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#163107 - 03/02/12 12:01 AM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: Glenn]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Glenn


However, if they've just signed up for a trip, or have an encounter on the trail, and the other person starts giving unsolicited advice, particularly in a "You know you must..." or "You can't do it that way" tone, that it becomes condescending. That's the type I try to avoid.


I look younger than I am, and I'm female. Those two factors lead to this a lot, plus, my gear just does not look like traditional backpacking gear, so all those old salts who think I'm going to die of the cold at 40F feel free to let it flow, in just the tone they probably use with their five year old grandkids. I've actually had someone walk into my camp to criticise the hammock. That's a great time to go dig a cathole.

Depending on how they go about it, I do thank them, or just ignore the advice and change the subject. I find that getting the old duffers to talk all about their gear, or food storage (bear stories are always fun), is sufficient to take their mind off me, usually. Just waking up in the morning refreshed and making coffee with my dumb little alcohol stove (sometimes on the big group trips I take the One Pan Wonder and fry an egg over it, too) is enough of an answer to any of their other concerns. I've also been the sole dry person after a night long rainstorm despite people's concerns about how weather worthy my tarp is.

When newbies question my gear, on the other hand, I do tell them that all of it requires some consideration of where and how to set up, and why I would take something else in other circumstances, because it's only fair to inform them that what you take does need to meet the task at hand.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#163115 - 03/02/12 10:18 AM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: lori]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Hey, take it easy with the "old duffer" cracks - some of us resemble those remarks! smile

What's worse is that you're right - it's usually pretty easy to get us launched along the gear-talk line, and it very often detours into the land of reminiscing about the old days of Svea stoves, Timberline tents, and 60 pound loads.

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#163116 - 03/02/12 10:29 AM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: Glenn]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Did I hear someone mention Svea stoves?
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#163117 - 03/02/12 10:31 AM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: Glenn]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
I sell advice for a living. The advice belongs to the person that paid for it.

On the other hand, I wish the 20 year old me could have spent a week backpacking with the 60 year old me. I know me pretty well, and suspect the 20 y/o would have ignored the 60 y/o. shocked
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"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
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#163121 - 03/02/12 11:23 AM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: lori]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1814
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I'm an old duffer who refuses to give unsolicited advice but who seems to get a lot of unsolicited advice on the trail. I generally hike with a fairly small and light pack and seem to be the target of a lot of folks who tell me (without being asked) that I am not being safe because I leave a lot of impedimenta at home. Not too long ago I was cornered in a trail head parking lot (almost literally) by an officious, middle-aged, hiking club woman who almost seemed to want to inspect the contents of my pack to assure herself that my gear was appropriate. Apparently, my trail running shoes set her off; they just weren't right according to her (boots were) and thus I could not have much of an idea of what I was about. I just smiled a lot and kept looking at my watch.
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#163135 - 03/02/12 12:56 PM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: lori]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Let's see if I have this straight. You are a young looking lady, and older guys are coming over to critique your gear....It is just barely possible that there is a covert agenda, although, of course, their overwhelming concern is for your welfare.

Just the random thoughts of a fairly typical old duffer......

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#163149 - 03/02/12 02:51 PM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: ringtail]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By ringtail
I sell advice for a living.


I could never find a market for mine laugh
_________________________
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"You want to go where?"



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#163151 - 03/02/12 03:43 PM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: Pika]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
I'm an old duffer who refuses to give unsolicited advice but who seems to get a lot of unsolicited advice on the trail.


I'm seldom asked for advice, or am given unsolicited advice. There aren't a lot of backpackers here since it's pretty much a cool weather sport, and I don't backpack in the summer when the tourists come here.

More than anything I get warnings about bears and mountain lions and wild hogs, and warnings about how easy it is to get lost. I used to get a lot of warnings about stumbling across meth labs with crazed druggies waiting to murder those who do that, but not as much anymore. Almost always the advisor tells me "I would never do that!" Of course, this comes when people hear about me backpacking, not on the trail.

What I have noticed is that when urbanites come here to hike and they meet me on a trail they are very often fearful of me. Hillbillies aren't at all. They'll always stop and jaw a bit, but some of those city folks practically shake out of their Merrells when they see me out there.

I don't know what it is. I know I get scruffy when I'm backpacking, and I don't fit the Backpacker Magazine Cover Boy image at all. I'm just a little old fart and most of them could toss me 50 ft or better if they ever tried, so it's not my size. My best guess is that I remind them of a hillbilly axe murderer in the movies, but you'd think they'd see I'm not carrying an axe with me.

Whatever it is, it works pretty good for me laugh
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#163157 - 03/02/12 06:54 PM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: ringtail]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
Ringtail- I was so lucky that as a 16-year-old a 60+ year old took all of us wild 16-year-olds under his wing and mentored us. He was the old sage of mountaineering and had a way of teaching that did not even seem like teaching. He got us to think about safety without ever putting out our youthful exhuberence. He took us up Mt Rainier, into the Bugaboos of BC, Granite Peak (highest in Montana). It did not even matter to him that in a year or so we had exceeded his abilities. He was as proud of us as any grandfather could be. He saved us a lot of trial-and-error errors and gave us the confidence to do even more than we had thought possible. He had no kids of his own, and I think he thought of us all has his kids.

When I am leading a trip, I have a different view than most people on this forum. (to be fair, I mostly lead techinical climbing trips) I take a risk by taking people out. If thier gear or actions are inappropriate, I definitely "advise" them. In fact I go beyond advise. Nobody is taking a 70-pound pack that includes the kitchen sink on my trips, beceause our little group is a team with a goal, and if one person's actions slows us down to the point of jepordizing our goals or safety, then that person simply cannot join us. I lift packs at the trailhead. If one is too heavy I just say. "let's see if we can get this pack a little lighter". If I have required crampons and someone shows up without, then they just do not go with us. After all, I am the one responsible when all hell breaks loose and bad consequences happen. Being a leader is about making decisons and sometimes that makes you unpopular. If that is condenscending, so be it.


