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Search and rescue crews warn about online-based groups
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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Search and rescue crews warn about online-based groups on 08/12/2013 18:06:44 MDT Print View

North Shore Rescue dealt with an abnormal recovery over the weekend as a group that met online for a day hike became separated.

Group dynamics can break down in an instant, according to Tim Jones with the rescue team. He says that’s because people meeting through the Internet do not have strong personal relationships.

He notes his team has had trouble with Internet hiking groups in the past.

“With an online group where you haven’t gone with people before, you don’t know the different levels of fitness. The group dynamics are a concern for us with this online thing; they don’t know each other. [The dynamics] break down and that’s a bad sign.”

more at link ...


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Search and rescue crews warn about online-based groups on 08/12/2013 21:09:40 MDT Print View

does that mean don't hike with other BPL people?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Search and rescue crews warn about online-based groups on 08/12/2013 21:33:28 MDT Print View

Meetup is a group that seems to have no rules, no leadership standards, and anything goes.

Sometimes Meetup people will show up on a Sierra Club event, and then they complain about the rules, strict leadership, etc.


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: Search and rescue crews warn about online-based groups on 08/12/2013 21:33:31 MDT Print View

does that mean don't hike with other BPL people?

only if they are really hawt and of the opposite sex ;)

Meetup is a group that seems to have no rules, no leadership standards, and anything goes.

Sometimes Meetup people will show up on a Sierra Club event, and then they complain about the rules, strict leadership, etc.

ive done the meetup stuff before for climbing ... you get a wide variety of skill sets ... for TRing at a popular crag its generally find, though belay competency needs to be watched for ...

for a multipitch or something more ... not a chance in hell


Edited by bearbreeder on 08/12/2013 22:10:29 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: SAR crews warn about online-based groups on 08/12/2013 22:47:24 MDT Print View

All those I hike with these days I met here first.

Some I don't hike with I met here first.

Always bad to generalize.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: SAR crews warn about online-based groups on 08/13/2013 08:30:37 MDT Print View

Agree with Ken, generalizing is bad. It is up to the organizer of any group trip (BPL, meetup, sierra club) to screen the participants. Any organization can have participants who lie about their ability to go on a trip, and then half ruin the trip.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
SAR crews warn about online-based groups on 08/13/2013 08:51:49 MDT Print View

1) Most people think they are fit enough and have the knowledge required, even when you think it would be obvious that they don't.

2) Some people don't care if they aren't prepared, don't understand what fitness/experience level is required and don't understand why it is a big deal.

3) Some people assume there is an easy way out of a trip if they should happen to change their mind or get tired.

4) Many assume they can just duck under some kind of shelter should it start raining and freak out when they realize that they can't run for cover.

Some of the things I've seen on day hikes:
1) No rain gear of any kind, even though it was required. They assume good weather would be guaranteed.
2) All cotton, including socks in cool damp weather, against the recommendation.
3) No water. They either assumed that it would be provided along the trail, they don't want to have to pee during the trip or they have no way to carry it.
4) No snacks/food. They are trying to loose weight.
5) New shoes that they haven't walked in enough to test on the trail.
6) Many poor choices of gear/clothing. No daypack is a common one.
7) Didn't take their prescribed medicine. Thought it would be a good time to kick their dependency on bipolar medicine.
8) Extreme and/or dangerous personalities.
9) Didn't understand that a strenuous trail could contain long steep climbs and/or scrambles. Or ignored, didn't understand or didn't read the trip description.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Search and rescue crews warn about online-based groups" on 08/13/2013 11:04:24 MDT Print View

BG Said, "Meetup is a group that seems to have no rules, no leadership standards, and anything goes."


Bob - It truly varies by the group. I'm a member of several Meetup groups, two are for outdoors adventures. One of them is advanced and will flat out abandon you on the trail if you can't keep up. And they make no bones about it. They also put a disclaimer on every single Meetup they organize that individuals are responsible for themselves. The other- and the one I primarily go with- will never leave someone behind. Either the group will split or they will slow down or do something to accommodate the person who is having trouble, but never do we leave anyone behind. And as far as leadership- I'll agree Meetup itself sets no standards, but the individual groups do set a standard. Additionally, different organizers have different styles. Joining a Meetup outing doesn't absolve people of personal responsibility - people should always ask questions of the Meetup (or any other internet based group) they are potentially going into the back country with, and most particularly the organizer. An assumption that an organizer is a guide, or that they have first aid or wilderness medicine experience or even navigational abilities will get you in trouble. You should always plan to be self-sufficient. The group gives you companionship and perhaps a bit of a safety buffer, but this is just common sense. You don't trust people with your life that you don't know.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: #7 on 08/13/2013 14:17:21 MDT Print View

7) Didn't take their prescribed medicine. Thought it would be a good time to kick their dependency on bipolar medicine.

OMG. WORST TRIP EVER. In 2001, I found out a friend (met in real life) was bipolar - she had never mentioned it either. On a backpacking trip she went on a manic high. We were backpacking on a beach...she went and found a boy scout dad to hook up with. I kid not. It was AKWARD. The next day, our hike out (there was 3 of us ladies) was just weird. We both were scared of her.

