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hiking classifications

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hiking classifications

Postby markskor » Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:28 am

FWIW, Hiking stereotypes encountered this year Sierra -

Regular backpacker - some backcountry experience, adequate gear-wise but not always the best, hikes in groups, makes permit reservations, set itnerary, maps and gps, (Spot device?)...usually prepared and stays on marked trails.

Dirt Bag - Honest, truest form of backpacker - (for me, a term of great respect) - trail wise/off trail competent... well-used, high caliber, experienced gear...real, can be trusted immediately...always trail/off-trail flexible.

Dirt Bag Fisherman - same as above but just a lil better

True Thru Hiker - a Dirt Bag but primarily obsessed with long trail miles... nothing else matters - seldom gets more than 100 feet off trail...gear savvy and a beast hiker. Usually the best minimalist (some UL) gear but always allows some "extras" for serindipituous trail contingencies.

Pseudo Thru hiker - Hikes a few miles, parties for a week at some Trail Angels abode for free, sponges, drinks/smokes a lot, hitch hikes to the next party/repeats...but has a PCT permit.

JMT Hiker - well read, opinionated, some experience (or not), usually seen carrying a backpack of 50+ pounds

Ultralight (UL) hiker - In shape - but minimalistic gear - weight driven, usually experienced but not always...expensive, lightest, latest gear available, and more than willing to talk about it for hours. Note, the UL Hiker is not necessarily a Dirt Bag, often just a regular hiker. (The experienced UL can be though; pride, trail experience, and gear carried typically allows for most situations encountered Sierra...100% self sufficient.)

Know it all, UL Douche - Lightest gear/bare minimum if that/nothing extra... entitled, talks constantly and has an opinion on everything... not afraid to let you know that they know everything...usually a self-centered egoist. Usually seen on websites, crowded, freeway trails, or in large campgrounds...will gladly tell you why your gear is all wrong. Usually seen begging for food and/or borrowing use of your gear.

Full attic backpacker - identified by the backpack extending a foot above the hiker's head

Sherpa Dad - self-explanatory

Peak bagger - experienced, off trail specialist - often possessing some previous big-wall climbing know-how... usually younger and un-married/ or if married, no kids.

Photographer hiker - usually bent over from extra camera gear carried - patient/will wait for a shot - an artist

Younger males in a group - loud, drunk, and bothersome...often rules have no effect, but they do have fun (usually at the expense of others).

Afro-American backpackers - a rare breed

Swedish bikini team - sigh, never where I am...(could just be a myth.)

Newbies - 2 kinds:
The up and comer - willing to learn, asks why, listens... obeys posted rules, keeps eyes and ears open/mouth shut...has fun!

The clueless - talks a good game but thinks rules are not meant for them...often complains a lot, somewhat entitled...also a douche but... there is still some hope here.

Dog hikers - (also two kinds) -
Trained (both dog and owner)...uses specific canine-designed gear, backpack, booties... uses a leash when required...dog stays close to owner/obeys... respects others and rules...always welcome

Not trained - entitled...not wanted
Mountainman who swims with trout



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Re: hiking classifications

Postby oldranger » Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:43 am

LOL!

So what do you call a person with a combination of traits like all of dirtbag, opinion on everything portion of know it all, and that part of clueless that complains a lot? I seem to spend a lot of time with a person with those traits! :D

Mike
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Re: hiking classifications

Postby SSSdave » Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:15 am

Excellent idea for a thread marksfor and great compilation though maybe members can expand it some.

First this definition of dirtbag from urbandictionary.com:

A person who is committed to a given (usually extreme) lifestyle to the point of abandoning employment and other societal norms in order to pursue said lifestyle. Dirtbags can be distinguished from hippies by the fact that dirtbags have a specific reason for their living communaly and generally non-hygenically; dirtbags are seeking to spend all of their moments pursuing their lifestyle. The best examples of dirtbags and dirtbagging are the communities of climbers...

Other examples of a dirtbags are hard core ski bums and itinerant surfers.

