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Hiking Through Hyperbole Part 2: The Snowy Sierra
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Hiking Through Hyperbole Part 2: The Snowy Sierra on 02/01/2011 14:57:09 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Hiking Through Hyperbole Part 2: The Snowy Sierra

Ed Schmidt
(suttree) - F

Locale: ON, CANADA
Another Chapter on 02/01/2011 15:44:45 MST Print View

Thanks for taking the time to write such a thrilling account of your adventures. The pictures are spectacular.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Great Read on 02/01/2011 16:32:22 MST Print View

I had to laugh at the section about getting lost just south of Reds. I have been through there twice, once in each direction and lost the trail. And that was without any snow. I was surprised to see that you didn't use your ice axe or microspikes very much. I would have expected more use given your early entry. It's making me reconsider taking either one. Thanks again for the great read.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
River Crossings on 02/01/2011 17:06:34 MST Print View

Good stuff, well written.

However, if I can offer one word of advice:

> One by one we tried to cross, and three of the four of us currently together in the group were swept off our feet in the middle of the stream.
Crossing swollen rivers singly is a very bad idea. No wonder you had a lot of trouble. Far, far better is a group crossing.

You form a line facing the river, lock arms however you want, and move slowly TOGETHER. The strongest person should be upriver. If necessary, you move one at a time, with the others around you providing stability. Before stopping to let the person next to you move a step, make sure your footing is stable. The up-river people actually deflect the water around the down-river ones.

Sue and I cross rivers in Australia this way a lot, but if you really want to learn about river crossing, go to New Zealand.


Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
part 2 on 02/01/2011 17:19:06 MST Print View

another great write-up- thanks!

^ Roger's advice is spot on, have taken several river rescue courses and one of the first items normally covered is multiple person crossing (or could be a rescue)- of course they let folks have a go at on their own first- the difference is really dramatic, especially as you add people

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 02/01/2011 18:25:24 MST Print View

Great article!

The Vortex of Fear concept is very interesting

Can't wait for the next installment

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: River Crossings on 02/01/2011 20:20:01 MST Print View

Roger, you are very correct about that. There's a long story with that Evolution Creek crossing, but I'll only elaborate a bit for now: we ended up doing a group crossing after we'd all been knocked over once. The group crossing worked much better.

Ed, it was fantastic to hike with you! That's about all I can say about that.

Greg, I'm glad I'm not the only one who got lost in that area. But remember, don't take my word about the axes and spikes as gospel. It's different for everybody, and I don't regret taking mine, even though they weren't necessary for me. If I were to do it again, I might take them, but I can't be sure. It's a call you have to make based on what seems right to you when you're about to enter the snowy areas.

Still, I do like to point out that the reports of certain doom in the Sierra are a little over the top :)

Ed Schmidt
(suttree) - F

Locale: ON, CANADA
Ryan Linn is a brilliant journalist on 02/01/2011 20:40:34 MST Print View

shhhh! I need to be stealthy so I can bump your articles ;)

Edited by suttree on 02/02/2011 16:52:22 MST.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Part Deux on 02/01/2011 21:00:28 MST Print View

Very exciting read. Because I'll probably never have the chance to do this, it is especially exciting. I know a few of those places too and seeing and reading about them is wonderful. I really appreciate your analysis of the trip, as you've written about so far, because it helps throw a bit of perspective on this beautiful trail and the trials and tribulations you'll find while walking it. Again, it seems that it really boils down to skill sets and common sense. Two things we can't really ever have enough of. As before, I'm already excited to read next weeks installment. Ryan, this is very well written and you should consider transforming the entirety of it into a book when you are done here. Thanks for sharing all your thoughts on the PCT technique and even comments about pack selection and how you chose to pack the pack. And the bear canister logistics as well. I've got that to deal with most times I overnight. So it's great to read your take and practice on it. And finally, what a great thread this should produce with the experience of others added here and the fact of being able to learn from both their exploits as well as their mistakes. The old addage, "learn from others mistakes, the tuition is much cheaper", sure rings true here. -Ryan, many thanks.

