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Hiking Through Hyperbole: The Vortex of Fear
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Hiking Through Hyperbole: The Vortex of Fear on 01/25/2011 13:28:58 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Hiking Through Hyperbole: The Vortex of Fear

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
Hiking Through Hyperbole: The Vortex of Fear on 01/25/2011 15:58:15 MST Print View

I really enjoyed this... thanks for making it free.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Outstanding! on 01/25/2011 16:36:09 MST Print View

This is the best article I've read on BPL. I will be heading out on the PCT starting May 22nd so I followed last years hikers very closely. You could see the Vortex of fear in the trail journals and I believe that the abundance of information has accelerated this vortex. I also believe that there are more inexperienced hikers hitting the trail and getting scared off by the stories. I was shocked at the number of people that bailed prior to the Sierras just due to the stories. But the ironic thing is that the snow for most hikers arriving after mid-June was about average. Only the early folks saw increased snow due to the slower melt. I plotted out 25 years of Charlotte Lake snow data expecting to see last year as a monumental year but it just wasn't. But listening to the "vortex" it was record year.

Great story. Thanks

Edited by gg-man on 01/25/2011 16:37:30 MST.

Ed Schmidt
(suttree) - F

Locale: ON, CANADA
Great Trip Report on 01/25/2011 16:44:37 MST Print View

Looking forward to future installments.

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Hiking Through Hyperbole: The Vortex of Fear on 01/25/2011 18:46:22 MST Print View

A very enjoyable and informative article...

William Brown
(MatthewBrown) - F

Locale: Blue Ridge Mtns
hehe on 01/25/2011 18:59:05 MST Print View

I commonly find myself saying, "Well that alone was worth the membership fee" and this article continues the trend.

Thanks for the ride.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
"We're all going to die" on 01/25/2011 19:40:15 MST Print View

On the PCT, every time Yogi's book or the Schaffer guides or another hiker mentioned some perilous section upcoming, my friends and I would all yell in mock horror, "oh no, we're all going to die!" Well, none of us did. In fact, almost all of the trails reported dangers proved to be completely overblown:

Fuller Ridge--we got completely lost and ended up bushwacking straight down the mountain, but we got through. The snow was only an issue because we lost the trail.

The desert--no problem if you watch your water and don't hike during the heat of the afternoon.

Snow in the Sierras--annoying and difficult but far from impossible.

The closure in Glacier Peak--no problem, really.

The bottom line is that there are no insurmountable obstacles on the PCT. Hundreds of people thru-hike every year. Children have done it. Senior citizens have done it. I only wish the guidebooks would be a little bit better about stoking people's fears. It's all doable.

Carsten Jost
(Carsten010) - M
Don´t fear Fuller Ridge on 01/25/2011 19:58:26 MST Print View

In 2006 and 2008 I was warned at the AZPCTKO
that Fuller Ridge would be possible only
with ice axe and at least instep-crampons.

In 2006 I bought instep crampons and got
them send to Idylwild together with my
ice axe. I didn´t need them at all.

Yes there was snow, but it was no problem.

Same thing in 2008 when I heard the same
Fuller Ridge horror stories. Fortunately
this time I just giggled and hiked Fuller
Ridge with no probs just in trail runners.

I think Thruhiking is more about flexibility
and adaptation than anything else. Adapt as you
go and embrace change.

"Damn they don´t have pancakes for breakfast?!"

"Let´s have an extra breakfast burrito!"

Kind regards

->PCT 2008 Campo to Manning
->PCT 2006 Campo to KM

Edited by Carsten010 on 01/25/2011 19:59:21 MST.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
"Hiking Through Hyperbole: The Vortex of Fear" on 01/25/2011 20:17:44 MST Print View

The first thing that comes to my mind are the creek/river crossings.

I would like to know more about that......

Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Awesome! on 01/25/2011 22:27:25 MST Print View

This article was great. Hopefully there will be more coming. As an aspiring thru-hiker, I love hearing the stories of those who have done it. Fear is only relative and this report further supports that.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Great article on 01/26/2011 03:00:44 MST Print View

I really enjoyed the article. I believe it captures a lot of emotion one feels while on the PCT. I think everyone who starts the trail for the first time is anxious and a bit overwhelmed in the beginning. I was amazed at the number of people I met on the PCT who were backpacking for the first time. Oh, they might have taken their gear out for an overnighter prior to the big hike, but still, it always strikes me as one heck of an introduction to backpacking.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Good Read! on 01/26/2011 03:36:31 MST Print View

Thanks for the well done write up!

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Thanks on 01/26/2011 04:42:21 MST Print View

Ryan, that was my hope in writing this (and the next three) article(s). There's way too much fear mongering out there. It's not easy, but it's been done many times before.

Thanks for reading, everybody! Stay tuned in the next few weeks for the rest. And in the meantime, I know many of you have plenty of stories as well...

Jeffrey Jackson
(grcnynhkr) - F

Locale: PNW
Keep them coming... on 01/26/2011 08:23:50 MST Print View

Great info and narrative, especially looking forward to your postings on the Sierras and JMT!!

David Neumann
(idahomtman) - M

Locale: Northern Idaho
The Vortex of Fear on 01/26/2011 08:52:20 MST Print View

Great article. One of the best I've read on the PCT and, more importantly, the "vortex of fear." While it is reasonable to be cautious and listen, you have to analyze the experience of the person providing "advice." If you are experienced and knowledgeable, hike on and wait until you get there to analyze the situation for yourself.

I'm looking forward to the next installments. Thanks.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: NoCo
Re: Hiking Through Hyperbole: The Vortex of Fear on 01/26/2011 09:04:23 MST Print View

Very interesting piece and quite well written imo. Thanks for taking the time and effort to write this up.

I have read some other trail journals from people that went through around the same time including somebody who went through right before that fire started up from the cooking stove.

I really enjoy your viewpoint and ideas on the fear and how it spread from hiker to hiker. Great perspective.

John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
Fantastic Read! on 01/26/2011 09:06:59 MST Print View

I truly enjoyed your article.

Ryan, Was your Railrider shirt, LS silk and Thermawrap enough to keep you warm?

Anthony Ciccarello
(tchiker) - F
Beautiful pics. on 01/26/2011 09:56:40 MST Print View

Wow photos are amazing and really capture the wonder and beauty of those landscapes. It's a good read too and I see that we still have the Sierra to look forward to. Thanks for sharing all of this with us.

Edited by tchiker on 01/26/2011 10:13:26 MST.

Ryley Breiddal
(ryleyb) - F - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
great stuff on 01/26/2011 11:14:57 MST Print View

This is soooo relevant to my interests - I'm preparing for a CDT hike right now and getting a little bogged down in its version of the vortex. Fortunately, this well timed article along with input from some past CDT hikers has reminded me that back in reality, I'll find a way to get through it all. Probably with a huge smile on my face too!

Jeffrey McConnell
Very nice article on 01/26/2011 11:20:10 MST Print View

Very well done. I'm looking forward to the next installments. I won't be able to do this hike for a while (starting a family), so its fun to read about the experiences of others.

Edited by Catalyst on 01/26/2011 11:21:49 MST.