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Re: [John Muir Trail] Rope Lenght for River Crossing?

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  • Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd
    I crossed that one with dry feet in Aug 2007. I usually just cross in my trailrunners too - they dry fast.
    Message 1 of 34 , Jun 2, 2009
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      I crossed that one with dry feet in Aug 2007.

      I usually just cross in my trailrunners too - they dry fast.

      On Tue, Jun 2, 2009 at 9:48 AM, Peter Klein <pklein95014@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > That late in a dry year you'll probably hit very few ford spots. It's hard
      > to
      > imagine Bear Crk below Rosemarie Mdw ever getting low enough to
      > get across without wet feet, but it probably does.
      >
      > Worst case, do the crossing in your trail runners? They dry fast.
      >
      > On Tue, Jun 2, 2009 at 9:30 AM, Sean Mahoney <cutlassdude70@...>wrote:
      >
      >>
      >>
      >> So from the collective experience in this group, how are the crossings
      >> in late August through early September? My girlfriend and I are
      >> hiking the JMT north to south starting on August 23rd and I'm trying
      >> to figure out whether I need to carry the extra weight of Crocs for
      >> crossings or if I'll probably be able to make all the crossings fine
      >> with trail runners. Thanks!
      >>
      >> Sean
      >>
      >>
      >> On Tue, Jun 2, 2009 at 9:19 AM, John Ladd
      >> <johnladd@...<johnladd%40gmail.com>>
      >> wrote:
      >> >
      >> >
      >> > The crossings can be dramatically different between early July and 3-4
      >> weeks
      >> > later, and it can be dramatically different based on time of day. I
      >> suspect
      >> > that's why our experiences were different.
      >> >
      >> > On Tue, Jun 2, 2009 at 8:57 AM, Roleigh Martin
      >> > <roleigh@...<roleigh%40pobox.com>>
      >> wrote:
      >> >
      >> >>
      >> >>
      >> >> This is really strange, this had to be something we crossed last year
      >> >> between Reds Meadows and Whitney Portal but I never once had to take my
      >> >> boots off for crossing a stream until Evolution (Meadow?) and then it
      >> was
      >> >> only calf-high. Do any of you who've done the JMT before (that segment
      >> of
      >> >> the JMT that covers this part) remember this in July or August?
      >> >>
      >> >> Anyway the lesson to be prepared for is that anything that might get
      >> >> wet
      >> >> could get wet if not protected inside your pack.
      >> >>
      >> >>
      >> >> On 6/2/09, John Ladd <johnladd@...
      >> >> <johnladd%40gmail.com><johnladd%
      >> 40gmail.com>> wrote:
      >> >> >
      >> >> >
      >> >> >
      >> >> > I did parts of the trail July 1-6 last year with 2 other guys and 2
      >> >> > girls
      >> >> > (77 miles northbound in the middle section) and other parts in
      >> >> > October
      >> >> (90
      >> >> > miles RT at the southern part of the JMT). The worst crossing on our
      >> >> > stretch was N Fork Mono Creek south of Silver Pass in July. Our route
      >> >> > did
      >> >> > not allow us to wait for lower water, so we crossed at a high-flow
      >> time
      >> >> of
      >> >> > day. It was upper-thigh deep and very wide (50 yards?) and fairly
      >> fast.
      >> >> > Good stream-crossing shoes (crocs with velcro back straps for me,
      >> Keens
      >> >> for
      >> >> > some of the others) and trekking poles were very helpful. Sometimes I
      >> >> > turned body into the current and leaned into it, with the poles
      >> >> trangulated
      >> >> > behind for a tripod effect, walking sideways, but mostly just walked
      >> >> > carefully. Lighter-weight members of our party had more trouble than
      >> >> > heavier
      >> >> > ones and in some cases we went with a heavier person just upstream of
      >> >> > the
      >> >> > lighter one to break the current. Rope would not have helped.
      >> >> >
      >> >> > The JMT is laid out in a way that it crosses high-volume streams at
      >> >> places
      >> >> > where the stream is wide and relatively shallow. Therefore the worst
      >> >> > crossings are too wide for a 30 ft. rope to do much good.
      >> >> >
      >> >> > On many JMT streams, water flow volume is much lower in early morning
      >> >> than
      >> >> > in late afternoon. If the source of the stream's flow is a melting
      >> >> > snowfield within 20 miles, the flow will be quite variable.
      >> >> >
      >> >> > I would leave the rope at home and concentrate on good planning and
      >> good
      >> >> > technique. And make sure that anything in your pack that can't get
      >> >> > wet
      >> >> > (like your sleeping bag) is in a waterproof stuff sack.
      >> >> >
      >> >> > Note that the worst crossings have bridges. E.g., the Golden Gate of
      >> the
      >> >> > Sierras over Woods Creek in Kings Cyn.
      >> >> >
      >> >> > On Mon, Jun 1, 2009 at 9:55 PM, Jon Shannon
      >> >> > <sierranomad@... <sierranomad%40yahoo.com><sierranomad%
      >> 40yahoo.com>
      >> >> <sierranomad%40yahoo.com>>
      >> >> > wrote:
      >> >> >
      >> >> > >
      >> >> > >
      >> >> > > Hi:
      >> >> > >
      >> >> > > Our JMT trip will be July 1 - 22 and we are planning on bringing a
      >> >> > > rope
      >> >> > to
      >> >> > > assist in river crossing, just to be prepared. We are planning on
      >> >> > bringing a
      >> >> > > 30' rope. Is this long enough?
      >> >> > >
      >> >> > > Thank you.
      >> >> > >
      >> >> > > JOn
      >> >> > >
      >> >> > >
      >> >> > >
      >> >> >
      >> >> > --
      >> >> > John Curran Ladd
      >> >> > 1616 Castro Street
      >> >> > San Francisco, CA 94114-3707
      >> >> > 415-648-9279 (voice and fax)
      >> >> >
      >> >> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >> >> >
      >> >> >
      >> >> >
      >> >>
      >> >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >> >>
      >> >>
      >> >>
      >> >
      >> > --
      >> > John Curran Ladd
      >> > 1616 Castro Street
      >> > San Francisco, CA 94114-3707
      >> > 415-648-9279 (voice and fax)
      >> >
      >> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >> >
      >> >
      >>
      >>
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
    • Roleigh Martin
      This was a great posting that I ve filed away. Thanks, Herb. ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Message 34 of 34 , Jun 2, 2009
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        This was a great posting that I've filed away. Thanks, Herb.

