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Hiking Solo?

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Re: Hiking Solo?

Postby Jimr » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:28 pm

Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye opener.

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Re: Hiking Solo?

Postby Shawn » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:02 pm

"My friends didn't either. So I had to start hiking alone. "

Ditto on the LOL. :)

Did not expect the punchline.
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Re: Hiking Solo?

Postby sekihiker » Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:04 pm

dave54 wrote:
My friends didn't either. So I had to start hiking alone.

Great punchline.
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Re: Hiking Solo?

Postby Bill21 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:32 pm

Crawl, Walk, Run.
The most conservative approach is to do a 1 nighter on well known trails for your first solo and work your way up from there. Gauge your own risk tolerance up from there.
I have some modest solo experience and I still hike a lot more conservatively solo than with my son or in a group. For me this means stay on trails and avoid off trail exploring and peak bagging. Well, at least for the most part. Wifey happier when I carry delorme when solo. A text every night helps her a lot.
Certainly the first night out by yourself is the biggest learning experience.
A lot of good advice above. I think best is pick a conservative on trail plan for first trips and and carry spot or delorme always.
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Re: Hiking Solo?

Postby Gazelle » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:08 am

I hike solo almost every time ( I backpack, peak bag, go off trail mostly) as no one wants to go with me, I like to go my own speed, i plan my own routes (do extensive research), I like not being accountable for anyone but myself, if I make a mistake I am the only 1 that suffers (I usually don't make mistakes as I take solo hiking very seriously!). I do carry a Delorme, do reconn forms and leave the best detailed instructions with my sister and boyfriend. If you are not a good route finder stick to the trails! Hiking solo is not for everyone you must know your strengths and more so your weaknesses, and I listen to my gut it is always right! If you even slightly think don't do that /don't go there then don't do it!
The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. Albert Einstein
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Re: Hiking Solo?

Postby SSSdave » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:10 am

As Gazelle related, one needs to know their capabilities. In order to do this kind of thing for decades one needs to act conservatively and wisely lest probabilities eventually catch up with one. That has of course been the fate of numbers of extreme sports icons like Shane McConkey. Solo peakbaggers in particular play in a dangerous arena. Backpackers less so though such depends on each of our styles.

As someone that has been at the game several decades, often in rather dangerous remote places like big talus fields, I've only had one modest injury when I slipped while walking through small talus and landed on my back simply on the rock I was standing on. In other words I just fell a couple feet directly below me. However I landed on a sharp rock point that caused a black and blue contusion deep into my back muscles. Was easily able to hike out on my own from Half Moon Lake at Desolation and was fine maybe a week later. But it is an example of how vulnerable our soft mortal bodies are in these hard rock environments.

In my lifetime I have however been injured more seriously in a more dangerous past time of mine so cannot brag about avoiding dangers. A couple decades ago fell skiing High Yellow Gully at Alpine Meadows with a well known extreme skier after the ski patrol had blasted off several feet of fresh snow down to hard ice we did not expect that tore some cartilage in a knee ending my skiing that winter that caused me to go back to my hi tech career. I learned a lesson and since then have avoided really dangerous skiing though what I still do would scare many competent skiers.

Carrying a heavy pack as I do makes negotiating steep areas more difficult because of the tendency of a pack to pull one off back away from what one is climbing up and that movement forces are magnified by shifting weight.


This is something I climbed up a week or so ago in the Mono Creek drainage but just with my camera gear, a total carrying weight of maybe 25 pounds. The alternative was a half mile extra adding 400 feet or so of vertical to my destination that I was keen to reach early before the sun came up. I secured my camera and tripod onto my day pack to do so. After reaching the whitebark pines in the image taken on my return to camp, the bedrock gradient eases off. The Sierra Nevada glaciated U-shaped canyons have many such situations on their bedrock walls that may not be in view when one starts down climbing a canyon wall because of convex slope shapes. Thus the wisdom of evaluating topographic maps before doing so lest one cliff out.

