Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 36
  1. #1

    Default Percentage of Success vs Population On Trail Over Time - Math and Estimation

    We can take this concept in increments of a decade. How do you think the % of completion has changed as the decades click by. I want to look at it from a percentage perspective to eliminate increases in population. We all understand that population on trail increases as time goes on, so to say that there are "400 more completions in 2018 vs 2017" doesn't really tell us anything more then a whole lot more hikers attempted it.
    What I want to look at is this:
    In 2018 4000 hikers started, and 400 finished so 10% completed the hike.
    In 2008 2000 hikers started and 400 finished so 20% completed the hike.

    Thus over time, more people attempt, but a fewer percentage are successful. I understand that this will most likely be speculation and opinion which is fine but if anyone is capable of digging up concrete numbers that would be fun as well.
    AT Shuttle List
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-01-2016
    Location
    Chattanooga, Tennessee
    Posts
    858

    Default

    I don't have those numbers (perhaps someone does - the ATC? Amicalola Falls SP?) but to tie it in to your "going soft" thread, I'd be cautious about reading too much into any changes in completion rate. In your (illustrative?) example, you have 2000 more hikers in 2018 than 2008. Suppose most of those don't intend to complete the trail fully, or that most of them are drawn from a sub-population with very different fitness and commitment levels than the first 2000 hikers of either year. We wouldn't expect as many of those second 2000 to finish.

  3. #3

    Default

    Unfortunately, hard numbers are impossible to come by . There is no requirement to register when starting the trail, not everyone stops by the ATC on their way by to get a photo and Baxter doesn't keep track of how many started from Georgia and how many started from Monson.

    So, its guessing game with a fair amount of extrapolation. Weather is a big factor like last year which sent a lot of people home.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  4. #4
    GSMNP 900 Miler
    Join Date
    02-25-2007
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Age
    53
    Posts
    4,400
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    5

    Default

    Seems like a number I've heard tossed around is that only about 20% of those that attempt a thru hike complete it. I haven't heard anything that suggests that number has changed over the years.

    If any hard numbers can be found, I would not be surprised if 20% has remained constant over the last 20 years. For one thing, we are talking percentage, and when it comes to certain difficult tasks, only a certain percentage of the population has the ability to perform that task. It would seem the resources to aid you in completing the AT have increased over the years, in theory making the hike easier to complete. But I think that is getting offset by more people trying to do a thru with less experience than those that attempted it in the past.

    The idea is sort of what I hear when it comes to deaths/injuries due to traffic accidents... As experts have made driving and driving conditions safer, the increased safety seems to usually get offset my more complacent drivers doing more dangers things. The combination of better safety features and wosrt drivers mean that the frequency of deaths and injury have stayed relatively flat over the years.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-14-2015
    Location
    Rome, Georgia
    Posts
    257

    Default

    Interesting question, Gambit. I don't know the answer but I suspect the completion rate might drop slightly as participation increases. Our population is getting heavier rather than lighter, and the trail population is probably graying, so more backpackers would probably mean they're slightly less fit, on average.

    In the 1980s, I began hiking in the Cohutta Wilderness Area on the Georgia/Tennessee line. My perception is that usage of the trails hasn't changed very much, including the most popular Jacks River Trail. Since the population in North Georgia and adjacent Tennessee has increased substantially over these 30 years, why hasn't trail usage followed suit?

    A few years ago, I met a college student birdwatching at a local natural area. She mentioned offhand that many in her generation like to drive up to a point of interest, exit their car, walk around for five to fifteen minutes taking pictures, and get back in their car to leave. Many of us have probably witnessed that kind of behavior at Newfound Gap, the Grand Canyon, you name the place. It's always been that way, but the college student believed that her generation had really bought into that practice. The more tethered we become to electronics, the less likely we are to leave them behind (or risk losing connectivity, even if its only sporadic).

    When I was young (back in the '70s), kinds were always outdoors playing neighborhood football or baseball or basketball. I haven't seen kids doing that in more than ten years, and that one instance was the only time in the past 25 years. All activities now seem to be organized team sports. Most of our entertainment is electronic and indoors.

    It's always been a modest percentage of the population that enjoyed untethering to enter "the wilderness." I suspect that percentage is declining over time. Raw numbers might be stable or increasing a bit, but the percentage is probably decreasing a bit.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-05-2009
    Location
    Delray Beach, Florids
    Age
    69
    Posts
    1,359

    Default

    The completion percentage has gone up over the decades. It has to do with many factors. Improvements to every aspect of a thru hike from equipment to food to the trail itself encourage us all to finish. The improvement to trail guides, communication and trail services, hostels, shuttles and trail magic, make it easier to finish. Now, thanks to advanced information services like Whiteblaze, Trail Journals, Youtube, blogs and computer programs we have hikers who start a thru hike and Know what they are getting in to, before they ever start. Numbers will keep going up for starters and finishers....

  7. #7

    Join Date
    05-05-2011
    Location
    state of confusion
    Posts
    9,869
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    Well the first 25% cant get out of Ga.

    This alone is mind boggling. How anyone can prepare for a year, spend hundreds to thousands on gear, and not be able to make 80 miles.

    Theres lots of dreamers. People in poor shape, flawed expectations, or not really committed to something thats actually ... hard work.

    I suspect as much as 1/2 may fall in this group, drop out before Va.

    Has social mefia attracted more of these? Surely yes.

    But it also helps them succeed too
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 01-21-2019 at 17:04.

