Mega Goals by Rick Baugher

Individuals began reporting completion of the 9 Idaho 12’ers in 1989. By 2001 all 44 Idaho county highpoints were reached. In 2011 the last of the 114 Idaho 11’ers was climbed.*

A logical future peakbagging goal will be to complete the 358 Idaho 10’ers (>300′ prominence). At the end of 2014 the best individual showing was 276, for a completion rate of 77%. It is possible that up to a dozen Idaho 10’ers have yet to be climbed by anyone.

Another challenge would be to climb ALL ranked peaks, again >300′ prominence, in any given Idaho county. Of the 44 Idaho counties, there are probably less than 12 counties where all peaks have already been climbed.

Climbing all of the peaks in any given mountain range is another challenge. Part of this challenge is figuring out what defines a mountain range. Idaho has at least 114** mountain ranges. Maybe we should back up and wait for someone to climb just one peak in all 114 ranges.

The ultimate peakbagging challenge, of course, is to see how many of Idaho’s 5856 ranked peaks*** can be climbed. The best showing to date by one individual is 1580 summits, for a paltry completion rate of 27%. Idaho is NOT climbed out! For this endeavor, the challenge, skill set, resourcefulness, time commitment, and focus required for a goal of this magnitude far exceeds the standard notion of what it takes to ‘climb a mountain’.

The reward for pursuing such arcane mega goals probably won’t result in fame and fortune. In the end, it comes down to a sense of personal achievement and enjoying what you are doing, whether by yourself or among friends. For some of us, climbing Idaho’s mountains is the ultimate hobby.

Editor’s Notes:

*True Grit 11,100

*By the count of Wikipedia Idaho has at least 114 features that the online encyclopedia counts as mountain ranges. This includes not only the big mountain divisions but also subranges, hill groupings and ridge lines. By my count there are 79 mountain groups worthy of separate designation as a mountain range or subrange as I see a number of ridges that Wikipedia counts as separate ranges as part of other mountain groupings. In the end the number is an arbitrary decision left up to cartographers and guidebook authors.

**A ranked peak, as used by the Lists of John website, is a peak with at least 300′ of prominence. I note that at least a third of the peaks listed on the Lists of John site have less than 300′ of prominence, as do many named Idaho peaks.

I believe the 300′ rule was originally used by the Colorado Mountain Club. Rick, informed me that Colorado climbers Mike Garratt and Bob Martin adopted the concept of ‘rank’ and explained peak ranking in their 1989 book “Colorado’s High Thirteeners’. Further acceptance of the term came in 1999 when Gerry Roach adopted it in his book ‘Colorado Fourteeners’.

It is my belief that many points with less than 300′ of prominence are worthy of being classified as separate peaks. A bump on a ridge is not enough in my mind for separate peak designation by itself. Factors I consider are distance from a ranked peak and the quality of the route or routes on an unranked peak. As for officially named peaks that do not have 300′ feet of prominence, I note that the US Board of Geographic Names does not follow the 300′ requirement.