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Giving up and unfit friends..

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Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby Xeno » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:49 pm

Greetings,

Im just here to share my experience on the haute route (chamonix-zermatt)...

I left for the haute route on the 30th of june with my friend (we used his car).

After getting a flat tire thanks to bad visibility in the evening and road works in chamonix, we left the day after in the afternoon to argientiere after getting the tire replaced (around 3pm).

Because this was the first time me and my friend were trekking for such a long period with a tent (i have done multi day treks in the past with my parents, even in the mustang in the himalayas..but never by tent),
we brought to much food...the weight i was carrying was around 25kg, while my friend was carrying 15kg...since he argued that i was bigger i should carry more...

Even so, with me carrying 10 more kg, my friend was slacking behind and taking way to much breaks. We had to set up camp for the night on a mountain side in the forest between chamonix and argientiere.

We tried to empty some of the more heavy food (mostly canned food) to reduce our weight.

Next day we set out to trient to cross the col de balme.

Again because my friend took to much breaks, and even became angry with me because i told him that if we were to make trient we needed to pick up pace, we ended up sleeping on the decent to trient after crossing col de balme, right above the forest barrier (not sure what the english word for this is).

During that night there was a heavy rainstorm, and this is where my friend really became unpleasant to travel with.

He began saying that he needed a shower, that we needed to stop for a few days, that he couldnt stand the stickyness of his own sweat (if you dont like sweat you should not be hiking...).

The day after we continued the decent to trient, after he complained about all his camping gear being wet and that we needed to stop to let it dry (he never went camping in the rain???).

It was only around 1 pm that we reached trient, i had hoped we would have arrived many hours earlier so that we could still attempt to cross the hardest part on the route, le fenetre d'arpette.

By this point i was very frustrated, i had bad sleep because he woke me up during the night saying i was snorring in my sleep. and the fact that he had to take a break only 15min after we began walking to "cut his fingernails and look into a portable mirror if his hair was still alright". And again, when nearly reaching trient he had to stop for almost an hour to let his stuff dry and re-organise his backpack.

If this was not enough, he decided to check in with a hotel at only 1pm and stay there for the rest of the day. Which basically ment that we spent two days on a one day hike. It was also a pretty expensive joke, 65 euro for one night after we spent many many euros on camping gear and trekking clothes (Im trying to get my own business off the ground...so i dont have tons of money to throw away).

The next day he simply decided to go back to chamonix and drive back to belgium with his car. He left me no choice, either continue alone with my transport back home gone, or go with him.

I decided to go on alone, i needed to try it, i wouldnt have been able to go home after only doing the easiest part of the hike. Thing was...my cellphone was running low and i didnt have a charger. Even though, i pressed on.

The hike to le fenetre d'arpette goes from 1200 meters up to 2600 meters and back to 1300 something (if i recall right). I started off at around 10pm after leaving my friend at the bus stop. It was very heavy with my backpack still being around 17-20kg. At around 4pm i made it to the top. By then my water reserve had run out, i had a very painfull headache, i kept feeling dehydrated, my skin was burned because my friend took the suncreme with him...and i even put some snow in my waterbottle...hoping it would melt soon so i could have some water...

There was still snow on the decent, and being already late on the day there were no people around anymore. i slipped a few times, but managed to arrest my fall by forcing my walking sticks into the snow. But it was scary because it was the first time being on snow in the mountains...let alone descending a steep slope on it. At around 7pm i made it to champex. I felt terrible, headache, thirsty, it didnt matter how much water i tried to drink, i kept feeling dehydrated.

The day after i walked to le chable. This was my last change to take the train to martigny and retreat before spending many days in the high mountains with little transport options. Also having left the tour de mont blanc ment alot less people around.

