Trip Report
Pyramid Peak: Paul Ryan’s “Favorite Fourteener” or Fitness Fable?
Sunday August 25, 2013 7:25pm
Summit of Pyramid Peak
Summit of Pyramid Peak
Credit: Rick A

I was in Aspen for work recently, when it occurred to me that I might get away and hike something in the high peaks to get some cardiovascular exercise. From near town, I could see Pyramid Peak, one of Colorado’s 54 peaks over 14,000 feet, colloquially known as “fourteeners.” Collecting fourteener summits is a popular Colorado pastime, and more and more Coloradans aspire to tick the list. Most approach the game as one to be completed over a lifetime, but today’s endurance athletes try to get them done quickly, in a matter of one year, weeks, or even days. And there are still ways to differentiate yourself from the masses and achieve a fourteener “first”. There have been a select few who have made ski descents, snowboard descents, or telemark ski descents. There are those who ride bicycles between the hikes to achieve purely “human powered” ascents. Recently a book was published about the first pair to spend a night on each summit as part of the quest (slogan: “Snore the Fourteeners?”).

While I have been an avid climber for 42 years and moved to Colorado because of its mountains, my time in the local hills has focused on technical rock climbs, not fourteeners. However, Pyramid Peak gained my attention last year, when Congressman Paul Ryan ran on the Republican ticket for Vice President in the 2012 presidential election (he is considered one of the favorites for the Republican presidential nomination for the 2016 election). During the 2012 campaign, Congressman Ryan was quoted as saying that he had climbed 40 Colorado fourteeners, had done all the fourteeners in the Elks range near Aspen, and that Pyramid Peak was one of his two favorites, along with nearby Capitol Peak. This statement immediately struck me as strange. From what I had read in the fourteener guidebooks, Pyramid Peak sounded like an unpleasant, dangerous slog, with little payoff in terms of aesthetics. But after Paul Ryan claimed it as his favorite, my curiosity was piqued. The summit held a newfound allure: a chance to combine two of my favorite things, mountains and politics.

So, on a recent Sunday in August 2013, I decided to give Pyramid Peak a try. Just the week before, I had come across a column by Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize winning economist, calling Congressman Ryan, current Chairman of the House Budget Committee, a “con man” because he proposes broad cuts to government spending without disclosing the unpopular and politically dangerous details.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/05/opinion/krugman-republicans-against-reality.html?_r=0);.

After hiking Pyramid myself, I agree with Krugman’s assessment of Ryan as a con man, at least with respect to Ryan’s story that he has climbed Pyramid Peak and 39 other Colorado fourteeners.

In my own recent experience, Pyramid Peak is a massive rubble pile, as loose and dangerous a peak as any that can be found in Colorado. One has to question the judgment, if not the sanity, of someone who claims it is his favorite. It is always at the top of lists of the hardest fourteeners, but not because its 6 mile plus round trip is as long or strenuous as other notable fourteeners. No, Pyramid’s reputation rests on its treacherous, loose rock, and in the route finding dilemmas that require one to judge the lesser of two evil paths (“Do I go up this loose, dirty gully, or that one over there?”). I could understand someone describing Pyramid as “the fourteener you were most glad to get down from” or “the one most likely to result in traumatic brain injury,” but favorite? Not so much. My hike up Pyramid tells me that if it wasn’t just over 14,000 feet, reaching the magic elevation for fourteener enthusiasts, no one would ever do it. But before I describe my recent outing on Pyramid, some background on Ryan’s fourteener claims.

Colorado was an important swing state in the 2012 election. To launch Ryan’s campaign in Colorado, a Republican operative penned a breathless Denver Post op-ed that extolled Ryan as a heroic Colorado mountain man who had climbed 40 of the state’s 14ers. This number was confirmed by the Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, Ryan Call, who was quoted in the Denver Post saying that Ryan had personally told him that Ryan had climbed 40. Ryan had also bragged about other impressive fitness achievements, including his Olympian-level body fat percentage, and running a marathon—26.2 miles-- in under three hours.

Marathon enthusiasts soon concluded that Ryan exaggerated his marathon time. Their investigation showed that he had participated in only one marathon, and it wasn’t one of prestigious ones, such as Boston or New York. It was the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota in 1990. Further, his time was not in the low 2:50s as he had claimed; it was actually a little over four hours, comparable to the time of another GOP celebrity marathoner, Sarah Palin, who had scant reputation for athletic prowess.

http://www.runnersworld.com/general-interest/paul-ryan-has-not-run-sub-300-marathon

On Supertopo, someone posted a thread about Ryan’s claim of forty peaks climbed. I joined in and concluded that Ryan probably hadn’t climbed 40 fourteeners, after his marathon story was debunked. A typical Supertopo discussion ensued—vituperative hysteria mixed in with thoughtful discussion—with Ryan’s supporters on one side and skeptics on the other. I had fun mocking the tone of the op-ed, which was a thinly disguised political advertisement masquerading as an opinion piece.

Some of my posts were directly quoted in a blog by Atlantic Monthly columnist James Fallows. This got the attention of the main stream media and the subject flared up briefly on the internet. The sequence of events was as follows.

• August 11, 2012. Ryan is named by Mitt Romney to be his choice for Vice President.
• August 11, 2012. Ryan Call, chairman of the Colorado Republican Part, says that Ryan personally told Call that he had climbed 40 fourteeners.
http://www.denverpost.com/nationalpolitics/ci_21291876/colorado-pundits-react-mitt-romneys-choice-running-mate
]Call said he has met Ryan, who told him he has climbed nearly 40 of Colorado's 53 fourteeners, or mountains above 14,000 feet in elevation.
• August 26, 2012. Denver Post op-ed praising Ryan: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_21386184/paul-ryan-mountain-man
Why does it matter that Paul Ryan is a mountain man, at home above timberline on the fourteeners? Because there is no better index of character. It tells of someone's backbone under pressure, resourcefulness in facing adversity, and trustworthiness for power. Conservative or liberal isn't the point. The high peaks simply test your mettle. Declinists and defeatists need not apply. Excuses are for flatlanders.
• September 5, 2012.Fallows published his blog post quoting me, the “skeptical climber,” from Supertopo, doubting Ryan’s fourteener claims.
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/09/paul-ryan-mountaineer/261904/
As with his marathon time, this is so specifically impressive a claim that it should be very easy to back up and dismiss doubts about. If it is true. If not, this is trouble.
• September 5, 2012. Fallows is a journalist with clout. Within one hour of his blog post, The Romney/Ryan campaign responded to Fallows to amend the number of fourteeners claimed.
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).


• September 5, 2012. Gawker featured the story on its front page.
Does Paul Ryan even know what a mountain looks like? Is Paul Ryan even a congressman? Paul Ryan is now the guy from your high school who said he ran a 4.5 40 but didn't want to go out for the team because he pulled his hammy. Paul Ryan is the guy from your work who told you he played D1 ball but seems suspiciously short and out of shape. Paul Ryan is the guy at the bar who keeps telling you he could "probably" beat Usain Bolt in a race, "if I was in better shape." Paul Ryan's ex-girlfriend looked like a cross between Lindsay Lohan and Katherine Heigel. Paul Ryan was at the very first Train show. Paul Ryan once took on three guys in a fight and won. Paul Ryan's dad has a go-kart track in his attic but he locks it when other kids come over because he doesn't want to get sued.
http://gawker.com/5940781/is-paul-ryan-lying-about-climbing-40-mountains-too-what-is-his-deal

• On September 5, 2012, the The New York Times reported that Ryan was working to “complete a list” to confirm the number of fourteeners he actually climbed:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/us/politics/paul-ryan-faces-scrutiny-over-marathon-and-mountain-claims.html?_r=0
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.” It was not an idle pursuit. After Mr. Ryan walked back a claim to have run an exceptionally fast marathon, scrutiny has fallen on his other sporting pursuits, including whether he might have exaggerated his mountain climbing prowess. In this case, the brothers figured that over two decades of visits to Colorado, he had climbed above 14,000 feet “probably 38, 39 times” — potential ammunition against the doubters.


• September 5, 2012, John Andrews, the author of the Denver Post editorial, retracted his 40 fourteeners quote from Ryan:

http://www.ccu.edu/centennial/blog/post/2012/08/30/mountain-man-ryan-aims-high

Corrective Note, Sept. 5—As originally published at Townhall.com on Aug. 27, and in the Denver Post on Aug. 26, this column misstated in paragraph 5 Ryan’s total of peaks climbed at 40 (based on a Denver Post news story to that effect on Aug. 11) and gave the impression in paragraph 7 that I had talked directly with Ryan, whereas his answer was in fact relayed to me by a staffer. I regret the errors.

• September 5, 2012. In the New York Times article, state GOP chairman Ryan Call disavowed his quote of Ryan from the August 11, Denver post article:
In an interview Thursday, Call said Ryan had stated only that he climbed “a number of peaks,” and that he had inferred the total from a 2009 article in The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
• September 5, 2012. A partisan group mocked Ryan’s claims and demanded evidence to support them.
http://www.progressnowcolorado.org/blog/2012/09/did-lyin-ryan-really-climb-forty-colorado-fourteeners.html
After embracing lie after lie at the Republican National Convention last week, and then being forced to retract wildly exaggerated claims about his performance as a marathon runner, Colorado voters deserve to know the truth about Ryan's climbing record in our state," said Schwartz. "We're calling for Ryan to release photos, summit logs, and any other evidence he has to back up his claim that he climbed 40 of our state's highest mountains--or come clean with Colorado that he's lying about his 'peak bagger' record too.

• September 6, 2012. Fallows stopped covering the story in his blog, asserting his lack of expertise where climbing is concerned:
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/09/finale-on-paul-ryan-as-mountain-climber/262054/
Like, apparently, many other people, I drew the wrong inference from Paul Ryan's comment about making "close to 40" climbs of Colorado's "Fourteeners," the 54 summits at elevations of 14,000 feet and above. I understood him -- as did some journalists, political figures, and climbers in Colorado -- to mean around 40 separate mountains. His spokesman clarified that he meant around 40 climbs, of a smaller number of peaks.

• September 10, 2012. The Denver post issued a correction to the online version of Andrew’s op-ed, amending the total from 40 to 28.
• September 27, 2012. A Colorado Springs reporter asks Ryan, “How many fourteeners have you climbed?” Ryan refuses to offer a number, instead telling the reporter,
“You read the transcript[of the 2009 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article]. That’s my answer.
http://gazette.com/paul-ryan-interview-unabridged/article/145158;
• Early November, 2012. The original Supertopo thread was mysteriously deleted, making links to it by Fallows and others inoperative.
• November 3, 2012. I started a new thread on Supertopo, which recreated my posts in the disappeared thread.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1973871&msg=1973910#msg1973910
• November 6, 2012. Barack Obama won the election, earning a second term, and making moot for the moment the question of Ryan’s veracity.

