E- You should take the Darwin reference as a compliment. A friend of mine got killed looking for someone who should have stayed home in bad weather (helo crash on Oahu), so my sympathies are somewhat divided about SAR. You and that boat of yours made a heck of a trip. Not too many people can say they've done anything like that.
Granted, SAR folks know the risk they are taking and should know when to say no. Sometimes they take risks, I assume, because finding someone is what they want to do. Still, often it is the stupidity of someone else that has started a chain of events with bad consequences. Most people don't go out intending to get hurt or lost, but they do.
Sometimes taking a different route, taking an entirely different trip or even staying home makes a lot of sense. Knowing when is just as important as knowing how.
Tom, I did take the refrence to Darwin as a joke. I was just poking fun at myself as I'm prone to doing from time to time here <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Yes, that particular sailing adventure was quite a feat; and I hope to someday convert my other photo albums to cd for folks to enjoy. I've lived quite the adventurous life and enjoy letting folks view where i've been to encourage their own adventurous Spirit <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" /> I only wished all those years were already on cd <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
I worked on a movie set back in the 80's with Denzel Washington, before he was famous,; and could regal you guys with tales of speeding down dirt backroads with none other than Denzel at the wheel, Pete Townsend riding shotgun, and myself and Lola in the backseat....all on the way to a party on an island at that <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!
Wow!!! SAR sound fun and challenging, except for the recovery of dead bodies.
Anyway, there is no part of this trail that we are at an edge over a cliff. This trail was design for tourist back in the days. Yes, we still have to be careful and not spring an ankle or something. Even now, at home I have to be careful not to get injured before this trip.
I am currently at 31 pounds without water. I think I will do a final shake down tonight and hopefully trim some fat off.
Refer back to page 5 of this forum where Paddy Crow gives a detailed description of the Hance trail and states:
* About one mile of the trail is along virtually the top of the ~500' vertical Redwall cliff. That is, for one mile, any slip off the trail is potentially deadly. Fortunately, nearly all the trail is good enough so that one isn't worried about the dangers of the trail. Again, this is not much different from many other places along other non-maintained trails.
However, there are two points along that section where the trail becomes poor, with the tread of the trail not horizontal, making it tricky to navigate safely. Fortunately, the tricky section at each of those two points is only 6-10' in length, and can be traversed with quick steps and a prayer. It would also probably be easy to do a bit of trail maintenance in those locations and eliminate most of the danger if one was willing to spend the time rather than just zip over those points.
(bold is mine)
You're not out for a stroll in the park... according to the information provided by people who've been there, you are in for a steep hike and at least 1 mile of trail next to a cliff.
YMMV. Viewer discretion is advised.
Well, I am back and it was definitely not a stroll in the park. I had a great time with 5 of my buds.
Only 4 of the 6 made it all the way down and back. 2 of us made it halfway down camped and back.
I was one of the 2 that didn't go all the way down. I was 5th in line and kinda hung back to make sure the last guy didn't miss the cairnes.
After awhile from being only 45 mins behind it became 2 hours behind. The 6th guy just couldn't do it... his thigh muscles were qlivering.
This is what he had in his pack (misc items). 10- pack chemical hand warmer. a 1.5 liter coffee pot with pugalator. a pair of jeans a fishing net a pair of waterproof pants that you can wear in the water while fishing. frying pan mess kit one beer one flask camping chair (21 oz)
I was motivating him to go as far down as he can and then got the message to turnaround. We had only 24 oz of water left when we did decide to go back. I had originally 4 liters of water and had consumed all 3 liters by myself thinking I was going to make camp at bottom.
So we camped and hiked out in the morning. Short hikes with many breaks, in which the 6th guy was finally able to enjoy the view he had missed going down. Our experienced hiker buddy admit the three guys in front were going down way too fast even for strong hikers. In which, One of 3 did had a major burn out 4 hours into the hike. The 6th guy didn't eat much at all.. which worried me a little.
Some of the quotes from the other guys... "I totally underestimated the trail and shouldn't have done this" the 6th guy.
