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Thread: Lost Hiker on Moosilaukee

  1. #31
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Metsky View Post
    On the other hand, they've been known to follow unrelated hikers down to the wrong trailhead if someone in the group feeds them.
    I've actually chased down a dog that followed some people in my group down the Mt Osceola trail. They seemed a bit worried that their dog had gone on so far ahead. When I finally caught up to the dog, my friends seemed oblivious to the fact that someone might be missing their dog. I held the dog and waited for its people to catch up. This might not have been a hiking dog so much as a dog on a hike.
    Last edited by TJsName; 05-15-2019 at 09:41 PM.
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  2. #32
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    In my experience, leading a winter or shoulder season hike that is anything other than a true beginner trip is much, much harder than most people realize. First, you have to research the itinerary with contingencies for every imaginable scenario. And you have to think through not just what you're capable of, but what a below-average participant is likely to be capable of. Then you screen your participants. Sure, you have a gear list and you require a certain level of fitness. But people never have the perfect gear set, and they lie (intentionally or not) about their level of fitness. You integrate what you hear (when screening) and see (when they all show up at the trailhead) with your own personal experience, and compromises are made, always. I salute all of you who have no qualms about turning people away at the trailhead - people who probably bought some new gear, set aside time to do the trip, and really want to go. Of course if the person simply doesn't have anything approaching the appropriate gear/fitness, that's one thing. But more often than not, you're stuck evaluating how willing you are as a leader to make compromises and take risks, and to what degree, given the group you have in front of you. You can't sterilize the outdoors. There's always some risk. And you're always working in that gray zone, balancing that risk with the desire to show people a good time in the mountains. As a human being, possibly a volunteer, probably someone who genuinely wants to show folks a good time in the mountains, being a leader is hard work. And some are better at it than others.

    That paragraph is not completely on topic, but I think it's a useful perspective. College outing clubs - if that's even relevant to this particular rescue - are run by student volunteers. There is constant turnover, and unfortunately it's always the best, most experienced leaders who graduate. Institutional knowledge is captured only imperfectly. Everyone is learning more than they're applying, especially the student leaders. I'm aware that at the school where I did my graduate work, the 'office of corporate risk' essentially gutted the Alpine Club shortly after I left. I understand why that happened. The Alpine Club was a huge corporate risk. But it's too bad. There's very little tolerance for risk these days, especially when schools have entire departments whose sole responsibility is to eliminate any financial risk to the institution. If this particular trip was a DOC trip, I can imagine there will be a reckoning of some kind. I know Northeastern University, where I've got a few alumni friends, gutted their outing club. Too bad.

    Clearly mistakes were made in this case. And what is with all these people losing their shoes in snowy conditions lately?! Still, if the ultimate result is to gut all university outing clubs and/or attempt to sterilize all of the trips, that feels like a loss of some kind. I don't know what the answer is, but that route feels like a loss. In any case, I'm glad this fellow made it out. I was more than a little concerned when I first read this story, especially given the turn in conditions Saturday into Sunday.
    Sure. Why not.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    I think many group hikes thrown together on Social Media are accidents waiting to happen. I'm of the thought, that no matter what group you join, you need to have the skillset to survive on your own. I know this standard is not being used for a lot of group hikes. If the shit hits the fan, yes you can blame the group leader, but everyone should own a certain level of responsibility. If I hired a guide to do a climb, my preparations for the climb would be very detailed in regards to the route, the conditions possible and navigation of the route if it fell on me. Not to mention having all the appropriate gear needed. This mindset set reminds me of the Everest 96 disaster. Both guides became disabled, this left the reaming team members unable to fend for themselves. Granted the Whites are not Everest, but the point is still valid. If your leading a hike, you need to require a gear list and know the skillset of the people joining you. If you have people that are weak on skills and they have to descend, you need to assign a skilled member to accompany them down at the very least.
    I'd say this is terrific advice. However ... I've never been on a group trip on which I wasn't either a leader or the leader. Once ... just once ... I might like to go on one as a participant ... a participant with no responsibilities who can skylark, lallygag and be brain dead to my heart's content!

