A couple of people have asked me about Hamish Gowans — they were unclear about his Colorado winter fourteener climbing project goals. Turns out Hamish wrote in his initial press release about going solo, and folks assumed his goal was not only to climb all the Colorado 14ers in one winter, but to solo all of them as well. To clarify things, I called Hamish and we spoke for a while about his project. He explained to me that all along his primary goal was simply to climb them all in one winter, and additionally, since he’d be climbing most solo, he knew perhaps he would end up doing winter solos of them all as well — an added bonus if it happened, but not his primary goal.
I went back and read Hamish’s initial press release, and it indeed speaks to soloing the peaks, and perhaps could have been more understandable in that area, as I was under the impression that going solo was a primary goal (like others were). It’s not, and on behalf of Hamish I’m setting the record straight here on WildSnow dot com.
It is common knowledge in the Colorado climbing community that Aron Ralston, the guy who’s famous for cutting his own hand off in a Utah canyon, is working on a multi-year project to solo all Colorado fourteeners in winter. Aron is almost done with his project, and I have always expected him to complete it and be the first to do winter solos of all 54 fourteeners that common wisdom counts as THE 54, as well as a few extra bonus peaks that Ralston is upping the count to 59 with. Hamish told me he’s always expected Aron to complete his project, and simply figured that IF he soloed his peaks, his all-in-one-winter project might somewhat parallel what Aron is doing, but is by no means any sort of direct competition. Of course those in the media might see it differently — time will tell.
So, Godspeed to Aron and Hamish and Sean Crossen, and whomever else is up there this winter…
On the fourteener backcountry skiing front: I heard from Sean Crossen (well on his way to being the second guy to ski all the fourteeners) that he’d been down in the Crestones, but there was too much loose mid-winter snow for climbing the steep couloirs, so he’s going back when the pack consolidates a bit.
Also, Hamish just got done climbing Culebra (southern Colorado fourteener), and mentioned that one of the folks on the peak during his climb was non other than Jay Ivanic, the guy who tried last winter to ski mountaineer all the fourteeners in one winter (not necessarily summit ski, though he did ski quite a few of them). Ivanic didn’t get them all done last season, so he finished up this season, to complete a re-adjusted goal of skiing ON all the 14ers in one 365 day period.
At any rate, lots of fun goals for snow sports on the fourteeners. Watch this spring for Aron’s completion of his solo project, as well as Sean’s ski-the-teeners project — and of course Hamish’s all-in-one-winter project. And everyone, please be careful up there!
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain. For more about Lou, please see his personal website at https://www.loudawson.com/ (Blogger stats: 5 foot 10 inches (178 cm) tall, 160 lbs (72574.8 grams).