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Benighted?

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Benighted?

Postby sparky » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:05 pm

Have you ever not made it back to your tent and had to spend the night without your tent/pad/sleeping bag? What were the circumstances?

It has happened once to me with another member of this forum #-o in an unfamiliar trailess canyon. Right at dark my internal compass was knocked out of wack and then we spent around 3 hours bushwacking in pitch black, and didn't know which way was up, I pretty much gave up. Wierd disappearing rivers, phantom waterfalls, it was interesting.

We found a nice rock and a bunch of leaves and it was a warm night so no harm no foul. We got lucky because 1. it was warm and 2. besides that rock, the only other flat spot in the whole canyon had our tents on them!

I remember the moon finally rose and I got a good look at our surroundings and that just completely dumbfounded me. I thought we had somehow stumbled into another canyon, although that would have been near impossible. I just went back to sleep and when morning came, finding our camp was easy.

Lets hear some more stories of an unplanned bivy!
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
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Re: Benighted?

Postby Rockchucker » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:25 pm

I have but tequila was involved, young and dumb and drunk sure don't mix.
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Re: Benighted?

Postby BrianF » Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:59 pm

Never unexpectedly on a hike or backpack trip, but have while climbing... never fun but no epics to tell, just long cold nights on a ledge somewhere. I have spent a few planned nights out with no sleeping gear or with just a bivy bag without bag or pad, some by choice and some when I was on a SAR team on a mission. If the weather cooperates it is not too bad, just don't expect a good nights sleep but do expect to shiver. Once you resign yourself to it, choose a sheltered place if you can, make yourself as comfortable as possible, do what you can to insulate yourself and keep calm. Cheap reflective mylar space blankets do help
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: Benighted?

Postby rlown » Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:48 pm

Was lost in the fog on Herd Peak (NE of Shasta) in the 80's the day before hunting season opened. Kept going up and down over the summit for a couple hours before i called the ball and picked a place with some wood and a backdrop log for heat reflection. Had my trusty bic lighter with me; unfortunately not the compass. Didn't freeze. Actually it was an ok night. Fog lasted through the next day, but i was able to hike down on the right side of the mountain and get my bearings. Got back to camp about 10am the next day.
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Re: Benighted?

Postby sparky » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:00 pm

Rock, now that I think about it, same thing happened to me when I was 20 or 21, except it was beer.....a very large quantity of it.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
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Re: Benighted?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:53 pm

I've had a fair amount of trips when I hiked in darkness but I never had to spend the night without my bag. The closest I've come to being unable to return to my sleeping bag (difficulty finding it) has been on a two or three Friends of the Pleistocene (FOP) field trips. For geologists who have not been on those trips you've no doubt heard of their reputation. For non-geologists, picture 200 people primitive car camping with a half dozen kegs. In any case I did in fact make it back to my bag on those occasions but there were some moments of concern.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Benighted?

Postby Jimr » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:04 am

The only time I ever came close to losing my campsite was because of Lysergic acid. I was in Dusy basin. We dropped a hit a piece and went off fishing. It's amazing how all of the green just melts together leaving a yellow tent invisible. Since there were three of us and we still had enough wherewithal to know we were somewhere along the stream, we were eventually able to find camp just before it got completely dark.
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Re: Benighted?

Postby longri » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:50 am

I've had a handful of unplanned bivies but nothing epic. To a certain extent unplanned bivies are planned if you rock climb enough and I've always have had some extra items to make the suffering more sufferable. The worst part for me has always been the lack of a sleeping pad.
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Re: Benighted?

Postby Rockchucker » Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:10 am

longri wrote:I've had a handful of unplanned bivies but nothing epic. To a certain extent unplanned bivies are planned if you rock climb enough and I've always have had some extra items to make the suffering more sufferable. The worst part for me has always been the lack of a sleeping pad.

I've started carring in my day pack a klymit small inflatable that is about the size of a coke can and weighs half as much. Also a very small kind of warm thermarest synthetic quilt/blanket that weighs around 12 oz and packs to the size of a grapefruit. I'm sure I could get through a unplanned night with this. I have done a few simi unplanned overnighters while hunting. Just when you get into really good country it gets dark so rather than hiking back out I will hunker down and wait for morning. But when hunting I carry a bivy sack, pad, bag, and poncho tarp, so it's not bad at all.
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Re: Benighted?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:19 pm

Had to hike in the dark a couple times when I did not plan on it. Came back down Telescope peak once doing the last two miles using my point and shoot camera to see the ground on a moonless night but never had to actually sleep out.
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Re: Benighted?

Postby dave54 » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:34 pm

Back in my fire crew days it was a common occurrence. We expected it every time we went out. Everyone carried basic bivy gear in their line packs.
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Re: Benighted?

Postby longri » Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:59 am

Rockchucker wrote:I've started carring in my day pack a klymit small inflatable that is about the size of a coke can and weighs half as much. Also a very small kind of warm thermarest synthetic quilt/blanket that weighs around 12 oz and packs to the size of a grapefruit. I'm sure I could get through a unplanned night with this.

When climbing you have the rope as a "pad". It insulates fine but I can never get comfortable.

At some point if you carry enough extra stuff you cross the line between unplanned and planned. For rock climbing carrying even a tiny pad and a quilt would be unacceptably heavy and bulky in most situations, given the relative rarity of a bivy. For certain day hikes it might make sense.

The old Chouinard quote about bivouac gear comes to mind.

But when I've thought the odds were higher than usual -- and I'm talking about summer in the Sierra -- I've taken a little extra clothing, a mylar bivy blanket, a lighter, and a small amount of extra water when possible.
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