First Ascent Rules *1,2

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*1 content by Bill Jacobs

*2 wordsmithed by Adam Helman


1. General

A First Ascent (FA) must meet two standards: satisfy THE RULES and be accomplished by an eligible individual (vide infra).

Unless there is information to the contrary, anyone claiming an ascent is assumed to have fully abided by THE RULES. Although respect for private property and the law are encouraged, misdeeds of this sort are not a bar to FA (first ascent) consideration.

Eligible individuals include - Tag-alongs and/or friends accompanying someone on a first ascent, are ineligible.

Submission of several trip reports is evidence of group activity. However submission of just one trip report report does not constitute sufficient evidence of group activity.

In general, the tendency is to be inclusive when considering eligibility.

If two eligible individuals differ on whether a county highpoint was reached or who was first, these contestants should first settle their differences before attempting to receive official recognition for their accomplishment.

2. Conventions

All eligible members of a summit group are accorded first ascent honors regardless of the time interval between the first and last ascender. This lessens the desire of individuals for rushing up to be first and thereby causing group disharmony. Separate groups or individuals reaching the top on the same day will not share first ascent recognition.

A first ascent claim with an inexact date defaults to the last day of the claimed period, e.g. August becomes August 31. Similarly, 1990 becomes December 31, 1990. Thus a more precise claim antedates a less precise claim and hence supercedes the latter. An August 30, 2000 claim supercedes an August, 2000 (August 31 by default) claim. A December 30, 1995 claim supercedes a 1995 claim.

A county highpoint destroyed by nature or man (Mt Saint Helens, WA or Clayton County, GA) results in co-shared first ascents for the new and old county highpoints.

A new area found does not nullify a previously valid first ascent claim, providing s/he was working from a well-researched list. First ascent honors are shared with the original and the new area claimant, provided that the new claimant has reached all other areas. If later the one area is proven to be the highest, one of the shared first ascent individuals will no longer be recognized for his effort.

If an eligible individual was not first to finish a county containing multiple highpoints, but was first to get the single highpoint later proven highest, s/he receives first ascent honors in place of the previously listed first ascender for that county.

If a county boundary changes from one incorrectly understood (e.g., erroneous map portrayals) and results in a new higher point, the first to ascend said higher point receives first ascent honors in place of the previously listed first ascender.

If a county boundary changes by fiat resulting in a border shift and a new higher point, the first to ascend said new high point will co-share first ascent honors with the first ascender of the former highest point.

3. Additional Comments

County highpoints incidentally reached before a career of county highpointing was undertaken are acceptable. These long-ago highpoints must conform to "THE RULES". If uncertain, these efforts do not constitute first ascents as defined here.

A very few group members, as a personal matter, choose not to count highpoints reached when there was no county highpoint intent.

Accuracy of the first ascent list is of supreme concern. There should be NO hesitancy to submit a claim because it would supercede a currently recognized first ascent or because the claim lacks a trip report. Indeed, failure to offer these claims detracts from the meaningfulness of the list.

A county highpoint axiom states that he who keeps a list shall make the rules governing that list. This is not a completely valid description of how the first ascent concept operates. The original first ascent list framework was presented to the discussion group. Issues deemed potentially controversial or contrary to long-held county highpoint precepts are to be discussed by group members for comment.


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