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Dogs on Class 3, loose rock, etc...

Dogs, dogs and even some cats
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Dogs on Class 3, loose rock, etc...

Postby metalmountain » Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:16 pm

I have a general question to pose to the rest of the community. I love dogs, and I love seeing them on trails, at most times. I could care less about whether a dog is leashed or not (I still adhere to the rules of the parks though as far as leashes go, I am in no way saying that leash laws are a bad idea, just that it doesn't bother me to see a dog running around free on a mountain neccesarily), but an observation this past weekend makes me question the logic of some dog owners.

While climbing Lindsey on Saturday, I saw no less than 4 dogs on the standard route that ascends that rotten gulley. At one point my friend had to dodge several rocks (not huge, but big enough to hurt) that were kicked down by a down scrambling down the gulley above us. Normally we just wait until a gulley as loose as the one on Lindsey is free of other people befor entering it .But the dog had apparently put some distance between itself and its owner, so we just didn't really see it coming. Thankfully the rocks did not knock larger, more dangerous sized rocks loose.

I guess my question is, is it responsible to bring dogs into a situation where they could potentially trigger a fatal rockslide? At least people [i]should[i] have an understanding of how to tread lightly and decrease the liklihood of kicking rocks off on those below them, but dogs have no idea of this danger. And I can't help but feel that it is completely irrespoinsible of people to subject other climbers to these dangers. I love dogs, especially mine :wink: , but she stays at home on anything above easy class 2. For my safety and for others on the mountain. Discuss...
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Re: Dogs on Class 3, loose rock, etc...

Postby natbug72 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:11 pm

I agree that having dogs on some of these more technical mtns is dangerous as well not only for those hiking which could get rocks kicked down on them but for the animals as well. My dog has hiked every 14er with me off leash and she has done fine but I have yet to do any class three peaks and doubt I would take her up any. The problem is, is that some of these mtns you may have no idea until you get there that it's not safe for your dog. On mt. Yale my friends husband had to stay back while we summited sans dogs because the last remaining part after the saddle would have been too difficult. Other hikers with dogs were having the same problem and having to designate someone to stay behind. Yale is a class 2 but we had no way of knowing the peak wasn't dog friendly until we got there.

Of course one can also argue that your fellow hikers are likely to cause just as much harm if not more kicking rocks down on you from above. I know I've dislodged far more rocks than my dog personally and she's usually better at route finding and scrambling than I am. :)
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Re: Dogs on Class 3, loose rock, etc...

Postby peter303 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:17 pm

Its like safe-sex and condoms. The participant should not wholely depend on the behavior of
others on questionable trails. Wear a helmet.

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Re: Dogs on Class 3, loose rock, etc...

Postby winglady » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:55 pm

This reminds me of a conversation with a ranger at Lands End (on Grand Mesa). He told us about a man who let his dog run loose despite signs asking that they be leashed. The dog got excited about a chipmunk on the rock wall at the edge of a cliff, and took a leap at the little critter. The dog sailed over the wall and fell to its death. Of course, the owner was absolutely despondent.

The ranger said (and I agree) that we need to remember that we have domesticated these animals, and they now depend on us to help keep them safe. Leashes are one of the tools we can use to protect our pets and the wildlife they may pursue. Or, in this example, to protect the other hikers in a location where a dog doesn't "understand" the problems with letting loose a bunch of rocks on someone below.

So, if you can keep your pet and others safe, great -- let it enjoy being out there with you. If not...please find a safe alternative.
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Re: Dogs on Class 3, loose rock, etc...

Postby edhaman » Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:28 pm

In addition to terrain, altitude, and exposure hazards, there are also dangers from encounters with wildlife, such as rattlesnakes, bears, and mountain goats (a goat recently gored and killed a dog that was barking at it). Only a leash can help minimize these dangers, and leaving the dog at home can eliminate them. For human safety, dogs (and most children) do not belong where they can knock rocks on climbers.

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Re: Dogs on Class 3, loose rock, etc...