With my cellphone almost dead, i called my father, arranged a ticket from geneva to belgium the next day. Took the bus to martingy, and a day later i was back home. I made the decision because of the headache, fear that i might have suffered a minor heat stroke and wasnt judging well enough anymore, and the fact that my cellphone was nearly dead, which ment if i had an accident in the mountains, i had no way to contact the outside world, or for the same matter organise my transport back to belgium, since this was the first time i went trekking without my parents and was about clueless about getting an airplane reservation without cellphone or internet.

Back home now, although in the end i am happy i did the "most demanding part" of the route, atleast according to kev reynolds book. I really feel that i gave up for no good reason. I really hate giving up, and i look forward to the day i can go back to the mountains again and finish this unfinished business.

Im not sure, did i make the right call? Or did i give up to easily?

I know for a fact, that even with the pain and uncomfort during the trek, i am inspired even more then before to take up climbing school (thats what they call it in belgium) and learn more about the technical stuff and try to get into actual mountaineering....and hopefully meet people who i can rely on and dont give up after a few days of hiking.

I probably sound like a noob compared to the stuff you guys do! But i just feel i had to share this story..thanks for reading this wall of text. I will answer the call of the mountains again soon....better prepared.

Anyway, feel free to share similar stories, or give me some advice.
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Re: Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby willytinawin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:49 pm

Finding a compatible hiking or climbing partner is not an easy endeavor. Go with someone stronger and your tongue is hanging out as you try to keep up. Go with someone slower and you spend a lot of time waiting around.

Try to get to know someone first, and do easy things together first before committing to an elaborate trip. Also keep in mind that doing trips with other people always involves give and take. It's best to do easy things near the car and develop a friendship before doing a big trip with other(s).

Lastly, you can always go alone. It is riskier in the sense that you are on your own if trouble develops. But there is nothing freer that I know of then heading into the mountains alone. It is only bested by going to the mountains with a good friend.
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Re: Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby jesu, joy of man's desiring » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:59 pm

Next time leave the canned food behind and give your friend a sponge bath
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Re: Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby Xeno » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:26 pm

willytinawin wrote:Finding a compatible hiking or climbing partner is not an easy endeavor. Go with someone stronger and your tongue is hanging out as you try to keep up. Go with someone slower and you spend a lot of time waiting around.

Try to get to know someone first, and do easy things together first before committing to an elaborate trip. Also keep in mind that doing trips with other people always involves give and take. It's best to do easy things near the car and develop a friendship before doing a big trip with other(s).

Lastly, you can always go alone. It is riskier in the sense that you are on your own if trouble develops. But there is nothing freer that I know of then heading into the mountains alone. It is only bested by going to the mountains with a good friend.


Yea true. I thought i knew him...he does alot of weightlifting...not that he lifts impressive amounts..but he would always boast about how fit he is.. so really there was no doubt in my mind that he could handle it. I think it was mostly a mental thing.. he really didnt even seem to be pushing himself. I also go running alot, up to 20k if i have a good day, the fatigue you have to endure is very similar to mountain hiking...i guess if you experience that kind of exhaustion for the first time..it might be hard to push yourself even further.. I dont know... or perhaps some people are just made from a different material. I guess he just wanted to chill and look at the mountains...but should have told me that before we decided to take the haute route...

Its a shame that this probably ruined our friendship, but certainly it has been a valuable lesson...looking forward to join the local mountaineering club here in belgium soon and meeting some likeminded people...

Also trekking alone sounds like a nice idea......ill probably attempt the haute route again very soon...just need to make sure i dont forget my cellphone charger and book a flight back in advance! It did give an extra sense of adventure when i left my friend behind!

@jesu, joy of man's desiring

Never again canned food.....never haha. I feel like the biggest idiot right now after having carried a week of canned food supplies around in the mountains.

