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RE: [John Muir Trail] Re: Another SHR Lesson's Learned

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  • Joe MacLeish
    John: Yes and yes. Joe From: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of John Sent: Friday, July 26, 2013 7:13 PM To:
    Message 1 of 11 , Jul 26 7:43 PM
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      John:

      Yes and yes.

      Joe

       

      From: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of John
      Sent: Friday, July 26, 2013 7:13 PM
      To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [John Muir Trail] Re: Another SHR Lesson's Learned

       

       

      Thanks for the update Joe, sorry to hear of your "adventure". Glad it all worked out, good lessons learned and shared!

       

       I guess you probably know who Erika is, hope you said "Hi" for me.

       

      John

    • Ernie Bonacum
      Thanks for this report, it is good that we can be so honest about the backwoods. I think any of us can end up in a situation like this, so your words of wisdom
      Message 2 of 11 , Jul 26 7:46 PM
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        Thanks for this report, it is good that we can be so honest about the backwoods. I think any of us can end up in a situation like this, so your words of wisdom are great reminders for all of us.

        I was also very glad to see that your partners were great team mates and did the right things - coming back must have been hard for them. And I was glad that other, total strangers, help you as needed and again did the right thing. I can only hope that if I ever encounter such a situation, I too will step up and be there the the person9s) in danger.

        Lastly I'm so glad that you have come out okay - it could have ended up much worse. So take care next time, and get out hiking again!

        Ernie


        To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
        From: jmacleish@...
        Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2013 18:47:44 -0700
        Subject: [John Muir Trail] Another SHR Lesson's Learned

         

         

        Robert, Michael Patrick, and I finished our SHR adventure a few days ago.


      • Barbara Karagosian
        Wow Joe, I m so glad you re ok, and met that trail crew just in time. And great that you told them you weren t doing so well. That s hard to do, and many
        Message 3 of 11 , Jul 26 7:46 PM
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          Wow Joe, I'm so glad you're ok, and met that trail crew just in time.  And great that you told them you weren't doing so well.  That's hard to do, and many grin and say "fine" even when they're not.  

          I know exactly what you mean about not following what you know you should be doing.  I'm a victim of that myself - not drinking enough, not taking the time to eat, in my push to keep going.  I'd be very interested to hear what you come up with about electrolytes. 

          And we'll done to Michael and Robert for "no man left behind."  Ed Veisters would be proud.

          Barbara


          On Jul 26, 2013, at 6:47 PM, "Joe MacLeish" <jmacleish@...> wrote:

           

           

          Robert, Michael Petrick, and I finished our SHR adventure a few days ago.  It is a tale, perhaps I would rather let lie/lay, but there are some lessons learned that make it worth the telling.  Robert does the JMT in 8-10 days and carries a <25 lb pack.  Michael (26 years old) had just completed the JMT and wanted a return trip on the SHR.  I am 69 years old and had last done the JMT in 2011 in the early July snow (20 days).  No newbs but a vastly different set of physical abilities - don’t do this.  We all knew the SHR would be a challenge and a bit dangerous and best attempted with at least one partner.  We found each other on the JMT site and were all quite open about our level of conditioning and experience.

           

          We started on July 17 at Cedar Grove and took off up the Copper Creek Trail (5000 ft elevation gain in 9-10 miles – 30% cross country) and arrived at Grouse lake around 6pm.  Good strenuous day.  I had to move right along to keep up with Michael and Robert.  The second day was all cross country and above 10k ft.  We stopped at Horseshoe Lakes.  Problems for me started here.  I was slowing the group down and felt bad about it.  I did not do my basic maintenance.   I fell behind on drinking water, eating, foot maintenance (luckily a minor issue), sunscreen, and changing to my sunglasses.  I was drinking all the water I could stomach but was not peeing much at all until night.  My partners started pumping me with electrolytes.  I had never managed my electrolytes before and will do some research on this now. 