For reference, here is the complete list of public statements by Ryan, or attributed to Ryan from close sources, regarding Colorado fourteeners:

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 …
Paul Ryan Miluakee Journal Sentinel
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.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Ryan told me he had climbed 40 of Colorado’s peaks over 14,000 feet.
Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call in the August 11, 2012 Denver Post.
Call said Ryan had stated only that Ryan had climbed “a number of peaks,” and that Call had inferred the total of 40 from a 2009 article in The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
September 5, 2012 New York Times
he has climbed 40 of the state's 54 peaks over 14,000 feet
John Andrews in the August 26, 2012 Denver post.
he has climbed 28 of the state's 54 peaks over 14,000 feet
John Andrews’ “correction” after the number was challenged. September 6, 2012 Denver Post.
Ryan told me last week that Capitol and nearby Pyramid Peak (14,018 feet) are his favorite climbs so far.
John Andrews, Denver Post
…he's not said 40 different peaks, its nearly 40 climbs - with a number of peaks climbed more than once.
Romney Ryan campaign’s official statement.
climbed above fourteen thousand feet 38, 39 times
New York Times quote from Ryan
http://gazette.com/paul-ryan-interview-unabridged/article/145158; September 27, 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.

Alright, with that background, let’s get back to Pyramid Peak.

4:30 am Sunday morning: We used to get revved up for early morning starts by blasting Hendrix on the car stereo; this time it was James Taylor’s “You’ve got a Friend” on the classic rock channel. Times have changed. And that song stuck in my head all day, since its mournful beat matched my slow, but steady, pace up the hill.
Credit: Rick A
Got a headlamp start, but after a mile you have to turn off the main trail and I had to wait a while for the sun to rise a bit to find the turnoff. It was fun to walk by headlamp, since I hadn’t done an alpine start for a while. After a good trail, you get into a big cirque with the North Face of Pyramid looming above and the scree dancing begins.
Sun strike on the North Face of Pyramid Peak.
Sun strike on the North Face of Pyramid Peak.
Credit: Rick A

Capitol peak in the distance, center.
Capitol peak in the distance, center.
Credit: Rick A
My route, the east ridge, is the standard one these days and it has about 4,000 feet of elevation gain from the parking lot to the top, including a good trail, scree hopping, and mud slopes to get to the ridge itself.
The start of the East Ridge
The start of the East Ridge
Credit: Rick A
On the ridge, the periodic , cairned trail wanders up a series of ugly couloirs and indistinct arêtes with the big drop of the north face on your right and lesser cliffs on your left. How to describe the quality of the rock? Imagine pinnacles consisting only of stacked rocks resembling dinner plates, platters, trays, tables, and even whole dining rooms, just waiting for some incautious hiker to send the whole mess down the mountain .
Rubble, rubble everywhere...
Rubble, rubble everywhere...
Credit: Rick A
At one point I was trying to avoid the mortal danger of being under a group of scramblers ahead of me by ascending a clean little 15 foot corner out of the fall line. The corner was solid, but I hadn’t reckoned on there being piles of loose rock on every flat surface at its top. I tested a half a dozen possible holds, all unattached to the mountain itself, so the only solution was to sweep off a place to mantle with my left hand and another to place my right foot. The danger of losing balance on that mantle was that if you started to teeter backwards, you would desperately grab for something and be left looking at a handful of angular stones as your last memory. I stayed close to the circuitous, cairned path, from that point on.
Company at the summit.
Company at the summit.
Credit: Rick A

If you like loose rock scrambling with fatal drops below you, then Pyramid should indeed be your favorite. Seriously, if I were to ever venture up there again, I’d be sure to do it on a Monday or Tuesday to try to minimize the number of other climbers. That way, you could better avoid the danger of someone above starting a rock fall that would take you out, or the equally distressing possibility that your own misstep could dislodge a boulder that would kill some poor soul below you. And watch out for mountain goats up above. Contrary to their reputation for being surefooted, they are surprisingly insouciant about knocking rocks down on their climbing brethren.

I suspect that Ryan mentioned Pyramid as one of his favorites because he knew its reputation as one of the hardest 14ers. Just like his marathon exchange with an admiring radio show host, where he humbly averred that his best time was in the low 2:50s, his Pyramid and 40 fourteener claims were designed to impress the listener with a false claim no one would likely ever challenge .

The Congressman didn’t take into account that the tribes of runners and climbers can sense mendacity, from long experience with frauds and mountebanks. The most famous modern climbing controversy is Caesar Maestri’s claim to have made the first ascent of Cerro Torre, a magnificent rock and ice pinnacle in Patagonia. Climbers who followed the route years later (including ST’s own Jim Donini) found pitons and other gear left by Maestri and his partner, but only up to a point very low on the mountain. The consensus is that Maestri’s claim to have achieved an extremely difficult and unprecedented first ascent is false. David Robert’s article in National Geographic is a good summary. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/0604/whats_new/cesare-maestri.html.

Cheating in marathons has been a fairly common occurrence. Marathon officials have had to develop sophisticated systems of electronic checkpoints to deter those who would steal the acclaim that is earned so painfully by legitimate competitors. A recent New Yorker article described a reputed marathon cheater who was so clever, race officials still don’t know how he apparently faked crossing numerous checkpoints to achieve impressive times. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/08/06/120806fa_fact_singer

Ryan finally admitted under pressure that he exaggerated his best marathon time by more than an hour, and his fourteener claims are suspect for that reason alone. The burden to prove his fourteener claims should not be on the doubters who are faced with proving a negative, but on Ryan, a known fabulist when it comes to athletic feats. The available evidence indicates that Paul Ryan’s fourteener claims are just another con:

• Ryan has zero credibility regarding his athletic feats after his marathon fabrication.
• Real fourteener enthusiasts remember and cherish their total number of peaks just like marathon runners know their personal best times, so all the bizarre “clarifications”, retractions, and obfuscations are evidence that Ryan was simply caught in a lie.
• The attempt to distinguish the number of total climbs including repeats of the same peak versus the number of separate peaks is a ploy designed solely for media consumption. No fourteener enthusiast counts repeat ascents when someone asks, “How many have you done?” The carefully crafted official statement: “climbed above fourteen thousand feet 38, 39 times” is a laughable obfuscation. Two of the fourteeners have roads to the top. He could have driven to the parking lots at the top of Pikes Peak or Mount Evans 38 times and this statement would be accurate.
• In my experience, real fourteener enthusiasts are positively voluble regarding their fourteener list and will produce their spreadsheet if you betray even the slightest interest, along with volunteering photos, epic storm stories, and all other manner of detail. In other words, don’t get them started telling their experiences unless you have a good single malt and lots of time available. No list, photos, or details of climbs have been produced by Ryan, despite a claim of careful study of the matter on the campaign plane last September.
• Pyramid Peak could not reasonably be anyone’s favorite fourteener, as explained above. My favorite is Longs Peak, which has acres (both vertical and horizontal) of immaculate rock and dozens of different routes of climbing interest. Ryan said that Pyramid and Capitol were his favorites because it was a way to drop the names of two of the most difficult fourteeners.
• It is a classic indication that a person is lying about mountaineering accomplishment when he becomes angry when questioned. Jim Perrin, Britain’s finest writer about climbing, noted this in his most recent book about explorers of the Himalaya in the 1930s entitled, Shipton and Tilman. He observed that anger directed toward questioners of dubious mountaineering feats was a sure “clue to insecurity and guilt” of the false claimant. This is the most reasonable explanation for Ryan’s irate, “read the transcript” response to the Colorado Springs reporter’s simple question, “How many fourteeners have you climbed?”

Why back down from the marathon lie when caught, but stubbornly try to maintain the fourteeners fable? The marathon runners were able to come up with concrete evidence that Ryan had lied, so he had no choice but to admit the truth. Proving the negative regarding the number of his fourteeers hikes is more difficult, so Ryan tries to maintain the charade. That is remarkably brazen, but in the words of that fawning Denver Post op-ed, there is probably “no better index” of Ryan’s character.

Longs Peak's east face. A more solid choice for a favorite fourteener.
Longs Peak's east face. A more solid choice for a favorite fourteener.
Credit: Rick A







  Trip Report Views: 8,624
Rick A
About the Author
Rick A is a climber from Boulder, Colorado.

Comments
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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Aug 25, 2013 - 07:55pm PT
I had first heard of Pyramid Peak when the physicist Heinz Pagels died on, probably, the same route that Ricky took. That was 1988.

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/07/26/obituaries/dr-heinz-pagels-49-a-physicist-dies-in-fall-from-colorado-peak.html

Pagels was an experienced peak scrambler, I don't believe he was a climber, but certainly no stranger to those mountains, especially in Colorado where many physics conferences, workshops and summer schools took place from the early 1970s through the 1990s. Bob Wilson, the first director of Fermilab, used to hold a very long summer workshop there on particle physics... hiking the mountains was a feature.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinz_Pagels

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
  Aug 25, 2013 - 08:01pm PT
Thanks for the post. I got a kick out it when your thread went national during the election.

You're probably right.
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Aug 25, 2013 - 08:01pm PT
:-)
sullly

Gym climber
  Aug 25, 2013 - 09:15pm PT
Funny, smart writing. I laughed at plenty of your gems here.
Liked:
"How to describe the quality of the rock? Imagine pinnacles consisting only of stacked rocks resembling dinner plates, platters, trays, tables, and even whole dining rooms, just waiting for some incautious hiker to send the whole mess down the mountain."

SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Aug 25, 2013 - 10:04pm PT

A great read, Rick. And I'm glad you survived Pyramid,
which I haven't done. . . but I can prove those that I have,
hee hee hee. . .
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
  Aug 25, 2013 - 10:19pm PT
bloody hell...how'd this Journalism get all up in here?
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
  Aug 25, 2013 - 10:42pm PT
What a friggin chosspile!

My favorite climb?

Keep a copy of this incase that dipshit really does run for pres and gets your TR/thread deleted again.
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Aug 25, 2013 - 10:45pm PT
Excellent, excellent, excellent! Rick you are Lyin' Ryans worst campaign nightmare. Keep up the great work. I know I was very annoyed and irritated when the original thread got squelched. I was early in the belief that he was a 21st century snake oil selling carpet bagger and I knew he was lying immediately. I commend you for your diligence and determination that Paul Lyin' Ryan be exposed for lying sack of opportunistic flim flamery that he really is. You have done a great service.



However regarding this statement...
Pyramid Peak is a massive rubble pile, as loose and dangerous a peak as any that can be found in Colorado. One has to question the judgment, if not the sanity, of someone who claims it is his favorite.

I have to laugh because when I saw this thread I started to read it aloud to the roomies but before I got to this quote I made the statement to them that Ryan had pissed me off because Pyramid Peak is actually one of my favorites. Then I read the quote and cracked up. By the way We all think you nailed. LOL. :-)
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
  Aug 25, 2013 - 10:50pm PT
Rick-Good on you for keeping the heat on this pompous twit.
ncrockclimber

climber
The Desert Oven
  Aug 25, 2013 - 10:53pm PT
GREAT TR!
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Aug 26, 2013 - 12:36am PT
So many big words...cool TR.
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Aug 26, 2013 - 09:21am PT
This post first appeared at The Nation.


U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) stands during a listening session Tuesday, April, 26, 2011, at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
How’s this for irony:

When the City of Kenosha, Wisconsin, was preparing to formally petition Congress to take the necessary actions to get corporate money out of politics and to restore grassroots democracy, the congressman who represents the community was meeting secretly with the Koch brothers to plot election strategies and policy agendas.

