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How to deal with an unprepared friend...?

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Re: How to deal with an unprepared friend...?

Postby nyker » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:30 am

Take him camping now...one night out in skivvies without proper gear should distill things pretty quickly...

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Re: How to deal with an unprepared friend...?

Postby JROSKA » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:32 am

Since he is a good friend and you have known each other for a long time, I don't think that you necessarily need to cut him out of your hiking / camping / 14er activities. You don't seem like you really want to do that. However, based on my experiences with 14er.com hiking partners, and a few co-workers, I see a few issues that should be addressed right away with this person.

1). Costs, such as rental car or gas, need to be split 50-50. Period. That's the most basic common etiquette in people who share rides on this website, I've never had an issue with it. If the other person is driving, you offer. If you are driving, you shouldn't have to ask. Next time you plan a trip, after figuring out what the cost of rental / gas, make very clear to him that he needs to contribute 50% of the cost.

2). If you are sharing gear or food with him, stop doing that. As others have referenced, that falls under "enabling". He will either have to start bringing his own things, or he will be putting himself at risk. Maybe you'll have an experience where he is out of water, and you just have to head back down the mountain with him. It would be a shame if this ever happens, but it just doesn't seem like items should be shared with this person in the wilderness, because it might cause you to run out of things that you need for yourself.

3). Some people don't want to plan the activity or where to go, that's no big deal. But once there, it sounds like he is completely relying on you to direct him. The picture I get in my mind is you hold the map, lead the way, decide which route to follow, make all decisions when there are any route-finding issues, with him just following along and doing whatever you say. I see this as dangerous for both of you. What if you become injured, and he is the one that has to go back, to get help for you? Do you have confidence that he could find his way back, without getting lost, and thus, putting both of you at risk? Also, nobody is perfect in route-finding. If you make a mistake and inadvertently drift off the trail, it doesn’t seem like he pays enough attention to catch your mistake, and will just follow you blindly, without bringing anything valuable to the table, that might help you to realize that you are making a mistake. There needs to be more teamwork. I’d discuss this issue with him; that when two people are out in the wilderness together, it creates extra risk when one person is completely reliant on the other one, without doing any thinking for himself. That compromises safety to a certain extent, and you will not continue to hike with anyone who does that.

Maybe try to resolve these three things, and see how it goes. But, if addressing these three issues doesn’t lead to him taking more responsibility for himself, he may just be a friend that you have to spend time with in ways that don’t involve being out in the wilderness together.

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Re: How to deal with an unprepared friend...?

Postby jet » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:16 am

Sometimes the tough love approach can backfire. A friend of mine took a group of young people for a outdoor adventure to climb Harvard. One young man who claimed to be experienced ended up being the worst prepared and did the most complaining. They ended up cutting the trip short and decided to head out. The complainer didn't want to carry his backpack, said it was to heavy, hurt, didn't fit etc. The group left with him still at the campsite with orders to follow when he could decide to carry his pack. He eventually showed up at the trailhead with no pack. My friend asked him where it was. "I burned it!" Sure enough my friend went back and found what was left of the backpack in the campfire. It was all borrowed equipment also.

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Re: How to deal with an unprepared friend...?

Postby Taillon75 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:23 am

Ackmonster?
Catchy saying from someone famous.

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Re: How to deal with an unprepared friend...?

Postby peter303 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:02 am

Buy lots of liability insurance. Sounds like the kind that will sue your ass off if anything serious happens. Wont accept any personal responsibility.

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Re: How to deal with an unprepared friend...?

Postby highpilgrim » Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:00 pm

Anyone that takes someone like the OP describes along more than the first couple of times, deserves whatever gets dished to them.

Narcissistic, lazy people don't make good hiking partners. Find a new one, leave him home on his couch. You can drink a beer with him somewhere it won't ruin your time in the mountains.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
Hunter S Thompson

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Re: How to deal with an unprepared friend...?

Postby DeTour » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:55 pm

Friend or not, I would say you should avoid all but the easiest class 1 Fourteeners with this guy for pure safety reasons. If something unexpected came up - injury, illness, off-route, sudden storm - this is not the guy I want beside me to deal with it.