Also, for washing...alpine rivers and streams are the best! What else does a man need...mountain streams to drink and wash from, dried meat (and canned food) and some of the most amazing views. I dont understand why some people need hotels, hot showers and proper food...ofcourse its more comfortable..but you can do all off those things at home, you dont experience something else... and that is why people should go outdoors...to experience new things... its like my sister...she also went to the alps..but it was to cold for her..so she went further down into italy to go to some warm beach after only one day...i mean...comeon...
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Re: Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby surgent » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:24 am

It's all about the stories :). You've had one trek/climb and now have a good story to go along with it. That's a good ratio so far.

If you go alone, and you should definitely consider it for some hikes, just leave a detailed itinerary with someone you can trust, and a definite time by which you expect to be done and available to call your contact person ... otherwise, they should be expected call out the searchers. I imagine certain things are universal in this regard.
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Re: Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby WyomingSummits » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:29 am

No disrespect intended.....but with a piddly 15k pack, the guy was just not there mentally. There is no way someone with even moderate fitness would wilt that quickly with 15 kilos. Like you said, if you don't like sweat then he's in the wrong activity. Maybe he'd like knitting?
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Re: Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby Xeno » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:25 am

surgent wrote:It's all about the stories :). You've had one trek/climb and now have a good story to go along with it. That's a good ratio so far.

If you go alone, and you should definitely consider it for some hikes, just leave a detailed itinerary with someone you can trust, and a definite time by which you expect to be done and available to call your contact person ... otherwise, they should be expected call out the searchers. I imagine certain things are universal in this regard.


Yea its true, im not entirely disappointed. I saw some of the biggest mountains in europe, climbed alongside the crazy trient glacier...and even fell into the snow! Its definitely an experience that will stick with me for the rest of my life!
And now that i know the area, finding my way around by public transport wont be an issue in the future..so that opens up alot of possibilities.

And thanks for the advice, having seen two people faint in the mountains in only a week...i can understand why simple safety measures like that are important...especially when alone.

@WyomingSummits

Yea indeed.. i saw a 70 year old woman walking uphill with a bigger backpack then him.. although she seemed to be struggling very hard..didnt see her complaining. When my friend stopped on the middle of the mountainpath and took out his pocket scissors to cut his fingernails..and afterwards took in a small mirror..i seriously contemplated for atleast half an hour if i should not call him "princess" from now on..but guess that joke would only have been funny to me.
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Re: Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby jesu, joy of man's desiring » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:00 pm

Your friend kept stopping to look at his hairstyle in a portable mirror? Then checked into a hotel to dry his hair? He sounds truly weird.
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Re: Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby Kai » Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:43 pm

Doesn't sound like your friend is into suffering. Suffering is a component of long ski tours and alpine climbing. He's not a compatible partner for those sorts of activities. Go cragging with this friend, and spend a day skiing at the resort with him. Don't take him on any more multi-day trips or alpine climbs.

a 25 kg pack is too heavy. 15kg is actually too heavy. I don't know what you guys were packing (other than canned food, which is not the right food for a multi-day trip) but you clearly didn't make the right choices regarding your gear. 12kg is probably the maximum your packs should weigh, and you probably could/should have gone even lighter.
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Re: Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby Xeno » Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:16 pm

jesu, joy of man's desiring wrote:Your friend kept stopping to look at his hairstyle in a portable mirror? Then checked into a hotel to dry his hair? He sounds truly weird.


Strange thing is that he "became" like that in the mountains..never knew him like that before...(maybe he had a stroke or something)...guess the mountains really reveal someone's true self...

@kai

Yea true. but its just weird, he would be the guy hating on all the mainstream tourists going to the beach and tourist hotspots...wanting to do something different like hiking in the mountains..but in the end, it almost felt like he was scared because he was out of his comfort zone. Anyway..i probably should just respect the fact that he is not someone to push his limits, if everyone wanted to push their limits and do crazy things..the mountains would become like the overcrowded beaches..thank god for people like my friend :)

Also. my pack without food was 8kg...my friend's pack without food was around 13kg...so yea, i ended up being a mule carrying all the food...not that i mind it that much, it was hard, but it was a challenge. But next time ill be smarter about it haha...