  4. #34
    Member MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    I'd say this is terrific advice. However ... I've never been on a group trip on which I wasn't either a leader or the leader. Once ... just once ... I might like to go on one as a participant ... a participant with no responsibilities who can skylark, lallygag and be brain dead to my heart's content!
    Hmm, Hoping I'm not on that hike.

  5. #35
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    If I am not leading or instructing and monitoring a student crew, I am very uncomfortable doing nothing by blindly following in a train of footsteps. I must at least monitor navigation with map and compass, as that is kind of my thing. I would hope the leader would take a moment from time to time to point out significant landscape sights and trail landmarks as we go and he or she thus can keep tabs on everyone behind.

    Quiz question for debate: Who, arguably apart from the leader at the moment, is the most important person in a line of hikers? Some would say the last person as the sweep, who can see everyone toward the front, but I contend it is the next to the last person as the most important. Who else is positioned to best know where the last person in line is and what if that last person (often the weakest) develops a problem and falls back? Perhaps important to me as I come from training the sometimes aggressive and athletic leaders of youth (Boy Scouts) wherein the adult scout masters of questionable fitness are often at the end of the line.
    Last edited by Nessmuk; 05-15-2019 at 05:52 PM.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  6. #36
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Metsky View Post
    On the other hand, they've been known to follow unrelated hikers down to the wrong trailhead if someone in the group feeds them.
    They still stayed with a group and followed the trail, right?

    (you should never feed someone else's dog without permission)

    Tim
    Last edited by bikehikeskifish; 05-15-2019 at 11:01 PM.
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  7. #37
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    They still stayed with a group and followed the trail, right?

    (you should never feed someone else's dog without permission)

    Tim
    Another reason to leash your mutt on the trail!!

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  8. #38
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    I have only ever been on one group hike. It was in Australia over 40 years ago. I was young and fit and reasonably well prepared, but not at the level I would be today. At least I had the right gear, adequate food and water and a map. I did not have a head lamp though and we were pushing nightfall at the end. I was trusting the group leader in some respects as I was on totally unfamiliar ground and had no idea who else would be on the hike. It soon developed that the hike was way harder than advertised, down into a deep gorge, traversing a long and difficult boulder field along the bottom of a creek and then climbing out up along a steep trail to the end point. It was a near disaster. Many of the people in the party would have struggled to get up Waumbek and had no business attempting this. A couple of people almost croaked and slowed everyone down to a crawl. One had to be carried out. I ended up leaving the group (with the leader's assent) and went on ahead to send back more help for the carry. They all survived but it was a cautionary tale for me and I have preferred hiking solo for most of my life ever since. I only have one trusted hiking partner and when we hike together, it's more like Lewis and Clark (co-captains) than leader and follower.
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  9. #39
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    They still stayed with a group and followed the trail, right?

    (you should never feed someone else's dog without permission)

    Tim
    This is great advice. Once up on Pierce, I wanted to get a photo of a Grey jay. Its impossible with my dog Bud, he will not let a Jay near me. So I tie him to my pack and wander off about 50 yards to get my picture. All of a sudden I hear my dog going ballistic. Some lady walked up to My dog to feed him a snack. My dog will not bite anyone, but he sure made her run, he was protecting my pack.

  10. #40
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    I've been on two led hikes. My first NH 4ks were a GMC group trip up the Hancocks. Car pooling and all that was fun.

    The second time was up Gore Mt. in VT in winter. I underestimated how slow the group would go and decided to split after we summitted--- for the sake of keeping some other plans I'd made. I just-about-ran most of the way back to the car and was fine but now I understand more of why the leader was a little offput by my taking off.
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  11. #41
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessmuk View Post
    If I am not leading or instructing and monitoring a student crew, I am very uncomfortable doing nothing by blindly following in a train of footsteps. I must at least monitor navigation with map and compass, as that is kind of my thing. I would hope the leader would take a moment from time to time to point out significant landscape sights and trail landmarks as we go and he or she thus can keep tabs on everyone behind.

