Mountains out of Molehills: The False Attack on Ryan's Mountain Climbing

-By Warner Todd Huston

Democrats and their progressive cohorts are now trying to claim that Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan is lying about the number of times he’s hiked Colorado’s mountainsides. Naturally they are garbling the truth. Is there anything these left-wingers won’t try to make into an end-of-the-world outrage?

This faux outrage is, indeed, a “mountains out of molehills” moment, because the facts show this purported controversy is reaching to the heights of pure demagoguery.

These Obama surrogates are claiming that Paul Ryan lied when he said he climbed 40 of Colorado’s 54 mountain peaks that rise to over 14,0000 feet in height — peaks called “fourteeners.” This, they say, is nearly impossible because the amount of time and training that would be necessary to have tackled 40 of Colorado’s “fourteeners” would have left Rep. Ryan little time for Congress.

Leading the pack is the left-wing The Atlantic which scoffed at what it falsely claimed was Ryan’s boast. The Atlantic’s dudgeon is high as it pulled on its hiking boots to tromp all over Ryan’s “lie.”

The 54 peaks are scattered throughout remote parts of Colorado and you have to visit out-of-the-way little towns and valleys to tick the list, towns and valleys that you would never visit otherwise….

To have climbed forty and not be a resident means that you would have had to devote entire summers to climbing fourteeners, in essence becoming a “lifestyle” hiker/scrambler. I doubt Ryan had the time or dedication to fourteeners to take the required time out from his political career. Even if you did four a summer, that would be ten summers devoted to traveling to Colorado for the purpose of high altitude hiking. Even if you live here and can drive to the trail heads, forty is a huge commitment of time and energy.

It wasn’t long until the eco chamber took up the cause and others followed suit to scoff at what they claim is Ryan’s fib.

Only he never said it. He never said he climbed 40 different “fourteener” peaks.

In actuality, Paul Ryan said he’d made some 38 climbs in his lifetime. He did not say he climbed 40 separate “fourteener” peaks.

Courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, here is what Ryan really said about his hiking record.

Ryan: “My mom was very outdoorsy … We spent our summers doing backpacking trips in the (Colorado) back-country, you know, Snowmass Lake, Capital Peak, spent all our summers doing that … went all over White River National Forest, just the whole Elk range. I mean I’ve climbed every fourteener in that range and the three around there … So I got into climbing fourteeners when I was 12, with my brother, Stan. My mom got us into that.”

Question: “How many fourteeners have you climbed? Or how many times?”

Ryan: “38. I think that’s my last count.”

Question: “Those are just climbing peaks that are 14,000 feet?”

Ryan: “I’ve done it 38 times. … I’ve done 38, but I think the number of unique peaks is something like twenty… no, no it’s like thirty or something like that. I counted it up a year or two ago.”

Question: “Most of those in Colorado?”

Ryan: “All of them are in Colorado. So I think I’ve climbed like 28 (peaks), and I’ve done it 38 times, because I’ve done a number of them a few times. So I was, you know, kind of into that stuff.”

I think the air is too thin for his critics, at this point.

Comments

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  • OK, 38 then. Two short of 40. That's makes it any less likely? Don't you question that in the least? Cmon.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    No, you didn't read the piece. You probably only read your left-wing websites, then just read my headline. Again, he never said he climbed 40 SEPARATE fourteener peaks. He said he's made 38 climbs -- often the SAME peaks -- over his ENTIRE 40-some year lifetime.

    That does not seem odd to me at all.

    Your left-wing, lying critics are trying to frame the issue as if he climbed 40 of Col. 53 fourteeners (he never said he did this) and did it WHILE he was in Congress (he said it was since he was a kid).

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    But he still said he climbed 38, whether the same or not. Is that credible?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I don't see why it wouldn't be. Is it possible to have gone hiking in Colorado 38 times in 42 years? Why isn't it?

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Ryan: "I’ve done it 38 times. … I’ve done 38, but I think the number of unique peaks is something like twenty… no, no it’s like thirty or something like that. I counted it up a year or two ago."

    Question: "Most of those in Colorado?"

    Ryan: "All of them are in Colorado. So I think I’ve climbed like 28 (peaks), and I’ve done it 38 times, because I’ve done a number of them a few times. So I was, you know, kind of into that stuff.”

    So, first is saying the # of UNIQUE picks is like thirty and something (counted last) year), next he is saying "28 peaks and I've done it 38 times because I done A # of them FEW Times".
    So, WHEN HE IS LYING - first time with UNIQUE peaks, second time (a # of them few times) or ALWAYS??

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    He started when he was 4?

  • fb_avatar

    As a runner, I think Paul Ryan should have known his Marathon time before giving the false number. I don't think he ever thought anyone would question the figure. It's like Mitt Romney -- both of them think they are ABOVE being questioned.

    Well, just read about Paul Ryan's many lies that he told at the Republican Convention, and no one should believe a word out of that man's mouth. American voters are smarter than that! Fox News even called him out for his LIES!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/paul-ryan-fails----the-truth/2012/08/29/bbfe1eac-f254-11e1-b74c-84ed55e0300b_blog.html?tid=pm_pop

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CVN_GOP_CONVENTION_FACT_CHECK?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-08-30-07-31-10

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/robert-schlesinger/2012/08/29/paul-ryan-repeats-auto-bailout-medicare-lies

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/169648/they-love-lies-paul-ryan-tells
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/ryan-risks-reputation-with-misleading-nomination-speech.php

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/08/30/michael-tomasky-on-paul-ryan-s-convention-speech-and-his-web-of-lies.html

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/08/30/paul-ryans-speech-in-three-words/

    http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/08/30/772921/6-worst-lies-in-paul-ryans-speech/?mobile=nc

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/106730/ryan-most-dishonest-convention-speech-five-lies-gm-medicare-deficit-medicaid

    http://www.salon.com/2012/08/30/paul_ryans_brazen_lies/

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/aug/29/paul-ryan/paul-ryan-said-president-obama-funneled-716-billio/

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/08/30/13566768-paul-ryan-stands-on-a-foundation-of-lies?lite

    Obama-Biden -- Save the middle class! Save Medicare!

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