Did “Lyin’ Ryan” Really Climb Forty Colorado Fourteeners?

( – promoted by ClubTwitty)

POLS UPDATE #2: We’ve found several news reports specific on the claim that Rep. Paul Ryan has climbed “40 out of 53” (or 54 depending on the criteria used) of Colorado’s “fourteeners,” peaks higher than 14,000 feet high: here’s one from the Denver newspaper, and one from 5280 Magazine. And don’t forget former Colorado Senate President John Andrews’ recent column titled “Paul Ryan, mountain man” enthusiastically celebrating Rep. Ryan having climbed “40 of the state’s 54 peaks over 14,000 feet.”

The claim appears to originate in a 2009 interview of Rep. Ryan by Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, who updates that story today after the somewhat ambiguously-worded quote in question drew “media attention.”

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.” [Pols emphasis]

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.”

It would be easier if Ryan had, you know, picked a number and stuck with it, but there’s no question he claims to have climbed a whole lot of Colorado fourteeners.


POLS UPDATE: With the story apparently blowing up nationally, the Romney-Ryan campaign responds via The Atlantic’s James Fellows. Do you buy this explanation? Developing…

We’re not sure where this started, but he’s not said 40 different peaks, its nearly 40 climbs [Pols emphasis] – with a number of peaks climbed more than once.  He’s been doing them for more than 20 years. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article from  ’09 doesn’t say 40 separate summits, but instead “He is fairly careful about what he eats, performs an intense cross-training routine known as P90X most mornings, and has made close to 40 climbs of Colorado’s “Fourteeners” (14,000-foot peaks).”


Ryan Fourteener 1
ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin on the summit of Pikes Peak yesterday. Click here for a high resolution photo.

Ryan Fourteener 2
ProgressNow Colorado producer Jen Caltrider on the summit of Pikes Peak yesterday. Click here for a high resolution photo.

Lying about running a marathon in under three hours, when your actual time is over four hours, is bad enough. But lie to Coloradans about how many fourteeners you’ve climbed and you’re crossing a line–and not just the tree line.

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan claims to have climbed 40 of Colorado’s 53 fourteeners.

We think he might have done some of his patented “Paul Ryan Math” on that number. Tomorrow Paul Ryan heads to Colorado Springs in the shadow of Colorado’s most famous fourteener, Pikes Peak, and Coloradans deserve to know the real sum of his summits.  

As questions grow about Paul Ryan’s truthfulness on a wide range of issues, we’re calling on Ryan to prove his claim of having climbed 40 of Colorado’s 53 fourteeners. And we’re asking you to send pictures of empty chairs (see photos) on the summits of Colorado mountain peaks to help us illustrate Ryan’s questionable claims.

Send your photo to info@progressnowcolorado.org. We’ll share them with the press and our thousands of members across the state.

Coloradans take a lot of pride in our fourteeners. We prefer the thin air of our tallest peaks to the hot air of lying politicians. A few days ago, Paul Ryan was forced to correct his boast of having run marathons in under three hours. [1] The truth is, Ryan only ran in one marathon, and it took him over four hours. What about Ryan’s claim to have climbed 40 of Colorado’s 53 fourteeners? Is that another patented Paul Ryan lie?

Last week at the Republican National Convention, Ryan gave an acceptance speech that has been widely criticized as factually inaccurate. Demonstrably false statements about Medicare, the 2011 battle over raising the federal “debt ceiling,” and the closing of a General Motors assembly plant, among others, have raised serious questions about Ryan’s honesty. [2]

After embracing lie after lie at the Republican National Convention last week, and then being forced to retract wildly exaggerated claims about his performance as a marathon runner, Colorado voters deserve to know the truth about Ryan’s climbing record in our state. We’re calling for Ryan to release photos, summit logs, and any other evidence he has to back up his claim that he climbed 40 of our state’s highest mountains–or come clean with Colorado that he’s lying about his “peak bagger” record too.

Send your photo with Paul Ryan’s “empty chair” on a Colorado peak to info@progressnowcolorado.org. And thanks for asking for something better than the usual politician dishonesty.

39 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. caroman says:

    Per Wikipedia’s entry about Paul Ryan:

    He stated that he has made close to 40 climbs of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains, or Fourteeners.

    So, “close to” could mean he’s been to Colorado Springs 40 times.

    First, we’ll need more than a Wikipedia citation about his statement.  But, this could have an impact here in Colorado if he’s proven to be lying about this, too.  Because coupling a proven liar as a VP candidate with a presidential candidate who holds the world record in flip-flopping is something that will turn off the average voter.

  2. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    somewhere in the high twos, 2:58 or something.

    And I balanced the budget while slashing taxes and increasing military spending.

     And I’m God’s gift to women.

