Paul Ryan's 40 14ers? About as Credible as his 2:50 Marathon

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nature

climber
Boulder, CO
Nov 3, 2012 - 09:42am PT
bump to the top.

and since it's somewhat related... if i wanted to snowboard off of a 14er which ones might I look at?

and thanks for starting this up again, Rick.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Nov 3, 2012 - 09:44am PT
Thanks again Rick A. :)
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2012 - 09:46am PT
September 15, 2012

It has been 10 days since Paul Ryan was reported to be counting up fourteeners on the campaign plane with his brother and still the only official word is what was reported in the New York times article of September 7, 2012.

Still no other details, “no listing, no dates, no times,” in the words of the song. Here is the official statement.

Your article says he ‘climbed 40 of Colorado’s Fourteeners.’ I’m not sure what the source for that is, but we wanted to add a little nuance. Paul Ryan has made nearly 40 climbs on 28 different peaks. We wanted to clear up any confusion. Thanks!

A close reading of the wording of the official statement raises the question of whether there is more nuance being employed than is apparent at first glance? Here are some of the questions raised by the official statement.

• “ [N]early 40 climbs on 28 different peaks” is an interesting formulation that does not mention peaks over 14,000 feet at all. Could this possibly indicate that the official totals do not count fourteeners at all, but include lesser peaks? One would naturally infer from the context that the official statement means 40 climbs of fourteen thousand foot peaks on 28 different fourteen thousand foot peaks, but the statement says it is a “little nuance[d] , so I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the official statement includes peaks less than fourteen thousand feet. And this would be consistent with state GOP chairman Ryan Call’s walk-back of his August 11, 2012 statement from “40 of the state’s 53 peaks over 14,000 feet” to “a number of peaks”. Call, similarly, does not even mention fourteeners in his revised total either. If the official total is comprised of total peaks, not fourteen thousand foot peaks, that would be one nuance too far for me, and I would have to conclude that Ryan is engaged in intentional and scurrilous deception regarding his fourteeners.

• The 2009 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article makes clear that Ryan was talking about fourteen thousand foot peaks when he said, “So I think I’ve climbed like 28 (peaks), and I’ve done it 38 times, because I’ve done a number of them a few times. So I was, you know, kind of into that stuff.”

So let us assume that the official statement does refer to 40 climbs of fourteen thousand foot peaks on 28 different fourteen thousand foot peaks. This indicates that Ryan has made 12 repeated ascents of fourteen thousand foot peaks . That seems unusual in a fourteener collector. Repeating fourteeners does nothing to further the goal of checkng off 54 summits, the “holy grail of hiking” as the op-ed author Mr. Andrews put it. Taking your eyes off the prize of the ultimate fourteener goal seems a little out of character for a focused achiever in the “Atlas Shrugged” mold . Those repeats are a complete waste of time with respect to the Holy Grail. What fourteeners were so much fun that Ryan made 12 repeats of them? I’ve repeated Longs peak 5 or 6 times, but that is because it has superb technical rock climbs on the Diamond and other routes of interest. Compare the reasons for repeating Longs to the reasons for repeating a fourteener Ryan specifically states he has done like Shivano? Not so much, as far as interesting routes are concerned.

• That statement at the end of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel interview transcript on fourteeners, “So, I was, you know, kind of into that stuff,” is reminiscent of what Ryan said after his gross marathon exaggeration: “I was fast when I was younger, yeah..” Is this tendency to further explain an exaggeration after it is made a “tell” that indicates when Ryan bluffing about his athletic feats? Does he feel compelled to dispel any disbelief in a listener by volunteering an explanation for his amazing athletic numbers?

• The consensus of fourteener enthusiasts is that Mt. Evans and Pikes Peak don’t count if you achieved these ascents by driving up the paved roads to the summit. Some fourteener enthusiasts say that you must hike at least 3,000 feet of vertical to claim an ascent of these peaks . How much of these two did you actually hike?

