Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 16 to 26 of 26

Thread: Did you ever spend an unplanned night in the woods?

  1. #16
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Bedford, MA; Avatar: eggs anyone?
    Posts
    10,625
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    Not quite, but....

    A friend and I had a very humbling experience after a climb in Huntington Ravine.
    <snip>
    I too completed Pinnacle Gully in the dark (we had had to wait for a party above to clear the climb) and solo (my second had backed off after the first pitch). I had never been down the Escape Hatch, so I headed directly for Lions Head. My only problem was postholing through a snow slab on the descent and being left hanging upside down (on the surface) with my foot stuck under the slab. (Had to smash the slab with the my ice axe shaft to escape.)

    Fortunately, not as humbling an experience as yours. (The night was clear and the view from the Alpine Garden was very nice...)

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 12-18-2017 at 02:14 PM.

  2. #17
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Bedford, MA; Avatar: eggs anyone?
    Posts
    10,625
    I almost had a solo unplanned night out when I suddenly found myself lying on the snow with a broken femur. (A snow snake had jumped out and grabbed my ski tip...) It was 2-3 pm and I was ~4 mi from the trailhead on one of the backcountry trails connected to the Waterville Valley XC system.

    Under the circumstances, the only thing I could have done by myself would have been to get my pack off, down jacket on, and my tail off the snow and onto a 25in square (REI blue) closed cell foam pad. (Don't recall if I had a bivy sack with me.) I would not have been able to build a fire or dig a shelter. Fortunately someone came along and was able to help me to get the pack off, the insulation on, and the pad under me. My cellphone worked and we were able to call in an evac team from Waterville so my stay was pretty short (2-3 hrs). (If the cellphone hadn't have worked, I would have been able to wait while my helper skied out to call in the evac team.)


    On day trips I carry enough to survive at least one night out, but have decided that a 25in square pad* is not an adequate substitute for a full size (REI blue foam) pad and now carry a Blizzard Survival Bag. http://www.blizzardsurvival.com/prod...d-survival-bag
    * I was traveling "light" that day...


    There is always the risk that one will be unable use gear or certain survival techniques for one reason or another.

    Doug

  3. #18
    Senior Member weatherman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    South Metro Denver Avatar: Basin Ponds Bullwinkle
    Posts
    713
    Spent one unplanned night out, with my wife (who is luckily still married to me), but it kind of has an asterisk as we had already planned to spend two nights out, just not three. We were in the Sierras and encountered way too deep snow + deep stream crossings on the summer solstice, causing long delays + eventually losing the trail as all markers and junctions were buried.

    Things learned: 1) if you have the gear, and don't know where you are, stop rather than continue. Had we decided to call it an evening an hour earlier, we would have wasted a lot less energy. The next morning, having our wits about us, we easily found the right way down- it took us 15 minutes with a map and compass to realize we were very close to where we should have been, but the night before we had no clue. 2) Bring food for an extra night. Even though it was mid-June, it went down to the teens at night and we really needed the extra calories.
    --would rather be hiking than typing.

  4. #19
    Senior Member TJ aka Teej's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    04043
    Posts
    251
    I always have enough with me to stay out overnight if need be. I've stayed out because I had to 3 times, and have stayed out because I was having unplanned fun dozens of times.
    Pick up your feet!

  5. #20
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    304
    Wow! Lots of great stories to learn from!

    I guess panic setting in can be pretty tough to deal with since it is hard to control and it makes it hard to think clearly. I can easily see how getting disoriented, loosing critical piece of equipment or encountering some serious difficulty (e.g. an unpassable stream at a final stretch of a long hike) could result in onset of panic. How does one prepare for plans and assumptions going wrong? How much can one learn to improvise while facing tough situations?

    Speaking of being lost I must say that I missed some trail intersections in the past. Usually, it is just a matter of backtracking and much less of a problem since I started carrying a GPS (if I have good maps) but even with that things can go wrong. Last September I was backpacking with a friend in Wind River Range and we came to a wide stream crossing. I had my water shoes at the bottom of the pack, so I had to get most of my stuff out of my pack and re-pack it to cross the stream and this took some time. Once we made it to the other side and put our boots on I looked at my GPS and realized that we missed an intersection that we should have taken right before the stream. We did not want to go back, so we decided to follow an alternate longer trail that ultimately took us to our destination, however, once our delays compounded we had to shorten our planned loop in order to eventually make it back to the airport on time.

