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Backpacking Achilles Heel

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Re: Backpacking Achilles Heel

Postby SweetSierra » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:59 am

With lightning, I feel as oldranger said, that if normal precautions are taken, then the rest is out of my control. If up high and exposed, it's more unnerving. In the usual circumstances of sometimes being caught in the semi open or camped among trees, I tell myself that many many people encounter thunderstorms every year and aren't hit by lightning. So chances are everything will be okay. It sounds like you do things that help you relax. Perhaps with more experience in thunderstorms and practicing relaxation techniques, I think that you will likely lose that fear.



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Re: Backpacking Achilles Heel

Postby Flux » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:19 pm

Don't know if it's my age or whatever, but I have definitely become more paranoid about all the things you mention on the list, except for bears maybe. I haven't had any bad encounters with them and always take precautions.

Lighting got to me in the Royce Basin 2 years ago and chased me out of there the next day. Laying in my tent in the middle of the night counting flash to bang intervals had me worried. When it FLASH-BANG hit the top of Royce above our camp I definitely had a moment. It did again that the next day after we summited Meriam and my buddy came down after doubling up and hitting Royce I basically tucked tail and headed out as soon as we got a break in the weather. I felt very exposed up there and very unnerved after those events.

I have always been pretty good with lightning and have had some strikes near me that were very close. I guess the exposure up there was just too much for me even though it was striking Royce 1300 feet above me. No shelter except for my little aluminum arch of poles.

I feel the same way about height exposure. It's not the height necessarily, it's any precarious exposure. Looking down over the backside of Agassiz made me a bit nervous. I backed away from the sidewalk to Conness. Yeah, I am chicken. I'll scramble and hike, but unroped exposure is not my thing.

I have a lot of anxiety about getting into a medical emergency in the backcountry. This is all in my head, but I am always checking my physical state. I have bonked before out there and suffered nose bleeds from dryness that made me nervous. I am careful about my condition and maybe pay too much attention and just need to relax.

So my achilles is mostly due to having not eaten constantly and bonking a couple times. I have since changed my diet a lot but I have no idea if I will still suffer the same hypoglycemia type thing that I ran into before. Lighting?? I am going low. Heights?? Good footing and no cliff edges. And just try and relax, it's all good out there.
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Re: Backpacking Achilles Heel

Postby oldranger » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:17 pm

Flux,

Low isn't all that safe either, one year a guy was killed by lightning along Bubbs Creek just a little below the Sphinx Creek Bridge. A couple of years later lighting struck a tree about 200 yards from the roaring river ranger station right at a campsite occupied by two of my friends. Luckily they were having dinner with me when the lightning struck. So you do what you can do but there are no guarantees so why worry?

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Backpacking Achilles Heel

Postby rlown » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:44 pm

oldranger wrote: Luckily they were having dinner with me when the lightning struck.

Mike


Were you cooking? I thought that was off limits. :)

On another lightning note, I see the Rio Jesus got hit. Lost it's right thumb. Lightning is never fun.
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Re: Backpacking Achilles Heel

Postby maverick » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:55 pm

Rlown wrote:
Lightning is never fun


Au contraire my friend, give me a good lightning storm anytime to photography.
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Re: Backpacking Achilles Heel

Postby rlown » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:43 am

by "not fun", I meant it's really a game of chance. Chances are you're not going to get hit. You might feel that fuzzy feeling from a near strike, like static crawling on everything around you.

I once sat on an overlook out of Evelyn Lk, looking North. Just sitting there in a full Gore-Tex rain-suit. watching the storm approach, and the lightning dance. No reason to move. Enjoyed the hail, the rain, the little bit of colder air that blasted through, and the lightning. I'm not that lucky in games of chance, but i smelled a lot of ozone that afternoon. Yes, i'd do it again.

As for your camera stuff. Agree completely a lit up sky works well for you. Keep carrying all that metal. If i ever am on one of those trips with you, i will be the guy 100yds away from you and your equipment. Everyone needs a lightning rod along with them; you'd be the guy for the job.
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