Thumbed my trip after two hours of hiking.

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by kimbur96, Dec 31, 2016.

  1. kimbur96

    kimbur96 Member

    Messages:
    147
    Location:
    Colorado Springs :)
    In scuba diving a thumbs up is a sign to surface and end the dive. As the dives get deeper and more technical and especially in cave diving anyone can thumb a dive at anytime for any reason without question by the other team members. Everyone exits together. It is thought this helps prevent accidents by preventing divers from going on when things just aren't right without fear of repercussion.

    Another widely accepted rule is the rule of threes. If three things break or go wrong during a dive you end the dive. Most fatalities are caused by cascading events not a single event.

    Today I thumbed my backpacking trip based on the rule of threes. The plan was to back pack From the Hollowell Park TH to the Mill Creek Basin campsite. Then after setting up camp I planned to day hike around Beirstadt Lake. I got to RMNP got my permit and headed out.

    1) Car alarm. I've never winter backpacked so I was laden with gear. It took me a good 10 minutes to gear up at the TH: Fleece shirt, Down Jacket, Hard shell,Gaiters, Microspikes, Backpack. It was 15F and windy so I had all my layers on. I grabbed my trekking poles and hit the trail. A good half mile or more down the trail I couldn't remember if I had locked the car. For the life of me I couldn't say either way. Not a horrible thing except I had left my wallet in the glove box so I wouldn't loose it on the trail. The permit on my dashboard would indicate i'd be gone overnight for any thieves that might be by later. I tried to convince myself it would be fine. What are the odds that someone would try the door? I pressed on but it nagged at me.

    2) The weird guy. This could be all paranoia and the result of being raised by a cop who worked gang units for years or it could be this guy was a threat.

    When I parked at the TH I was the only car there. It was approximately a 2 mile hike in to my assigned campsite. About 2/3's of the way in I encountered a man coming down the trail. He had no trekking poles, a very small pack on, no snowshoes or microspikes. I knew there were no cars at the TH so I couldn't figure out where he'd be going. We passed and I continued on. 2-3 tenths of a mile from the campsite the trail splits and eventually joins itself again in .3 of a mile. I stayed to the left and then when the trail joined itself again I figured out I needed to go down the other branch of the loop to reach the campsite.

    As I got to the sign for the turn off for the campsite he comes the same guy only now he is carry a 5ft walking stick. For him to be there that means that after he passed me he turned around and looped back following my path. I was just standing there trying to figure out where the campsite was. He passed me and about 10 yards down the trail tuned around and passed by me again. By now I am quite unsettled by his behavior. He has now seen me 3 times so it's obvious I am alone.

    3) Can't get to the campsite. After two hours of hiking I got to the sign that pointed of into the trees as being where the campsite was. There was no visible trail, no foot prints. There was supposed to be a privy so I looked for a rooftop or building. I couldn't see anything. I had worked hard to get where I was so I headed off in the direction the sign pointed. The snow was up to my knees and quickly I sank to my waist. Then I fell forward onto my ungloved hands. My hands had been sweaty earlier so I had taken my gloves off. Well crap...this isn't going to work. I also know from the map there is a creek here and I don't need to fall into icy water I can't see. After falling a couple of more times and realizing I would not be able to get to the campsite. That's 3 I said to myself. I post holed and crawled back to the trail and headed back to my car.

    On the way out I considered trying to secure a site at the campground. I decided to get to my car, eat and get warm and then decide. At my car I took my pack off and began to peel off the layers. I was soaked. I hadn't felt hot or overheated but I had sweated through multiple layers of clothing. It was supposed to get down to 5F tonight and wet clothes was no go for staying. I chalked it all up to learning and headed home to hike another day.

    The things that went right or worked well: microspikes, gaiters and delorme. These were all brand new to me and my first time using them and they were all awesome. The delorme connected to my phone via bluetooth allowed me to see myself on a topo map in real time that was great when i was trying to find the campsite. The microspikes were flawless, no slipping at all on the pack snow and ice. And the gaiters were a great choice until i got in the really deep stuff.

    4 miles in the snow with a 28# pack was a workout. I will sleep well tonight. Here's a few pics from the hike.

    IMG_5603.jpg
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    somewhere in there is the campsite supposedly :(
    IMG_5611.jpg
    My only wildlife encounter today.
    IMG_5615.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  2. regehr

    regehr Member

    Messages:
    301
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    Sounds like a good call!
     
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  3. Cuberant

    Cuberant Member

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    173
    Location:
    Morgan, UT
    I'd say the creepy guy was reason enough to call it a day.

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  4. Bigryn0

    Bigryn0 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Sounds like a good call. Beautiful pics too! I need to remember the thumbs up rule, we already do the 3 strikes rule. And I agree, that one guy would have been enough for me to say, " annie get your gun."


