Backpackers Etiquette......... | High Sierra Topix  

Backpackers Etiquette.........

Backpacking and camping basics and other general trip planning discussion for the uninitiated. Use this forum to learn where to look for the information you need, and to ask questions, related to the beginner basics of backpacking and camping, including technique and best practices.
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Re: Backpackers Etiquette.........

Postby dave54 » Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:51 pm

Most here have similar horror stories. I won't add to the collection here.

But I will make a side observation...

I spot the bright day-glo gear of other hikers while they are still quite a distance away. Even if they are the only other people on the lake and camped on the opposite shore, that single bright red or yellow or blue tarp just makes the entire lake look crowded. Likewise a long vista from a remote ridge is marred when a train of hikers decked out like a circus train is spotted miles away.

So I try to purchase gear in more subdued colors, or even camo. I do not want to advertise my presence any more than I have to. I encourage others to do the same. LNT also involves visual impact. You can always have one article of clothing in a bright color for that rare occasion when you want visibility.

To be fair, I am seeing more gear selections in milder colors than years past. Many here remember the 80's and early 90's when neon colors were all the rage and were the only selection. In the mid? 80's a Forest Service rep from DC made a presentation at an outdoor gear manufacturers convention, asking for selection of gear in less conspicuous colors. He basically was booed off the podium.
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Re: Backpackers Etiquette.........

Postby DJG » Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:08 am

In response to the original question, and to other inconsistencies of others' outdoors behavior, I often think how lucky I was to be exposed to hiking and backpacking at a young age, and formally, with the Boy Scouts and continued on later with my dad after outgrowing Scouts. During those earlier years I learned many things that I have built on through the later years, adding new twists, tweaking techniques, etc.. as experience adds to knowledge. I now take so many things for granted that other people who haven't had as much exposure to the lifestyle don't know or aren't aware of, and some want to learn how to do things best, other don't care. Some folks are aware, some aren't.

So many times when we go car camping somewhere we are reminded of why we go backpacking. Frustrating when knuckleheaded people follow you in, I just try to hike a little further, look a little harder for a better spot.
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Re: Backpackers Etiquette.........

Postby TehipiteTom » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:39 pm

Oddly enough, this has never happened to me. Maybe it's because I'm nearly always off the trail, away from the haunts of other backpackers. Maybe it's because even in the frontcountry, people tend to look nervous and edge away from me...
;)
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Re: Backpackers Etiquette.........

Postby cgundersen » Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:28 pm

Like Tehipite Tom in the preceding post (*and Maverick & Giantbrookie& SSSDave), my wife and I have found that the further off trail you go, the less frequently you experience the vexing encounters described in the opening post. And, the folks one meets deep in the back country tend to be there for the same reason and are pretty respectful of the urge for solitude. At the same time, we were amazed one evening to see two guys struggling up to an off-trail tarn at sunset. I met the guys and found out they'd spent the last 3 hours following our footprints in the snow. In spite of entreaties for them to camp a bit further away, they plopped down well within earshot. We bolted at dawn and avoided snow wherever possible.

The real question I have is for Tehipite Tom: just what is that look that is so effective at dispelling interlopers (let alone fellow travellers)?
Cheers!
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Re: Backpackers Etiquette.........

Postby Packtofish » Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:21 pm

The real question I have is for Tehipite Tom: just what is that look that is so effective at dispelling interlopers (let alone fellow travellers)?
Cheers!


Yes! Please post photo of aforementioned "look"..........I need to start practicing for my next trip. :D
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Re: Backpackers Etiquette.........

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:02 am

Oh, I was mostly joking. But when I had my ratty old pack and was doing conditioning hikes with it in Golden Gate Park, some people really did cross the street to avoid me. ;)

Out with my Sierra Club trip last week, I thought about this from the other side, and I can say that I'm very careful about not camping too near other groups or individuals. The first trip I led, we had planned to cross Rohn Pass--cornice!--so we traversed over to Shout-of-Relief. It was getting late in the day, and people were getting tired and cranky, and the clouds were building, so I was glad to see a perfect campsite near the base of the pass. As we got a little closer, I pulled out my binoculars to check the site, and I saw...a bag hanging from the tree. And a tent. Damn!

