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#179191 - 08/15/13 09:18 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: BillgGruff]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Do you want to hear all about why I stopped taking sandals?

Probably not, since it would destroy your theory that sandals are superior.

Don't think you could have crossed the dangerous kind of stream we're talking about before...
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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#179193 - 08/15/13 09:26 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: lori]
BillgGruff Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/15/13
Posts: 11
Loc: Troutdale, Oregon
knowing your limits and understanding the challenges that you're dealing w/ are probably the most important thing when it comes to safety. If a hiker is wondering how to ford a stream recommending loose, heavy, water-logged boots may not be the safest option.

But I am curios to hear why you stopped carrying sandals

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#179194 - 08/15/13 09:35 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: BillgGruff]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By BillgGruff
knowing your limits and understanding the challenges that you're dealing w/ are probably the most important thing when it comes to safety. If a hiker is wondering how to ford a stream recommending loose, heavy, water-logged boots may not be the safest option.

But I am curios to hear why you stopped carrying sandals


How many rolled/sprained ankles and sticks through the foot do you have to get before you use something that actually protects the foot better? If you cannot find a place to wade, or a tree to walk across, and you cannot see the bottom of the creek, you have to feel your way or abandon the trip. If you are search and rescue, you don't abandon the trip.

_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#179195 - 08/15/13 09:54 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: lori]
BillgGruff Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/15/13
Posts: 11
Loc: Troutdale, Oregon
http://www.katu.com/younews/29170604.html

"Sarah Bishop was a skilled hiker who died while trying to ford the Sandy River when the river water level was unseasonably high back in August 2004.
Hikers unable to safely cross the Sandy River because of its water level may have to hike 2.7 miles north on the Pacific Crest Trail (formerly Bald Mountain Trail #784) to the Top Spur trailhead along Road 118 near Lolo Pass."

she died crossing a glacial stream in August!

I'm just saying that advising someone to cross a glacial creek in ill-fitting footwear is a BAD idea.
I fly fish in the pacific northwest and know a little bit about what happens when someone falls into cold fast moving water.

to safely walk in a stream you should have felt soled wading boots and waders w/ a belt and a wading staff isn't a bad idea either.

I'm familiar w/ the stretch of water where Sarah died. In August it is very unassuming. But it is glacial runoff and it is very cold even in August. You must be prepared for what you plan to encounter. If you plan to ford a glacial stream, be prepared to do more than walk across in heavy hiking boots that don't fit without socks and insoles and laces and whatever else you hope to keep dry.


Edited by BillgGruff (08/15/13 10:04 AM)

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#179196 - 08/15/13 10:04 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: BillgGruff]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
It is not an either/or situation. I don't hike in boots even on climbing trips because they are heavy and clumsy. But, when it comes time for crampons or step-kicking, the boots come out. I don't hike in sandals either because I want my feet better protected than sandals will. I wear sandals a lot at home, I like the comfort. However, if there is any possibility of sticks or cactus spines I put on my shoes. My preference is to hike in trail running shoes. Other experienced hikers here like light boots, some prefer military footwear and a few like sandals. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to what to wear when hiking.

And, to imply that some folks here are "stupid" because they wear something other than what you prefer is arrogant and condescending, at best. There is a lot more experience gathered here on this forum than you seem prepared to acknowledge
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#179205 - 08/15/13 01:44 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: BillgGruff]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
I well recall hearing about Sarah's death in the Sandy River crossing near Ramona Falls. That accident was not due to the glacial temperature of the water, but rather it happened immediately after extremely heavy late summer rains that doubled or tripled the volume of water in a day. As I recall it, she was unable to free herself from her pack when she was swept away by the current, got caught in a logjam and drowned.

I appreciate your point about very cold water being FAR more dangerous than merely chilly water. But what is safe is situational. You seem to argue that removing one's socks and insoles, then lacing one's shoes back on to cross a stream is horribly dangerous, because the shoes will be too loose and it is "stupid" ever to recommend it. What about lacing the shoes just a bit tighter? That works for me.

