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Backpacking Responsibly

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby maiathebee » Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:13 pm

whrdafamI wrote:How many on here can TRULY say they have "always" done it right, have never F'ed up and are always perfect?


I don't think anyone is claiming perfection. People are just concerned, most likely because we've found ourselves in scary situations due to lapses in judgement. And I think maybe we read a bit of bravado into the post that may or may not have really been there on the trip.
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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby whrdafamI? » Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:44 pm

[quote="AlmostThere"]I'm glad for the clarification, but everything I said stands - get mad all you like, but, it is irresponsible to not talk about mistakes and reducing risk. if you think anyone is pretending perfection you need to learn to read.

I didn't pick anyone out in particular as saying they were "perfect" and I can read just fine. I just think that when someone posts a TR on here and then gets singled out for not having done it right after admitting he hadn't is BS. Maybe you should re-read the TR and see what you missed.
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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby ucangler » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:10 pm

My 2 cents after reading it was that it was entertaining to read, but yes, I cringed at some parts due to concern, especially the part about not bringing a map and going off memory (if I read that part correctly as it was a bit ambiguous).

I bet your buddy always brings the right shoes now. :D
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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby rlown » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:17 pm

i think the point Mav was trying to make is don't go injured. If injured, come out fast.

It was a good TR. we've all had our failures. Most of us admit them in our TR's. That's what helps everyone else.

Like Marks latest 2nd degree burns on his ankles because he wears shorts in a raft. Troutdog with what seems like AMS. Me when i twisted an ankle a couple years ago out of the dinkeys. OR asked me if he should press the spot button. No, as I had done this before at Virginia in Yose and knew i could get out.

The point is, make the decision quickly, and be precise on your decision.

When new people show up here, ask them about their gear, documentation of their trip, etc. It helps shape the trips they are embarking on.
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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby maverick » Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:02 pm

Rlown wrote:
i think the point Mav was trying to make is don't go injured. If injured, come out fast.


Yes, that was my main point Russ. No where was any criticism intended, no one felt or
got disrespected, and no need for any apologizes. Looking forward to reading the OP's
next adventure.





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Backpacking Responsibly

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:09 pm

whrdafamI wrote:
AlmostThere wrote:I'm glad for the clarification, but everything I said stands - get mad all you like, but, it is irresponsible to not talk about mistakes and reducing risk. if you think anyone is pretending perfection you need to learn to read.

I didn't pick anyone out in particular as saying they were "perfect" and I can read just fine. I just think that when someone posts a TR on here and then gets singled out for not having done it right after admitting he hadn't is BS. Maybe you should re-read the TR and see what you missed.



I read and write for a living, read the TR, and understood that no one was being singled out just from Mavericks's post - so sorry, no problems here. I didn't have the point fly by me.

The TR reads like many stories that end with a SAR - only like so many others it did not. we can make the same mistakes over and over yet only pay the price once - the last time. Thus it is important to talk about mistakes for what they are before they become a real problem.


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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby maverick » Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:23 pm

AT wrote:
Thus it is important to talk about mistakes for what they are before they
become a real problem.


Exactly, and some of us here feel that if we did not, then we would be part
of the problem.

Personally I am proud to be part of community that has members that will point
out or address issues that could lead to serious repercussions in the future. To me
it is a sign of compassion and caring for each others well being, having each others
back.

There are plenty of other forums which you can find the exact opposite, where
drama, name calling, and other attitudes rule, which personally I want no part of.
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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby Tom_H » Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:42 pm

AlmostThere,

I tried to send you a PM, but you have that function disabled on your account. (I don't blame you-I get some nutty PMs from some members.) That being the case, I will just post here. I wanted to say how well written and well reasoned your posts in this thread are and how strongly I agree with everything you have said, not only in this thread, but others similar to it over the past few months.

Tom
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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby sparky » Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:57 pm

+1 mav, the calm respectful attitude is why i enjoy this forum. I dipped low and said some rude things to tom and AT on a similar discussion. AT, I tried to send you an apology via PM when that went down but your pms are turned off. After I re-read what I wrote I realized a big mistake on my part...slinging personal insults.
I just deleted my entire part of the discussion.

I have a completely different view on this that i will just keep to myself.
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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:47 pm

Thank you for the further details. Nobody here needs to dramatize a trip or feel the report has to be funny or entertaining. The less drama on a trip, the better in my opinion. I like to read ALL trip reports. Nobody is a "bad writer" in my opinion. No reports are boring. I post trip reports so that others can gain some knowledge of various areas I backpack. We all post photos, no matter that most of us are not professional photographers. I enjoyed reading about your route, but cringed at parts that you probably embellished for drama and humor.

As for "the most challenging trips being the best", that depends. I would say that challenging trips that go well and that I have met the challenges, are some of my best trips. However, a challenging trip gone wrong, to me, is a miserable trip (I have had my share!).

I am amazed that the ranger did not discourage you from "bailing out" via Avalanche Pass. There is little to gain an a lot more logistical problems that are caused by this bail out. If I had sore knees and feet, I would rather go uphill and longer distances than do that elevation drop from Avalanche Pass. Most backpackers do not pay enough attention to planning for emergency, bail-outs, or retreat. A lesson to be learned here.
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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:49 pm

I was about to say I don't have PMs turned off - but then I remembered it was the last thing I did before I "left."

