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[pct-l] snow paranoia
- Subject: [pct-l] snow paranoia
- From: "William M. Stenzel" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 01 Dec 1998 08:55:53 -0800
If I may add my two cents to the case of excess bad advice on the PCT:
There is no such thing, really, as "impassable." People climb Denali in
the middle of winter, after all. In 1998, I heard that Baden-Powell was
too snowy to climb, and I passed over it anyway. It wasn't a
particularly good idea, and tired me enough to make the rest of the
section a struggle. I belive nearly all advice is given in good faith;
it reflects analysis of one person using what they know of the trail,
the terrain, and their own abilities. If you're a "tough guy" hiker, go
ahead and push on through. The PCT isn't the most extreme place in the
world and there are plenty of places to jump off, so you probably won't die.
None of this applies to advice from the Forest Service or Park Service:
both agencies regard PCT through hikers as a rediculous bunch of
eccentrics who travel poorly equipped through difficult conditions.
Neither group wastes resources finding out whether high mountain passes
are open early in the season, reasoning that conditions are serious
enough to prevent weekenders from having a pleasant journey. Despite the
hyped up nature of the criticism, PCT hikers and the PCTA are the only
source of good information on trail conditions.
Note: I moved into long distance hiking from climbing and skiing, two
sports where it's hip to downplay the dangers involved. If you had a big
fall that day, you'd tell your buddies, "Yeah, I had a little fall up
there, but it all turned out right," and they'd know you were really
scared. Backpackers love to hype the dangers; the San Jacintos were SO
DANGEROUS. The river crossings are IMPOSSIBLY DIFFICULT. Everyone I met
in Idyllwild had a tale of trauma to tell, most of them weaved from
(If you want to read my tale of trauma, check out www.concentric.net/~manjovin).
You know, it wasn't snow or fallen trees that made me leave the trail in
'98, it was the Oregon mosquitoes!
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