           

          The next morning we got up early to do Frozen Lake Pass and down to the JMT in Upper Basin below Mather pass.  We headed toward the pass but I couldn’t keep up.  The guys slowed for me.  Then they shuttled my pack and I tried packless.   Finally just a stinking ¼ mile from going over the pass I totally crashed.  I could not go up another step. They came back to see what was going on and I said I had to go back. I told them to go on I would get back to the Muir trail and work my way out and home.  They took off and went over the pass – hairy was the tail of that bit.  I thought OK now I can go at my own pace, I can do this.  They got over the pass and thought – the idiot doesn’t have a map for his planned exit (down Cartridge Creek), his plan is wrong, and he is exhausted.  So back they came and after some whistle blowing, yelling, and backtracking they found me set up at the previous night’s camp.  I said WTF, they said Shut Up, I was out of my mind, and how could they call my wife and tell her I was somewhere on the way.  Tomorrow they would get me to the JMT where there were some people and we could make some better decisions.

          Well, the next day we headed out again cross country and total route finding.  Robert carried my heavier pack and I carried his lighter pack.  Up over Cartridge Pass – certainly a wild and wooly route (no trail) and down eventually to the JMT at the South Fork of the Kings.  At that point we were all totally convinced the ordeal was over and it was safe to leave me on the JMT.  So they took off for Mather Pass and eventually Bishop and out.  I was going to go over Pinchot as it is lower and then all downhill to Cedar Grove.  That night there was a giant rain and lightning storm which was interesting but not particularly relevant.

           

          Monday July 2 I started for Pinchot Pass.  Couldn’t do it.  Couldn’t get up to Bench Lake.  From this point on the story is a bit fuzzy at the request of those who rescued me.  A survey crew was coming down the trail, they asked the usual how’s it going, but unfortunately it wasn’t going too good and I said so.  They invited me to their camp for a day of recoup which I accepted.  They checked me out and determined escalation was appropriate, another person came (Erica) who further checked me and I was airlifted out.  The EMTs met me in an ambulance and told me my BPs were 66/40 vs. my normal 130/75.  I didn’t know you were alive with that BP but apparently … They pumped me with 1.6 liters of Ringers.  Anyway, then to the ER in Visalia and another 1.7 liters and eventually by BP creeped back up to my normal.  They were unhappy with my creatinines at 2.8 which was either severe dehydration or kidney failure.  Couple of hours in the ER, night in a hotel in Visalia, caught a train and home to my dearly beloved wife who handled the whole thing in stride.   As a side note I took two Vicoden when I got home and the next morning I went in to get a full blood work up (all is well) except it showed my liver had exploded  (ALT = 101).  Apparently Vicoden causes a high ALT without exploding your liver.

           

          OK, now apologies for all the words.  There are some clear lessons here. 

           

          1.         Partner with somebody at your physical level.  I felt really bad slowing the group down and cut my self-maintenance tasks as part of the effort to keep up.  Dumb and disastrous.  Robert and Michael slowed for me and helped every way possible but keeping up is in the blood and I pushed myself more than made sense.

          2.         The SHR is not the JMT.  We saw 2 people in 5 days.  This route (for me) will take twice as long for the same miles as the JMT and I do the JMT nice and slow.

          3.         Don’t ignore your self-maintenance tasks no matter what – duh.

          4.         Eat and drink no matter what.  Force the drinking.  As we all tell each other you have to be peeing on the trail.  

          5.         The scariest thing to me about the whole episode is I could have written a book about this stuff before I left but I still did it and had to be rescued.

          6.         Michael had a Spot but none of us thought I needed it until after we parted and I got an on-trail physical from a qualified person.  For this route a Spot (or the like) is a good thing.

           

                      Thanks to Robert and Michael who got my sorry tail to the JMT and to Erica who got me out in one piece.  Michael got a call to my wife 20 minutes before I did.

           

                      By the by George Durkee was injured and is on phones/radios and communications this year until he heals.  Not in the back country.

           

           

        • John Ladd
          Joe-- Great account of one of the most important of trail skills - accepting help when you need it. I once failed on the same kind of maintenance thing on a
          Message 4 of 11 , Jul 26 7:53 PM
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            Joe--

            Great account of one of the most important of trail skills - accepting help when you need it. I once failed on the same kind of maintenance thing on a snow camping trip  (ate too little food because tired and in a hurry) and had to let Ned Tibbits put my backpack on the already-overburdened sled he was pulling. It feels as embarrassing as hell, but discouraging people who offer help just increases the danger to everyone in the party, and potentially to the SAR people also. Not to mention yourself. And we would have missed you.

