water treatment in the back country ?? | High Sierra Topix  

water treatment in the back country ??

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

water treatment in the back country ??

Postby justm » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:18 pm

My friend and I recentlly finished a weeklong backpack trip in the high sierra. We decided to not treat or filter our water. We were careful to get water from spring or glacier run off. So far so good. I know it is a gamble but it was nice! There's certainly a possibility of getting giardia or cryptosporidium, but I think the odds are highly exaggerated in order to sell all the water treatment products. Has anyone here ever gotten giardia or cryptosporidium ? Have any of you done trips without treating your water?



User avatar
justm
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 9:16 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: water treatment in the back country ??

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:33 pm

Discussed not too long ago here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6452&hilit=giardia
Wonder is rock and water and the life that lives in-between.
User avatar
Carne_DelMuerto
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 296
Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:43 am
Location: Auburn, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: water treatment in the back country ??

Postby justm » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:00 pm

OK sorry to rehash, but it was the buzz on the trail.
User avatar
justm
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 9:16 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: water treatment in the back country ??

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:49 pm

One, you don't know if you are in the 50% of the population who never manifest symptoms despite infection. Not getting sick just means you didn't get sick - not that the water was clean.

Two, it takes nine days or so to develop symptoms if you're going to.

Three, you don't know that waterways aren't contaminated. Even the springs. And giardia and crypto are but two of a number of things you can encounter. I'm especially aware of the need to filter in Yosemite, where e coli has been found in major waterways.

I've met 13 people who have had confirmed cases of giardia. Still counting. Seem to run into one or two each year. I always filter, regardless, because I'm no gambler - being broke and having no desire to spend time in the hospital, I take whatever precautions I can.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1766
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: water treatment in the back country ??

Postby fishhunter » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:09 pm

Maybe already mentioned before, but this article is pretty definitive on the need to filter.
http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/article ... er+QA.html

Been backpacking 40 years and only filtered for a few years after the hype came out. Don't now, and never had a problem. Ensure everyone uses hand sanitizer and choose sources wisely. If you have to take water from a lake do so from the top 6" where the UV saturation is highest.
User avatar
fishhunter
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 7:34 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: water treatment in the back country ??

Postby justm » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:56 pm

good point, fish hunter, about taking water off the top, I see in Africa they put water bottles in the sun for a few hours to purify the water using UV.
User avatar
justm
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 9:16 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: water treatment in the back country ??

Postby justm » Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:08 pm

I talked to the ranger at Mclure meadows, he was saying there are around 2,000 people on the JMT trail this year, so take it this way, previous post said 13 people known w ith giardia, the odds are slim, BUT take in account the huge number of people, not to mention the PCT, who poop up there, I'm beginning to want to filter again, ha ha :eek:
User avatar
justm
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 9:16 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: water treatment in the back country ??

Postby rightstar76 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:36 am

I talked to someone who got it. He didn't treat his water. I also talked to someone who never treats his and has never gotten it. It's a gamble. Since I am not the gambling type I treat my water.
User avatar
rightstar76
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 178
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:22 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: water treatment in the back country ??

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:33 am

justm wrote:I talked to the ranger at Mclure meadows, he was saying there are around 2,000 people on the JMT trail this year, so take it this way, previous post said 13 people known w ith giardia, the odds are slim, BUT take in account the huge number of people, not to mention the PCT, who poop up there, I'm beginning to want to filter again, ha ha :eek:


I said 13 people I've talked to who have had it. That's only meaningful in the context of how many people I've talked to about giardia and contaminated water sources - which isn't many. People don't walk around announcing "I lost 30 lbs on the giardia diet thanks to projectile diarrhea!"
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1766
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: water treatment in the back country ??

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:46 am

Yeah, this one has been talked to death. Because of the remote places I go to, I seldom bring a water filter, and this has been so for at least 20 years. However, there are place I most certainly bring my filter, and late season usually forces water filtering. I soon will be taking a noob friend on a week long trip through Yosemite which ends up along the Merced River, and I don't trust that water any further than I can spit it! So a water filter will be coming along. There is greatly reduced free-flowing water available late season and the water sources are questionable, which demands filtering. Early season provides plenty of choices to avoid filters. YMMV :drinkers:
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
User avatar
DoyleWDonehoo
Founding Member
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:06 pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: water treatment in the back country ??

Postby sparky » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:17 am

I always carry a steripen. It's light and does the trick.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
User avatar
sparky
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 880
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:01 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: water treatment in the back country ??

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:46 pm

sparky wrote:I always carry a steripen. It's light and does the trick.


Hope that keeps working for you and you don't end up one of those 'penners who asks to borrow my filter...

After having the GPS eat through multiple sets of batteries over three days at an abnormal rate even for the GPS, I don't trust anything battery driven for anything truly important.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1766
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 4 guests