You're Plummeting Down a Mountain—Now What?
Of course the time you don't bother to get out your ice ax is when you fall
I was more than 1,100 miles into my thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail when I came to a lingering finger of slush blocking the trail in the Granite Chief Wilderness. It would take longer to put on my crampons and unstrap my ice ax, I thought, than to just walk across.
After a month of slow progress, I was eager to make up lost time. I took a few cautious steps in the deep wells left by other hikers. I was halfway across . . .
. . . Then I was halfway down the slope. My foothold had given out. "Of all the things to get me," I thought as I fell. "Laziness." I feared my thru-hike was over.
I was almost at the end of the snow ramp. Without thinking, I dug my heels into the snow as hard as I could.
I slid over some boulders—which fortunately were flat—and into a tree, using my knees as shock absorbers.
I stood up. Nothing was broken, but I got a souvenir road rash on my backside.
This article appeared in the July/August 2019 edition with the headline "Derailed Thru-Hike."
Are you a survivor? Send your tale of backcountry peril to firstname.lastname@example.org or share it with us on Facebook.