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PostWed Dec 13, 2006 12:21 pm 
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What is the point of this post?

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Wiki summmary last edited by zimmertr on Tue May 14, 2019 5:34 pm (this post can be edited by any member)
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Siberian
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PostWed Nov 12, 2014 8:14 am 
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I think the point of this post -- in answer to someone's question -- is to bear in mind safety rules while participating in outdoor activities -- and that is very wise.

A co-worker stated to me once, that every sport has its own rules -- and if you don't follow those rules, eventually something bad can happen and then you will not be able to enjoy that sport -- or worse.

I see snowboarders every year --- and snowmobilers -- head to the passes when every area in the mountains is high risk for avalanches.  How many of you out there faithfully check the NW Avalanche Center's avalanche forecast before you venture out into avalanche terrain?  If you don't, you're making a huge mistake.  You're flirting with death.

I am a dog musher, and it is really, really important to me to get the dogs on a snow run.  But there are times when I will not even drive over the mountain passes in my dog truck, when the risk is high for avalanches at every elevation -- simply because there have been several instances in recent years where motorists were hit by avalanches on the interstate when it was supposedly safe from avalanches -- right after DOT did avalanche control.

You have to use your head, and not simply follow your emotions.  It is not the end of the world if you don't go climbing, hiking, snow shoeing, X-country skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, or dog sledding -- or whatever you want to do out there -- if conditions just are not right.  But it can be the end of your world as you know it if you don't pay attention and follow good common sense.

The snow in the Pacific Northwest tends to be wet -- lately even in Eastern Washington where the climate is drier -- and that snow is as hard as concrete when it settles -- you won't be able to free yourself if you are hit by a slab avalanche with that type of snow.  One year, up at Snoqualmie Pass, there was a rash of avalanches that totally wiped out the first section of the Snow Lake Trail; there must have been close to 100 acres of timber blown down like toothpicks, totally stripped of their limbs and foliage -- that mountains side looked like a scene from Mount St. Helens.  I'm telling you -- you do not want to mess with avalanches.  The force of them is beyond anything that you can possibly imagine.  And when there is faceted snow beneath other layers in the snow pack making everything extremely unstable -- you can even remote trigger an avalanche from a slope way up above you from down below where you are standing.

So take an avalanche course and learn about this winter hazard and follow good common sense.  Be safe out there -- so that you can live to see another day and enjoy the snow sport of your choice well into old age.
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mastertangler
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PostSun Feb 22, 2015 7:16 am 
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Easy to overestimate your abilities......never been down? Think your indestructible? Think again......

Give yourself an "out" in case you have to bail and a way to contact the outside world if your solo.

Several years ago I had an outfitter drop me, my canoe and supplies for a two week trip in a fairly remote wilderness setting (Woodland Caribou Provincial Park). His instructions were to pick me up in 2 weeks at another distant entry point.

First day I decided time was waning and on the last long portage of the day I decided to load up and do 2 trips across the trail instead of 3. A wee little stumble and a popping sound put me down hard as my knee decided it was time to reveal a previous injury. I had to crawl back to the waters edge, fortunately a rare sandbar. Unable to stand I crawled about and set up camp for the night. Sometime in the night I decided to force the issue and straightened my leg......nice loud popping sound which hurt like heck. At least it was back in place and I could actually stand up and hobble around.

But I was in the proverbial rock and a hard place. Although I was only 1 day from an entry point, there was no vehicle waiting and in a park which receives precious few visitors. I could stick it out for a week hoping someone will come along but then I would have to ask a huge sacrifice and imposition, evacuate me......and not just back to the entry point but then 2 hours down a 2 track washed out trail of a road.

What to do? In the end I pressed the button on the SPOT and 3 hours later a helicopter with 2 bad ass S&R guys were loading me and my gear out. Funny, it was the first trip with the SPOT and I picked it up primarily to give my wife some peace of mind by sending "I'm OK" messages each night. After all, I've never been hurt in the woods.......

