[pct-l] Probability of Disaster

gwschenk at socal.rr.com gwschenk at socal.rr.com
Thu Sep 2 12:15:32 CDT 2010

---- Diane Soini of Santa Barbara Hikes <diane at santabarbarahikes.com> wrote: 
> On Sep 1, 2010, at 4:44 PM, pct-l-request at backcountry.net wrote:
> > An interesting post with much food for thought.
> >
> > A couple of question:
> > How many PCTers have died from being under-equipped?
> > How many PCTers have died from being over-equipped?
> Probability of success:
> How many PCTers have reached Canada with a pack in the neighborhood  
> of (I'll be generous) 45 or more lbs?

Don't confuse ultra-light with under-equipped.

One example from last year:
I think heading into the Sierra intending to cross a 4000 meter pass in spring wearing sandals is under-equipped.

At the kickoff the year before last I saw people sending their foul weather gear ahead to Kennedy Meadows to save weight. Never mind the three major mountain ranges they were going to traverse without that gear.

People were sleeping in pit toilets to get out of the wind! Yuck!

People were headed into the San Felipes with just three quarts of water. They were counting on the cache. Three years ago that cache was empty and folks were asking for water from people who had carried the proper amount of water into the hills. "Hi! You've just carried 2 gallons of water up 2000', can I have some?"

Bodies aren't exactly piling up like cord wood at the base of Forester Pass, yet I would carry a light axe up that pass in June. Would I survive the crossing without those few extra ounces? Probably, but I also know three people who have died falling on snow.

The thing is to carry smart, not necessarily light. Light doesn't always equal smart, but neither does heavy.

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