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Thread: Thursday June 13th 2019 " A Rough day up on the Rock Pile"

  1. #61
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave.m View Post
    It's interesting to see how differently we view things.

    When I'm leading a hike with inexperienced hikers, I begin with a ritualistic affirmation that we all share a responsibility for each other's well being. I establish basic rules:
    1) Who will be at the front making decisions on route.
    2) Who will bring up the rear behind the slowest hiker.
    3) Everybody has responsibility to wait at junctions for the person behind them to ensure route information percolates backwards.

    I lost hikers before insisting on this approach and have thankfully not lost hikers since adopting it. It's not fail-proof but it allows the natural stringing along of the group that occurs with different paces while also maintaining group cohesion.

    The thing about a mixed skill hike is that the strong and the experienced (who may be different) are in a better position to help the weak and inexperienced. If I were in the position you described, I would have asked your third to stay with me as a resource to potentially help with your slow hiker. Had slow hiker taken a second fall, you may have benefitted from having another stronger person with you.

    Again, I'm over the top about laying down these expectations long before setting foot on the trail.

    This said, I have broken off from party before. I was invited on someone else's hike and they insisted to press ahead in the face of obviously suicidal high water risks (Yosemite high country in June during melt off season).
    Dave, all of your points are well made and logical and I would bet that you are an excellent group leader. If I were an inexperienced hiker, I would want to have a leader like you. But I think there's a difference between leading a group and just hiking with 2 friends even if 3 people is technically a group. I can't fault Sierra at all in the situation he described and would be hard pressed to see how he could have forced this guy to stay with him and not hike out on his own. The guy made his choice and Sierra stayed with the weaker hiker, the guy who had fallen. He asked the guy to wait at the junction and gave him good information about the route of descent. The .6m round trip from Sabbaday Brook Trail to Middle Tripyramid means he would not have had a very long wait. The guy chose a solo descent. He made it down with no problem so there's no disaster or rescue to dissect, but if he got into trouble, the guy owns it 100% imo. It was good of him to get the car and save the others the road walk, which to me says that he was not a selfish jerk, just a guy determined to hike his own hike.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  2. #62
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey J View Post
    But I think there's a difference between leading a group and just hiking with 2 friends even if 3 people is technically a group.
    I think that is a very valid point and distinction. I think it is easy to assume a bunch of people together on the trail is a "group" but it is not the same as an organized, pre-planned event by a trip leader or organization, possibly where members paid for the leadership. Expectations I think would and should be very different in each case.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  3. #63
    Senior Member dave.m's Avatar
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    GreyJ and DayTrip,

    Note, I said if I had been in your (DayTrip's) position, I would have asked that the strong person stay as potential help.

    I've actually been in this situation before and had a person leave a group on their own. Even as a group "leader" (<- whatever this means), there is no way to force anybody to do anything so the reality is, people will end up doing whatever they want. And, similar to the situation you (DayTrip) described, the person in my group took off to pursue their own goal.

    The primary distinction I'm drawing out is the you (DayTrip) were cool with that (my read of how you described it) and I saw my person's decision as negatively affecting the group that I remained responsible for.

    Let me put this another way... I've been on trips where we were all experienced enough to travel solo and new it and have made loosey-goosey decisions on staying together for this and going separate ways for that. IMO, this is an ultimate sign of respect and confidence in the abilities of each other and in general, I have no problem with that. This said, in face of harsh conditions (which include potential for exhaustion or hypothermia, among other things), I do think that groups of 3 are more resilient than than 3 separate solo hikers.
    - Dave (a.k.a. pinnah)

    " Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat." - John Lehman, US Secretary of the Navy 1981-1987

