Nicely expressed sentiments regarding those whose principal function in the outdoors is to patronise the REI/MEC etc etc "adventure clothing" department - the most popular section of the store and most efficient revenue generator for sure - thereby making the rest of the stuff more affordable for the likes of us. They have their uses Bob.
I met a similar bunch on Mt Thielsen who firmly believed that the last 50 metres Class 4 scramble to the summit wasn't significant enough to signal that they hadn't summited the mountain. Given Thielsen's topography the glorious pun "you're missing the point" was wonderfully appropriate.
Come to the Island. Dive into the bush. Leave the madding crowd behind.
Keep the great stories coming at all costs.
I'll have to settle for Montana this summer, but almost everything I'm planning will take me far from that madding crowd. Thinking of the trip dominates my waking hours.
Funny story about Thielsen. Someone should write a book about moments like that.
Thanks for the read and the supportive words, Martin.
Bob, as usual, nice commentary. I am currently working on a trip report for my trip up Angels in 12/2006. I amazingly was on the summit alone.
As for going back to the same spot on a regular basis - my last count had me up the Chimneys in the Smokies 16 times. The majority of those hikes I have had the summit alone (or with my hiking partners). A very very early start helps!!! I go back because it is my favorite spot in the Smokies (when I have the place to myself).
Deep down, I'm a selfish brat. I don't like sharing summits with the masses. Therefore I hike at rather strange times of the day and year.
I feel about Old Rag here in VA the way you do about the Chimneys. I go on the coldest days, weekdays if I can. And then, if I start early enough, I do have it to myself, at least heading up.
Hats off to you for admitting what many of us feel: we don't like sharing summits.
Let me know when you post your own Angels Landing TR.
I just got back from a trip to Utah, including Zion. I didn't hike up Angles Landing, but some of the folks I was with did. Your description of the unprepared folks hiking up totally matches their descriptions. Flip flops, shorts, short skirts, trench coats, no water...Anyway, it is on my list for the next visit, crowded or not.
Amazing, isn't it, some of the people you see? I sometimes read those reports of crazy deaths, accidents, and rescues that you just can't believe, and then I think of places like Angels Landing, and I believe.
Anyway, when you go, head up early in the morning or late in the afternoon (views are better in the afternoon because of the lighting). It's not the trail crowds that are so bad; they're amusing more than anything else. It's the slow groups you can encounter along the scrambling route to the summit. I just went around them the last time, but doing that does increase your exposure a bit.
I did this climb last week. It was amazing. As it was after Labor Day, it was not crowded at all, and we only had to pass 4 folks going up while we were going down. That said, we did go in the afternoon. It was over 90, but not a tremendously hot day. It was mentally challenging more than physically challenging. I did remark to my BF, that I thought it was amazing that we could just hike up here and do this...but I was really happy we had that choice.
I always do hot summer hikes in a Patagonia dress. Either a wool one or a high-tech fabric. Dresses and skirts are often the most comfortable way to take on the summer heat. Thus not everyone wearing a skirt or dress is unprepared....it all depends on what you like to wear. I wouldn't hike without my Tilley sun hat, either!