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Hiking with 7 people

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Hiking with 7 people

Postby Splash » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:09 am

Hi Everyone,
Great forum..first post..So I just reserved a permit out of Agnews Meadows for 8 days at the end of July.The plan is to hike over Donuhue Pass then hike the southern circumference of Yosemite over Red Peak Pass and then down to the Valley. With hiking to a few cross country lakes it will be about 80 miles. I've done it before solo and it's a great adventure.The difference this time is I will be hiking with 6 other people. Two of us have logged over 400 miles each in the Sierra over the past five years; the rest have been on a few short 2 day trips mostly in the coast range.
Some of the questions I have are:
Does this trip seem too ambitious for a group?
Since I put the trip together,should I feel responsible in getting everyone prepared ?
How can I help assure that the rest of the group is prepared for the trip.
Does everyone bring their own food or do we pool together our food and group cook.
We'll have five tents so how hard will it be to find large enough camping areas. I really don't want to camp at horse camp spots.
No matter what it'l be an adventure...

Splash



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Re: Hiking with 7 people

Postby oldranger » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:47 am

Splash

Assumming that travel will be on trails unless you have a group of exceptionally fit people this trip is too long even without layover days. 10 miles per day is a lot and would leave little time for fishing many of the fine lakes you will pass. Within the time allotted the trip leader would almost have to have a drill sergeant mentality making sure that everyone is up and on the the trail early. In such a large group you are very likely to have at least one person who can't handle the cumulative demands of such a trip. Of course given your planned trip after dropping over Vogelsang Pass you can go to plan B and not hit the Upper Merced (my personal Sierra Favorite) and head toward the Valley instead.

About food/cooking. I'm sure there are people on the forum with more experience than me doing long trips with large groups. But if everyone is cooking their own meals that means more stoves and duplication of gear--more weight or more time taken for meals waiting for a stove to be available.

You can encourage trip members to get in shape but everyone has a different Idea of what that means and some people just won't do much. If you all live close you could consider the drill sergeant concept but doubt that is a good strategy for keeping friends.

I think the concept of your trip is wonderful but think that 2 weeks would be much more enjoyable.

Mike
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Re: Hiking with 7 people

Postby overheadx2 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:36 am

I'm with mike on this one 10 miles a day with x country is a lot unless your group is really fit. A lay over day or two of day hikes exploring a basin or just relaxing and enjoying the scenery and taking photos is a great idea for anything over 4 days. If you have to motivate guys to train, they shouldn't be going on a 80 miler. Unlike a lot of guys here, I enjoy hiking with a group, but never more than 5. I usually do a short trip for new guys just to see how it goes before going on a 1 week trip. If I have to motivate them, take care of them or consistently ask them to help, they aren't ever invited again. A whole week with some one lazy is brutal (it's not always the one you would think).
That said, groups can be a great way to reduce weight. With 5 guys we carry 2 tents, 1 stove, 1 first aid, 1 five liter pot, 1 large water filter and 1- 2 canisters depending on the amount of food. One guy hauls the tent, one the kitchen, one the canister, and the others carry the misc. With a group, we can reduce our packs to 25 - 30 pounds easily. Phil
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Re: Hiking with 7 people

Postby markskor » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:59 am

Splash writes:
Some of the questions I have are:

Does this trip seem too ambitious for a group?

Great trip plan, but a bit ambitious... With only two or three companions along, perhaps the 80 miles in an 8 days itinerary would be do-able, but with 7 people along - you are just asking for trouble. Unless you are all hiking animals, IMHO, you are cutting off a bit more than you can comfortably chew...someone will break. 400 Sierra miles in 5 years...yes, you have indeed seen it but a few mentioned, not Sierra experienced. (Think 10,000+ feet.)
The nice part is though, you have left yourself ways out that will both work as exits and allow a few layover days along the way. Personally, your chosen route is Sierra scenic and if I was doing the same, I would also opt (ala Mike' suggestion), to include a few layover days - to take advantage of great fishing possibilities and/or needed body rest. You should cut the miles/day or add a few days...whatever. Do you really want to hike every day - all day?
1000 Island makes a great place for a zero day/ stop-over, ditto with somewhere near Voglesang/Hanging basket/Upper Townsley. You might want to inquire about bagging a dinner while passing the HSC. - worth the $. As you are intending Reds Peak Pass, after Bernice, the High Trail above Washburn passes Cony Crags, camps at Lyell fork of Merced, and allows next day access to Harriets, (another layover day here?) but if going all the way to Reds Peak Pass afterwards, the added uphill miles might prove too much for some – Here make a reality check and... suggest just following Merced trail down to Valley.

Since I put the trip together, should I feel responsible in getting everyone prepared?
You can feel responsible all you want but unless you are a drill sergeant, impossible. I would schedule a short but strenuous "shake down hike" before the big adventure just to see and, while there, go through everyone's gear - discarding some extras and suggesting upgrades where needed. Perhaps have everyone list and weigh everything to be carried. See what you can combine – tents, stoves, cooking pots, etc.

Does everyone bring their own food or do we pool together our food and group cook?

Breakfasts and lunches will be up to individuals but pre-planning communal dinners – 7 pre-packaged meals for 7 – everybody carries one night’s food – good plan.