            We already were in awe of your other trial skills - we now know you have this one as well.

            The whole thing is a classically god account of things that happen in the real world.

            Thanks for the post.

            John Curran Ladd
            1616 Castro Street
            San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
            415-648-9279


            On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 6:47 PM, Joe MacLeish <jmacleish@...> wrote:
             

             

            Robert, Michael Petrick, and I finished our SHR adventure a few days ago.  It is a tale, perhaps I would rather let lie/lay, but there are some lessons learned that make it worth the telling.  Robert does the JMT in 8-10 days and carries a <25 lb pack.  Michael (26 years old) had just completed the JMT and wanted a return trip on the SHR.  I am 69 years old and had last done the JMT in 2011 in the early July snow (20 days).  No newbs but a vastly different set of physical abilities - don’t do this.  We all knew the SHR would be a challenge and a bit dangerous and best attempted with at least one partner.  We found each other on the JMT site and were all quite open about our level of conditioning and experience.

             

            We started on July 17 at Cedar Grove and took off up the Copper Creek Trail (5000 ft elevation gain in 9-10 miles – 30% cross country) and arrived at Grouse lake around 6pm.  Good strenuous day.  I had to move right along to keep up with Michael and Robert.  The second day was all cross country and above 10k ft.  We stopped at Horseshoe Lakes.  Problems for me started here.  I was slowing the group down and felt bad about it.  I did not do my basic maintenance.   I fell behind on drinking water, eating, foot maintenance (luckily a minor issue), sunscreen, and changing to my sunglasses.  I was drinking all the water I could stomach but was not peeing much at all until night.  My partners started pumping me with electrolytes.  I had never managed my electrolytes before and will do some research on this now. 

             

            The next morning we got up early to do Frozen Lake Pass and down to the JMT in Upper Basin below Mather pass.  We headed toward the pass but I couldn’t keep up.  The guys slowed for me.  Then they shuttled my pack and I tried packless.   Finally just a stinking ¼ mile from going over the pass I totally crashed.  I could not go up another step. They came back to see what was going on and I said I had to go back. I told them to go on I would get back to the Muir trail and work my way out and home.  They took off and went over the pass – hairy was the tail of that bit.  I thought OK now I can go at my own pace, I can do this.  They got over the pass and thought – the idiot doesn’t have a map for his planned exit (down Cartridge Creek), his plan is wrong, and he is exhausted.  So back they came and after some whistle blowing, yelling, and backtracking they found me set up at the previous night’s camp.  I said WTF, they said Shut Up, I was out of my mind, and how could they call my wife and tell her I was somewhere on the way.  Tomorrow they would get me to the JMT where there were some people and we could make some better decisions.

            Well, the next day we headed out again cross country and total route finding.  Robert carried my heavier pack and I carried his lighter pack.  Up over Cartridge Pass – certainly a wild and wooly route (no trail) and down eventually to the JMT at the South Fork of the Kings.  At that point we were all totally convinced the ordeal was over and it was safe to leave me on the JMT.  So they took off for Mather Pass and eventually Bishop and out.  I was going to go over Pinchot as it is lower and then all downhill to Cedar Grove.  That night there was a giant rain and lightning storm which was interesting but not particularly relevant.

             

            Monday July 2 I started for Pinchot Pass.  Couldn’t do it.  Couldn’t get up to Bench Lake.  From this point on the story is a bit fuzzy at the request of those who rescued me.  A survey crew was coming down the trail, they asked the usual how’s it going, but unfortunately it wasn’t going too good and I said so.  They invited me to their camp for a day of recoup which I accepted.  They checked me out and determined escalation was appropriate, another person came (Erica) who further checked me and I was airlifted out.  The EMTs met me in an ambulance and told me my BPs were 66/40 vs. my normal 130/75.  I didn’t know you were alive with that BP but apparently … They pumped me with 1.6 liters of Ringers.  Anyway, then to the ER in Visalia and another 1.7 liters and eventually by BP creeped back up to my normal.  They were unhappy with my creatinines at 2.8 which was either severe dehydration or kidney failure.  Couple of hours in the ER, night in a hotel in Visalia, caught a train and home to my dearly beloved wife who handled the whole thing in stride.   As a side note I took two Vicoden when I got home and the next morning I went in to get a full blood work up (all is well) except it showed my liver had exploded  (ALT = 101).  Apparently Vicoden causes a high ALT without exploding your liver.