Kenosha is the largest city in Wisconsin’s first congressional district, which Congressman Paul Ryan has represented since 1999 — thanks to gerrymandered district lines and heavy infusions of cash from out-of-state special interests. With Congress out of session for the August recess and Ryan expected to head home to meet with constituents, members of the Kenosha City Council decided to deliver a message. They voted overwhelmingly to ask Ryan and other Wisconsin representatives “to amend the Constitution to bar corporate wealth from unduly influencing elections.”

That’s not a particularly radical request.

Sixteen states and roughly 500 communities have petitioned Congress to support a constitutional amendment to restore the power of the people—through their federal, state and local representatives — to place limits on the influence of big money, especially corporate money, in American politics. The official calls from states across the country, and from cities such as Kenosha, come in response to the high court’s decision to remove restrictions on corporate spending to buy elections, which capped a series of rulings that undermined limits on the power of wealthy Americans to dominate the political and governing processes of the nation with unprecedented infusions of campaign money.

Ryan has been among the prime beneficiaries of the money-in-politics moment ushered in by the high court. As the House Budget Committee chairman, he has collected millions of dollars from individuals and groups that stand to benefit from initiatives such as Social Security privatization and the development of voucher schemes to “reform” Medicaid and Medicare. The congressman has become a favorite of many of the biggest donors in the country, including billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.

The Koch brothers, prime funders of conservative causes and Republican politicians, were enthusiastic backers of placing Ryan on the 2012 Republican ticket. That move entered in a fiasco that saw Ryan fail to deliver Wisconsin for the ticket led by Mitt Romney. Ryan not only lost his hometown of Janesville but many of the other communities in his district, including Kenosha.

Casual observers might guess that Ryan would be listening a little more to his district, especially to the voters in cities such as Kenosha.

But they would guess wrong.

As Kenosha was petitioning for the redress of money-in-politics grievances, the congressman was at a posh resort near Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he had flown as soon as Congress went on recess. The Koch brothers had rented the entire Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and set up a private security perimeter so that no media — and certainly no citizens — could get near the elite retreat. And they invited Paul Ryan to spend several days with them as their guest of honor. Along with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks and a few other worthies, the Kochs and their wealthy friends wined and dined with Ryan.

A source that spoke to Politico reported that Ryan was “well-received by donors.” According to the Politico report, “Ryan has developed deep ties to Koch World”—the vast network of political operations controlled by the billionaire brothers.

The question is whether the congressman retains deep ties to Kenosha.

In case the congressman missed the message, the Kenosha City Council was joined in mid-August by the Kenosha County Board—the governing body of the populous southeastern Wisconsin county that is entirely within Ryan’s district—in calling for an amendment to overturn Citizens United. And constituents like Jennifer Franco, of Kenosha, are saying its time for their elected representatives to “stand with the people to proclaim that money is not speech, that artificial entities are not persons, and that every person’s voice carries the same weight.”

The juxtaposition of events in New Mexico and Wisconsin leaves Ryan with a clear choice to make: he can either stick with the Koch brothers or he can respond to the call from Kenosha for a meaningful response to the threat posed to democracy by the buying of elections and the policymaking process.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Aug 26, 2013 - 10:13am PT
Thanks for taking the time to post up all the details on "lying-Ryan's" climbing-lies.
Mike Friedrichs

Sport climber
City of Salt
  Aug 26, 2013 - 10:20am PT
Well done.
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
  Aug 26, 2013 - 10:23am PT
Say it ain't so Ricky, a politician lied to us?
BBA

Social climber
  Aug 26, 2013 - 10:27am PT
I realize it's easy to deny signing in, but is there a register on the peak? Usually people who bag peaks as a bragging right sign in. Interesting report detail.
10b4me

climber
  Aug 26, 2013 - 10:30am PT
I guess I will take that off my tick list.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Aug 26, 2013 - 11:17am PT
nice and thorough RickA. I guess you gotta get up pretty early to beat the monsoon these days.
FrankZappa

Trad climber
Hankster's crew
  Aug 26, 2013 - 11:25am PT
Pyramid Peak could not reasonably be anyone’s favorite fourteener, as explained above.

Not to try to hijack this thread away from politics, but you ever wonder why the Landry ski descent made into the 50 classic ski descents of North America? I'll admit that skiing this beast is not for the masses, but it has made it my favorite 14er.(so far...)
http://www.skithe14ers.com/graphics/pics/pyramid-peak_1.jpg
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Aug 26, 2013 - 11:28am PT
Looks like a chosspile.

I'm stoked that you're putting the heat back on Ryan. Liars deserve to be called out. Lets succeed in calling this loser out. Let me know what I can do to help.
Tan Slacks

climber
Joshua Tree
  Aug 26, 2013 - 11:49am PT
Really nice and complete trip report Rick! I so enjoyed it.

Sadly the old saying "How do you know a politician is lying? .... Easy, their lips are moving!" is truer today than it has ever been.

We have learned to accept through our media's lack of investigative journalism and our own harried lives the message rather than the truth. The package rather than the contents.

Good luck to us all
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
  Aug 26, 2013 - 05:46pm PT
The larger question in my mind is WHO DELETED THE ORIGINAL? It wasn't Rick, so who did it, and why?

That bothers me a lot more than Lyin Ryan - who has been and will continue to be exposed as a fraud at every level from his "budget" that doesn't actually specifcy what he would cut, to his fabricated athletic feats.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Aug 26, 2013 - 12:08pm PT
Nothing like a lie with legs...and political ambitions! LOL
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Aug 26, 2013 - 12:18pm PT
The original deletion was highly suspicious. I sent a message to Cmac, no response.

Lying is a really bad thing to do in the climbing community. Think Maestri.

I propose that we publicly shame this liar. We can work together. He will never see it coming, I mean, we are just climbers, right?
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Aug 26, 2013 - 12:21pm PT
The original deletion was highly suspicious. I sent a message to Cmac, no response.
So did I, twice.
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
  Aug 26, 2013 - 12:32pm PT
Dr. F.

Boulder climber
SoCal

Aug 26, 2013 - 08:56am PT
Rick!!
What about the Summit Register?
Was there one?
You must of checked to see if he signed it.

All CO 14ers have registers and they are maintained and stored when they fill up by the Colorado Mountain Club. Some of the popular ones get replaced on a monthly basis, others on a yearly basis. Not that hard to track down if you want to see ascents.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
  Aug 26, 2013 - 12:48pm PT
Agree with most of this, but not sure what you mean by Grandma's Marathon not being one of the "prestigious ones, such as Boston or New York." I suppose Boston is "prestigious" in that participants (usually) have to run qualifying times that are significantly better than average, taking into account age and gender.
But otherwise, I can't think of how New York is even slightly more "prestigious" than Grandma's for an amateur runner. (For pros, competing for prize money and fame, it's different of course, but that's not what we're talking about.)
Grandma's is a well-established and popular marathon (I have completed it, and have the pics to prove it)--seems like your hatred of Ryan may be causing you to attack or at least belittle anything related to him a bit irrationally.

As someone who has hiked all Colo. 14ers except Culebra (and anyone who is knowledgeable about Colo. 14ers will immediately understand the significance of that exception), I can make a few more quibbles. I hiked up a first batch over some years before I started thinking about hiking up all of them, and so didn't record dates or details of those first batch (I went on hike up some of them other times as well).
And I sorta do count multiple ascents, although you are right in that I would never have just included them in account of how many I did without further explanation. But I generally do point out, in mentioning that I haven't done Culebra, that I've done many of them multiple times, so who cares if I haven't done one of them?

Pyramid is a big choss pile but has at least some charm; Little Bear is the only one that, after doing it, I decided I would never do again, at least by the regular route, due to chossiness (specifically the threat of rockfall from above).
Capitol could be a legitimate choice for favorite, so Ryan gets a little credibility there maybe, but I agree Pyramid would be a surprising choice on a favorites list.

Edit--
All CO 14ers have registers and they are maintained and stored when they fill up by the Colorado Mountain Club. Some of the popular ones get replaced on a monthly basis, others on a yearly basis. Not that hard to track down if you want to see ascents.

I don't know what percentage of hikers sign the registers; I may guess it's less than 50%. I sometimes signed, but usually didn't--just saw no point in doing so and it maybe seemed demeaning in some vague way. I recall another somewhat avid 14er hiker relating a conversation with a woman who noticed he didn't sign the register and seemed alarmed that he wouldn't be able to "prove" his ascent if challenged--obviously he told me the story as it seemed weird to him that people do sign the registers.
The notion that being challenged to "prove" something as pedestrian as hiking a 14er is laughable to an outdoorsman in decent shape, but I guess if Ryan is going to brag about them (and lie in doing so), it's fair to shoot him down.
For context to people not familiar with them, not of them are even slightly challenging to an experienced climber who is capable of doing a good hike, although doing all or even many of them does show a demonstrated commitment to hiking. The technically hardest, Sunlight, does require a slight bouldering move at the top--I could see that being legitimately challenging to non-rock-climbers.
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Aug 26, 2013 - 12:57pm PT
I read this with interest as I know of the type of dangerous terrain of which you speak. Even though I have never climbed Pyramid (been around it a lot), I have climbed on the same Maroon Formation of which that giant choss pile is made (believe it or not, geologically it is part of the same formation as the Fountain Formation, which makes up Eldo, on the front range, just the name given to the formation where it occurs on the western slope, and is thicker and more broken up). I climbed through this choss on the, I guess it would be, the NE face of North Maroon Peak, one of the most photographed peaks in North America. That harrowing experience had me standing on huge blocks, almost the size of railroad cars, that were teetering as you went from one side to the other. I WAS glad to get off of that pile, although the views from up there were very spectacular.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
  Aug 26, 2013 - 01:06pm PT
I climbed through this choss on the, I guess it would be, the NE face of North Maroon Peak, one of the most photographed peaks in North America. That harrowing experience had me standing on huge blocks, almost the size of railroad cars, that were teetering as you went from one side to the other. I WAS glad to get off of that pile, although the views from up there were very spectacular.

Sounds like you were off route, although N. Maroon would be on the short list of chossiest, along with Pyramid and Little Bear (not everyone includes N. Marroon on their "official" list as it is arguably a sub-peak of Maroon).
Seriously folks, going up the standard routes of any of the 14ers should not be a big deal or a harrowing experience, with ONE exception: when hiking through the Hourglass on Little Bear, if there are people above you, they likely will knock rocks down. Otherwise, just use good mountain sense when moving through the choss and everything should be fine.
I'm talking about hiking up them in in good, summer weather. All bets are off in adverse conditions.
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
  Aug 26, 2013 - 01:15pm PT
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder

Aug 26, 2013 - 09:48am PM

I may guess it's less than 50%.

Outstanding guesstimate, I wish to subscribe to your statistical newsletters.

ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Aug 26, 2013 - 01:25pm PT
Nope, unfortunately not off route, we were on-purpose trying NOT to do the standard route and go directly up the face. In retrospect, not such a great idea.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
  Aug 26, 2013 - 01:32pm PT
Outstanding guesstimate, I wish to subscribe to your statistical newsletters.
I'm not the guy who said you can "see ascents" by checking summit registers. No statistics necessary to evaluate that claim--you're simply wrong.
As far as what percentage of hikers sign summit registers, I took a guess (the word I used--do you understand what that means?) based on being at the summit of every one them, except Culebra, many multiple times. When I climbed the Diamond (and continued to the summit), I'm pretty sure I didn't sign the register that day.

