The Anchorage Adventurers Message Board › Hike Classification and Description

Hike Classification and Description

Veronica
user 10472037
Anchorage, AK
Post #: 24
Maureen's classification suggestion has some real appeal to me, as well as the comment that participants should have an easy hike under their belt before trying a difficult outing. When people I don't know sign up for a www, I look at their attendence stats at the bottom of their bio page. Even tho the wednesday wanders are pretty mellow, I want to know what else, if anything, the person has done. For backcountry events, this would be critical to know, and easy to check.
maureen
user 4292948
Anchorage, AK
Post #: 148
In general, I think that most people are wary of getting in over their heads or not being able to keep up. Vern's idea to check profiles and attendance is great! I always look at bios of folks that are new to me, especially on backpacking trips. I know that alot of experienced members gauge difficulty of events by who the Event Organizer is... maybe it would be a good idea for AO's to update their bios to reflect their style of hiking. (or whatever they specialize in) so that new members could read the AO bio and decide if an event is right for them. Of course, this requires honest assessment from all involved to work.....or we could implement Shane's idea for a test of will and fitness :)
Bill B.
user 4532466
Anchorage, AK
Post #: 13
A good guide in thinking about the length of hikes is that a general guideline is that each 1,000 feet of ascent and descent is worth a mile of relatively flat hiking. People call Flattop a beginners hike. It involves about 3,000 feet of ascent and descent which is worth 3 miles. So I would say that with the rock scrambling at the top of this hike it is the equivalent of walking 8 miles on flat terrain at a steady pace and if you can not do that you should not consider going on this hike. Also people have died and been seriously injured doing the Flattop hike so is it really a beginner's hike?
maureen
user 4292948
Anchorage, AK
Post #: 149
I just updated my bio and they only give you about 50 or so words (not enough for someone like me!) But at least I feel like someone can look at it and guess in a nutshell what my hikes are like. PS, Bill, it took me 5 years to overcome my fear of heights and make the final scramble to the top of Flattop! And I still won't do it in winter!
Greg P.
user 13376216
Anchorage, AK
Post #: 794
I know that alot of experienced members gauge difficulty of events by who the Event Organizer is... maybe it would be a good idea for AO's to update their bios to reflect their style of hiking.

Pssst... HQ says they will start adding those user profile "intros" to the RSVP list pretty soon. I think folks will quickly tire of seeing the same excess verbiage over and over again.
maureen
user 4292948
Anchorage, AK
Post #: 150
Oh, God no! I will delete it!!!
Greg P.
user 13376216
Anchorage, AK
Post #: 797
Oh, God no! I will delete it!!!

You could put it under your favorite activities, which actually gives you much more text space than the intro.
Ron
user 6387533
Anchorage, AK
Post #: 2
The Mountaineering club uses a three tiers system of rating that was adopted from the Sierra Clubs rating. This is a general rating but does give an idea of what is involved on the trip. If the rating was read for a trip, then participants would have a better idea of the trips requirements, but they need to read them. This system seems to be a proven option to consider.

I have tried to post accurate descriptions of my trips so folks have a good idea of what to expect, but as has been stated, invariably there are folks that sometimes show up who must not have read the trip description. So, even with the rating system I think we are still going to experience these incidents. The Mountaineering Club used to, and may still, have a sweep system in place to help cover such incidents. In this system a known rear participant volunteers to stay in the very rear of the group and keep an eye on anyone who has any issues. This is not an ideal system for a loose knit group such as ours, but I have started doing this on packrafting trips out of a self perceived need. I have purchased walkie talkies and we use these so the leader and sweep can contact each other is case of an issue. Again, not an ideal situation for many reasons, but it is an option for consideration.

I also try to get an idea of a persons qualifications before some trips, and have at times contacted folks by email before a trip and talked about the trip in more detail. With the packrafting trips this is even more of an issue than with the hiking trips due to the risks associated with the sport. There have been resulting recommendations made to some about waiting for another lower level trip. Still, it is difficult to always assess a persons abilities accurately without first hand knowledge of that persons performance levels. I suppose that is one of the reasons that some folks break off from the club trips and do their own trips with folks they have knowledge off.

There are those folks I'm guessing who will not want to be concerned with the group beyond the basics, and I have to say, that makes things so much easier to be sure. But, I for one and like others, do feel some level of responsibility associated with hosting events and try to take that into consideration on trips. The truth is though, we do things that have associated risks, and those risks can not be eliminated by one person in a group. As Bill said, Flattop has been fatal.

I suppose what I am saying with all this rambling is I would like to see an agreement, by all, on the basic level of performance and responsibility expected by those hosting events. Then we all have a standard to go by and understanding of what our position requires of us. If we all agree to leave things as is, great. If we choose to take a more involved approach then that is fine by me also. I would just like us all to be on an even playing field with no Monday morning quarterbacking in case an issue ever arises. As some one once said, "expect the best, but prepare for the worst."
Greg P.
user 13376216
Anchorage, AK
Post #: 840
The Mountaineering club uses a three tiers system of rating that was adopted from the Sierra Clubs rating. This is a general rating but does give an idea of what is involved on the trip. If the rating was read for a trip, then participants would have a better idea of the trips requirements, but they need to read them. This system seems to be a proven option to consider.

Ron, thanks for mentioning this. I poked around the MCA website and found it...

MCA Trips: Trip Classifications

Excerpt...

Hiking and Scrambling: Trips consisting of hiking and scrambling are classified in accordance with the Sierra Club System described in the Seventh Edition of Mountaineering, The Freedom of the Hills, Appendix A, Rating Systems, as follows:

Class 1: Hiking on or off trail. Hands are not required for upward or downward movement and climbing can be likened to a stairway.

Class 2: Hiking over rough terrain. Hands may be required to steady oneself for movement around or over obstacles. Class 2 includes simple scrambling, with possible occasional use of the hands. Examples include ascending, descending and traversing scree and talus slopes.

Class 3: Scrambling over rock and talus where handholds and footholds are used for balance and upward or downward movement. The terrain is steep and if one were to slip and fall, moderate to serious injury (depending on how you land) may result. In order to be considered non-technical, the exposure must be minimal so that a belay is not required.



P.S. Right now I'm just gathering background info, mainly to better desribe my own events. I'll post further comments here soon.
Greg P.
user 13376216
Anchorage, AK
Post #: 841
Also often thought it might be useful to offer a "progression/comparison" list. i.e. if you're new up here try Near Point before O'Malley, or you should be comfortable on Flat Top before trying Rainbow etc. Perhaps on some of the longer or more difficult hikes request new folks to hike something easier with us first ? Especially multi day hikes with a full pack.

I'm thinking of creating a set of FAQs or intro pages with basic guidance along those lines for...

1) People new to Meetup
2) People new to our group
3) People new to Anchorage

When I get a "round tuit"... ;)
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