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  5. Venchka

    Venchka Member

    Messages:
    149
    So glad you're safe. Cold and wet is never fun. Cold, wet and a creepy guy? Yuck!
    I'm envious of the snow. I was in the mountains of North Carolina for Christmas and no snow until after we left.
    Keep learning! Stay dry. Stay warm.
    Wayne


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  6. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    149
    Snowshoes!
    Wayne


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  7. Jackson

    Jackson I like to go outside.

    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    Way to stick with your intuition. I've turned around for much less. Hearing about that guy gives me the creeps.

    I'm sorry your trip didn't work out, though. Looks like you'll have to head back sometime!
     
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  8. kimbur96

    kimbur96 Member

    Messages:
    147
    Location:
    Colorado Springs :)
    I have brand new snowshoes but have never snowshoed, ever. Trip reports said microspikes would be sufficient and since the snowshoes weight 3# I chose to leave them at home. I am signed up for a basic snowshoeing class starting Wednesday! :)
     
  9. Venchka

    Venchka Member

    Messages:
    149
    Great! Hopefully you won't be swimming through the snow in the future.
    Wayne
    Ps: I own boots that are heavier than your snowshoes.

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  10. powderglut

    powderglut In search of Fresh

    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Steamboat Spgs Co
    I think you made the right call.
    So.....winter in the Rockies.. have you ever thought about touring skis and skins? I have made so many trips to 10th Mt Div Huts... and Zirkel and Flattops wilderness in winter, that I think of only one way to travel and that is on ski's. Perhaps ...not for everyone. 2.JPG
     
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  11. kimbur96

    kimbur96 Member

    Messages:
    147
    Location:
    Colorado Springs :)
    So you made me curious. My Vasque winter hiking boots are 3# 12oz. They don't feel heavy and they keep my cold feet warmer than anything I have ever tried.

    I've never skied and I think the winter gear budget is tapped out for this year. It's my first winter here in CO. I moved here from FL so it's a big change. I'd love to do a 10th Mtn hut trip. Everything is booked so far in advance. Plus I really should have someone to go with. Hopefully next season.
     
  12. Artemus

    Artemus I walk

    Messages:
    2,659
    Location:
    better off outside
    Way to pay attention to the details and to analyze Kimbur. Well done. Decide on the side of safety and come out to play another day.

    I think you are a little to worried about walking in your new snowshoes. Those conditions were fine in boots, spikes, snowshoes or on skis like all have disclosed. Having the snowshoes gives you a little safety margin if you get snowed on overnight is all. When you walk with your snowshoes it is a lot easier if you have a couple of poles with you. Wish you, and all people, didn't have to feel unsafe in the backcountry. My wife has had similar experiences and resultant, warranted nervousness. If you lived near here you would have us to walk with.

    Thumbing a trip = I call it bailing and have done it many times.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
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  13. Venchka

    Venchka Member

    Messages:
    149
    My Pivetta #5 all leather boots are a little over 4 pounds. I try to forget the actual weight because I like them a lot.
    Wayne


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  14. stephjas1

    stephjas1 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Utah
    a bit of advice, we pack bear spray and smaller cans of pepper spray. Not for the bears, for the creeps. We're not big on packing guns but you run into a lot of weirdo's in the back country. Keep safe and keep on hiking, it is awesome!
     
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  15. Eric O

    Eric O Member

    Messages:
    115
    Sounds like you made the right call. Good job on listening to your spidey senses and on making it back safely. Thanks for the trip report.
     
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  16. SwimsWithTrout

    SwimsWithTrout Member

    Messages:
    61
    FYI, the backcountry privys in RMNP are not your standard "outhouse". They're just a toilet seat on a ~ 3 ' square, 12 inch tall box with no other shelter at all, and the BC sites/privies will be invisible under snow.

    I've cancelled many a full scale 10-30 pitch , full day to multi-day rock climb mid way/ rearranged my itinerary on several 20-30 day backpacking trips , but I've never "thumbed a dive" out of 750+ and counting, and 75% of those were solo under "challenging" conditions.

    It's all about your boundaries.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
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  17. kimbur96

    kimbur96 Member

    Messages:
    147
    Location:
    Colorado Springs :)
    Good to know about the privy's. So I was looking for something that didn't exist.

    I'd much sooner push my limits in physical exertion or weather and environmental conditions than those of a creepy dude. Guess that's my boundary.
     
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  18. Venchka

    Venchka Member

    Messages:
    149
    Creepy dudes are, well, just plain creepy.
    I've found some places in Colorado farther away from major population centers where I don't see creepy dudes. Give me a shout and I'll tell you where they are.
    Wayne


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  19. blueeyes

    blueeyes ephemeral excursionist

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    Love 10th mountain division!

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  20. blueeyes

    blueeyes ephemeral excursionist

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    608
    Dido! My son worked in Yellowstone last summer at Lake Lodge. Guests leave their cans of bear spray. I asked him to bring me one. I have 9! I carry mine for creeps. Thankfully I haven't seen creeps or bears. Hope to keep it that way.

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