Hawkins Loop (3)
Leader: Russ Mohn
Asst.: Jeff Godfrey
29 Sierra Club members, plus 14 P.C.C. Highlanders, enjoyed a fine annual joint trip which this year included the summits of Mt. Hawkins, Middle Hawkins and South Hawkins. This trip was scouted by the leaders the previous week and hard, icy, steep snow was encountered on the trail from Windy Gap. Hence, on the day of the trip several of the college group were all set with ice axes for step-chopping. However, during the week conditions had changed considerably; there had been some melting and the snow had become much softer, so, for the most part, steps could be kicked - an impossibility a week earlier. Due to the improved conditions, the group made good time in perfect weather over the 12 mile loop route.
Following Highlander procedure, radio control was maintained. The leader and assistant leader were equipped with walkie-talkies and there was a radio with a base camp operator at the roadhead. This procedure has these advantages:
1. Contact is maintained with "the outside" in case of accident or emergency.
2. The leader at the head of the hiking line is in communication with the assistant leader, making for more efficient group management.
3. When a group is sent ahead (as our step chopping crew), word can be sent back.
4. People who abandon the hike and turn back can check out with the assistant leader. This information is radioed back to base camp and if they don't show up, this fact is known before the day is over.