I don't know if you've hiked some or all, but if you've hiked a lot of them and think that all or substantially all hikers sign the registers, what can I say, you're an unobservant fellow. But happy hiking nontheless.


Nope, unfortunately not off route, we were on-purpose trying NOT to do the standard route and go directly up the face. In retrospect, not such a great idea.
Got it--thanks for correcting me, glad you made is safely.
johnboy

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
  Aug 26, 2013 - 01:52pm PT
I took a picture of Paul on Pyramid after we couldn't find a pen to sign the register, but lost the camera on the way down.


Kind of freakish but this happened on many of the
Fourteener's he and I climbed.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
  Aug 26, 2013 - 02:01pm PT
Pyramid Peak has never been on my "hit list," since it's at best a "Misthaufen" (German for manure pile), and a dangerous one at that. The Elk Range in general, isn't that much fun. The only peak there worth slogging up is Castle Peak, and bagging Conundrum along the way.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 26, 2013 - 02:13pm PT
Nice write up and expose!!!
Sounds like type 2 fun
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
  Aug 26, 2013 - 02:20pm PT
Smellz wrote then deleted:

How am I wrong when you are the one guessing?

Most tourist folks I see up there in the easy months are signing registers, high fiving and taking pictures having fun.

I thought it's pretty clear how you're wrong. One of us is being dense. Perhaps it's me--wouldn't be the first time.

But this is what Smellz wrote:

All CO 14ers have registers and they are maintained and stored when they fill up by the Colorado Mountain Club. Some of the popular ones get replaced on a monthly basis, others on a yearly basis. Not that hard to track down if you want to see ascents.

What you're wrong about is thinking that "tracking down" the CMC registers will allow you to "see ascents." It will do no such thing--it will allow you to see who signed the summit registers.
Regardless of whether my guess as to what percentage of summitters sign the registers is a good one, checking summit registers does not at all allow you to see if any particular person has reached the top of the mountain.

Clearly you seem to think a higher percentage of summitters sign the registers than I do, but I know for a fact that not all summitters (or even "substantially all" or the like) sign the registers, and I'm sure you know that too if you've hiked up a number of them. That's not really a point that I'm going to debate further.

I like your reference to "tourist folks"--what are you--a professional 14er hiker? :)

Brokedownclimber wrote:
Pyramid Peak has never been on my "hit list," since it's at best a "Misthaufen" (German for manure pile), and a dangerous one at that. The Elk Range in general, isn't that much fun. The only peak there worth slogging up is Castle Peak, and bagging Conundrum along the way.
Not trying to hijack Rick's thread, but as maybe the only person who has done all the 14ers (except Culebra) who's posting here, I must comment:
Brokedown, if you don't think Capitol Peak is worth climbing, you shouldn't really be posting about 14ers, you obviously don't know much about them. I'd be very surprised if anyone who has climbed many 14ers will disparage Capitol--while which 14ers are best is a matter of taste, Capitol will almost certainly be high on most people's list.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
  Aug 26, 2013 - 02:56pm PT
I didn't include Capitol in my disparaging comments intentionally, since I just haven't done it. I HAVE climbed 17 different Colorado 14ers, and an additional 4 repeats, which includes 2 Winter ascents. That number doesn't include 2 routes on the East face of Long's (Diagonal, 1966, and Stettner's Ledges, 1961) where I didn't summit. I also haven't included Snowmass Mountain in the Choss Pile list, since it isn't that stratified sandstone schitt. My most enjoyable choss pile was Wilson Peak in the Lake City group (1966) while guiding for University of Colorado Mountain Recreation.
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
  Aug 26, 2013 - 03:02pm PT
Sigh... I deleted my post because I'm tried of arguing with blowhards like you. Yes I've knuckle dragged myself along with several dogs up all the 14ers and poached Culebra from the west because I don't like paying for hiking. Let me know when you have skied them all and then I will be interested in your opinion and we will have something to discuss.

Carry on with your agenda d#@&%e canoe.
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
  Aug 26, 2013 - 03:52pm PT
While Ryan's 14er resume is in doubt, Rick's summit shot of the mountain goat is for certain very cool! Great shot and thanks for the TR Rick!
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Aug 26, 2013 - 04:01pm PT
What's a d#@&%e canoe? Is that like a dugout, only more d#@&%ey?
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
  Aug 26, 2013 - 04:20pm PT
Aug 26, 2013 - 01:01pm PT
What's a d#@&%e canoe? Is that like a dugout, only more d#@&%ey?
I think it's a vogue term with a gang of 5.8 topropers who're still a little butt hurt that their proud TR sends weren't adequately documented in the latest Sport Park guide.
They're also frequently seen searching for summit registers on their proud winter 14er sends and examining said registers to "out" the falsified 14er claims of their competitors.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
  Aug 26, 2013 - 05:48pm PT
I think Ryan is lying out his ass. But I also don't sign registers, don't care for them, view them as trash. Signed maybe two in 30 years.
TwistedCrank

climber
Released into general population, Idaho
  Aug 26, 2013 - 05:54pm PT
I climbed Pyramid Peak with Ryan.


He was the short shaggy dood with red hair. Smoke a bunch of dope, if I recall correctly. Had some serious BO.
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
  Aug 26, 2013 - 07:40pm PT
Sarah Palin saw him do it from her house.
MisterE

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
  Aug 26, 2013 - 10:18pm PT
Accountability is such a slippery slope these days.

philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Aug 27, 2013 - 10:31am PT
So are the ledges on Pyramid.
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
  Aug 27, 2013 - 10:42am PT
Thanks for posting this, Rick.
steve shea

climber
  Aug 27, 2013 - 11:14am PT
Way to go Rick. As a neighbor of Dick Cheney and his carpetbagger daughter Liz, I have been in close proximity to Paul Ryan fundraisers. Who knows what stories he told under the Tetons during these events. New Teton speed records were probably set.
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
  Aug 27, 2013 - 11:22am PT
A brilliant stroke, Rick, getting all the Ryan crap back on the Topo! I hope this thread remains intact...
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
  Aug 27, 2013 - 11:23am PT
I climbed Pyramid with my kid brother decades ago, can't recall much about it except for a crux that involved sharing our one ice axe. Unfortunately we did not take a camera.

I did bring a camera for the Maroon Bells, Pyramid's more photogenic sisters, and recall that as a fun day though just a little bit chossy. Here's a thread about the Bells, with some Pyramid thrown in:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/519165/Maroon-Bells
Mad69Dog

Ice climber
  Aug 27, 2013 - 12:45pm PT
I haven't done many of the CO 14'ers - I think about 30 - but I have done Pyramid, back in 1983. The approach up into the cirque was a muddy climber's trail back then and it was the technical crux that day. We went up the NW ridge and downclimbed the NE ridge. I actually thought that it was an excellent chosspile climb. Then again, I've done a fair bit of rock climbing and some big walls in the desert, so one gets used to climbing kitty litter and piles of broken dinner plates. But I thought Pyramid was a pretty stable pile of sh#t. Well worth the risk IMO.

And sorry, I can't get more wrapped around a politician lying. That's what they always do!
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
  Aug 27, 2013 - 01:06pm PT
And sorry, I can't get more wrapped around a politician lying. That's what they always do!

This one is special. Can you think of another national candidate who lied about what mountains he had climbed, and how fast he ran a marathon?
Snowmassguy

Trad climber
Calirado
  Aug 27, 2013 - 01:08pm PT
Dude has probably made it to where he is today through BS and lies. This applies to all politicians.
Chewybacca

Trad climber
Montana, Whitefish
  Aug 27, 2013 - 01:26pm PT
Nice shots of the mountain goats. I love sharing the mountains with those beautiful alpinists.

Between the choss and the goats I'm reminded of my home range. Believe it or not, given enough time, a person can have fun climbing overhanging gravel.


I haven't signed a summit register since the 80's. But I have no doubts that a politician like Ryan would sign anything he could to get recognition for his deeds. IMHO if he didn't sign it, he didn't climb the mountain.

Perhaps he was actually hiking the Appalachian trail at the time (In other words, rolling in the hay with a mistress or mister)
Chim-Chim

climber
  Aug 27, 2013 - 01:43pm PT
Goddamnson of a bitch. F'n piece of shyt. Censorship is for pussies. Come now!
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
  Aug 27, 2013 - 02:00pm PT
This one is special. Can you think of another national candidate who lied about what mountains he had climbed, and how fast he ran a marathon?

Not quite exactly, but close enough to refute your point that there's anything "special" about Ryan's puffery.
Former Democrat presidential candidate and current Secretary of State, John Kerry, couldn't quite resist the temptation to claim Boston Marathon glory. Like Ryan, I imagine it just sort of rolled off his tongue, and he didn't consider that marathons and multiple 14er ascents aren't totally casual, one-off activities to people who really do them, and especially in the Internet Age, there's an army of fact checkers waiting to pounce.

See http://michellemalkin.com/2004/10/08/john-kerry-marathon-man/
(I just quickly found that link form 10 secs of Googling and haven't carefully studied it--I recalled the Kerry story from when it broke years ago.)

A careful and argumentative reader may point out that it's sorta possible that Kerry did in fact run Boston Marathon as a "bandit runner." But for reasons that track Rick's expose of Ryan, only a partisan hack or a moron would actually believe that (Internet detectives tried to shoot that down also, but got stonewalled by Kerry's handlers). I'm not sure that Kerry even made a "bandit" claim--the story is sort of stale now, just as Ryan's 14ers exaggerations are and will be even more so in a few years.

While we're talking about politicians lying about something having to do with mountaineering, check out Kerry's predecessor's, the lovely and talented Hillary Clinton, claim that she was named after Sir Edmund. Hilarious, including her twisted weaseling to explain the lie (that I imagine made hubby Slick Willie proud).

Dropping the marathon and mountaineering angle, but sticking with sports, our current Vice President had a little snafu about college football http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/vice-president-biden-caug_n_1975371.html
By the standards of Biden's lies, which are well documented, numerous, weird, but at least funny, the football lie is scarcely worth mentioning, but it sticks with the politicians-lying-about-athletic accomplishment theme.

I'm not defending Ryan--his 14er lying is a big negative to me, and if I'm ever forced to consider voting for him, I'll take that into account. But don't pretend the guys/gals on the other side of the aisle are any better.
It's sort of like politician sex and money scandals--at any given time, either the Repubs or Dems may seem to take the lead, but just wait a while and it'll revert to the norm of roughly equal bad behavior.
Ridgedancer

Mountain climber
Lakewood
  Aug 27, 2013 - 07:59pm PT
Paul Ryan's all right: he's certainly sharper than most politicians currently occupying Washington, and he's got his priorities straight. Rick sure put a monumental effort here into trying to discredit one simple comment the congressman made. That's quite a demonstration of misguided priorities and poor judgement. Perhaps if Rick and his lemmings spent their time on constructive, thoughtful enterprises instead of wasting time attacking others we would have a country heading in a better direction. Instead, Rick is just one more person furthering division in this country.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Aug 27, 2013 - 08:02pm PT
What sort of deluded world do you live in?

