Poaching Trenches

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Is it ok to "poach" a trench?

It's my trench and I put all the hard work into. Stay out of it.
Poaching a trench is good strategy. Less work for me.
Quid pro quo.
Who cares?
It was "there" when I showed up. Give me a break.
This was a problem?
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Poaching Trenches

Postby Furthermore » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:53 am

Having climbed many 13ers in the winter/spring, I have always had to break trail and place my own trench. Now that I am starting the 14er list in the winter, I have encountered some interested scenarios regarding the use of trenches. I used to plan/still do plan on utilizing trenches on 14ers to help aid in the success of climb; however, I have encountered some political bickering regarding the utilization of trenches both personally and non-personally.

So... I have been wondering what the thoughts were on "poaching" trenches. Seems to be a hot topic with some and I was just curious what people thought about the issue.

Do you plan winter outings around where a trench has been placed?

To me, it seems that people do utilize the placement of a trench. Hence the large wave of people that climbed Huron within just a few weeks (I am certainly guilty of this one). Or Little Bear, Blanca-Ellingwood. Etc.

I am in the category of who cares. Why does there have to be such a big pissing match? Whatever...
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Re: Poaching Trenches

Postby DaveSwink » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:59 am

Seriously? If it is an issue for anyone, let them step 18 inches to the side. :shock: :lol:

You do owe a beer for a good trench though......
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Re: Poaching Trenches

Postby Jon Frohlich » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:00 am

I can't believe anyone even makes this into an issue. If there's a trench use it. If you make a trench don't worry about who uses it. If the ethics of poaching trenches bothers someone then chill out and relax.
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Re: Poaching Trenches

Postby PeteDunnewald » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:12 am

The biggest problem with trench "poaching", is trusting that the person that made the trench knew where they were going.
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Re: Poaching Trenches

Postby CO Native » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:14 am

It's always better to climb on Sundays in the winter in hopes that someone climbed it on Saturday and left you a good trail. :D
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Re: Poaching Trenches

Postby George James » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:17 am

:? Just please, for the love of all that is good, keep your trenches away from the skin track. Michelle didn't break that beautiful skin track for me just so you could mangle it with your snowshoes.

PS - The 20th century called, it wants its floatation devices back.
Last edited by George James on Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Poaching Trenches

Postby altidude » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:21 am

If I can catch up with the person trenching, I'll offer to trade shifts and trench. That or trade with beer :D
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Re: Poaching Trenches

Postby climbingbiz » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:28 am

I base my plans mostly on trip reports, trying to follow an established trench. Backfires from time-to-time when person making the trench gets lost (the current trench on Yale is a dead end) but in general it increases your chances of reaching the peak and makes the trip much more enjoyable.
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Re: Poaching Trenches

Postby Kiefer » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:46 am

I'm usually 50/50 in regards to trenchs. A good deal of the physical effort in winter peaks lies in trench-breaking. If someone is "piggy-backing" off my trench or anyone else's trench for that matter, half the time I don't care. Though when someone actively looks for recently climbed peaks thus fresh trenchs to decide what peak to climb, then I tend to get pissy. Purposely trench stealing is akin to using a snowmobile to access the trailhead in winter imo.

Sometimes it depends on the mountain; sometimes it depends on the weather; sometimes it depends on the mood. There's no rhyme or reason. Like I said, I generally don't care but when someone is intentionally 'goldbricking', too inept or weak to do the 'dirty work' themselves, I'll cry foul and accuse em' that they didn't earn it...whatever that means. :roll:

Then there's the consideration...if someone is always relying on a previous exploits' trench, the question I ask myself, does said person even have the
experience and ability to navigate in winter when there's no path to follow? :-k
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Re: Poaching Trenches

Postby FireOnTheMountain » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:47 am

anna wrote:I guess when it comes down to it, I personally don’t enjoy taking advantage of someone else’s hard work, but don’t really care if someone uses my trench.

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Re: Poaching Trenches

Postby Chicago Transplant » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:49 am

In winter I am primarily a "resort skier", but I have a streak of climbing a peak above 12,500' at least once a month that goes back to April 2006. I would like to keep that streak alive for a very long time. To that end, I typically only go out once a month for a climb, and I really really desire for that trip to be a success. I typically plan on the sunny warm days that haven't had new snow for a at least few days prior - partly for hiking success, partly because when its dumping snow I am skiing all day! I also tend to do a lot of solo climbing, even in winter. To that end, I have no fellow trench breakers on many of my hikes soo...

I guess you can see where this is going, poaching trenches = better chance Chicago Transplant's peak streak lives through another winter :D

Of course the 14ers I am doing in winter tend to be popular enough that there is going to be a trench unless its right after a snowstorm, so I am not specifically planning around trenches per se, just planning for peaks I can do in a day that are high in elevation and offer me the best chance at success on my limited winter climbing schedule. I would hate to waste a peak day with a turn back when I could have been skiing :lol:
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Re: Poaching Trenches

Postby SurfNTurf » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:56 am

I pick a mountain I want to do on a particular weekend, and then I go attempt it. Recent ascent history plays a very minimal role in my decision-making process. If there's a trench, there's a trench. If there's not, there's not.

I don't purposely seek out trenches and honestly I consider it a bit rewarding when someone follows mine, because it means I helped them out. I "opened the route," so to speak. Now if someone were to poach my trench then publicly brag about their time or something, I might have an issue...
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