             

            OK, now apologies for all the words.  There are some clear lessons here. 

             

            1.         Partner with somebody at your physical level.  I felt really bad slowing the group down and cut my self-maintenance tasks as part of the effort to keep up.  Dumb and disastrous.  Robert and Michael slowed for me and helped every way possible but keeping up is in the blood and I pushed myself more than made sense.

            2.         The SHR is not the JMT.  We saw 2 people in 5 days.  This route (for me) will take twice as long for the same miles as the JMT and I do the JMT nice and slow.

            3.         Don’t ignore your self-maintenance tasks no matter what – duh.

            4.         Eat and drink no matter what.  Force the drinking.  As we all tell each other you have to be peeing on the trail.  

            5.         The scariest thing to me about the whole episode is I could have written a book about this stuff before I left but I still did it and had to be rescued.

            6.         Michael had a Spot but none of us thought I needed it until after we parted and I got an on-trail physical from a qualified person.  For this route a Spot (or the like) is a good thing.

             

                        Thanks to Robert and Michael who got my sorry tail to the JMT and to Erica who got me out in one piece.  Michael got a call to my wife 20 minutes before I did.

             

                        By the by George Durkee was injured and is on phones/radios and communications this year until he heals.  Not in the back country.

             

             


          • Robert
            It was a wild trip and the day we tried to shuttle Joes pack over Frozen Lake Pass, went over it, and went back to where he said he would be camping back in
            Message 5 of 11 , Jul 26 8:31 PM
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              It was a wild trip and the day we tried to shuttle Joes pack over Frozen Lake Pass, went over it, and went back to where he said he would be camping back in Lake Basin was the longest, hardest 'zero' day a have ever had! We ended up right back in our campsite of the previous night, after putting in close to 9-10 rough cross country and talus hopping up and down Frozen Lake Pass. It had taken us three hard days, and 5 cross country passes to get to Lake Basin, and Frozen Lake Pass was the most direct route back to Upper Basin and the JMT, but it is a class 2/3 pass with lots of talus. The other options for Joe were the old JMT and Cartridge Pass, down 4000' feet of miserable bushwhacking and route finding of the South Fork of Cartridge Creek to again climb either Granite Pass or Bishop Pass, or go back the way we came.

              Michael, Joe and I felt that we needed to get Joe back to his 'comfort zone' of the JMT soon as we had now lost a full day, and were going to lose more with a Cartridge Pass detour. After a rough day of hiking, and bushwhacking or way back to the JMT, we had a major decision to make. Michael and I were starting to be concerned with our food supply after what amounted to a day and a half to two days delay, needed to go out to where I parked at South Lake. Joe needed the quickest exit on the west side, and had packed an extra day of food. After discussing in detail Joes exit plan and estimated date to notify his wife, we parted ways on the JMT.

              I am going to add a bit to what Joe has already said, and attempt to not sound too harsh, but it may come across that way.
              1- This is NOT the JMT or trail hiking, get comfortable with navigation and cross country route finding!
              2- Start physical conditioning, and do some hikes prior to going on this strenuous of a route.
              3- Be upfront about your previous hiking/cross country experience. If the last time you did a class 2/3 pass was 20 years ago, let your partners know ahead of time. Also let them know of any previous health issues that may impact your physical condition.
              4- Agree to wake up and finish times. Find out if your partners are early risers, how long they like to break camp and be ready to hike, etc.
              5- Bring a SPOT or similar device if you are not experienced in backcountry travel.

              It was a heck of an adventure, indeed! I did get to see a bear for awhile rooting around at Lower Tent Meadows! Joe, I'm glad your home and I'm sure you're already planning your next adventure. It was great to meet you, and I wish you all of the best in your future endeavors!