In this case I had seen from a distance the terrain step above from my base camp spot and gambled that when I reached the base would find a way up. However after arriving it was more sketchy than I hoped for. A slanting crack through a 60 to 70 foot vertical steep slab was the only choice. Falling at the crux could easily be fatal or so mangled at the bottom that one might die alone after hours of pain. Note for this post I carefully measured the slope pitch on the topo. It is a slope angle I am well familiar with as an advanced snow skier. The first 30 feet is class 2-3 but the next 30 to 40 feet required jamming my boot or fist down into the narrow crack. At the crux, the crack for about 10 feet was too narrow for all but my boot toe and was also full of a bush species that made grabbing into the crack edge awkward. As I inched up that section of crack my body was hanging below laid back in space against the slab while my right boot toe was also stabilizing in the crack. For years my backpacking partner was someone that had climbed most of the big Yosemite Valley walls, but although one with considerable monkey skills, exposure scares me as did this. Above the crux the route traverses right along a narrow ledge not visible here from below.

Later on my way back to camp, I climbed down this same route that was scarier of course than going up. Both this and my Desolation Wilderness trip done a week before, and the longer trip I will do after returning from Oregon for the eclipse, probably won't be posted on my chronicles web pages until mid September. Images are processed but have deferred writing the html code as am just too busy now mid summer.

http://www.davidsenesac.com/2017_Trip_C ... les-0.html
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Re: Hiking Solo?

Postby nickname » Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:33 pm

Lots of good info here. Especially about climbing, jumping over stuff, anything that might injure or put you in a bad position to get yourself out. I carry a PLB (no monthly fees) on short and long trips, wherever there's no cell phone reception. It serves as a potential life saver for me and anyone I may run into who could be in distress. Besides the basics, I also carry an extra day's worth of food and I'm meticulous about checking my pack checklist, testing batteries, and inventorying my first aid kit before leaving. I've encountered only a few sketchy people before, and I carry bear spray in case I were ever threatened alone in a place where help is non existent. A face full of hot sauce would give me plenty of time to make distance and hide or get out. Like the PLB, I hope to never use it.
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Re: Hiking Solo?

Postby robertseeburger » Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:11 pm

I have hiked solo for the past five years..perhaps 100 days in total. I am one who absolutely prefers to have another person with me.. but above all else, I want to go where I want to go, when I want to go, for the number of days I want to go for.. So, if it works out great, if not, so be it.

So, a couple of things not in the other threads, that may apply to others.

I rarely see people that aren't on the main routes. (Note, I consider the Sierra High Route a main drag now, unfortunately). On my most recent trip in Kings Canyon for 11 days, the number of people on saw on the entry trail and the JMT---perhaps 200--all doing the JMT or the PCT. The number of people I saw while hiking cross country---- 0. I didn't see a single person for 8 of 11 days. To me this is typical. When I do see people while cross country hiking,, I absolutely seek them out and hope to exchange itineraries and such.

If I don't see any people, I think to myself. If I don't see any people for my than 3 days in a row.. I talk to myself at times.. (and then I laugh at myself when I catch this).

And a stupid thing. When I go solo, I often get a song or group of songs stuck in my head. And I can't seem to get it out. On my most recent trip, it was all of the songs from My Fair Lady. I don't particularly like them but I couldn't get them out. This doesn't happen when I am with others. I don't carry an IPOD or anything. I want to hear the wind and the streams and the birds...

Some people carry books. I have found I just don't use them, so I have stopped carrying the weight. I do spend a fair amount of time, when the day is done, the last meal is cooked and pots cleaned...just staring at the world and watching the sun set in silence...sometimes this is fantastic, and sometimes this is boring.
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Re: Hiking Solo?

Postby ecat » Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:51 pm

There's something sublime about spending solo time in the Sierra. The physical and the mental release is fuel for the soul. I enjoy good company on a hike, but would never shy away from a solo trip. As previously stated, you often run into great folks while on the main routes. Using common sense, and recognizing your limits will keep you safe in most situations. Cary a beacon of some sort if that fails. I think a sense of unfamiliarity in your adventures is all important in keeping the stoke alive.
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Re: Hiking Solo?

Postby dave54 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:30 pm

Semi related to solo is coyote hiking.

Coyote is no tent, no bag, and no hot meals. This, of course, minimizes equipment at the expense of comfort.

Solo off trail coyoting is the ultimate minimalist. At night you just find a sheltered spot to sleep, wrap up in your jacket and thermal bottoms, and eat a cold meal. Works best mid summer when not too cold at night.

I have not done this in 20(?) years. I am too old now and like my comforts.
Log off and get outdoors!
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