It seems to me that what you are doing is akin to crying wolf, when you speak as if every stream crossing is equally dangerous, and one should always act as if the water were waist deep, silty, a few degrees above freezing, with a powerful current trying to sweep you to your death, then your advice will soon be discounted when others discover that 99.9% of what they experience doesn't fit these criteria.

Certainly, those kinds of stream crossings exist, but they should never be attempted if there is any reasonable way to avoid them. Nor will wearing sandals somehow make such a crossing safer in any realistic sense.

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#179234 - 08/16/13 08:05 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: aimless]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
Last year I had to cross a glacial braided stream (4 crossings). The bottom was cobbles, under milky water that did not allow me to see what I was walking on. I crossed with shoes on, gaiters, and all. When I got to the other side I wrung out the socks and continued. I really like the stability of my hiking shoes and the warmth of the socks and gaiters. Glacial streams are difficult because you cannot see the bottom so do not know how deep you have to wade. I always keep open the option of retreating. And I would not attempt this without trekking poles. In the past I have also put plastic bags over my socks - not to be waterproof, but to act like a wet suit and keep feet warm. A long, even though shallow crossing of icy cold water can make feet numb. It is really hard to be stable with numb feet.

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#190000 - 04/04/15 03:32 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Al Paca]
Txrxaxvxixs Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/04/15
Posts: 1
So I came across this thread and I had to rage out at the stupidity of some of the people posting here.

I've thru hiked the AT & the long trail & live in Alaska. I've crossed more rivers and streams than I can estimate.

People who wear their hiking shoes into streams have no clue what they are doing. TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES! TAKE OFF YOUR SOCKS! PUT ON CROCS

There is a reason you so tons of hikers with crocs on their packs. They are lightweight, provide protection for your foot, and give you an alternate camp shoe at the end of day, so you can get out of your boots/hikers and dry your sweaty smelly feet out.

When I see, or hear someone cross a stream with their typical hikers on I want to scream WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU! Why would you ever want to soak your boots? The water will wick down through the non-waterproof lining and you will be sopping wet. Unless we are talking about a creek with 3 inches of water in it TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES AND WEAR CROCS

People who say they prefer the stability yadda yadda yadda are so dumb it hurts.

UNCLIP your backpack, even sling it over one shoulder if you're worried. Tie your hiking boots firmly to your pack. Put on your crocks, lead with you TREKKING POLES! PLANT THEM FIRMLY, THEN INCH FORWARD. If the water is deep enough to soak your junk, you should probably find a different route if it's pushing at all on you.

I just cringed at the first page of replies, and I'm sure there are some sensible posts on this thread over the last 4 years but good lord I just had to rage as my first, and only post.


Edited by OregonMouse (04/04/15 04:20 PM)
Edit Reason: remove profanity

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#190001 - 04/04/15 03:42 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Txrxaxvxixs]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
You claim that hikers who does not do what you do are "stupid", "dumb" and make you "rage" and "cringe". All this is not because they are endangering themselves, but only because they are getting their shoes wet! laugh

As someone who says he has 'thru hiked the AT & the long trail & lives in Alaska & crossed more rivers and streams than you can estimate', perhaps you have heard the expression:

Hike Your Own Hike

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#190002 - 04/04/15 04:10 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Txrxaxvxixs]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6369
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
You must not have read Pika's post above. It was not in response to your post, but certainly fits it.

Quote:
And, to imply that some folks here are "stupid" because they wear something other than what you prefer is arrogant and condescending, at best. There is a lot more experience gathered here on this forum than you seem prepared to acknowledge


This site has long had a reputation for friendliness and politeness and being family friendly. Continued posts with such inflammatory remarks as "stupidity" and "no *** clue" will result in a member's being banned. I have at least edited out the profanity.

For your information, my one fall during a stream ford over a 73-year hiking career was while I was wearing Crocs. I have never worn them since, because they are so unstable.


Edited by OregonMouse (04/04/15 04:15 PM)
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#190003 - 04/04/15 05:00 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: OregonMouse]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
When nobody is looking, I walk on the water.

I don't ford deep streams with fast water. I've never encountered a situation in Colorado where it was necessary.

Most of the time I just walk through streams instead of making any effort to use stepping stones or a log. My Danner combat boots don't get wet through, so why bother?

