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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Default Carthew Alderson Trail

Did the Carthew-Alderson Trail last weekend.

To those from Club Tread who recommended it as better than Crypt Lake, I agree whole-heartedly. Thanks for the suggestion.

To those who suggested it would be fine for a legally-blind person with only a small portion of her sight left, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? Please consider charging yourselves with criminal negligence, or at least gross incompetence. One misstep of even a few centimetres on the scree slope traverses or some of the harder descents would have led to a catastrophic fall.

Hasn't anybody considered that the opinions everyone tosses out so blithely on these forums might actually get someone killed?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 11:23 AM
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You asked for opinions, and you got them.

Your opinion differs from theirs.

Did you even bring up "legally-blind" when you asked originally?
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I did, Tu. I said she was blind and added that what vision she had was extremely limited.

I didn't ask for opinions, anyway.

I asked, from those who knew the trail, whether it would be safe to take a blind person up there. That's a request asking for careful consideration, not opinion, with quite a large presumption that those answering would be doing so with some sense of their responsibility.

Fortunately, I took into account the somewhat nominal experience of those who answered on CT, did some more research on my own (including talking to some of the guides I know who work in Waterton), and chose to err on the side of caution. That's not an opinion. That's careful and conscientious research, consideration of the information available about the trail, and of the abilities of the person I was thinking of taking.

Nice thing about the internet - no responsibility, full anonymity, and no qualifications or experience required.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 12:55 PM
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You talking about this thread Peter?

https://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topi...rthew,alderson

All apologies I mislead you in any way.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 01:18 PM
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You initially said "low vision". A rather vague description of her vision.

In the end you did the right thing by assessing your clients ability first hand and I presume not taking her on the hike. So what is the big deal. You did your job a group leader.

You are very presumptuous about the ability and experience of other posters.





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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by peter1955


Fortunately, I took into account the somewhat nominal experience of those who answered on CT, did some more research on my own (including talking to some of the guides I know who work in Waterton), and chose to err on the side of caution. That's not an opinion. That's careful and conscientious research, consideration of the information available about the trail, and of the abilities of the person I was thinking of taking.
That pretty much means you're an excellent trip leader.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 04:10 PM
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Having read the old thread, I certainly would not have taken "legally blind, has only a tiny bit of sight" out of "low vision, and needs to avoid narrow bits, or ankle-breaking terrain". You can hardly blame others for not perfectly understanding unclear terminology.

As for the dangers of the trail, Clayton and I both gave you photosets including photos of he trail so that you could judge for yourself, and suggested that most of the trail was pretty solid, and there were a few particular sections where some assistance could be required. Are you suggesting that the photos we showed you were deliberately evasive, or that we showed you only good parts?
Unless the trail has narrowed significantly in the six years since I've been, neither my photos nor my memory can come up with any places where stepping off a few centimetres could kill a person. But then, as evidenced by our differing opinions on the Crypt Lake trail, different people have very different ideas of what makes a wide trail or not. Hence, giving you the photos to judge for yourself (and let the woman judge for herself, as you mentioned in the thread).

As for opinions as to what a legally blind person can do (now that we're discussing that specific), Andrew Nugara's brother and prime scrambling/mountaineering partner is legally blind. And it's him in many of their photos. So again, opinions differ.

And of course you asked for opinions as to whether it was doable. All anyone can offer is an opinion based on their careful consideration. All a mountain guide who hikes the trail every day can give you is his opinion. There is no grand truth as to whether or not a person with condition x can do activity y.


As for 'getting someone killed', no opinion can do that. If I told you that the coolest hike I knew to take your completely-blind friend was straight up the Athabasca Glacier, I still can't get her killed. The only thing that can get a person killed is when a person makes poor choices, or when the person another has put their trust into (if, say, said person can't see well and thus hikes with someone else to help) makes poor choices.
If you had done the hike with her, you would have started off on the trail. Then, if it got to a point where you looked ahead and thought it was way too narrow to be safe, you would turn around. Disappointment from poor beta, sure. Death? No. Death only happens if you realize you have poor beta and choose to go on in something you think dangerous anyways.

And in this case, you didn't even get simply poor beta. You got experience-based opinions that differ from your own as to the doability of a trail for a person of vaguely-described sight. You took those opinions and others, and decided that it was better not to do the trail. That's perfectly reasonable.

There's only so much you can expect other people to do for you. Even if you did wisely take the responsibility of making your own call, blaming other people for the potentially poor consequences if you had failed to do your job is silly.



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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 05:16 PM
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A number of years ago I went x-country skiing on several loppets with a group of friends, one whom was legally blind. This fellow had skied all his life, but his vision deteriorated as he got older. Fortunately he had a great feel for the trail from all his years of skiing. Never-the-less he had a few falls and the group had to ski as a team to help support him during the ski tour. He did very well considering the loppets were on rolling terrain with some tight corners at the bottom of hills etc.


So the term legally blind or visually impaired may or may not be a good indication if a person should undertake an activity. It depends on all kinds of factors and the kind of supports that are in place.


This fellow skier was fairly hard-core and I doubt much would hold him back as long as he could have a support crew and get a ride to the trail head. He is now a very senior citizen and still skiing loppets.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-22-2012, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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I've learned that much of the information on CT is flawed in some way. TRs tend to be more accurate, just because they're usually written when the trip is fresh in the OP's mind.

Other than that, the rest is just opinion. Everybody has one, and 95% of them are pretty much worthless. I give myself credit for taking that into account and NOT doing what was suggested until I'd cross-checked it.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-22-2012, 11:02 AM
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Peter, are people paying for you to guide them on these trips?
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 08-22-2012, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by peter1955

I've learned that much of the information on CT is flawed in some way. TRs tend to be more accurate, just because they're usually written when the trip is fresh in the OP's mind.
Other than that, the rest is just opinion. Everybody has one, and 95% of them are pretty much worthless. I give myself credit for taking that into account and NOT doing what was suggested until I'd cross-checked it.
Opinions aren't worthless. They simply aren't the same as facts.
Much of the information isn't flawed. It's just opinion that disagrees with your own. There is relativity here. Yes, you have to make your own decisions based on as much information as you can gather - that's standard. but if you don't agree with an opinion someone else gives you as part of your information-gathering, that makes your opinion different. It doesn't make theirs wrong.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 08-22-2012, 08:06 PM
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That's a good thing that everyone's experience is slightly different and therefore expresses a different opinion of a hike. How boring life would be if we were all identical in our perception and experience of the world around us.

Should I assume that 95% of the opinions on your (over 2400) postings as worthless. You should give yourself more credit!
I value your opinions.


But in the end, regarding safety issues, there are lots of factor to consider as a trip leader. Most of the factors to consider are not factual, but very subjective. Such as how much water to take, should I were boots or trail shoes, what is the weather going to do are the mosquitoes bad?

If I was in a position where I was carrying a lot of responsibility as a group leader, hiking the trail before taking a group out is probably the best thing to do to prepare.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 09-08-2012, 08:26 PM
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I've been on that trail quite a few times since I was 3 years old or so. As a very young child, I remember being nervous in a spot or two before you get up to the pass. As an older child I did my best to tumble down the shale. While it looks steep, I could never tumble very far before slowing down. That was where I finally gained my confidence for how far you could and couldn't go when falling on talus.

Now that a few shortcuts are devoid of talus you could certainly scrape yourself a bit due to the lack of sliding rock cushions, but I have a hard time imagining any terrain along the trail even comes close to deadly. If you froze up when you tumbled, I'm sure you could knock your head and have a freak accident (just like you would on concrete), but then if unexpected trips are a risk a bike helmet tremendously minimizes that type of freak fatality.

I vaguely recollect a horse falling down the backside sometime in the mid 70's. I can't recollect how far it went (1/3 of the way?). While details are quite foggy, I seem to recall they got it back up to the trail, walked out but had permanent injuries. I think the rider jumped off as it tripped (or jumped off due to nerves and aiding in pushing the horse off).

I do remember more than a few flatlanders from US mid west freezing up on the shale slopes, convinced they were close to vertical. Perceptions do funny things when the psyche is challenged.

The Crypt trail has many more risks.

When asking for risk assessments people have vastly different level of tolerances. If things look bad, it really is only a minor inconvenience to turn around. Long lived climbers tend to do that all the time.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Sodbuster

Peter, are people paying for you to guide them on these trips?
Much as expected, no reply.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 02:37 PM
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And now at least three opinions that it would be doable with care.
Definitely sounds to me like Peter's opinion depends on a more cautious comfort level - and not that everyone else is an idiot with wrong opinions.
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