              --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Joe MacLeish" <jmacleish@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              > Robert, Michael Petrick, and I finished our SHR adventure a few days ago.
              > It is a tale, perhaps I would rather let lie/lay, but there are some lessons
              > learned that make it worth the telling. Robert does the JMT in 8-10 days
              > and carries a <25 lb pack. Michael (26 years old) had just completed the
              > JMT and wanted a return trip on the SHR. I am 69 years old and had last
              > done the JMT in 2011 in the early July snow (20 days). No newbs but a
              > vastly different set of physical abilities - don't do this. We all knew the
              > SHR would be a challenge and a bit dangerous and best attempted with at
              > least one partner. We found each other on the JMT site and were all quite
              > open about our level of conditioning and experience.
              >
              >
              >
              > We started on July 17 at Cedar Grove and took off up the Copper Creek Trail
              > (5000 ft elevation gain in 9-10 miles – 30% cross country) and arrived at
              > Grouse lake around 6pm. Good strenuous day. I had to move right along to
              > keep up with Michael and Robert. The second day was all cross country and
              > above 10k ft. We stopped at Horseshoe Lakes. Problems for me started here.
              > I was slowing the group down and felt bad about it. I did not do my basic
              > maintenance. I fell behind on drinking water, eating, foot maintenance
              > (luckily a minor issue), sunscreen, and changing to my sunglasses. I was
              > drinking all the water I could stomach but was not peeing much at all until
              > night. My partners started pumping me with electrolytes. I had never
              > managed my electrolytes before and will do some research on this now.
              >
              >
              >
              > The next morning we got up early to do Frozen Lake Pass and down to the JMT
              > in Upper Basin below Mather pass. We headed toward the pass but I couldn't
              > keep up. The guys slowed for me. Then they shuttled my pack and I tried
              > packless. Finally just a stinking ¼ mile from going over the pass I
              > totally crashed. I could not go up another step. They came back to see what
              > was going on and I said I had to go back. I told them to go on I would get
              > back to the Muir trail and work my way out and home. They took off and went
              > over the pass – hairy was the tail of that bit. I thought OK now I can go
              > at my own pace, I can do this. They got over the pass and thought – the
              > idiot doesn't have a map for his planned exit (down Cartridge Creek), his
              > plan is wrong, and he is exhausted. So back they came and after some
              > whistle blowing, yelling, and backtracking they found me set up at the
              > previous night's camp. I said WTF, they said Shut Up, I was out of my mind,
              > and how could they call my wife and tell her I was somewhere on the way.
              > Tomorrow they would get me to the JMT where there were some people and we
              > could make some better decisions.
              >
              > Well, the next day we headed out again cross country and total route
              > finding. Robert carried my heavier pack and I carried his lighter pack. Up
              > over Cartridge Pass – certainly a wild and wooly route (no trail) and down
              > eventually to the JMT at the South Fork of the Kings. At that point we were
              > all totally convinced the ordeal was over and it was safe to leave me on the
              > JMT. So they took off for Mather Pass and eventually Bishop and out. I was
              > going to go over Pinchot as it is lower and then all downhill to Cedar
              > Grove. That night there was a giant rain and lightning storm which was
              > interesting but not particularly relevant.
              >
              >
              >
              > Monday July 2 I started for Pinchot Pass. Couldn't do it. Couldn't get up
              > to Bench Lake. From this point on the story is a bit fuzzy at the request
              > of those who rescued me. A survey crew was coming down the trail, they
              > asked the usual how's it going, but unfortunately it wasn't going too good
              > and I said so. They invited me to their camp for a day of recoup which I
              > accepted. They checked me out and determined escalation was appropriate,
              > another person came (Erica) who further checked me and I was airlifted out.
              > The EMTs met me in an ambulance and told me my BPs were 66/40 vs. my normal
              > 130/75. I didn't know you were alive with that BP but apparently … They
              > pumped me with 1.6 liters of Ringers. Anyway, then to the ER in Visalia and
              > another 1.7 liters and eventually by BP creeped back up to my normal. They
              > were unhappy with my creatinines at 2.8 which was either severe dehydration
              > or kidney failure. Couple of hours in the ER, night in a hotel in Visalia,
              > caught a train and home to my dearly beloved wife who handled the whole
              > thing in stride. As a side note I took two Vicoden when I got home and the
              > next morning I went in to get a full blood work up (all is well) except it
              > showed my liver had exploded (ALT = 101). Apparently Vicoden causes a high
              > ALT without exploding your liver.
              >
              >
              >
              > OK, now apologies for all the words. There are some clear lessons here.
              >
              >
              >
              > 1. Partner with somebody at your physical level. I felt really bad
              > slowing the group down and cut my self-maintenance tasks as part of the
              > effort to keep up. Dumb and disastrous. Robert and Michael slowed for me
              > and helped every way possible but keeping up is in the blood and I pushed
              > myself more than made sense.
              >
              > 2. The SHR is not the JMT. We saw 2 people in 5 days. This route
              > (for me) will take twice as long for the same miles as the JMT and I do the
              > JMT nice and slow.
              >
              > 3. Don't ignore your self-maintenance tasks no matter what – duh.
              >
              > 4. Eat and drink no matter what. Force the drinking. As we all
              > tell each other you have to be peeing on the trail.
              >
              > 5. The scariest thing to me about the whole episode is I could have
              > written a book about this stuff before I left but I still did it and had to
              > be rescued.
              >
              > 6. Michael had a Spot but none of us thought I needed it until after
              > we parted and I got an on-trail physical from a qualified person. For this
              > route a Spot (or the like) is a good thing.
              >
              >
              >
              > Thanks to Robert and Michael who got my sorry tail to the JMT
              > and to Erica who got me out in one piece. Michael got a call to my wife 20
              > minutes before I did.
              >
              >
              >
              > By the by George Durkee was injured and is on phones/radios and
              > communications this year until he heals. Not in the back country.
              >
            • Joe MacLeish
              I must still be fuzzy headed. I left a whole day out of the tales of terror. For those who might be tempted we went for Frozen Lake Pass from Marion
              Message 6 of 11 , Jul 26 8:44 PM
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                I must still be fuzzy headed.  I left a whole day out of the tales of terror.  For those who might be tempted we went for Frozen Lake Pass from Marion Lakes/Lake Basin ( a whole day closer than Horseshoe Lakes) and there is good camping at the L shaped lake.  I better drink some more water.