Congressman Ryan:

Your boss, Mitt Romney has refused to produce more tax returns because he claims it would only give the press more opportunities to parse them and draw the wrong inferences from them. To allay this concern about producing your fourteener spreadsheet here, I propose a Supertopo fourteener truth commission made up of impartial Supertopo experts who would be tasked to investigate your claims and issue a non-partisan report. You know, sort of like the Simpson –Bowles deficit commission. The Supertopo fourteener commission would be guaranteed objectivity, because it would be made up only of those who don’t have a dog in the presidential fight, the Canuck contingent here on Supertopo. You are, of course familiar of Canada, Congressman, you can see it from Wisconsin.

I propose that the truth commission be chaired by two well respected Canadians who regularly post here, Mighty Hiker and Tami. The commission would be named the “Mighty-Tami Ryan Fourteener Truth Commission (MTRFTC).”

The MTRFTC would be charged with evaluating the truth of your fourteener claims and issuing a final report after its investigation is concluded. Maybe the talented Tami could be convinced to produce the conclusions of of the commission in cartoon form, using her amusing rat characters.
But Congressman, first you must produce the list of your fourteener ascents, so the truth commission can have access to the evidence which they can objectively evaluate. Please produce the spreadsheet for this purpose.

I propose that the commission have the final word on whether you have acted in accordance with the best traditions of the climbing honor system: being scrupulous in the self-reporting of ascents, or you are, in fact, a peak bagging poseur.


Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2012 - 09:49am PT
September 18, 2012

It has been fourteen days since the New York Times reported that Paul Ryan had consulted a list of Colorado fourteeners on his campaign plane in order to count his ascents.

Flying high above the Rocky Mountains on Wednesday, Representative Paul D. Ryan and his brother Tobin jogged their memories to complete a list of the 14,000-foot summits below them that the vice-presidential nominee had climbed.

“We did that one; we did that one,” they said, consulting a list of Colorado’s famed “Fourteeners.”

Because Paul Ryan has failed to make public his fourteener spreadsheet, the Supertopo Ryan Fourteener Truth Commission has applied to the court of appropriate jurisdiction to issue a subpoena to compel him to produce it here. The court has issued the subpoena and it is reproduced below:

To: Congressman Paul Ryan
From: the Colorado District Court of Mountain Climbing Opinion
Greetings:

You are hereby ordered to produce a list of all Colorado peaks over 14,000 feet that you have climbed, including, but not limited to, the following information: name of peak, date climbed, partners, elapsed time from car to car. You shall post this list on the “Paul Ryan has Climbed 40 of Colorado’s 14ers”on Supertopo.com no later than September 20, 2012.

Failure to comply may result in a default judgment by Colorado mountain climbers that you are a peak bagging poseur.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Nov 3, 2012 - 09:49am PT
I have an acquaintance who does the Lyin Ryan thing , lying about fake accomplishments to promote their self-esteem and self-image while attempting to cut to the head of the social ladder while pushing others back...In my opinion these imposters are thieves stealing the thunder of others who have actually accomplished the feats...Lyin Ryan has no integrity and should not be trusted...Rick...Are you still driving that pinto...?
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2012 - 09:55am PT
September 22, 2012

Thanks for the Slate article, Chiloe.

The article focuses on Ryan’s claim that he has 6% percent body fat and concludes that it is very likely to be false, since only elite, world class athletes measure this low. It is interesting to combine Ryan’s claims to have 6% body fat with his claims to mountain climbing prowess and ask the question, what does a 6% body fat mountain climber look like?

In rock climbing, the key to success is the strength to weight ratio, or grip strength to weight ratio, as has been established by studies of elite climbers. So, in rock climbing, low body fat is a practical advantage in climbing well and is not just braggadocio (although there is plenty of that in climbing). The article in Slate has a photo of Ryan without his shirt, and he certainly looks more fit than the average male of his age. But does he look like a mountain climber with 6% body fat?

