Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

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Hobbes
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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by Hobbes » Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:41 am

I guess the only real piece of advice I can provide is be prepared to turn back (or don't even begin). This kind of mental attitude can be developed either from direct experience (eg climbing), or from activities that also require also patience and timing. A few that spring to mind which are condition dependent would be diving, sailing, surfing, flying, etc.

The ability to be pretty nonchalant about bailing is also a luxury of those who live close by and have the option to pick & choose. The phenomenon of 'summit fever' is well known; it's understandable that out of state visitors or those with tight scheduling windows can be tempted to push certain boundaries.

The mountains are dangerous; way way more dangerous than surfing big waves. Already, 5 people are down so far this year. It can happen very quickly; one moment you're ok, then next, not so much. Just remember there's lots of other things you can do in the near vicinity if you do decide to abort - you don't necessarily have to go home and do yardwork.








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rlown
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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by rlown » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:04 am

Hobbes wrote:I guess the only real piece of advice I can provide is be prepared to turn back (or don't even begin). This kind of mental attitude can be developed either from direct experience (eg climbing), or from activities that also require also patience and timing. A few that spring to mind which are condition dependent would be diving, sailing, surfing, flying, etc.
Add creek crossings to that list..

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by AlmostThere » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:33 am

The "do or die" attitude is something that leads to things like sitting on the subdome at Half Dome trying to figure out if I have enough medical supplies to help the lady with blood blisters toe to heel, both feet... she chose to walk out and not bother with bandaids except for on the heel and ball of the foot. Squish, ouch, squish, ouch...

Choosing to opt out should always be in mind -- I get it, how the urge can take over. I guess SAR work has long since drummed it out of me. There's just something about body recovery missions that will do that to you.

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by Flamingo » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:01 pm

Adding to what @Hobbes said. . . I think it's important to establish criteria -- before the trip begins! -- for when and why you would turn back early. For example, "if we can't reach the pass by 2 pm, then we'll plan to turn back" or "if we can't safely cross this particular creek, then we'll plan to turn back." Without these sort of criteria, I think it's easy for the dangerous do-or-die attitude to creep in.

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by sambieni » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:24 pm

Flamingo - great advice.

I assume this is what not to do re: snow bridges? In this instance, better to cross directly into the water?

https://www.instagram.com/p/BVCjrgLlojz/
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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by AlmostThere » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:27 pm

Oh, yes. That looks like it's about to fall in at both ends, as well. Talk about thin ice.

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by sambieni » Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:26 pm

How about packing w/ a baby? Yes, this couple is attempting the PCT with what looks like a 4 month old baby!

https://thegoodlatch.com/2017/06/06/up-and-up-2/

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by AlmostThere » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:53 pm

I met a woman on the Upper Yosemite Falls with a 3 day old child in a front pack on her chest. Just the thought of all that uphill, granite step after granite step, and possibly slipping or tripping and falling on that baby, made me ill.

That's kind of making me feel the same, what with the current conditions....

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by Hobbes » Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:09 pm

sambieni wrote:In this instance, better to cross directly into the water?
Avoiding getting wet is like trying to avoid getting sweaty & dirty. Mostly, it's about underestimating what's to come. Once one learns & accepts their fate, then it's much easier to just let go and let the experience "wash" over you.

Crossing Tyndall creek - after spending the last 2 months in the desert - the concept of being cold & wet is probably a completely foreign experience. Little does he/she know that damp wet feet/shoes will now be the norm 24/7 all the way until they are north of Tahoe. And it's not just the constant fords that occur north of Forester; it's the trail that turns into its own flowing stream for the next 300 miles.

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by Jimr » Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:37 pm

sambieni wrote:How about packing w/ a baby? Yes, this couple is attempting the PCT with what looks like a 4 month old baby!
If they make it down to the 10 freeway without calling it a day, I suspect they will likely call it once to Kennedy Meadow. Maybe Agua Dulce once Mojave comes into view. She did mention that any step past Houser Creek (or somewhere around there) was a bonus. I seriously doubt they plan to attempt the Sierra.
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