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Pyrites
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PostThu Jun 25, 2015 4:44 pm 
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Why aren't mobile cell towers such as this brought in early in someS&R efforts, or are they?

http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/photograph/4286/5/42325/
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cdestroyer
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PostWed Oct 14, 2015 5:01 pm 
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I have never been lost. I am one of those poor souls with some kind of built in gps system. Even as a child when after a weekend of camping and returning home in the dark, dad would set me in the front seat and say, okay how do we get home and I would point out the turns and roads, never made a mistake...This is not to say I have not been turned around on occasion especially in some areas of western washington where the brush is quite dense and one area looks very much like another..You just need to keep your wits and backtrack.
When I hike I carry a lensatic compass and maps of the area and I have aready studied the map and know pretty much they lay of the land. I make it a point that after 20 minutes of hiking even on the only trail available to turn around and study the back trail. This keeps you from wondering on your hike out who put that boulder there or I dont remember that downed tree being there..Gee maybe during the night someone moved everything.
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cdestroyer
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PostTue Oct 20, 2015 9:18 am 
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A lot of very good advice in these posts. I have never hiked any foreign country so I can't comment on what to do there. Western Montana where I grew up is quite mountainous and the weather can change overnight. In the olden days equipment was no where what was available many years later. I have found in cold temps at high altitudes butane type bic lighters tend to not gasify/light. The old zippo lighters when properly filled and the wick trimmed short will last a couple of weeks. Cheat fire starters are also a good idea. I make my own from a pitch stump. I cut them into two inch lengths and they can be shaved off into smaller pieces. I always carry a magnesium firestarter. It has a short learning curve to use properly but when lit it burns at 2000 degrees and even damp wood found under a log after a soaking rain will ignite.

My emergency medical kit contains: 4x4 bandages, surgical tape, scissors, scalpel, sutures, a small bottle of iodine, aspirin, butterfly bandages, a whistle and the usual assortment of standard bandaids. I put it all in a water resistant plastic bag inside a tin box. My sister in law glued her fingers together once with quick glue and I realized the use of that glue to seal a cut so I also included a bottle of that.

I don't like  D or C type flashlights because of their weight and because most have either a slide or push button switch which can be activated by accident unless you reverse one of the batteries. I prefer the metal AA flashlights that require you to turn one end to activate. I carry two of these. As mentioned a head mounted light was a good idea.

I also include several flavors of high calorie/protein bars for that quick energy either while hiking or emergency food.

I think I mentioned I carry a compass/map and have learned how to navigate by sighting on a distant high point and map location.
I mostly hike alone but someone knows where I am hiking.
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Pliny
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PostWed Mar 09, 2016 11:59 am 
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I have seen the ice ax/self arrest video before.  What strikes me, is that what have been taught, and teach, is how to do a self arrest without crampons, and that includes getting your toes in.  The toes actually do a lot of the stopping.  99% of the time in the Olympics when we are no steep snow we are not using crampons.   I once fell in the cascades and arrested just before going over a cliff.  I am sure glad I used my toes and put all my weight on the toes and ice ax; the fastest way to arrest.  When I have arrested a rope team with crampons on, I certainly did use my front points.
PS I just looked it up in the anniversary Ed. of Freedom of the Hills and it says on p.344 that the self arrest is traditionally taught w/o crampons may not be a good idea with crampons, but on the other hand, it says, they may actually help.  Come to think of it, the class I help teach does do quick arrests in snow when on a rope in hard steep snow (not ice).

I recommend practicing the self arrest annually.  why not practice both ways and see what you think?
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Antipeople4hiking
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PostSat May 14, 2016 2:47 pm 
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Ya there is no point in this post confused.gif
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mbarto
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PostMon Apr 17, 2017 9:50 pm 
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I always download a detailed area map (google maps on my Samsung) onto my phone before heading out.  If going overnight I always put my phone in airplane mode when reception gets spotty.  GPS still works and on more than one occasion I have guided myself back onto trails I'd lost.  My phone will easily last several days without powering down if in airplane mode.

Personally, I also find it helpful to study the satellite imagery at least a couple of times before my trips (with google earth you can actually follow your route in 3D.  no I don't work for google, but they have excellent maps).  This way I have a pretty good sense of the topography in my head.  I still bring the maps, but I have more confidence when I can match up my actual surroundings with the mental imagery from studying the route.