For reference, those interested can view this old thread on Supertopo, which was started by the late, John Bachar, perhaps the best rock climber in the world in his day. The thread asked who was the most “ripped” climber (i.e., the one with the best muscle definition)? . It contains photos of what elite, low body fat mountain climbers, men and women, really look like. Does Paul Ryan resemble the bona fide climbers on this thread?

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=330933

Not so much.

Forty fourteeners is an impressive number to those who collect these peaks. That number makes for a very precise claim of mountain hiking achievement, akin to the level of detail that is expressed in a 2:50 marathon time. It seems that Ryan believes that the way to make a lie more believable is to tell the story accompanied by minute details, as this makes it seem more plausible.

Paul Ryan apparently believes that vague exaggerations of his athletic prowess in marathons, fourteeners, and body fat, are not sufficient for his purposes; he must impress his audiences with precise (but false) details of his supposed accomplishments (2:50 marathon time; forty fourteeners, 6% body fat).

The New York Times story by Trip Gabriel portrays Ryan as a neophyte on the national stage who is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, and described his discomfort at suddenly having his past statements, like his mountain climbing claims, parsed and analyzed.

Four weeks ago, no one would have questioned such a detail of Mr. Ryan’s résumé. But since he joined the Republican ticket, every scintilla of his life, every statement he has uttered has been open to inspection. His marathon claim was debunked by Runner’s World, hardly known for political investigations.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/us/politics/paul-ryan-faces-scrutiny-over-marathon-and-mountain-claims.html

But it is really not that hard to have your past statements parsed, if you are, like most people, in the habit of telling the truth, rather than habitually varnishing it.

The body fat and marathon exaggerations could be shrugged off as irrelevant with respect to the political race (if it weren’t part of a larger pattern of mendacity). But not so the exaggeration of his fourteener climbs. It is not disputed that the fourteener claims were trumpeted by the Colorado GOP as a part of its Colorado political campaign, a campaign that sought to equate Obama and Biden’s failure to measure up to Paul Ryan’s fourteener prowess to a fundamental character flaw in the Democratic candidates .

Can you imagine Vice President Joe Biden even wanting, let alone being able, to stroll the Capitol knife edge? Or forging to the top of a "very rough and steep" Pyramid, with its "precariously poised rocks" warned of in the same guidebook?

I can't — and it's not just that Biden always has one foot in his mouth. Nor is it merely differing leisure preferences: golf greens for the presidential incumbent, boulder fields for the would-be veep. Rather the contrast goes to the core of what the men on these two tickets expect of themselves and what they believe free Americans are capable of.


Andrews: Paul Ryan, mountain man - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_21386184/paul-ryan-mountain-man#ixzz27D7sRhBD

So, the fourteener exaggeration is more significant than either the body fat or marathon exaggerations, because the GOP did not make these other fitness claims a major part of a swing state campaign. The Colorado GOP operatives who approved this strategy apparently didn’t vet their candidate’s fourteener claims, probably because it was inconceivable that their candidate would see fit to lie about this minor topic.

While no one in the media has pressed Ryan on his fourteener exaggeration, apparently accepting the campaign’s clumsy explanations at face value, at least we have heard nothing more of Ryan’s boasting about his Colorado mountain climbing prowess. The Colorado GOP campaign is maintaining strict radio silence on this since their “man to match my mountains” strategy crashed on takeoff, when the claims were questioned. For those of us in Colorado, this is a small favor, but we are immensely grateful for it.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Nov 3, 2012 - 09:58am PT
I know someone who has the same propensity to "stretch the truth". Best part of it is that this individual went to high school with Ryan. No shite! I hope it's not something in the water there.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 3, 2012 - 10:06am PT
Hey, who said you could post a climbing-related thread three days before the election?
Sparky

Trad climber
vagabond movin on
Nov 3, 2012 - 10:06am PT
Thank you for re-posting this! Really strange it was removed to begin with.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2012 - 10:08am PT
September 28, 2012

The Gazette: One thing that a lot of people who have been asking me about is the climbing thing that came up about a month ago. How many 14ers have you climbed?