  4. #64
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave.m View Post
    I do think that groups of 3 are more resilient than than 3 separate solo hikers.
    I agree with your premise of this line of thinking although it is not full proof. Not that any rescue situation is. Yes you do have someone to stay and be with the individual whom needs the rescue. But what about the individual whom is now solo going for help. Would not four be even a better number. What if the lone person going for help gets injured. Now all three people in the original party are in danger. Where is if there was a fourth they could still potentially go on. Yes albeit now the fourth is solo going for help and the third is still in need of rescue by themselves. Although with four the overall odds are better than three IMO of an overall successful rescue.
    Last edited by skiguy; Yesterday at 01:19 PM.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  5. #65
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave.m View Post
    GreyJ and DayTrip,

    Note, I said if I had been in your (DayTrip's) position, I would have asked that the strong person stay as potential help.

    I've actually been in this situation before and had a person leave a group on their own. Even as a group "leader" (<- whatever this means), there is no way to force anybody to do anything so the reality is, people will end up doing whatever they want. And, similar to the situation you (DayTrip) described, the person in my group took off to pursue their own goal.

    The primary distinction I'm drawing out is the you (DayTrip) were cool with that (my read of how you described it) and I saw my person's decision as negatively affecting the group that I remained responsible for.

    Let me put this another way... I've been on trips where we were all experienced enough to travel solo and new it and have made loosey-goosey decisions on staying together for this and going separate ways for that. IMO, this is an ultimate sign of respect and confidence in the abilities of each other and in general, I have no problem with that. This said, in face of harsh conditions (which include potential for exhaustion or hypothermia, among other things), I do think that groups of 3 are more resilient than than 3 separate solo hikers.
    The distinction I was getting at was more legal, i.e. a person in a paid or officially organized group may be under contractual obligation to follow the leader's direction to reduce liability, defer to the leader in decision making, etc, and said leader is expected to properly assess conditions, provide proper gear and make effective decisions. If I get left behind in a scenario where I paid a guide to organize the trip, provide gear, assess the status of the group members and do the decision making for me I think it is very different than me telling two friends I'm with to go ahead. I'd be quicker to apply the "negligent" label to the guide in the paid scenario than I would to my friends even though it is very similar. Does that make sense? Not sure I'm explaining myself correctly.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  6. #66
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    So when I hike solo, do I have a fool for a leader or do I have anarchy in a group of one?

    A grandfather and two grandsons, ages 19 and 14, is not an organized hike with a leader.

    When I started, I was not looking at finding an organized group or leader to help. (Possible TMI warning) I was a 29 year old who had walked in the local woods hunting without getting lost and had done some local in town trails. A divorce led to realizing I hadn't really been anywhere, other people had done State Capitals, Ballparks, etc. I liked the walking in hunting but grew to dislike the rest of it. I had started with State Highpoints, however the woman who would become my current wife was more important than the High Point of IA, IL, IN, FL, etc. I loved the new hobby, so I just stayed in the Northeast. I started on the trips that likely wouldn't kill me. (RI, MA, VT, ME, CT, NH, NY)

    On my first Washington trip, I was just back in the trees on Lion's Head when a grandfather and two grandchildren passed me on the way up. Granddad was in his mid 60's and the two boys were not 19, closer to 14. Ten minutes later, one of the boys ran past me saying his grandfather had fallen. Like I said, I'm glad this had a happy ending, it's a little too deja vu for me.

    Small groups of friends don't think of a walk in the whites from late Spring to pre-labor day hikes as something requiring rules what-if scenarios' etc. If they have just a little experience, they haven't thought about lost of visibility or multiple trails at junctions. Those of us in the choir know better, now, we did not always know.

    So much is available on-line, people can say they researched the hike on-line & that means nothing. (The old days if they said that they read the intro and the trail pages in the WMG, you know what they read) How many meet-up groups, Facebook groups and Instagram pages reference Washington? (1,000's? more?) Warnings probably range from WMG-like to we came, we saw, we kicked it's butt, it was easy, everyone should do it.
    Last edited by Mike P.; Yesterday at 05:38 PM.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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