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Random Group of Hikers Message Board › an important message - read the write-up and come prepared

an important message - read the write-up and come prepared

Michael B.
Group Organizer
Pepperell, MA
Fellow randomites,

It is unfortunate that I have to send this note but there have been several instances recently where the selfish actions of some of our members could have put others in the group at risk. It is winter – there is snow and ice in the mountains. Trails are slippery. It’s going to be cold and could be very windy. While a simple incident in the summer could be an inconvenience – it could be fatal in the winter.

Organizers in the Random Group of Hikers take time to research a trip, write-up a summary, and list the type of clothing and equipment that will help ensure everyone has a safe and fun experience. While the objective of any trip is to enjoy ourselves, your safety, and the safety of the others in our group, is the most important thing. To quote a famous mountaineer, "Reaching the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory."

If you underestimate the demands of a trip, overestimate your skills and abilities, or show up without the required clothing and equipment you may put yourself and/or others in the group at risk. For example, if you don’t bring the required traction for your boots you might slip on the ice and injure yourself. If you can’t continue on the hike then some in the group would have to go for help while others waited with you. Your actions could impact the others in the group.

All we ask is that you read what we write and agree to “play by our rules”. If there are requirements or expectations to participate in an event – follow them. If there are questions about you and your experience – answer them. If you don’t agree with this and want to do your own thing then do that – hit the trails on your own. If you are going to participate in a Random event realize that you are part of a group. You are still responsible for your own safety but the strength of a group is that you can rely on other for help, and they can rely on you.

Recently there have been three different occasions where people have signed up for a hike, supposedly read the entire event summary, said they would have the required equipment when they answered the RSVP questions, said they had the required equipment when asked at the trailhead before starting the hike - only to NOT have it once we got out on the trail. In none of these instances did anything happen but I would rather not leave safety to chance.

This is unacceptable. In the future I will be checking everyone’s gear to make sure they have the required equipment before we head out on the trail. If you don’t have the required equipment you will be prohibited from participating in the event.

I hope you understand where I am coming from on this. Please contact me if you have any questions or if you would like to discuss this further.

Michael Blair
(978) 880-1932
David (Ped X.
Cambridge, MA
Post #: 163
Amen! It is for reasons Michael sites that I have been wary of organizing many winter hikes through meetup. Only a few things have to go wrong for a winter hike to turn into a challenging survival situation. Needing to deal with an injured or unprepared person can do far more than ruin the hike for everyone, it can expose everyone to increased risks, including increased exposure to the cold and hiking out for hours in the dark on a trail that is hard to follow even in the day time because snow covers the markings and the footpath.

John (LAG) L.
Newbury, MA
Post #: 39
I also believe Snow Shoes should be brought on all hikes even as the snow melts. The conditions at the bottom of the mountain don't always relate to those at the top. The added weight is a pain but the added safety factor may be worth it. Post holing isn't the only danger as trails melt and trails get mushy it is hard on the knees and ankles over time.

  • Camelbacks with hoses can freeze. Been there!
  • Snow shoes can come apart. If you have snow shoes with nuts and bolts check them before any hike. Second time using a brand new pair they came apart at the top. McGuivered them using a Crampon, short rope and a Caribiner.
  • Extra batteries for the headlamps.

Winter hikes are a blast. Just prepare for them!!
John (LAG) L.
Newbury, MA
Post #: 41
Yaktrax do not grip well on mountain ice and we had a member of the group rip theirs apart coming down making for a slippery decent from there on down. I'm finding that the MicroSpikes and the new version "can't remember the name" work very well and are easy on easy off traction devices.
David (Ped X.
Cambridge, MA
Post #: 181
Does "can't remember the name" = Hillsound Trail Crampons? If so, yes I agree they are great.

Yaktrax now makes Yaktrax extreme which look like a microspike knock off and seemed promising. However, people are reporting horrible experiences with them - they are shoddily made and break easily.

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