Wanting transparency is creating division? Get your head out of your ass, dude.
Ridgedancer

Mountain climber
Lakewood
  Aug 27, 2013 - 08:41pm PT
Brandon, do you think Supertopo appreciates your vulgarity? I'm sure you can respond more intelligently. Do you really think spending such monumental effort to reveal whether a guy really climbed a particular mountain or not is pursuing transparency? It's pretty frivolous when compared to how the current administration passes legislation without anyone, including themselves, knowing what is in it.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Aug 27, 2013 - 08:42pm PT
Oh MY! Ridgeprancer with 0 Forum posts, 0 photos, & 0 Trip reports on ST: is lecturing us low-lifes on how low-life it thinks we are to pick on the prick.

Sir, Yes-Sir!
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Aug 27, 2013 - 08:44pm PT
Apples and oranges.

There is no government funding in this, a citizen is calling a lawmaker out on his lies.

You don't like that?
Ridgedancer

Mountain climber
Lakewood
  Aug 27, 2013 - 09:42pm PT
Apologies, Fritz. I just signed up an hour ago and didn't realize you require such things as photos and prior posts to engage in intelligent banter. Are you the posting nazi?
Ridgedancer

Mountain climber
Lakewood
  Aug 27, 2013 - 09:51pm PT
Hey Brandon, you do have a point in that instead of the government wasting our tax money on trivial things it is in this case a private citizen wasting their own time. I only wish Rick would put as much effort into calling out politicians on far more important matters. Whether Congressman Ryan climbed Pyramid Peak or not is completely irrelevant to the job he may have performed as Vice President. The Obama administration is going down in history as the presidency of one cover-up after another. That worries me far more than exactly which mountain did Ryan climb.
tooth

Trad climber
B.C.
  Aug 27, 2013 - 10:11pm PT
I realize it's easy to deny signing in, but is there a register on the peak? Usually people who bag peaks as a bragging right sign in. Interesting report detail.

I did 13 last summer in 2 weekends and didn't sign in on any of them. Hope to get back again this summer.

It wouldn't surprise me if he just completes them in a few days so that this issue doesn't bug him - that was if he truly enjoyed the mountains. I'm sure he will be too self-absorbed to complete the list.
ncrockclimber

climber
The Desert Oven
  Aug 27, 2013 - 10:38pm PT
Ridgedancer = leb???

Lois, is that you?
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Aug 27, 2013 - 11:03pm PT
Ridgeprancer!

Re your question on my post about your BS.

Apologies, Fritz. I just signed up an hour ago and didn't realize you require such things as photos and prior posts to engage in intelligent banter. Are you the posting nazi?


I only get nasty about ITS that join ST to protect/work their own politcal agenda.

Doooode! Every post you make, lowers our opinion of -------our already shisthole opinion of you.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Aug 27, 2013 - 11:13pm PT
Hey Ridgeprancer, do you climb, or are you only here for political reasons?

I'm guessing the latter. Your BS makes people who know what they are talking about laugh.

This is one argument that you can't win.
Ridgedancer

Mountain climber
Lakewood
  Aug 27, 2013 - 11:27pm PT
Sully, I'm a mountain climber who happens to think that Ryan would have made a better vice president and has more integrity than Biden. If that makes me a Ryan plant in your eyes, then so be it. Ryan may not be perfect, but don't be fooled into thinking that Biden is any better. Ryan may have fudged the time of a marathon he ran many years ago, and it's certainly possible he got the name of one of the many peaks he climbed mixed up, but in my opinion that's hardly a reason to attack him as a jerk. I'm sure you have remembered 'facts' of your life incorrectly, too (we all do), and I would hesitate to label you a jerk because of it. In any case, I wish you success in life and joy on the mountains.
Ridgedancer

Mountain climber
Lakewood
  Aug 27, 2013 - 11:37pm PT
Fritz, do you not see that Ricks article here was politically charged? Politcal replies are expected, and mine wasn't even close to being the first. Nor was it inflammatory, vulgar, or disrespectful. I stated a simple opinion and about five people so far have gone ballistic. Do you really feel the need to hurl hateful insults at people who hold a different opinion than you do?
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
  Aug 27, 2013 - 11:46pm PT
RidgeDancer-We need your real name, address and certainly a photo and then we can respond to your silly ass support of d#@&%e bag Ryan. Do you get the gist mate?

This isn't about Obama or Biden it is about Ryan you silly shit!
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
  Aug 27, 2013 - 11:48pm PT
bye bye
Ridgedancer

Mountain climber
Lakewood
  Aug 27, 2013 - 11:49pm PT
Brandon,

You seem to be suggesting that if a person climbs then they can not have political opinions. You also seem to suggest that people like Dr. F. are 'in the know'. Well, maybe Dr. F. knows more than me......... but I doubt it.

If you and the few others who have felt the need to attack me would instead engage me with thoughtful discourse I would respect you very much. Please don't turn this into another hate-filled post like all the others. I'm hoping that my fellow climbers might be a tad above that (as hopelessly optimistic as that may be).
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Aug 27, 2013 - 11:55pm PT
Ridgeprancer: I really don't think any of our comments will alter or slow your robot-like responses, however-----you have yet to see see a ST negative response to your posts.

Schist & Christ!! Is Ridgeprancer the reincarnation of LEB?
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Aug 27, 2013 - 11:59pm PT
Go away Lowest.
Ridgedancer

Mountain climber
Lakewood
  Aug 28, 2013 - 12:05am PT
Fritz, you are misrepresenting my effort to address each person in a civil way. You are also trying to bully me for having a dissenting opinion. Shame on you.
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Aug 28, 2013 - 12:07am PT
By Lois.
dirtbag

climber
  Aug 28, 2013 - 12:19am PT
Hi Lois
Ridgedancer

Mountain climber
Lakewood
  Aug 28, 2013 - 12:37am PT
Hi Sullly. Yes, if a candidate tells a bunch of lies then I am inclined to not vote for them. Ryan certainly seemed to fudge his marathon time, and it's entirely possible he threw out the wrong name of the mountain he climbed........... Is that it?

I don't mean to sound sarcastic there but in my opinion those were not deal breaking lies.

Obama and Biden made some pretty malicious and untrue accusations against Romney and Ryan last year. They lied about other things, too. Ryans 'lies' are pretty tame in comparison.

I agree with you Sullly that character is an important part of what to demand in a candidate, and Ryan unfortunately goofed and gave thoughtful people a reason to further examine his character. That is perfectly fine.

My biggest dissappintment with American voters is that it has become a Hatfield vs McCoy mentality. Democrats and Republicans hate each other with religious furor. There's very little civil, constructive discourse going on, just each side bashing and slandering the other as much as possible. That's why this article disturbed me, not because I think Ryan is a perfect politician, but because I didn't want to read yet another biased bashing peice on a site that is otherwise dedicated to climbing. That's why I felt compelled to express an opinion.

Sorry for the rant, Sullly. I acknowledge that I come across as preachy on these posts. But I love intelligent discourse and appreciate your comments.
sullly

Gym climber
  Aug 28, 2013 - 11:21am PT
Dr. F., I deleted because I'm looking for work.
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Aug 28, 2013 - 12:15pm PT
Me thinks someone has a crush on Eddie Munster's doppleganger.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
  Aug 28, 2013 - 12:19pm PT
Pyramid Peak, the Fischer Towers of the hiking world...
steve shea

climber
  Aug 28, 2013 - 12:40pm PT
Pyramid's NF is a good winter problem. There are some nice routes up there when it's frozen solid. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Lassitude 33
  Aug 28, 2013 - 01:29pm PT
Objectively, it would appear that Ryan's claims to have summited these peaks is likely "fable." How that affects your opinion of the man (or more pointedly, the candidate), is for each to determine.

But, it is disingenuous to suggest that Rick is the cause of this issue becoming "political." Ryan (and his team) clearly intended his statements about hiking up all these Colorado 14'ers to gain him political traction.

To then question the veracity of this alleged "qualification" is entirely warranted... even if it is secondary to the many political issues upon which Ryan has a clear record upon which voters can discern whether Ryan is aligned with their own political views.
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Aug 28, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
Ugh, definitely fair game, so many politicians (on both sides IMHO) just say what they think people want them to say. To find a plain speaking politician that just speaks his mind is rare.

The only one I know personally is a local Santa Monica politician who runs every year for the city council (but hasn't made it yet) by the name of Jerry Rubin (no, not that Jerry, he's deceased). Even though I don't always agree with his stand on everything, he's honest and up-front about his opinions on everything, which is very refreshing to me.

A couple of years ago when he was running his slogan was "Tan, Rested, and Ready!" I think he runs on a Peace Party platform....I digress....sorry!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Aug 28, 2013 - 04:00pm PT

Well, it's kind of interesting that Ryan has really
knocked the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), but after
it passed he requested lots of money from it for a clinic
in his district. . . now we're not just talking 14'ers,
ridgeduncer. . .
Barbarian

climber
  Aug 28, 2013 - 07:50pm PT
My 15 year old applied the "Ryan Factor" to his actual track and road-racing times and now holds every world record from 200m to the half-marathon. Thanks Paul Ryan for eliminating the need to accomplish something before getting stellar results.
Makes me wonder if he really does the P90X workouts or if his are more of the "P23X"?
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Aug 30, 2013 - 09:01am PT
Dimple Bumpskin.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
  Aug 30, 2013 - 10:12am PT
YAWN! Get over it guys, the election was last year. YAWN!
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Aug 30, 2013 - 10:37am PT
Rodger, Ryan is planning on running for POTUS in 2016 so it does matter.
gf

climber
  Aug 30, 2013 - 10:48am PT
Superb research and and entertaining TR rick -issues like these define character and Mr Ryan has been found wanting.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Aug 30, 2013 - 10:48am PT
Exactly, Philo. I always say, "Don't get bitten by the same snake twice". Ryan is very much still at it and has lots of froot-loops following him. He is kind of a female Sarah Palin.
steveA

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
  Aug 30, 2013 - 11:13am PT
Rick,

I really enjoyed your TR!

What a pile of crap that mountain is; as well as, some of the dubious claims coming out of P. Ryan's mouth.

I hope your viewpoints will be used in the next election--if Ryan runs.

Great shot of the goat on the summit!
noriko nakagawa

Trad climber
the bubble, co
  Aug 30, 2013 - 07:05pm PT
entertaining read about 2 different sort of piles, thanks for sharing
spectreman

Trad climber
  Aug 30, 2013 - 07:21pm PT
What a witch hunt.

I've done Pyramid and 49 other of Colorado's 14'ers, some choss but who cares. It's a beautiful mountain with amazing views. Easy to see how it could be someone's favorite.
I don't know or care if Paul Ryan climbed the thing, just commenting that it means nothing if this is someone's favorite mountain.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Author's Reply  Aug 31, 2013 - 09:19pm PT
RidgeDancer- Welcome to Supertopo. Skepticism as to your motivation is a function of the fact that a lot of climbers who frequent this site know each other, some for 40 or 50 years. But I am happy to engage with you regardless of your motivation or whether or not you climb. You said:

Rick sure put a monumental effort here into trying to discredit one simple comment the congressman made. That's quite a demonstration of misguided priorities and poor judgement. Perhaps if Rick and his lemmings spent their time on constructive, thoughtful enterprises instead of wasting time attacking others we would have a country heading in a better direction. Instead, Rick is just one more person furthering division in this country.

