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 Cheating for patches 
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Flatfoot
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 3:32 pm
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 Cheating for patches
I've been a little (maybe more than a little) frustrated with someone that I have hiked with many times in the past few years. He is one of these people that loves awards. His house has plenty of framed certificates, trophies and medals on display for all to see. He even posts pictures of these things on Facebook with comments patting himself on that back for being so wonderful. In the past, this hasn't bothered me all that much. I just figured he was one of those people that needs some sort of physical validation for things he's done.

Recently though I have come to the realization that he often take shortcuts to get these awards. Some of them are nothing more than certificates he's paid for without any effort other than filling out a form, writing a check and mailing it off. This cycle of shortcutting (some would say cheating) has now bled in to this fairly new world of hiking he has discovered (he's only been at this for 3 or 4 years).

He now holds 3 different NH hiker patches. All 3 have been "earned" through shortcuts. For instance, the LRTC patch (Ossipee Range/Castle in the Clouds). Although all the peaks were summited, the redlining portion of the patch was not completed. In fact, based on my knowledge of these hikes (I was with him on some of these) he hike less than 20% of the required mileage. He claims that by "stepping on" a trail it counts for hiking the trail and he used this justification to apply for the patch and received it. He proudly displays it on his favorite pack. Recently, he "earned" the Belknap Range patch without actually getting to the summit of all the peaks (close to the summit is close enough for him).

For me, integrity is important. These patches are all done on the honor system and I believe it is important that the hiking community stay true to the requirements of these achievements. When the awards become more important than the hike then integrity gets thrown out the window and I feel it cheapens the patch for the rest of us who work hard to play by the rules and get a lot of joy out of the experience of the hikes. The patch isn't a goal as much as it is a means to find new and interesting places to discover.

Okay, I've vented enough.... any one else have any thoughts on this? Or am I just being petty?


Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:54 pm
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 Re: Cheating for patches
Honestly, you should find something better to spend your time worrying about (I mean that in a good way! :D )The time it took to write that up wasn't worth the thread those patches are made of.

I have a bag with a lot of patches on it, both "earned" and "souvenir" type ones of places I've travelled to/hiked and liked. Theyre not big accomplishments really. Anyone in halfway decent shape, enough time and some desire can complete these lists. Even the earned ones don't impress anyone, myself included, and I have a bunch of them. To me it's a souvenir and memento of good times rather than a trophy from a major accomplishment. I get that for some people it may be a big accomplishment, but for most of us it's not, be it the Belknaps or the Grid. Just a matter of time and desire and where/how often one chooses to do their walking in the woods. It's not climbing the seven summits, it's more like a game, which has rules, and if you don't play by the rules why bother?

So your friend is really just making himself into a big fraud, which you have come to realize, and many others probably have too. Maybe he wants to go through life being a known as a fraud and a phony. I wouldn't, but some people just aren't happy with who they are and what they've done with their lives. He sounds like one of those. Very unfortunate if you ask me.


Last edited by Granite Guy on Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:15 pm
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 Re: Cheating for patches
Nobody cares what you've accomplished, or what trophies you have. In fact, nobody cares less about my hiking accomplishments than I do. I finished the 48 a couple summers ago, and still haven't sent in that derned application yet. Nothing is more boring than sitting around bragging to yourself about what you've hiked and what numbers you have, or how big your spreadsheet is.

If you really want to gain the respect of the hiking community for your accomplishments, write a trip report and give a little something back. There's quite a few people on this board that have every right to brag about their super-human accomplishments, but instead of wasting their time bragging, they post photos and trip reports that everyone can benefit from. IMHO, nothing is more of a trophy than having a collection of pictures from Hawthorne Falls, the slides on the Hancocks, the many non-trails up Whitewall, or some random bushwhack. There are a number of people here that I really respect because they take the rest of us to all sorts of places via their reports and photos. In fact, I've wound up in many amazing locations thanks to the folks here, and that ultimately matters more than which patches are sewn onto their backpack.

The real problem in your story isn't the ease with which someone can buy something they didn't earn - it's that your friend is a douche.

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Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:29 pm
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 Re: Cheating for patches
Hey Plankeye,
I just noticed your screenname.
Is it anyway related to the 90s punk band?

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You see alot up there, but don't be scared:
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Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:33 pm
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 Re: Cheating for patches
Image


Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:22 pm
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 Re: Cheating for patches
I kind of agree with GG and Jamie. . . but honestly I think things like this are kind of hilarious. It's true that they're on the honor system, but IMO the patches are only "worth" whatever you did to "earn" them, and you can't cheat yourself. I could photoshop myself on K2 (actually I don't have photoshop or know how to use it, but you get it) and call myself a mountaineer, but it would just be silly and meaningless. I do understand the mindset of "it cheapens the accomplishment for whoever really did it," but I guess like GG I don't care personally and like Jamie, I've done a bunch of stuff and never even bothered with the patches. For sure, the thing with the LRCT patch and stepping on a trail "counting" as hiking the trail seriously cracks me up. By the way, I've now hiked the AT, apparently. Good news! But I'm serious about thinking it's funny.

