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Ideal Backpacking Partner?

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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Ideal Backpacking Partner?

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:24 pm

What traits make the ideal backpacking partner for those of you who hike
with one or more? Do they need to have similar interest as you or do you
prefer folks who are a little or totally different? Do you and you friends
have a good understanding of each others habits which makes you click? Or
do each of you do your own thing during the day and then get together during
down time to share stories and experiences? Do you prefer male or female
partners and why? Do you prefer someone who is also fishes or is a peakbagger?
Those of you who are solo hikers and have tried hiking with a partner in the
past what was it about the experience that did not and work for you?
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Re: Ideal Backpacking Partner?

Postby artrock23 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:14 am

Aside from the fact that I enjoy being in the mountains alone, the main reason I do solo trips is that I haven't been able to fine anyone to hike/climb with yet! :-({|=

I like backpacking, but it's a means of getting within climbing range of Sierra peaks. My ideal hiking/climbing partner(s) would be someone 'mountain competent', with good judgement, into climbing, and just someone i'm compatible with on multi-day trips. Is this asking too much? :D
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Ideal Backpacking Partner?

Postby camptramp » Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:41 am

Ideal - someone who is agreeable, jovial, and is not a clinger-on-er or a whine bag; dependent enough to know about teamwork, but independent enough to appreciate individual space. I'm not a 'two peas in a pod' type of person. If he's a peakbagger, I'll keep the camp occupied & hopefully have a few fish to fry.

In my dreams she'd be female, but.... I'll keep that just in my dreams :)
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Re: Ideal Backpacking Partner?

Postby Ikan Mas » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:22 am

Trust is the issue with me. I have to be able to trust that the person I am going with has the skills in event that something goes wrong. Aside from my brother, I only have a few friends that fall into this category and unfortunately, most of them have busy lives. I have other friends that I have put a four mile limit on, as their behavior and lack of experience puts the whole group a risk for anything greater than 4 miles. As I have had to explain to my wife, sometimes its more dangerous to take someone that engages in risky behavior than to go solo. What constitutes risky behavior? Self-deception and not knowing their limits. People that will push themselves into heat exhaustion and will not acknowledge it. You don't have to be super experienced, just fully aware of the fundamentals.

Other than that, as long as we can agree on the general execution of the hike, they don't have to do the same things I do. My brother will go exploring while I fish. He's quite happy to share in the eating, but isn't that interested in the fishing. I have another friend that will push my limits a bit, but I know he has the experience in the event things go wrong.
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Re: Ideal Backpacking Partner?

Postby SSSdave » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:33 am

Good topic maverick!

The fewer people in the group the more important the below. In larger groups, it doesn't really matter if some have quite different interest or personalities. So when talking about a partner we are mainly discussing a small group of 2 or 3 people. I can friendly put up with backpacking with those that do not match the below and have a good time, but I probably wouldn't consider backpacking with them regularly. Also in my case I am not talking about two totally independent backpackers that merely link up with me at the destination then spend days on different pursuits, while just meeting up a bit maybe at dinner time. That has little value beyond amusement on a limited basis. I like people I can talk to and work as a team with. People I can share the enjoyment of the mountain world. People I can plan at least some mutual activities with.

First they need to live in the same region. Obvious someone that meets all the below but lives hundreds of miles away, has little chance to share in the activity on a regular basis. They would be a person that I would also want to be friends with down in the urban area I live at because they have at least some similar general interests, intelligence, knowledge, societal views, similar age, and a compatible personality. I backpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Obviously a person would have to enjoy some activities in mountains. There are of course many urban people who have no interests in mountain activities that would otherwise make good friends in the urban world. And additionally a person would need to have at least some similar interests when in that mountain world.

And they would need to be able to cope with the physical challenges of backpacking carrying loads on their back at least near my level. There are top athelete climbers and mountaineers capable of considerable more physically than I might. They would not be compatible because I would be the weak link on the team. They would also need to have similar flexibility in their leisure time. If they were so wealthy they were always out there, I would be a poor choice. Thus with we working people, the other person would need similar ability given their career to take time off with some flexibility like I and many people working for modern companies do.

So see I am filtering down the compatible choices to fewer and fewer people. The result is many backpacking enthusiasts end up solo or only backpack occasionally in groups.