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#163161 - 03/02/12 07:50 PM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: wandering_daisy]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I don't see how that could be termed 'condescending," it's just common sense. Technical climbing is a sharper edge than a non technical backpack along established trails and your actions are perfectly correct. I have been known to verge on the same behavior in comparable situations and I have regretted those times when I did not.

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#163172 - 03/02/12 09:56 PM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: oldranger]
Dyingjohnnie Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/12
Posts: 51
Loc: SLC, Utah
This debate was really fun to read. Just sayin.
_________________________
You learn that what's important is how you got there, not what you've accomplished. - Yvon Chouinard

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#163236 - 03/03/12 08:15 PM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: wandering_daisy]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon

climbers are known for being far more severe about what they carry, like for a day on the walls of Yosemite a water bottle is about all the extra, never mind a coat! Alpine climbing about all you get is a sleeping bag, a closed cell pad and a piece of tent floor. It makes UL look luxurious.

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These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#163264 - 03/04/12 11:04 AM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: Jimshaw]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
How true! But I dare not call climbers UL- they "UL" thier camping equipment so they can carry all that climbing gear! Climbing like backpacking has a range of levels. Elite climbers choose to reduce gear and comfort, at significant risk, in order to achieve thier goals. They are betting on their ability to go faster with lighter pack. Sometimes they get done in by that. The weekend recreational climber seldom is willing to take that risk or be that uncomfortable. Each, however, have gear appropriate to their goals and personal risk assesment. There is no right or wrong- just appropriate.

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#163273 - 03/04/12 03:53 PM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: wandering_daisy]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
WD
If you would be so kind as indulge us, grin
I think it would beneficial for beginning backpackers to see a real alpine gear list and see the weight breakdown. Besides being sobering, it might give them an idea of how little IS actually required for the camping part.

Personally most of the "interior hiking/climbing" that I've done included a 25 pound camping pack with another 25 pounds of gear. We figured that to be fully loaded with a 50m 10mm rope each, a large rack, slings, and descneders that we had 50 pounds of climbing gear for two people. In other words the packs weighed 45 to 50 pounds each and had to be capable of handling 50 pounds of heavy dense gear. Oh and with ropes wrapped over and tied down the sides of ythe pack. BUT I left the pack at the bottom of my climb, and thats the weight difference between rock climbing and alpine climbing.

Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#163306 - 03/04/12 10:27 PM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: Jimshaw]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
I read all this and am humbled. about all i can iterject umongst such a wealth of knowledge is I agree. Lori as for the hammock part ,I experience my second night out in it, a horrible storm. In the morning son and I were high and dry, everyone else was soaked. I can say since getting back into backpacking these last few years. I made some quick decisions. I paid twice for gear. Do not trust the salesman at rei. They couldnt even correctly fit me for a pack in Illinois! They measured my torso all wrong! I know this as my wife is in Radiolgy. If anyone knows were the Iliac crest is she does!
Beginners read all the previous post. Knowledge is the key.
Pop said if you have a day where you didnt learn anything, you were not paying attention! Or if you prefer, Pay at the register!


Edited by Kent W (03/04/12 10:29 PM)

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#163350 - 03/05/12 11:41 PM Re: A letter to beginners [Re: Jimshaw]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
Jim- I did not weigh my gear and pack in those days. My camping gear for backpacking is slightly more "comfort" oriented, but not much. Big difference is that we always used bivy sacks instead of tents. By bivy is 1 pound 5 oz. I seldom took a camera because you are so busy climbing or belaying that you really cannot take pictures anyway. Most the climbing I did was walk into a base camp, then do a 16-18 hour climb or perhaps a planned bivy for a 2 day climb, then walk back out. We left camping gear at the basecamp. On a planned bivy, you just throw in the bivy sack and sleep (really you do not get much sleep) in your clothes - no sleeping bag. And for climbing, you usually go with a partner if not a group of 4, so you share the stove. Forget all electronic gagets - do not need them. I did take a bigger and heavier head lamp because we often had to come back in the dark. As for water, one liter for a day. You just have to make do with that. I really cannot give a pound value for the climbing gear- each climb was different. I ended up mostly using double/twin 8.5 to 9-mm ropes (European style), sometimes one 10mm rope. Always harness, helmet, I would say minimum of about 5 pounds of protection, more often about 10-15. Ropes range from 3-7 pounds. Ice axe- about one pound. Crampons - pound and half or more. Rock shoes - 2 pounds (you cannot walk far in rock shoes so you hike in with approach shoes). Lots of slings. If you knew that you would use mostly small cams and nuts, then the gear would weigh less- if you had to plan on wide cracks, then you had to take the heavy big gear.

My one expierence with UL climbing was with an eastern European fellow who grew up climbing behind the Iron Curtain where they had no gear. We did Moon Goddess Arete, Temple Crag (5.8) pretty moderate climb, but long, with 6 cams, 8 biners total! He wanted to do the climb with NO extra clothiing, food or water at all! I took a pack with food, water and some clothing. He did not complain when I broke out the food! Anyway, half way up the climb a rockfall cut the rope. So we tied a knot in it. Then we stuck a cam at a belay. Cleaning one pitch, I soon found out that he wedged rocks in cracks and put sling around them! Then when we came to old slings on anchors, he salvaged that stuff and used it on a rappel! He basically only put in a few pieces of protection each pitch. He said he never falls, so why do it. This simply was the way he learned to climb. He was really solid on 5.8 so I was not too worried. But, needless to say, I did not do a lot of climbing with him after that climb!

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