Why solo hike? - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
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Default Why solo hike?

For so many years I have truly enjoyed reading post after post and enjoyed many a hiking adventure through the camera and words of many in this forum. The one thing that stands out though as alarming is the amount of people that solo hike despite this being a common warning of what not to do when you head into the wilderness and the frequency of so many lost and injured in the woods as a result of this very odd phenomen.

There are so many ways to find like minded hiking partners online and certainly, after a couple or 3 hikes you make new friends who are always open to an outdoor adventure. I get the solitude, I get the quiet, I don't get the risk factor for yourself nor that of those having to go look for solo people when they don't come back(that's if anyone was even alerted to you being gone somewhere?) I cant hardly think of anything I do that isn't more enjoyable in the company of someone e;

It's a free world, we outdoor gypsy's follow nature faithfully through many paths as part of how we love to live. Is solo hiking the end all to beat all really?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 03:29 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
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Originally Posted by grousegrinder View Post
There are so many ways to find like minded hiking partners online and certainly, after a couple or 3 hikes you make new friends who are always open to an outdoor adventure.
The problem is finding people with similar habits. I am not a strong hiker and cannot hike for hours on end. I'm also not your typical hiker who's goal is to make it to a certain destination all the time but likes to ramble around here and there; observing nature and taking photos. I also go to sleep very early and wake up early whereas most do the opposite. I am an early morning person who likes to start out hiking at 5 or 6 am (during summer).


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I get the solitude, I get the quiet, I don't get the risk factor for yourself nor that of those having to go look for solo people when they don't come back(that's if anyone was even alerted to you being gone somewhere?)
People get lost even hiking with a group. So far, I've never gotten lost after solo hiking for 37 years considering I've done a lot of bushwhacking. This is where preparation comes in. Although there are greater risks, I've become more aware of them while solo hiking.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 03:48 PM
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Well, it's February time, busy with work all day and then decide at 8pm to put up an all-nighter push for Wedge NE arete via a rarely-done Rethel Ridge approach for the next day. The method will be snowshoes (not skis). Leave home at midnight, start at trail-head 5 hours before sunrise, bushwhack all the way up in dark and the route estimate will be 15-16 hours... Good luck to find a volunteer to tag along...

Or. It's -20 and Christmas time, loaded with a 2-day pack with no clear destination in mind. It'll be one of the few. Would to drive up to Pemberton and decide randomly from there. Again, snowshoes, full on bushwhack. Would love to hear anyone else interested in this type of adventures...

Let along to match fitness, attitude, timing, work, family and all those last minute issues... In the Rockies we have the Kane's scrambles and then 11,000ers which no matter what type of scramblers/mountaineers you are, you're likely interested in. In the coast there isn't any list like that to group different people together...
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by solo75 View Post
The problem is finding people with similar habits. I am not a strong hiker and cannot hike for hours on end. I'm also not your typical hiker who's goal is to make it to a certain destination all the time but likes to ramble around here and there; observing nature and taking photos. I also go to sleep very early and wake up early whereas most do the opposite. I am an early morning person who likes to start out hiking at 5 or 6 am (during summer).


People get lost even hiking with a group. So far, I've never gotten lost after solo hiking for 37 years considering I've done a lot of bushwhacking. This is where preparation comes in. Although there are greater risks, I've become more aware of them while solo hiking.
For most of my hiking career the hikes consist of deciding last minute or at the least the night before to head out on a 10 hour non-stop hike with no stops for water breaks or lunch. I drink and snack on the fly and if I take any pictures I am probably still moving when I take the photo. Its hard to find those types as well although they do exist. I just never had a rolodex of good people that I could call on short notice that would want to go.


That doesn't mean I exclusively hike solo about it does amount to about 75% of the time. I would also comment that I don't believe it is any safer to hike in a group. It is not the number of people that matter but the preparation, planning, route taken, decision making and leaving your itinerary with someone just in case. Case in point, 2 snow shoers lost on Cypress. It didn't do any good to be in a group. Look at the SAR rescues, just as likely to be a group as an individual that they are looking for. In most cases it is a lack of preparation, planning, carrying the essentials, leaving a route plan with someone that gets people lost and then difficult to find them. Do not assume that it is safer travelling in groups. I have yet to see actual stats back that statement up.

if you're not hiking you should be skiing
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 04:01 PM
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Great points solo75.

I'll add that, in some cases at least, group trips are more hazardous - rockfall danger when scrambling lose gullies is one example, even in a very small group. Then for instance ad-hoc meetups, or even organized hiking clubs, where people don't know each other & besides potential for social issues there are also different abilities and levels of preparedness that can quickly turn whole thing into nightmare.

Some years back I was on a trip to Little Temple through Calgary Outdoor Club. A guy who should not be on the trip in the first place (not adequate equipment, level of fitness, etc) tumbled down grassy slope on descent. Disoriented. Couldn't move. Had to run to Louise warden office to get help. Whole trip that should have been awesome day out turned out to be a disaster.

That being said, I certainly don't advocate hiking alone, specially not for less experienced people or when venturing on multi-day trips far in the back-country. But if you know your abilities, if you don't take unnecessary risks, and if you are prepared (10 essentials, communication, leave whereabouts with friends, etc etc) solo hiking means enjoying level of freedom that is never possible in a group.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 04:01 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
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If I waited for other people to hike with I would never get out. Forty years ago I had some hiking friends but as time went by they all dropped to the wayside for one reason or another. Especially difficult if trips are last minute, like Stephen said, which most of mine are. My wife made me buy a Spot Locator a few years ago. That keeps her happy.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 10:22 PM
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I solo hike pretty much every day (retirement is great!) with my dog. I am sensible about it, if I know I will be going out of cell range I let someone know where I am going. Otherwise, what is the problem? I get to set the pace, stop when I want, take photos when I want, explore a side game trail if it looks interesting. I carry the 10 essentials.

I also hike with a group on Wednesdays, and I find that much more annoying than hiking by myself.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 10:22 PM
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I'm like Solo75. I have my own pace and my own way of doing things. I'm well prepared and trained. I always have enough gear and supplies to spend at least one night in the bush, considering the time of year. I do hike with a few, specific people when things work out but most times it's just me and my dog.

I've thought about the types of situations that could possibly come up where a hiking partner would literally "save my life" and they are quite unlikely....not impossible of course, but not likely.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 12:35 AM
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I've done a few solo trips over the years, including 10 day backpacking trips off trail solo. It's not something one just leaps into, it's something that you take the time to develop the skill sets that let you travel safely alone.

And there is just something about being out alone in the wilderness. Where the only human sounds are the sounds of my breathing, the sounds of my footsteps and even the sound of my own voice as I talk and sing to myself (something I discovered, after 3 days totally alone I have full-on conversations with myself). The wilderness just seems larger and somehow even more beautiful.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 09:15 AM
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I don't believe hiking alone is less (or more) safe than hiking in a group for the simple reason that I've never seen actual evidence for it. I've heard plenty of anecdotes, but the vast majority of accidents I've heard about involved groups and were caused by group think and other group dynamics. Then again, that's another anecdote.

Does anyone actually know of some real data that shows hiking alone is more dangerous than hiking in a group? I'm inclined to think it just seems intuitively more dangerous and so the idea has morphed into "fact", in much the same way that people think bears are more dangerous than the drive to the trailhead, even though the latter is far more likely to kill you.

I enjoy hiking alone as much as I do hiking with someone, but for different reasons, and believe both have their benefits and risks.
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