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(TwinCities.com)   Searchers looking for missing hikers. Search areas include the Arapahoe National Forest and the southern Indian Ocean   (twincities.com) divider line 11
    More: Sad, Indian Ocean, St. Louis Park, Colorado, St. Louis  
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3233 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Apr 2014 at 12:13 PM (32 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-08 09:18:08 PM  
1 votes:
Boots:
You can skimp out on some gear and equipment and get by but always buy the best boots you can afford from a top brand outdoor supplier (Merrell, North Face, Tewa, Keen, etc.).  If possible get an expert fitting from a knowledgeable salesperson, and NEVER hike in brand new boots - one month breaking-in period at a minimum. And for Pete's sake get the right kind of footwear for the conditions, I.E. don't get trail runners for rocky, uneven terrain, unless you enjoy falling down a lot.

At the other extreme, because the trails are so well-worn and maintained, walking shoes are a good choice for lots of popular National Parks trails. Heck, the Scouts use walking shoes in the back country at Philmont in New Mexico because the trails are so well-worn. Know what kind of trail you are hiking and get the footwear to match.

Water:
Never rely entirely on back country water sources unless logistics or distance leave you no choice. Always carry supplemental water and a filter bottle and/or tablets. You never know when a body of water might be undergoing an indefinite microbial contamination. And all the natural water in the world won't help you if your back is broken from a fall and you can't get to it. You still need to hydrate while you wait for rescue.

Trekking poles:
A good sturdy one is essential, two are even better. Walking on steep mountains trails eventually it WILL prevent you from falling over, count on it. Besides that, they're good for: using as tent poles, as emergency splints, for creating (along with some rope) a makeshift litter, as a weapon to fight off animals or other hikers, and for roughly testing the depth of rivers and streams. A good trekking pole in the back country is a hell of a multi-tasker.

Also, trail mix.
2014-04-08 07:34:43 PM  
1 votes:

Mentalpatient87: Good, good. Any advice for bringing along my dog? I was thinking about buying one of those little saddle bag things so she can carry her share...

How about wildlife? Is there any merit to the idea of "marking your territory" with bear mace at your camp site to keep them away? I heard that suggested from someone.


Get the Ruff Wear (?) hiking boots for your dog. Yes, I'm serious. There was a very sad story a year or two ago about a guy who took his dog hiking up Mt Evans without the boots. Dog's pads got torn up pretty badly and couldn't hike anymore. Bad weather was moving in and he (felt like he) had to leave the dog. Understandable, but then the guy couldn't figure out how to recuse the dog himself, so he called local authorities who were no help, He posted some signs in the area, and then that was about all he did. Some other hikers found the dog and organized a rescue via an online hiking community. Dog was rescued, guy was charged with some kind of crime - don't think it was animal cruelty, but something similar - and had the dog taken from him. The mountain trails are too rocky for unprotected feet.

And yes, the bear spray thing is BS.
2014-04-08 04:52:50 PM  
1 votes:

LaRoach: Mentalpatient87: Is it something you think I honestly NEED?

Now that we've driven you into a panic... :P  It's all down to common sense.  If I'm in an area that's well travelled I don't worry about it too much.  Go do Mt. Bierstadt in the summer and it's practically a highway up there.  I personally carry a small hand held radio most of the time but I'm happy to say I never needed it.  When I do patrols (fun fact, you can be a volunteer "citizen ranger" in Boulder County) I always carry my radio just in case.  Again, never needed it but I have handed out first aid supplies and water more than once.

Earlier in the thread someone linked to the Ten Essentials. Start with those and work forward.  You like winter skiing in the back country?  Learn to use an avy probe and beacon.  You like going deep into Weminuche?  Consider a SPOT or ELT beacon and/or handheld ham radio.  It all depends on what you want to do and how far your skills and budget will take you.  The good news is CO is absolutely filled with people who do this all the time so there's no lack of opinions and resources.


Another thing that's often overlooked. Get a map and compass and know how to use them. Sure, a gps is easier, but there ain't no batteries to run out on my compass. You can get USGS topographical quads for just about anywhere you're going to be in the US and so long as you know how to read a topo and shoot a bearing you can get yourself un-lost.
2014-04-08 03:53:57 PM  
1 votes:
Well, if there's one thing I learned last year, hauling my supplies for the weekend on my back, it's that every little bit of weight counts. And a HAM radio looks unduly heavy and not needed for survival as long as I follow the other rules.