At home later, her mother opened up about it to us. Apparently she would get all good feeling and go off her meds. In that mode she would smoke, drink, pick up guys, do drugs and whatnot. When we had met, and on her meds, she was a hippie chick who ate organic.


Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: #7 on 08/13/2013 17:02:58 MDT Print View

"In that mode she would smoke, drink, pick up guys, do drugs and whatnot."

Name? Number?

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: #7 on 08/13/2013 17:54:37 MDT Print View

Name? Number?
Doug, I was tempted to send a snarky reply of my own but I didn't want to poach on your domain, he-he

About the medical surprise thing, a few stories:

1) at BSA summer camp a scout is experiencing some respiratory distress. What's up M___? "My asthma is acting up" His medical history form contained no mention of this ... it was a very infrequent problem:-( Lucky for all of us this was a good sized camp with a doc on call or on site every day.

2) We're in a wilderness area and a scout is stung by a bee or wasp. His arm starts to swell up like a balloon. Lucky for us this was the last evening of the trip and we were staged close to our exit for a quick getaway the next morning, and there was a clinic 30 minute drive from the parking lot. Lesson learned? Do not ask if scout has a bee sting allergy, ask if he has been stung twice in his life with no reaction.

3) Playing racquetball with a guy I'd known for a couple years. He always took a 5 minute break sitting still in the corner between games ... odd, especially since I was usually the one sucking wind. Weeks later he just disappears at the end of the match. When I finally found him in one of the rarely used spare bathrooms he explained the situation. He has "exercise induced anaphylaxis". Dang near died a few times until it was diagnosed. Adrenalin is an andidote, hence the 5 minute breaks to let himself come down and feel early symptoms before it gets out of hand. Keeps a couple epipens in his gym bag ... would have been nice to know.

Kat ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Re: #7 on 08/13/2013 18:13:04 MDT Print View


Only you can get away with this ;)

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: #7 on 08/13/2013 21:38:34 MDT Print View

I'd say Epi-pens are kind of a need to know thing. One of my hiking partners is anaphylaxis to stings - so he tells me where his meds are. Having used an Epi-pen before, on our youngest, it is easy to use.

Got another partner who had a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She showed me how to pick her up if she fell (to avoid her lymph areas/drain ports).

I am pretty nosy over the last decade about asking if partners have medical issues I should know about.

Otherwise....I'll end up on an Olympic Beach wondering just how weird the long drive back to the Port Townsend Ferry is ;-)

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
meet ups on 08/14/2013 07:27:54 MDT Print View

A few years ago, I was very active with a local outdoor group that has since migrated to meetup.

I made a few stumbles when I organized trips and learned my lessons after a few hiccups.

Out of the experience, I learned the following

1) "Social" trips. Usually in the local foothills that are easy hikes. Full moon and/or food based. I would cap the trip limit, but would generally let anyone on them. If I noticed someone struggling on the trip, I would be helpful but they probably would not be on the more difficult trips. :)

2) Medium hikes. 10 miles or so (or less) with moderate elevation gain. If I did not know them, asked by e-mail if they hiked before. Some people of course exaggerated their experience and skill level(usually men. :D) and slowed us down. One young woman struggled and I ended up carrying her pack for the last couple of miles. Which leads us to:

3) Long hikes. 15 or even 20+ miles with elevation gain. Often off-trail. I screened these trips thoroughly. If I did not know the person, they were asked about their experience level and if asked they could tell of trips they did before. I flat out told people "NO" at times. The young lady above was quite upset when, after I carried her pack part of the way on a previous trip, I told her "No" on another trip. One gentlemen, flying in from *sea level* the day before, heard about my trip from a friend (16 miles, 3500' gain...and at ~12k elev IIRC) . When I again said "No", he became rather irate. :)

I rarely organized overnight trips as that was another ball of wax. Too many variables!

I did organize a beginners backpacking trip a few times, but I knew up front the nature of the trip/people on it. Being a beginners trips, people were very honest about their experience and we went through everything (gear, rout planning, and so on) thoroughly together. Never had any trouble on those trips.

So, all depends on the groups and the trip leader.

I now have a core group of friends and have not participated in "official" group trips in about 4 yrs. About the same time I met my now wife on a trip I organized. ;D

Edited by PaulMags on 08/14/2013 07:31:49 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: meet ups on 08/14/2013 13:25:58 MDT Print View

When screening some stranger for a hike or backpack trip, instead of asking what trips they have done previously, I always found it better to ask them to describe trips they have done in the previous year.

Too many times I had some fool coming at me who claimed to be "experienced" at all of this. When questioned, it turned out that their experience was from ten years prior and that they had been a couch potato for the rest of the time.

Then there was the gal who wanted to go on a trip. She weighed exactly double what she weighed when she last hiked. That's never a good sign.


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Sierra Club & on 08/14/2013 20:53:38 MDT Print View

As the Sierra Club Outings Outings Chair for Nevada (Toiyabe Chapter) we have our own Meetup site, as do many Club chapters across the US. Gotta have it these days to get new members. In our Toiyabe Chapter site we tell everyone of our qualifications so they can have some peace of mind.