I've been in the past very frustrated with people in forums who encourage fools to be more foolish, or beginners to do very difficult challenging routes, or not said anything when people post what is clearly an ambitious route with some signs of ignorance of what it will really mean for them. I have to keep reminding myself that not everyone spends six years chasing lost people, training each month for night navigation, and hearing story after story about the many ways ignorant and willful people get into trouble. Not to mention the experienced backpackers, the not-so-willful but still ignorant, the blissfully unprepared day hiker, and the rest - stuff happens and stuff does not respect your many years of wilderness experience sometimes.

And also even if you've spent time in SAR, not everyone in SAR hikes or backpacks for fun - and certainly they haven't been doing it the way I do, with groups of people, many of which I never see more than a couple times and many who are just getting into it then go on to more adventurous things than I care to do - a Facebook friend has been taking canyoneering classes and climbing classes, and thanked me the other day for launching him into the outdoors. My groups become a way for hikers to meet other like minded people, and go their own way - and that's fine. But in addition to that it demonstrates over and over to me - when we say "experienced" we all mean very different things. Almost to the point that the word means nothing at all - one single night short backpacking trip made one person feel entitled to join my backpacking group, and when I responded to the negative (I prefer that people have many trips of longer duration under their belt before they join that group) she blew up at me. How dare I make assumptions about her? To which I responded, I can't make assumptions at all. You have to tell me about your experience for me to know about it. Vague assurances are what I get from people who intend to use me as a free guiding service - and then they are over their heads, unable to go onward, and I am hiking out with a limping guy who's vomiting and needing help filtering water to replace the three liters he lost in the past hour. And she is still angry, this lady who I have never met who wants to join a group that does five to nine day backpacking trips, and still giving me attitude in email as if I should know better - and I've come to the point that this is what I will not allow any more, this attitude that you get to just do whatever you like, who cares who that inconveniences? Who cares if you can't do 10 mile days and get sick unto the point of altered personality? You should let me go backpacking with you! I'll be fine! And then they don't tell me about hot spots, don't tell me about anything they are suffering until it's blisteringly obvious they are either about to descend into heat stroke or just fall over on the trail, because they said they would be fine and therefore they have to deny not being fine almost til it's too late.

I screen people a lot more than I used to. I have to - even on the day hikes. But I still enjoy taking people, because the majority of them aren't really problems and honestly benefit and enjoy the trips I plan. And I still have people who will do risky things, right in front of me sometimes. I had four people take off on a different angle while hiking cross country to Moose Lake - an "experienced" hiker decided to navigate using Big Bird Peak (it wasn't the right peak) and ended up too far down the ridge. Of course, it was all about getting to the destination - except it wasn't. I wanted the group together for safety - if someone rolls a rock, or a rock rolls on them, on the steep terrain, we needed to be together, if only because I had the PLB. He didn't listen well. This is a frequent problem - talk, send descriptions, have a meeting before the hiking starts, and once you're out there it all goes right out of their heads.

So it's a learning curve for me, accepting that people will do whatever they think is best and accepting that it makes no sense at all sometimes - from my perspective. I get that people who go a lot and never have things happen will have a totally different angle on it all. But I have seen a lot - a LOT - of goof ups, from fireballs on canister stoves to day hikers who got bored and wandered off leaving their group to call the helicopters out to to help. People completely fail to respect the amount of time others spend looking for them, worrying about them, or trying to figure out how to convince them not to race ahead (even when they have missed intersections in the past and gotten lost).

I try not to talk about it so much anymore. It just sounds like I'm making it up, or bragging, because no one hikes this much... but there's a core group of us who do. We have to kind of be our own support group. We get a lot of angry entitled people yelling at us for having some rules of our own for this stuff. So that's why I sound a little hardnosed or set on the side of safety. Not enough people have an idea of how it works yet, and they want to be treated like intelligent adults, instead of ignorant beginner hikers. Well, ok. I guess I get to do that until you need a compass and a map.
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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby balance » Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:48 pm

This is interesting.

How many of us more experienced hikers have climbed a ledge that, in hindsight, wasn't worth the risk? Or forded a stream that was "this close" to going all wrong? It's a wonder John Muir survived some of his exploits!

Things are going to happen out there that don't go according to plan. Yellowboy was determined to enjoy his journey in the mountains, and it sounds like that was the outcome for him and his friend.

Having said that, there is a caution to be noted. The Sierra Nevada is often a benign environment, and it can lull a person into complacency or carelessness. Then when the storm hits or a rock slips or your map skills aren't up to the task, all heck can break loose. So my suggestion to the intrepid young hikers is: Don't invite trouble. It has it's own way of finding you, so be prepared. While you enjoy the mountains, respect their power and stay connected with reality.

Edward Abbey would have probably enjoyed your trip report. But he also somewhat advocated eliminating SAR, and just letting the ill prepared and foolish struggle, or perish, as their fate would dictate.

Peace.
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