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[pct-l] PCT Risks

This is an interesting thread which causes me to throw in my two cents.

The PCT presents many risks that any thru-hiker must consider against his/her 
skills, experience and capabilities.  I have been one of those who have 
argued that the serious tide to ultra-lightness could expose some less 
experienced people to unncecessary risk, such as over-exposure to an 
unexpected storm in a precarious location with only a tarp, exposure to falls 
due to not carrying an ice axe in certain high risk areas, etc.

However, recognize that the greatest exposure to ill, in my opinion, comes 
from fate.  You can control many aspects of the exposure to risk on a 
thru-hike and yet fail due to just one mis-step out of the millions that you 
will take.

Consider another fatal PCT event from which all sorts of lessons can be 
learned and then in second consideration, perhaps few or non at all.  In, I 
believe, 1974, a thru-hiker coming down the north side of Mt. San Jacinto off 
of Fuller Ridge, where no maintained trail existed at the time, boulder 
hopped down a drainage and slipped jumping off of one and broke his hip.  He 
couldn't rise due to the injury and was too far from the distant ranch in 
Cabazon below to summon help, even lighting a small fire.  In a couple days 
he died of internal injuries.  We know these things from the journal and his 
remains that were found by hikers coming through the next year.  What can we 
learn from this?  Don't hike alone.  Don't jump off of high boulders with a 
heavy pack on.  Stay on established trails.   Unless you are extremely 
careful and prepared most hikers will find themselves doing all of these 
things perhaps many times throughout a thru-hike of the PCT.  Of course we 
know these things.  Of course we know the risks when we ignore them.  Of 
course we accept the consequences when we loose.  We cannot control fate, but 
merely lessen our exposure to it.  Stay home if the exposure to the risks on 
the PCT are too great for you (but watch out for the TV flying across the 
room at you in the next earthquake - tornado - hurricane!) 

But risk is one of the great things that makes the PCT so much of a great 
adventure.  It would be just a boring, dull walk if no risk presented itself, 
no adventure.  

Monte coined the term perfectly:  "The Trail of Death"    

Greg "Strider" Hummel:
One who envies John Lowder.  May I have the good fortune to find the end my 
life high upon a pass, in the High Sierras, in a white-out storm, after so 
many great adventures and experiences.  Monte and Hacker:  You'll have to 
carry my body out!!!  Ha, Ha, Ha, the ultimate final revenge!