Forum Index » Philosophy & Technique » Current conversations with JMT hikers


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Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: "Good salespeople know this and exploit it. " on 09/03/2013 21:18:35 MDT Print View

They have to ask. It's what they're trained to do first and foremost. Product knowledge comes later, if ever.
My technique is to ask them very technical questions about a product on the website, but not in the store. They scurry off for a few minutes. When they return to tell me it's not in stock, I ask them to check the five nearest stores to see if they have it.
Eventually, they learn to avoid me.
There's one old guy there, semi-retired. He's just there for the social aspect, but he's got a lot of experience, and time to actually learn about all the product. There's probably one guy like that at each store. Find him and buy from him only.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: "Good salespeople know this and exploit it. " on 09/03/2013 21:22:33 MDT Print View

They are probably required to keep asking. unfortunately cooperate policies like that are made up from focus group/surveys and theft prevention people. the amount of people who would rather they be asked if they need help outweigh the ones who would like to be left alone or they wouldn't be like that. It trickles down.. cooperate tell the managers so the managers tell the staff so the staff does what they say so they can keep their job.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: Re: Did see some UL on the JMT on 09/04/2013 11:38:14 MDT Print View

Andrew F,
Did we meet on trail, mine being the big group with the Scouts out front and the old fella with the big pack walking sweep? Whenever folks are willing to chat, I always try to engage hikers with the boys, particularly where you can underscore or beat my exhortations for light and limited gear!

Since you had fishing gear, I think we missed you. Believe me, we had fellas that would have grilled you on your baits and technique: we call this trek "The High Sierra Fishing Expedition".

By the way, I'd EXPECT you to be warm and dry with your teeny little Kleenex tarp and dental floss guy lines, because you're into it. However, it didn't go without notice that two of the groups we had fun chatting with proffered that they'd been wet and cold using that gear. Similarly, one of our tent crews was sloppy with their (freestanding) tent and had plenty of wet gear the morning after those rains on the 17th. I think it would have been fair to presume they'd have been dry, too, certainly if based on the square footage of vestibule space they had!

Mono County SAR bedded down in the trees near us, on the north shore of Garnet, for that storm on the 17th and used a guyed, flat tarp with one in a bivy/bag and the other just in his clothes. The dude without bivy was soaked by that windy rain, but a sunbathe in the morning boosted him right up. The pair punched over the westerly, XC pass to TI and then up to North Pass, looking for a pair of hikers reported in distress (not found).

To me, it's all about the gear that I can make work, and reliably so. When the wind's blowing rain sideways and I am dry and situated inside my Copper Spur, or when I'm comfy sleeping on rough ground because my big cush inflatable pad is awesome, or enjoy a sunrise fishing with a cup of coffee while sitting on a stool rather than a wet rock, these things justify themselves just as much as my more traditionally-recognized "UL" margarine-container mess kit, 22g knife, ti stove and zip-lock tackle bag do.

Either way, despite our full-size internal- and external-framed packs, we only saw three groups out there on the limited portion of the JMT we traveled that appeared to be packing lighter than we were. One little Japanese lady with a face covered in white zinc had a pack that was about 2/3 her own height (and she jammed) and we passed 4 dudes with giant Gregory packs loaded with a 5-person inflatable raft, oars and a bellows pump. Those energetic fellas were going to fish the deeps in Garnet and TI. Each of the three "UL Crews" we encountered looked happy and fast, notwithstanding the shortcomings of their Kleenex tarp and "cheatin'" on canister weight.

(I slipped rocks in their packs when possible.)

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Did see some UL on the JMT on 09/04/2013 12:06:40 MDT Print View

Erik,

I agree with your post 100%.

I honestly can't remember if we saw you guys or not, we did meet some people from San Diego and we heard about a big scout group somewhere near Rosalie Lake, but I'm not sure if we actually ran into you. Manfred did speak to an older gentleman who was some kind of scout leader who had an external frame pack.

We met people with an interesting array of gear on the JMT. One woman with a dog, long curly hair, and no rain gear at all wasn't having much fun in the thunderstorms as we got to Red's Meadow. Hopefully she bought herself a cheap poncho from their store. Another gentleman decided to forego any form of shelter altogether despite having a huge DSLR and what looked like a 40+ lb pack. He told us that he spent one evening sheltered under a log to stay out of the rain. However, with only a few notable exceptions, it seemed like everyone we talked to (including both of those examples) were having a wonderful experience and really enjoying their time out in the mountains.

Andrew

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
BINGO! on 09/04/2013 12:17:06 MDT Print View

"However, with only a few notable exceptions, it seemed like everyone we talked to (including both of those examples) were having a wonderful experience and really enjoying their time out in the mountains."

So weight doesn't matter that much.

spelt !
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: "Good salespeople know this and exploit it. " on 09/04/2013 13:01:12 MDT Print View

I know it's their job and I try not to take my annoyance out on them.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: BINGO! on 09/04/2013 13:37:43 MDT Print View

My wife a daughter did a week at Mount Rainier together and came home wanting to know all about my UL gear :) Nothing like a couple steep higher altitude passes to make converts. The JMT should make for a great "conversion ground"


As far as gear store staff, those poor folk are getting low wages and working retail hours. REI is known to be a positive work environment, but no one working the floor is getting rich, let alone making a real living wage. I've run into a couple sales clerks who really speak UL, but just a couple.