As Sketchy rightly points out, the theme of Paul Ryan, mountain man, was made an issue in the campaign not by me, but as part of a deliberate tactic by the Romney/Ryan campaign. If you want to blame someone for making Ryan’s fourteener record a political issue, blame the Colorado surrogates for Ryan who should have vetted the candidate’s claims a little more carefully. The general, “mountain man” theme and the specific reference to Ryan’s climb of Pyramid were both used as a blunt instrument to attack Democrats:

Describing the summit approach for Capitol Peak near Aspen (14,130 feet), the Colorado Mountain Club guidebook says with jaunty understatement: "Scramble around a pinnacle or two, stroll along the knife edge," and you're there. Ryan told me last week that Capitol and nearby Pyramid Peak (14,018 feet) are his favorite climbs so far.
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?
August 26,2012 Denver Post op-ed.

The op-ed tried to disparage Ryan’s opponents by comparing the supposedly “hard-charging,” peak-bagging Ryan with the allegedly unfit and effete democrats, Obama and Biden. It even had the audacity to contrast the allegedly uber-fit Ryan with the “gentile” Franklin Roosevelt, a particularly low blow in light of the fact that Roosevelt’s wheelchair put him at a significant disadvantage when mountain climbing.

Add to this the hard-charging congressman's love for the Colorado high country (he has climbed 40 of the state's 54 peaks over 14,000 feet) and you have the most potentially transformative VP selection since President William McKinley put Theodore Roosevelt on the ticket in 1900. (Not the genteel Roosevelt, squire of Hyde Park, but his "strenuous life" cousin who ranched in Dakota and hunted bear in Glenwood Springs.)


Since you question it, let me explain my motivation. I am not an expert in politics, but at one time in my life, I was an expert climber. Climbing mountains remains to this day a passion of mine and I remain well informed about the subject. As a Colorado voter, I took great offense at the Ryan campaign’s ham-handed attempt to persuade me and the rest of the Colorado electorate that we should vote for Paul Ryan because he is a bold, mountain-climbing, Colorado mountain man. To echo a famous riposte from a presidential debate: I know Colorado mountain men (and women), I climb with them, and Paul Ryan is no mountain man.

Also, I was further offended when someone (probably the author of the original thread “Yosemite 5.9”as Dr. F points out) deleted it right before the election. This motivated me to revisit the issue, especially when I read that Ryan is already campaigning to be president in 2016.

And thanks for your concern about my time, but the Sunday morning I devoted to writing this was too hot to go climbing, and besides, I thoroughly enjoyed putting it together. I look at it as a minor civic duty. I had the experience in the mountains to see through the fable that Ryan foisted on the public to further his political ambitions and I decided that I should speak up.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Aug 31, 2013 - 10:42am PT
The guy is an abject liar......admitting to "exaggerating" his marathon time by over an hour. Pardon me but claiming a marathon time that is over an hour less than actually run......that's hardly an exaggeration, the word lie is more apropo.
Randisi

climber
  Aug 31, 2013 - 11:52am PT
Exactly, Philo. I always say, "Don't get bitten by the same snake twice". Ryan is very much still at it and has lots of froot-loops following him. He is kind of a female Sarah Palin.

Few took Palin seriously, why do you thing this guy is any different?

I too felt the OP was spending too much time one what was a dead issue, and even if it is not, his post will make make little difference. In politics, money talks, not reason.
Randisi

climber
  Aug 31, 2013 - 12:18pm PT
Could you imagine the hell we would be in if Mitt and Ryan won!

It would be much as things are now.

The president does what those who elected him want. By this, I mean the corporations who hold no allegiance to any country.

(Ah, Jeez. Did I really just respond to a Dr. F post?)
crunch

Social climber
CO
  Aug 31, 2013 - 01:11pm PT
Excellent writing RickA. Thanks for the time, effort, meticulousness and care with which you put this together.

Works on multiple levels; in a sport where misleading statements can lead others to injury or death, the issue of honesty is very, very important.

And yeah, love the goat photos!
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Sep 1, 2013 - 08:49pm PT
To echo a famous riposte from a presidential debate: I know Colorado mountain men (and women), I climb with them, and Paul Ryan is no mountain man.

LOL!

Randisi perhaps nothing matters or makes a difference in your mind but trust us in the "Real" World where the intelligent adults dwell some things do matter and make differences. The original thread made it to the New York Times. Clearly it mattered to some.
gf

climber
  Sep 1, 2013 - 10:50pm PT
Rick,
Thanks again for the TR and for the followup with flawless analysis to the posts by rimlicker, opps ridgeprancer. Hmmm Dan Quayle and Paul Ryan, they've got more in common than I thought beyond just not being Jack Kennedy nor mtn men.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Sep 3, 2013 - 03:48pm PT
Trip Report section of ST is my favorite, thanks for the post.
Great picture at the top with the mountain goat.

Quite the roast on Ridgedancer for not toeing the party line. Shame on him.
I need a TR telling me who to vote for instead of against.
Oh yeah, they all lie. Never mind.
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Sep 3, 2013 - 05:02pm PT
There is no "party" line on the Taco Larry. When some one like Ridgedancer burbles and spews mental diarrhea they get called out. You spewing the hackneyed drivel that all politicians are the same and thus neither party is worthy is a Neo-Con's wet dream.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
  Sep 3, 2013 - 06:05pm PT
Thanks Ricky, I enjoyed both the Ryan expose and the trip report.

It sounds like a pretty cool peak! I can't wait to check it out.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Author's Reply  Jan 19, 2014 - 11:43am PT
I noticed that Greg Mortenson is starting his obligatory attempt at public redemption with an interview by Tom Brokaw on the Today Show this Tuesday.

http://www.today.com/books/three-cups-author-i-was-willing-basically-kill-myself-help-2D11943982

It made me think about the similarities between Ryan’s fourteener fabrications and Mortenson’s equally suspect claims that he had summited “half a dozen” Himalayan peaks, including Annapurna IV and Baruntse, before his retreat from K-2. Recall that it was the return trip from K-2, out of which sprang the faked story of Mortenson’s rescue by Korphe villagers. Jon Krakauer sets out abundant evidence in his book, “Three Cups of Deceit” why the Korphe story, as well as Mortenson’s tale of climbing numerous Himalayan peaks, are probably false.

In both the Ryan and Mortenson controversies, the claims of peak bagging accomplishment were intended for an audience of non climbers, and to further non-climbing purposes. Mortenson made his assertions in Three Cups of Tea, which was written for the sole purpose of being a fundraising vehicle for Mortenson’s “charity”, the Central Asia Institute. It made for a more touching story to lure potential donors if Mortenson were portrayed as an accomplished climber who gave up his successful Himalayan climbing career to help the poor Korphe villagers. Similarly, Ryan’s claim of climbing 40 fourteeners was intended to further the Romney/Ryan campaign’s effort to endear himself to the voters of Colorado.

The take away is that when someone makes climbing claims intended for an audience of non-climbers and for non-climbing purposes,(here to gain money and votes) the BS detector should probably be pegging eleven.
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Jan 20, 2014 - 12:12pm PT
Hmmmmm, bump.
thebravecowboy

climber
just banana-jam it
  Jan 20, 2014 - 12:35pm PT
Fitness Fable
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Jan 20, 2014 - 04:09pm PT
Rick,
I like your expose on Ryan. It seemed apt, timely and well researched. However, you seem to have a hard on for Mortenson and the notion of raising his "suspect" claims about peaks in this thread seems to benefit more from guilt by associated thread than any specifics you have about doubting his earlier claims. Most people don't go wandering thru the Baltoro attached to some expedition to fabricate claims of being a mountaineer. I think Mortenson's unfortunate problems with his non-profit are pretty well documented elsewhere. I don't find after the fact thoughts about his climbing resume (particularly when they seem to be hypothetical) relevant to this thread. All other respects, I appreciated your OP.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Jan 20, 2014 - 06:33pm PT

Keepin' the scammers on a leash. . .
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
  Jan 20, 2014 - 09:42pm PT
Keep it going.

I can't believe it but I did read that the punter still has a nomination possibility.


I hope he is their best choice.


.....or maybe Palin!

WHEE HOO!!!!
thebravecowboy

climber
just banana-jam it
  Jan 20, 2014 - 10:05pm PT
Palin's comments today, on MLK day,

"Mr. President, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and all who commit to ending any racial divide, no more playing the race card." ....Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, did not specify on Facebook how Obama is "playing the race card."


from usatoday.com


WOOHOO PALIN 2016!
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Author's Reply  Mar 15, 2014 - 01:46pm PT
Here is Jon Stewart in fine form several weeks ago when the Chris Christie bridge scandal broke.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-january-8-2014/email-chains--lanes-and-automobiles---chris-christie-bridge-scandal

Early in the clip, Stewart describes Ryan’s reaction to the bad news for Christie, who was Ryan’s main “moderate” rival for the Republican nomination in 2016.

Ryan is the GOP presidential frontrunner now, so his false statements about his athletic prowess, including his fourteener record, will likely become relevant again.

So, let’s revisit John Andrews’ September 5, 2012 partial retraction of his statements about Ryan’s fourteener record in the Denver Post and conservative website Townhall.com. Here is the retraction:

Corrective Note, Sept. 5—As originally published at Townhall.com on Aug. 27, and in the Denver Post on Aug. 26, this column misstated in paragraph 5 Ryan’s total of peaks climbed at 40 (based on a Denver Post news story to that effect on Aug. 11) and gave the impression in paragraph 7 that I had talked directly with Ryan, whereas his answer was in fact relayed to me by a staffer. I regret the errors.

It is interesting that the correction does not retract any of the other information in the articles.

Andrews’ Townhall article contains very specific details about Ryan’s fourteener claims—including his favorites, Pyramid and Capitol, a detailed description of an ascent of Mt. Shavano as told by William Bennett, and Ryan’s future plans to climb Mt. Holy Cross. This wealth of detail seems to have been confirmed on September 5, 2012 to be accurately reported by Andrews, because it was not retracted or corrected.

Ryan told me last week that Capitol and nearby Pyramid Peak (14,018’) are his favorite climbs so far...

It was on a climb of Mount Shavano last summer – according to Bill Bennett, Reagan’s education secretary – that Ryan nearly said yes to Bennett’s entreaties for a 2012 presidential candidacy. But the younger man sped on alone to the summit (14,229’) while his onetime boss at Empower America rested a few hundred feet below, and so Bennett (in his words) “lost the argument.”

Speeding to the summit comes naturally to the Wisconsin budgeteer turned mountaineer, it seems. Ryan says his next climbing goal may be the Mount of the Holy Cross west of Vail (14,005’) – and after that, presumably, the hiker’s holy grail of bagging all 54 of Colorado’s Fourteeners.


So, barring future retractions, one can conclude that Andrews stands by the rest of his account except that the total number of fourteeners climbed was “misstated”, and that the source of the article was a Ryan staffer, not Ryan himself.

The level of detail about fourteener accomplishments in the Townhall piece is in stark contrast with Ryan’s effort to cut short any discussion of fourteeners in his "Read the transcript" response to the Colorado Springs Reporter.

