Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. – Emerson
No one likes to be limited in what they do, especially by the rules of another. These rules were not compiled to create artificial boundaries, but rather are set up the Challenge with a level playing field (as much as possible) for everyone, as well as sustainable for future Challengers to engage in. The bottom line is:
- Do It All Yourself.
- Do not look for loopholes in the rules, that are outside the pale of “self-supported” and, “self-powered” in order to gain an unfair advantage. Please.
These rules are centered around the one taking on the Challenge, which itself is not on a closed off course, but traverses through public lands, private lands, national forest lands, Wilderness and National Parks; as well as state highways – and maybe even an Interstate. The Challenger is responsible for themselves.
The basic goal is to travel to, and summit all the named and ranked 14ers – self-support and self-powered.
- Challenger must ascend to the top of every ranked and named peak in Colorado with an elevation of 14,000+ (a 14er). The list used will be the one here, which includes 53 officially named and ranked summits.
- You MAY elect to ascend other peaks, be they unranked/unnamed 14ers, 13ers, etc.
- No “Colorado Rule”:The Colorado Rule:
- one must ascend at least 3,000 feet in absolute elevation gain on foot from the base of the first peak of a series.
- foot traverses of less than 3,000 feet are allowed between peaks through traverses.
- one must descend on foot at least 3,000 feet in absolute elevation loss back to the starting point or end of a traverse.
- Since Challengers are self-powered from the start of the Challenge, and there is no outside support anyways, this rule does not have application. It’s up the Challenger if they would like to start on foot, below 3,000 feet.
- No “Colorado Rule”:The Colorado Rule:
- Summiting can be completed using any self-powered method, as long as it’s legal for your route.
- Traversing between peaks is OK
- There’s no specific route you must take.
- Ascend the summits in any order
- Try not to break the law.
- Some 14ers have paved roads to the top of them. You may use them.
- Some 14ers allow cycling on trails/roads. You may cycle on the trails
- Some 14ers have strict rules on what specifically is allowed to be used on trails (ie: no mechanized travel in Wildernesl) – You MUST follow these rules – there are no exceptions. Portaging a bike (for example) is not allowed in any Wilderness in CO.
- Some 14ers are on private land, on Wilderness Areas, or in National Parks, each with their own sets of rules to follow; not all 14ers are free to summit.It’s your responsibility to know these rules, and you MAY NOT poach a private peak/resource, to avoid these fees.
Bross is the odd-mountain out, as the summit is on private land that is not officially accessible to the public – it’s perfectly fine for this Challenge to ascend to the highest, legal height you are allowed to.There is no real physical difficulty after the private property line, that a Challenger will miss. Bross is Bross.
- All Travel MUST be self-powered.
- Walking/hiking/running/crawling/scrambling/climbing is allowed,
- As is travel using a bicycle, or other strictly self-powered “mechanical” means.
- Skiiing/Glisading/use of gravity is OK .
- Using equipment such as crampons, hiking poles, snowshoes, etc, is OK.
- Use of any motorized vehicles is strictly prohibited, except:
- In the event of a serious mechanical that renders one’s bike (or any other mechanical, self-powered machine) unusable, a Challenger may be assisted by motor vehicle in moving to a place where their bike/etc can be serviced. A Challenger will be required to return to the exact location they left their self-supported route. They may also receive assistance returning back to this location, but no further assistance. Exhaust all options before accepting this type of help! This rule is put in place so that a Challenger will not put themselves in a heightened state of danger, due to a conflict between the purity of the Challenge and the severity of them being marooned.
- Once the Challenge begins, a Challenger may be assisted by a third party in receiving emergency repair/replacement items only. Food resupply is not considered an emergency. Emergency items must be shipped using a commercial shipper. Items may not be delivered privately by family, friends or even anonymous persons. Items may only be shipped to a commercial address, provided that address is equally available to all Challengers. Use of a private address (residence) along the route is forbidden.
- In helping with an emergency situation (see below)
- Challengers alone are responsible for their own safety.
- Operate unsupported while outside of towns/civilization
- Operate self-supported while in towns/civilization
The idea of a self-supported Challenge should be self-evident.
