My first C2C

General Palm Springs area.

Postby AlanK » Mon May 14, 2007 2:16 pm

Cynthia -- When you say "policing" you appear to mean emphasizing the fragility of the area, warning people about the strenuous and potentially dangerous nature of the hike, urging newbies to go with old hands, and campaigning against defacing the surroundings and/or abandoning gear. I'm with you all the way on all of that. So keep "nagging"!

Regarding GPS, we've been over that ground. My problem is that I cannot imagine that a person asking for a few waypoints is going to changs his/her plans if I don't provide them. I fail to see how selectively witholding information helps make the hike safer for anyone. It certainly doesn't increase the fire danger! :? FWIW, I have never posted GPS waypoints. I have provided C2C waypoints to 3 individuals via private e-mails. All did the hike successfully. And would have without my help.
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Postby Ellen » Tue May 15, 2007 2:59 pm

Howdy all :D

I first hiked Skyline to the tram in 1995 with a triathlete who knew the trail. I fell in love with it then and am still addicted 8)

I had hiked Skyline to the tram about 15 times prior to joining this forum.
This website has allowed me to meet some terrific people and I've learned a lot (and laughed a lot) as well :lol:

I agree that we should do our utmost to educate newcomers and protect this fragile place. On that note, I would like to thank Perry, Cynthia, Cy. Alan, Guest, Z-dude and others for being "good stewards" of this wilderness.

Miles of smiles,
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I don't get it.

Postby haploid » Tue May 15, 2007 7:25 pm

Hello, all. I was on Skyline on Saturday 12 May( 4am museum to 11:45am tram )as my first Skyline attempt, and I have a few questions about this thread.

1. What is the problem with the orange dots? There were a few points in the last mile where I would have had a very difficult time trailfinding without them. Now that I've been, I could probably do much better next time without them, but I do think the dots are helpful for first timers.

2. What is the problem with GPS? This one baffles me more than the dots, since it doesn't affect other hikers at all.

Someone please satisfy my curiosity :)

Thanks.
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Postby AlanK » Tue May 15, 2007 9:02 pm

I have never seen the orange dots, having last been up in January. I did comment then that there are altogether too many marks on the trail for my taste. A lot of us just prefer the natural look. You mentioned benefiting from the dots and I am sympathetic with that. I don't think that most people on the board would object to ducks or other more natural-style markers. I certainly have nothing against helping newbies find the way. I recall being a newbie not so long ago.

I have caught some crap for providing GPS waypoints to several people. Some people on the list are of the opinion that this gives people false confidence and increases the chance of problems with ill-prepared hikers. I believe that anyone who asks for waypoints is going to do the hike with them or without them and that more information is simply better. This has been discussed (beaten to death?) here several times, but only by about three people. We seem to have an honest difference of opinion, but I do not think it is a big deal for any of us.

Many of the people here are concerned that the trail is getting a bit too popular and frequented by more and more ill-prepared folks. You would not qualify, since you made it! :-) Seriously, this board is pretty helpful, as you probably know already. I wish it had been around when I did C2C for the first time.

By the way, I'm glad your outing went well! :D :D
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Postby cynthia23 » Wed May 16, 2007 10:04 am

Hi Haploid, welcome to the forum and congratulations on your first Skyline and a very respectable time! As re: your questions. AlanK explains it all quite well. Just to amplify: we are all (I think) completely opposed to spray-painted trail markers. They are ugly, illegal, and deface wilderness. As far as GPS goes, we are (some of us) in mild disagreement. I and some others feel strongly that Skyline is too dangerous for first-timers to attempt on their own, regardless of how well-mapped (via GPS, etc.) the route is. I know AlanK does not quite agree. Here's my reasons:

The chief danger of Skyline lies in 1. fatigue 2. weather. Although I think it's good that people be aware of such hazards as rattlesnakes, in actual fact the risk they present is statistically minute. In general the vast majority of wilderness deaths are the result of fatigue, either directly (i.e. the person collapses and cannot continue), or because fatigue causes falls or poor judgement that leads to getting lost. Secondarily, deaths result from the weather--ice, snow, heat. All the deaths/serious injuries on Skyline occurred as a result of these two factors. People got exhausted and couldn't continue; got exhausted and fell, got exhausted and got lost, or slipped on the ice in the traverses, died of heat exhaustion and thirst, or died in a snowstorm of the cold (this is what happened during the last fatality, at a mere four thousand feet.)