And this has already been mentioned, but if you have even a moderately difficult water crossing, the weather forecast is for rain, and you have to return this way: seriously reconsider the crossing.  I ran into a sticky situation on a solo trip last summer and was forced to take a risk on my return trip that I really wish I hadn't.  It all worked out ok, but I had to cross a very wet, very slippery log over a very dangerous raging creek that had been pretty tame the day before.  Not the way I want to get my blood pumping on a Sunday morning.
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Backpacker Joe
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PostWed May 17, 2017 8:29 am 
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If you remember to occasionally look behind you as you're hiking, the return trip wont look so wrong.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

Abraham Lincoln
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PostMon Jul 03, 2017 9:54 am 
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Backpacker Joe wrote:
If you remember to occasionally look behind you as you're hiking, the return trip wont look so wrong.

Plus you might get a good view too!  At least, you'll get it earlier.
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owmyknees
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PostTue Sep 05, 2017 11:07 am 
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I was coming down from Mt. Maude this weekend through Leroy Basin.  The trail threaded out, and I guess I followed a wrong thread.  After considering the map, I knew I was off trail, but I figured I would gradually traverse across the basin and join it below.  The brush got thicker and thicker, all sorts of slide alder, and I was crossing deep creek gullies every 100m or so.  It was super hot in all of that brush.  I couldn't see my footing, and I ended up toppling over and scraping up my arms.  I began to panic a bit.  Got cliffed out a few times and had to walk uphill to continue my traverse.  Very flow going.  But the brush appeared to be opening up, and I aimed for the point on my map where the Leroy Creek trail crossed the creek, thinking that the area there would be flatter. Eventually I found some very light evidence of human feet and followed that, eventually ending up at the trail.  On the trail on the way down, I remarked on how many cliffs there were that would have been impossible to descend from.

Scared and tired, but not really in danger.  When I was first off-trail, and considering I had not ascended through Leroy Basin but was doing a loop, I should have gone back uphill to find the trail.  But after Mt. Maude, and the Carne High Route the day before, I was following the path of least effort (which turned out to be the path of high effort).

Good learning experience.
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PostFri Dec 29, 2017 11:04 am 
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Avalanche Danger is HIGH today. Be careful this weekend!

https://www.nwac.us/

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"May you live in interesting times"
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DadFly
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PostMon Jan 15, 2018 3:18 pm 
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Avalanche Danger is down to moderate.
https://www.nwac.us/

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"May you live in interesting times"
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WaState
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PostThu Feb 22, 2018 2:08 pm 
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I crossed a log jam bridge across a creek big as a small river .  2 days later the creek is roaring higher and the middle of the log jam was gone!!! Two of us spent a couple of hours bridging the gap with logs and branches and it went well after filled back together.

I spent a few alpine overnights on unplanned bivy without much gear. Good to have firestarter,  a small saw, light pad, light tarp, maybe a light bivy sack or blizzard bag.

Seems like every climbing hike i have some sort of hairy moments.  Last year i broke two trekking poles using them for self arrest on snow on the ptarmington traverse.

A yellow streak down the middle of the back also helps to stay well and alive.  Listen  to that yellow streak.....
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evergreenhiker
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PostSat Apr 21, 2018 4:57 pm 
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5 years ago, I was on a mission to bag French Peak and find that old geocache up there. It took me three tries over the summer. First trip, I tried heading in directly up the ridge, but got cliffed out. However, I did find an old, old abandoned road right next to the trailhead for the Boulder River trail.  I did some research on this old road.

Second trip, I got on a plenty early start, but ran out of time, roughly about the halfway point at a pond on top of the ridge. Lot of bear sign in the area. It was 1ish and I had started about 545 am that morning. Ok, time to turn back. Got back to the car about hour before dark. On the way back I found a nice blacktail shed so that made my day. Plus, I noticed an old road on the ridge itself. Hmmm....interesting! I opted to be sure about getting out by going out the same way I went in. Further research later on, revealed that this old road on top connected to the one I noticed by the trailhead. it was an old, old meskters map that revealed this. I had kept more to the east side of the ridge on ths trip, but didn't use the old road by the trailhead.