Postby cheeseburglar » Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:21 pm

Dogs and loose rock are a bad combination. Special care by the owner is required. Especially if there are other parties climbing the route you are on.
The only animal in the Colorado high country that is hazardous to a dog is the porcupine. Those spawns of satan will make a bad day for your dog and you.
If your dog is dumb enough to bark at a mountain goat, it's probably time for you to get another dog.
I would like to hear the story of a dog being killed by a mountain goat. Please provide details.
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Re: Dogs on Class 3, loose rock, etc...

Postby Rich H » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:08 am

cheeseburglar wrote:hazardous to a dog is the porcupine


that and badgers - not that there many of those left anymore. but yea porcupines are nasty.

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Re: Dogs on Class 3, loose rock, etc...

Postby mountainmicah83 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:04 am

You would think humans would be more responsible than dogs in the mountains but then again, I hear irresponsible humans kicking down many more rocks than my pup ever does. When I had my dog at Chicago basin a few weeks ago on all 4 14ers, I remember him kicking one small rock on the side of Windom (yeah yeah, one is bad and more than ok ) but there were some idiots over on sunlight that kept sending down one after another and we actually had to wait for them to get all of the way down before actually climbing so we didn't die by their stupididty. Pretty much the same story again about a month ago on Blanca with some humans kicking down all sorts of crap. I would say my dog treads more lightly than many people. Is it a risk climbing mountains, and if you are worried about rock fall, be the first one up or climb on a week day or in winter when there aren't as many folks up there.

I would have been just as scared and mad as you were on lindsay in that gulley when rocks came down on me though from a dog or human for that matter. All I am saying that it is very dependent on the dog and the owner. If you train your animal not to chase wild life, then they will not jump off cliffs. He is one of my most faithful hiking partners given he can climb 65 degree rock hard snow with his claws and not even bat an eye let alone keep up on the ski descent. He lives for the mountains and he deserves to go be up there ever as much as I do. As far as a Leash, when I am on the trail, he isn't all over the place. He is right on my heels. So much so that if I slip, he gets kicked in the head. If I am in snowshoes or skis, he is stepping on the backs. If I was out on a crowded trail, I would leash him but it wouldn't be because of him, It would be so he doesn't get attacked by one of those dogs who the owner claims to be friendly and jumps all over my dog who has never bitten anyone or anything. I agree with natbut72 about the dog being better at scrambling and routefinding as well.
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Re: Dogs on Class 3, loose rock, etc...

Postby natbug72 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:56 pm

I just wanted to add about the leash comments as well. I know I can't speak for everyone but why I personally do not leash my dog on the trail (and I'm guessing the reasons others don't as well) is because for one I hike with poles and it's impossible to hold a leash and use poles (I've tried). I've tied the leash to my waist and she pulls. She's only 35 lbs but being pulled by a dog uphill is not fun and not safe as it could cause me to slip. On narrow ledges it's easier for her and safer for all for us to pass by sans leash which can and does get wrapped around other hikers legs when they stop to pet her etc. Also when she meets other dogs on the trail if both are leashed then you get the sniffing and hello's and once again a tangle of leashes. If you have ever been tangled in a leash between dogs while simply walking in the park it's not fun...much less a mtn. Also correct me if I'm wrong but I've never heard of a dog causing a rock slide that's killed anyone. You are much more likely to bring a rock down on yourself I would think.

That's just what I've learned in my experience and why I use no leash vs a leash. And honestly I'd much rather have dogs above me than the mtn bikers I saw at Elbert last weekend. Talk about annoying.

As far as wildlife the only I've ever seen my dog care about is pikas. The pikas always win.
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Re: Dogs on Class 3, loose rock, etc...

Postby djkest » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:26 pm

I have heard you can train a dog not to pull on a leash...

I have a feeling that people knock down a lot more rocks than dogs do.

I am not a dog owner but when I went on a hike with my friend and his dog, we ended up stopping every time we passed another group or another dog, everyone had to be sniffed. To me it was a little distracting, but to each his own I guess.
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