mbrown wrote:I am an occasional backpacker and peak climber (usually with quide). I used to enjoy reading
bob burds descriptions of the sierra challenges. A few years ago, a woman participant fell off
a ridge during the competition and was very lucky to escape with relatively minor injuries.
A competition where people are perhaps going to push themselves far beyond their comfort
zone and where mistakes could be lead to great bodily harm or worse
is what I would call "intense". I used to regularly train for marathons with much better runners.
If I couldnt keep up, no matter how hard I tried, I would either slow down or stop and perhaps
jog back to my car. The idea of trying to keep up with extremely talented rock climbers/hikers
miles into the backcountry until you are no longer thinking straight again is "intense". It would
be interesting to hear what the "pros" think when somebody who obviously has no business
starting this challenge appears at the start.
It's understood that this activity is "intense;" signing up for participation implies acknowledgement of the risks associated with it, including, as you mention, great bodily harm and even death. Bob Burd has clear disclaimers on his site - reading them takes only minutes.
Furthermore, I don't look on the Sierra Challenge as a win-at-any-cost competition. I don't think any participant will drive themselves to utter exhaustion or go on a suicidal climb for that extra summit. Plenty of people, including some I know and even Bob himself, have turned back because of weather, bad route choice, etc. It is a competition, yes, but ultimately the reason why all these crazies are out there is to enjoy the Sierra just like everyone else, albeit at a faster pace.
Those who really look to compete will be at an extremely advanced conditioning and technical level. They are well aware of the effort that is required to keep up with the 'guru' and with one another. As for the "amateurs," like me, we are in it simply for the experience. KNOW YOUR LIMITS is the mantra and I certainly have no qualms about turning back when my abilities are exceeded. I would expect the others to employ the same logic, which is why I have no problems with this competition as long as every person takes responsibility for their own actions and theirs alone.