"Hardest thing I have ever done in my life"... a guy that just hiked mt. Whitney this summer and will be doing a half trialthon this spring coming.
"This trail is relentless... stair after stair climbing"
I still believe I could have made it all the way down and back. So, I plan on going back next year... however only 2 others are willing to go next year.
We went to Vegas (4 hours drive) shared some stories. Getting beat on (humously) for only going halfway down. We gamble, drank and walked 3 miles to Belligio to check out the fountain.
Thank you for the follow-up post and honest assessment. Good for you for hanging back with #6... good decision making on both your parts. Sorry you didn't get to go all the way down... but at least now you know the area better and can prepare for a good trip next year!
YMMV. Viewer discretion is advised.
Any hike you survive and avoid injury is a success!
To be honest, I'm disappointed in your leader leaving you and #6 behind. It is very important to stay together. Was he NCO in the military? I would ask him if he'd do the same with a platoon he was leading and what the result would have been if one of the stragglers became MIA.
Imager, You done good!! In my opinion, you showed excellent judgement and a sense of responsibility when you stayed with your overburdened companion. I realize that the four who continued to the bottom are friends but, IMHO, they should have been more aware and more solicitous of the less experienced members of the party. They should not have just walked off and left you.
Now that you know what to expect, you can plan a reprise for next year.
The Team Leader is a man of very few words and understatement.
To his credit he knew I would take care of #6... And he had to catch up to the other 3 and make sure they would be ok.
understatements??? Well.. #6 on the hike up said Team Leader should have expressed a little more concern about the difficulty of an Expert Trail or could have emphasis a better workout schedule.
Mt. Whitney guy also said similar thing.
According to Team Leader, New Hance Trail is similar to other Grand Canyon Trails and maybe just a slightly more difficult than other trails but trading in for a shorter distance 7.5 miles. To him, Monument Trail is the hardest 15 miles.
Ironically, Only #6 and I are ex-military. I don't believe the military has ever taught us to go light.
glad everything went well, THANKS for posting a follow-up. it sounds like the canyon gave you a good hard time, glad nobody slipped or broke anything. now you're making me want to check it out, but it'll be a few years before i get to try anything brutal again (my kidlets have to grow up a bit).
however, could you see how a serious injury could mean serious trouble in that area? i know i'm guilty of coming back from a brutal and wild area and thinking to myself "that wasn't so bad at all" only to later read of disasters in the same area and realizing that if the same thing had happened to me i would have been in serious danger. i'm glad that it went well and everybody did alright, but hope that this won't give you false confidence.
Loc: California (southern)
The exercises you are planning will strengthen you for the pounding you will take on the way down into the canyon, but they will do nothing to acclimatize you to the altitude. Only time at altitude will acclimatize you. Strong unacclimatized athletes often have greater problems than weaker unacclimatized athletes.
Here's a plan. Drive to the Canyon slowly. Stop in Flagstaff and spend a day hiking leisurely on one of the mountains around there (like O'Leary Peak) - don't go too high, but get up to around 8000 feet or so. Come back down and sleep overnight in or near Flag. The mantra for acclimatization is "climb high, sleep low." Then drive to GC, and hang around the rim for a day. Then start your hike. You will feel a lot better..
I think your "leader" is anything but that. I am glad you avoided misfortune. I hope you have many more enjoyable trips. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
It can be a bit complex compared to other sites, but is fairly easy once you do it a time or two.
You'll need to post your photos to a photo site where each is assigned a URL. I use photobucket.com which is free and pretty simple. Many other sites are out there. From there you will need to click on the "image" block in the menu below the text box and insert your pasted URL into the pop-up display. If this doesn't work, goto the Admin section and ask and a more tech-savvy forum member can help you trouble shoot whatever issues you may be having.
If you use Photobucket (which I do) you get 4 options to choose from for links. For this site you can choose the bottom one "Img code" and then just cut and paste it right into your thread. The picture pops right in!
