A Hiking Guide Agreed to Help a Group Train for A Hiking Challenge, but When the Guide Ended the Contract, They Were Accused of Being Fatphobic

A hiking guide received an inquiry to help a group of people train ahead of a ‘14er”, known as one of the most difficult types of hike. The guide was excited to assist the group, but upon attending their first training session, the guide quickly realized that the hikers weren’t up to the task. 

The Misconception

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The guide, known for helping diverse groups navigate the great outdoors, received an inquiry from a group called “Womens+ Adventures” during Pride Month. They assumed that it was an LGBTQ+ group, and initiated a conversation with the group’s leader. 

The Ability Form

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The guide had to collect essential information from the hikers, such as their hiking experience levels and preferences, all of which looked positive. The financial transaction occurred, and the guide began crafting a training plan for the group.

The 14er Challenge

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The group expressed their desire to conquer a 14er, a term familiar to seasoned hikers for its varying levels of difficulty. Considering the group’s collective experience, the guide selected Gray’s Peak, renowned for its breathtaking valley views, as their target.

Unexpected Discovery

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Upon the guide’s arrival for their first group hike, it became evident that “Womens+” referred to plus-sized women rather than LGBTQ+ individuals. This revelation, however, did not pose an immediate issue, as their fitness evaluation forms indicated they were in suitable condition for the challenge.

The Challenging First Hike

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The first hike, spanning a modest 4-mile round trip with a 750ft elevation gain, proved to be a challenging ordeal. “Several of them ignored my list of suggestions for attire, footwear, supplies, etc.”, the guide explained. “When we started hiking, it was very slow. One woman was upset we were starting with something so strenuous and asked for a break every 1/2 mile.”

Questioning Abilities

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Following the exhausting 6-hour return from the hike, the guide discreetly inquired to the group leader about the accuracy of the abilities forms. “She insisted it was all true and then got annoyed that I didn’t believe them”, the guide remembered. “When I suggested we aim for a smaller goal, she was obviously very offended.”

Second Hike Struggles

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The second hike was even more challenging, casting doubt on the feasibility of the 8-week plan. Recognizing the looming impracticality, the guide called the group leader to propose a pro-rated refund for the two hikes. However, this proposition led to an explosive tantrum, and accusations of fatphobia, mockery, and disrespect.

Patient History

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The guide, known for their patience and success in training overweight individuals, found the situation perplexing. They asserted that the group’s expectations were unrealistic.

The Refund Decision

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The guide decided to refund the group’s payment and cut contact. Despite this, they were subjected to an onslaught of social media hate, with derogatory remarks and name-calling directed at them.

The Weighed Criticism

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In the aftermath, the guide found themself subjected to harsh criticism from various quarters. Some argued that they should have persevered and given the group three chances, showing more patience and understanding toward non-athletes.

Unappreciated Effort

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The guide vented their frustration to an online forum. They felt misled and underappreciated by the hiking group and didn’t think they deserved all the hate they received. Thankfully, the forum members agreed. “You gave them proper instructions and training exercises”, reminded one reader. “You even tried to adjust the goals, yet these women would not budge.”

No Other Options

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One commenter reminded the guide that there were no other options available. “What else could you do, stroll around parks for 8 weeks and set them up to fail their challenge?”, they rhetorically asked.

Preparations for the Future

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Everyone was on the guide’s side, but some suggested that he revise his contracts to avoid situations like this in the future. “You should use language in your contract that allows you to exclude any hiker that is wearing inappropriate clothing/shoes”, someone suggested. “Bad shoes for a serious hike is a bad idea and you should give yourself an out on it.”

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