The instant soup and the dried meat were pretty good, ill probably go with something like that next time. Or what kind of food do you guys usually take with you? I saw a video about a guy climbing Everest...all he packed was things like cookies and sugary stuff :D.
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Re: Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby nartreb » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:24 pm

A lot of the weight and bulk in foods comes from the packaging, as you've noticed. Plan your meals in advance, measure out each dish into sealed plastic bags, and you'll make a huge improvement. The basic idea is to take stuff that won't spoil or get crushed, that contains lots of calories (fats are your friend!), and that doesn't take too long to cook (because you have to carry the fuel, and because you don't want to wait an hour for breakfast if you're heading up a glacier before dawn). Instant rice or instant noodles, hard sausage, powdered eggs, powdered milk, vegetable oil, peanut butter are all good backpacking foods. But it's more important to take food that you like. It does you no good if you don't eat it. Bring your favorite spices and sauces, and make sure you have a variety from day to day. [Frites a la Belge le premier jour, frites allumettes le second? ;) ]

Sugary foods are quickly metabolized into energy, but that doesn't last, and it's not very easy to match your sugar intake to your rate of exercise. You want a mix: some sugar (especially during or just before exercise), some complex carbohydrates (which are easily converted to sugar), some fats (highest energy:weight ratio, but slowest to digest), some protein (mostly because it's yummy).

Bring sugary snacks to eat as you walk (granola bars, for example), and keep some very salty snacks handy too (if you feel cramps starting, nibbling some salt will often cure you). And carry lots of water and drink more than you did. Try adding a little flavor to your water: sugar, lemon juice, tea, whatever you like. Load up on the carbohydrates and fats during your sit-down meals.

If you buy commercial freeze-dried meals or instant soups, be aware of the salt content. You need some salt to replace what you sweat, but many commercial brands add way too much. It's OK to eat one or two portions, but if you're hungry and eat double or triple for dinner, you'll regret it.
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Re: Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby jesu, joy of man's desiring » Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:53 am

-

a lot of time is also wasted when a hiker stops to "adjust" his hairstyle every 20 minutes

vvvvv

Image



on a serious note, Xeno, and I think someone already mentioned this...if you go alone or with a beginner, then of course you have to leave very detailed notes about where you are traveling in the mountains, right?

someone who cares about you has to know where you will about be each day of your trek, and once that is written you HAVE TO stay on that course! If there is a medical emergency then someone has to know where to come look for you! (you can't always trust cell phone coverage)

people these days don't tell relatives where they are going, and when the SHIT HITS THE FAN, then nobody has a clue where they are=TOTAL DISASTER!!!
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Re: Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby MoapaPk » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:37 pm

I know lots of small people (~45 kg) who don't ask for special treatment and often carry packs as heavy as mine (I'm a whopping 67 kg).

You've gotten lots of good advice for cutting food weight; if you are getting a sure source of water (from huts, streams) you can even dispense with the stove. My last three backpacks were stove-less. Just make sure you have food that you will WANT to eat at altitude, and will drink enough water.

I suspect the OP just needed to rant a little, about a (now former) friend. But to restate the advice above: you really need to vet people in a polite way, before a big undertaking. Maybe you can do it with polite questions to the friend's friends, or maybe with a few short trips. If you are just using the friend for transportation... well that is different moral issue.

It is worth waiting to get good outdoor partners. Otherwise there will be a bitterness in your memories of the event, and your main purpose in going -- to enjoy yourself -- is lost. We can also work on our own tolerance levels. I recall my blood pressure starting to boil as a friend folded and refolded his handkerchief, wasting precious minutes as a snowstorm moved in; then I thought to myself: if 10 minutes of kerchief folding makes that much difference, maybe I didn't plan the start time too well? It takes two to tango.
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Re: Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby Buz Groshong » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:44 pm

MoapaPk wrote:I know lots of small people (~45 kg) who don't ask for special treatment and often carry packs as heavy as mine (I'm a whopping 67 kg).

