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Responsibility of hikers to keep a secret

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  • Responsibility of hikers to keep a secret

    Last evening, while researching secluded areas in the popular High Peaks region where I might be able to enjoy spectacular views without the crowds, I found out about an absolute gem that apparently very few people know about. A Google search only turned up a few relevant results (two hiking blogs with mouthwatering photos and a discussion on this forum). Only five unique hikers have logged summits on peakbagger.com. Peakery.com also has five recorded ascents and listsofjohn.com only has two. And it's not even listed on alltrails.com.

    This is a mountain that has the potential to explode in popularity if some "social media influencer" type spills the beans on Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, etc. It ticks all of the boxes that would appeal to all but the most uncompromising elevation-snobs and list-snobs:
    • It's very accessible from one of the main roadways in the High Peaks region
    • The distance from the road to the summit is a very manageable 1.9 miles
    • Apparently a trail was constructed but the project may have been abandoned
    • The views of the surrounding high peaks are stunning from the rocky summit
    • You can easily bushwhack to another low-elevation summit with great views
    For this mountain and others that have the potential to "go viral" and subsequently be overrun with people, do hikers/photographers/bloggers/vloggers have a responsibility to keep them a secret by not disclosing specific details on the internet and social media, and only using general geotags (e.g. "Adirondack Park" instead of "XXXX Mountain")? What are your thoughts?

  • #2
    Think I've figured out the peak you are describing.

    I don't think it will be overrun until a trail is built to it.

    My position is don't upload a track to the trail/route sites (i.e. Alltrails, etc.).

    Don

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Hear the Footsteps View Post
      My position is don't upload a track to the trail/route sites (i.e. Alltrails, etc.).
      Good suggestion. I never create GPX tracks and only use my phone to verify that I've reached the highest point of any peak without a clearly-defined summit. In the past, I've been tempted to add some interesting trails in my end of the state to Alltrails, but decided against the idea because I didn't want increased hiker traffic in my stomping grounds.

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      • #4
        just down the road from the peak that (i believe) you are describing is an easy trailed which offers some nice views of many high peaks. i did it on saturday of columbus day weekend and saw zero people in the lot and zero on trail. i saw easily over a hundred when i visited a popular list peak later that day. there is a lot of information about trails and hikes online but that means a lot of noise too, which will likely continue to funnel people to the peaks that are already popular, on a list, or are known for their views.

        there is a lot of nuance that can go into this discussion, but broadly speaking as long as you don't have a big following or don't actively try to market yourself (excessive hashtags, links, etc.) it is probably not a huge concern.

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        • #5
          Keep it to yourself.

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          • #6
            I believe some things are better off not being shared publicly. Leave some hidden gems for folks to find if they put in the necessary work. I've spent a lifetime in the Catskills exploring, mostly off trail. As a result I've found two places that are absolutely spectacular and to which I return often. They are both far off any beaten path and are unlikely to be found by others. I have taken family to them and no one else. I've also posted zero pictures of them online.
            To Go and to See
            Is to Know and to Be

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            • #7
              Another complaint I have with GPS is the ability of even one person to keep going back to their favorite spots. If you can't find it without GPS, well, you don't deserve to "know" where it is. Philosophy. Or find the easiest route, over and over. Philosophy. Nature. Natural. Non-GPS, always.
              I might be kidding...

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              • #8
                To me the responsibility is to not over promote something. It's kind of the flip side of keeping it a secret. If we can't coach our social media followers on leave no trace or be sure they're able to do the hike safely, better to keep it to yourself.
                46/46 17/46W

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                • #9
                  If it's the mountain I'm thinking of there has been a few trip reports about it posted on the forum over the years. And there was a whole thread about the trail project on the forum which may be the discussion you referenced above. Additionally, caltopo shows the trail to the summit if you choose the layer of "MapBuilder Overlay" to be on your map.

                  I say keep it to yourself for now. No sense letting the cat out of the bag. It's right there in plain sight for anybody to find if they just look. I don't think you have a responsibility to do so given that the peak is not a secret but why ruin it for yourself and others in know?.

                  FWIW... I post about everything I visit but 98% are on hiking lists/challenges and well known to anybody with a map or internet access. There's only been a few places over the years that I regretted posting about - one being a back door into a very popular tourist peak. Also, I have only held back from posting about a few others just because the hikes were so close to private land that I didn't want others to know my route and potentially trespass.

                  Comment


                  • Hear the Footsteps
                    Hear the Footsteps commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Is the forum clock ahead 1 hour? Just noticed. Because my clock says 12:17 at 'Post Time'
                    Sure is.

