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skibones
07-27-2007, 01:13 PM
My friends and I did Air line to Adams and then down to the hut and up to Madison and then Valley Way down to the parking lot. I did the same trip last Oct and the rocks were not nearly as slippery. Do you think the humidity and hot weather contributed to the rocks becoming that slippery? One of the gals on the trip took a really bad fall, heard that her leg might be broken. This might be something to consider when hiking on a trail that has a ton of rocks --What do you think??

peakbagger-paul
07-27-2007, 03:11 PM
In general, I've found that the rocks on the Valley Way are more slick than those on the Airline. Being lower (following a valley), it attracts more moisture than the Airline which is up on a ridge.

I don't know which trail you were on when it happened, but I always try to be aware of slippery conditions, and slipping on the way down is more of a problem than when climbing. Worn boots seem to fare worse on wet rocks (like my current boots which need replacing).

audrey
07-27-2007, 04:51 PM
Some of those lichens (watch out for the black stuff!) can get really slick even when it feels dry. Sorry about your friend - it's a learned skill to maintain safe footing consistently.

grog
07-27-2007, 06:14 PM
"it's a learned skill to maintain safe footing consistently." I agree. It's a lot of fun when you learn how to slip and slide. For work and hiking I go through 2 pairs of soloman techamphibean water shoes a year and they work excellent. When it's slick I like to relax into a crouch, it not only adds stability but your hands are closer to the ground so you can prevent a slip from becoming a fall.

grog

Grayjay
07-29-2007, 04:00 AM
Interesting. I wonder if the night-time condensation didn't totally evaporate because of the humidity. Maybe there was fog in the morning that left more than the usual condensation. The usual dry wind whisks away moisture. The conditions you describe sound treacherous.

sardog1
07-29-2007, 05:06 PM
I know of four people that fell on rocks in the space of three weeks at Mount Agamenticus in York, ME, this spring. One was an eleven year old kid who had to be hauled out a couple hundred yards (lightest, shortest carryout I've ever participated in.) Another was a guy in his seventies who was the subject of a much tougher carryout and a more serious injury. Third shall remain nameless, but she is a person who logs more time on the Mount A trails than probably the total hours expended annually there by all other hikers combined. Fourth is a former SAR dog handler who shall also remain nameless. (Worst part was falling down in front of a crowd . . . on a fairly level surface. :o )

It doesn't have to be visibly green or black to be slick, just needs to be moist enough to get that thin film growing. Verglas stands out like neon in comparison.

Paradox
07-29-2007, 05:44 PM
About four Augusts ago I went up and down Airline and found it very slippery. Really banged and gouged up my ankles and shins. Nothing that required a carry out though.

peakbagger
07-29-2007, 08:21 PM
There is a major variation in the traction of various brands of outdoor shoes and some soles do better on damp rocks than others which could account for the variation in trail conditions. Years ago Merrill boots changed their sole compound to a an "eco friendly" blend that was extremely treacherous in damp conditions. I know of more than a few folks who returned the shoes as they were unusable. LL Beans ended up selling a lot of Merrill shoes in the factory store that year and I ran into several folks who got "great deals" on Merrills that found out why.

skibones
07-30-2007, 04:41 AM
Interesting. I wonder if the night-time condensation didn't totally evaporate because of the humidity. Maybe there was fog in the morning that left more than the usual condensation. The usual dry wind whisks away moisture. The conditions you describe sound treacherous.


This was suggested by someone else as to why the rocks were so wet the day of the hike. It could be combination of the specific location of the trail and the humidity.

smitty77
08-01-2007, 10:33 AM
There is a major variation in the traction of various brands of outdoor shoes and some soles do better on damp rocks than others which could account for the variation in trail conditions. Years ago Merrill boots changed their sole compound to a an "eco friendly" blend that was extremely treacherous in damp conditions. I know of more than a few folks who returned the shoes as they were unusable. LL Beans ended up selling a lot of Merrill shoes in the factory store that year and I ran into several folks who got "great deals" on Merrills that found out why.
I bought a pair of closeout EMS trailrunners last year that suffer from the same problem, now I use them for trips to the mall. :( It's too bad since they fit really well and have great ventilation. As someone who is usually a confident slab descender, I got really spooked when my feet nearly slid out from under me on two consecutive steps while descending Wachusett (which I usually run down).

