Remote area route descriptions

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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Harlen
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Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by Harlen » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:09 pm

We appreciate the discussion- many good points are being made. Thanks, the Harlen Clan.








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rightstar76
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Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by rightstar76 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:01 am

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Last edited by rightstar76 on Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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freestone
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Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by freestone » Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:51 am

Not really sure what we are trying to protect here. At the end of the day, you still have to get off the couch to visit these places so that already excludes 80% of the readers. Isn't a good detailed map or any map for that matter just another form of social media? The HST map is filled with detailed remote locations and exotic cross country passes The fishless lake list tells fishermen to not bother visiting a certain lake. I for one am endlessly frustrated by folks who publish pictures of fish and then tell us not to even bother asking where they casted a line for their trophy catch. Do we now need a degree in literature or photography to publish trip reports so that locations can be cleverly disguised and enjoyed by only those that can figure it out? I visit this site for the enjoyment of gathering information, discussion and the trip reports, detailed or otherwise and if you think you are the first to visit some of these remote location, your wrong. Walter Starr and others like him were already doing it in the 1920s with the exact same vigor, openness and enthusiasm. As long as the forum is open to the world, everyone should be encouraged to give as much detail as they feel comfortable giving without peer pressure from those that may not agree with their openness. I think this site would really suffer from that and turn into just another polished and sterile internet presentation.

From a practical point of view, the Moderators could time out trip reports that are sensitive then remove them from the site after a certain period of time. That would give "the regulars" a chance to enjoy the post but no longer available for discovery by search engines used by the unwashed internet masses.
Fram...

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Ashery
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Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by Ashery » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:18 am

People still have to get off the couch, yes, but the process after that becomes much less involved when you just mirror another person's footsteps and thoughts. Some people here don't like that because it results in a massive spike in traffic to an area, often outright destroying the reason a location was special to begin with, while others don't like it because they find the skills one practices while route finding to be core aspects of the hobby.

And it's not some war against all information. Resources like the HST map give people data points; they still need to create the line. It's only when people get outright handed a line to follow that people here start to take issue with it.

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AlmostThere
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Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by AlmostThere » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:56 am

So I'm not suggesting "don't share information."

What I am saying here is that too many people are instagramming, facebooking, blaring out to the world "HERE IS SOMEPLACE NEAT COME SWARM IT."

And people do nothing to research - and then I am walking along with my pack, and here comes a bunch of clueless joes with speakers, very little sense, some suggestion of a map ("my gps stopped working where are we") and hauling the wrong fishing gear.

I should not have to say stop building campfires or "please respect the place you are in." They should not be in the middle of the Sierra wearing Keds and starving because they failed to bring enough food, soaked because the tent leaked, calling helicopters because they got hurt doing stupid things. By "stupid" I mean going somewhere with zero research into what they need to address the conditions and the travel they face to get to the destination, zero respect for the wilderness they are trashing, zero idea of what kind of death march they are setting up because they allot four days for something any rational person with a backpack would take ten to do.

I am all for sharing the wilderness with people. But there is a balance to be had, and we're losing it because too many people are one-upping each other trying to get selfies somewhere "cool." The less personal the sharing gets the more trouble people get into, because the picture on Instagram does NOT have long thoughtful posts from HST attached to it.

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Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by SSSdave » Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:28 am

As in my above posts, the issue is not black and white but requires some consideration for specific circumstances. I've shared a great amount of information over years but also learned to withhold specific information both to protect locations and at times just because I'd rather have hikers, backpackers, and photographers enjoy the experience of discovery on their own. In the future after my days are over, it will be a sad day for the spirit of human adventure when people just look up GPS coordinates to know where special locations are.

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Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:47 pm

Fortunately, or luckily, I have not encountered very many backpackers of the type that AT describes, except a few on popular trails. I simply do not run across these types in off-trail remote areas.

I would not classify any area that is accessed by a good maintained trail as "remote". There are some relatively remote areas in the Sierra, but few if any truly remote areas, because almost every place is relatively accessible. Setting aside the subjective ideas of remoteness or quality of the experience of discovery, what exactly IS our definition of "remote"? If defined as a distance away from trails, or difficulty getting there, then the number of people who go there changes that little. On the other hand, solitude or "unknown factors" are added, then use DOES change it.

Whether on the PCT or in an obscure corner of the Sierra, impact is impact, crowds are crowds. Over-use to me is no more acceptable on a major trail than in a remote location. The difference is that we expect to see less use in "remote" areas, so three tents at a campsite on a trail may be acceptable to us, whereas, anyone else within a mile of us in remote areas may be unacceptable.

Route descriptions, if detailed and popularized (becoming the fad of the year), and especially if accompanied with a GPS track, will get into more remote areas. Theoretically, this could lead to more dispersed use and less pressure on trails. Unfortunately, I have not seen the increased "dispersion" of backpackers translating into less backpackers on the more used trails, but simply more total use. That is just my impression, obviously not backed up by any numbers or studies. I am curious if land managers have set trail quotas to reflect the maximum "total use" on the resource if all slots were filled; or do they assume only a certain fraction of the available permits will be actually used? Exact trail quotas seem to be a mysterious black box to me.

Route descriptions are simply a tool used to plan a trip, along with other tools such as maps, Google Earth, other peoples trip reports. It is the blatant promoting of certain routes as "must do" routes, the "best", "one-in-a-lifetime", etc. that seems to pepper social media accounts, that to me is the culprit. I really do not think our trip reports or database of passes are a major problem. Our forum is pretty well rounded, in that we have trip reports of many areas, some off-trail, some on-trail, not necessarily promoting any one trip over another. But I agree, that perhaps the best way to disseminate very detailed route information may be via personal messages, rather than in a trip report.

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Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by Flamingo » Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:25 pm

Wow, genuinely interesting thread. I'm feeling inspired to reconsider my digital footprint when I post photos and trip reports.

My Question: Does the Leave No Trace philosophy extend to our digital presence? I think all of us want to minimize human-created impact and sustainably enjoy the Sierra. To the extent that we're truly committed to these principles, I think the LNT concept must include online behaviors, in addition to backcountry behaviors. In the spirit of what Wandering Daisy, SSSdave, Harlen, AlmostThere, and others said. . . There are plenty of digital actions that seem to work against LNT, including blatant promotion of routes, widespread dissemination of GPS tracks, and the general Instagram glorification of scenic locations. Overall, I would frame this issue as LNT in the Digital Era.
Last edited by Flamingo on Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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longri
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Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by longri » Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:33 pm

That's an interesting way to look at it, that information about the wilderness is itself a kind of impact. It's undeniable that unexplored, untrammeled places are few and far between, especially in a place like the Sierra.

Recently I watched a couple of walkers arrive at a lake, stop and do what looked like stare at a tree for a bit. I soon realized they were looking at a phone. After a couple of minutes they moved with deliberation, crossing a stream to a campsite that wasn't visible from the trail. I think they had an app that told them about it. I'd spent 15-20 minutes wandering around checking out where I wanted to camp. You know, the old fashioned way. Eventually everything, everything, will be extremely well documented. That's got to be an impact.

There's another website I peruse that has a policy about posting information on sensitive, off-trail places. I don't know how effective their strategy will be long-term but it might stem the tide for a bit. I think ultimately we're doomed to lose the wilderness. But I could be wrong. Let's hope so!

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Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by AlmostThere » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:38 pm


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