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  1. #1
    Flip flop, flip flopping' LASHin' 2000 miler LDog's Avatar
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    Default Completion/Drop-out Rates

    Played with updated ATC data on their "2000-miler" page to find completion rates for 2005-2011, an overall average completion rate, and average numbers of thru-hikers to make it to the major milestones. Posted the spreadsheet online, and posted the results at www.laughingdog.com

    I was a bit surprised ... Seems I've always heard the percentage of those who drop out by Neels Gap was higher. 50% make it half way, but only 28% finish? And that number seems higher than the one that gets thrown around a lot...
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    Interesting. Now if we can only filter out the blue and yellow blazers in that 28%......

  3. #3
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    I was surprised to see it going a lot higher in recent years northbound. Chalk it up to lighter gear innovations and lots of magic and hostel / trail angel help







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  4. #4

    Default Completion/Drop-out Rates

    Not to be picky but 2000 miles is not a thru hike.

  5. #5
    Flip flop, flip flopping' LASHin' 2000 miler LDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lush242000 View Post
    Not to be picky but 2000 miles is not a thru hike.
    Tell it to the ATC. They've been calling it that since you were a wee lad ...
    Ldog
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by lush242000:1260844
    Not to be picky but 2000 miles is not a thru hike.
    By your definition when they re-route the trail and add a half mile do you have to start over?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lush242000 View Post
    Not to be picky but 2000 miles is not a thru hike.

    Hmmm, that's what my 2000 miler rocker and certificate says....

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    As others have pointed out, innovations in gear, more facilities for hikers,and more help/support from Trail Angels and others have certainly helped keep more people on the Trail,especially in the early days. People that get thru the first critical weeks on the Trail obviously have a greater chance of completing their trip.

    That being said, tho, the single biggest reason for the dramatic rise in the "completion rate" is the simple fact that in recent years the overwhelming majority of folks who report in a completed hike have, in fact, skipped parts of the Trail. In other words, the number of reported complete thru-hikes is not necessarily the number of hikes that were, in fact, complete. The vast majority of today's thru-hikers are NOT purists, i.e. they are not committed to hiking every bit of the Trail, but have no problems reporting in to Harpers Ferry that they have done so. I realize this fact makes some folks uncomfortable but the discomfort does not alter the reality of the situation, which is that the vast majority of reported "complete" thru hikes are often far from complete.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChillyWilly View Post
    I was a bit surprised ... Seems I've always heard the percentage of those who drop out by Neels Gap was higher. 50% make it half way, but only 28% finish? And that number seems higher than the one that gets thrown around a lot...

    Too bad there isn't another way point for say how many make it to Vermont. Some of that 22% which made it half way but not all the way could have run out of money or time and I suspect many drop out in PA/NJ/NY because the heat and humidity is brutal when most go through there.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  10. #10
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    Micro chipping could be the answer.

  11. #11
    Registered User Moose2001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spokes View Post
    Interesting. Now if we can only filter out the blue and yellow blazers in that 28%......
    That's easy.......about half the number fit in that group.
    GA - NJ 2001; GA - ME 2003; GA - ME 2005; GA - ME 2007; PCT 2006

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  12. #12
    Flip flop, flip flopping' LASHin' 2000 miler LDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin View Post
    That being said, tho, the single biggest reason for the dramatic rise in the "completion rate" is the simple fact that in recent years the overwhelming majority of folks who report in a completed hike have, in fact, skipped parts of the Trail.
    I swear to you that I will stay pure ...
    Ldog
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin View Post
    As others have pointed out, innovations in gear, more facilities for hikers,and more help/support from Trail Angels and others have certainly helped keep more people on the Trail,especially in the early days. People that get thru the first critical weeks on the Trail obviously have a greater chance of completing their trip.

    That being said, tho, the single biggest reason for the dramatic rise in the "completion rate" is the simple fact that in recent years the overwhelming majority of folks who report in a completed hike have, in fact, skipped parts of the Trail. In other words, the number of reported complete thru-hikes is not necessarily the number of hikes that were, in fact, complete. The vast majority of today's thru-hikers are NOT purists, i.e. they are not committed to hiking every bit of the Trail, but have no problems reporting in to Harpers Ferry that they have done so. I realize this fact makes some folks uncomfortable but the discomfort does not alter the reality of the situation, which is that the vast majority of reported "complete" thru hikes are often far from complete.

    "overwhelming majority"? you have some facts to back that up?

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    Flip flop, flip flopping' LASHin' 2000 miler LDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Too bad there isn't another way point for say how many make it to Vermont. Some of that 22% which made it half way but not all the way could have run out of money or time and I suspect many drop out in PA/NJ/NY because the heat and humidity is brutal when most go through there.
    I wonder how many check into Harpers Ferry, then go directly home ...
    Ldog
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    Registered User moocow's Avatar
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    so my question is, how do they get their numbers? do they check registers at shelters, do people show up at neels gap and shamefully say, "yeah, i'm quitting today" to the guys at mountain crossings? do they call the atc when they get into town and say, "i quit". i personally forgot to sign in on top of springer and i stepped off at woody gap to go to the hospital. does that mean i'm not even included in the data numbers? the only fair way i could ever imagine proving i've done the entire trail is to walk back to springer then back to woody gap then on to neels gap. i know i could just stop by springer on 42, tag it, sign in, then get a ride on down to woody gap but i want the experience of conquering something i couldn't before. i also want the experience of completing the entire trail in one single shot. but even if i chose to just continue on at woody gap it seems like i wouldn't even be considered an attempting thru-hiker at all. i'm not concerned about having proof that i've done the trail. i'm more concerned about what the data numbers mean if it comes down to funding for trail maintenance and awarenes, where the crowd is on the trail, and simply finding out what kind of impact the trail is experiencing each year.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChillyWilly View Post
    I swear to you that I will stay pure ...
    I'm with you ChillyWilly...on both your comment, and the hike. My wife, our two golden's and I start 19 March. We are in no hurry so do not be surprised when you come up on us ambil'n along. Look forward to meeting you on the trail.
    Zip and Troggy the Brit

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike2012 View Post
    "overwhelming majority"? you have some facts to back that up?
    no he doesn't nor does anyone else. it's all speculation and totally unimportant

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike2012 View Post
    "overwhelming majority"? you have some facts to back that up?
    Do a thru and keep your eyes open and you'll get your facts.

  19. #19
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    The ATC tracks completed hikes (finished the entire trail), not thru-hikes ("walk the entire Appalachian Trail in one uninterrupted journey"). The ATC says about one in four (25%) complete the trail. I believe (with no evidence) that only about half of those, or about 12% are thru-hikers (completed the entire trail in one year).

    I don't know what number they're using at Baxter for thru-hikers completing the trail but if it's based on registered thru-hikers at The Birches Campsite who registered at the ranger station then that would not reflect true number of thru-hikers (entire trail in one year). Baxter considers anyone hiking through the 100 Mile Wilderness a thru-hiker.

    "Use of "The Birches" facility is limited strictly to Northbound long distance or thru-hikers (must be hiking, at a minimum, the "100 Mile Wilderness")"
    http://www.baxterstateparkauthority....ngThruFAQ.html

    Probably half the people I stayed with in Baxter were not thru-hikers but long section hikers, most, all had attempted a thru previously and were finishing up the trail. They got a number at the ranger station just like I did.

    This in no way is meant to diminish the tremendous accomplishment of these hikers.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  20. #20

    Default Completion/Drop-out Rates

    2000 to a thru hike is like running 23.5 miles and saying you ran a marathon. Say what you want. Numbers don't lie, people do.

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