cloudhiking - maps and adventure guides

Site Links


Contact Us









Friends' Links

Appalachia & Beyond

Family Wilds


Marking My Territory

Outcast Hikers


Scree - December 07, 2010

California Mountains


A Californian teen was camping with his father. In the evening the teen equipped with a flashlight went for a hike on the same trail they had walked earlier that day. When the dad woke the next morning his son had not returned to camp.

The boy found his way down to a parking lot the next morning and asked to borrow a phone to call his dad.

The headlines read: "Hacienda Heights teen found safe after getting lost during hike".

Interestingly enough the boy, found his own way. I am sure that it was an interesting adventure. Personally, I thought that the dad sleeping through the night without checking on his son, was odd, of course it was in California.

The Sheriff's Lt commented, "An important thing to add is that it is very dark out here at night. Night hikes are unsafe in a group or alone, with or without proper supplies."

(San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Scouting Dangers

The LA Times recently ran an article, "For Boy Scouts, trails can lead to danger".

The long article chronicles several Boy Scout fatalities and questions Scouting leadership.

Ranger Lankford said, many adult Scout leaders "are not that physically fit themselves. They are not that knowledgeable. They are complacent. They are naive about the hazards. They bite off more than they can chew. As rangers, we would be extremely concerned. I have seen it time and time again with a gamut of consequences."

The problem with Scouting leadership is real; but how do you train volunteer leaders? And what do you require as training?

To avoid fatalities in the outdoors, do the leaders need to be trained in outdoor skills or in leadership skills? Probably both to be the most successful, but true leadership skills offer guidance for all phases of the Scouting program.

In outdoor sports you must continually, evaluate and re-evaluate your goals. What might be safe for my wife and I to attempt alone, might not be safe, if we were leading a group of Boy Scouts. Leadership is understanding group dynamics and risk management. Leadership is understanding that it is okay to re-state a goal. If the summit is impossible due to the weather, fitness levels, acclimating, heath, skill level, or for other reasons; then the good leader makes the decision to turn around and come back another day.

I am not sure how you teach humility and the judgment as to when to use it; but all good leaders have those skills, including the Boy Scout Leaders. Trails do no lead to danger for Boy Scouts; but sloppy leadership is dangerous.