[pct-l] 2016 prep
baidarker at gmail.com
Sat Nov 21 18:25:32 CST 2015
Great advice Chipmunk. I include "storm hikes" all winter long as part of
my regular training hike series. Firstly, because when I'm in my storm get
up, I stay warm and have a great time in terrible weather, and secondly, to
introduce others to just what it feels like to hike through serious weather
and realize they're OK, they didn't melt and had a great time. Getting
used to your gear ahead of time and in situations where you can leave trail
easily to get warm if you do get too wet, is simply invaluable.
One of the best of them was a few years ago when we had 100 mile per hour
winds on the Bay Area ridges. For that storm I hiked the highest of the
ridges in our area, 4,000 foot, Mt. Diablo. I started in shorts as it was
a "pineapple express" and didn't seem too cold when I set out, but had to
actually don my rain pants once the hail began to sting. Great learning
for me for the CDT where hail at 13,000 feet also stung like a million bees
and I needed protection for the hail, not necessarily the cold. On Bald
Ridge, the most exposed section, the wind had the force to lift me out of
the trail and knock me over and I learned to run/hike scrunched over at
half height to reduce windage. But in the shelter of dense chaparral on
that same ridge, with the wind howling in a deafening roar just feet over
my head, I could have pitched a tent in the light zephyrs that were blowing
closer to ground. Amazing. Shelter would have been easy had I needed it
by simply choosing a truly sheltered spot. That's a big lesson and one to
understand experientially. Don't pitch just anywhere if you can possibly
help it. Find a sheltered spot.
On another windy snowy hike over the same 7 mile loop of the summit a few
years ago, with snow melt filling all the seasonal streams and waterfalls,
I took a good friend out for a test of his gear and to acquaint him with
hiking in storms. He was heading for South America and intended on hiking
sections of the Andes but he had virtually no training in bad weather. At
one point we reached a flooded section of trail about 500 feet across, and
after trying unsuccessfully to make it through the dense chaparral on
either side, I just struck out across it in my trail runners, which were
soaked by the rain to begin with and couldn't get any wetter. This was ice
cold snow melt and when the water reached my waist, I began to give my
usual ice water scream because the cold is painful and it's good to scream,
but I didn't slow down and blasted through to the other side.
My buddy thought I was crazy. I told him it was going to be very cold, but
that the difference between the ice water and the ambient air temperature
when he got out was so great that he would feel instantly hot on the far
side and to not stop long enough to let himself get cold. He had to hike
as fast as he could to stay warm. After a bit of laughter and name
calling, he struck out and by mid ford was calling me every filthy name he
could come up with. He was pissed and getting scared. Finally he stopped
mid crossing and became very panicked, screaming that he couldn't feel his
feet or move his legs. I hollered back that he could still move and to
keep pushing his legs forward and not stop in the cold and sure enough, he
made it across just fine, though he was still cussing at me. He couldn't
believe how warm his feet felt when he left the water and we took off up
the trail at a blistering pace maintaining the warmth. Within a few
minutes he acknowledged that inspite of being wet up to his waist, he was
basically warm. Half an hour along and he was laughing at how really
toasty he was. He was wet and hiking and OK. By the end of the hike he
was really proud of how well he had done. He had never worked or hiked in
the rain before.
Importantly, our cores had stayed out of the water and remained dry. We
were able to talk about hypothermia and other things that can happen when
more than your legs and feet get soaked and it's cold outside, but
basically it make him comfortable with walking in wet shoes. That's a big
deal when you first realize that you can be wet and fine on trail.
Enough already! Needless to say Chipmunk, you're advice to train in
adverse conditions is a great one and is one of the best ways to instill
confidence in new hikers if they're willing to try it. And it's part of my
winter hikes each year.
On Sat, Nov 21, 2015 at 1:05 PM, Brick Robbins <brick at brickrobbins.com>
> As we used to say, remember the Six Ps
> Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance
> 2015-11-21 11:54 GMT-08:00 Douglas Tow <douglastow at gmail.com>:
> > Your 2016 thru hike is about 5 months out.
> > In that time, you have a perfect opportunity to find some things out.
> > 1. Wait until a solidly rainy day, put your loaded pack on with your
> > gear, take a 5 mile walk (or just stand out in the rain for an hour), set
> > up your shelter, and set up for eating and sleeping. How'd that work
> > Where did you put your wet clothes and boots? Did the things you wanted
> > stay dry stay dry? Wish you had an extra pair of dry socks?
> > 2. As you finish task #1 above, now put on your hiking clothes, pack
> > pack, and break camp. Eat breakfast if that is your general plan.
> > 3. Resupply strategy. Foods. Wayfinding. Charging your devices. How
> > get replacement boots while on trail. Do your own brainstorming.
> > 4. Hike, and hike some more. When that's done, hike some more. Maybe a
> > bit more.
> > 5. It really does cost money.
> > 6. If you want to reduce your chances of reaching your goals, definitely
> > wing it.
> > Chipmunk
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