Leaving the masses behind

balzaccom

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Sep 30, 2014
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605
We have had some discussions recently about the wisdom of posting all of our trip reports--especially the ones that point people to those out of the way corners that have yet to be discovered by the great social media masses. Fair enough. We can certainly share their concern that every secret corner will someday be mobbed by a multitude seeking a selfie.

So we decided this time to just post some of the ways you can find a little solitude in the Sierra...

Get off the internet. If you want to escape the crowds, get your information somewhere else.

Get on the internet. Search the web for less used trailheads, difficult passes, and tough climbs.

Get out the Map. You just might discover that little lake only a half-mile off the main trail.

Avoid trails that have "trademarked" names: PCT. JMT, HST, etc.

Go Early. You will likely see far fewer people.

Go Late. late in the season or late in the day, there are fewer people about.

Go Middle of the Week. And avoid those big crowds.

Go up. The tougher the climb, the most likely that most people will choose another route.

Go Long. Hike in an extra day, and you'll have the place to yourself

Camp away from water. That granite knob above the lake will have great views, and far fewer mosquitoes.

Go Off Trail. And leave the foot traffic behind.

The full article is here:


So what did we miss, or what did we get wrong?
 

regehr

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Mar 28, 2012
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great advice, and of course not at all Sierra-specific :). camping away from water is one of my favorite tricks.

I'd add a few items such as:
  • just like staying off big-name trails, stay out of the popular parts of big-name areas (national parks etc)
  • be willing to do a longer, tougher drive than most people are
  • when you get home, just shut up instead of posting a TR, and if you must post a TR don't include GPS tracks, or else that excellent campsite is going to have a fire ring next time you visit
 

Jackson

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I always take major issue with the conclusion that by not geotagging or by discouraging geotagging, you're being elitist or that it's making things somehow not "accessible" (to use the words of the author) to others. The public land is still public. Caltopo is free. The internet is full of searchable information and super easy-to-use sites like Alltrails. Why is it anyone's affirmative duty to disclose the locations of the places they have used a lot of their own time to find, plan for, and physically get to?

I'm happy to teach people how to read maps, route find, and use all the resources at their disposal to find cool places to go. That's going to serve them much better and provide them much more "access" than me telling everyone exactly where I spent the night on my last backpacking trip.
 

balzaccom

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Sep 30, 2014
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I think the first two are specifically covered in the original post, regehr!

As for the last point...

If you post ONE TR, and swear that this is the one trip, and the one perfect campsite you have to experience in the Sierra, then I agree with you.

If you post 150 TRs and encourage people to explore all of them, I think that's a different kettle of fish entirely. That ends up encouraging people to do some research, plan for themselves, and find their own trails.
 

Nethos

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Feb 23, 2017
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I always take major issue with the conclusion that by not geotagging or by discouraging geotagging, you're being elitist or that it's making things somehow not "accessible" (to use the words of the author) to others.

I'm not sure the author is making the argument FOR geotagging, but against the discouraging of geotagging.

The argument against discouraging others from geotagging is that it is gatekeeping. It positions you(I'm using this word as a general term) in a position of power over the collective(we/the community) as knowing what is best for an individual area, feature, what have you. It's a control issue. These are public lands, set aside for everyone's use as part of the commons. The argument goes that more use by all of us increases awareness of their public good, which in turn causes people to work towards funding their protection and increasing their availability. I'm not sure anyone is arguing that you should be forced to cough up whatever secret info you've got, just that folks who do decide to share that information should be allowed to without being harassed or told they're doing something wrong. Yes. Even at your favorite secret petroglyph panel.




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I use th old map n compass…if I go to a particular place like last year n like it , I tell people.. as I am doin now. I loved backpacking in Yellowstone with Scatman n th guys last year!

Seriously, whether we like it or not, th geotagging issue won’t go away. There are ONLY two types that head out into th wilderness:

1. those that THINK they are knowledgeable and prepared and aren’t…

2. those that are….

Sadly it seems the majority these days fall into th first group.
 

Kmatjhwy

Wilderness Wanderer
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Sep 23, 2016
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Now Social Media is a thing for when one is in town in my opinion. When in the backcountry leave all of your techno devices at home in my opinion. As for myself, I go the old fashioned way with some maps and just going where the heart leads rather on trail or offtrail. Back in the Absarokas, and in fact many places, easy to get away from many people. Deep in the wilds think there are many places to be by one's lonesome if one so desires. Do think in this age may people cannot dis connect from their techno devices. In the Absarokas, I would easily go one or two weeks not seeing anyone. Still many good wild and empty places out there. Go For It!
 

OldBill

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Aug 18, 2015
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The trend is certainly to electronically record and distribute details of many trips. Don't see that stopping. On harder routes, I appreciate knowing some details about the safer options, decent camping areas. But I also know my limits. Don't mind posting general routes, though I do keep details about specific golden trout lakes off public forums. My Caltopo maps on my phone are to check position as a few times the compass has aligned up with a parallel vector up the wrong canyon!
 

Rockskipper

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I find that my route finding skills are better with no maps or compass or anything besides my own senses. It keeps me alert and paying attention. It also helps if you don't really have a destination in mind but just enjoy the experience. There are usually enough landmarks around to find your way out and back. Longer multi-day/week trips might be more of a challenge. It's kind of like never using anything with perfumes in it, your nose becomes much more sensitive.
 

Rockskipper

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I should have mentioned that most of my hiking is in the desert, not in forests. Easy to get lost in forests, been there, done that.
 

ImNotDedYet

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Messages
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I'm not sure the author is making the argument FOR geotagging, but against the discouraging of geotagging.

The argument against discouraging others from geotagging is that it is gatekeeping. It positions you(I'm using this word as a general term) in a position of power over the collective(we/the community) as knowing what is best for an individual area, feature, what have you. It's a control issue. These are public lands, set aside for everyone's use as part of the commons. The argument goes that more use by all of us increases awareness of their public good, which in turn causes people to work towards funding their protection and increasing their availability. I'm not sure anyone is arguing that you should be forced to cough up whatever secret info you've got, just that folks who do decide to share that information should be allowed to without being harassed or told they're doing something wrong. Yes. Even at your favorite secret petroglyph panel.




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It is gatekeeping, though not the negative term as it's used today.

Most of what I find in the natural world is done via exploration or a LOT of research - either online or books or a combination of both. There's nothing stopping others from doing the same. But if you make it more difficult to find these locations, it will keep the masses that are most likely to not care for it the way it should be, away. If there was less proof of people being complete idiots to natural places, I'd feel less inclined to keep quiet about the true location.

The people who do the research to find a location are far less inclined to treat the location harshly. Those that want to mistreat a location will hardly ever go out of their way to do research to find a place. Convenience and simplicity is for this kind of person.

I have zero power over anyone other than I kind of like the research aspect of it. And that, I'd argue, is not power, but rather an odd enjoyment of something that's really tedious and at times painful.

More use by all of us has not kept people from spray painting or carving graffiti on sandstone in Arches National Park, and that's one of the most well-known places out west - highly used by the public.

There are very few secrets left these days. I know I don't have any, but I have spots I won't tell the exact location other than the wilderness area, national forest, national park, etc. If people want to tell how to get to a certain location, that's on them. I'm not going to get on him/her for that, but I'm also not going to defend the person because making it easy for those people intent on harming a location just plays into the possibility of the long-term destruction of the place.
 

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