BTW, welcome aboard!
Mark
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Re: Hiking with 7 people

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:54 am

If you and your people could handle some cross country i'd suggest from Thousand Island Lake to take the Sierra High Route to Harriet Lake and then over Red Peak Pass to Glacier Point and down to the valley like I did in 2011. It was a great way to go and would be easy with a 7 day time table.
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Re: Hiking with 7 people

Postby Splash » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:50 pm

Thanks everyone...I agree it's an ambitious trip . Good thing we''ll have the out to Tuolumne Meadows or the Merced River to the Valley. We should know by then if people are up for the task. Fourtunately everyone is either in their late twenties or early thirties(except me) and very fit. If we don't go cross country to Edna then the intineary is as follows: Take YARTS to Mammoth from YV. First day of hiking to Thousnad Island Lake via River Trail 7.5 miles.Second day to Ireland Creek 13.4 miles, third day to Bernice Lake 10.7 miles, fourth day to Merced Peak Fork/Lyell Fork confluence 10.4 miles, fifth day to Ottaway Lake 10.75 miles( really want to go to Edna), sixth day to Clark Fork of Illiloutte Creek 12 miles (Last time I did this was in early September and there was no water at all until I got to the Clark Fork) and the seventh day to the Valley floor 8.9 miles...74 miles total.....The question now is where is the layover day? I am thinking Bernice Lake. I'd rather do it the fourth day but I don't want to spend another day near the MercedPeak/Lyell Fork; there's really nothing spectacular to see or do there. Unless someone has other ideas?.

Has anyone hiked the upper trail from Lewis Creek past Cony Crags toward Red Peak Pass instead of the lower along the river? It looks like we could shave 1.75 miles and numerous feet of elevation gain/loss. These creeks should have plenty of water in late July; Right ?

I like the idea of sharing dinners but fending for ourselves the rest of the time. Iv'e already started critiquing everyone's equipment...They'll need time to upgrade....I am planning four mini trips before July; we'll see if anyone goes..

RoguePhotonic: Could we save time doing the SHR from Thousand Island Lake to the intersection of the trail from Lewis Creek past Cony Crags below Harriett Lakes? I don't know; maybe that far crosscountry would be to much to ask of everyone. None of us have much experience there.

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Re: Hiking with 7 people

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:06 pm

Has anyone hiked the upper trail from Lewis Creek past Cony Crags toward Red Peak Pass instead of the lower along the river? It looks like we could shave 1.75 miles and numerous feet of elevation gain/loss. These creeks should have plenty of water in late July; Right


Yes and it's not worth it in terms of views. Almost the whole way your in the trees and don't see much. And don't forget the thousand foot drop and climb past the Lyell Fork of the Merced.

Taking the Merced is much more scenic.

RoguePhotonic: Could we save time doing the SHR from Thousand Island Lake to the intersection of the trail from Lewis Creek past Cony Crags below Harriett Lakes? I don't know; maybe that far crosscountry would be to much to ask of everyone. None of us have much experience there.


You can save allot of miles by taking this route and it's a beautiful way to go but if none of you have the experience or the craziness like me to just go do it then I would not recommend it. It's not difficult in terms of technical travel but it's complex cross country with a get deal of micro route finding. The total miles between Thousand Island Lake and the trail above the Merced is just over 11 miles.
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Re: Hiking with 7 people

Postby rlown » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:09 pm

the first problem you have is with hikers in your group who only do coastal hiking. That has absolutely NOTHING to do with altitude hikes. and you have to acclimate first.

The second issue is what Mike/Mark pointed out. No layover days. I don't really care if they're all in their 20's/30's. Its a culture/regimen shock for straight hiking w/o breaks.

I like that you have some prelim hikes planned, but they better be steep and high to vet out those you take with you. The more you take with, the more likely you have a massive problem to deal with. It could be as simple as a blown boot sole, or massive blisters.
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Re: Hiking with 7 people

Postby oldranger » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:12 pm

Re: cross country from Thousand Island to High trail. That is a wonderful route but ... it is not for novice off trail hikers. Rogue is an expert at off trail navigation as are several others who have responded. I would not advise that route for a large group, most with little experience at off trail travel. And until you get a few miles off trail you don't know how people will respond. Some people just don't deal well with being off a well beaten path while others think that is the best way to travel.

I respectfully disagree with part of Rogue's comparison of the High trail vs. going up from Merced Lake.

He is absolutely correct in his noting that there is a lot of up and down on the high trail but I find the sights along the high trail to be as equally interesting but different from going up the river. But that may just be part of how I hike (when I take breaks I often wander off the trail a ways) and there are places with incredible views of the Clark range when traveling the High Trail. Dropping into the Lyle Fork is pretty interesting as well.

Of all the places mentioned the one place I would least like to camp at is Bernice Lake. Small brookies not really much fun catching. Much better places to fish along your route.

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Re: Hiking with 7 people

Postby Splash » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:52 pm

I think your right Mike.. The cross country is out..on trail will be enough of a challenge...although I am going to save Rogue's advice for another trip....I am going to stick with the river trail..it'll be easier on everyone....Where would you camp if not Bernice. It falls within that 10 miles a day average rule and I can't see another stop except Lewis Creek and I doubt the fish are any bigger; besides the people I am going with don't fish much and catching a bunch of trout would be fun for them. .. Any ideas on the layover day; if not Bernice then where? Ottaway seems to be too far for the layover. I appreciate everyone's advice.

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