BUT... we ALWAYS adhere to Sierra Club rules and our leaders are trained in Sierra Club leadership skills and first aid. We also vett all hikers at the hike meeting place or via phone interview if doing a backpack or difficult hike.

Regular Meetup is often sketchy. I have been screwed out of $57. by one Meetup Las Vegas backpacking "leader" who skipped town. HE DID send me a refund check - but it bounced! (Natch, the dirtbag)

So be VERY wary of Meetup groups. They can be great of they can be dangerous.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 08/18/2013 01:24:55 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/07/2015 12:16:13 MDT.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Sierra Club & on 08/18/2013 04:06:43 MDT Print View

" We heavily quoted Bill and Ted, Beavis and Butthead, Ren and Stimpy in our dialog. "

With quotes from those plus The Big Lebowski and South Park you would have the basis for a full second language.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Re: Sierra Club & on 08/18/2013 08:47:41 MDT Print View

That's outstanding Roger, I can just picture the situation.

Maybe after hearing "I am Cornholio" 20 times he flipped out.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Search and rescue crews warn about online-based groups on 08/20/2013 22:13:24 MDT Print View

Ah... I knew there was a reason I like solo for most trips.

Edward Jursek
( - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
On-line groups on 08/23/2013 23:36:07 MDT Print View

I am doing a six day trip in September with some fellow BPLers I have not met in person. I am approaching it as a solo hike where I will be self contained and will hike at my own pace within the daily mileage I will need to make. If we all hit it off that will be great and an added benefit. We have all chatted on-line and I think it is likely we will be pretty compatible and everyone seems to know what they are doing. For me the key is being self contained and independent. The only pressure or difficulty will be making each designated camp site. Hiking with others might be motivation if milage gets rough. As someone who does a lot of solo hikes, the added company and measure of safety will be welcome.

Edited by on 08/23/2013 23:41:36 MDT.

dave p
(hipass) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
weirdos on 08/24/2013 01:17:02 MDT Print View

Ive gone on 2 meetups only.
Its a great concept and it does work but there are plenty of weirdo s out there.
On a backpack trip,1 member was a a spoiled trust fund jerk who drank a lot and boasted about using ecstasy and was a know it all about everything under the sun...he tried to start a fight with a female member whom he brought to tears.He came very close to fulfilling his deathwish on that trip.

In another meetup,i arrived on time and met the group.I went to put on my snowshoes and gear and the group left without me.Up to that point the organizer and i had numerous contact.After she bailed on me she never answered her phone or answered emails when i wanted to know what happened.This organizer has led many trips but i know unlike her profile she doesnt have much depth or backcountry knowledge and is dangerously irresponsible(hello,Dionne,LA Backpackers).

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: weirdos on 08/24/2013 09:30:39 MDT Print View

I went on a Meetup style day hike once years ago and one guy carried his lunch in a plastic bag :-)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: On-line groups on 08/25/2013 17:55:45 MDT Print View

The vast majority of my excursions are with a local Meetup group - many of those folks are also members here. It's a great group (just did an overnighter with them, had a grand time).

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: On-line groups on 08/25/2013 18:50:50 MDT Print View

I went on a winter trip with some crazy bloke from Ireland. Or was it Scotland? Worst trip ever. He got us lost, hiked way too fast, and wouldn't share his whiskey.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: On-line groups on 08/25/2013 18:55:41 MDT Print View

[Alas, I cannot tell a lie (unless its about Doug). We all got lost equally, I hiked way too fast, but I did share my whiskey]

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Re: Re: Re: On-line groups on 08/26/2013 07:22:33 MDT Print View

we were not lost Travis, we just forgot to mark our car on the Gps and do some bush whacking :-)

At least I got new snowshoes out of that trip.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Search and rescue crews warn about online-based groups on 08/26/2013 20:25:21 MDT Print View

I have found that since I began leading Sierra Club hikes about 15 years ago the general fitness level of the average person has drastically declined. It has gotten to the point that I will lead only 3 or 4 day hikes a year. It's just too much trouble. I would much prefer to hike with no responsibility for people in over their heads, as most seem to be these days.

dave p
(hipass) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
general fitness on 08/27/2013 00:17:57 MDT Print View

The leader of our meetup group has organized/led a number of backpack trips.Given that, you would think that they were experienced.On this trip she had to have another member carry her pack for the last mile!

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 08/27/2013 11:31:54 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 06/22/2015 14:24:12 MDT.

Mike Oxford
(moxford) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley, CA
hah on 09/04/2013 15:56:11 MDT Print View

It's not that women want to be equals, they want to be better than men, and chivalry is just one manifestation of this.

When was the last time SHE bounced ahead and held the door open for you?
Or drove and then opened your passenger-side door?
Or a female carried a pack for you, instead of just cocking her head a little sideways and looking at you funny?
Or bought you dinner?
Or let you pick what color the bedspread is going to be?!
Or mowed the lawn for you!

See! It's a conspiracy! "C....O....N.....SPIRACY!" - In Living Color

Okay, gotta run...think I've got a tongue stuck in my cheek.