How many is too many?

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peter303
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Re: How many is too many?

Postby peter303 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:48 am

I sometimes worry about the "legal liability" aspects of even appearing to be the group leader. Especially as I get older and have accumulated some assets for later life and dependents.
I have been on many group hikes and 95% of the time they turn out well. None have been a severe disaster but there have been some close calls. But you never know the capabilities or voraciousness of a stranger. The severe regimentation of CMC and Sierra Club hikes are due to nasty lawsuit losses in the 1980s and 1990s. The so-called signed releases are mainly informational in that you have a name and phone number which can be hard to find sometimes otherwise. They are less useful than toilet paper in a lawsuit if there had been any negligence. Ditto for "voluntary assemblies" where no one claims to be in charge, but someone posted the meetup.

Go out have fun! But know who you are with.
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mtngoat
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Re: How many is too many?

Postby mtngoat » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:06 pm

The military has done a lot on the subject of group leadership, size, organization of teams. etc. In some regards, they are the experts and originators of learning theories, group dynamics, hierarchy, and organizational design. To such end, the smallest practical group in the military is a "squad" which is comprised of about 8-12 members depending on the arena, complexity of purpose, and specialty. A more technical group (usually special forces teams) is a "fireteam" and ranges from about 4-6 (Navy Seal teams = 4-5.)

Now, I am not saying this is a universal truth but communication and ability levels start to play into group size as well. For a Class 1-2 climb I would say a "squad" sized group is manageable, anything bigger and I would break the team in two with a second leader. If you are talking class 3-5 environments, a "fireteam" is more adaptable and maneuverable.

Lots of research has been done about the ability to communicate with a group and I for one defer to the experts in managing team effectively for a given objective (ie. a summit.) If you are talking class 2 or below, I would say limit yourself to about 11 or 12 or split the group with two leaders. If you are talking class 3-5, limit to 4-6. The larger the group, the stronger a need for a "point", "navigator/pacer", and "sweep."
Last edited by mtngoat on Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
-Dave

If your life's work can be completed within your lifetime - you are not thinking big enough.
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Mindy
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Re: How many is too many?

Postby Mindy » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:57 pm

Dex wrote:
Mindy wrote:Would appreciate opinions and suggestions re: the size of a group hiking together. For example, I have two adventures coming up that have over 15 people signed up – and more on a “wait list”. Obviously anyone can show up, regardless of wait list. Any suggestion re: group dynamics in winter conditions?

Mindy


How many is too many? Inquiring minds want to know.


Group of nine showed up at scheduled time. Ended up breaking up into 2 separate groups near the junction, with 1 group heading straight up East slope, and my group continuing on over the pass to ascend West slope. East slope group made the summit (awesome job Guys!) - West slope group made it to about 12,800 then got our a**es handed to us by old man winter, -10 plus wind chill, with whiteout conditions a few times (nothing like watching your partners disappear). Very happy to have had fepic1 on our team. He knows winter, and we did the right thing by turning around.

Awesome group of people all around. I learned winter will = attrition. How many is too many…. TBD.
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MountainHiker
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Re: How many is too many?

Postby MountainHiker » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:02 pm

Fletch wrote:Just a footnote, speed and experience are very loosely correlated. They are not one and the same.
MountainHikerette & I prove that regularly!

Sounds like things turned out okay. Winter has a way deciding things!
Red, Rugged, and Rotten: The Elk Range - Borneman & Lampert
Randy
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Re: How many is too many?

Postby Randy » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:37 pm

Biggest problem with a large group that has members you dont know, is that crucial decision making becomes a epic. I joined an AMC hike just to get a break from soloing and the leader proceeded to go the wrong way above treeline!!!! I informed him that he was lost and he got really pissed or ambarassed. I refused to follow him and the group was confused as to what to do in light of out dissagrement. I went my way, 2 followed me, found the route in 20 minutes, never saw them again.
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DaveSwink
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Re: How many is too many?

Postby DaveSwink » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:07 pm

Mindy wrote:East slope group made the summit (awesome job Guys!) - West slope group made it to about 12,800 then got our a**es handed to us by old man winter, -10 plus wind chill, with whiteout conditions a few times (nothing like watching your partners disappear).


Been there. Choose steep over windy every time. :-D
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Mindy
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Re: How many is too many?

Postby Mindy » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:22 pm

dswink wrote:
Mindy wrote:East slope group made the summit (awesome job Guys!) - West slope group made it to about 12,800 then got our a**es handed to us by old man winter, -10 plus wind chill, with whiteout conditions a few times (nothing like watching your partners disappear).


Been there. Choose steep over windy every time. :-D


Yeah, funny you say that.... I had it in my head that I had publically posted the other route, so I had to stick with it. Everyone that attended would agree with you, but three stuck with me for the West slope (thanks for that!). Both groups had a long discussion about it over drinks after. :)

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