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Why we stay together and are well equipped when we go out!

From: Val
Sent on: Monday, September 17, 2012 4:22 PM

This is a story from one of our members that I like to share, to avoid such things from happening again:


"A trip with friends"

Well the trip was organized by a coworker of mine. He was biking to the trailhead and originally planned for us to all meet and then hike to the first campsite (white pass) together. There was a father and son, me, another girl, and my coworker. Well the father and son decided to hike to white pass the night before. Then my coworker was delayed and told me and the girl to just hike in together, meet up with the father and son at white pass, and he would just arrive later to the camp site. Us all being separated from the start was the first mistake.

Well a mile into the hike the girl sprains her ankle. I ask if she wanted to stop, but she said that this happens to her all the time and she wanted to continue on. She's traveling pretty slowly at this point and keeps telling me to just continue on ahead of her. I stay with her for the most part, and then with 3 more miles of switchbacks she's almost to the point where she's crying asking me to just go ahead of her. So I know she has more mountaineering experience than I do, she has all her 10 essentials and a map, the trail so far is pretty easy, and I know that my coworker is hiking in behind us so I go ahead of her so I can set up the tent before the sun sets. This was the second mistake.

I get into camp, set up the tent, then after dark my coworker gets into white pass and hasn't seen the girl. Since the switchbacks end at a junction on the PCT, I figured she went the wrong way at the junction point. So the son and I head the other way and we go about 2 miles without seeing her. Since it's night and we don't know how far it is to red pass, we head back to camp. So our plan for the next morning was for one group to hike to red pass and another group to hike further on the trail the other way in case she just missed the campsite, meet back at white pass and if we still hadn't found her we would hike out and call the ranger station. So the father and I head toward red pass and are met by two men who said the girl had stayed the night with them. When she hit the junction point apparently, it was dark and she didn't even realize it was a junction and went the wrong way just thinking it was another switchback. She had an emergency bivy, but her down sleeping bag had still gotten soaked. That coupled with the fact we were supposed to get bad weather the next day, I decided to hike out with her.

I guess the moral of the story is keep your group together and don't allow injured climbers to continue on with the climb. And always have a bivy!



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