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High Sierra Cabin Trips...are guides worth the cost?

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Re: High Sierra Cabin Trips...are guides worth the cost?

Postby TehipiteTom » Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:49 am

The Other Tom wrote:Just out of curiosity, did you get the lottery ? I didn't think they sent out the announcements this soon.

Nobody else has mentioned this, but if the guide service has some kind of guaranteed HSC spaces allotted to them, that would be a very good reason to hire guides (if you have the money). I don't know if that's the case, but if so it's something to consider.



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Re: High Sierra Cabin Trips...are guides worth the cost?

Postby The Other Tom » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:57 am

TehipiteTom wrote:
The Other Tom wrote:Just out of curiosity, did you get the lottery ? I didn't think they sent out the announcements this soon.

Nobody else has mentioned this, but if the guide service has some kind of guaranteed HSC spaces allotted to them, that would be a very good reason to hire guides (if you have the money). I don't know if that's the case, but if so it's something to consider.


I don't think it works that way. The "guide service" is a ranger. Delaware North allocates x number of spaces for the guided hikes, which they (Delaware North) arrange. Even at that you still have to get the lottery to get a guided hike. I don't think they'll let an "outsider" do a guided hike, for the reasons gdurkee mentioned.
Come to think of it, I wonder how much of the $400 pp the ranger guide gets, and how much Delaware North gets.
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Re: High Sierra Cabin Trips...are guides worth the cost?

Postby mokelumnekid » Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:02 pm

And speaking of packing wine or beverages- I highly recommend not taking bottles, but using the platypus ‘Platy Bottle’ or taking a top-drawer box wine. I use the ‘platy bottle’ for backpacking with tequila:

http://tinyurl.com/4t8fur

and have used them with wine for sea kayaking. Box wine may be good as well for mule travel, which I have done when doing geological field work in Chile.

You can label the platy bottle with masking tape as to which wine is in them. With the one liter size, pour in the bottle (750 ml) and then flatten the remaining space and secure the lid. No bottle weight and it collapses and is re-useable. Plus the little bit of air that is trapped at the top gives you a head start on letting it breath, and if you don’t finish one, you can remove almost all the air and it keeps pretty well until the next day.

As fars as the guide thing goes- make it an adventure- it is very safe and much more memorable. You will see lots of people on the trails anyway, to ask if you are even a small bit worried. A bigger concern is making sure that people don’t get blisters on the first day from new boots, as that will be a deal-breaker. Most folks have shoes that are way to heavy-stiff for this kind of trip IMHO.
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Re: High Sierra Cabin Trips...are guides worth the cost?

Postby SPeacock » Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:40 pm

If the service were free would you accept it?

If not free, just how much do you think something like that is worth? How much is an educated, perhaps professional person's time worth. You are paying for more than just a volunteer docent at your local flower park on once a month 'open houses'.

The guide (the company) has to earn a living. $400 for a single person for 7 days might not sound that bad. That's about $60 a day. It is not a vacation for the guide, so he is allowed some compensation. It is a long (24 hour) day and a lot of labor, but it is personal service and that guide provides at least for himself and maybe others at home. Not sure what the guide would be paid the other 7 days if he were not on the trail with you. He is also liable for your skin.

Six of you involves a bit more work for him, but maybe not directly scalable to $2400. But it is still a personal service. People costs are expensive, especially if they 'are yours' indentured for a period of time

In a week, you can only see so much different geology in the Sierra - walking. There are only a limited number of flowers (30-40 in bloom when you are there would be amazing), and some shrubs and a few trees. Toss in a few fungi, some history of the Indians (not a lot up high) and the prospectors (most went bust anyway) or early settlers and who constructed the trail, the 4 or 5 popular constellations (and a few WOWs) visible at night that week and you have the basis of what you might get out of a good guide.

A better plan might be to spend $200 on books, pass them around among the group this winter, before you leave. Each take a book with you and act as the expert on a subject. At the end of the trip, pay them each what you think their 'expertise' is worth. You will probably remember more if you start studying now.

OH! And don't forget the substantial tip (which is getting to be almost mandatory on guided tours).