  8. #8
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
    Join Date
    12-12-2002
    Location
    Marlboro, MA
    Posts
    6,964
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    1

    Default

    From the ATC website:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-01-2016
    Location
    Chattanooga, Tennessee
    Posts
    858

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Well the first 25% cant get out of Ga.

    This alone is mind boggling. How anyone can prepare for a year, spend hundreds to thousands on gear, and not be able to make 80 miles.
    My hypothesis: they do not train in comparable elevation gain/loss conditions. Why not? I'd guess because that's not the topography where they live.

  10. #10

    Default

    Wonder what happened in 2017 to have only have 715 out of 3,839 finish?

    I know what happened to me, I caught a nasty chest cold on the way to Florida to visit my Dad, which got worse when I hit the trail in Georgia and barely make it to Hiawassee alive. End of April, cold and wet. But I was only planning on going to Marion, VA anyway, so I don't count.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  11. #11
    imscotty's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-13-2011
    Location
    North Reading, MA
    Age
    60
    Posts
    1,263
    Images
    7

    Default

    RickB,

    I was surprised to see the success rate going down the past few years. May have something to do with the electronically wired generation getting more easily bored and distracted?

    I am pretty sure I've seen numbers from the 70's, 80's and 90's indicating an upward trend in success rate. I always figured this was due to better information available and lighter equipment. Perhaps the success rate has peaked, and we are seeing the other side of that slope in your posting.
    “For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
    the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


    John Greenleaf Whittier

  12. #12
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
    Join Date
    12-12-2002
    Location
    Marlboro, MA
    Posts
    6,964
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    1

    Default

    If one were to google up the final reports from each season’s Kennebec Ferry report and compare the number of NOBO thru hikers logged there vs the number of reported thru hikes, who knows what conclusions could be drawn.

    I just pulled up one year:


    2015 Kennebec Ferry Statistics


    • We had a record number of hikers this year.
    • Southbound through hikers, 307
    • Northbound through hikers, 1,007
    • Total hikers using the Ferry Service during the 2015 season, 2,181
    • Confirmed Forders/Swimmers, 43


    In this year 1007 Northbound thru hikers crossed the river, but only 677 reported having a thru hike to the ATC.

    Why such a big difference?

    Did that percentage hold constant over the years?
    Last edited by rickb; 01-21-2019 at 23:10.

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    In this year 1007 Northbound thru hikers crossed the river, but only 677 reported having a thru hike to the ATC.
    Why such a big difference?
    Did that percentage hold constant over the years?
    Either 330 didn't make it the rest of the way, or didn't bother to report they completed the trail or incorrectly identified themselves as through hikers when crossing the river. Or a little of each.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  14. #14
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
    Join Date
    12-12-2002
    Location
    Marlboro, MA
    Posts
    6,964
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Either 330 didn't make it the rest of the way, or didn't bother to report they completed the trail or incorrectly identified themselves as through hikers when crossing the river. Or a little of each.
    Agreed.

    Or they considered themselves to be thru hikers — in the popular sense of the word — but not qualified to sign and submit the ATC’s 2000-Miler application.

    As hikers’ values evolve I would expect that subset of hikers has changed over the years.

    If so, the percentage of hikers who have enjoyed a great walk from Maine to Georgia over the years may have changed more or less than the AT figures suggest.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    From the ATC website:
    The NoBo trend was as I guessed which is why I wanted to base the discussion off of percentages.
    IMO Summary: As time goes on, resources make the trail logistically and ergonomically easier to hike, however society is becoming softer and a result is a fewer percentage of people complete the trail each year from a "total that attempted" perspective.


    Thanks for that data Rickb!

    HOWEVER I also believe the data is skewed by the ever growing population of people who set out and never make it out of GA. I would like to see the number of thru hikers that register for the smokies vs how many that started in GA
    Last edited by Gambit McCrae; 01-22-2019 at 09:45.
    AT Shuttle List
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  16. #16
    imscotty's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-13-2011
    Location
    North Reading, MA
    Age
    60
    Posts
    1,263
    Images
    7

    Default

    MapMan is great at analyzing and providing these kinds of numbers. Perhaps MapMan can weigh in on this?
    “For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
    the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


    John Greenleaf Whittier

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    HOWEVER I also believe the data is skewed by the ever growing population of people who set out and never make it out of GA. I would like to see the number of thru hikers that register for the smokies vs how many that started in GA
    A scientific study is needed. At the summit of Springer, every declared thru hiker is issued an "AT passport" with an imbedded RFID chip. The chip is scanned at key locations along the trail to track progress. There would be no personal info, just a number, although age and gender would be useful metrics to associate with the hiker number.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by imscotty View Post
    MapMan is great at analyzing and providing these kinds of numbers. Perhaps MapMan can weigh in on this?
    I have been anticipating his arrival....
    AT Shuttle List
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    A scientific study is needed. At the summit of Springer, every declared thru hiker is issued an "AT passport" with an imbedded RFID chip. The chip is scanned at key locations along the trail to track progress. There would be no personal info, just a number, although age and gender would be useful metrics to associate with the hiker number.
    I like it...a lot...brings out the manufacturing organizational side of me. ORGANIZE the hikers. Process the hikers. Document the hikers LOL

  20. #20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    HOWEVER I also believe the data is skewed by the ever growing population of people who set out and never make it out of GA. I would like to see the number of thru hikers that register for the smokies vs how many that started in GA
    I would think the majority of hikers register for the smokies just before starting rather then trying to do it along the way. What you really needed to know is how many registered but never put their permit into the register box at the entrance to the park. That would be a decent indication of how many never made it that far.

    But seeing that the box is usually stuffed solid with permits, it's not clear if they are ever collected and counted.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •