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Avoiding nasty hiking partners...
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Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Avoiding nasty hiking partners... on 07/19/2014 14:18:15 MDT Print View

Recently I had to bow out of a planned week-long backpack trip in a very beautiful area. This was because I had a previous trip ruined by that same person with a "rattlesnake personality" and I discovered she had signed up for this trip too.

To avoid causing even more tensions in the group on that previous trip I just took her nastiness and didn't say anything. But I could not abide another 7 days with her so I cancelled this time.

Anyone else ever have to do this? D@mn shame that this has to happen.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Sorry Eric... on 07/19/2014 14:33:25 MDT Print View

I didn't know you were going on that trip, too. Did you want me to cancel instead??


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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Avoiding nasty hiking partners... on 07/19/2014 14:45:47 MDT Print View

Eric, the trick is to organize the trip yourself, and set it up so that certain people will know that they are not welcome and everybody else is. Some outdoor groups are always looking for experienced leaders.

Another thing that I've seen is this. One leader is in charge of everything on the trail, planning, navigation, etc. Then another diplomatic leader is in charge of everything in camp, and that might mean dealing with certain individuals.

I used to lead lots of group backpacking trips. There was one person in the club that was a problem to all of the leaders. So, we just keep tightening the screws about the qualifications for anybody to go. Finally, one certain person took a hint and drifted off.


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Avoiding nasty hiking partners... on 07/19/2014 17:21:53 MDT Print View

That's why I go solo: if I don't get along, it's really my fault. I go at my speed, eat what I like, go to sleep when I'm tired and wake up when I want. There are still arguments, but I usually get my way.

"I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude."
---- Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Avoiding nasty hiking partners... on 07/19/2014 17:43:06 MDT Print View

I'd rather go solo than hike with poor company so this hasn't been an issue for me thus far. I have set 10 miles per day (<2k' elevation) as an absolute maximum distance when hiking with someone who hasn't been on the trail in a while. I find most people of average fitness can hike this with a pack under 75lbs without feeling like they've been set up for failure and get snippy as a result.

Dan Dru
(Dandru) - F

Locale: Down Under
Re: Re: Avoiding nasty hiking partners... on 07/19/2014 17:59:37 MDT Print View

You've got to learn how to deal with them, think about what teachers have to put up with.

Even when they're not in your group, you've still got to put up with them. I normally walk faster and further to try and get away but it doesn't always work.

The last nutter I came across, rocked into camp just before dark with his girlfriend and setup nearby. The next morning I departed just before sunrise, as discreetly as possible and was going to walk three sections but got chatting to some guy at the end of the second section. While in deep conversation, the nutter walks in just before dark and sits down between the two of us and stares at me for a few minutes, not sure why, so I looked back and then he moved away, so I found another campsite down the track.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Avoiding nasty hiking partners..." on 07/21/2014 11:49:11 MDT Print View

I would do the same, probably, if I found out that someone I just can't stand was going on the same trip. Life's too short to deal with people like that. Just because you can deal with them doesn't mean you have to.

But I'm pretty quiet, and often on my group trips I tend to just fade into the background and let other people talk. It's not as social, but it also prevents me from getting into any conflicts.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 07/21/2014 22:53:56 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 06/24/2015 11:54:39 MDT.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Avoiding nasty hiking partners... on 07/21/2014 23:14:20 MDT Print View

I probably go solo way to often to run into this situation. I have gone on some group trips (sierra club), and my main issue has been with people on a totally different wavelength rather than having any active conflict with an individual. Its mostly stuff like people are too loud (I'm totally spoiled and weird about this after going alone so many times) or that I am annoyed they are talking loudly about the stock market, or what colleges their kid has applied to for 3 hours at a stretch, and so on. ALL stuff that annoys me for no justifiable reason, while at the same time I feel guilty about as they have a perfect right to do those things. Its hard enough for me to find a few copacetic people to go with, and if you pick a dozen at random there is bound to be at least one that wants something totally antithetical to what I want. But I just try to adjust and recalibrate for the trip.

"Rattlesnake personalities", well that is a different story. I understand that the proper procedure is to to sneak up on them and grab them quickly behind the head before they strike.

Edited by millonas on 07/21/2014 23:39:28 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Avoiding nasty hiking partners... on 07/22/2014 09:01:51 MDT Print View

I've decided to only hike with Jibo, that should solve all partner problems.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 07/22/2014 09:38:33 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 06/24/2015 11:56:30 MDT.

