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Sierra Challenge 2013

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Re: Sierra Challenge 2013

Postby Mike M. » Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:46 pm

I enjoy reading Bob Burd's trip reports and admire him a great deal, but he's a crazy man! I don't understand his "in-and-out" philosophy of climbing that sees him on the trail in the wee hours of the morning, well before sunrise, death marching to his chosen conquest of the day, only to return 18 hours later, usually after sunset, to a godforsaken motel bed. What's up with that?

My approach to the backcountry is the opposite: I prefer to immerse myself for weeks at a time, without resupply. I like to explore out-of-the-way places that catch my interest back at home where I pour over old topos and imagine potential routes. Kick back and enjoy the beauty, take my time. I'm not into peak bagging and don't keep a bucket list.

That said, Bob is fitness machine and his trip reports are a valuable resource for people like me who want to see what a certain route might look like. But I think he'd enjoy it more if he buried himself in the backcountry for a couple of weeks rather than pop in and out every 24 hours.

Each to his own, I guess.

Kudos to Bob, but man, he's crazy for sure!


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Re: Sierra Challenge 2013

Postby orbitor » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:13 pm

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.
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Re: Sierra Challenge 2013

Postby Ken M » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:42 am

oldranger wrote:This is not a criticism but just a reflection I have had for a long time. Why do people need or want to follow "challenges" challenges established by someone else. Just never understood need/desire to thru hike, do Halfdome, or any number of "in" things.

To me the challege is to discover, on my own or through querying friends, obsecure places and spending time becoming inimate with an area. Sort of like the difference between a one night stand and a committed relationship.


I dunno, Mike. It sort of seems like your last sentence contradicts your first.
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Re: Sierra Challenge 2013

Postby sekihiker » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:44 am

When he first started doing his dayhike "death marches" Bob didn't have a lot of time off from his job to do it any other way. I don't know if he has more time off now, but he likes the format. I admire the commitment he has put into his efforts. Few of us have the conditioning to do it Bob's way.
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Re: Sierra Challenge 2013

Postby quietone » Fri May 03, 2013 3:56 pm

personally, i think it would be really cool to play with a group of like minded people and grab a few tops. i hope to have a few days off from work this year and join the fun
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