I'll also note the rocks seemed unusually slippery that day on a "dry" morning. There had not been any rain for over a week, but the overnight moisture seemed to be hanging on due to the humidity.

erugs
08-01-2007, 11:33 AM
I have found that, in general, my Scarpas do not grip well, but my Merrells do. I have a new pair of Vasque approach shoes with "sticky soles", which I used last week when climbing the Grand Teton. They worked very well, yet our Exum guides explained that sticky soles are not good in damp conditions. Solid footing is dependent upon what you are wearing on your feet, weather conditions, AND experience on knowing where to place your feet and your body weight under various conditions.

Dugan
08-01-2007, 11:46 AM
I'll also note the rocks seemed unusually slippery that day on a "dry" morning. There had not been any rain for over a week, but the overnight moisture seemed to be hanging on due to the humidity.

Wachusett is particularly bad when humid. Some of the rocks are so slick they may as well have been oiled!

skiguy
08-01-2007, 12:14 PM
I have found that, in general, my Scarpas do not grip well, but my Merrells do. I have a new pair of Vasque approach shoes with "sticky soles", which I used last week when climbing the Grand Teton. They worked very well, yet our Exum guides explained that sticky soles are not good in damp conditions. Solid footing is dependent upon what you are wearing on your feet, weather conditions, AND experience on knowing where to place your feet and your body weight under various conditions.

Congrats on climbing Grand Teton. Does not get much more classic than that. :cool: What route did you all take? Can't beat Exum if your going to be guided.."crem de la crem" so to speak. ;)

erugs
08-01-2007, 12:24 PM
This was my very first experience with mountaineering. We qualified for the Owen-Spaulding route. Exum guides were wonderful. Very supportive and encouraging. I'm exhausted still (the climb was just last Saturday/Sunday), but had a marvelous experience. My mantra during the climb was "This I can do."

Quietman
08-01-2007, 12:48 PM
I bought a pair of closeout EMS trailrunners last year that suffer from the same problem, now I use them for trips to the mall. :( It's too bad since they fit really well and have great ventilation.

Smitty, were they EMS Endorphins? I paid $27 for them and thought I had a great deal. On the first hike I thought that I was just clumsy, but when I went back to my Asics trail runners, I could REALLY notice a difference. All of the Asics trail runners that I've had provide excellent grip, and reasonably good tread life.

I'm wearing my Endorphins at the office, but not for hiking.

Tom Rankin
08-01-2007, 01:55 PM
No matter what shoes we wear, the Catskills are always slipperier than the ADKs!

TCD
08-01-2007, 03:22 PM
That's true! Most everywhere is slipperier than the Adirondacks, we are blessed with great, grabby rock. Climbers can testify to it; if you've climbed at Whitehorse Slab in NH and at Chapel Pond Slab in the Adks, the difference is night and day. If you are used to Chapel Pond, you look up Whitehorse and say, "jeez that looks like about 5.2, let's just walk up." Then you get on it and start paddling on the slick rock. It's especially true with newly exposed Adk rock, like a new slide. Sometimes it seems like you can walk straight up! Sure is fun. When I go to other areas, I find that I have "Adirondack Lazy Foot Syndrome" (meaning I think I can just plaster my foot anywhere on the rock and it will stick).

smitty77
08-04-2007, 10:03 AM
Smitty, were they EMS Endorphins? I paid $27 for them and thought I had a great deal. On the first hike I thought that I was just clumsy, but when I went back to my Asics trail runners, I could REALLY notice a difference. All of the Asics trail runners that I've had provide excellent grip, and reasonably good tread life.
I think those are the ones, red and gray. I paid the same $27 at the Peterborough store. The wife and I each got a pair, and she almost fell descending the back stairs! They were so full of promise.....