        On 6/2/09, herbstroh <herbstroh@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > Jon--
        >
        >
        >
        > I join with others in the suggestion to forget the rope. To be effective
        > some needs to secure it on the other side. NEVER use the rope with the
        > intention of pulling in a fallen hiker--I have seen someone holding or
        > tied to a rope with companions on the shore, expecting to "save" him by
        > pulling him to shore should he fall. That is a disaster waiting to
        > happen. If the hiker falls, the rope will securely pin him in the flow
        > of water with little chance to right himself. Further, the pack will
        > fill with water and literally weight a hundred pounds in seconds.
        >
        >
        >
        > A rope securely tied to both side of the stream would no doubt help.
        > However, using your hiking poles to gain two additional points of
        > contact are better than a rope that might bow when stressed.
        >
        >
        >
        > One of the best discussions I have seen on the topic is from the PCT-L
        > list, from Ned who teaches winter and general travel survival skills.
        > His post on this topic, primarily aimed at PCT thru hikers who will be
        > in the Sierra during June, is excellent and thus is repeated in full
        > below:
        >
        > "From: ned@...
        >
        > Subject: [pct-l] Creek Crossings techniques for the current Thrus
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > The month of June in the Sierra is notorious for heavy snow-melt and
        >
        > dangerous creek crossings.
        >
        >
        >
        > For the thru hiker, the major dangers are slip-and-falls on snow/ice
        > while
        >
        > on climbs and descents, injuries while post-holing, and creek crossings.
        >
        > Much has been said about snowshoes, ice axes, and self-arrest
        > techniques,
        >
        > but little is mentioned about creek crossing skills and techniques.
        > Though
        >
        > we spend much of our time teaching winter/spring snow camping and travel
        >
        > techniques, we have gone out to the trail above Kennedy Meadows to meet
        > the
        >
        > "herd" and teach such techniques.
        >
        >
        >
        > The technique you choose to cross a dangerous creek is yours, alone, at
        >
        > that time and based on the conditions before you. We do not advocate one
        > or
        >
        > another of these choices, rather, hope to empower you with their
        > listing,
        >
        > thereby not assuming any responsibility for your actions, Here is a
        > brief
        >
        > synopsis to keep in your head when making crossing decisions:
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > - Do not feel that you have to cross where the trail does!
        >
        > - Drop your pack and search the creek above and below the trail
        > crossing
        >
        > for several hundred feet looking for safer routes across.
        >
        > - Take your time. Don't be in a hurry for time, here. Consider grabbing
        > a
        >
        > bite to eat while you search, maybe lunch in the sun beside the creek?
        >
        > - Keep in mind where the trail goes on the other side before crossing.
        >
        > When you get there, you'll know how to re-find the trail.
        >
        > - If the creek is fed by snow-melt, it will be deeper and faster during
        >
        > the afternoon heat. Consider crossing in the morning.
        >
        > - If it is cold and there is no sun and the crossing looks formidable
        > and
        >
        > nasty, consider waiting for others (if alone) or for more sun (read on).
        >
        > - If you can't wait, travel further up-stream to find a narrower spot
        > that
        >
        > is less risky. You don't want to risk getting wet on a cold, sun-less
        > day.
        >
        >
        >
        > - Look for the following:
        >
        > - Narrow spots where you can jump across. Beware of your landing and
        > your
        >
        > balance with packs on.
        >
        > - Boulders you can hop across on. If the route is risky, look, also,
        > for
        >
        > branches you can hold onto for balance. Beware of slippery, wet rocks,
        >
        > perhaps in the shade.
        >
        > - Logs you can walk on to cross the creek. Beware if they move or are
        >
        > slippery from spray or moss. Test first.
        >
        > - Calm-water, sandy-bottom, shallow, rock-free, short-distance crossing
        >
        > spots you can wade through. Since these immersion-style crossings aren't
        >
        > the norm, consider the following:
        >
        >
        >
        > --For swift-water group crossings:
        >
        > --whenever possible, cross in groups of 2 or 3, packs loose, arms linked
        >
        > together, hands holding belts, and facing the other side.
        >
        > ---be able to see the bottom (choose routes free of white water, if
        >
        > possible).
        >
        > ---keep your boots on so your feet don't get hurt.
        >
        > ---step between the rocks.
        >
        > ---do not start from nor end at a concave bend in the creek where the
        >
        > current is faster and deeper.
        >
        > ---constantly talk with each other to coordinate who is moving while the
        >
        > rest brace.
        >
