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New additions to the Mt. Olympus trail --- Huge Cairns??? --- Opinions?
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By Kyler R
From SLC
Jul 27, 2014
Castleton Tower
Check out this story....

fox13now.com/2014/07/26/mount-...

I am really split down the middle on this.

First off I know Mt. Olympus accounts for a very large sum of the SAR call outs each summer. I also believe that SAR is a service provided to the people and people should never be charged due to a mistake in the same way the fire department doesn't charge you when you make a mistake and catch your kitchen on fire.

However, I have hiked the Olympus trail numerous times and have never once thought the trail was vague and nondescript as to the proper path to take. These large cairns are an ugly and hideous eyesore on what is a beautiful area despite being literally at the edge of town and one of the most popular trails in the area.

I do fully support the vegetative barriers that were constructed on what I can only assume are illegal and extremely erosion prone "shortcuts". I do believe these illegally constructed shortcuts were the primary reason for lost hikers and feel as a hiking community we should have taken action to remove the shortcuts and then see what happened to the lost hiker rate.

I really wish that this was approached in a different way.

The way I was taught in the back country was to never make a cairn unless the ability to have a trail was "impossible". Such as above the vegetation line where you are in pure scree or boulders and a landmark is NOT visible in the distance. AND ONLY THEN you should make a cairn, not a huge tower several feet wide, but a small stack of rocks that will stand out just enough as a basic way point.

FLAG
By sfotex
From Sandy, UT
Jul 27, 2014
While it's too late to save Mount Olympus, I eagerly await your option on how the upcoming Division Wall adopt a crag should be done, and what you were taught about belay platforms.

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By Kyler R
From SLC
Jul 27, 2014
Castleton Tower
sfotex wrote:
While it's too late to save Mount Olympus, I eagerly await your option on how the upcoming Division Wall adopt a crag should be done, and what you were taught about belay platforms.



First off, Rule #1. Don't be a dick.

Secondly, just because an area is beyond saving, doesn't mean we should further destroy the area. There are many hikes and destinations I love far more than Olympus but that doesn't mean I want to see the area ruined in the name of "safety."

Third, I have never climbed there so an opinion on the needs of the area would be inappropriate.

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By sfotex
From Sandy, UT
Jul 27, 2014
Kyler R wrote:
First off, Rule #1. Don't be a dick.


Do you mean the person that sits at home and is critical of volunteers performing much needed trail work on a heavily used, unmaintained trail, or the person that points out that the original poster is being a dick?

Why don't you go up there and see what was done before offering up your option?

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By tenesmus
Jul 28, 2014
sfotex wrote:
Do you mean the person that sits at home and is critical of volunteers performing much needed trail work on a heavily used, unmaintained trail, or the person that points out that the original poster is being a dick? Why don't you go up there and see what was done before offering up your option?


Classic. And well said.

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By Spencer Weiler
From SLC, UT
Jul 28, 2014
adf
First of all, I also have never had an issue following the olympus trail, although the top scrambly section could confuse your average first time non-climber. However, I think with or without this cairns people are still likely to get lost. Some people aren't prepared, so they get lost. Cairns are used all over the place for directional purposes, and are very useful. These might be totally overkill as far as sizing goes, but it won't ruin my experience.

Bottom line: I'm not a huge fan of them, but I won't go destroy them either.

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By Austin Baird
From SLC, Utah
Jul 28, 2014
Me scaring years off my mom's life
Just saw those pictures. WOW. My wilderness experience on Olympus is RUINED now. Might as well stay inside and do some e-hiking on the Nintendo Wii.

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By Ty Gregory
From Salt Lake City
Jul 29, 2014
well . . .
well . . .

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By Ty Gregory
From Salt Lake City
Jul 29, 2014

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By C. Archibald
Jul 29, 2014
Me on some bolted 10 in boulder canyon
I hiked Olympus with my brother on Friday, the day before they started the trail work. We actually saw the forest service folks headed up as we were hiking down.

I thought this trail definitely needed some work, but not at the top, at the bottom. My brother and I were lost for 40 minutes trying to get started on the right trail. We met another party that was lost for 3 hours near the base. I noticed three completely unmarked turns OFF a super obvious trail in order to stay on the Mt Olympus trail. I looked for beta before starting the hike and everything just said "follow the trail." I think for such a popular hike, this should be more clear.

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By Allen Sanderson
From Oootah
Jul 29, 2014
Stairway To Heaven - all the way to the Pearly Gates <br />(i.e. 10 pitches to the tram station)
First, the Mt. Olympus trail may be in wilderness but it is urban wilderness which attracts a whole host of issues. Second, there are certainly sections of the trail that need some help for the first time hiker. As such, I do not mind some improvements. Especially, if it reduces the number of calls to SAR.

However, I have kicked over a lot cairns in my time because they are IMHO typically not needed or poorly thought out and thus of little use. As such, it will be interesting to see what was done. Hopefully, between the FS and Mtn. Club crews some real thought was put into the cairn placements. That said the picture of the one cairn does seem rather large.

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By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 31, 2014
Cleaning up in Jenny Lake.
Allen Sanderson wrote:
Hopefully, between the FS and Mtn. Club crews some real thought was put into the cairn placements. That said the picture of the one cairn does seem rather large.


The cairns were purposefully made large so they can't be accidentally or purposely dismantled with ease. Small cairns function well but as you know a line of small cairns is usually just to show where the last guy got lost on the mountain.

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By paintrain
Aug 1, 2014
Chuck Norris can Divide by Zero
Allen Sanderson wrote:
However, I have kicked over a lot cairns in my time because they are IMHO typically not needed or poorly thought out and thus of little use.


Based on your statement, I think you mean IMO. Otherwise you wouldn't have knocked down what others thought valuable enough to take the time to build.

IMHO of course.

Pt

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By user id
Aug 1, 2014
DUDE! Your ankles....
Allen Sanderson wrote:
I have kicked over a lot cairns in my time because they are IMHO typically not needed or poorly thought out and thus of little use.

Are you sure you're not confusing cairns for pins?

Tom-

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By Pontoon
From Minneapolis, Minnesota
Aug 1, 2014
I get lost a lot. Every time I see a cairn I think "thank god!" Please don't kick over cairns that mark the right way.

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By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 10, 2014
Cleaning up in Jenny Lake.
Pontoon wrote:
I get lost a lot. Every time I see a cairn I think "thank god!" Please don't kick over cairns that mark the right way.

I rarely knock over cairns unless I know they are going the wrong way or aren't necessary. People like to build them next to obviously trafficked trails.

I climbed Wham Ridge a few weeks ago and the descent/3rd class ascent had a single big cairn that marked the place to start traversing off and conversely the right gully to go up. Used in moderation they're very helpful and don't intrude on the wilderness experience.

Seeing twelve different trails because of the lack of cairns somewhere is worse than a single delineated one. It's the same reasoning the USFS builds trails in wilderness in the first place. Just imagine if the Mount Olympus trail stopped at the wilderness boundary.

FLAG
 


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