Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Feature Topics
Who's Online
1 registered (mulder), 19 Guests and 9 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
3953 Members
10 Forums
5761 Topics
52056 Posts

Max Online: 1443 @ 07/29/19 08:40 AM
Topic Options
#55599 - 07/01/19 11:30 AM Do hikers in the same group have to hike together?
AKAKAK Offline


Registered: 07/01/19
Posts: 8
Loc: Rocky Mt
Our group will do Mt Whitney via the main trail in August. Two of the hikers in our group are probably much faster than others. The two hikers want to pick up a permit from the leader in advance and want to do their own hike (and probably to start at later time than the main group). They want to know whether they have to be with the leader/group on the trail. Any info/thoughts? Thanks.

Top
#55601 - 07/01/19 03:13 PM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: AKAKAK]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7873
Loc: Fresno, CA
When the leader gets their permit, they also get a tag for each hiker to wear in their own backpack. The tags are color-coded to differentiate between overnight and day use, and have the permit number on them (I think). To yes, it's just fine to hike separately, as far as permits go.

On the other hand, many search and rescue operations involve a hiker left behind by others. It is really bad form to separate, when the one(s) left behind are less experienced, and can get into trouble -- off trail, in the dark, etc. Do not leave slower ones to descend on their own! Bearing that in mind, have a safety plan in place; make sure everyone in the group knows where they are, where they are going, and what they should do in case you don't meet up again at the agreed/planned on time and place.

Top
#55602 - 07/01/19 03:26 PM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: Steve C]
AKAKAK Offline


Registered: 07/01/19
Posts: 8
Loc: Rocky Mt
Thank you!

Top
#55960 - 08/13/19 07:01 AM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: AKAKAK]
AKAKAK Offline


Registered: 07/01/19
Posts: 8
Loc: Rocky Mt
I successfully made Whitney last week. I was the slowest person in the group. The group kept going and left me. I got a wrong direction from a couple hikers. Then, I was cliffed-out and rescued by several hikers who heard my whistle brewing. The hike took 14 hours and 20 minutes in total for me including over one hour for being cliffed-out and rescued and breaks. So I do not think I was slow. I was just the slowest in the group. It was the scariest experience in my life. I made sure we would hike as a group and stay together on the trail in advance. But once we started the hike, nobody cared about it any more. If you hike with a group, STAY TOGETHER! DO NOT LEAVE ANYONE ALONE ON THE TRAIL.

Top
#55962 - 08/13/19 08:23 AM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: AKAKAK]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7873
Loc: Fresno, CA
AKAKAK: Wow! Sorry to hear about your experience, and sure glad you had a whistle to call for help.

Approximately where was it that you got off trail?

Top
#55965 - 08/13/19 09:18 AM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: Steve C]
AKAKAK Offline


Registered: 07/01/19
Posts: 8
Loc: Rocky Mt
It was after a hiker who was descending told me "1.7 miles to Whitney." So I guess that it happened somewhere approximately 0.5-1.5 miles from the peak.

Top
#55982 - 08/14/19 10:06 AM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: AKAKAK]
folsomChen Offline


Registered: 07/25/19
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
The tags are not permits. The office will issue only 1 official paper permit which might be checked by the ranger on the trail.
It is better for each person to have a copy, at least a picture on the phone.

Top
#55996 - 08/14/19 08:03 PM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: AKAKAK]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7873
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: AKAKAK
It was after a hiker who was descending told me "1.7 miles to Whitney." So I guess that it happened somewhere approximately 0.5-1.5 miles from the peak.


AK: That would be about the junction with the JMT! Not sure how you got cliffed-out.

Top
#56002 - 08/15/19 05:39 AM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: Steve C]
AKAKAK Offline


Registered: 07/01/19
Posts: 8
Loc: Rocky Mt
I checked my GPS track. The cliff where I was stuck is near Mt Muir.

