My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Well, tell us how your trip went. We all want to hear about your special experience.

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Heff936
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Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by Heff936 »

The best title to a trip report yet. :arrow: Enjoying the report and photos


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Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by poky5mom »

How I would have loved to been a little mouse there & listened to all the stories! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by Bruce »

Just adding a snippet that Jen left out - most likely out of courtesy... :) The photos of our hike up to Gunsight Pass don't convey just how bad the weather actually was. It started out as a soft rain, then rain with wind, then sleet and wind, then snow/high winds.... We were both prepared for bad weather - appropriate base layer and rain gear etc but even with that, the last hour or so of the hike was difficult for me. It was a strange feeling - I was getting tired, unable to catch my breath. Even though my legs were strong from a lot of bike riding they were not responding like they should. In short I was on the brink of exhaustion, coupled with some minor hypothermia (couldn't feel my hands, etc). I began to get quite concerned but knew that the very last thing I should do is sit down and think about it. There was no cover up there from the strong winds/snow. After what seemed like an eternity the warming hut at the pass came into view. Credit to Jen she promptly took out her stove and began cooking while I walked around the hut trying to get circulation back in my extremities. After hot chocolate, oatmeal and instant mashed potatoes and a 20 min rest I felt like a completely new hiker...Thinking about it on the hike down to Lake Ellen Wilson I believe the main problem was that I had nothing to eat before we left camp that morning. We were in such a hurry to beat the weather that I neglected to fuel up... It is not my intent to sound melodramatic but I really believe if that warming hut had been much farther away my day may not have had a happy ending... But after my rest/caloric intake I felt great and even got my sense of humor back... :mrgreen:

Lesson learned.

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Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by Heff936 »

The hike up Gunsight Pass is so beautiful it's really too bad you had bad weather. I bet the lack of food plus being cold was why you felt so exhausted. Glad you got refueled.

Heff

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Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by Jen »

Maybe also worth mentioning that while we started our day at Gunsight Lake, Toddnick started at Jackson overlook and passed us before we even reached the hikers shelter. :roll:

He was also waiting for us in the shelter to say a quick hello before speeding off to cross another pass and make it to the chalet in plenty of time for his first night of winebar:thirty. 8)

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Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by paul »

I was in the park at the time and I remember that day very well. I was originally supposed to be up at Boulder pass but decided to change my permit days before. So I was lucky to not be out in that weather. I remember it being cold, wet and miserable even at lower elevations. Can't imagine what it was like at Gunsight.

Sorry to hear that you guys didn't get a chance to hike Gunsight pass in better weather, but glad that Bruce made it through okay. I guess there's always next time.
We are in the mountains and the mountains are in us. - John Muir

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Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by Jen »

Hey Paul:

Joybird told us you were supposed to be at Boulder Pass so we were definitely worrying about you too! Glad you were able to change things up! It would have been brutal up there!

....Next time! YES!

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Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by McNeill78 »

Bruce is quite correct about how bad the conditions were going up to Gunsight Pass and the pictures do not come close to showing how the horizontal rain then sleet then snow affected your progress. The wind was in our face all the way to the pass. Had some fleeting views of Gunsight and Ellen but for the most part had to keep your head down to keep the precip out. Bruce had the the right attitude about that day when I asked him on the way up how he was feeling and responded immediately "My goal is to survive this day". We all did but it was a character building day and a good opportunity to figure what gear worked and what failed under those conditions.

We all pitched our tents quickly at Ellen and hung our food bags before retreating to our sleeping bags to get our core temps in check. A group of 7 (all related) had spent the previous night there and their tents had failed dramatically. Fortunately a large overhanging rock allowed them to start an illegal fire. Due to the hypothermic state of 2 of them it was the correct decision. This allowed them to dry out clothing and the rock actually provided shelter that night for two of them.

The following morning the group completely removed all signs of the fire as to not induce the notion that it was "okay" to have one at Ellen. This group had a surprisingly positive outlook on their misfortune and we all had a great time around the fire drying (smoking) out and looking forward to the next day and the promise of better weather.

Jen

Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by Jen »

I was seriously impressed with the Ohio guys and their "leave no trace" regarding the illegal fire. They worked hard to make sure not a stitch of ash remained.

They definitely made the correct decision. They had one minor (13, I think) who was FREEZING! Everything they owned (tents, bags, clothes and footwear) was soaked!

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Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by Jay w »

1. Good title. You've thrown down the gauntlet there.
2. No, you don't want blue bird days. You'll hardly remember the hikes from blue bird days. This is the kind of day you want. An "am I going to survive" kind of day. Those are the days that make good stories, "Remember 2014?" Yeah! But you need those in small doses. Three is too many.

So, who got drunk? (Ok, 8 flasks of wine is just a start.)

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Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by Jen »

Jay w wrote: So, who got drunk? (Ok, 8 flasks of wine is just a start.)
Jay
Nobody puked? (that I am aware of)

Todd's mule carried in 17 liters of wine. He told me the wrangler said that was the most wine she had ever packed in to The Chalet. (but I think it was only her 2nd year?)

It was so fun to sit out on the rocks in front of the dorm and offer wine to the new arrivals! "Go get your cup from your room and come back out!" Teeheehee! I think there were 38 guests that night not one of which was first in line for dinner due to Todds wine bar ;)

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Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by mikie »

Ah...the transition from summer hiking to winter hiking. In the summer small mistakes are just an inconvenience. In the winter small mistakes become major problems where it dawns on you that you could die. Once you have lived through a minor mistake in winter conditions you will never look at gear and clothing the same again. In the winter I am constantly thinking about vitals (energy levels, body hydration, am I dry, body temperature levels, etc). If something isn't where it should be, I correct it immediately.

Whenever you are hiking in snow (especially wet snow) and high winds, you will have a difficult time staying dry and warm. The wind will drive the snow through the teeth of your zippers and openings in your clothing. Over time you will slowing start getting damp, and then wet. Being wet will draw the heat out of your body 30x faster then exposed skin to the cold. Hypothermia sets in very rapidly. Many winter hikers will carry a large and tall plastic bag (50-66 gal). I will roll it up as compactly as possible and place it in the smallest ziplock bag. I then throw it in the bottom of my pack. If you need it, cut holes for your head and arms, and wear it like a dress. It will help keep the snow and water off your clothing, and serves as insulation.

As for the fire ring. Most Rangers prefer that you break the rules then need them to come in and extract you. I have seen people break a lot of rules, and Ranger are grateful that you were able to extract yourself from the predicament that you got yourself into. Nice that they removed all traces of the fire. You do what you have to do to survive.

Glad that everything worked out. Great stories for the future. Been a great trip report so far. Hope to hear about more good times in the coming days.

Jen

Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by Jen »

I mentioned to Bruce several times over the next few days "Thank goodness we saw the forecast and we were prepared for the weather!". I think we both re-packed our packs with extra cold weather gear after seeing the forecast. 8) :!: 8)

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Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by orin »

I had an experience similar to Bruce, at the same place and probably for the same reason at the end of July. I had managed to snag 2 nights at the chalet on the way home from a backpacking trip in Yellowstone. I had a reservation at Fish Creek the night before but I hadn't left Bozeman until about 4 pm and didn't get there until late. A terrible windstorm between East and West Glacier slowed me down some more. By the time I got the tent up at Fish Creek I hadn't eaten since lunch but everything was closed in West Glacier and I was too tired to drive west so I went to bed w/o dinner. I got a late start next morning and by the time I got in line for the shuttle to Jackson Glacier overlook it was too late to get any breakfast so I ended up starting the hike on an empty stomach, no food in the pack and no chance of getting any until the Chalet. I was moving along OK until just before Gunsight Pass when I reached the first of several steep snowfields. After nearly getting blown off my feet several times I made it across but I was dragging by the time I got to the pass. At least I was spared a snow storm! From there over Lincoln Pass was an ordeal. I simply didn't have enough energy to walk more than a few hundred feet before taking a long rest. At Lincoln Pass I was sitting on a rock when a couple told me I looked very relaxed. I didn't tell them I was sitting there because I could hardly walk. Finally at the chalet I sat in the dining room and ate half a dozen candy bars washed down with lemonade. By the time I finished dinner I was feeling almost normal again.

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Re: My drinking club has a hiking problem.

Post by MarxMN »

Jen, you are right about the need to be prepared for the weather. And it can happen on day hikes too - we got caught in a snowstorm on the Highline Trail once. The temperature dropped from the 50s to something a lot colder and a couple of inches of snow fell. This does not happen often but it does happen.

That shelter at Gunsight Pass was falling apart with just the walls remaining during the 1980s and 1990s. It was repaired a few years ago (in 2006 I think). Having a shelter with walls and a roof at Gunsight Pass can be helpful.

Bill

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