Ryan: Go read Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He paraphrased a conversation we had three years ago, and that’s where the Internet thing got off. You read the transcript. That’s my answer.

The Gazette: Have you done Pike’s Peak?

Ryan: Yeah.

The Gazette: Do you remember when it was, how long it took you?

Ryan: Years ago. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. We’ve been coming out here, every year, my family, since I was a little kid. I’ve been doing this, I did it when I was in high school, I think.

The Gazette: Do you remember how long it took you?

Ryan: No, I’m not going to counter that. You’re just trying to play “gotcha.”

The Gazette: I’m not trying to play “gotcha,” it’s just something a lot of people have been asking me.

http://www.gazette.com/articles/colorado-145158-springs-cuts.html#ixzz27lqbzGji

We have to applaud the one intrepid reporter from the Colorado Springs Gazette who mustered up the courage to ask the key question, “How many 14ers have you climbed?”

But he was no match for an experienced political operator like Ryan. The candidate, schooled in the Gingrich tactic of attacking the press when an inconvenient question is asked, put the reporter on the defensive immediately with his “gothca” offensive.

And it worked. The reporter ran up the white flag immediately, halting his inquiry, and effectively apologizing for having the temerity to question the great and powerful wizard, Paul Ryan.

Woodward and Bernstein, it ain’t; but unfortunately, this sort of truckling to politicians is what we have come to expect from the modern fourth estate.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2012 - 10:15am PT
September 30, 2012

Paul Ryan was in Colorado last Wednesday, September 26, 2012, and a Colorado Springs Gazette reporter asked him, “How many 14ers have you climbed?”

Although the question calls for just a short answer, a number, in response, this is how Ryan responded:

Go read Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He paraphrased a conversation we had three years ago, and that’s where the Internet thing got off. You read the transcript. That’s my answer.

Here is the transcript from a 2009 inteview that Ryan refers to.

Ryan: “My mom was very outdoorsy … We spent our summers doing backpacking trips in the (Colorado) back-country, you know, Snowmass Lake, Capital Peak, spent all our summers doing that … went all over White River National Forest, just the whole Elk range. I mean I’ve climbed every fourteener in that range and the three around there … So I got into climbing fourteeners when I was 12, with my brother, Stan. My mom got us into that."

Question: "How many fourteeners have you climbed? Or how many times?"

Ryan: "38. I think that’s my last count."

Question: "Those are just climbing peaks that are 14,000 feet?"

Ryan: "I’ve done it 38 times. … I’ve done 38, but I think the number of unique peaks is something like twenty… no, no it’s like thirty or something like that. I counted it up a year or two ago."

Question: "Most of those in Colorado?"

Ryan: "All of them are in Colorado. So I think I’ve climbed like 28 (peaks), and I’ve done it 38 times, because I’ve done a number of them a few times. So I was, you know, kind of into that stuff.”

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/168696016.html
So Ryan now affirms that he has climbed 28 of the 54 fourteeners and, additionally, he has made 10 ascents of fourteeners that he had previously summited.

Every fourteener enthusiast I have ever talked to (they’re not hard to find; walk into any Denver area bar during the summer hiking season and you are likely to encounter several) loves nothing more than to describe about their list of ascents, the adventures that arise from those ascents, and to generally share their enthusiasm about the fourteener quest.

So Paul Ryan’s bizarre response does not inspire confidence in the veracity of his 2009 answers to Craig Gilbert’s questions. Remember, this is a guy who is not shy about drawing attention to his athletic achievements, his marathons, his body fat, his awesome gym workouts, etc. It is completelyout of character for this normally voluble politician--who loves to lecture audiences using power point-- to abruptly refuse to engage on this topic.