    • Republican 36 says:

      to slash taxes (25% personal and corporate income tax cut passed in 1981), raiseed the defense budget (10%)and promise that doing the former would balance the budget. Needless to say, the objective historical results were exponential increases in the annual budget deficit and a soaring national debt. Bottom line: Supply side theory did not work.

      In 2001, President Bush did it again through the Bush tax cuts, put two wars on the national credit card and said it would all end with a balanced budget. Bottom line: Supply side theory didn’t work for a second time and defeicit spending increased, again, exponentially.

      Now, Gov. Romney is promising to slash taxes, increase the defense budget and it will all balance the budget. Bottom line: Romney wants to try, for the third time, a theory that has failed two other times in the past thirty years.

      I have no personal knowledge about whether Rep. Ryan has climbed any of Colorado’s fourteeners but I have and its hard to do. If he is lying about this it won’t go down well with people in this state. Its no different than a so called “city slicker” who never wears cowboy boots campaigning on the West Slope, the San Luis Valley or the Eastern Plains wearing boots and a cowboy outfit. It isn’t genuine, its fake and people can tell that. The best thing in the world to do is be yourself.

  3. Gadfly says:

    I hear he was a highly competitive skier.  Of course after the John Kerry snowboarding an windsurfing photos skiing is probably a taboo topic.  

  4. ClubTwitty says:

    and climbed (some random) ‘Seven Summits.’  

  5. Kim Jong-Il by four strokes the first time they played a round of golf together.

  6. ClubTwitty says:

    Have you seen those eyes?  

  7. ClubTwitty says:

    I would be curious if our are a more better height than Michigan’s now we are getting down to the wire.  

  8. every one of Wisconsin’s fourteeners

    . . . twice,

    . . . all on the very same weekend.

  9. allyncooper says:

    he did it right after Pat Robertson leg pressed his thousand pounds. They spotted each other.  

  10. never considered doping until after he was told that Ryan was planning to race the Tour de France.

  11. thiokuutoo says:

    He must have lived here in the summers. Putting together how many days climbing he did along with the necessary day befores to pack the day pack, he spent a lot of time in Colorado. Did he pay his taxes too?

    He might consider driving up Pikes Peak and Mt. Evans as “climbing”.  

  12. BlueCat says:

    how many fourteeners he climbed and there’s no way any fact checker is going to be able  to  be able to do much with this.  But it shows that the media is in love with the Lyin’ Ryan narrative and will be looking for new things to throw into new news cycles for as long as they can. Let’s see how righties like a taste of their own medicine. Priceless.

    And by the way, just saw the Clinton speech. Goodbye Dirty Harry. Uncle Bill just chewed you up and spit you out. 45 minutes of point by point anyone with more brains than a piece of toast could easily understand and the crowd never stopped going wild. Better than any Dem’s wildest dreams of what Bill Clinton could do for Obama. He gave Dems the complete, large print, easy to follow road map. Spectacular.

    • Sir RobinSir Robin says:

      It’s the Bubba Way!

      • BlueCat says:

        did for him. You look at the stills of that hug and that isn’t two guys pretending to be able to stand each other.  Whatever bad blood there may have been and even whatever remains, Obama was clearly as happy and grateful as could be, fully appreciating what Clinton had just done for him and Clinton was ecstatic with what he had just accomplished and soaking up being so valued and adored. You could put a picture of that hug in the dictionary next to “bliss”.

        I’m confident team Obama knows what they’ve got in Bubba for those swing states where they need to make a dent with white middle income folks and he’s going to be a major force in this campaign.  God bless them both.  

        And, by the way, the righties are still trying to stick with praising Clinton, quite the turn around from the days when he was the evil anti-Christ who had to be impeached, in order to dis Obama but, with Clinton out there slamming that GOP talking point over and over, its no good to them anymore. Love Clnton’s succinct distillation of the GOP message… We screwed things up really, really badly and Obama isn’t fixing all of the devastating damage fast enough (though he is fixing it) so fire him and hire us back.  That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

        Also like “Don’t double down on trickle down”. It reminds people that it’s not as if anyone has ever seen it work.

        I was really pissed at Bill for all the damage done going into 2000 by his sleazy affairs, not that a smarter Gore campaign couldn’t have won (by enough to avoid the GOP steal/Supremes bloodless coup) regardless but now, all is forgiven.

        Obama, if you’re re-elected, give Bill whatever the hell he wants.  

  13. LakewoodTodd says:

    “57! There are exactly 57 Fourteeners that I have climed in my lifetime. I’m hoping to bag #58 since I’ll be spending so much time in Colorado during the campaign.”


  14. Albert J. Nock says:

    Really not any different than swift boats or illegitimate children while wife fights cancer.  Let us not forget, I did not have sex with that woman.

    If politician’s lips are moving, they are lying.

  15. ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

    Maybe they should have climbed a peak you can’t drive up.

  16. ClubTwitty says:

    “There is where I based jumped off the Royal Gorge Bridge!”


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