Ok, the third and successful trip, but I learned a few things on this one! first mistake....about mile in on the old road leading from the trailhead, I realized I didn't have my paper maps. I backtracked a bit to see if they fell out of my pocket. Decided I needed to get a move on and stay on course. I had plotted my route with back bearings, etc. Wps off  TOPO! and so on. My gps has a map on it and my created wps and ones I made on the ridge from the last two trips. Decided I needed to just do it. Navigation via a gps screen isn't easy. I didn't have one of those smartphones than.

I was still able to negotiate my way to the junction with the top old road and it was actually fairly easy to follow up the ridge until it petered off. I kept going up....checking waypoints. Then about 11 am, I wasn't looking where I was going and stepped rights into a bee hive! Got stung 5 times by some type of bumble or forest bee. Not wasps. I realized I didn't have benadryl with me. Mistake 2. I'm not allergic, but that can change over time. My father is allergic. Stayed calm and drank water and realized I was fine. Back on trail or bushwack if you will.

I get back that pond, I was at a couple weeks before. It's about noon. I knew I needed to pick up the pace a bit. Looking back, I spent way too much time looking at the damn gps. Basically, I knew I just needed to stay on the ridge, but kinda forgot about that. It got very brushy and lot of blowdowns after the pond. Suddenly, my pack strap gave alway. sh##!

Good thing in prepping for this trip, I had thrown in few feet of cord and had a sharp pocket knife. I just made a hole on end of pack strap and to the other end on the pack itself and tied them together with a piece of the cord. Ok, that has been solved. Probably wasted half hour on that.

Next couple of hours went by, alternatively easy and very brushy sections. Then about a bit before 4 pm, as I was heading up a narrower section of the ridge, about 0.34 miles from the top of French Peak, a HUGE black bear came up from the side of the ridge only 40 feet away or so. I instinctively yelled, "There's a bear!" It looked at me and thankfully, kept crossing over and up the ridge. I stayed put for ten minutes. It was at this point, I realized I should be carrying bear spray.

Ok, I get the summit and the geocache which had been buried under years of duff. Took me way too long I admit. Anyrate, my mistake of forgetting the paper maps early that morning kicked in. On my way down, I got confused. I had forgot that there was a rib or small side ridge near the summit. I was heading down that rather than the main. Eventually, I figured it out by trusting my instincts something wasn't right and backtracking.

Ok, near 9 pm, I knew I was going to have to bivouac. My headlamp was plenty bright for night travel, but I hadn't got back to the pond area yet and still had that god awful thick sh## of younger hemlocks to bash through. I found a somewhat sheltered flat shelf area on the side of the main ridge and I was very glad to have carrie4 fleece top and bottoms in the pack an extra socks. I had a ground cover and survival blanket to use. I had cell contact....thank god!!! Let my late girlfriend know that I was OK,  but ran out of daylight.

A major error on my part in getting ready for this trip was that while I had packed more than enough water, I didn't pack nearly enough food. Just a pb sandwhich, tube of ritz crackers and a candy bar. The hike out next day took ALL DAY.  I had fitfully slept the night before and got confused after the pond area. Finally, I just kept to the east side of the ridge and figured it out. I stumbled a bit more than usual and damn near poked my ear with branch. See, the brain was becoming food deprived and I was getting disoriented a little to easy, but I somehow kept my whits and worked my way down. Paper maps would have made things easier for me rather than trying to look at a tiny gps screen. My maps had the waypoints n it and plotted bearings. AT least I had my compass and declination set correctly so I could check that with the gps info.

It is really, really good that I was smart enough to mark some key spots with orange flagging on my way up. Had I not done that, I might have gone astray or going in circles as I was paying for my lack of food on that day out. yes, I removed the ribbons as I encountered them.

Finally, I almost made another mistake of trying to short cut the top old road. I started to do that and it got really steep and rocky. Probably would have got cliffish. Something made me turn around and stick to the sure route. Got back to the jeep and celebrated. However, I should have taken a nap there. Damn near fell asleep three times on the way home. Lifetime adventure for me! Lot of lessons learned. Maria got me a beacon locator that christmas and I carry bear spray now.

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The alpine world is my church.
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