Here is the whole exchange about fourteeners with the Colorado Springs Gazette last Wednesday:

The Gazette: One thing that a lot of people who have been asking me about is the climbing thing that came up about a month ago. How many 14ers have you climbed?

Ryan: Go read Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He paraphrased a conversation we had three years ago, and that’s where the Internet thing got off. You read the transcript. That’s my answer.

The Gazette: Have you done Pike’s Peak?

Ryan: Yeah.

The Gazette: Do you remember when it was, how long it took you?

Ryan: Years ago. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. We’ve been coming out here, every year, my family, since I was a little kid. I’ve been doing this, I did it when I was in high school, I think.

The Gazette: Do you remember how long it took you?

Ryan: No, I’m not going to counter that. You’re just trying to play “gotcha.”

The Gazette: I’m not trying to play “gotcha,” it’s just something a lot of people have been asking me.

http://www.gazette.com/articles/colorado-145158-springs-cuts.html#ixzz27yLX69l6

It is not “gotcha” journalism for a Colorado Springs reporter to ask for details from the world’s most famous fourteener climber regarding his ascent of the local fourteener, Pikes Peak, which can be seen from that city.

Ryan doth protest to the Colorado Springs Gazette far too much. The only reasonable explanation for his inappropriate and cranky response is that he does not want to get into details, because he really hasn’t climbed 28 fourteeners (still a very impressive number: over halfway to the “holy grail” of 54). But he cannot retreat, because of the statements he made three years ago.

Experienced Colorado mountain climbers appreciate the value of a timely retreat back to the car, when confronted with the frequent and violent thunder storms that arise each summer. I expect that Ryan will eventually have to retreat from his suspect claim that he has climbed 28 fourteeners, plus an additional ten repeats of fourteeners previously climbed, but will it be in time to avoid falling off another reputational cliff ?
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2012 - 10:19am PT
September 30, 2012

Paul Ryan returned to Colorado this week and he now refuses to discuss the specific number of fourteeners he has climbed.

After praising Colorado's mountain beauty — and noting he has climbed many fourteener peaks — Ryan launched into a discussion to frame voters' choice.

Paul Ryan revs Colorado crowds - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/commented/ci_21639529?source=commented-#ixzz27lnYKBUs


A Colorado Springs reporter asked him how many fourteeners he had climbed, but Ryan evaded the question with the panache of a career politician:

The Gazette: One thing that a lot of people who have been asking me about is the climbing thing that came up about a month ago. How many 14ers have you climbed?

Ryan: Go read Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He paraphrased a conversation we had three years ago, and that’s where the Internet thing got off. You read the transcript. That’s my answer.

The Gazette: Have you done Pike’s Peak?

Ryan: Yeah.

The Gazette: Do you remember when it was, how long it took you?

Ryan: Years ago. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. We’ve been coming out here, every year, my family, since I was a little kid. I’ve been doing this, I did it when I was in high school, I think.

The Gazette: Do you remember how long it took you?

Ryan: No, I’m not going to counter that. You’re just trying to play “gotcha.”

The Gazette: I’m not trying to play “gotcha,” it’s just something a lot of people have been asking me.

Read more: http://www.gazette.com/articles/colorado-145158-springs-cuts.html#ixzz27lqbzGji

Probably the first time in the history of Colorado mountain climbing that this common and simple question, "How many 14ers have you climbed?" has been answered with the response, "read the transcript."
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2012 - 10:25am PT
[new post]

A few weeks ago, Ryan claimed that he had climbed “many fourteeners” during a campaign speech in Colorado.

While he declined to cite any numbers in that speech, Ryan contends that he has climbed 28 Colorado peaks over 14,000 feet and repeated 10 fourteener climbs for a total of 38 total trips to the summit of Colorado fourteeners. This is gleaned from his response to questions from a Colorado Springs reporter last week; it was during this interview that he told that reporter to “read the transcript.”

Ryan wants us to take his word on these totals and refuses to provide any substantiation of his claims. At the same time, he has asserted that it is a “gotcha” style, malicious press tactic for a reporter to ask him how long it took to climb Pikes Peak.

