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Old 05-09-2004, 10:15 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Capital District, NY
Posts: 77
Colden from Upper Works and bringing a newbie

Ok, if you do Colden from the Upper Works don't bring snowshoes or crampons. They're not needed at all. The trail dried up a bit from last weekend too.

If you bring a newbie or go with someone for their first hike of the season (even if they say they are in good shape) consider the following...

Yesterday I learned not to take someone (only did Cascade last year) on their first hike of the season on a 15.2 mile hike up a steep mountain. It would have been better if I'd subtracted about 7 miles from the hike for him. He slowed me down quite a bit and we got out the last half mile by headlamp! He'd never hiked twelve hours straight before. It turns out that I overestimated his ability and in-shapeness for hiking and he underestimated mine. I guess I've gotten a little faster hiking than I thought. I knew I was in trouble when he asked me to slow down at the first slight hill in the 5.7 mile section I called a walk in the park. He had to stop and rest about every 1.5 miles (a lot more when we were climbing the peak). When I saw how little water he brought (48oz) I filled my hydration pack to its max of 3 liters when we were gettting ready to set off. I ended up having to give him another 32oz since he ran out. I ran out 2 miles from the parking lot but that wasn't a big deal at all. He also ate more than half of my snacks because he didn't bring enough himself. I've never seen someone so happy to see the car... We both learned a lot from that one. He'll probably tell everyone at work that I tried to kill him! The hike was still good and the views increadible. We could see Lake Placid, the Olympic ski jumps, Marcy, Algonquin, Lake Colden and a whole lot more. There was very high cloud cover which didn't impede the views, just not blue skies. THe temp was in the 40's and 50's - pretty good hiking weather. It sprinkled a little on the way back the last few miles but not enough to don a jacket.
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Old 05-10-2004, 11:56 AM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 240
Critique from a person without all the facts ...


Your trip report is a nice case study about trip planning and leadership. Please take the following comments in the spirit in which they are intended - I do not intend to be overly critical.

Whether you know it or not, by default, you were the "leader" of the Colden trip because you were the most experienced. Responsibilities of a trip leader include, among other things, ensuring that his/her party is adequately equiped (including food and water) and knowing the limitations of each member of the party. It appears that your party had the proper equipment, i.e. headlamps, but was a little short on food and water. Also, Colden via UW may have been a little ambitious, considering the relatively unknown abilities of the "newbie." Experience, prior planning, and equipment checks usually cures these issues. The important thing, as you recognize, is that you both learned from the trip.

Happy hiking!

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Old 05-10-2004, 07:41 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Capital District, NY
Posts: 77
Willie, I agree. I knew it was ambitious for him but he thought he could handle it and professed to be in good shape. He decided to come with me AFTER I'd told him the distance. He did great for a newbie, just wasn't what I was expecting/hoping for. When I realized he didn't bring enough food and water in the parking lot, I did compensate for him but it would have been nice to have a little cushion. If anything had happened, we had no surplus to use. I asked him when we were driving past the Exit 26 Mobil if we needed to stop for supplies and he said no. I should have found out what he'd brought with him and then told him he should pick up more food and water but I didn't ask til we got to the parking lot. The part that bugs me is I did tell him to bring granola bars and dried fruit plus lunch but all he brough for snacks were two cookies! He didn't listen! I knew he could handle the hike but I also knew he'd be sore the next day. The part I did forget about was that when people get tired they are less careful. He was tromping through stuff and slipping without much care where he stepped. I was praying that he wasn't going to fall and break or sprain something. I'm 5'3", he's 6'4"; I would have had a tough time getting him out of the woods... I told him that when people get tired it's much easier for them to get hurt because they are less careful and he agreed but wasn't able to help himself. Fortunately I did make sure he had the right gear beforehand. He's already planning his next hike - about 8-10 miles long. I suggested he do Cascade again but this time include Porter - he liked the idea.

Thanks for the comments and wisdom Willie. You were right on the money. :-)

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Old 05-10-2004, 10:04 PM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Pittsfield, Ma
Posts: 21
Not bad!!

If the guy is planning on going again, you didnt hurt him to bad!
Im sure he will be fine. Some learn alot by such experiences. Both the leader and the (Newbie).
Right now, im in about the worst shape of the last 20 or more years and would still not hesitate to to that hike. Just slow and alot of water and food!
Ive had folks that i worked out and ran with go hiking with me and it was a shock to see them almost not able to finish. Thankfullythey all did!
Now im the one dragging up the rear and hoping that someone will wait for me, so i dont have to walk alone.
regards Steve
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Old 05-10-2004, 11:57 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: In My Memories
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Wow, that is a tough first hike of the year for anyone.

I too agree with Willie. One of the things I am always nervous about when hiking with someone for the first time is just how much experience they have and what kind of shape they are in. I also worry today about being to slow for some because of my emphysema.

Thats one of the good things about the forums. After a while you can pretty much tell who you would not hesitate to hike with.

Now I'll tell you when you know you are in trouble:

When someone shows up for a hike that has a hammer hanging on their backpack and when you ask what it is for, they tell you it is to drive in the tent stakes!
"If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it." Lyndon B. Johnson
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