                Joe

                 

                From: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of John Ladd
                Sent: Friday, July 26, 2013 7:54 PM
                To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Another SHR Lesson's Learned

                 

                 

                Joe--

                 

                Great account of one of the most important of trail skills - accepting help when you need it. I once failed on the same kind of maintenance thing on a snow camping trip  (ate too little food because tired and in a hurry) and had to let Ned Tibbits put my backpack on the already-overburdened sled he was pulling. It feels as embarrassing as hell, but discouraging people who offer help just increases the danger to everyone in the party, and potentially to the SAR people also. Not to mention yourself. And we would have missed you.

                 

                We already were in awe of your other trial skills - we now know you have this one as well.

                 

                The whole thing is a classically god account of things that happen in the real world.

                 

                Thanks for the post.


                John Curran Ladd
                1616 Castro Street
                San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                415-648-9279

                 

                On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 6:47 PM, Joe MacLeish <jmacleish@...> wrote:

                 

                 

                Robert, Michael Petrick, and I finished our SHR adventure a few days ago.  It is a tale, perhaps I would rather let lie/lay, but there are some lessons learned that make it worth the telling.  Robert does the JMT in 8-10 days and carries a <25 lb pack.  Michael (26 years old) had just completed the JMT and wanted a return trip on the SHR.  I am 69 years old and had last done the JMT in 2011 in the early July snow (20 days).  No newbs but a vastly different set of physical abilities - don’t do this.  We all knew the SHR would be a challenge and a bit dangerous and best attempted with at least one partner.  We found each other on the JMT site and were all quite open about our level of conditioning and experience.

                 

                We started on July 17 at Cedar Grove and took off up the Copper Creek Trail (5000 ft elevation gain in 9-10 miles – 30% cross country) and arrived at Grouse lake around 6pm.  Good strenuous day.  I had to move right along to keep up with Michael and Robert.  The second day was all cross country and above 10k ft.  We stopped at Horseshoe Lakes.  Problems for me started here.  I was slowing the group down and felt bad about it.  I did not do my basic maintenance.   I fell behind on drinking water, eating, foot maintenance (luckily a minor issue), sunscreen, and changing to my sunglasses.  I was drinking all the water I could stomach but was not peeing much at all until night.  My partners started pumping me with electrolytes.  I had never managed my electrolytes before and will do some research on this now. 