    Quiz question for debate: Who, arguably apart from the leader at the moment, is the most important person in a line of hikers? Some would say the last person as the sweep, who can see everyone toward the front, but I contend it is the next to the last person as the most important. Who else is positioned to best know where the last person in line is and what if that last person (often the weakest) develops a problem and falls back? Perhaps important to me as I come from training the sometimes aggressive and athletic leaders of youth (Boy Scouts) wherein the adult scout masters of questionable fitness are often at the end of the line.
    Ouch, as a less than fit scout leader, I should be offended, however, I would say the group in total is too large and diverse to label either way. As they are volunteers across all of America, they run the gamut from people without a clue who want to be outside with their kids to people who think the group should be some form of quasi- military trained team.


    It starts with planning, more planning and then research and planning. My wife and I also did a school youth group, before we had kids and the one unknown who struggled was a scout who joined late when we had an opening. As with any other group, you need to know your group, their strengths and weaknesses and what they want to see and do.

    Just in our troop, our most fit leader is over 70, has a Grand Teton ascent in his past and a Lincoln & Lafayette winter trip in the winter that had the most snow on record in the Whites. We have leaders with less experience also. A former leader loves the story about going to Greenleaf and thinking three miles in the neighborhood would be the same as three miles up the OBP.

    I was doing a warm-up to get times a few years ago before our troop was set to visit Mizpah. That weekend, a leader died on the C-Path from a Troop in MD. I had started the day thinking I was going to tell my group, we should get from point A to point B in x and then to the hut in X- plus an hour. By the end of the day, my message was that we have all day to get to where we are going, there is no need to hurry or push. (If you needed 7 hours, fine, take it) No one needs or wants to hear a teenager groan and whine. You certainly don't need their parent dropping on the trail either. (Some of our kids saw a man with heart history, not in scouts, drop on Giant in the ADK's a couple of years ago, I have no intention of having the next one they see be someone they know, hopefully, they won't see that again.)

    FWIW, one of my favorite quotes is "that is why I hike alone" we do take the kids but we rotate between hiking, canoeing, bicycling and other seasonal things like staying at a ski resort and this year sailing with Sea Scouts. I have no idea if I have a budding mountaineer, a whitewater kayaker or bicycle racer in my midst, it's my duty to have them like the outdoors, not do a death march on one of their first outings. Personally, I enjoy the canoe trips better with the scouts, their is less whining overall, it is great bonding with your child and few of us paddle 60 or more miles in a fairly quiet place like the Allagash or see CT from the river.

    I'd rather hike multiple peak trips or longer days when I set the leaving time, the pace, the meals and company with a couple of close friends and maybe their kids or alone. We have had three kids complete their 20 mile hike for the hiking MB in the past year. (Remember, this is a Country-wide group so the requirement is distance, not elevation gain as you would penalize FL scouts while CO scouts in CO never hike below the highest elevation in PA. Oddly, the camping Merit Badge has or had when my son earned it, an elevation gain requirement) One boy did his 20 on Bondcliff and Bond, the others on the Cape Cod RT. While my son's Bondcliff trip had great weather, I've done that on miserable days too. I'm glad the Cape Weather on 5/18 was ideal, even being able to carry an umbrella for 20 miles would not have made that a fun time in the rain. (All three have years of doing 3-12 mile hikes & knew what to expect)

