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High Water

Discussion related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Trail conditions, fire/smoke reports, mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.
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Re: High Water

Postby Mike M. » Mon May 30, 2011 8:47 pm

In higher than normal water, it is especially important to cross in boots (or tennis shoes or water shoes if you have taken the trouble to bring them along).

Personally, unless the stream is gentle and the streambed sandy, I always cross wearing my boots, minus my wool hiking socks (I leave the liner socks on). This is the safest method and believe it or not, your boots dry out quickly and it is not particularly uncomfortable hiking in them when they are wet.

I "discovered" this in 1975, the first time I hiked down The Enchanted Gorge and was forced into the creek to avoid a few gnarly patches during the descent.

Rlown is right, you take a big risk crossing barefoot. 1) it is much easier to slip and fall; 2) you can easily slice your feet up or turn an ankle and there goes your hike.

Mike



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Re: High Water

Postby KathyW » Mon May 30, 2011 8:50 pm

My original response was regarding log crossings; so that is the right comparison. I'm not trying to profess to be an expert on creek or water crossings or tell anyone else how they should cross over to the other side, but I'll continue to do what I'm comfortable doing.

Internet forums are always interesting - a good place to share opinions and knowledge, but not everyone is going to have the same opinions or experiences and we have to be understanding of that and not critical or defensive. Also, we often try to write like we speak, which doesn't work too well because the meaning gets lost without the intonations that go along with the spoken word.

Anyway, I think I can agree that high water crossings are dangerous with shoes, without shoes, on a log above the current, or any other way. If the water is really high then maybe the best decision is not to cross over to the other side.

Another thing I keep in mind is that the water is typically higher later in the day; so I might be able to cross in the morning but then I might not be able to come back across later in the day.
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Re: High Water

Postby BrianF » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:12 am

Kathy, Thanks for the recommendation of the Columbia shoes, I have been thinking of getting some water shoes for this season. I'll have to check them out. I, too, am leery of wet log crossings, but also don't like getting my boots wet, so I have gone barefoot across a time or two. I concur with the opinion that that can be risky for your feet as well as (for me at least) feeling more vulnerable if I make a mistep or get buffeted about. I have never hurt my feet crossing barefoot but the potential is high. I did rip off a big toenail once on a backpack trip heading into the water for a swim and my foot slipped off one rock and under another- now that was painful and made for a long hobble out! I have never been one to carry additional shoes for camp or anything, but am considering it now, given the the late runoff season.
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: High Water

Postby texan » Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:03 am

I am getting a new pair of shoes for the water this year.

Texan
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Re: High Water

Postby Kris » Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:33 pm

I always hike with a pair of body glove water shoes. They'll last quite a few seasons and are incredibly inexpensive ($5-10). I've had and abused the same pair for 4 seasons now. I'll take out the padded sole insert to lighten them up a bit. The weight is comparable to the vibram 5 fingers i imagine, and I'll carry the extra ounces everytime. There very lightweight and excellent camp/fishing/wading, and light climbing shoes. They''re quite versatile and assist greatly in stream crossings. The amount of weight to camp comfort/foot safety (doing all kinds of activities in them) is negligble. Almost couldn't imagine hiking w/o them (coming from an ounce counter). I've been a guide in the Sierra's for quite a few seasons and always recommend to clients to bring something like what i've described above (particularly in high run-off seasons). :bear:
~We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started... and know the place for the first time.

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Re: High Water

Postby quentinc » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:45 pm

Kris -- thanks for the suggestion. I've never heard of those but I think I will try them. Last weekend in the Southern Sierra I used an old pair of sneakers, but they got so muddy and waterlogged that they added a ton of weight to my pack after crossings.
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Re: High Water

Postby Pietro257 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:44 pm

Count me among the people who would rather put on Tevas, Crocs, or another brand of water shoe than balance across a slippery log or a trail of dubious stepping stones.

Water shoes are a must in my book. I like Crocs. They are lighter than Tevas, more comfortable, less expensive, easier to pack, and have a toe. Plus you can slip them on and off easily if you bring the backstrap forward. I wear them around camp.

The most dangerous creek crossing I ever had was south of Devil's Postpile on Fish Creek in the swollen summer of 1975. You had to scoot down on a fallen 35-degree log into the middle of the creek. A branch stuck straight up from the middle of the log. You had to get around the branch 12 feet over rushing water. After you got to the bottom of the log, you had to wade through rushing water to the far shore. Peer pressure made me do it. Today I would scout another crossing no matter how far up- or downstream I had to go.
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Re: High Water

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:13 pm

Over the years my pack load went from over 50 pounds to about 35 pounds. One thing I did to reduce weight was to get some super-lite water socks with spider rubber. One of my better purchases. I would never go on a trip without some kind of fording foot-ware, especially this year.
(Coldest creek crossed early season=> Frog Creek.)
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Re: High Water

Postby richlong8 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:51 pm

Do you have a link or recommendation for a particular kind of these water socks? Are they worn with a water shoe to ford, or by themselves? thanks, I enjoy your website, sierra trails, by the way.
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Re: High Water

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:49 pm

You might try Men's Proton 3 Water Shoe:
http://www.bvori.com/teva.asp
If you need more sole protection, you might try the Men's Hurricane 3 below those.
Pair them up with a pair of fleece socks for real camp comfort. These would work too, sans spider-rubber (climbing shoe material):
http://www.rei.com/product/800882/camar ... ater-shoes
I have done stream-crossing barefoot, and it is no fun.
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Re: High Water

Postby ERIC » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:46 am

maverick wrote:Hi Kathy

Welcome to HST!


More like "welcome back Founding Member formerly known as 'wingding', after a long hiatus..." ;)
New members, please consider giving us an intro!
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Re: High Water

Postby BSquared » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:05 am

Oh! People ought to post something when they change their nicks, eh? :p
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