Imagine the range of customers they deal with too. I've overheard conversations that made me gently thump my head on the nearest wall. I've done technical product sales in several industries over the years and IMHO, most of the public lives just this side of the 12th Century in terms of their knowledge of physics and engineering and they practice the most amazing types of logic. Like the comic says, "you can't fix 'stupid'"

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Did see some UL on the JMT on 09/06/2013 09:15:57 MDT Print View

I actually saw a nice amount of ULers, including an 80 year old lady who was all decked out in cuben ("honey, that's the only way I can do this!"). There were a lot of ZPacks packs, a few HMGs, not many ULAs, tons of huge ospreys, and one guy with a full-on homemade get up constructed entirely of CCF - with his bear can attached to his chest.

But what was interesting from so many people was the constant refrain of "yeah, but I want to be comfortable," as though carrying all that weight is sooooo comfy.

I just smiled, answered questions when asked, talked gear with a few folks who wanted to (including the CCF guy - I so wish I'd taken a picture!), discovered a Zimmerbuilt pack that I need to have made now, and started dreaming of my PCT......

Bill Law
(williamlaw) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
One too many ULers on the JMT on 09/07/2013 10:25:14 MDT Print View

We were on the trail for 4 nights last weekend.

I remember one guy (two guys, with similar gear, but I talked to only one), but it isn't really a positive. The guy said "Your pack is really heavy!".

They were carrying 30L packs, and mine was markedly bulkier, and heavier, than his.

But what was he trying to do? I've pretty much got the lightest version of everything I want. He can't see what's in my pack or know what my preferences are.

All I know is that his pack was 2 pounds lighter than it *should* have been (they weren't carrying a bear canister) and that I'm not going to start lecturing other people on what they are carrying. That was the only mention of gear weight I had in 5 days, thank goodness.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: One too many ULers on the JMT on 09/07/2013 11:41:29 MDT Print View

I remember one guy (two guys, with similar gear, but I talked to only one), but it isn't really a positive. The guy said "Your pack is really heavy!".

They were carrying 30L packs, and mine was markedly bulkier, and heavier, than his.

But what was he trying to do? I've pretty much got the lightest version of everything I want. He can't see what's in my pack or know what my preferences are.


brag ...

bit of UL "elitism" there

was he going much "faster" than you, doing gnarlier stuff, did he have a big belly? .... you can always find a good comeback

;)

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Re: BINGO! on 09/07/2013 13:05:59 MDT Print View

Dale,

"My wife a daughter did a week at Mount Rainier together and came home wanting to know all about my UL gear :) "

That made me smile, but because I couldn't believe that they hadn't already been indoctrinated into UL backpacking already!!

Tom

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: One too many ULers on the JMT on 09/07/2013 15:49:38 MDT Print View

I would have called them out on not having canisters. Losers.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: UL evangelizing on 09/07/2013 16:36:46 MDT Print View

"That made me smile, but because I couldn't believe that they hadn't already been indoctrinated into UL backpacking already!!

Tom"

You can lead a horse to water...

Oh, they know about UL, but they weren't thirsty for the UL Koolaid until they were headed from Glacier Basin to Sunrise with too many heavy toys. I mentioned the virtues of a particular UL product and described the process of weighing and putting everything in a spreadsheet and their eyes glazed over. Nothing like sweat and burning calves to make converts.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Re: Did see some UL on the JMT on 09/09/2013 12:57:01 MDT Print View

I did a section on the JMT a couple years ago with a small pack (compared to the norm) and I had a ranger comment to me with suspicion that my pack looked too small to contain a bear canister. I offered to show it to him but he said, nah, I'll trust you. Later he came by while I was having my lunch and my bear canister was out in the open. I carried a small canister since my trip was only 4 days. With how many rangers I saw out there I'm surprised anyone could hike the JMT without a canister and not get caught.

Brittany W
(quasarr) - F

Locale: Southeast
JMTers on 09/15/2013 21:45:49 MDT Print View

I'm 100% in favor of ultra-heavy JMT backpackers ... cause they often lighten their load by donating generous amounts of food to other hikers!! :)

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: JMTers on 09/16/2013 16:25:51 MDT Print View

Just got off the JMT.

I did see a few U/L hikers, although half of them were sectional or doing a portion of the SHR.
It was nice being the only N. bound JMT hiker. I got to see everyone passing by each day.
A lot of huge packs, but a lot of smiling people enjoying some amazing views as well.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: JMTers on 09/16/2013 16:29:15 MDT Print View

Aaron, how was the trip? I'd love to be able to do a fastpack one day.....

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Trip Report on 09/17/2013 12:23:31 MDT Print View

Here is Aaron's trip report:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=81939

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
RE: "Current conversations with JMT hikers" on 09/17/2013 19:19:39 MDT Print View

I think Aaron said it best:

>> A lot of huge packs, but a lot of smiling people enjoying some amazing views as well.

Unless they are harming themselves, you, or the environment/trail, maybe everyone should do as they prefer...

We plan to thru-hike the JMT next year, and while we may not have the smallest packs out there (not the biggest ones, either), we DO plan to have the biggest smiles...

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: RE: "Current conversations with JMT hikers" on 09/17/2013 20:36:48 MDT Print View

I loved that line about the smiles...

My family remarked how happy I look in ALL my photos. I was tired, the trail kicked my out of shape flatlander buttocks, but I still can't wipe the smile off my face.