    Regarding who is the most important, it is the leader. The leader is not necessarily the one up front. I lead many of my hikes from the back. If there is a question on conditions, directions, how far the group is spread out and the make up of the group, we plan accordingly. Typically we stop at junctions to regroup, if people are familiar with the trip, they are allowed to spread out more. Snow, visibility and weather play a role in that. You need people at both ends who communicate well and know what the other wants. Most of the time, my, now 16 year old leads, he knows to stop at views, junctions and I know he has clothing to wait on a windy summit for a little bit while the group catches up. The same is for driving places, I'd rather sweep and know everyone is in front of me then worry about if the last one is keeping up. If the next to last person falls back, then I can lead them so we can catch up. As long as the rabbit up front stops where & when I want, and is at least fearful of bad weather, I'm pretty flexible who's up front. (I need my son to start reading guides more as some day, he and his friends can go without me & they don't do enough pre-planning, probably because I'm a bit compulsive about it....)
    Last edited by Mike P.; 05-19-2019 at 11:12 PM.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  12. #42
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    Mike,

    One would think and hope that overall the official or designated "leader" is the most important person in a hiking group. That is certainly only true if he or she is fully aware of all that is going on and uses appropriate planning and real-time judgement as the leader. Training and experience are most important.

    I have been on the annual instructional team since 1990 for BSA National Camping School High Adventure Trek Leader Section. An 8-day training course in formal classroom and in the field evaluations in the Adirondacks. Trail guides. Typical students (not all) are of college age, who wish to work at BSA summer resident camps (or other youth camps) leading week-long treks (hiking/canoeing or a combination) of young hikers/paddlers and their accompanying adult leaders.

    I consider myself reasonably fit, having recently raced several times on the Yukon River, including the 1000 miler. I have raced the Adirondack 90 mile canoe race 22 times, I bike and hike my own backcountry trips. Since my own youth I have often been accused of walking too fast when with others. However, when my trek students are put in the lead position on trail (we rotate designated "leader of the day"), some of them take off like a rocket, regardless of what some of the rest of the group is doing behind. Even I have had trouble keeping the rapid marching pace at times with some of these guys. Hey, we are not out here to race on foot. (You want to race me in a canoe then just try me.)

    Students on a training trek are under constant evaluation to earn their certification to become employed as guides. Not all will necessarily pass every year. With knowledge gained, Some at the end of the course will go on to successfully take and pass the Official New York State Guide's exam. Normally I take position at the end of the group on trail or water, where I can monitor, take notes, and effect a number of scenarios with typical group problems that the leader and the group have to solve. The designated group leader does not necessarily have to be the first inline, it is up to him or her how to lead the group. Being at the end of the line, I am free to do as I like with regard to instruction and evaluation, sometimes involving dropping off behind to "get lost", dilly dally, goof off, get "injured", or do any number of other things to cause trouble. Sooner or later the next to the last hiker in line learns to monitor me and alert the group that I am up to something.

    What too often happens in reality on actual wilderness treks is the weakest/slowest scout (or scoutmaster) ends up at the end of the line either by default or by active placement. Not always the wisest choice. If he were to lag behind or drop off for whatever reason, who would know? That is why I consider the next to last person highly important.
    Last edited by Nessmuk; 05-20-2019 at 12:11 PM.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  13. #43
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    I think everyone on a hike is important, consider it a team effort and manage it as such. A lot of the most important work a leader does happens before the group steps foot on the trail: preparation, planning, screening participants, making sure they have correct and adequate equipment (usually a couple surprises in this regard), describing expectations and regaling the joyful opportunities ... if all pull together ... which requires commitment, an old fashioned notion which seems to have fallen out of favor and can't be taken for granted. Do all this right and the actual event should be fun for everyone.

  14. #44
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessmuk View Post
    Mike,

    One would think and hope that overall the official or designated "leader" is the most important person in a hiking group. That is certainly only true if he or she is fully aware of all that is going on and uses appropriate planning and real-time judgement as the leader. Training and experience are most important.

    I have been on the annual instructional team since 1990 for BSA National Camping School High Adventure Trek Leader Section. An 8-day training course in formal classroom and in the field evaluations in the Adirondacks. Trail guides. Typical students (not all) are of college age, who wish to work at BSA summer resident camps (or other youth camps) leading week-long treks (hiking/canoeing or a combination) of young hikers/paddlers and their accompanying adult leaders.