Most people overestimate their conditioning and don't fully understand how hot and hard Skyline will be (or how cold and hard.) A very important point about Skyline is that the trailhead is in an urban area--not a state park. Most major hikes of this magnitude and danger begin in a controlled area, require permits, and at least in theory are under the oversight of a ranger, who can tell who is completely unprepared and should be warned off an attempt. None of this is true here and anybody can hit the trail and hike for the top--no matter how crazy or ill-trained they are. I've seen people start out in July at 11 am with two liters of water. I'm sure Guest has a thousand more stories of benighted happy fools he's saved from a slow torturous death. For these reasons, I feel strongly that the first time, no one should attempt it alone, or even with other novices. The first time, always go with an old hand. He or she can give the novice important feedback, and most importantly, make the decision to abort the hike if it becomes clear the novice won't make it. There have been a couple of times I advised people I saw at 2 or 3 thousand feet that in my opinion they would not safely make it and they needed to turn back. One guy ignored my advice and in fact he did later need to be rescued (he moved so slowly that he did not hit the traverses until after dark. By then he was out of water and exhausted. He had no flashlight and he lost the trail. There was ice and he had no crampons. By a miracle he didn't fall. He got himself into a spot he couldn't go up or down. He had enough sense to stop. Exhausted, dehydrated, losing body heat, and disoriented, he called 911. Eventually someone from the tram rescued him. You see how all of this was caused by simply overestimating his conditioning?)

Of course, some people will still go on their own the first time and do just fine, like you Haploid. You were well-conditioned and savvy. But the nature of safety rules is they are designed for the worst case scenario, not the best.
Q: How many therapists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change ...
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defacing the trail

Postby guest » Wed May 16, 2007 10:11 am

Hi,
If someone can't see the problem with defacing a beautiful, wilderness setting with any kind of grafetti, than I'm not sure they understand much about wilderness.
Hiking in nature, in my opinion, is as much, or more about the experience that a beautiful, peaceful "natural" setting, as it is about bagging a peak, or successfully completing a hike / trail.
The less signs of man, the better, which I believe David Brower, John Muir, Thoreau would probably agree.
If one needs manmade aids to hike a trail, there are many others to choose from, or, do the smart thing and find someone who knows the trail, (hey,maybe one a message board!) or, hire a guide to do it.

Even the State Park is against this kind of defacing, (yes I have spoken with them).
Personally, I think one loses some of the magic of nature & route finding with electronics,(GPS) but in the context of safety, if one feels that it makes them safer & better equipped, than it is benefical.

ss
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Wow, ok.

Postby haploid » Thu May 17, 2007 7:47 am

Thanks for the replies and explanations.

1. Point taken about GPS. I only use it as a "progress indicator", usually only going off the elevation reading.

2. I understand the exhortations to go with an old hand, and when I first began researching skyline I considered contacting Cy( hiking4health was one of the first sites visited ). But there are those of us who hike for the experience of solitude after a week or two of dealing with people all day every day. It's just me, the mountain, and a goal. :)

3. Guest, then I suppose I don't know much about wilderness. Although I don't agree with the viewpoint that the dots are eyesores or detract from nature, I can understand the position by analogy to, I suppose, dots on the Mona Lisa. I think the white dots near the bottom are completely unnecessary, and there are only about 3 points near the top where markers would be very helpful, and could likely be replaced by easily identifiable cairns.

3. Lasty, I would suggest that boards like this and other web resources are a net benefit to the experience of hiking Skyline, not a net negative as some would suggest due to the popularity. Having places to go to get weather reports, descriptions of the terrain, wildlife, and distance and vertical climb numbers are extremely valuable to preparedness. I don't know the exact numbers, but if boards like this made the route ( for example ) 30% more popular, and as a result rescues and injuries increased 10%, then the argument could be made that the RATE of injuries and rescues actually went down, and the resources actually INCREASED preparedness.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. I think I understand better the concerns on this board, and your points are well taken. Sometimes I tend to forget that a lot of people don't do their homework on the hikes they choose to do.

On another note, I plan to go to the peak in a couple weeks; can't wait!

:)
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Postby magikwalt » Thu May 17, 2007 12:47 pm

The wonderful thing about America is the diversity of the folks living here. That same group of people are from where the hikers of C2C come. Everyone does it differently and in a manner they believe is best. I've been chided at 4,000ft for text messaging my wife. The group of hikers felt I was ruining the outdoor experience. My GPS device was a joke to them since the trail was obvious. They were 3 in case of an emergency. Theirs was the better way.

But on that odd chance of a serious fall, injury, snake bite or illness I'll feel a bit better being able to relay my position and altitude. Especially being able to do it via text or phone instead of waiting for the fastest of hikers to bring help. The help he is going to bring is going to be contacted by phone anyway. So as I started back up after my snack, while listening to their constant yammering ahead of me I wondered...If something should occur creating an emergency for their group should I hold to the pre-emergency beliefs they discussed or apply a little technology to aid them.

I think I was better prepared than they were and they think I am spoiling the outdoor experience. Thats why we say "In My Opinion", because we all have one. No matter how you want to do it leave some room for someone else's wants as well.
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different views & experience

Postby guest » Fri May 18, 2007 9:23 am

Hi Haploid,

Thanks for your response (to ours) and for seeing others views, as I hope I do as well.
I understand one wanting to hike on thier own, I do a lot, and the trail has a few areas of concern.
I also see your reasoning on amount of rescues, although the overall number per year goes up, (which does take needed resourses away from other areas that need them).

Yes knowledge can be helpful, combined with preperation & common sense, and there is much good info on this board.

Happy hiking to all, and let's keep wilderness that,
enjoy,

ss
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