And good to see you had a safe trip, and bravo for taking care of #6. That means more about who you are than if you had ditched the guy to make the trip. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> So a high 5!
Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond: www.trailcooking.com
Geez tom, the newbie isn't supposed to be the one who has to be the pack contents gestapo (I always take my jackboots in the car when hiking with others but then leave them after wearing them for pack inspection <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> )
Of course, I suppose by next time he won't be a newbie.
Congrats on making what sounds like some very sane decisions on a difficult hike and still enjoying it Imager. Allow me to add my "way too" for sticking with your shagged out friend. Suggest you try a few trips with different leadership - like maybe your own.
A friend and I were once hiking a creek in the backwoods of Oregon when we came upon a huge watermelon sitting on a rock. We looked around and called out to see if anyone was around, but got nothing. Evidently this satisfied my buddy enough to think that the watermelon now belonged to him, and before I knew it he had picked it up and dashed it against a rock...I would have much rather eaten it. But then, sure enough, came a voice from a high bank saying, "Hey, that was my watermelon!" The dude was awful strong looking and bigger than the both of us. The next few anxious moments went by while my friend appologized and paid for the melon.
As for myself my stupidest moment was probably in the Sierras where a friend and I decided to go off trail to take in a view. We didn't count on the heavily bushed terrain slowing us down like it did, and even more we didn't expect a thick dense fog to roll in and cover everything five feet away. Having not taken a bearing from the trail we had no idea which way to go. And even worse, we had dropped our packs in one of those "we'll remember" sort of spots. We ended up somehwere we didn't recognize about 20-30 feet from a not so happy slightly surprised bear that wanted nothing but for us to leave. And leave we did. Nothing really motivates you to try and find your way when you know you just put your back to an angry bear in dense fog.
Everything turned out fine, and we are all the wiser now.
A friend and I were once hiking a creek in the backwoods of Oregon when we came upon a huge watermelon sitting on a rock. We looked around and called out to see if anyone was around, but got nothing. Evidently this satisfied my buddy enough to think that the watermelon now belonged to him
Bwahahahahaha snork ahahahahahaha snork <gasping for breath>
Praytell, just exactly how did your buddy think the watermelon got there? A big squirrel shmaybe?
Thanks for the laugh...
YMMV. Viewer discretion is advised.
I have walked along a trail and about a mile in I find a nice shiny apple sitting where it would be obvious to passers by - delicious. A while on I came to an unopened 16 ounce beer, also obviously left out lightening the pack I assume - also delicious.
So our ski area at Mt Bachelor opened to Thanksgiving and Happy Thanksgiving you guys. Jim
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.
Once, at a campsite in the white mountains, my BPing partner and I were hunkering down for dinner after setting up our tarps. It was dark when we heard some voices. Sure enough, 3 hikers, way overloaded, huffed up to the site. One of them didn't even have a backpack, but rather a sports duffel bag over his shoulder (I wonder how many times he switched shoulders on the 4 hour hike?) Then, as we listened to out MP3 player, we heard a noise we never heard in the backcountry - Hammering! These guys brought a hammer and nails to bang into the tent platform for tent guyouts! Then, we heard TWO hammers going at once! So they lugged up two hammers and nails for three people. At least they had the good sense to remove the nails from the platform.
Stupidest thing? Probably, *guy sees campfire. Guy sees big sealed cylindrical can of white gas. Man throws cylinder in fire. Cylinder explodes, covering guy's legs in burning camp fuel. Guy spends two weeks in bed with legs plastered.
Loc: Expat from New Orleans, now in...
could regal you guys with tales of speeding down dirt backroads with none other than Denzel at the wheel, Pete Townsend riding shotgun, and myself and Lola in the backseat....all on the way to a party on an island at that <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
Ha! I can beat that story, earthling! I photographed the Miss USA pageants and for 21 days at a time I stayed in the same hotels as all of the contestants and their beautiful female chaperons . Brum
PS: Don't tell my wife I wrote this. She still gets angry thinking about it all.