/and batteries?
//YOU carry it
2014-04-08 03:02:20 PM  
1 votes:

Mentalpatient87: Is there any merit to the idea of "marking your territory" with bear mace at your camp site to keep them away?


I've honestly never heard of that...  It's a good idea to call the Rangers ahead of your trip to find out what kind of bear activity is going on in the area you plan to be in.  You can get bear vaults to keep your food in (and you should use them).  The usual thing to do is store your food some distance down wind from your campsite (100 yards comes to mind) and also cook away from your site (think a big triangle, food, camp, cook station).  Never put food in your tent as bears and other things that like to chew will happily come after it.

As for Rover just keep in mind that a mountain lion will happily use her as a meal if she gets too far from you.  It's not common but it can happen.  Same is true for children.

Oh yeah, watch out for moose.  Those suckers can be mean!

The most important thing is know what you don't know.  If you're somewhere and start thinking "Heyyyy, I might be getting in over my head here..." trust that instinct and back out.  The trail will still be there next summer and you won't make the news.  I believe REI even has free classes on backpacking and camping to get people started.  Join a backpacking club to hang out with more experienced people.  Take a first aid class, use sunscreen, don't play in traffic... :)
2014-04-08 02:06:24 PM  
1 votes:

LaRoach: Mentalpatient87: Keep pouring advice, people, it could save my life one day.

Always carry enough gear to make it overnight.  You don't need a tent but an emergency shelter (aka space blanket), extra layers, rain gear and some method for starting a fire are wise things to have.  Know the signs of altitude sickness and just use common sense.  Leave your route with a friend and expected time back.  If you think you might go on a side trip mark that as a potential route on the map.  Don't count on your cell phone working, btw.

Colorado is gorgeous but it can kill you if you get careless.


This is a big one - these guys came from Minnesota where the highest point is about 1000' less then the lowest point in Colorado.  They likely flew in to Denver and drove straight out to the trail head in the neighborhood of 11,000'.  Even if they took a day or so to acclimate to Denver altitude (5000'), it won't matter much.  I know people who've lived at 7000' for years who get sick at 10,000'  And it really hits you if you get dehydrated - you may feel fine stating out, and get hammered once you start drying out.
2014-04-08 01:44:39 PM  
1 votes:

LaRoach: Mentalpatient87: Keep pouring advice, people, it could save my life one day.

Always carry enough gear to make it overnight.  You don't need a tent but an emergency shelter (aka space blanket), extra layers, rain gear and some method for starting a fire are wise things to have.  Know the signs of altitude sickness and just use common sense.  Leave your route with a friend and expected time back.  If you think you might go on a side trip mark that as a potential route on the map.  Don't count on your cell phone working, btw.

Colorado is gorgeous but it can kill you if you get careless.


Yep. And know and carry your Ten Essentials
2014-04-08 01:42:42 PM  
1 votes:

Mentalpatient87: Keep pouring advice, people, it could save my life one day.


Always carry enough gear to make it overnight.  You don't need a tent but an emergency shelter (aka space blanket), extra layers, rain gear and some method for starting a fire are wise things to have.  Know the signs of altitude sickness and just use common sense.  Leave your route with a friend and expected time back.  If you think you might go on a side trip mark that as a potential route on the map.  Don't count on your cell phone working, btw.

Colorado is gorgeous but it can kill you if you get careless.
2014-04-08 12:45:50 PM  
1 votes:
Hell, it's still frikkin' Winter up there.
They chose poorly.
2014-04-08 12:45:02 PM  
1 votes:
It's amazing how often this happens. Spring in the CO Rockies is really dangerous. March and April are our snowiest months and the weather is very unpredictable. You don't even need precipitation. Just wind alone can cause white out conditions and deposit feet of snow in an hour or two. People come here underestimating the weather and the effects of altitude. The don't have adequate gear, the don't plan for how long it takes to go a mile at altitude, they don't leave a plan with anyone.

If I've learned anything living here it's that you don't fark with the Rockies. Know your shiat, have the right gear, and leave a detailed trip plan with someone. Also, know when to turn back, don't let your ego get in the way.
2014-04-08 12:39:04 PM  
1 votes:
China claims to have heard their pings but it could have been Wongs.
 
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