Btw, I saw the topic "Has the permit system increased accidents on Mount Whitney?" The situation of my case is different, not related to social media. But I believe the permit system caused the problem which I encountered. As I mentioned in my first post, there were two persons who wanted to do own hike. They entered the lottery but did not get a permit. I had permits (tags) which I could provide to them. I told them that we should hike as a group which had 10 hikers, otherwise I would not give them permits (tags). They agreed. However, once we started hiking, they did not care about it and just kept going. Other hikers in the group, except me, could follow them. That's why I was separated from the group. I figured out that the two persons said they would hike as a group only because they wanted permits (tags). Without the permit system, out group would not have those two persons in our group and also the two persons would not have been interested in part of our group.

Top
#56004 - 08/15/19 08:46 AM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: AKAKAK]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7873
Loc: Fresno, CA
AK: Your experience is a good example of why people shouldn't join other groups, and people with extra permits giving them to others. Best to unload the permits back into Rec.gov, and let the others get them online.

Were you above or below the Main Trail when you got into your tight spot? Any idea what situation caused you to get off-trail... snow, or???

Top
#56006 - 08/15/19 09:25 AM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: Steve C]
AKAKAK Offline


Registered: 07/01/19
Posts: 8
Loc: Rocky Mt
I usually check GPS frequently to make sure I am on the right track. But, during the Whitney hike, due to "time pressure," I did not check GPS until I was cliffed-out. After I found I was left by the group at Trail Crest, I asked other hikers the direction to Whitney on the way. A couple of the hikers whom I talked with told me "Go up 300 ft above from here." That's why I went up on the boulders and cliffed-out. Because I was in a hurry, they might suggest it because they thought it would be a short-cut.

When I checked hiking accidents in that area, I found an interesting thing about fatal accidents at Mt Langley which can be applied to all other mountains. All of the fatal accidents at Langley which I reviewed had a common story - A hiker was separated from a group and fall and died during descending from Old Army Pass. They were experienced hikers but slower than others in the group.

This is not just a matter of hiking alone. A hiker who is "forced" to hike faster pace than usual may use too much stamina and may not have enough time to check direction, eat snacks, drink water, etc. This kind of situation can cause serious problems, in addition to being separated from a group.

Top
#56010 - 08/15/19 11:05 AM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: AKAKAK]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7873
Loc: Fresno, CA
> "Go up 300 ft above from here." That's why I went up on the boulders and cliffed-out.

Wow! Mis-communication at its worst!! I can't imagine what they were thinking in giving you that advice.

Top
#56035 - 08/17/19 01:28 PM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: Steve C]
StorminMatt Offline


Registered: 06/20/19
Posts: 22
Loc: Norcal
I know I might get some flack for saying this. But all of this just makes me realize even MORE just how GREAT solo hiking is. Not only do you NOT have to let bad vibes with other people taint your experience on Whitney (or anywhere else). But I find that my competence level is TENFOLD better when I donít have to feel inferior to my hiking partners. For instance, I summited Whitney in a little less than six hours when I did it solo on July 30. Could I have done that with other people? HELL NO!! They would have done it in 7-8 hours, and I would have had problems keeping up with them. But since this was my first solo climb up Whitney, it was my quickest and cleanest climb EVER!


Edited by StorminMatt (08/17/19 01:42 PM)

Top
#56036 - 08/17/19 02:31 PM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: StorminMatt]
AKAKAK Offline


Registered: 07/01/19
Posts: 8
Loc: Rocky Mt
I agree that solo hiking is often enjoyable. But that is an off-topic for this thread. The two hikers who primarily caused the problem was in our group only because they did not win the lottery. They were not interested in taking part in our group but just wanted permits. They said they would hike as a group only because they wanted permits (tags). I really did not want to have them in our group because I anticipated that they would cause that kind of problem.

Top
#56037 - 08/17/19 03:06 PM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: AKAKAK]
StorminMatt Offline


Registered: 06/20/19
Posts: 22
Loc: Norcal
Originally Posted By: AKAKAK
I agree that solo hiking is often enjoyable. But that is an off-topic for this thread.


