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Why training is important - crosspost from Whiteblaze

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  • Why training is important - crosspost from Whiteblaze

    Wanted to share this. This is why you practice, and hike with a buddy (when you can). Emphases mine:

    For those on the PCT this early, (Started March 15th, reached Fuller approach March 24th)just a warning about Fuller Ridge. My plan after the Forbes Alternate was to get close because the second day was a great weather day, then it was going to get stormy again. Thought I could get across Fuller Ridge and drop back to low elevation before the bad weather. I ran into a lot of snow, climbing out of Idyllwild to Saddle Jct. I ended up in very steep terrain and hard packed snow miles before approaching Fuller Ridge. I had micro spikes but still managed to take a long uncontrolled slide of about 1,000 feet, bouncing off trees and rocks and doing a face plant into a group of rocks that probably saved my life. It was still a long way to the basement into a scree field that awaited me at the bottom. I didn't break any bones just scraped up real bad and broke a lot of gear. Thought for sure I broke my glasses, but they were in one piece and not even scratched much. My elbow was bleeding and embedded with gravel, small cut above the eye, one pole broken, the other hanging precariously just out of reach, which I was able to grab before it continued on down the slope. I knew if I couldn't grab it I would have a hell of a time climbing back up top. Both my water bottles continued to the bottom never to be seen again. Had my phone in my pants pocket. The pocket was torn real bad, but the phone did not fall out. Broke the phone case but the phone was still functioning but no reception. I think my pack took a lot of the abuse instead of my body. I should have had my ice axe, but still would have turned back. I tried using my pole for self arrest, but the snow was too hard to do much good. The spikes actually caught and turned me sliding head first, not a good thing. I feel very lucky to have this turn out the way it did. Took me 12 hours to get back up to the trail and maneuver four miles back across steep snow to the junction that would take me down to Idyllwild. After licking my wounds I am going north of town to Black Mountain road to climb back to the trail after Fuller. I suggest you do the same until Fuller loses a lot more snow. Just a heads up for those behind me. I've been hiking solo for 50 years, but this was a real wake up call. Don't ruin your hike trying to do this section. It was a stupid move on my part. --Dickebird
    46er #9404
    Pics: https://www.flickr.com/photos/145945713@N02/
    http://www.athikerpictures.org/syste...jpg
    https://smokebeard.wordpress.com/

  • #2
    ...or why MicroSpikes suck? Hillsounds FTW
    ADK 46/46W, Grid 227/552
    Photos & Stuff

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    • #3
      Sounds like a failure of judgment, not a failure of equipment. He was somewhere he should not have been..lucky to be alive.

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      • #4
        1,000 feet is a long time to slide and worry about how abruptly you're going to come to a stop, and in what position. I'd probably need to dig some clean skivvies out of my pack after that one. This is why I wear crampons on the steep stuff and Hillsounds on approaches. IMO wearing micros is like driving your car around the ADKS all winter with "all season" tires and saying they're adequate because you've never spun off the road.

        Edit: To your point, Joe, there's a lesson to be learned about being where you shouldn't be without the proper amount of support. I learned mine this past winter when it took me 6 1/2 hours to descend CBP from the plane crash to the trail junction near Lake Colden.
        “Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” - Ed Viesturs

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        • #5
          Yeah... this is why I stay in the flatlands from the first snow until the last of the winter's pack melts!
          ADK 46*/46 CATS 5/35 FT 4/28 Saranac 0/6 Bristol 6/6

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          • bfinan0
            bfinan0 commented
            Editing a comment
            Shame on you for making someone miss a peak! If anyone ever puts me in that situation again, I'm getting the summit, even if it means I lose my ride home in the process...

          • Adirondackiteer
            Adirondackiteer commented
            Editing a comment
            Oh I certainly didn't make him miss it, my mom and I were more than willing to wait while he rested but he insisted we go to give him extra time to rest. He isn't on a peak bagging quest or anything.

          • bfinan0
            bfinan0 commented
            Editing a comment
            Oh that's a little different. With my usual level of frustration though turning back that close, or skipping a peak, is a thought that would never even occur to me even though I've already finished my 45er.

        • #6
          Wow that was scary to read, glad he was able to write about it later! I hike solo occasionally, but have not hiked in the winter. I would definitely want to start out with some experienced winter folks. I think I'd enjoy winter hiking (even though I'd have to put some sort of shoes on lol), but it's rare I have time off during the winter I typically spend all my vacation days during summer.
          35/46 get'n closer
          18/46 barefoot ;-)
          ~Tristan

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          • #7
            Originally posted by JoeCedar View Post
            Sounds like a failure of judgment, not a failure of equipment. He was somewhere he should not have been..lucky to be alive.
            Yeah, more to do with judgement, skills and gear than training. Unless of course that is what the OP meant by training.
            1111111111

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            • All Downhill From Here
              Editing a comment
              Yes, that was what I meant - training with your gear, and with your brain.

          • #8
            Tough year to do the PCT, so much more snow than in recent years...
            http://cdec.water.ca.gov/snow/current/snow/

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            • #9
              On postholer there's finer-grained data, some places have 3-400% their normal snow water content. It's going to an epic year, many people already talking about how to flip - except you're flipping north into OR and WA which are also buried.
              46er #9404
              Pics: https://www.flickr.com/photos/145945713@N02/
              http://www.athikerpictures.org/syste...jpg
              https://smokebeard.wordpress.com/

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              • #10
                Stories like this one always make me shiver.
                Completely lucky to stay alive.

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