I won't want to be around a person that has an incompatible personality. For example a quiet person that does not communicate much. Actually a modest number of solo backpackers probably fit that category in part maybe because the nature of their life, their work, is alone. There are certainly some jobs where there are few people to converse with and there are more rural places where one might live where there simply are few other people. I'm simply a bit more gregarious person that finds being alone on a regular basis unacceptable. Thus would never move out to some remote cabin and live there for some years.

I quite value good conversationalists and there is a long list of annoying verbal habits like those who talk without listening, or those that tend to get emotional talking about even trivial issues. I'm not as tollerant of or have patience for annoying or poor behaviors as that of an average person. Not that I might complain or argue but rather flow away from such a person. An example would be the person that habitually uses foul adjectives. Or the person that smokes cigarets. In the backcountry the person tha improperly treats the natural world with respect to known acceptable behaviors and policies.

...more later
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Re: Ideal Backpacking Partner?

Postby balzaccom » Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:23 pm

In cycling, I have two criteria:

1. They have to move at roughly the same pace as I do. Too fast, or too slow, and there is no point to it.

2. They have to be a good conversationalist. If they can't hold up their part of the conversation, then why bother?

In backpacking, my hiking partner is my wife---and we've been married 35 years. That's perfect---and backpacking is the best quality time we ever get with each other.

We've also taken single friends and family along on our trips. It's always worked well, but we; known those people for many years...and we have already built up the trust and respect factors with them.

I don't think we'd be happy hiking with strangers, no matter how normal they might be. That's just not why we hike together.
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Re: Ideal Backpacking Partner?

Postby sparky » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:15 pm

I like to back pack with friends and family but they are just trying to get out in the wilderness...not necessarily wanting to get to good scenery. They are my loved ones so I very much enjoy getting out with them, but it is much more satisfying to my soul to work hard out there and get to the beautiful hidden corners of the Sierra.

So my ideal hiking partner would simply have a smilar style of hiking. And yeah....no whiners....that is the only personality trait that gets on my nerves....negative nancys and whiners....no thanks!
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Re: Ideal Backpacking Partner?

Postby paul » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:40 pm

No drama.
Likes to get up same time in the morning I do.
Walks the same pace as I do.
Likes to dilly-dally when I like to dilly-dally, and to motor when I like to motor.
Good sense of humor.
Better photographer than I am (an easy qualification to meet).
If they like to fish and to cook fish and to share fish, all the better.
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Re: Ideal Backpacking Partner?

Postby The hermit » Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:11 am

Seems like we all want the same thing someone who just goes along with what we want to do and shuts up. Just kidding! That's what good dogs are for. They're always happy to go. Seriously human partners are awesome if one knows what to expect. If capabilities differ greatly then spend some time apart, say one fishing the other peakbagging. Or just stick together and enjoy the company. (Compromise ). As long as one is truthful as to abilities and goals beforehand the experience will be positive. Something you'll be able to look back on and grin from ear to ear.
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Re: Ideal Backpacking Partner?

Postby rlown » Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:52 pm

Wow. seems like we all either need the stars to align or get new friends :D

I've seen my group of 5 drop to 2 and then grow a bit at certain times when flexibility kicks in.

At this point, all i care about is you agree upon where we might stay, congregate and have cocktails.

I agree with the conversationalist concept. Know some stuff that is relevant to the outdoors and share it. Shut up when appropriate.

I'm gonna harp on the flexibility part. If you really want company, then there needs to be flexibility. (saves gas bills as well sometimes) I can't say i've had a terrible trip with anyone, once we get over those discussions around what rubs us the wrong way. We're all just people. Just make your hot buttons known. (and push them as appropriate!)
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Ideal Backpacking Partner?

Postby Ross939 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:54 pm

Any time you hike in a group of three or more you're always going to have some kind of group dynamic. You're going to have the know-it-all who thinks he's a physician, a mechanic, a chef and the second coming of Andrew Skurka. You'll probably have the doom and gloom dude who's sure it's gonna rain and you're not going to make it out alive. Hopefully if these are people you've gotten to know over the years, you'll know their idiosyncrasies and they will make the trip that much more interesting.
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Re: Ideal Backpacking Partner?

Postby Vaca Russ » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:02 am

Ahem! There are certain attributes about this hiking partner that far out weigh anything yet mentioned. :rock:

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17Sport touching summit.JPG
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Agassiz.JPG


Jobs Sister.JPG


Rubicon Reservoir Dam.jpg


These girls are fun as well.

zgirls.JPG


But I always prefer to have my #1 Girl with me. :D

zzFinal.jpg


-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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