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Re: How many is too many?

Postby Chicago Transplant » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:21 am

Part of it depends on where you are going as well. Wilderness regulations limit group sizes to 15 humans, other peaks that have rockfall potential you would not want to be in a big group just for safety. Most big groups will break down over the course of the hike as they "pace out". I have been in a few big group hikes, I remember a winter Silverheels through this site several years ago that had probably a good 40 people at the start, but broke down smaller and probably never had a single group larger than 10. I haven't done the big group thing for a few years though because its just too much for me.

From personal experience, 5 or 6 is about all I can handle anymore and would rather keep it more in the 4 and under range, more than that and it becomes less about hiking together and more about socializing. I tend to want to hike for exercise not socializing and the larger the group, the more you stop. KentonB is right on, the larger the group the more the breaks, and the longer the breaks. I swear with a big group you take a 5 minute break every 15 minutes. Every time the leader stops to let the slower folks catch up, it becomes break time.

Nowadays most of the "group hikes" I do are with friends I have known for years, we know each other well enough and we also have all done solo hikes to the point where we can just sort of climb at our own pace and reconvene a few times for breaks along the way. The socializing is left more for summits and camp, or a post climb meal.
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Re: How many is too many?

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:28 am

Fletch wrote:Just a footnote, speed and experience are very loosely correlated. They are not one and the same.

+1
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Re: How many is too many?

Postby peter303 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:35 am

I believe there is a limit of 12 to groups in "managed" areas like Rocky Mountain Park, forest lands where they have regular ranger patrols, etc. Thats the number the Sierra Club limits group size to.

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Re: How many is too many?

Postby Chicago Transplant » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:36 am

Another thought, an idea for the first group hike you do is to do an easier mountain that most of the people have done before, limit the whole "Summit Fever" thing a bit. For example, you have already done Quandary which is a relatively easy peak, the route is well established (even in winter), and its generally safe from avalanches. You can hammer out the group dynamic issues, get to know some potential future partners, and the summit would be a bonus because you've already been up it before.
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Re: How many is too many?

Postby Mindy » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:50 am

Thanks everyone for the response. I will direct the members attending these planned hikes to this thread for reading and thought.

It was my intent initially to identify advanced members and organize, etc. The upcoming hike is this Sat. and it is Mt. Lady Washington with details here:

http://www.meetup.com/CO-Scramblers/events/88297542/

This area is like my "backyard", I have been going there for years, so personally, I feel comfortable. Only major concerns at this point are the weather, and amount of daylight we will have. It will be interesting to see attrition % as well, as Sat. approaches.

I organize these hikes because I do want to meet people, and hope to settle in with a few hiking buddies of my own, eventually, as I tackle more difficult adventures.

Cheers everyone!

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Re: How many is too many?

Postby TallGrass » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:52 am

Something to consider...

Put a couple of the most experienced people both at the front and at the end. While some think lead should be your Ace (and they SHOULD have good route-finding skills), the caboose who mops up is more likely to have their skills put to use. If you make sure no one passes the leader, the caboose (aka drag) makes sure no one gets behind them, everyone stays on trail/route, and no one solos, I'd think the chances of undesirable events will go down. Can't see how keeping everyone sandwiched between sage, responsible pairings would be a liability, even if the group gets spread out into smaller clumps to accommodate various paces.

Pre-briefing both on safety and route/conditions (e.g. email) before the hike and at the start to get everyone modestly on the same page couldn't hurt either. Further, if everyone does a little research on their own prior, it'll add some utilitarian topic options during hiking conversations -- not a bad thing if the experience levels vary, true?
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

Re: How many is too many?

Postby bergsteigen » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:06 am

TallGrass has some good points. It's usually how I do the gurlz hikes with so many participants. I have a strong lead (route finder, pace setter), and a capable sweeper, my 2nd, at the end. Then I bounce around the middle. Not ideal, but groups larger than 5-7 tend to break up into smaller groups no matter how similar a pace everyone goes.