Does this make me stupid? I don't think so. I think it was other things that made me stupid.

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#190004 - 04/04/15 06:00 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Gershon]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Trxvx...
I am another moderator on this site. I agree 100 percent with OM. Keep it up, you will be banned immediately. We encourage well-reasoned differences of opinion, but there will be no tolerance for profanity or personal attacks. I've been here a long time and have read a lot of ill-informed posts, bad ideas and just plain ignorance, most of which can be attributed to lack of experience. You infer that you are somehow an expert, yet the advice you give could get someone killed under the right circumstances. I've crossed glacial rivers in boots and would never think of taking them off to wear a pair of plastic shoes like Crocs. I didn't take my socks off either; heavy wool socks dry out quickly, a small inconvenience for staying upright and safe.


Edited by TomD (04/04/15 06:04 PM)
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#190008 - 04/04/15 09:21 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: TomD]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
In rereading the replies that so infuriated this fellow, I notice that the second reply was from BrianLe, which included this comment:

Quote:
"There's no 'one size fits all' solution here, but I can't imagine carrying crocs or the like."


The great irony here is that BrianLe is our resident Triple Crown hiker.

P.S. Thank you, OM, for catching the profanity I somehow passed right by.

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#190009 - 04/04/15 09:38 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Gershon]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By Gershon
When nobody is looking, I walk on the water.

So that was you! Never could get anybody to believe me; they won't be so quick with those accusations regarding my sanity now, no sir!

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#190010 - 04/05/15 12:03 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: TomD]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I think there is too much emphasis on keeping shoes dry. The only time I was really worried about keeping shoes dry was in the winter when there were no stream crossings (everything frozen!).

Even when I wore huge clunky leather mountaineering boots, simply slogging through snow early season meant boots were always wet anyway. Just be sure to open them up at night so when frozen in the morning, you can still stuff a foot in. A short time of walking will warm both your boots and your feet. Now, with light hikers, they actually dry as I walk and although somewhat damp at the end of the day, they are not soaked.

I take socks off, unless a wide glacier fed or snowmelt fed stream where I prefer the warmth of socks. (If I know I will be doing a lot of crossings I take one more extra pair of socks- only a few ounces. ) I do take out insoles. My hikers fit so that I can tighten them up fairly snugly to fit without socks. If I anticipate a lot of moderate wading, I will take crocks or other water shoes. If I want to save some weight, I do not. My hiking shoes are comfortable all day. No need for camp shoes. I would never take Crocks simply for camp shoes. I would say that I do not take extra shoes in the Sierra most of the time, whereas, I always take wading shoes in the Wind Rivers.

I have had days upon days of wet feet and never caused a blister. I sleep barefoot at night- I think that helps. At least my feet are dry for 8+ hours each day. I know you can get "trench foot" if your feet are constantly wet for weeks on end.

Each hiking area, each trip, each person, will have different requirements for stream crossings. There is no one answer. Some with tough feet can go barefoot. My feet are so tender that I do not even go barefoot across a sandy creek. There always is the danger of cutting your feet.

There are a few cases where you could get a boot wedged under a rock and then drown. This happened years ago on the Green River. After this event, NOLS did not allow students to wear boots in a canoe. You really should have special boating shoes if you canoe or kayak. With boating shoes, you can slip a foot out of the shoe if it gets stuck in rocks.

However, the probability of wedging a shoe, is less than falling due to instability with Crocks. But, if you do wedge a foot (which can also happen in any shoes, including Crocks) and the current pulls you under, you are dead.

Really difficult crossing should not be done solo. With a group others can spot you, or at least retrieve your pack as it floats down the river. Plus there are arm-lock methods for groups that allow the group to cross more difficult water than a solo person could.

It is generally thought that undoing the waist belt and sternum strap is required. Yes to the sternum strap, but at times I have kept the waist belt clipped for added stability. My waist belt is pretty easy to unclip. The trade-off is less probability of falling in vs. a small chance of not being able to undo the strap if I do fall in. By the way, if you go into underbrush or trees even with waist strap off, you could still snag the pack and not be able to get free from the shoulder straps.