So, at one time, Ryan was quite talkative about Colorado fourteeners. Despite the fourteener counting session on the campaign plane in September 2012, as reported by the New York times, calls to detail his claims from political opponents, and a reporter’s direct question, Ryan now stonewalls about fourteeners.

One is left to conclude that the only mountain that we can be sure that Paul Ryan has climbed is the one made famous by Jon Stewart, Bulls**t Mountain.

If you look carefully, you can see Paul Ryan on the summit!

And this time he made sure to sign the summit register.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Author's Reply  Sep 28, 2014 - 11:12am PT
Paul Ryan, with his eye on a run for President in 2016, has published the obligatory campaign biography, the purpose of which is to establish in the public mind the candidate’s “brand.” I was at an airport bookstore recently and thumbed through it on the chance that he might discuss his fourteener prevarications. Sure enough, right there in the index is “Colorado fourteeners.” Turning to page 127, one reads:

…I was prepared to experience a whole new level of press scrutiny. I knew I would have to defend my record, past statements, and the Roadmap. But I hadn’t realized the attention that the press would pay to little things.

For example, I’d been climbing in Colorado since I was a kid, including several of the state’s “Fourteeners,” mountains with altitudes of over fourteen thousand feet. A few years earlier a local reporter asked me how many Fourteeners I had climbed. I had never really counted them up before. I told him I’d done a whole bunch of repeats, but I thought I'd probably done about thirty to forty climbs. The reporter’s write-up paraphrased our conversation and left the impression that I’d claimed to climb forty of the famous peaks.

In September [2012], seemingly out of nowhere, the campaign started getting questions from reporters who wanted an inventory of all of the fourteeners I’d ascended. A liberal political organization had sent out a press release titled, “Did ‘Lyin’ Ryan’ Really Climb Forty Colorado Fourteeners?”

Conor Sweeney [a Ryan advisor] found me and asked if I had any proof documenting all the mountains I had scaled over the course of my lifetime. Tobin and I spent an entire flight flipping through a guidebook and scanning a map, trying to figure out which mountains I had climbed since I was twelve years old. The final tally was a couple of dozen peaks, totaling thirty or forty climbs. Eventually the local reporter posted a blog item with his original interview notes, which made clear I had not claimed to climb forty separate Fourteeners. But we lost precious hours trying to clear up the controversy.

When people started coming at me and questioning my integrity, it was stomach churning. The hardest were the self-inflicted wounds, like when I recalled the wrong marathon time from a race I ran during college. We lost another couple of days cleaning that up that mess in the press.

I could see the narrative that was developing out of these tiny bits of information. I had too much record and policy experience to be portrayed as stupid. I suppose being married to someone as open- minded and big-hearted as Janna made it hard to cast me as an evil guy. But a sloppy paraphrase here, a poor recollection there and pretty soon I was being labeled as a liar.

The Way Forward/Renewing the American Idea, published by Twelve, Hachette Book Group

Did the press really victimize Congressman Ryan by nitpicking details of his personal life and ambushing him—from “out of nowhere”—about his fourteener and marathon records? Did the press really try to build a narrative about him that he was stupid or that he was an evil guy, but were foiled because he is actually smart and has an “open-minded and big-hearted” wife?

Not at all. Ryan is engaging in his own version of the “paranoid style” of American politics, a style developed by Barry Goldwater and described in a book by Richard J. Hofstadter, But the undisputed master of the paranoid style of politics was Richard Nixon. Like Nixon, Ryan suggests that he is persecuted by what Spiro Agnew famously called the “nattering nabobs of negativism”, i.e., the press. Here is what really happened.

Ryan has a history of touting his physical fitness to promote his political career. The earliest reference I could find to his fitness is a Politico article from 2010 discussing his gym routines and PX 90 workouts; in this same interview Ryan tells the reporter that he has 6 to 9 percent body fat and says “I’m kind of a skinny guy”.

http://www.politico.com/click/stories/1003/ryan_leads_p90x_class_for_pols.html

After the initial article, there were joint television interviews with the PX 90 promoter and Ryan posed—awkwardly—pumping iron for a photo session for Time magazine.

http:////www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82296.html

The photos were taken in December, 2011, well before he was picked as the VP candidate.

Ryan made his athleticism an issue, not the press, because he talked up his fitness to promote his political image. He described himself as an aficionado of “extreme” gym sessions, and the political message was that his toned body complimented his alleged intellectual rigor. As one Washington observer noted,

Ryan's "body and nutrition freakishness was ... central to Brand Ryan, a study in discipline and exactitude in his approach to physical as well as fiscal fitness. He partook five days a week of P90X, a DVD-based workout that was advertised on late-night TV.”
This Town (Blue Rider Press), by Mark Leibovich.

This theme carried through into the battleground state of Colorado. John Andrews, a prominent Colorado Republican, asserted in the Denver Post editorial just days after Ryan was picked as the VP, that Ryan’s ascents of forty fourteeners were important qualifications: Ryan’s physical fitness supposedly demonstrated his “backbone under pressure, resourcefulness in facing adversity, and trustworthiness for power.” Ryan Call, the head of the Republican Party in Colorado, also touted the forty fourteeners as a reason to vote for Ryan. The op-ed and the statement by Call in the Denver Post were not accidents; they were part of a deliberate strategy at the outset of the Romney/Ryan campaign.

So questioning Ryan’s fourteener claims is fair game. Ryan’s promotion of his physical fitness did not come “out of nowhere” and neither did scrutiny of Brand Ryan. Both of the fourteener claims in the Denver Post came from prominent Colorado Republicans who stated that they had personally talked to Ryan and directly quoted him. The question about his best marathon time that prompted the “low 2:50s… I was pretty fast when I was young” response came from a ultra-conservative talk show host, Hugh Hewitt. And it was not the liberal press that established the falsity of his and his spokesman’s statements; it was running and climbing enthusiasts who could sense that his claims just didn’t ring true.

So to recap, the Ryan campaign originally claimed 40 fourteeners climbed, which was amended during the campaign to 28 after consulting a guidebook and counting them up on the campaign plane. Ryan, in his official biography now revises the figure down further, to a “couple of dozen” peaks climbed, so the original number of 40 became 28 in the 2012 campaign statement, which became 24 in the new book.

Ryan is not apparently embarrassed by this shrinking number of fourteeners he says he climbed or that still, two years later, he has not produced a list of the “two dozen” fourteeners now claimed. He is still promoting himself as a “mountain climber,” and finds the subject important enough to detail one of his Fourteener ascents:

I remember one time we ascended Castle Peak in Colorado’s Elk Mountains. While we were crossing a large boulder field, the path was steep and the ground kept shifting underneath our feet…I remember thinking if I let Bill Bennett [his companion and former Reagan-era Secretary of Education] fall to his death on that mountain I’d be forever known as “that kid who ruined the Republican Party.” I also knew that if he went, he’d take me with him—and I wasn’t quite ready to give my life for the cause just yet.
p.58


So Ryan wants to have it both ways: he portrays himself as a death-defying “climber” of Colorado fourteeners in his official biography to further promote Brand Ryan, while chiding the press for paying attention to “little things” like climbing fourteeners.

According to Ryan, Colorado peaks played an important part in a turning point in the Congressman’s life. The book reveals that Ryan almost moved to Colorado after college to “climb mountains and wait tables in the summer... and then ski in the winter and try to get a job with the ski patrol...” But he was dissuaded by his mother’s stern admonition,

If you go out to Colorado, you’ll end up a ski bum. One year will turn into three, three will become six and before you know it, you'll be thirty years old. You’ll have missed this window in your life.
p.52-53


Ryan suggests that this advice led him to choose a life of high achievement in politics in Washington, DC over the low life of a Colorado climbing and skiing enthusiast. This is a slap at Coloradans who came here for its mountain lifestyle and it posits a false dilemma: if you take a year away from the grindstone to climb or ski, you forfeit the opportunity for more conventional forms of achievement.

Mark Udall, a climber with substantial mountaineering accomplishments who also happens to be a United States Senator, has demonstrated that high achievement in politics and in climbing are not mutually exclusive.

Perhaps if Ryan had disobeyed his mother and moved to Colorado all those years ago, he wouldn’t have become a Congressman from Wisconsin, a tireless advocate for privatizing Social Security, and be famous for the sheer number of false statements made in a speech at the 2012 Republican convention.

On the other hand, had he moved to Colorado, he probably would have summited all 54 fourteeners by now and would be working on the more than 600 Thirteeners. He probably would have had hundreds of memorable powder days deposited in the memory bank and the only false statements he would have to explain would be when he showed up at the office with a goggle tan after calling in “sick.”

And there would be no urgent need to promote his personal brand by fabrications about his fitness or mountain climbing exploits. In short, he wouldn’t have to work at posing as a Colorado mountain man, because he would actually be one.

Life is all about the tradeoffs.
locker

climber
STFU n00b!!!
  Sep 27, 2014 - 08:46am PT


He is a CLOWN...

steve shea

climber
  Sep 27, 2014 - 09:10am PT
The climbing ski bum lifestyle is a window that I did not miss. And now, years later, I am not poverty stricken and have health insurance etc. I don't know if under the Ryan definition, I am a maker or a taker. I did pay taxes all those working years. I even answered the call and volunteered for the Army in '68, something those chicken hawk politicians should try. It is character building. Ryan is a despicable liar. Pyramid was in my backyard during my CO residency. If he was gripped by a little scree movement, there is no way he did Pyramid. It is a vertical scree field, as high as feces can be stacked. Unless, he did the NF in winter.

Good analysis Rick.
eKat

Trad climber
  Sep 27, 2014 - 09:33am PT
Whoa. . . it's interesting to see this issue back on the front page.

The whole thing is slippery, from Ryan's spray, to the original thread's mysterious disappearance.

Weird.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Sep 27, 2014 - 09:26am PT
Piece of dogshit masquerading as a human.
I know that i'm being too kind but mama always said..."if you can't say something nice about somebody, don't say anything at all."
Captain...or Skully

climber
in the oil patch...Fricken Bakken, that's where
  Sep 27, 2014 - 09:27am PT
"D#@&%e canoe".....hehehe. Good TR, Rick.
Malemute

Ice climber
great white north
  Sep 27, 2014 - 09:29am PT
If Pyramid is Ryan's favorite climb, then he'd accept an invitation to climb it.

A video of him gripped on it would torpedo his aspirations.

Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
  Sep 27, 2014 - 09:50am PT
The metrics for fitness described by Ryan read like a list exercise talking points throughout the years.

Running Marathons in 1980s - check

Six to nine percent body fat - check

Climbing 14ers - check

P90X - check

Why not EPO?
Chewybacca

Trad climber
Montana, Whitefish
  Sep 27, 2014 - 09:55am PT
He is more concerned about his reputation than he is about his climbing companion falling. D#@&%e canoe is spot on.


Hi ekat, hope all is well.
eKat

Trad climber
  Sep 28, 2014 - 03:41pm PT
^ ^ ^ Hi, Chewy!

SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Sep 27, 2014 - 10:30am PT

Nice job, Rick.

It's a shame some politicians can't be as forthright as
you are. . .
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Author's Reply  Sep 28, 2014 - 11:15am PT
Wait a minute. Does the book revise the number of Fourteeners Ryan claims to “several”, meaning just a few?

