Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by kpeter » Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:33 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote: There are some really good stream crossing skills that depend on a larger group of hikers. You are ALWAYS better off crossing a large creek with one or more other people. Basically you join (lock arms, etc) and make a line so that everyone except the first is in a calmer wake and the group pushes to keep the first guy up.

If the stream is really tough, it is better to first get a rope across and make a tight line to haul packs and use as a hand line.

If you choose to go solo, be extremely conservative. Like I said in my post on my Yosemite trip, water is always twice as deep as it looks and distance across twice as long as you think.

In most cases, do not cross barefoot. At some difficulty, do not even use wading shoes - stay in your hiking boots. Neoprene socks, or just putting plastic bags over our socks really help keep feet warmer. When your feet go numb, you get really clumsy.

Unbuckle your waist belt. If you fall in you want to be able to quickly escape out of your pack.

Jumping rocks or crossing on logs also have their own dangers. When wet, both are very slippery and it is probably safer to wade if that is feasible. I have fallen head first in a river jumping rocks, but was in a large group so was pulled out and most of my gear was also retrieved.

Take time to really scout up and down a creek to find the best crossing. It may take an hour or more. Most trails cross where it is best for horses. You may have to wait for the next morning at lower flows. A one foot difference in river level translates into a vast difference in the power of the flow. In general, once over your crotch you cannot stay attached to the bottom- you start to float away. Tall big (heavy) poeple definitely have an advantage.

I tend to get dizzy if I look at the water too much. I try to focus on a point on the far shore. I use the three-point concept, just like in climbing. Keep three points of contact all times - one foot and two trekking poles, and move one foot. Then move one pole, next pole, next foot. Always having three points of contact.
This is superb advice regarding stream crossings. If you are new to stream crossings, commit WD's advice to memory.

Personally, I wade rather than using logs or rocks whenever possible. I have seen several people take dangerous falls. I did myself once, going over backwards into (fortunately) a pool that was deep enough that I did not hit my head.

I believe I have read (here somewhere?) that the top cause of death in the wilderness is drowning. If you fall into a creek and hit your head on a rock, you can drown in a few inches of water.








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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by AlmostThere » Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:00 pm

Drowning is one of the two top causes of death in Yosemite, at least.

Here is an escapee of statistics.
https://www.facebook.com/marcus.mazzafe ... 3010268845

I have to wonder if he skipped some portion of the PCT to be in Yosemite to be found by the snowplow crews....

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by paul » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:24 pm

I would also like to second WD's excellent response. Let us not forget that in addition to have vast experience as a backpacker she is I believe a former NOLS instructor.
The part of her response that I would like to emphasize is the part about finding a good spot to cross. Trails do not always cross at an ideal location, and step one in my mind is finding a good spot to cross - THEN you apply all the safety tips about how to cross. Personally I would be willing to go a long ways upstream to find a good spot if the trail crossing did not look good to me. Of course in some circumstances this is not feasible due to terrain, and then the only thing to do is to turn around and go somewhere else. The Sierra is full of beautiful places, there is always somewhere else to see, and no route is worth dying for.

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by maverick » Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:59 am

This is superb advice regarding stream crossings. If you are new to stream crossings, commit WD's advice to memory.
Read this thread to refreshen your techinique and memory, especially in years like this one: http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... r+crossing
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by AlmostThere » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:59 am

PCT hiker suffering continues. She almost got caught in a strainer. SO. LUCKY. She didn't unclip her pack.

https://www.facebook.com/anya.ivanova.1 ... 1613198105

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by ERIC » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:11 am

And I was lucky no water got into my phone which is my navigation.
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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by AlmostThere » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:40 am

ERIC wrote:
And I was lucky no water got into my phone which is my navigation.
:retard:
I'm honestly wondering how many recoveries we're going to have this year when people start calling to tell rangers they haven't heard from XXX in a month.

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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by Jimr » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:00 am

I've been not wanting to say it, but I've kept thinking not of how many will make it to Canada, but how many will meet their end because of their decisions.

EDIT: guess AT was thinking the same thing.
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Re: Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by sambieni » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:15 am

AlmostThere wrote:PCT hiker suffering continues. She almost got caught in a strainer. SO. LUCKY. She didn't unclip her pack.

https://www.facebook.com/anya.ivanova.1 ... 1613198105
They're gonna need a suicide watch for some folks trekking the PCT. That video looked nuts; especially solo.

Her link to her friend who lost all his gear made me realize the wisdom of always keeping map on your body/pocket, especially crossing a river, rather than leaving in pack and losing it as he had done.
Last edited by sambieni on Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Spring 2017 Backpacking Cautionary Thread

Post by AlmostThere » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:17 am

sambieni wrote:
AlmostThere wrote:PCT hiker suffering continues. She almost got caught in a strainer. SO. LUCKY. She didn't unclip her pack.

https://www.facebook.com/anya.ivanova.1 ... 1613198105
They're gonna need a suicide watch for some folks trekking the PCT. That video looked nuts; especially solo.
I have to look and click away -- trying not to comment on some of these, they are soooooo oblivious. I don't make any friends with reality, it just gets me blocked on Facebook. "Don't be so negative!"

Well, no. Try concerned and apparently paying more attention than you.

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