                 

                The next morning we got up early to do Frozen Lake Pass and down to the JMT in Upper Basin below Mather pass.  We headed toward the pass but I couldn’t keep up.  The guys slowed for me.  Then they shuttled my pack and I tried packless.   Finally just a stinking ¼ mile from going over the pass I totally crashed.  I could not go up another step. They came back to see what was going on and I said I had to go back. I told them to go on I would get back to the Muir trail and work my way out and home.  They took off and went over the pass – hairy was the tail of that bit.  I thought OK now I can go at my own pace, I can do this.  They got over the pass and thought – the idiot doesn’t have a map for his planned exit (down Cartridge Creek), his plan is wrong, and he is exhausted.  So back they came and after some whistle blowing, yelling, and backtracking they found me set up at the previous night’s camp.  I said WTF, they said Shut Up, I was out of my mind, and how could they call my wife and tell her I was somewhere on the way.  Tomorrow they would get me to the JMT where there were some people and we could make some better decisions.

                Well, the next day we headed out again cross country and total route finding.  Robert carried my heavier pack and I carried his lighter pack.  Up over Cartridge Pass – certainly a wild and wooly route (no trail) and down eventually to the JMT at the South Fork of the Kings.  At that point we were all totally convinced the ordeal was over and it was safe to leave me on the JMT.  So they took off for Mather Pass and eventually Bishop and out.  I was going to go over Pinchot as it is lower and then all downhill to Cedar Grove.  That night there was a giant rain and lightning storm which was interesting but not particularly relevant.

                 

                Monday July 2 I started for Pinchot Pass.  Couldn’t do it.  Couldn’t get up to Bench Lake.  From this point on the story is a bit fuzzy at the request of those who rescued me.  A survey crew was coming down the trail, they asked the usual how’s it going, but unfortunately it wasn’t going too good and I said so.  They invited me to their camp for a day of recoup which I accepted.  They checked me out and determined escalation was appropriate, another person came (Erica) who further checked me and I was airlifted out.  The EMTs met me in an ambulance and told me my BPs were 66/40 vs. my normal 130/75.  I didn’t know you were alive with that BP but apparently … They pumped me with 1.6 liters of Ringers.  Anyway, then to the ER in Visalia and another 1.7 liters and eventually by BP creeped back up to my normal.  They were unhappy with my creatinines at 2.8 which was either severe dehydration or kidney failure.  Couple of hours in the ER, night in a hotel in Visalia, caught a train and home to my dearly beloved wife who handled the whole thing in stride.   As a side note I took two Vicoden when I got home and the next morning I went in to get a full blood work up (all is well) except it showed my liver had exploded  (ALT = 101).  Apparently Vicoden causes a high ALT without exploding your liver.

                 

                OK, now apologies for all the words.  There are some clear lessons here. 

                 

                1.         Partner with somebody at your physical level.  I felt really bad slowing the group down and cut my self-maintenance tasks as part of the effort to keep up.  Dumb and disastrous.  Robert and Michael slowed for me and helped every way possible but keeping up is in the blood and I pushed myself more than made sense.

                2.         The SHR is not the JMT.  We saw 2 people in 5 days.  This route (for me) will take twice as long for the same miles as the JMT and I do the JMT nice and slow.

                3.         Don’t ignore your self-maintenance tasks no matter what – duh.

                4.         Eat and drink no matter what.  Force the drinking.  As we all tell each other you have to be peeing on the trail.  

                5.         The scariest thing to me about the whole episode is I could have written a book about this stuff before I left but I still did it and had to be rescued.

                6.         Michael had a Spot but none of us thought I needed it until after we parted and I got an on-trail physical from a qualified person.  For this route a Spot (or the like) is a good thing.

                 

                            Thanks to Robert and Michael who got my sorry tail to the JMT and to Erica who got me out in one piece.  Michael got a call to my wife 20 minutes before I did.

                 

                            By the by George Durkee was injured and is on phones/radios and communications this year until he heals.  Not in the back country.

                 

                 

                 

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