More broadly there are many hard core enthusiasts with similar backcountry traits to what you related under Dirt Bag, that have integrated into urban society with careers and some having families. The difference between the two is one is more often poor or modest financially by choice living about mountain environments they love, finding employment whatever that be, while the other at some point figured out how to make a good living in a career in urban regions within weekend commuting distances of hiking and backpacking areas. Of course many members on this board are the latter.

Another obvious way to slice up hiker types beyond, thru hiker, trail hiker, off trail hiker is day hikers versus backpackers.

And the category of base campers or semi base campers as is this person. In other words for the majority of backcountry visitors its mostly about the hike and not the destination. Thus they tend to have an antsy behavior rarely are anywhere beyond a single day and night, regularly moving from one destination to another.

With a base camper its usually more about the destination where they may layover or make short campsite moves (semi) within a destination basin or zone. The base camper may be a peakbagger setting up for several days on Seventh Lake below The Pallisades. Or a photographer spending much of a week on the other side at Dusy Basin. Or a wildlife enthusiast setting up for several days in Evolution Valley. Or a lunker fisherman setting up at Lake South American several days intent on finally catching a big golden. Or just an ordinary sort of person interested in experiencing a most pleasant idyllic alpine lake destination where they might read, camp, and explore about some leisurely.
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Re: hiking classifications

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:13 pm

The youthful fashionista- latest style of gear regardless of functionality. Women (usually youthful) would not be caught dead in a loose-fitting fishing shirt! Even worse- garden gloves to protect hands. No hats- must let that mane of hair blow in the breeze. Capris hiking pants. The latest color in footwear. Men (again youthful), shirtless, no hat, tight-fitting pants. Backpacks are the most trendy. Nothing old or patched. Powerful LED headlamps because they rarely get going until noon and often are walking past dark. Purchases from this demographic supports the high-end outdoor stores.

Senior trekker: all covered up because we have already had too many visits to the dermatologist. Gloves because our poor old dry skin can no longer tolerate abuse, ugly comfortable shoes, Those down-to-neck sun hats are very popular. Some of us even carry a sun umbrella! We have learned to hike in bifocals. Some of us look like we stepped out of the 1970's. We often are retired, would love to have the latest functional gear but, what the heck, on Social Security we patch the old stuff and walk on. Most of us are not UL, but we have to be light because the old back can no longer carry 50 pounds. We may be a dying breed that actually can read maps. We aroid weekend starts- you will see us getting a first-come permit on Tuesday. We gladly purchase the "outdated" gear that is now on sale when the "Fashionistas" get the newest stuff.
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Re: hiking classifications

Postby oldranger » Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:55 pm

Daisy

"Can actually read maps" perfect! Might add, relies on maps rather than gps.

Mike
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Re: hiking classifications

Postby BrianF » Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:23 pm

"Swedish Bikini Team". I once ran into them I think; two blond guys in speedos and backpacks - is that who you were thinking of?
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: hiking classifications

Postby markskor » Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:19 am

oldranger wrote:LOL!

So what do you call a person with a combination of traits like all of dirtbag, opinion on everything portion of know it all, and that part of clueless that complains a lot? I seem to spend a lot of time with a person with those traits! :D

Mike


I too have met/hiked with the crusty old fart type myself.
Almost impossible to deal with (why would you even want to?), due to advanced age/senility. He is usually characterized by a painfully slow, glacier-speed, hiking pace, and a predilection towards terminal flatulence, essentially, an opinionated, oatmeal-eating, ex-backcountry employee...a real piece of work.

While expert in all things really important backcountry...trip planning, map reading, route finding, and possessing primo gear (coincidentally, saw and copied most of my own gear selections)...cannot cook fer chit. Familiar with stock animals (which explains a lot...of similar intelligence), always eager to tell pack-station wranglers how to better do their job. Also has a regular tendency to leave important articles of clothing or fishing gear strewn anywhere/everywhere on or off trail.