Radios also help quite a bit for communication. Though cold saps batteries quickly. So you may want to ask those who have radios, to bring them, it can only help!
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Re: How many is too many?

Postby TallGrass » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:41 am

One factor I forgot to add is that if it's not a loop or straight route, that is, it doubles back from the summit, have a plan on how to handle if the "bite in the group rope" is on the summit when conditions change. The lead pair could already be returning, a middle pair higher up, and the sweeper not wanting to hike onward due to something like quickly degrading weather above. Do you send up a "rake" pair to account or pull everyone off (or at least give them two coins for Charon for the stubborn continuing on)? Designate a "summit-sitter" pair ahead of time (third experienced pair, probably best the shutterbug types who want to spend the most time there anyhow) to hike with the lead pod or be 2nd-group who stays topside to downhike with the sweepers or rake everyone to them if Bergspitz conditions worsen? Find a trailside place for sweep to wait it out for the rest? No one wants to cry wolf to SAR, no more than they want to leave others in a lurch, nor become a stat' themselves.

Again, just something for folks to discuss prior so they're using the same playbook. Lead/drag/rake logistics is soooo much simpler for the soloist. :wink:
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

Re: How many is too many?

Postby FireOnTheMountain » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:58 pm

BillMiddlebrook wrote:
Fletch wrote:Just a footnote, speed and experience are very loosely correlated. They are not one and the same.

+1



Tell that to this guy



Sorry for the derailment, but I had to. Some really good advice here. Keep it small. Mountains with an ass ton of people sucks IMO but then again my social skills are next to none.
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Re: How many is too many?

Postby crestone14ers » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:03 pm

Mindy wrote:Would appreciate opinions and suggestions re: the size of a group hiking together.
Mindy


More than four... too many!

Two or three good friends, usually works very well.

Solo... at times it's the best therapy money and time can buy! :iluvbeer:
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Re: How many is too many?

Postby Dex » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:07 pm

Mindy wrote:Money - no :lol: - I am a beginner winter hiker. Organized through "meetup" groups and from a couple other sites. This is a part of what I post when I put something out there:

"About Me: I am not a guide, nor do I see myself as being a “leader” on the hikes/climbs I post. I am simply looking for partners around my same skill level (beginner to border-line intermediate) to hike with. OR, maybe someone who is more advanced, but wants to hike/climb the peak scheduled. My estimated times are based off Roach’s “Roach Point System” (when available). I have found this to be right on for me. My goal is to eventually hit 1,000 ft. per hour, and I do try to push it an hour at a time before rest stops."

I should also add that I do not schedule anything over Class II.


OK,

Look at some of the replies - you are the defacto leader to some. My guess is that if 15 people show up they will be looking to you for leadership:

Mindy, what are the logistics?
Mindy, is everyone here?
Mindy, my friend Jack isn't here yet, we don't know the trail. Can ya'll wait for him?

Mindy, Jack just fell off the cliff, don't just stand there, help him!

---------

I'd suggest when you get everyone's email address or in the forums, give everything everyone needs to know in the message and give yourself some distance.

Time you will be at the TH & time leaving.
Remind people to leave their return time and route with someone at home.
Remind people to take their PLB and emergency equipment
Links to
- Weather reports
- 14er route map

15 people will sort themselves out to people of similar fitness levels and the group will probably be strung out along the trail.

Bottom line manage people's expectations - if you don't, they will expect you to lead.

------

I agree with others that 4-5 is about right for winter.
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Re: How many is too many?

Postby DeucesWild » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:58 pm

Dex wrote:I agree with others that 4-5 is about right for winter.


You learned this from your extensive list of winter accomplishments?

You're a regular Nanook of the North. But Dex of the Decalibron instead...
Snowflakes, Uber Alles!

www.deuceIRA.com. Put the Douche in your FiDeuceiary needs today!!

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