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Are You a Peak Bagger?

What are the symptoms?


No true peak bagger will ever accept that he\she (but much more likely “he”) suffers from the condition because it also carries with it the label of “sad person”. The individual in question will often concoct half-baked excuses such as: "I'm not a peak bagger, I'm merely an avid outdoor person who likes to climb mountains. I can stop at any time." Don't be fooled; just look for…………….

The Twitch

This develops whenever the weather forecast for the hills is set fair for the coming weekend. This gives them the chance to tick off more hills on ………….

The List

All peak baggers keep a notebook of some sort, which contains the List. The List records successful ascents, along with supplementary data such as the date and elevation of each climb. Typically, the peak bagger will keep the notebook underneath the mattress or at the bottom of a sock drawer. Consistent with the denial symptom, they rarely refer to it as a "Peak Bagging List". They call it a "climbing log" or some such euphemism. New Age peak baggers sometimes resort to information technology (secreting the List through use of a password instead of a mattress) and may even spend vast sums on CD ROMs with sophisticated lists.

The Look

Peak baggers will usually have a far off look in their eyes, as though they are scanning the horizon for new climbing goals. They may seem aloof a great deal of the time and sigh a lot. The Look  appears whenever they are challenged to think about non-peak subjects such as work, household maintenance and shopping (unless this involves liberal quantities of Gore-Tex). The Look  becomes particularly wistful whenever they see a sheep (especially a Herdwick)

The Walk

Peak baggers can sometimes be identified by the deliberate way they walk. They appear to be striding out purposefully with their eyes focussed on the distant skyline, even when they are just headed to the fridge. They also tend to wince in pain with every step during the summer months as a result of excessive wear and tear on their feet and/or knees.

The Image Maker

Peak baggers are usually anoraks, devoid of any inherent features of distinction. They do however tend to gather one outlandish item, which is intended to establish a personality by default. Why else did God create male facial hair and Indiana Jones hats? Only road cyclists wear gear with a higher personality-transplant rating (although it could be argued that MG owners have truly perfected this technique).

While attempting to determine whether or not someone is a peak bagger, there are some other signs that you can look for. For instance, the peak bagger:


may mysteriously disappear every weekend.   


has really high mileage on the old lease car.  


buys hiking boots in May and needs new ones in July.   


always seems to have a healthy tan. (Actually the term "healthy tan" is an oxymoron, isn't it?)   


has an ungodly knowledge of the times of sunrise and sunset in the hillier parts of the country   


studies a map (or any volume written by Wainwright) whilst sat on the toilet  


may develop a strange squint from trying to count contour lines (in order to keep “height gained” column on the List).


knows the difference between a Hewitt and a Marilyn

Studies also indicate that 4 out of 5 peak baggers prefer trail mix and a water bottle to an ‘a la carte’ dinner with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. The more civilised occasionally drink mirky mixtures with names like Old Shirtlifter.

The cause of Peak Bagging Syndrome is not fully understood at this time. Perhaps it is the addictive result of exposure to intoxicating views, physical activity, and/or lack of sufficient oxygen to the brain. Some authorities have suggested that the causes are not so much physiological as psychological (eg unhappy marriages). There is no known cure at present although help may be obtained from Exit

A clinical test is being developed to detect sufferers. This studies the subject’s reaction when faced with the choice between 


taking an interesting route up a previously climbed mountain;


taking a boring route to a flat, boggy top with no views but previously unclimbed 

A peak bagger will normally choose the latter. Some might the first because "it was under cloud when I did it”; this requires further evaluation as it suggests a crypto-peak bagger.


The Story So Far Walking Diary Photo Gallery Thoughts on Walking
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Have a look at the Stafford Rambling Group site

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