Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by rlown » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:24 am

Don't look and don't click. Its just going to make you mad. You are sitting in the front row of the Darwin Awards Ceremony if you look.








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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by AlmostThere » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:26 am

Unfortunately it's the only source of info about the bridges and so forth - and that's the only thing I have to throw in the path of people determined to do something, evidence of how severe conditions are. I don't like making uninformed recommendations and it's tough to look someone in the eye and tell them you don't think they are up to it.

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by rlown » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:35 am

The mindset isn't safety. It's about each of them egging the other one(s) on.. It's not tough to look at people and say "they are not up to it." I've called that ball 3 times.. You simply give them scenarios and let them answer and then tell them why that is a bad idea and let them reflect.. Multiple scenarios.

About that bridge at Glen Aulin.. A long time ago, one of the packers setting up the camp took his 6 mule string over it (spring.) Umm, some of them got scared and broke the North rail and fell into the pool below. All survived but the second string lead (friend Steve) watched the mules swimming in a circle in the pool below. All were ok, including the packer..

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by AlmostThere » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:43 am

For one thing, you're male.

There is a distinct difference between a man taking that from a man, and taking it from a woman - I've had men come on some of the meetup hikes and bail out in the middle of the hike because I'm "one of those women." I'm not about to back off if I think there's a real risk imminent.

Men like to tell me all kinds of reasons why -- I was on a search team that was 99.5% male, and roughly 60% of them respected me. You can't call them on it, because that's just another fight in the making. You present your case and you let the ranking decision maker make the call. Mostly the deputies.

Men on hikes who have been hiking for maybe a year or two like to be right. I got a lot of verbal abuse for not being "feminine" on top of not letting them do what they want, and the least respectful of them all is deceased now. Not that I think that is a good outcome. It's a sad one. I had nothing to do with him for months, had to listen to others tell me what a great guy he was, knowing he's a jackass, but I don't think it's right that he's gone. Letting people make choices is hard, but we're all adults in the end.

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by rlown » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:53 am

hmm. 9 of my managers have been female during my career at HP. I took their advice at every turn. And on any trail, anyone can be wrong, regardless of sex. For you, If someone won't listen to you, flat out tell them they can't go. We've also had women on trips for 20 years and there was communication both ways. It becomes a team effort for managing towards the goal. Sometimes the goal can't be reached and the ball is called.

PCT thru doesn't seem to be a team effort, unless there is personal gain involved for one v. the other.

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by maverick » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:06 pm

I don't like making uninformed recommendations and it's tough to look someone in the eye and tell them you don't think they are up to it.
It's not tough to look at people and say "they are not up to it." I've called that ball 3 times.. You simply give them scenarios and let them answer and then tell them why that is a bad idea and let them reflect.. Multiple scenarios.
Look, all you can do in these cases, is warn and try to explain why some of the decisions they are considering may be dangerous to them or their group. Some may listen and heed your advices and warnings, many will not, and we can only hope that they complete their trips safely.

In my personal opinion, those of us who have the experience should have no qualms about speaking up, male or female, if you see someone doing something dangerous back in the world, especially if your are extremely experienced in what they are trying to attempt to do, that could end up in their death or serious injury, would you speak out and say something or would you just shake your head and say nothing? Everyone's personal decision, but consider me to be in the first group.
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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by Jimr » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:12 pm

Russ, that's your experience. AT's is different. Perhaps, you just have a basic respect regardless of sex, but there are many men who don't. Especially if there is not a clear hierarchy of power, like the power to have you fired for subordination. While AT may be speaking more generally that sort of implies all men and you are speaking individually that sort of implies one man, in the middle, there is still a large population of men who fall in AT's description. You're just not one of them and it seems those you hang out with are not either.
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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by AlmostThere » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:17 pm

I think you're misunderstanding, mav -- I don't stay silent. But I cannot force people to listen. Any more than our posts here can force people not to go. In fact there are legal issues involved in telling people what to do....

It is definitely a gender issue a good portion of the time, and because women are used to not being heard, they often don't say anything -- it's why I started to run a women only hiking meetup.

I don't think that it's ever been the case that I am asked about my actual experience, in most cases I am either listened to, or given the royal stink eye and ignored. Occasionally someone asks if I have done the JMT or Half Dome, the AT, the PCT, and since my "expertise" doesn't fit the frame of reference, it doesn't matter.

Experienced backpackers speak a different language. That's most of the reason I am here.

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by rlown » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:22 pm

So Jimr, that is what the pre-trip meeting is about. I always have one. Meds, weight, cardio, food cull, and the questions.

I do agree we have different experiences, but they can be overcome. I have seen the "royal stink eye" look.. Still didn't invite him on the trip..

Reese Witherspoon will be hosting the special Darwin Awards, Sierra this season. :\

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by Harlen » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:31 pm

There has been so much good advice contributed already, that I'll be brief.

The point that applies to almost all situations is the sage advice of Hobbes: "... the only real piece of advice I can provide is be prepared to turn back"

When I was young and dumb, but luckily climbing with some veteran Spanish alpinistas in the Swiss Alps, we ran into some rough-looking weather, and they started talking about getting off the mountain. I begged to continue, and they gave me this new perspective:

They said that when a climber correctly reads the in-coming weather, or a route problem, and gets safely down- that is to be viewed as a successful climb- not a failure. You used your experience to avoid danger, and lived to climb another day.*

I have tried to keep that perspective with me, and to share in my turn to younger climbers.

The only other point that has not been addressed per se, is the often under-estimated danger from exposure/hypothermia. A friend did his thesis on mountaineering fatalities (in Tasmania, where he lived) and a surprising conclusion was that exposure had killed the highest percentage.

So take the right gear and clothes, and bring some of them with you on your climbs.
Best of luck out there.


*the weather backed off, and we summited Cervino after all. Still, their advice was worth far more than that single climb.
Last edited by Harlen on Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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