By Ryan’s rules, he can make whatever claims he wants to endear him to swing state voters, but it is verboten to ask him for facts supporting those claims.

Here are some questions that should be asked, in spite of Ryan’s take on what constitutes a proper question for a reporter to ask.

• It has been reported that Pyramid is one of your favorite fourteeners. Which route did you climb on Pyramid? There are only two recommended summer routes on that peak and both are dangerously loose. Did you pull off any of the infamous rubble on this peak when you climbed it? Any route finding issues as many have experienced?

• The knife edge ridge on Capitol is awesome isn’t it? Did you hand traverse the ridge or walk it like Crimpergirl illustrated in the photograph on the original post?

• Did you drive up Pikes Peak or hike up it?

• You claim that you have made 10 repeats of fourteeners you previously climbed. Which fourteeners were so much fun that you felt compelled to repeat them, rather than focus on the “holy grail” of hiking all 54 summits over 14,000 feet?

• What peaks other than all of those in the Elks range and Pikes Peak have you climbed? Did you ever get scared climbing these “perilous…slag heaps,” as one guidebook writer characterized the Elks?

• You are clearly very proud of your fourteener climbs and and your claim to have climbed them is a part of your Colorado campaign. Why do you refuse to talk about the details of those climbs?

• When you were in Colorado campaigning a few weeks ago, you said in your speech that you had climbed “many fourteeners.” Why should anyone believe this claim to outdoor achievement, when your claim to have run a marathon under three hours has proven to be false?
east side underground

climber
Hilton crk,ca
Nov 3, 2012 - 10:39am PT
hey rotting johnny, are you talking about the tip roll I did into Werners? Dude it was rad..........eyeeeeeeeee!
Gene

climber
Nov 3, 2012 - 10:43am PT
To have climbed forty and not be a resident means that you would have had to devote entire summers to climbing fourteeners, in essence becoming a "lifestyle" hiker/scrambler. I doubt Ryan had the time or dedication to fourteeners to take the required time out from his political career. Even if you did four a summer, that would be ten summers devoted to traveling to Colorado for the purpose of high altitude hiking. Even if you live here and can drive to the trail heads, forty is a huge commitment of time and energy.


Isn't this Rick's statement? Google it. It has better legs than Ryan.

g
John M

climber
Nov 3, 2012 - 10:47am PT
Wow Rick, Thank you for reposting this. It would be great to find out why that thread was completely deleted. Deleting the first post would not do that.


The GOP.. Honor And Integrity Personified.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Nov 3, 2012 - 10:51am PT
Credit: Crimpergirl

Reposted since the first thread vaporized. Look! Even a girl with more than 6% body fat can do it!
gf

climber
Nov 3, 2012 - 10:54am PT
crimpie -planning on doing your laundry on the summit on that washboard?
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Nov 3, 2012 - 11:02am PT
As long as this is being reconstructed, as I recall one of my contributions was to label Ryan's claim The Rocky Mountain Lie.

oh yeah and


Some people say a lie's a lie's a lie
But I say why
Why deny the obvious child?
Why deny the obvious child?




zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Nov 3, 2012 - 11:14am PT
When the Romney/Ryan campaign walked it back, it became nearly 40 climbs (read hikes, doesn't say he reached any summits).

Brendan Buck, a Romney campaign staffer, sent the following email to Fallows


"Hey James - caught your entertaining piece. Unfortunately, you've got some bad info in there. We're not sure where this started, but he's not said 40 different peaks, its nearly 40 climbs - with a number of peaks climbed more than once. He's been doing them for more than 20 years. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article from '09 doesn't say 40 separate summits, but instead, 'He is fairly careful about what he eats, performs an intense cross-training routine known as P90X most mornings, and has made close to 40 climbs of Colorado's 'Fourteeners' (14,000-foot peaks).'"

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