    I consider myself reasonably fit, having recently raced several times on the Yukon River, including the 1000 miler. I have raced the Adirondack 90 mile canoe race 22 times, I bike and hike my own backcountry trips. Since my own youth I have often been accused of walking too fast when with others. However, when my trek students are put in the lead position on trail (we rotate designated "leader of the day"), some of them take off like a rocket, regardless of what some of the rest of the group is doing behind. Even I have had trouble keeping the rapid marching pace at times with some of these guys. Hey, we are not out here to race on foot. (You want to race me in a canoe then just try me.)

    Students on a training trek are under constant evaluation to earn their certification to become employed as guides. Not all will necessarily pass every year. With knowledge gained, Some at the end of the course will go on to successfully take and pass the Official New York State Guide's exam. Normally I take position at the end of the group on trail or water, where I can monitor, take notes, and effect a number of scenarios with typical group problems that the leader and the group have to solve. The designated group leader does not necessarily have to be the first inline, it is up to him or her how to lead the group. Being at the end of the line, I am free to do as I like with regard to instruction and evaluation, sometimes involving dropping off behind to "get lost", dilly dally, goof off, get "injured", or do any number of other things to cause trouble. Sooner or later the next to the last hiker in line learns to monitor me and alert the group that I am up to something.

    What too often happens in reality on actual wilderness treks is the weakest/slowest scout (or scoutmaster) ends up at the end of the line either by default or by active placement. Not always the wisest choice. If he were to lag behind or drop off for whatever reason, who would know? That is why I consider the next to last person highly important.
    The program does have good High Adventure Leaders & I've been happy with camp counselors overall too. Thank you.

    I assume you are training leaders for Brant Lake Scout Camp (I don't think it's called that) On the typical Scout Group just out for a hike or a weekend, if the leader is also the least fit, it does become an issue. On of the worst scout miscues I saw was when the group had planned to do some of the Willey Range on the way to Zealand. Weather dictated thy go straight to a hut. A Dad decided to split from the group, unsure how but he promised they would climb mountains. & I saw him and his on Willey looking to go down a steep trail. (This was before my son was in Scouts, I was out on a solo trip & Willey Range was better than the Presidentials in the rain)

    They saw they could do the loop but were unfamiliar with top maps. When I got to the Field, one of their party was looking for the duo, I saw more of them unlike I got to Zealand Hut. On my way back to the car going down the Ethan Pond Trail, I saw the duo again. I blew my whistle so the scouts knew I had seen them (I said I would) and they had a new understanding of steep terrain.


    In the group we hike with and I'm not the weak link, yet, we don't let that leader go alone and lately we've had the boys begin to take an interest in the health of their fathers. My track and XR runner on his 20 mile hike had me lead until the last two late miles. (The ADK equivalent would be walking out Lake Road after Sawteeth & Gothics, except Lake Road has more elevation gain than Lincoln Woods.) I prefer the Canoe trips with the scouts, like biking they get to glide downstream some. depending on the wind and width of the waterway....
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  15. #45
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    That would be the Curtis S. Read Scout Reservation located near (not on) the north end of Brant Lake. Yea we do train "Voyageur" high adventure guides for CSR and other camps. We do not have any control over the typical weekend scout outing. Wilderness treks from resident summer camps are normally for 5 full days. IIRC BSA rules requiring guides and other strict (health department) requirements only kick in for trips of 72+ hours. Regarding breaking up the group, there are numerous examples of bad outcomes. Our guides are trained that splitting is not an allowed practice. Start as a group, finish or abort as the same group.

    The group of students assigned to me will definitely learn map and compass navigation. I usually take them to a relatively difficult area that I am familiar with and we spend a couple of days navigating to some of my favorite locations. Learn to navigate in there an they are good to go most anywhere. I do not allow use of GPS during this exercise. Mistakes are almost always made but they always seem to recover either by luck or by newly acquired skill. I like to let mistakes play out to some kind of conclusion, as long as everyone remains safe. The best way to learn iMO.
    Last edited by Nessmuk; 05-20-2019 at 04:26 PM.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

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