We could have invaded, and while the lone guy camped there would have been annoyed, under the circumstances I'm not sure a lot of people would have blamed us. I just wasn't going to do that, though. Instead, we spent an additional half hour looking for a site where we wouldn't be crowding anyone. That's the approach I always take with groups.
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Re: Backpackers Etiquette.........

Postby Buck Forester » Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:38 pm

I'm guessing most of the people who plop down too close are either -
a) not experienced and don't really know better
b) too exhausted once they reach their 'destination' to even give a flip
c) people-person people who are hoping for conversation
d) afraid of being too far away from people because of bears
e) think you're extreeemely good looking
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Re: Backpackers Etiquette.........

Postby TehipiteTom » Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:43 pm

Buck Forester wrote:I'm guessing most of the people who plop down too close are either -
....
e) think you're extreeemely good looking

Ah, so that's why it's never happened to me.
;)
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Re: Backpackers Etiquette.........

Postby Timberline » Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:59 pm

Hey, Buck!
Gosh, is this multiple choice? Then I'll take e) you bet!
Sorry, Tom! :D
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Re: Backpackers Etiquette.........

Postby maiathebee » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:07 pm

Bumping this really old thread because it happened to me recently on a solo trip in Dusy Basin. I grabbed an absolutely perfect spot to set up camp and wandered around taking pictures and soaking in the immense beauty of the basin. I was surrounded on all sides by nearly-to-over 14k peaks, amidst a rocky meadowland that I had entirely to myself.

That is, until a couple walked right through my camp as I was cooking dinner. I think they were surprised to see me. I said hello and they said hi back and walked on. I heard the girl say “What do you think? Down there?” And I started to worry a bit a bit. The walked not 50 yards and dropped their packs on an illegal spot literally on top of the lake between me and it, between me and my beloved Isosceles and Columbine Peaks. On the flat spot you see right in the middle of this picture:

ImageIsoceles and Columbine Peaks above the westernmost lake in upper Dusy Basin by snackronym, on Flickr

Well I just couldn’t handle it. With this whole basin empty, with literally dozens of perfect, secluded campsites to be had at this very lake, why on earth would they choose this one? I put my dinner on hold and walked down to where they were resting, hoping to catch them before they started unpacking gear. I politely told them that, in my exploring, I’d seen a bunch of other much better campsites where they could have privacy (rather than me looking directly down on them) and we chatted a bit. They understood and moved on. They would be the last people I’d see until I crossed back over Bishop Pass on my way out 42 hours later. I had my sense of solitude again (knowing that they were nearby, but at least not anywhere I could see, so I could suspend disbelief) and I ran around taking pictures as the sun was setting. It was glorious!

So instead of huffing and being silently annoyed, try just talking to the people. You might get your solitude back!
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Re: Backpackers Etiquette.........

Postby rlown » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:21 pm

funny.. at Boothe we had a race. We were walking in, and this guy decided he'd run ahead to secure his spot. Boothe. ughh. anyway. he dropped his pack after running in front of us 4, so we circled up on the rise 50yds above him. At one point in talking with him, he suggested (not at his campsite yet before the run) we go to the west side. That didn't happen. He moved.

Umm, yes! speak up! Make a friend or a foe. That all depends on the engagement.

One apologizes for walking in on someone when traversing a lake. One doesn't usually apologize for a 50 yd intrusion on camping (ok still discussion there). I like the discussions.
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Re: Backpackers Etiquette.........

Postby SSSdave » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:47 pm

maiathebee wrote:...With this whole basin empty, with literally dozens of perfect, secluded campsites to be had at this very lake, why on earth would they choose this one? ...


This is the perspective of your image at the center cross hairs:

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.10315,-118.55372&z=15&t=T

That is the only upper basin lake the trail passes by so always has the majority of groups hiking the trail camping by it. When one looks at images of Dusy Basin on Google or Yahoo images, you will see the majority are taken from that lake. Of course there are better views elsewhere but most backpackers rarely venture far from trails and rarely camp anywhere except at lakes which is hillarious to this person. I'm glad you said something to the couple because unless people that ignore policy get peer pressure from the rest of us which may embarass them, they are likely to continue plopping down in such places. Otherwise there are far too few backcountry rangers to make much an impact. So thanks.
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