Stream crossing is one activity that it is advantageous to be tall and heavy. I am short and light so am more limited to what I can safely cross than most. Once you get over crotch deep it is hard to keep foot contact with the streambed.


Also note that tying a rope to someone who is crossing is not a good idea. If they fall the rope simply pulls them under. However, hanging onto an upstream rope sometimes is helpful. If you fall you simply let go.


Sorry that was so long. There simply are no set-in-stone "rules".

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#190041 - 04/06/15 08:04 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Txrxaxvxixs]
dzierzak Offline
member

Registered: 07/18/07
Posts: 43
Loc: WV
TROLL...

First and only (?) post?

Re-edited by red-faced moderator, who didn't notice that this is a 3-page post! blush


Edited by OregonMouse (10/25/15 08:16 PM)

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#190053 - 04/06/15 04:30 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Al Paca]
mrnic3guy Offline
member

Registered: 02/10/14
Posts: 22
Loc: SW Pennsylvania
I used to just walk through the water and end up with soaked heavy boots and blisters. Then the first time I took them off to make the crossing at Red creek I forgot them on the other side lol. The water was to fast I should have found another route. Sometimes when I come across a creek I jump from rock to rock but that's not advisable and I no longer due its just an unnecessary risk. I'm happy to say this year my pack will be lighter and I will be wearing my trail runners which dry in no time at all.

Trail runners seem to be the way to go for crossing water but when it's cold out idk find a better route.
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#192292 - 10/22/15 11:18 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: mrnic3guy]
Zuuk Offline
member

Registered: 09/22/15
Posts: 70
Loc: NB, Canada
Someone early on posted that they used a rubber soled water shoe, which is what I carry. I've never had to use them for crossing a river yet, but a future planned hike I'm looking at has a couple of crossings in it. I've used them for swimming and kayaking, and they seem to work well.

The one thing I don't like about crocs is that I don't seem to get a good stable footing with them, and with my luck, I'd scrape the skin off the side of my ankle when my heel slips in them. Just the way my foot is built.

There's one thing that I just don't get, which is the recommendation of taking off your hiking boots, remove socks, put hiking boots back on, cross river, remove boots, dump out the water, put back on socks, put back on boots, and away you go. If I'm putting on wet boots over dry socks, those socks are gonna get wet. Why bother to take them off in the first place? Is it to reduce the amount of wetness in the socks? I've just never heard of this before reading this post, and I'm curious as to what I'm missing.

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#192295 - 10/22/15 01:02 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Zuuk]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6369
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
That's why I hike in lightweight trail runners. I just splash across the stream and keep hiking. With wool socks, they are sufficiently dry in an hour. If you stop and wring out the socks after crossing, they dry even faster. Trail runners give me very stable footing--more stable than boots. I have to lift less weight with each step, and don't have the weight of extra footwear.

I agree that crocs are unstable (as I found out from bitter experience--I fell midstream and got to test the waterproofing of the dry bags in my pack). I gave up boots in favor of trail runners 7 years ago, but before that found out that once goretex-lined boots get wet inside, they take several days to dry. Besides, without socks your feet will slip around inside the boots, making them almost unstable as the crocs.


Edited by OregonMouse (10/22/15 01:07 PM)
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#192302 - 10/23/15 08:11 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: OregonMouse]
bluefish Offline
member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 677
http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&key...sl_3bvxd77iq9_e

The only Crocs I would consider are these Quicktrails which are an actual shoe. I use them with Simms neoprene wet wading socks, which are fairly heavy and come up mid-calf. As I backpack and fish, I find these work quite well. I use them for fishing, not just crossings, so they're a proven commodity to me. Anything with an open back or straps would make me cringe, as I've lost sandals to mud and current/rocks. You can screw in 8 or so short aluminum hex head sheet metal screws for excellent traction on slippery rocks if needed. That's safer than any boot other than real wading boots used specifically for fishing. Another option is felt. You can buy felt replacement kits for wading boots and felt the bottom of wading shoes with the provided barge cement. Felt is excellent on slippery surfaces and would aid in river crossings. Weight penalty, but safety increased. I wouldn't bother for 2-3 step creek crossings, but if you're negotiating something that is truly dangerous....


Edited by bluefish (10/23/15 09:15 AM)
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