Painfully slow to pack up in the mornings, this waste-of-time delay is only compounded by his then having to make multiple daily trips to void his "oat-laden" bowels. To his credit though, hardly ever complains when asleep, and, truth be told, his only redeeming quality is that he can fish. Last seen, giving himself, (as usual), the lion's share of community cocktails. :partyman:

BTW, where are we going next year?
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Re: hiking classifications

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:15 am

The rescuer - carrying a backpack, plus the backpack of a newbie who totally overpacked - clipped to the top of his backpack. Usually accompanied by a limping hiker wearing all new clothes (the sleeves of his shirt are still creased), who may or may not be hiking in socks and carrying the brand new never-tried shoes he bought at REI the night before.

The doctor - looks like any other average backpacker, but when someone gets hurt, a two pound first aid kit appears in his/her hands and from it springs bottles of antiseptic, latex gloves, suture kit, more wound dressings than a medical clinic and a full range of different sizes of SAM splint.

The car packer - brings all his car camping gear, lashed to a large external frame. When he sets up his six person tent, foldable sink, folding chair, he gets stares. Until he busts out the bottle of Jack, the percolating coffee pot with fresh ground beans, the bottle of wine and wheel of brie, the extra lawn chair, the fresh made chili frozen in large ziploc bag - then he has friends.

and then the types of groups...

The close friends -- hiking together and chatting the whole way. Sharing stove, filter, food, shelter.

The non-stop-party -- inebriated or high, rambling along, laughing or crying, some in flip flops. One of them may be missing, with or without part of the tent. Or his sleeping bag. They might have the presence of mind to call SAR to find their buddy. The dog is the smartest person in the group until they sober up. Fortunately, they don't hike very far, just til they find a big flat area near a lake with a campfire ring. (Details from an actual search and rescue...)

The meetup group -- an ultralight hiker/peak bagger hoofing along. a mile behind him comes the exasperated trip organizer, shaking his head, followed by a couple of others who hike his pace, all with the usual gear of experienced backpackers. half a mile behind them comes the new-to-the-group, only backpacked on paid REI or Sierra Club trips, bitterly complaining a hundred miles an hour about the organizer who is a "know it all", carrying a monster of a pack she's in no shape to carry, woman -- accompanied by the only member of the group who will tolerate her -- the codependent who can't in good conscience leave her all by herself, which she also complains about too. Then there's the guy who they never see again. He didn't say anything to any of them, just decided to leave -- turned around and hiked back to his car, which will be gone when they are done with the five day outing.... (The fact that I still hike with meetup groups should tell you it doesn't have to be this way - if you have a good organizer who changes his/her procedure to account for these kinds of things, it doesn't happen.)
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Re: hiking classifications

Postby Jimr » Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:47 pm

The gang hiker - any combination of the above who hikes in meet-up groups. You may not pick them out individually, but communally, it's obvious. They hike in large groups. You can hear the rumble of the train as it approaches. It takes a full 10 minutes for them to pass. You dread if they're behind you (normally on your heels), but dread even more if they pass you. Not only will the balance of the day be hiked in a dust bowl kicked up from the trail, but you know when you get to your destination, it won't be pretty. You'll have to either move on or hide deep to avoid the onslaught. Even if you keep them behind, you won't be sure whether you've gone far enough or deep enough to leave them behind or if they'll pull up camp all around you.
What?!
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Re: hiking classifications

Postby Cross Country » Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:22 pm

Something that I always found really interesting is that the large majority of backpackers follow the rules almost religiously even thought they are in places where there is very little enforcement. Each summer my destinations were almost always cross country. I RARELY ran across a ranger.
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Re: hiking classifications

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:50 pm

The Rogue: Uses the mountains as an escape from an undesirable societal life. Willing to tackle almost anything with no regard or desire for self preservation.

:p
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Re: hiking classifications

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:31 pm

Jimr wrote:The gang hiker - any combination of the above who hikes in meet-up groups.


Except my meetup groups...
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