Germany's premier winter sports center, was the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics. At the top of Garmisch is the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain (2,966m/9,730'), which borders Austria. Skiing on the glacier there is accessed either by a cog railway or aerial tram.
Alpine skiing with a uniquely German flavour, Garmisch has facilities which would make even Aspen blush. To reach the slopes, take a cog-wheel train from the foot of the Zugspitze or the GAP train station. The train tunnels through part of the mountain on its way up.
Zugspitze by Foot
There are two ways to climb the Zugspitze—the hard way, and the really hard way.”
“If the adventure is in the journey or in the climb, then the summit shouldn't matter...but somehow it does. Always a life lesson in everything isn't there? It's sort of like busting your butt to ace a final only to find out everyone else had the answer sheet, but did they?”
“The late Justice William O. Douglas (Warning: he was a liberal) wrote in "My Wilderness: East to Katahdin" about climbing Mount Washington, describing the trip up in exquisite detail. He also described the guy in Bermuda shorts chomping on a fat stogie he met at the top, who wondered why Douglas walked up when he could have driven or taken the train.
Yes, we sometimes get grossed out by tourons we encounter on our trips, but it is good to remember that old age or infirmities could one day render us among their numbers. At that time the road might look awfully good to us.
I've hiked up to Spruce Knob and stunk up the observation tower. It's kind of neat to see the tourons peel off, like the parting of the waves.
Those plaques on Spruce Knob did not last long, MarkO. They are now long gone, as are many of the nature trail interpretive plaques.”
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