                  • Makwa
                    Makwa commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yes. Has been since daylight savings ended.

                    But given your old forum avatar isn't it always post time?

                  • Hear the Footsteps
                    Hear the Footsteps commented
                    Editing a comment
                    No kidding.
                    I took notice when someone commented to me a hour before I posted a reply?
                    I guess Daylight Savings time on the Forum Software is by admin intervention entry.

                • #10
                  Please no one respond, this is clearly a sentient AI gathering data on potential human hideouts in the coming apocalypse.

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                  • #11
                    FWIW, I had no idea which peak was being referenced at first, but I was able to figure it out given the clues in this thread. So maybe even vague references is too much when it comes to the internet.

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                    • moosebeware
                      moosebeware commented
                      Editing a comment
                      But think of who the audience is on here. This site is, for better and worse, off the beaten path, so to speak in comparison with the multitude of hiking pages of FB.

                  • #12
                    Good discussion.

                    Originally posted by eleventhgear View Post
                    I've also posted zero pictures of them online.
                    I'm comfortable with sharing photos of relatively obscure locations as long as I'm careful with the file-naming. People who use their phones for photography should take extra precaution, however, because the EXIF information can give away the exact coordinates of where the photo was taken (you can test this out at websites like pic2map.com).

                    Originally posted by Makwa View Post
                    I say keep it to yourself for now. No sense letting the cat out of the bag. It's right there in plain sight for anybody to find if they just look. I don't think you have a responsibility to do so given that the peak is not a secret but why ruin it for yourself and others in know?
                    It may not be a complete secret to everybody, but it's relatively unpopular judging by the small number of summit logs and trip reports found online. In fact, there were zero recorded ascents in 2019 (and the first 1.5 months of 2020) on any of the major hiking or peakbagging websites that I visit. Most hikers won't bother scouting out peaks like these when there are plenty of mountains with comparable views and more information online, but all it takes is one popular Instagram, Reddit or Facebook post to spoil everything. As such, I'm hesitant to post about obscure locations with Insta-worthy views because popular social media influencers (who would be less scrupulous) could see my post and subsequently promote the mountain to a larger audience for personal glory.

                    Comment


                    • Makwa
                      Makwa commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Well... it's on my list now. I promise not to disclose the name of the peak in any trip report I may write once I finally get there.

                      Just looked at the trailhead at street level on google maps. No signage anywhere that I can see. Which I suppose makes sense given it's not an official trail. I've driven by there perhaps a dozen times and never realized there was anything there. It's hiding in plain sight.

                    • FlyFishingandBeer
                      FlyFishingandBeer commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Screenshot your pictures before sharing them to get around accidentally revealing the geo data. The pictures won't be as high-res if somebody wants to zoom in for details, but that's not necessarily a bad thing either.

                  • #13
                    Don’t think it’s a responsibility, it’s should be an ethic.
                    Just for once, how about doing it for the joy and keeping it to yourself, not for attention and likes? (That would be the vast majority of my hikes.)
                    Nothing sadder than a bunch of people who would otherwise never venture to a place than without someone else’s GPS numbers. I call that fart catching by satellite.
                    Years ago, someone here blatted about a back way to a popular peak, and was rightly, but gently reprimanded.
                    Must EVERYthing be shared? :(

                    Comment


                    • moosebeware
                      moosebeware commented
                      Editing a comment
                      "Years ago, someone here blatted about a back way to a popular peak, and was rightly, but gently reprimanded." Yep. I remember that and I had a similar conversation with admonisher about it at a fall dinner. He said, you can do it, just don't publish it. I try to pass that word along when I come across it mentioned on social media. Many people don't think it's a big deal, but it is an ethic. I don't even talk about places on the trail that are less popular, lest I get there to find a zoo.

                  • #14
                    Keep it off All Trails, Facebook, Reddit, and Instagram and that should be sufficient to keep it quiet. The people using these sites/apps to tell them where to go hiking are the same people who probably couldn't use a map and compass to navigate north from the south pole and will almost certainly share, geo-tag, and promote anything that will earn them likes or upvotes.
                    My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

                    Comment


                    • FlyFishingandBeer
                      FlyFishingandBeer commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Ah. See? Questionable math

                    • stone611
                      stone611 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      If it weren't for you two, those numbers might have been left forever uncrunched, can you even imagine? I applaud. Not all heroes...

                    • FlyFishingandBeer
                      FlyFishingandBeer commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Makwa I think she's being snarky because we didn't convert to metric.
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