Sort of semi-related, Jamie I'm backwards of you where I actually AM impressed with my own hiking accomplishments and looking at my spreadsheets and whatever. Where I agree is that, of course, nobody else cares or is impressed, no question. There are plenty of people on this board who would hike me into a pathetic pool of tears. Every so often I see something about a Chris Daily hut-to-hut or a one-day Pemi loop or double Presi traverse or whatever and am fully aware that I don't move the needle one iota in the big picture (even before a Jurek or the next level of crazy), but that's totally cool. I sure like updating my spreadsheets and bumping my own needle (does that sound dirty?) a little bit after each hike!

Also, plankeye, welcome to the board!


Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:38 pm
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 Re: Cheating for patches
Like others have said, HYOH. I do what I do for me so if I don't do what I plan to do, or "say" that I do the only one cheated is me. That, to me, is a pretty stupid way to go through life.

When I was working on my first round of the 48 I did it with Cathie and there was never a time that the thought of short-changing the route or summit even entered either of our minds, I know I can speak for her in this regard. In fact, we made two and three attempts at some peaks to stand on the summit proper (yes, even Wildcat D which we missed by about 50 feet. Grrrr.)

So, to you, let it go. To your 'friend,' he has shown his true colors and the main problem I see with that is now, just because he says it's so doesn't make it so. It's the same as lying. I taught my son that short of murder, nothing is worth lying about.

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Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:41 pm
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 Re: Cheating for patches
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: "the many non-trails up Whitewall" :lol: :lol: :lol:

Gee, Thanks Jaimie!


Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:27 am
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Flatfoot
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 Re: Cheating for patches
Yes Jamie, it's a reference to the 90's band. I needed a screen name and happened to be listening to them that day. :D

Thank you Gindboy for the welcome. I've been reading this board (mostly for trip reports) for quite some time and finally took the time to get an account and get involved in the discussion.

I think the reason this bothers me so much is because I am named on some of his applications. I (as well as other hikers) have been brought in to his false little world. Saying that I witnessed him "hiking" a trail ("Oh look, I need that trail for my patch. Take a picture of me standing on it so I can say I hiked it.") makes me feel ill.

I no longer hike with this person. There are reasons beyond his lying and/or shortcutting. They include things like safety concerns and a total lack of respect for the others hiking with him. Unfortunately, I am seeing more and more people like this on the trails. They have all the shiny new gear, or in some case all the wrong gear, but there isn't much else beyond that. I think we're seeing that with the increase in the accidents happening on the trails these days.

In my case, I've legitimately earned a couple patches but still haven't sent in the applications. Why? I guess it's because I have things that need more of my attention or because the hike is worth more than the patch. Nothing can replace the solitude, the beauty, the camaraderie, the feeling of accomplishment and the fresh air in my lungs.


Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:02 am
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 Re: Cheating for patches
plankeye wrote:
Nothing can replace the solitude, the beauty, the camaraderie, the feeling of accomplishment and the fresh air in my lungs.


Precisely. So don't let this guy's attitude and dishonesty get you down. Spend your energy elsewhere. As for the multitudes of others in their shiny new gear, that too will dwindle. Be patient.

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Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:06 am
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 Re: Cheating for patches
"Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking." C.S. Lewis

A lot of people lie. A lot of people lie about their alleged accomplishments. This has a long history in mountaineering and hiking where the honor system has long held true.

Want a good read about a cheater? Read The Dishonorable Dr. Cook. It's a fascinating story of how a man convinced the world he had summitted Denali first when he never came close to the summit ridges. I got a signed copy from Brad Washburn many years ago that is one of the highlights of my book shelf. It's a great read.

Regarding this hiker, it's lame and says more about his own insecurities and lack of confidence than anything else, but it's not uncommon. Unfortunately, it happens often with 2,000 milers on the AT as well. More than a few thruhikers claim to have hiked the entire AT when they skipped large stretches.

Whether you hike for patches or not or lists or not is kind of irrelevant. Hike your own hike. If you are proud of having hiked the 4,000 footers or the TW72 or for bushwhacking Blue Job, then be proud. Just don't lie about it. For me personally, I go the opposite direction. I have returned to summits multiple times when not finding the true summit even when my head may have been above the top. I am the only one who knows the level of my own integrity. I feel sad for those people who don't see the value of being honest with yourself. Besides, if you will lie to yourself, you will lie to anyone.


Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:13 am
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 Re: Cheating for patches
Interesting thread. Glad ur no longer friends with him since it interferes with ur value system. Agreed too with the above thread responses. This poor guy has deep insecurities beyond what a friend can offer. Sounds like he just makes a fool of himself more than anything. Thx for posting this. Obviously hiking is not really meaningful for them.


Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:20 pm
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 Re: Cheating for patches
Who cares i say. As long as you are hiking for you, I wouldn't worry about what someone else did or didn't do. Honestly, who knows who is honest nowadays unless you either hike with a big group of friends or in popular areas.

Greg

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Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:31 pm
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 Re: Cheating for patches
I'd never lie about peakbagging. Last time I was having drinks with Ed Viesters he told me "You know Grindboy, nobody can sew that patch over the crack in their character." I've always remembered that.


Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:47 pm
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 Re: Cheating for patches
Grindboy wrote:
I'd never lie about peakbagging. Last time I was having drinks with Ed Viesters he told me "You know Grindboy, nobody can sew that patch over the crack in their character." I've always remembered that.


Good one. Has he seen the NE67 patch? It's pretty big. ;)


Wed Aug 19, 2015 5:17 pm
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