UKH

IN FOCUS: The Rough Guide to Climbing in the Solar System

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Tiger Stripes

THE LIST of people that have summited Mount Everest is hovering around the 10,000 mark. The long-hoped-for winter ascent of K2 was finally pulled off in January. The fourteen eight-thousand metre peaks have very much been 'done' in all seasons and in myriad styles of ascent. You might say that there aren't too many virgin, iconic mountains left to climb – on Earth, that is.

But what about beyond this planet? If we had the whole solar system as our playground and neither distance nor money nor technology were an object, where could we go climbing and what sort of fun could we expect? This isn't realistic, but it's going to be a lot of fun.



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 Andy Moles 06 Apr 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

That was great.

 Frank R. 06 Apr 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I am quite disappointed that you completely neglect the real crags on Mars, mentioning some  peak-baggers' mild uphill slogs instead. Any reasonably fit lawyer or dentist with enough disposable income could walk up these, especially guided!

It comes to mind if you aren't keeping the gems hidden for the very prestigious FAs in some RockFax guide already in the making?

Obviously, the best crags are in the canyons and the chaos terrains. Noctis Labyrinthus, Aureum Chaos and other deep canyons must surely offer the best climbing on Mars. Some more than 1km deep, with steep sides, ridges and buttes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aureum_Chaos#/media/File:24807buttetop.jpg

The same goes for the Moon. Wouldn't the most coveted climbs be the steep impact crater walls near the poles, especially given their extreme cold and darkness? Temperatures of down to -240 °C might prove difficult even for the next generations of Polish winter climbers and Simone Moros of the future!

 DerwentDiluted 06 Apr 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Before long it will be parking problems, not cleaning your space boots properly, discarded finger tape orbiting and does reduced gravity count as aid.

 Red Rover 06 Apr 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

How is the height of a mountain defined on another planet? Height above what?

 Tom V 06 Apr 2021
In reply to Red Rover:

I don't know about planets (some of which are gassy) but I think lunar obects are measured from a mean radius, whatever that is in figures.

"Vesta is thought to be a dry place, unlike its sister asteroid Ceres, which has dormant cryovolcanoes that spew molten ices on its surface. "

Would molten ice be water?

 ianstevens 06 Apr 2021
In reply to Red Rover:

Whatever the zero datum is set to (I think for Mars this is a mid-point of sorts). Worth noting that half of Mars is < 0 m elevation!

 Red Rover 06 Apr 2021
In reply to ianstevens:

So Olympus Mons is even taller then. I think height on every planet should be measured as distance from the center of the planet, which would make the tallest mountain on Earth Mt. Chimborazo. It just seems like the least arbitrary way of doing it.

Post edited at 12:43
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Its a cool article, its been helped by my buddy. 

 ianstevens 06 Apr 2021
In reply to Red Rover:

Just an equally arbitrary, albeit different way of doing it. Bias towards equational peaks built in. Worth adding that the sea is often not a "sea level" either - partially because of tides, partially because it's a global average. 

A similar comparison would be saying that Everest is not as high as it appears, because you start at c. 5000 m. Prominence is of course a different, and arguably more meaningful from a mountaineering perspective, measure!

 Red Rover 06 Apr 2021
In reply to ianstevens:

Good point. It sounds impressive when I tell my friends I've been up to 5000 meters, but it was on a bus, so prominance would take care of that.

In reply to ianstevens:

You probably already know this, but sea level is also affected by local gravity. IIRC areas with thicker crust means more local mass so higher gravity so sea level is slightly higher there. Can't remember what the variation is, but it's certainly measurable by various satellites.

 Tom V 06 Apr 2021
In reply to Red Rover:

It seems that a datum/base line  for the gas giants is arrived at by barometric pressure and a similar method has been used on  Mars but I am really out of my depth now.

 olddirtydoggy 06 Apr 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Looked for these crags on Rockfax, ?????? Can someone provide me a link, I can't seem to find them.

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Best article this year. Such awesome photos too!

 Lankyman 07 Apr 2021
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

> Before long it will be parking problems, not cleaning your space boots properly, discarded finger tape orbiting and does reduced gravity count as aid.

You forgot to mention the BMC exo-planetary bolting policy. Is there lime on Mars?

Post edited at 08:59
 Frank R. 07 Apr 2021
In reply to Lankyman:

> You forgot to mention the BMC exo-planetary bolting policy. Is there lime on Mars?

You mean MMC? Surely any bolting and such should adhere to local tradition. How do you know it's not knotted slings only for example

In reply to Lankyman:

> You forgot to mention the BMC exo-planetary bolting policy. Is there lime on Mars?

Lime on Mars would be a bit of an oddity out there, effectively in space.

 Olaf Prot 07 Apr 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Wikileaks had an early version of "Rock Climbing on Mars"...all of the FAs were "G. Gibson"...

In reply to Olaf Prot:

Well Gary Gibson is an SF writer.

Post edited at 17:48
 Red Rover 07 Apr 2021
In reply to Michael Hood:

At least there won't be Lyme.

 Frank R. 07 Apr 2021
In reply to Red Rover:

> At least there won't be Lyme.

Wouldn't be surprised if the first life on mars the Perseverance rover discovers is one of the little tick bastards!

 mountainbagger 09 Apr 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

"Yeah but what's he/she done on Mars?"


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