Not necessarily. The fact that I was trying to drive home here is that having negative experiences in a group of people can have some serious negative psychological consequences that can lessen skills that you actually have. In effect, when a group rejects you in any way, shape, or form (or even if the rejection is more perceived than real), you often feel dumber, weaker, and generally less capable. On a mountain, this can leave you not knowing what to do, even if you know full well how to handle the situation. After all, losing confidence in your abilities is about the same as not having them.


Edited by StorminMatt (08/17/19 04:59 PM)

Top
#56040 - 08/17/19 09:54 PM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: StorminMatt]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7873
Loc: Fresno, CA
Two things to note on this topic:

When people have several extra slots that they won in the lottery, it's really best to just return them to Recreation.gov, and let other people pick them up in the on-line system. Then, you wouldn't have to go to all the trouble of meeting up with them, hiking with them, etc. etc.

Second: You don't really need to all hike together when you won a bunch of slots. Each person should know who the leader is, and can carry a copy of the original permit. There is no regulation that you MUST stick together. Now... it IS theoretically the leader's responsibility to look after the group, but there are no hard/fast rules stating that.

Top
#56041 - 08/18/19 04:33 AM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: Steve C]
AKAKAK Offline


Registered: 07/01/19
Posts: 8
Loc: Rocky Mt
As for the second point, to clarify, our groups was not a group of random hikers but was a group of hikers bounded by a non-profit organization's safety policies including hike as a group. Further, I had the permits (leader).

Even for those who do not hike with such an organization, "tart as a group, hike as a group, end as a group" is important for safety. I have attended the search and rescue's safety seminar. They emphasized the important of it.

In your first reply under this thread, you wrote "On the other hand, many search and rescue operations involve a hiker left behind by others. It is really bad form to separate, when the one(s) left behind are less experienced, and can get into trouble -- off trail, in the dark, etc. Do not leave slower ones to descend on their own! Bearing that in mind, have a safety plan in place; make sure everyone in the group knows where they are, where they are going, and what they should do in case you don't meet up again at the agreed/planned on time and place." I believe that you pointed out an excellent point.


Edited by AKAKAK (08/18/19 06:17 AM)

Top
#56044 - 08/18/19 12:32 PM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: AKAKAK]
bruce Offline


Registered: 09/27/13
Posts: 111
Loc: Novato, CA
Everyone in your group must have been both fast and inconsiderate. 14 hours is not slow, it is about average. Furthermore, you say you would have done it in 13 hours had you not been "cliffed out". Anyway hard to believe that everyone in your group of 10 would abandon the group leader because that person is only going a very respectable 13 hour round trip pace.

Top
#56047 - 08/19/19 08:42 AM Re: Do hikers in the same group have to hike together? [Re: AKAKAK]
timisimaginary Offline


Registered: 12/13/18
Posts: 10
Loc: MD
in general groups should stick together when hiking, but there are times when it's ok to split up too. i usually hike solo, but on the few occasions i've hiked in groups, it's not unusual to split up into a "faster" group and a "slower" group. if you have enough people so that each group can take care of itself, this is perfectly ok. everyone has their own ideal pace: it can be very frustrating to be forced to hike at a slower-than-normal-for-you pace, and can be almost as mentally and physically tiring as being forced to hike faster than normal. you just need to avoid the situation where someone splits off from the group and is alone by themselves, that's when people become lost or have emergencies.

also, hiking in groups can foster a sense of dependency on the group that can make getting separated more dangerous than if you expect to be alone from the beginning. even if someone is hiking as a group, i believe it's the responsibility of each hiker to be fully capable of doing the hike by themselves if necessary, meaning each person should know the route as well as if they were planning to go alone, should have all the knowledge and gear to do the hike solo, etc. even if they start as a group, there are potential circumstances that could require them to split up. what if there's an accident or injury and there's only one person capable of hiking out to get help? that person needs to be able to do that if the situation calls for it.

even if i go on a trip with a big group and multiple guides, i still make sure to have all my emergency gear, a map, a GPS route downloaded to my phone, etc. i always imagine the worst-case scenario and make sure i'm prepared for it, however unlikely.

Top