Here's a thought: why don't you just post his email address or Facebook name, and someone can send him a link to this thread. Even a dunce like him should get that hint.
when you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Re: How to deal with an unprepared friend...?

Postby Econrecon » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:22 pm

The fact that your friend does not go into the wilderness as equally prepared as you is a liability for you. In the event you need this person to save your life he may be unable as illustrated by his unwillingness or inability to be prepared.


Tell him he's a liability...if he's a good friend he'll understand and step-up...if not then be a better friend and buy him a beer when you tell him all about your last wilderness adventure....that he didn't get to go on. If he chooses to take on unnecessary risk so be it but you should not do the same.

Safe travels.

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Re: How to deal with an unprepared friend...?

Postby ameristrat » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:18 am

evaunitross wrote: he's also incredibly cheap. He depends on me for everything including getting a rental car, paying for everything, planning everything, knowing where we're going, directions, water, food, tent or hammock, everything. When I try to bring up the subject he usually throws things out there like "yeah I should look into that" and never does, or "I'm sure it'll be fine" and it isn't.


Get better friends.
You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know. - Rene Daumal

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Re: How to deal with an unprepared friend...?

Postby 12ersRule » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:59 am

evaunitross wrote:In fact I sold him some 'green' once and he asked if he could write me a check.....


If you ever want to be a special agent for the FBI, you'll delete this. I did this one time in my life, and put it on my FBI application (because I knew it'd come up in the lie detector test) and they eliminated me from consideration. They even said that was the reason on my rejection notice.

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Re: How to deal with an unprepared friend...?

Postby AckMonster » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:15 pm

Taillon75 - AckMonster is always prepared he just forgets that his Nike Free's aren't compatible with crampons.

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Re: How to deal with an unprepared friend...?

Postby MuchosPixels » Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:05 pm

evaunitross wrote:So, I have this friend who I went to college with, and who now lives in Denver. He moved out here for a change and ended up starting school for his teaching license so he'll be here for a while. He and I have been friends for a long time and we're fairly close friends. He is one of my only hiking friends currently and there-in lies the problem. He is NEVER prepared and actively rejects planning. When we hike he wears jeans and cotton from head to toe. When we camp he brings...nothing. He usually will bring a bottle of soda, maybe a bottle of water (usually not), and a bag or two of chips. He has no hiking clothes, no gear, only a ratty old backpack (the kind you use for school, not backpacking), a thin, crappy sleeping bag, no pad, no tent, no clue about where we're going and he's also incredibly cheap. He depends on me for everything including getting a rental car, paying for everything, planning everything, knowing where we're going, directions, water, food, tent or hammock, everything. When I try to bring up the subject he usually throws things out there like "yeah I should look into that" and never does, or "I'm sure it'll be fine" and it isn't. Last summer I camped with him twice. The first time we were with other people so his cheapness and unpreparedness were somewhat dampened by other people being there with gear and food and water. The second time, we camped in the Arapahoe Natl forest, and he brought literally noooooothing. I brought my tent and after we set it up, I said "ok lets put the rainfly on and then we're all set" and his response was "Ummm, do you really think its going to rain?" I silently put the rainfly on myself, just in time to cover the tent before it began to pour. Yeah.

So anyway, now that you can picture this person, any advice on what to do? He's quite defensive, has no money (other than what his parents send him {he's 28}), and thinks he's a genius, so saying things to him like "Hey, you are totally unprepared and you're going to freeze to death tonight" is more difficult than you would think. I'm tempted to bring him camping with me again in April and let him see first hand just why he needs to invest in some gear, or at least bring appropriate clothing. I know the logical thing is to simply count him out of my camping adventures, but I'd like to have the company / it would be nice to camp with him if he got his act together. Just curious what you guys think. :D


Honestly, Id rather go Solo.

If its a very good friend then id just go on a very easy hike and camp with very low commitment factor every once in a while. Maybe only a few times a year.

But it sounds to me that your friend isnt really into hiking and camping. If he was he would find the money to get even basic items.

Meet up with people who are as enthusiastic as you are about it. Im sure youl become fast friends and have a lot more fun doing the things you love.

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