On reading the book’s passages on Fourteeners again to proofread the portions I quoted, I noticed something very strange: a close reading indicates that Ryan could be saying that he has climbed only “several” Fourteeners. You can’t tell because the writing is either very sloppy or intentionally deceptive.

The first passage to discuss Fourteeners (pg. 127) reads:

For example, I’d been climbing in Colorado since I was a kid, including several of the state’s “Fourteeners,” mountains with altitudes of over fourteen thousand feet. A few years earlier a local reporter asked me how many Fourteeners I had climbed. I had never really counted them up before. I told him I’d done a whole bunch of repeats, but I thought I'd probably done about thirty to forty climbs. The reporter’s write-up paraphrased our conversation and left the impression that I’d claimed to climb forty of the famous peaks.

The passage denies that he climbed forty Fourteeners, but states only that he climbed “several” Fourteeners. “Several” is defined in Merriam Webster as “more than two, but not many.” In response to the reporter’s question about how many Fourteeners he climbed, Ryan tells him he had done “thirty to forty climbs,” seeming to make a distinction between “forty climbs” and “forty of the famous peaks”, i.e., Fourteeners.

The next paragraph is:

Conor Sweeney [a Ryan advisor] found me and asked if I had any proof documenting all the mountains I had scaled over the course of my lifetime. Tobin and I spent an entire flight flipping through a guidebook and scanning a map, trying to figure out which mountains I had climbed since I was twelve years old. The final tally was a couple of dozen peaks, totaling thirty or forty climbs.

Note that this paragraph is not concerned with counting Fourteeners; instead it changes the subject to the number of "mountains" climbed. Ryan is being asked by his aide to count up “all the mountains I had scaled over the course of my lifetime” and “which mountains I had climbed since I was twelve years old.” The “final tally” of “couple of dozen peaks, totaling thirty or forty climbs” seems to respond to the questions regarding the number of mountains climbed (regardless of elevation), not the number of Fourteeners climbed.

This formulation of counting mountains, rather than Fourteeners, echos the response of the Romney/Ryan campaign to James Fallows back in September of 2012 when Ryan’s athletic claims were a hot topic:

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.

So, is the number of Fourteeners claimed now “several” or a “couple of dozen”? It’s either sloppy writing or intended to confuse and mislead.
local

Social climber
eldorado
  Sep 28, 2014 - 01:04pm PT
It's interesting that Ryan's people would make such a big deal about 'ascents' on a few dirt hills in Colorado.

By contrast, the Senior Senator from Colorado has done 'em all, as well as the Diamond, Cassin, S Face of Aconcauga, and Kanchenjunga. He just doesn't brag it up.
Daphne

Trad climber
Northern California
  Sep 28, 2014 - 03:27pm PT
Three cheers for RickA. I'm especially impressed by a guy who can properly use the word insouciant. This is a very good thread.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Sep 29, 2014 - 12:08pm PT
I clicked on that old "Ridgedancer" alias and it shows zero posts or trip reports etc...

My first thought when I had read what that person wrote, is that they were a spin-master plant from the Ryan campaign (or from somebody with a major interest in seeing Ryan elected). It's weird that their posts still show up but the post count is zero and no photos or TRs or any way to gauge whether they are a real person or a fake avatar to steer the political discussion.

Back to Ryan: if someone cares enough about their climbing record to publicly state their achievements, or use them to craft a public image, then they are totally fair game for scrutiny. Skipping a summit register is not an alarm bell for me, but all this waffling about an exact count is a major major alarm bell. We are not talking some 1-pitch 5.7 lame climb that you might have done in the course of a dya mixed with other more memorable stuff. We are talking something that requires a day of planning, focus and potential suffering/struggling and in the end, it seems odd to forget even over decades, unless you are just so gnarly and do so many that they get lost in a sea of outstanding feats. But just 40, or 30-40 (or 28, or 24, or several) over a span of decades, I can't see forgetting whether you did it or not. Pure backpedaling b.s.



On politicians and integrity:
1) It is easy to be jaded (I definitely am) and believe that most politicians lie to achieve their positions, almost as a requirement.
2) This way of thinking is defeatist for the future of democracy.
3) We can either surrender now, stop voting, and bow to our corporate overlords, or fight for our democratic ideals that are built on the expectation of INTEGRITY by those in public office
4) Showing other politicians who lack integrity is NOT a defense of one under scrutiny who is being shown to lack integrity


When a person lies casually about little things, then that tells you a lot about how they handle big things that affect them, when there is a greater temptation to lie.

I want a politician who has the backbone to tell the truth when it matters, when the truth may not be flattering for their image. Paul Ryan does not appear to be that kind of person.

On the other hand, our current political climate does not foster the success of the types of politicians I would respect. The Supreme Court Citizens United decision greatly exacerbated a trend that has been growing over time, the trend of crafted image getting more exposure than investigative journalism, distorting the facts upon which voters can make informed decisions.

How can a politician who "keeps it real" compete against the extravagant claims and promises of financially well-backed candidates and a political machinery that casts lies or shifts the public conversation to the worst points of the "keep it real" candidate?

Until this campaign funding issue is disentangled from "free speech", and corporate rights are clearly and unequivocally subordinated to the rights of individual citizens (who can collectively exercise their individual rights to further the corporate interest if they so desire), we can expect that every candidate reaching our mainstream awareness will be plagued with the baggage of corporate money and divided loyalty.


p.s. I like chossy climbs, and loose rubbly scrambles can be a favorite if for nothing else than the adrenaline rush of "I didn't die" upon getting off it. And that goat picture is most excellent.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Author's Reply  Oct 21, 2014 - 06:29am PT
A couple of weeks ago, Paul Krugman wrote a column in the New York Times in which he described Paul Ryan’s plans to change the way the Congressional Budget Office calculates the federal budget.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/opinion/paul-krugman-voodoo-economics-the-next-generation.html

The CBO is the accounting arm of Congress known for its non-partisan rigor in calculating the economic effects of proposed legislation, which in budget jargon is called “scoring.” If, after the coming elections, both the Senate and the House are controlled by Republicans, Ryan intends to direct the CBO to use something called “dynamic scoring” rather than the current system. This means that the CBO will be instructed to calculate the projected effect of behavioral changes that might result from legislation.

… Ryan said if Republicans take control of the Senate, they will be able to calculate the price tag of legislation differently. Republicans have long pushed for the Congressional Budget Office to use “dynamic scoring” when calculating the costs of legislation. Currently, the CBO scores legislation using static scoring, which does not take into account how behavioral changes brought on by legislation could in turn alter how much a particular provision costs.

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/218160-ryan-political-reality-weighs-on-fiscal-hopes

Krugman calls this a return to “Voodoo economics” and suggests that dynamic scoring would allow Ryan and Republicans to better sell tax-cutting legislation on the theory that it would lower the federal deficit.

Unlike the complexities of the federal budget, the fourteener calculation calls for simple arithmetic.“How many fourteeners have you climbed? “could be answered with just one word: a number. This shouldn’t be a subject that requires a nuanced, carefully vetted response. But for Paul Ryan, no subject is too minor for spin and double-talk. Consider this remarkable exchange with a Colorado Springs reporter in 2012, which is the only time he was questioned publicly about fourteeners during the last campaign.

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.


So, perhaps Ryan is using “dynamic scoring” in calculating the number of Fourteeners he has climbed. Under the usual method of Fourteener scoring, you count only the number of distinct, fourteen thousand foot peaks that you have actually ascended. But under dynamic scoring, you can include all the Fourteeners that you project you may be able to climb in the future, assuming certain behavioral changes, for example, quitting your job, getting fit, and moving to Colorado.

What peaks have you climbed using “dynamic scoring”?
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Oct 21, 2014 - 06:38am PT

The only dynamic I have in my climbing is the rope I use!
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
  Oct 21, 2014 - 07:26am PT
I missed this the first time around.

An interesting read and in the absence of absolute proof that he didn't do it, Rick's forensic analysis would surely be good enough to win a civil case!

And it was a fun read.

Cheers,

Steve
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Oct 21, 2014 - 11:30am PT
What peaks have you climbed using “dynamic scoring”?

not just peaks (I'm a world class "dynamic" super alpinist in that category) but routes too, and not only that, I've "dynamically" climbed routes that aren't even routes yet in places no one has been (except "dynamically").

here's to dynamism! (gee, shouldn't this thread be a part of the "reality" thread?)

Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Oct 21, 2014 - 11:55am PT
No Eddie, it should have been posed in the Trip Report format. Suddenly all of us are doing more climbs than ever before and need to report back.
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
  Oct 21, 2014 - 04:00pm PT
Ryan was in Pensacola a few months ago for a book signing and I regret not stopping by and asking him about this issue. I'm sure as a concerned citizen I could have questioned him about his mountaineering accomplishments while my gopro was recording the juicy details.

If he makes another run for the big office there is a good chance he will come by this conservative stronghold again so if that happens I will try to play up the yokel Floridian impressed with his Colorado hiking and see what happens.
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Oct 21, 2014 - 07:58pm PT
Paul Ryan is playing in the political Big League . . . needless to say, he is a narcissistic, power monger. The line between reality and his pursuit of political exposure is blurred . . . just like the majority of the people involved in ruining (running) this repugnic (republic).
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
  Oct 21, 2014 - 08:08pm PT
The guy personifies republicanism

Lies, bravado, ignorance, greed, arrogance, cowardice, he's got it all.

Thanks for keeping after him Ricky - way entertaining!
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
  Oct 29, 2014 - 12:49pm PT
I feel that there has been a great deal of slander here, and wish to make a plea for the slandered. OK, so maybe Pyramid IS a choss pile, but it is still a beautiful mountain, nice maroon color and quite symmetrical as viewed from the north. Plus, I have always enjoyed climbing it. Can be quite scary though, especially if one climbs that spooky couloir on the far left side of the north face, the one with the granitic dike in the back. Creeps me out just thinking about it. I did like the north face route, though, especially in winter when everything is frozen together. Actually, winter mountaineering on Pyramid is really quite nice, a wonderful experience. I have always wanted to saunter along the summit crest to the south as well, but haven't gotten to that one yet. In Pyramid's favor, at least the strata are flat-lying. That 17 degree dip to the north of the strata on North Maroon peak makes that one much spookier, in my opinion, especially when the peak is approached from the north. Love the traverse between North and South Maroon, though. That actually is one of my favorite mountaineering settings on Colordado's 14ers, and have done it many times. One brief correction to one of the earlier posts; The Maroon Formation is not really the same formation as the Fountain Formation in Eldo. Although they are both late Pennsylvanian/early Permian in age, and both represent fanglomerates shed off the Ancestral Rockies, The Fountain Formation was shed off of the Ancestral Front Range to the east, whereas the Maroon Formation was shed off the same uplift to the west into the Eagle Basin. As such, these two formations were never connected, but always existed in two completely different depositional basins. The Fountain Formation in Eldo is more proximal to its source area, as evidenced by the coarser comglomerates contained therein, while the Maroon Formation in the vicinity of the Bells and Pyramid Peak is much more distal, as evidenced by the plethora of interbedded siltstone and fine sandstone. This is probably why the rock in Eldo is less chossy than that on Pyramid Peak.
Just sayin' Pyramid is a pretty cool peak, as long as you don't have Diamond on Longs Peak expectations for your mountaineering pleasure.
cheers
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