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Lesson on Noobs

Need a climbing partner? Trying to form a hiking group for an outing?
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Lesson on Noobs

Postby Upstate Hiker » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:25 am

A 14ers group brought out a totally unprepared noob this weekend. I know this topic has been covered, but this is a good lesson.

http://sarahstanleyinspired.com/2012/03/06/winter-mountaineering-adventure-recap-more-than-just-endurance/

Re: Lesson on Noobs

Postby FireOnTheMountain » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:31 am

I don't think Sarah would appreciate you calling her a noob. She has more tenacity than people I have met with more experience...
Everyday is a G r A t E f U L Day here in the CO

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Re: Lesson on Noobs

Postby Upstate Hiker » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:39 am

I think you are entirely missing the point. All the tenacity in the world doesn't make up for not having the right gear or knowledge level. Her group let her down by not making sure she was prepared, and she let herself down by not doing her homework. She makes several mentions of considering calling SAR, and I think that relying on others to come rescue you when you are unprepared is bad form. Someone who was as unprepared and as unknowledgable should have never made it past the trailhead. We need to look out for each other better than this.

Re: Lesson on Noobs

Postby Jon Frohlich » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:04 am

Wow. That was rather interesting to read. I agree that tenacity (and for that matter fitness level) has nothing to do with experience and proper gear. Maybe there's more to the story but reading that makes me think the day could have wound up much worse than it did. Thankfully it did not.

Edit: I've read some of the other posts on this now in the other thread. I think the lesson here for everyone is two things:

1) Ask questions if you're signing up for something you've never done before, don't be shy about asking for help, if you're partners aren't willing to take the time to answer your questions you're going with the wrong people. Plus it gives your partners an idea of where you're at and they can make a decision whether the trip is appropriate for your skill level or not. I'm not shy about turning people away if I think it's a safety issue.

2) As a group be better about looking out for your partners and seeing if their gear is appropriate. I know sometimes this can be hard in informal gatherings and it's something I think many of us could do better.

Just my thoughts after reading more.

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Re: Lesson on Noobs

Postby madbuck » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:27 am

Interesting read, thanks.

I'm afraid that the main lesson, as stated, seems to be 'lack of gear,' when I think preparation, experience, humility, and respect would go a long way as well.

On behalf of ultrarunners/ultrarunning, I've got to say that most of the people I run with are less hubristic about their accomplishments, even while having significantly more success, running quietly for the pure joy of it. I cringe when ultrarunners automatically assume specific endurance translates into, or supersedes, other abilities and skills (to be fair, there are plenty of effusive half-marathon and marathon runners as well). As for mountaineering, I've seen it in the backcountry and read it here: there are plenty of folks whose experience, preparation, hiking and scrambling ability, orienteering skills, snow knowledge, etc. are much more important in getting them up and down hundreds of mountains than just 'proper' gear.

Non-running climbers that get it done: you've got my respect.

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Re: Lesson on Noobs

Postby desertdog » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:31 am

Really interesting story. Thanks for posting.

I host a small climbing group in New Mexico. We are selective who can join based on experience, but every once in a while we get someone that what's to "try it" or thinks they can do winter climb because they have run a marathon. I am going to save this link for them. Granted our mountains aren't Colorado, but they are still tough in the winter. It's different in the winter. Until you experience it you can't appreciate it. Basic safety...we always set a hard turn around time and have a second leader in case someone can't make it.

I edited out my last paragraph because it sent this tread in the wrong direction.
Last edited by desertdog on Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lesson on Noobs

Postby DeucesWild » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:41 am

desertdog wrote:I host a small climbing group in New Mexico. We are selective who can join based on experience, but every once in a while we get someone that what's to "try it" or thinks they can do winter climb because they have run a marathon.


=D> That is so fascinating. How can I become a member of your exclusive and elite society?
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Re: Lesson on Noobs

Postby I fall a lot » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:50 am

desertdog wrote:One other thought, I know I'll probably get slapped, would she have gotten to go with the group if she looked different or was a guy with a wart on his face? I know it may not be right to point this out, but that's what struck me as I read the story and her way of describing the events. Go ahead and gnaw on me, I deserve it for thinking such thoughts.


deleted: taken out of context, it comes off as mean.
Last edited by I fall a lot on Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lesson on Noobs

Postby desertdog » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:55 am

DeucesWild wrote:
desertdog wrote:I host a small climbing group in New Mexico. We are selective who can join based on experience, but every once in a while we get someone that what's to "try it" or thinks they can do winter climb because they have run a marathon.


=D> That is so fascinating. How can I become a member of your exclusive and elite society?

Not elite...just don't want people to over extend and get in trouble.

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Re: Lesson on Noobs

Postby Upstate Hiker » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:05 pm

silverlynx wrote:If only some kind soul had been there to change her socks for her and insert foot warmers. It would have made all the difference............ 8-[

=D> Thank you! Being a girl doesn't mean you get to show up unprepared and hope Prince Charming comes to save your fine ass!

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Re: Lesson on Noobs

Postby unclegar » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:08 pm

Interesting write-up. It sounds to me like others WERE looking out for her as described by people offering gloves and water and others carrying out her snowshoes. Ultimately each person is responsible for their own decisions. She made the decision to go with limited winter experience. Sure, someone could have said, "You know, you REALLY need gators if you're going to be snowshoeing in deep snow" or "You know, if your gloves get wet your hands are probably going to get REALLY cold", but the decision to go was hers. She also refers to having read mountaineering books and having some knowledge of climbing.

It also seemed to me like she may have a flair for the dramatic. Was she really carrying around a 50 lb pack? Were they really chin deep in snow? If so, what was she carrying around that weighed 50 lbs that couldn't help her stay warmer? Sounds like the weight of a gps would have been really helpful. :D I haven't read any other threads about this so I'm not sure what that thread was about.

Don't get me wrong...I realize she had some injuries and was very cold and was out in very difficult conditions and that she was already in very good physical condition. I had my own 23 hour ordeal for which I thought I was ready and found out I really had no clue what I was doing. After a year of thinking it over, I decided that I would try to be better prepared and do my homework (and bring a gps)...and attempt to summit all the 14ers. (see my Snowmass finisher TR for details of my big outing) My guess is that she will be hooked after mulling this over for a while. :lol:
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Re: Lesson on Noobs

Postby rking007 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:32 pm

Would someone mind putting a link up for the 'other thread'? I'd like to read it.
- Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

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