  6. #21
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Woodstock, CT
    Posts
    1,823
    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    Speaking of being lost I must say that I missed some trail intersections in the past. Usually, it is just a matter of backtracking and much less of a problem since I started carrying a GPS (if I have good maps) but even with that things can go wrong.
    I think "being lost" and "not knowing where the trail is" are two different things. A few Summers ago I descended the Mt Clinton Trail late in the day on a long loop and lost the trail about 1/2 mile from the junction with Dry River Trail. I could not find the footbed in numerous places and it was getting close to dark. But I had researched the area, had maps, compass and a GPS. I knew exactly where I was and how to navigate to the trail junction but I had no clue where the actual trail was for about 1/4 mile. I was a little apprehensive about bushwhacking to the junction in the dark (which I ultimately did just as it got to be headlamp time) but it would have been nothing compared to not having any idea at all where I was. It was far from panic. Standing in the woods as it got dark having no idea where I was would definitely have brought on a good sense of panic.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 44/48; NY 46: 5/46

  7. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Jericho, VT
    Posts
    110
    I haven't spent an unplanned night out, which I suppose is good. There are good suggestions here, but to me by far the best emergency option is to carry a bothy bag. No other option (sleeping bag, bivy, tarp, fire) is even remotely close or as useful. For solo trips, I have this one:

    https://rab.equipment/us/superlite-shelter-2-silbothy

    I have tested this in the winter on multiple occasions, including on summits in strong wind, and in subzero temps. It is remarkably warm inside and completely protected. I would not sleep very much, but I think I would survive the night out in the woods.

  8. #23
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    304
    Quote Originally Posted by michaelb View Post
    I haven't spent an unplanned night out, which I suppose is good. There are good suggestions here, but to me by far the best emergency option is to carry a bothy bag. No other option (sleeping bag, bivy, tarp, fire) is even remotely close or as useful. For solo trips, I have this one:

    https://rab.equipment/us/superlite-shelter-2-silbothy

    I have tested this in the winter on multiple occasions, including on summits in strong wind, and in subzero temps. It is remarkably warm inside and completely protected. I would not sleep very much, but I think I would survive the night out in the woods.
    I have not seen a bothy bag and it looks pretty intriguing and I checked out two videos on youtube about it. I guess it's primarily designed for sitting, so I am not sure how one would sleep in it. I would still worry that bothy bag would not provide enough insulation to keep things warm on a cold night but maybe I am wrong. I currently have two different types of SOL emergency bags, but for winter hikes I actually carry a 20-degree sleeping bag coupled with sleeping pad and mylar emergency tube "tent" reasoning that I would be able to sleep through the night with such setup if necessary. Recently my son bought a bivy at REI garage sale, so I'm thinking about switching to that bivy for this winter.

  9. #24
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    44
    Yup. When I lived in California, I decided to climb San Gorgonio in winter. It was my first trip above 10K feet in winter, and I was not very well equipped. Although I was backpacking, when I got near the summit (or so I thought), I cached my backpack, tent and sleeping bag, and headed up with just a small daypack with my emergency gear. It got dark fast, I lost the trail, and I couldn't find my way back to the cached gear. Fortunately I had some extra clothes and a bivy sack, so I took shelter in the well around a pine tree and shivered through an uncomfortablly cold night. In the light of day I recovered the trail and made it back to the truck with no ill effects save a bad sunburn. (Didn't think about how bright the sun is off the snow!)
    Lessons learned? I love my bivy sack, the army surplus model by Tennier. At two pounds, it weighs twice what some ultralight options do, but it's durable, functional waterproof breathable and thick enough to provide some minimal insulation. I've added to my kit a pair of down camp booties, to keep my feet warm in an emergency and also as emergency over-mittens. I always have dry, heavy weight long underwear and socks in my bag as well. I think having dry clothes ad effective shelter is generally worth much more than a fire could be, although I do carry a small fire starting kit.
    I did just buy a Zippo fueled hand warmer, and if it works as advertised, I will add it to my winter pack.

  10. #25
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    304
    Quote Originally Posted by Cristobal View Post
    In the light of day I recovered the trail and made it back to the truck with no ill effects save a bad sunburn. (Didn't think about how bright the sun is off the snow!)
    I learned about the power of Sun rays at high altitude many years ago while at a math conference that took place at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado. After I gave my presentation I decided to get a ski lessons package - it was dirt cheap, group ski lessons (it was mid-week at the end of the season, so I was the only person in the group ), skis, ski boots & ski poles + lift tickets for a day, all for $20. I was just missing ski goggles and no one warned me to wear sunscreen. I had lots of fun until the evening when my face was totally burned and I was unable to open my eyes! I ended up with a layer of yogurt on my face to ease the pain! It was quite a lesson...

  11. #26
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Newton, MA
    Posts
    2,355
    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    I learned about the power of Sun rays at high altitude many years ago while at a math conference that took place at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado. After I gave my presentation I decided to get a ski lessons package - it was dirt cheap, group ski lessons (it was mid-week at the end of the season, so I was the only person in the group ), skis, ski boots & ski poles + lift tickets for a day, all for $20. I was just missing ski goggles and no one warned me to wear sunscreen. I had lots of fun until the evening when my face was totally burned and I was unable to open my eyes! I ended up with a layer of yogurt on my face to ease the pain! It was quite a lesson...
    A hidden damage of sun in any season is long term damage to the eyes. Wear good UV protection no matter the season. If you've had surgery to replace lens for cataracts, the sun can also damage these artificial lens over the long term.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •