[Cdt-l] Fwd: hiking alone?

ned at mountaineducation.org ned at mountaineducation.org
Thu Dec 2 02:05:37 CST 2010


Hiking alone along the PCT in 1974 was a pivotal time in my life and I do not regret it. I am a different person now than I was then because of it.

However, after many SAR call-outs here in Lake Tahoe, many of which were hikers and skiers in distress, we, as Wilderness Skills Trainers, do not advocate it at all. Yes, Colin Fletcher did it a lot and everything worked out for him, but that doesn't mean that it will for you in the circumstances that will challenge you.

Let's take the last two SAR calls, one for an "experienced snowshoer" and the other for a backcountry skier caught in an avalanche last weekend. The first became lost and hypothermic and called for help. By the time we got into his area in a snowstorm, we could not find him, just his pack, misc. clothing items, and one snowshoe with boot. A week later we have not been able to find him, even with dogs. He was in his early 50s, alone, his cell phone worked, he was only 4 miles from a major road, and now his family mourns.

The skier was caught in an avalanche, but he was not alone. Per backcountry safety standards, he was the only one in the fall-line, so his partners were able to search for him after the snow stopped sliding. They found him with Avalanche Beacons, probes, and shovels and were able to breathe life back into him after clearing his airway of snow (very common). He had been pretty beat up be trees, rocks, and debris in the slide, so he had to be flown out by CHP helicopter. If he were alone, he would not be alive today.



"Just remember, Be Careful out there!"

Ned Tibbits, Director
Mountain Education
1106A Ski Run Blvd
South Lake Tahoe, Ca. 96150
    P: 888-996-8333
    F: 530-541-1456
    C: 530-721-1551
    http://www.mountaineducation.org
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Sean Staplin 
  To: ks1007 at aol.com 
  Cc: cdt-l at backcountry.net 
  Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 2010 10:24 PM
  Subject: Re: [Cdt-l] Fwd: hiking alone?


   Thanks for responding and not deleting my post. I am not young (50 actually), and have also done many foolish things. But luckily was spared to live and learn. I guess my feelings on the subject are that to me one of life's little pleasures is that self reliance that you experience when hiking alone in remote places. Places where no one else may go for weeks or longer. The feeling you get when you watch every step, where you stop before looking around. Where you test and and back off, leaving the route for another day when conditions improve. In Goatman's case he decided to include a SPOT. His choice, and one that worked out well. My style of hiking would have left me lonely and possibly cold, hungry and in pain. I would still have the contents of my pack. Like most of us I do give a plan to a trusted person. There are always possible scenarios where severe injury or death is a possibility. Those are also a possibility at any time in life, and I believe no more likely on the trail than any where else. These are my feelings at this time in my life. Feelings which can and do change. I hope this clears up how my post may have been perceived, as I see it could easily have come off as being flippant. Sorry if I came off that way, and thanks for the opportunity to respond. I am more of a live and let live kind of person and try my best not to be judgmental. 
  Cheers,
  mtnrat


  On 01/12/10 7:03 PM, ks1007 at aol.com wrote: 
    I at first deleted your thread mtnrat - even went to a different site but something tugged at me to answer you - I did a lot of foolish things (not saying you're foolish) when I was younger - you think that you are indestructable when younger - I'm not saying that hiking is foolish - I can build my own self reliance right here in my community - so, what would you do in goatmans case? he couldn't move cuz he was in such pain - after having been in a war and worked in a prison it's always nice knowing someone has your back


    el coyote
    Keith and Mary
    Trail Angels
    Deming, NM



    -----Original Message-----
    From: Sean Staplin <seanstaplin at gmail.com>
    To: ks1007 <ks1007 at aol.com>
    Cc: cdt-l <cdt-l at backcountry.net>
    Sent: Wed, Dec 1, 2010 6:40 pm
    Subject: Re: [Cdt-l] hiking alone?


    For hiking a partner is not necessary...ever. --it can happen anywhere anytime. I prefer to hike and scramble alone for the reason of self reliance. Something that I feel is in short supply in all facets of life these days. In fact it can be safer to be alone.
    Cheers,
    Mtnrat

    On 01/12/10 9:01 AM, ks1007 at aol.com wrote: 
      yes, I'm not a hiker but I feel that I must weigh in on this thread - I'm sure that hiking alone has its' merits but I think there are times when a partner is necessary - case in point - "goatman" dan johnson slips and fractures his ankle and leg in the gila's - he is the second to last nobo and the last nobo aussie dave isn't taking that route - goatman was lucky that he had a SPOT with him and that's what saved his life - if he would of had a partner they could have gone for help - I know that hikers are doing the trail because of the solitude and not having to keep a schedule - even though you may not like it,  when you get to NM the trail angels keep track of you - one of the other things that may have saved goatman was that he called julie the night before - if he wasn't there in 3 days from emory pass we would have discussed what to do which most likely would have been to call out SAR 
      you never know when something may happen


      el coyote
      Keith and Mary
      Trail Angels
      Deming, NM



      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jim and_or Ginny Owen <spiriteagle99 at hotmail.com>
      To: brianle <brianle at nwlink.com>; cdt-l <cdt-l at backcountry.net>
      Sent: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 5:17 pm
      Subject: Re: [Cdt-l] trail partnership: all or nothing?


      Brian - 
      The main reasons for hiking together are for safety in bear country or because you just like 
      hiking together or for navigation purposes (4 eyes are better than 2 eyes).  Being joined at the 
      hip is a good idea if you're a married couple or looking for "safety" in "bear country" or partners 
      who want to hike together, because there are a number of places where a wrong turn could 
      send you in different directions and leave one or both of you kinda "floating in never-never land".  
       
      Note please that hiking "together" in bear country means EXACTLY that.  It doesn't mean hiking 
      5 minutes - or even 30 seconds apart.  If you're that far apart, the bear considers you to be alone.  
      And you are. 
       
      Truth is that "bear country" generally isn't nearly as dangerous as most people think.  But I don't 
      try to convince people of that - they have to discover it for themselves.  Just keep in mind the rules 
      for not irritating (or attracting) the bears and don't get overconfident.  
       
      But if you want to hike together sometimes, and apart other times, I'd suggest hiking out of 
      town together, separating at some point on the trail and then meeting at the next town. You'd 
      probably want to decide on a specific motel or restaurant for your rally point in that next town.  
      Our website generally doesn't give that kind of information, but Yogi's book probably does. 
       
      You could, of course, hike part of the day together and part alone.  Just don't count on sharing 
      gear or food in that case because then getting separated leaves on of you a little short of ....
      something, be it food, water, shelter, fire.....whatever.   Keep in mind the words to the song - 
      God bless the child who's got his own.  
       
      Have a great hike,
      Jim

      http://www.spiriteaglehome.com/



       
      > From: brianle at nwlink.com
      > To: Cdt-l at backcountry.net
      > Date: Fri, 26 Nov 2010 13:41:29 -0800
      > Subject: [Cdt-l] trail partnership: all or nothing?
      > 
      > Consensus is that if you don't want to hike the CDT literally alone, you
      > start with one or more partners and you stay close together the whole time.
      > I like the fellow that I plan to hike with a lot, but I've also quite
      > enjoyed weeks of hiking alone on both PCT and AT, and even when hiking with
      > one or more partners I've often hiked much of a given day alone, joining
      > back up at lunch and at night. I realize that the CDT is different in this
      > way, that you have to stay close to stay together at all, but the idea of
      > being joined at the hip to anyone for months of hiking concerns me a little.
      > 
      > What I've not seen anyone suggest is the idea of periodically splitting up
      > for a while and agreeing to meet back up at or near a particular trail town.
      > This seems like it would be a good compromise on the CDT to me, i.e., have a
      > trail partnership, but have some significant "alone time" stretches. I
      > suspect that both of us would appreciate some time apart, and enjoy each
      > other's company that much more when we reconnected.
      > 
      > The only downside I can see would be if one person ended up waiting quite a
      > while for the other, and perhaps not being 100% certain that (for whatever
      > reason) they're actually going to show up. I suppose another downside is
      > the risk that, for whatever reason, the designated reunion spot wouldn't be
      > a good/pleasant/safe/whatever place to hang out for the needed amount of
      > time. Have any past CDT thru-hikers tried this approach ("meet you at
      > this particular motel in a week or so"), and any observations if so?
      > 
      > TIA ---
      > 
      > 
      > Brian Lewis / Gadget
      > http://www.postholer.com/brianle
      > 
      > 
      > 
      > _______________________________________________
      > Cdt-l mailing list
      > Cdt-l at backcountry.net
      > http://mailman.backcountry.net/mailman/listinfo/cdt-l

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