Alexander Scott
(Cascadicus) - F
Re: Avoiding nasty hiking partners... on 07/22/2014 12:49:10 MDT Print View

I once got stuck for a weekend with a bipolar guy in the mountains.

I'd rather repeat bootcamp than go through that again.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Teaching high school & hiking with a rattlesnake on 07/22/2014 22:27:34 MDT Print View

>I spent 35 years teaching high school from the Philippines to Pennsylvania.

>I'm very well inoculated against kids trying to get under my skin.

>I practice walking and sitting meditation in my backyard.

>The leader for this hike is a great and gentle guy.

STILL I could not abide this woman. I swear she drinks vinegar instead of coffee.

At 71 my days are better spent avoiding nastiness.

BTW Jennifer, on your worst day you could not come close to this woman's vitriol.

Edited by Danepacker on 07/22/2014 22:28:49 MDT.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Avoiding nasty hiking partners... on 07/22/2014 22:53:38 MDT Print View

+1 on going solo.

If I go with anyone other than my wife, I make sure there is no shared food or gear between us. My kit has everything I need to go solo at any time.

I have literally told a partner "This isn't working. I'm going on alone." and did just that.

I hike for fun. When it stops being fun, I either get off the trail or make a major change in the situation.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Avoiding nasty hiking partners... on 07/23/2014 07:05:57 MDT Print View

What is a rattlesnake personality? You must have some kind of story to tell about that.

I usually hike alone or with an Eeyore personality. The Eeyore thing got so bad the last time I said "I'm going to put you out of your misery and relieve you of having to keep up with me." Hmm, maybe I'm the horrible personality and he was happy to see me go.

Kat ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Same as any other social interaction on 07/23/2014 07:31:08 MDT Print View

If you are not going alone, then it's the same as with any other social interaction: try to get along, tolerate what you can, know you are not perfect either, remove yourself from the situation if the above are not enough.

Not sure if the OP was looking to hear about others that decided to forgo a trip, or for suggestions on how to deal with "nasty" people.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Avoiding nasty hiking partners... on 07/23/2014 09:06:16 MDT Print View

"" I have literally told a partner "This isn't working. I'm going on alone." and did just that. ""

I have never and would never do this. Maybe this comes from my climbing background, but abandoning someone in the middle of project should simply not be done.
You are at least 50% at fault for not properly "vetting" this partner before the thing even started.

Keeping your trips to 4 or less people, that you know, is a pretty easy way to avoid issues. Of course even friends can have it out with each other when things get rough.

Those who solve this problem by going Solo are probably the ones unwilling to compromise to make things work, think about it ...

The three C's of all relationships :


Edited by asandh on 07/23/2014 09:16:45 MDT.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 07/23/2014 10:55:32 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 06/24/2015 11:55:39 MDT.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
Communication? on 07/23/2014 11:35:25 MDT Print View

I mean maybe I'm the only one who thinks this way, but why did you just "take" the attitude and not have a discussion with said person? Normal human beings aren't afraid of communicating and can take feedback well. There's nothing wrong with politely asking someone to act differently, or curtail the negativity. That's what I would have done. As it is you've assigned this person quite a lot of "power" over you that isn't necessary. For you to have to cancel a trip like that over your fears of this person seems more like a reflection of you than them. And by no means is this an attack on you - I support you and the way you feel. But its much more important to learn how to have discussions like this with people and attempt to resolve whatever issues are there... maybe others agree with you and you'd be doing the entire group a favor! Even if not, you should state your feelings, so that the other person, who may not be able to read your mind, can adjust. That's group dynamics. Slinking off alone or being upset about it doesn't help them, doesn't help you, and doesn't help the group. If you feel its too difficult to do this, then maybe you should be solo hiking or sticking to just a small group of people you know you can deal with. But I think you'd be better off confronting said individual in a respectful manner. I've done this with others before, as they've done it with me. The result is ALWAYS better than letting it brew...

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Agree on 07/23/2014 11:45:33 MDT Print View

I agree with Adam. Before avoiding (i.e. writing off) anyone, why not have a respectful discussion first? Good things can come out of this. And if not? You really haven't lost anything. So, well worth a try.