        >
        >
        > --For swift-water solo crossings:
        >
        > ---if you are alone and know there are others nearby, wait for them to
        >
        > catch up.
        >
        > ---if you must cross alone, use your poles as 3rd and 4th legs for
        > balance
        >
        > against the current. Combine your poles or use separately.
        >
        > ---plan your attack, how you will maintain that balance. Legs and feet
        > get
        >
        > very cold very quickly making for hasty decisions should direction or
        >
        > balance come into question. Get through it as fast as you can, but
        > don't
        >
        > be hasty.
        >
        > ---if you question the strength of your poles for down-stream support or
        >
        > that they may suddenly collapse, look for a choice dead branch to use as
        >
        > your 3rd leg. Test it out for shock strength before entering the water
        >
        > (bang it on the ground a few times on and against its axis).
        >
        > ---move your poles or stick only when you are certain you can maintain
        > your
        >
        > balance on your feet. Move a foot at a time only once you are certain
        > your
        >
        > other two contacts with the creek bottom won't move.
        >
        >
        >
        > Once on the other side, assist/advise every one else to get across, then
        >
        > put on dry clothing and socks, boot back up, and immediately get going
        > to
        >
        > create heat. If it's a nice day, take the time to grab a bite to eat in
        > the
        >
        > sun beside the creek, if you haven't already (helps to give you energy
        > to
        >
        > warm back up).
        >
        >
        >
        > If you loose your balance and find yourself fully immersed in the icy
        >
        > water, jettison your pack and keep your head above the water. Swim
        > across
        >
        > when you're not avoiding boulders. In the white water, float feet-first
        > so
        >
        > you can see the rocks coming. Try to avoid or vault over them using your
        >
        > hands and feet. Work your way to the shore.
        >
        >
        >
        > If the water isn't that deep nor fast-moving and you just lost your
        > balance
        >
        > and got thoroughly wet, get back up as best you can and flounder to
        > shore.
        >
        > Try not to fall again. You now have to do many things at once. Are you
        >
        > injured? Find out if you have any dry clothes and put them on. Get the
        > help
        >
        > of others to get and keep you warm, maybe a tent needs to be pitched to
        > get
        >
        > you out of the wind or a stove started to put warm fluids onboard. Drain
        >
        > your pack spread out all your stuff, especially the food. Assess damage.
        >
        > Clothing will dry out but food and fuel may be lost.
        >
        >
        >
        > If you are alone, this may become a crisis situation even after you
        > survive
        >
        > the crossing due to hypothermic conditions. Get into the sun, strip off
        > all
        >
        > wet clothes, and do exercises to warm up and dry out. If there is no
        > sun,
        >
        > you have to create your own heat by muscle activity. Do what you must to
        >
        > get warm. Cry out for help. Find someone who can start a fire, pitch a
        >
        > tent, and provide a sleeping bag for you to get into. Fire up a stove
        > and
        >
        > get warm food and fluids into you, too. This must all happen fast. If
        > you
        >
        > start shivering, your time is limited. If you have no resources at all,
        > it
        >
        > is either time to run, to find help (this is when you need to know in
        > your
        >
        > head where the trail goes and where people may likely be, at other
        > lakes,
        >
        > toward trailheads, on main trails, and go that way) and to create heat,
        > or
        >
        > do vigorous exercises while waiting for others to come along.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > For the most part, creek crossings aren't too risky. If you take the
        > time
        >
        > to search for the easiest route across, not the first easier one, you
        > will
        >
        > find one that is acceptable and your hike will continue safe and happy.
        >
        >
        >
        > Be safe out there!
        >
        >
        >
        > Mtnned"
        >
        > _________________________________________________________
        >
        > On the issue of trail runners vs crocs, just wear the trail runners. You
        > can take off your socks and pull the footbed out and keep those dry.
        > Better traction, less weight.
        >
        >
        >
        > See you on the trail.
        >
        >
        >
        > Herb
        >
        >
        >
        > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Jon Shannon" <sierranomad@...>
        > wrote:
        > >
        > > Hi:
        > >
        > > Our JMT trip will be July 1 - 22 and we are planning on bringing a
        > rope to assist in river crossing, just to be prepared. We are planning
        > on bringing a 30' rope. Is this long enough?
        > >
        > > Thank you.
        > >
        > > JOn
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >


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