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arghman
11-11-2004, 03:00 PM
Any hike leaders out there with advice on whether to proceed with a hike under poor weather conditions?

I had publicized a hike our town is conducting this Saturday, but the weather forecast looks pretty bad. The best-case scenario appears to be if there is a small amount of snow. The worst-case scenario looks like a lot of rain/sleet/snow with some freeze/thaw cycles between now and Saturday morning. :( :( :( This was meant to be an easy hike up Mt. Uncanoonuc.

Here are a few options I've got:
(a) proceed as planned but let people know the footing is likely to be nasty/hazardous in spots. My guess is more than half of people will bail; driving to the trailhead may be hazardous.
(b) delay until Sunday. Weather looks good, but trail footing may still be hazardous; see who's still interested & could change their schedule. I won't be able to inform people who show up unannounced.
(c) delay until next weekend, see who's still interested & could change their schedule. Who knows what the weather will be like.
(d) cancel all together.

Any suggestions?

percious
11-11-2004, 06:04 PM
I still want to go. I think I will be bringing crampons and lots of hot cocoa for my wife.

-percious

Quietman
11-11-2004, 06:13 PM
From the latest forecast, by Saturday am it will be all snow in NH, either ending around 9 or by noon. Some forecast models have the heavier snow in N. Mass. and only 1-2" in NH. Others have 4"+, but all say snow, not rain or ice.
I think that we're still planning on Monadnock, but we may have a more "experienced" group than yours. My gut would be to stick with the plans, but I'm no expert.

Ask me on Saturday morning and I'll give you a more accurate answer! :)

ken
11-11-2004, 07:05 PM
i lead hikes for the catskill 3500 club - the listing for every hike in the publication reads "Heavy precipitation and/or bad driving conditions cancels" - that about says it all - i do leave my phone # at my house upstate for anyone that wishes to contact me on friday night or early saturday morning if they are in doubt - - - i am usually lucky with the weather but once heavy rain was predicted for the day - every participant called me friday and told me that they weren't coming except one - when i called i agreed to take that 35er aspirant to a different peak (safer walk with no views anyway), southwest hunter doesn't bother me in the rain since there aren't any good views to miss and i have already been there 4 times in the rain (and one in heavy snow) on southwest hunter the heavy growth that you have to bushwack through will hold you up if you fall - - - but over rocks and stuff you or the hikers have a better chance of injury - if you want to do an alternate peak in the rain/snow/sleet pick one that has good footing.

Bob Kittredge
11-12-2004, 07:33 AM
I hate all the back and forth involved with trying to reschedule events, making sure everyone gets the word, etc.

I normally say that I'll be at the trailhead rain or shine, but that I may cancel the hike then and there if the weather is just too crappy. I don't mind hiking in a light rain; I see it as "paying my dues".

Besides, it's really hard to know what the weather will be like in advance with any certainty. I scheduled a hike of the Tripyramids for a sunday back in August and went off to solo hike on Saturday. When I called home on Saturday night, my wife told me that my coleader had heard that Hurricane Charlie was bearing down on us and had made the executive decision to cancel the hike. But I awoke the next morning in Crawford Notch to find that northern NH would be spared. I went and soloed Tripyramid and was slapping on sunscreen by the middle peak. Boston had a miserable day.

The one thing that will make me cancel a hike is the prospect of dangerous driving conditions.

RoySwkr
11-12-2004, 02:17 PM
Any hike leaders out there with advice on whether to proceed with a hike under poor weather conditions?
Having to deal with this issue is one thing that got me to quit leading group hikes :-)

In my opinion, there are 2 things the leader should do in advance:
* In the original writeup, specify under what conditions the hike is likely to go (rain cancels, bad driving cancels, safer/easier in bad weather, will go regardless) and when people register get a feeling of their level of commitment
* Have a method of informing participants at the last minute, preferably a phone number somebody will answer as people who are staying over may not have access to e-mail

Then go or cancel as planned in #1 :-)

arghman
11-13-2004, 01:21 PM
thanks everyone... I had few enough people sign up in advance, that I was able to give them a call & see if they were still interested. Two bailed, but we went ahead as scheduled, & I'm really glad because the weather held up nicely, at least up here. (see trip report to be posted real soon now)

If it were regular hiker people who were going, I wouldn't have been too worried, but this was open to the public (you know, the kind who sometimes wear bluejeans in the snow & forget water & all that), and I didn't know people's weather tolerance until I called them back.

If I ever do lead another hike I'll take Roy's advice which I think is very succinctly put.