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Brace for Impact

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.

Brace for Impact

Postby Hobbes » Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:14 am

Surfing was a small, cult experience up until the late 50s, when Hollywood found a new niche which to exploit with the release of Gidget. The rest is history, and the common phrase these days is "everyone surfs". Literally, no joke: everyone surfs.

Backpacking had an initial wave of popularity in the 70s, which ultimately led to the development of trail quotas. Anyone want to venture a guess as to what the combined impact of a best selling book and new movie release might be?

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/201 ... heryl.html



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Re: Brace for Impact

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:40 am

Somehow I don't see backpacking returning to the popularity of the 70's, popular movie, book, or not---fortunately. I believe the rise of backpacking in the 70's had a lot to do with the societal backdrop at that time, and we live in a very different era now. I did my first backpacking trip in 1967 so I've seen backcountry Sierra use decline from the 70's onward with an even more dramatic decline in off trail hiking. In any case, I could be wrong, but I don't see hordes of folks going down to REI, outfitting themselves, and heading for the hills.
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Re: Brace for Impact

Postby TehipiteTom » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:08 am

What GB said, and to the extent that there is an uptick in backpacking I reckon it'll be largely limited to the big-name trails (PCT, JMT, AT). Leaving the rest of the wilderness for us misanthropes.
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Re: Brace for Impact

Postby Troutdog 59 » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:17 am

I tend to agree with GB that I also don't see a general upswing in backpacking happening anytime soon, but certain areas/styles of backpacking seem to be increasing, while others see less use. For example, it seems that the long distance trail hiking (PCT, JMT, etc) and ultralight high mileage hiking is increasing, but as GB noted, off trail use has diminished. While I'm certainly no expert, I've done two trips in the last 4 years that visited little bits of the JMT. The JMT was a complete zoo both times with PCT'rs and JMT'rs. Don't get me wrong, I love talking with the thru hikers and hearing of their adventures, but I hiked large portions of the JMT in the 70's, 80's, and 90's, and don't recall as many hikers along the trail. The typical "pack into a basin and base camp" approach seems to have reduced dramatically, especially on the west side.

To play along and answer your query,the title of the movie would be based around thru hiking/ultra light high mileage hiking and would be entitled something like "Do the JMT in 4 days without any gear." :lol: \:D/
"Don't accept that what's happening
Is just a case of others' suffering
Or you'll find that you're joining in
The turning away"
D. Gilmour, Pink Floyd
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Re: Brace for Impact

Postby Jimr » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:45 am

With today's kids growing up surrounded by technology supplying 24/7 entertainment at their fingertips, it becomes difficult enough to get them out of their room and off of the youtube. :-({|=
Believing is seeing.
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Brace for Impact

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:54 am

Sorry, Wild was not about backpacking - it's a navel gazing story about a woman who desperately needed mental health treatment and learned how to skip over hundreds of miles of "too hard" terrain then claim to have hiked the PCT. At best it will increase the number of people who hike two miles and figure out they are not Reese Witherspoon.


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Re: Brace for Impact

Postby schmalz » Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:59 am

There has already been a huge uptick on the PCT over the past 2 seasons, and it seems like interest in the JMT is growing as well.

I think that for thru hikers, the change in culture will be a let down as the PCT begins to resemble the AT.

I don't forsee it having any impact on less popular trails or offtrail areas, so Sierra enthusiasts shouldn't be too worried.

Also, let us not forget that the surge in outdoor recreation in the 60's and 70's coincided directly with a surge of environmentalism. We can't expect people to feel the need to protect places that they have no attachment to, so I think there can be a lot of benefit from more people heading out into the wilderness as well.
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Re: Brace for Impact

Postby markskor » Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:14 pm

RE: The JMT -
Talking with Jen (Head Ranger Tuolumne) yesterday - 3,000+ Muir permits issued this year SoBo from YNP. Probably close to the same number NoBo.

PCT had over 1800 at the Kickoff.
Still, only 12 people Thursday in the YNP Valley backpacker site overnight and all hikers either JMT or Half Dome bound.
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Brace for Impact

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:49 pm

As I keep saying - number of permits issued never correlates with number of hikers.... I organize groups nearly every weekend. 50 people sign up for a day hike-15 actually go. 15 sign up for a backpack - I end up with two companions.


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Re: Brace for Impact

Postby SSSdave » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:37 pm

The movie is intriguing. Big name star so some seriousness of production. Our sport has gotten very little media interest over the decades much like climbing and what attention it has gotten tended to be exaggerated disaster and mayhem. Uncertain whether it is possible to portray what we value so greatly on a movie screen but will see. To do what we value in backpacking justice, it would probably need to be done at a minimum with Imax.

As for backpacking in the current era versus the 70s and 80s, I can't imagine how anywhere near that level of interest would be possible under any circumstances because of reasons gb mentioned along with the far more choices people have today for recreation and leisure. Remember back then most people watched just 3 television networks or radio for daily entertainment and news. Plus the majority of electronic media one uses today did not exist as we instead besides tv and radio read newspapers, magazines, and books which is the only way outside of word of mouth one learned about gear. This era is so different in many ways that those growing up after those days have little to reference.

There were only small numbers of corporate store or business chains as all that happened after Reagan with Wall Street changed corporate laws and that includes REI. So homogenous now across the nation it is utterly ridiculous and to this person sad. Back then were numbers of small outdoor sporting goods stores and numbers of small dedicated backpacking and climbing shops all over. Backpacking was huge as a counterculture activity and generally society had an enormous schism between the young and old that is likely to never occur again. Out in the wilderness people could do their thing freely whatever that was without being harassed. In any case I will be keen to see how this new movie comes off and hope it puts our activity in an honest light.
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