[pct-l] Bailing out
kitravensong at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 30 11:22:55 CDT 2019
When I hiked the entire PCT by myself NOBO in 1976 it was the maximum depth of snow recorded in the North Cascades around Glacier Peak. It was a lighter snow year in the Sierras, yet when I left Weldon (the start of the Sierra trek back then) and got into the high Sierras it was snow all day long outside of a few miles of trail at the low points.
Having done the Mountaineers Basic Climbing course when I was 14-15 years old, really helped me. Before I did the PCT I had done winter mountaineering independently in the Cascade and on Mt. Rainier and became known as the ‘Wild Woman’. It takes time and experience in different snow condition and terrain to make informed decisions....I’m still working on that one. The winter before last I fell into a hidden cravasse when trekking solo. I am here today because of whalers far away here my cried for help. Its fun to travel solo, yet in dangerous conditions its safest to trek together as a team. Now I carry an InReach, yet it doesn’t function in deep valleys and gorges in the north where the satellites are at an angle.
Back in ‘76 other hikers looked my way in the Sierras for route finding and I did a route east of Forester. It is important as a mountaineer to consider the safest route, which may be off the PCT. Or it may mean being humble and simply turning around, like a mountaineer within feet of the summit.
Basically, it really helps to have the education and experience of winter trekking in the mountains, as well as understanding group dynamics on the trail. I’d like to point out how research demonstrates that women make the safest decisions in challenging conditions in the backcountry. Yeah Women! I think its instinctual to protect our young.
SOBOs- the temperature has warmed up here in the north Cascades. Snow is melting fast, which has triggered many avalanches. The snow should be settled down for the most part by mid-June, but you never know. It really helps to know and understand the parameters of avalanche conditions and what time of day its best to cross avalanche zones. Going early, while the snow is still hard, is safest. You’ll need good traction and an ice ax, which you know how to use. Otherwise choose an alternate lower elevation and less steep route such as Pasayten/Robinson route for SOBOs or late season NOBOs.
Have a great journey! Hope to see you all at the Hiker’s Hut at Ravensong’s Roost, (the farthest north trail angel in Mazama)
Sent from my iPhone
More information about the Pct-L