The following is a guideline for frequently asked, “but, what about…” questions. The only thing to really think about is your own personal integrity: say what you did, and how you did it. This Challenge is to be Self-Supported and Self-Powered. If you did something that’s not one of those two things, just explain what you did.
The below ideas have been established to side with the reality of the Challenge, as the Challenge does not happen on a closed, or tightly regulated course. Oh baby, it’s a wild, wild world.
Once a Challenge has started:
- Support: NO support crews, belay partners, private resupply, private lodging, prearranged support, personal cooks, navigators, strategists, online help, etc – this Challenge is not modeled after an ultra-run like the Nolan’s 14. If you think there should be an aid station at each summit, you’ve got the wrong Challenge.
- Spontaneous pacers and hiking partners (partners that are not prearranged in any way) are tolerated, as they sincerely raise the safety level of a perhaps tired Challenger, who could be in adverse conditions, far away from any sort of civilization. The idea is that a Challenger is not to be penalized by spontaneous help with route-finding, or for having an outside perspective on their health and condition. Rescue from 14ers can be difficult, costly, and put many other lives at risk. Safety starts with avoiding risks beforehand (be prepared).
- Muling, however, is not allowed.
- Visitation: Prearranged visitation is not allowed (see No Outside Support above). The Challenge is also not a spectator support; it is an individual pursuit. The main reason for this rule is that 14ers could very well be located in sensitive environmental areas, which should not be utilized as make-shift stadiums. If you are visiting (remember: not arranged beforehand, spontaneous) the Challenger, please do not offer them support which would relegate them from the Challenge. The Challenger is only responsible for themselves, and not for the actions of others.
- Challengers must police their own conduct. If you are going for a record, it’s highly advised to have some sort of GPS logger/photographic evidence of your ascents. Neither are mandatory and there is no ref’ing of the Challenge, either on, or off the course.
- Trail Magic: do not count on the kindness of strangers to make up for your lack of planning. Plan on many tiny emergencies (running out of food, etc).
- Using permanent aid: fixed ropes/equipment is highly discouraged.
- Others in an Emergency: However small the chance may be, you MAY help out someone else in an actual emergency situation, if SAR or you alone elects for your service. You will not be disqualified for assisting any SAR or the actual person in needing emergency assistance, in any way. Consider the Challenge on hold (although the clock will keep going)
- If for some reason motorized, or unsupported travel is used, please just continue your Challenge where self-supported travel was completed.
- Please do not deny helping in what could be a life/death situation. Be clear to SAR of your own mental/physical condition.
- It’s also highly suggested that you DO NOT deny support if YOU are in an emergency. Such an emergency situation will end your Challenge, but could save your life. The cost of an emergency rescue and emergency medical attention pales to that of a lost life. Most Search And Rescue in CO is not billed to the person being rescued (transportation from the TH, to the hospital and medical attention is def another story), so don’t use that as an argument to NOT call SAR. Getting a COSAR card or equivalent is highly encouraged.
- Commercial Resources: You MAY use any commercially available services found in town, as long as other Challengers have the same access. Examples: grocery stores, gear stores, bike shops, motels/hotels/lodges. But please, do not beg for help by locals, or have stores open up at after hours, have delivery sent to a trail head, etc.
- Mail Drops: You MAY mail drop supplies to yourself, using General Delivery to US Post Offices only. Mail Drops may only be done before the Challenge starts. Plan ahead.
- Caching: Caching of equipment and food is permissible. Examples: leaving gear at the trail head (a bicycle) or a cache of food/water on the saddle of the mountain/besides a trail. It is required that ALL equipment/food be retrieved before the Challenge is over, and a Challenge is not over until all cached items are retrieved. Pack It In, Pack It Out. Please follow general caching guidelines, for example: making gear, especially food, inaccessible to animals. Try your best to remove any climbing aids you bring up (if any) to the best of your ability. Caching before the Challenge has begun, anywhere, except by sending yourself supplies c/o general delivery to a US Post Office is prohibited. If you have gear that is not needed anymore: send it back, give it away, or throw it out; but do not dump it en-route.