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Great Read on 02/01/2011 21:16:08 MST Print View


Thanks for another well written installment. Your pictures make me want to head up to the high country early in the season someday in the future. The scenery looks dramatically different covered in snow. You covered some serious ground given the conditions.

+1, I was briefly lost hiking into Reds southbound this past summer.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Great writeup on 02/02/2011 07:52:50 MST Print View

Loved your first installment and this one was even better. Thanks.

Thomas Jamrog
(balrog) - F

Locale: New England
Part 2 on 02/02/2011 07:56:02 MST Print View

Superb work. I did make frequent use of my Stabilicers and ice axe. Mather pass was the worst. The last traverse from the rocks over that snow chute was terrifying. Looking forward to the next installments.

Dennis Hauge
Great article and beautiful pictures on 02/02/2011 10:26:02 MST Print View

I'm really enjoying your PCT series. The pictures are fantastic. Which camera did you use? Keep up the good work.

Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Excellent! on 02/02/2011 12:56:44 MST Print View


As I'm prepping for my own hike, this series on your experience is at times exciting, illuminating, comforting, and a bit scary!

The shot out over range after range covered in snow...amazing. Uh-May-Zhinggg.

Love your gear synopsis afterward. Well done. I'm stuck on your pants though. (figuratively speaking, of course!). Around 5oz, while mine are 17 (TNF Paramounts).

Loving this. Keep 'Em coming, and I second the book idea. As a former English major/creative writing/ journalism nerd, I'm encouraging you! Your writing style is engaging & easy to read without sacrificing detail & the ability to take a reader where you are. Imagining the finished product, in your style, with chapters at the end detailing your gear comprehensively, all overseen by a helpful editor and multiple revisions...I'd buy it!

Thanks again!

Denny, I think he was using the Canon Powershot DS1100is.


Edited by Pittsburgh on 02/02/2011 12:57:15 MST.

Michael Chipman
(tahoesam) - M
Overblown/Mis/Dis/Information on 02/02/2011 13:03:34 MST Print View

Not that being careful isn't a good thing as many here have pointed out. But I can't even count the number of times my partner(s) and I looked at each other and said, "THAT was a non-event."

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Hiking Through Hyperbole Part 2: The Snowy Sierra on 02/02/2011 14:41:59 MST Print View

I've seen a lot of snow cups, but those things look huge! No wonder they were a bother. It makes you change your walking pace, to match the cups.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Hiking Through Hyperbole Part 2: The Snowy Sierra on 02/02/2011 16:22:48 MST Print View


I am thrilled that you this is a series of articles vs. a one off write up.

Have to say that yours has been the best write up that I have read since becoming a BPL member.

Thoroughly enjoy your writing and the personal nature of it that helps me to feel like I was there with you.

Can not wait to read more and see more of your photos.


Arthur Gazdik
(artgazdik) - MLife

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Ice Axe on 02/03/2011 07:13:34 MST Print View


I have only gone over Forester and the other high passes in summer, so this account was a great read.

Not looking for advice on weather to carry an axe, we all must make our own call on that, just if you ever even for a moment recall in was good to have when a slip could have caused a long slide?

Great writing keep it up. Thanks for crossing through "The Vortex Of Fear".


Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Wonderful Article! on 02/03/2011 14:35:27 MST Print View

Thank you so much for this wonderfully-written article! The photographs are stunning. The PCT has been a dream of mine for some time; however, I can see that I need to get some high-mountain backpacking experience under my belt before I tackle the PCT. Living in flat Michigan, that's a little hard to do. I plan to do the Colorado Trail and the John Muir Trail before I even attempt the PCT.

You are an excellent writer, Ryan! I felt I was right along on the trip. I enjoyed this thoroughly.

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: Ice Axe on 02/03/2011 21:01:30 MST Print View

Art, good question. There were two places where the sense of security from the ice axe was very nice. The last few yards at the top of Forester Pass were a little scary, and most of the climb up Mather Pass was wicked steep. Of course, it was probably more dangerous in easier places where people let their guard down than in the steeper areas where we're on edge.

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. So many stories to tell that didn't make the cut here, but I think you all understand. Every hike has many stories, and I know you all have plenty of them, too. The next two articles in the coming weeks were less eventful for me than the first two, but I hope you enjoy them anyway!