Let's say you got to Europe on your own hook - not a 'tour', but you want to get as much information on your own, picking and choosing as much as you can in your short stay. If you were to take the multiple tours per day in, say, Germany, on your own, to get the information you would not know about the churches, museums, and city in general, you could be paying almost $100 a day (over and above your living costs). You would probably be in larger groups -- the kind with the leader running ahead waving his brightly covered umbrella in the air to keep you well herded and not too lost. You would be buffeted by others in the group trying to get up to the front of the crowd to hear what was going on. Many times you would end up getting to the vista point in just enough time to hear, "Any questions? Right. Moving on". The tours DO get you to the front of the lines at the popular sights.

Have you tried to haggle the price down to something you might agree as reasonable? If not, enjoy the trip just like a bazillion others before you have and make a determination, afterward, if a guide would have enhanced the time you spent by THAT much more.

There are a lot of reasons why you are going to enjoy the heck out of this trip - with or without a guide.
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Re: High Sierra Cabin Trips...are guides worth the cost?

Postby sierranomad » Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:29 pm

I wonder if the original poster is even reading this?

Oh well.

I think that people new to Yosemite would have a more meaningful experience if they had a someone along that really knew about the Sierra and could enlighten them. Doing research beforehand is great; but only goes so far when in new terrain. There is just so much more that a very knowledgeable "friend" could offer.

But I agree that $2,400 is a heck of a lot of money.

If I were the poster, I'd try to become friends with Markscor (to poster: read some of his posts and you'll get an idea about the depth of his knowledge) and invite him to become part of the group. As a friend. No agreements about financial compensation. If, after the trip the group felt like showing appreciation by sending some money his way, great. If Markscor would be agreeable with that arrangement, that is.
Jon

"When one tugs on a single thing in nature, he finds it's attached to the rest of the world". - John Muir
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Re: High Sierra Cabin Trips...are guides worth the cost?

Postby markskor » Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:38 pm

Yes, Markskor would be agreeable...lol.
BTW, thanks for the kind words.
Mark
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Re: High Sierra Cabin Trips...are guides worth the cost?

Postby bokun » Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:20 pm

Just a note from me, the original poster, to thank you all for your generous and thoughtful comments! Indeed I am reading them all and appreciate this attentive community!

I guess one of the main issues with the guided tours is that it seems to be easier to win the "lottery" with a prepackaged tour of all the sites in sequence with the guided tour...I think it might be more touch and go to get all one's date requests on an ad hoc basis, so perhaps the cost is worth it in part with that in mind. I am still mulling it over. I do put a high value on the time and expertise that a good guide can contribute, and it would be a pleasure to support somebody in this profession...I'm just a little put off by questions of how much of this pretty big tab for a group of six the guide actually gets...I'd far prefer to actually make a deal with a ranger or one of you obviously expert folks, directly, but don't know that this is feasible from a logistics standpoint.

Anyhow, thank you again all for your thoughtful replies!

cheers, Ben
Last edited by bokun on Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: High Sierra Cabin Trips...are guides worth the cost?

Postby oldranger » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:50 am

Sometime in the 60s or early 70s on one of my fishing trips to Mattie and Virginia lakes I encountered a ranger guided trip near Glen Aulin. The Ranger seemed really old and hiked at a slow and steady pace appropriate for a fair sized group. Sometime later I realized the Ranger was Dr. Carl Sharsmith, a college professor and Ranger, researcher, interpreter in Yosemite beginning in the late 20's or early 30s. A trip with a person of that caliber would be priceless!

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: High Sierra Cabin Trips...are guides worth the cost?

Postby homeranch » Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:15 am

Personally, I cannot imagine using a guide for the HSC, and I have been a mountain guide for many years. If you want to know the flora and fauna and geology of the area there are great books.

I think the joy of making discoveries on your own out weigh the benefits of a guide on the HSC route.

The trails themselves are not difficult or technical, they are well marked and you may find your self part of a crowd moving from camp to camp.

The camps are certainly a way for newbies, or perhaps the elderly to enjoy the high country, but they are not an experience requiring a guide.

2400 would get you a number of fine pack llamas!
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