When comparing a peak with one short technical crux move to a peak with a long section sustained near the maximum difficulty, the overriding question is: which peak is more daunting to an aspiring climber? In other words, which peak gives its aspiring climbers a greater sense of uncertainty about whether or not they can climb the peak at all?
For many, a technical crux move near the top of a remote alpine peak that can only be reached by many miles of hiking and scrambling is more daunting than an otherwise identical crux move on a roadside boulder in a city park. Therefore, the long approach should be considered in the rankings, but only as an exacerbating factor to the technical difficulty. The "overall effort" added by a long approach should not be considered.
A peak with route-finding challenges should be considered in a similar manner. If the route-finding problems make existing technical problems seem harder, then a peak with route-finding problems amid the technical section should be ranked more difficult than a peak with otherwise identical technical difficulty but no route-finding problems. A non-technical peak with route-finding challenges, however, should not be considered technical because of route-finding challenges alone.
A peak that has no technical difficulties but requires a herculean hike to reach it should not be considered technically difficult. Suppose there is a hypothetical peak in Alaska that is 100 miles from the nearest road or floatplane landing, but from there it is just a hike on gravel bars and tundra with a climb through open taiga near the top of the peak. Although the 200-mile round trip hike would be a show-stopper for many, it is not grounds to uprate the technical difficulty, since there is no technical diffculty to begin with. A herculean hike is grounds for a high ranking in the overall category, but not in the technical category unless it exacerbates existing technical difficulty.
In summary, one should rank the technical difficulty of a peak as follows: how much potential does the peak have to be a show-stopper or a barrier to state completion due to technical challenges?
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