Summer Closure of Skyline Trail

General Palm Springs area.

Re: Summer Closure of Skyline Trail

Postby Wildhorse » Sat Jun 24, 2017 6:27 am

If you have not seen these already, here are a couple of interesting articles about SAR cost reimbursement policies. ... ot-exactly ... rescue.htm

The second article describes cases in which people have refused SAR services to avoid the costs. This appears to be the main reason states and other jurisdictions generally do not seek reimbursement from the people they rescue.

I suspect that avoidance of rescue costs is an important consideration in Claremont.

I don't have the impression that anyone is anxious to close trails. Overall, I think the public resists trail closures and charging for rescues inspite of the high cost of reckless adventure and nonreckless accidents.
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Re: Summer Closure of Skyline Trail

Postby Ed » Sat Jun 24, 2017 9:12 am

Very interesting articles, Wildhorse. I think we all understand the issues. But I did not realize that this debate has been translated into various laws and policies, all over the country.

The problem is one we find everywhere: how do you help people without being an enabler? No simple answers, I guess. There are behavioral economists, like Dick Thaler, who believe that the solution to some problems in human behavior is 'nudging', rather than strict laws. The government of the UK, among others, has considered it seriously.
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Re: Summer Closure of Skyline Trail

Postby zippetydude » Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:01 am

That whole "nudging" idea is quite fascinating and seems like it may become more widespread if its efficacy is not diluted by people getting accustomed to it. Thanks for the reference Ed.

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Re: Summer Closure of Skyline Trail

Postby Wildhorse » Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:24 pm

It would be interesting to think about how nudging or behavioral design might be employed to reduce rescues.

The USFS has used mild nudging in some cases to try to reduce traffic on Devil's Slide. I had a small role in it as a writer.

In another instance, the USFS nudged me into thinning the forest at my place in the San Jacintos. At the time, it seemed like the right decision for the forest health. But in hindsight, I have had doubts and regrets. I feel like I was manipulated. And I feel sad about what I did to the forest.

But if my life was saved by a nudge, I imagine I would feel thankful, unless saving my life damaged the land. If one is sensitive to such things, the effect is existential guilt.
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Re: Summer Closure of Skyline Trail

Postby drndr » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:03 pm

In America, and probably everywhere, you tend to get change and action when it effects the wallet. If people are behaving irresponsibly where it effects others, charge them.

Strictly going off old memory form the 80's, when I lived in Germany for a couple years I loved the idea of the Autobahn with the freedom to drive a bit faster when safe. But the German gov't also expected you to be more responsible. Couldn't register your car if it had rust on it. And if you ran out of gas on the highway, it was a ticket. Don't know how much of that I'm remembering correctly or if that is still policy but always thought it was interesting. Behaving irresponsibly on the trail that requires a rescue seems like a good reason to be charged a fine.

But then I tend to over prepare.

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Re: Summer Closure of Skyline Trail

Postby guest » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:51 pm

I'd have to agree drndr & others here,

Next to dying, (or at least feeling like it), having to pay seems the biggest, (& maybe best) motivator for folks to take more responsibility.
As others stated here, SAR's has instance where folks have hid from rescue, or waiting till they were in really bad shape, to avoid paying.

If someone dies, and, (hopefully not), it lands up in court, maybe any agency will be supported by judge or jury, if diciest can be proven negligent.
How high do texting fines need to go, and how much for Skyline rescue? Maybe an after hours extra fee, (like plumbers!), and others, (like admitting you left at 9am with 2 gts, Ding, extra thousand!). I would think $5k is a good starting point.

People seem to be happy to risk their lives & others to text & drive, so hiking a trail, (more like climbing a mt.),
in severe or dangerous conditions, is ok, (even a reason to post what you did, of course, under the guise of wanting to help, or just brag).

Been smoky around here, wonder how far into the San Jacintos that Manzanita, (Hwy 79) fire has climbed.

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Re: Summer Closure of Skyline Trail

Postby Florian » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:28 pm

guest wrote:Been smoky around here, wonder how far into the San Jacintos that Manzanita, (Hwy 79) fire has climbed.

I don't think it crossed hwy 243. Looking from Tahquitz Peak today seemed pretty much under control.
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Re: Summer Closure of Skyline Trail

Postby cynthia23 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:51 pm

Hope so, air quality was incredibly bad on Monday with the smoke. Literally found a pile of ashes on my floor this morning!

I like the idea of 'nudging' people to be more responsible in their hiking though not sure what policies that would mean. Maybe free beers at the tram bar for everyone who completes Skyline before 11 am during the month of November?? Ok, maybe that is not a good plan. :oops: Maybe we better forget the carrots and go back to sticks.
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Re: Summer Closure of Skyline Trail

Postby ny30mil » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:25 am

I hiked Cactus to Clouds via Skyline trail solo this past Saturday, July 15th, 2017 and it was very very hot. I started the hike at 4:50am and the temps were 88 degrees at the Museum trailhead. For most of the hike, temps were hovering in the high 80s to low 90s. I'm 36 years old, very fit and run ultras and I was still moving at relatively slow pace at about 2 miles an hour. I used a .gpx file I loaded onto my GAIA GPS app on my S7 to help me navigate and I carried an extra battery pack to charge phone as needed. I also had a Garmin watch to help me keep track of the mileage.

***As of July 15th, 2017, Rescue Box 1 had one Gatorade bottle and Rescue Box 2 had no water or liquids. In other words, don't count on these boxes to save you.

I choose not to run but hike this route for 3 main reasons:

a) I was carrying too much liquids to move quick. I carried my ultravest and started with 180 ounces (140 ounces of Gatorade and 40 ounces of Water). I drank 120 ounces prior to getting to civilization after climber Grubb's Notch at mile 9 or so. I also drank about 50 ounces in the morning just prior to departing on the hike as well as having lots of oranges, watermelon and fruit in the morning to stay extra hydrated. As far as nutrition, I packed a cooked potato in foil, an avocado, some health bars, gu gels, clif shots etc.

b) I was in the desert in the middle of the summer, so I wanted to keep my head on swivel for rattlesnakes. The skyline trail isn't wide and there are plenty of brushy areas along the side and rocky terrain that I was careful to scan prior to navigating through those areas. Sight as well as Sound are very important on the trails (this is not the trail you want to have headphones on or music playing on the speakers). Use all your senses to help avoid the snakes. I've encountered a rattlesnake in Nevada mountains at 8k+ elevation, so stay vigilant even as you get higher in altitude.

c) I called the Long Ranger station the day prior and Bill, one of the rangers, warned me Skyline Trail can be deadly in the middle of the summer. He told me it can take several hours for the rescue team to get to you. Verizon cell service is not awful on the trail, but you may have to walk about 1-1 1/2miles to find a 4G hot spot (for the first 4 miles of the trail cell service is solid). Also, I didn't see a singe person on the trail up until reaching Grubb's Notch at mile 8 or 9, so a badly twisted ankle or other injury can become an emergency.
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