You've gotten lots of good advice for cutting food weight; if you are getting a sure source of water (from huts, streams) you can even dispense with the stove. My last three backpacks were stove-less. Just make sure you have food that you will WANT to eat at altitude, and will drink enough water.

I suspect the OP just needed to rant a little, about a (now former) friend. But to restate the advice above: you really need to vet people in a polite way, before a big undertaking. Maybe you can do it with polite questions to the friend's friends, or maybe with a few short trips. If you are just using the friend for transportation... well that is different moral issue.

It is worth waiting to get good outdoor partners. Otherwise there will be a bitterness in your memories of the event, and your main purpose in going -- to enjoy yourself -- is lost. We can also work on our own tolerance levels. I recall my blood pressure starting to boil as a friend folded and refolded his handkerchief, wasting precious minutes as a snowstorm moved in; then I thought to myself: if 10 minutes of kerchief folding makes that much difference, maybe I didn't plan the start time too well? It takes two to tango.


There's always going to be people who are a bit slower; If we can't deal with it we should be hiking alone rather than with others.
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Re: Giving up and unfit friends..

Postby Xeno » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:12 pm

nartreb wrote:A lot of the weight and bulk in foods comes from the packaging, as you've noticed. Plan your meals in advance, measure out each dish into sealed plastic bags, and you'll make a huge improvement. The basic idea is to take stuff that won't spoil or get crushed, that contains lots of calories (fats are your friend!), and that doesn't take too long to cook (because you have to carry the fuel, and because you don't want to wait an hour for breakfast if you're heading up a glacier before dawn). Instant rice or instant noodles, hard sausage, powdered eggs, powdered milk, vegetable oil, peanut butter are all good backpacking foods. But it's more important to take food that you like. It does you no good if you don't eat it. Bring your favorite spices and sauces, and make sure you have a variety from day to day. [Frites a la Belge le premier jour, frites allumettes le second? ;) ]

Sugary foods are quickly metabolized into energy, but that doesn't last, and it's not very easy to match your sugar intake to your rate of exercise. You want a mix: some sugar (especially during or just before exercise), some complex carbohydrates (which are easily converted to sugar), some fats (highest energy:weight ratio, but slowest to digest), some protein (mostly because it's yummy).

Bring sugary snacks to eat as you walk (granola bars, for example), and keep some very salty snacks handy too (if you feel cramps starting, nibbling some salt will often cure you). And carry lots of water and drink more than you did. Try adding a little flavor to your water: sugar, lemon juice, tea, whatever you like. Load up on the carbohydrates and fats during your sit-down meals.

If you buy commercial freeze-dried meals or instant soups, be aware of the salt content. You need some salt to replace what you sweat, but many commercial brands add way too much. It's OK to eat one or two portions, but if you're hungry and eat double or triple for dinner, you'll regret it.


Oh wow. thanks alot for this comprehensive post! Definitely going to be more mindful about the food i take with me next time, very informative!

@Moapakk

A whopping 67kg? im currently at 99kg..(1.88m) not that im that fat..just not skinny either. I really fear that mountaineering is not for me because of my weight... but still got to try it...still got until february before a new year of "climbing school" starts....time to start running again and losing some weight..

And yes. In retrospect there was really no reason to post this big rant on a forum...since its just that "a rant"...guess i needed to share my frustration.

And yes, im not perfect either, if i was more patient we would still be good friends now. Guess it was just hard for me because i was really fanatic about doing the entire haute route..and was really counting the days leading up to it.

Ill probably be trekking alone in the future...unless i meet someone who already has alot of trekking experience and can deal with my ranting and fanaticism.

Sorry for the rant guys!

To make the thread atleast somewhat useful. Something im really wondering about...why do you guys climb or hike mountains? and dont say....."because it's there" ... :D
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