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Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
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SURVIVE | You Slip, You Die

My friend Derek and I were circumnavigating Glacier Peak in Washington. Seventy-five miles into the 95-mile loop, we hit a major obstacle: a raging 30-foot-wide river between us and the path back to our cars. We needed to figure out how to get across it—or retrace our steps. —David Burdick

ASK THE CLUB'S EXPERTS
Bill Flower, Knapsack Subcommittee chair, and Sascha Paris, outdoor activity training manager

"We can't recommend this you-slip, you-die approach. Ropes can offer a false sense of security and even cause drowning. A more prudent approach would be to find a broader, slower section with a reasonable bottom and good footing. Make sure your backpack's hipbelt and sternum strap are undone. With the help of hiking poles and/or a partner, walk carefully across, facing upstream and sidestepping. If you can't find a suitable section of river, either build a real bridge out of enough logs to provide stable footing or turn around and retrace your route."

Illustrations by Koren Shadmi


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