Sunday, October 18, 2015

Where is 'America's most climbed peak'?

Larry Davis (left) has climbed New Hampshire's Grand Monadnock over 7,450 times.
 Click here to see his video.

 Colorado's Pikes Peak is the most visited peak in North America and second in the world, its promoters claim. (They don't identify the world champion, but it must be China's Tai Shan or Japan's Fuji.) Pikes Peak boasts up to 500,000 visitors in a year, though that number may decline this year since the famous cog railway is closed.
 New Mexico's Sandia Crest may also be in the running, with up to a half-million drive-ups each year, plus another 200,000 who ride the spectacular Sandia Peak Tramway from Albuquerque. New Hampshire's Mount Washington averages more than 250,000 visitors by foot, car, or cog railway.
 Closer to Le Conte, Tennessee's Clingmans Dome averages 600,000 visitors per year, according to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and North Carolina's Mount Mitchell State Park counted 398,000 in 2016. We can assume that many of those visitors stopped at the parking-lot overlooks and never climbed all the way to the summits.
 An average year at Le Conte Lodge includes about 12,000 overnight guests and 25,000 including day hikers. (That's more than Pikes Peak, which averages 15,000 hikers annually).
 If you Google "most climbed mountain," you may find dubious claims for New Hampshire's Grand Monadnock. Actually, Monadnock's greatest claim to fame is Larry Davis, who climbed the mountain for 2,850 consecutive days in the 1990s and made his 7,450th climb on January 6, 2017. Another climber named Garry Harrington told me he has summited Monadnock about 1,100 times.
 On California's Mount Baldy, Richard Tufts has logged more than 1,000 climbs. Seuk Doo Kim, 78, was aiming to match Tufts and made over 700 climbs before he fell to his death in 2017. 
 Other than Davis, I have found no one in the nation who has climbed one mountain more times than Le Conte's all-time leaders, Ron Valentine and Jack Huff. According to Multiple Repeats by a Member on the peakbagging site, the national leaders (as of July 10, 2018) are Mark Nichols with 1,219 climbs on an unnamed peak in Arizona and Rick Baugher with 1,087 times up Kelly Mountain, Idaho.
 Unfortunately, none of the Le Conte leaders have logged their hikes on ListsofJohn.

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