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  1. #1
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    Default How many times have you fallen?

    I'm sure I "stumble" at least every day on the trail and likely look kind of goofy as I recover, but rarely has this let to my actually completely falling onto the ground. My memory might be selective, but I can recall falling perhaps 3 or 4 times over 1200 miles. The worst that has happened is a snapped pole.

    How often do others actually fall and what is the worst that has happened?

  2. #2

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    I've ended up on the ground more a few times. I think the worst was when I walked into a dead fall across the trail I didn't see at 3 MPH. Knocked me out cold. That one hurt. Slipped off a bog puncheon in Maine once and landed face first in the mud.

    Of course, there have been many more stumbles and near misses. Have yet to get seriously hurt though. One has to know how to fall down and roll instinctively.

    Plenty of hikers break ankles or even legs when falling. Happens a couple of times a year here in the Whites. You can't trust the grip of modern hiking shoes anymore, especially on wet rock.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  3. #3
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    I fall, or stumble at least once a day while I'm hiking. I let myself fall gracefully. I've hurt myself a couple times, minorly, and broke and bent some trekking poles. Maybe I'm just clumsy?

  4. #4
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    Quickly lost count at the age of three. i've never rear view mirrored it.

  5. #5

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    At least on time a day. But it's usually from slick trail - leaves on rocks or the like.
    Last one was twisted ankle third day out - 5 miles up the mountain from Natahalla. Had to keep going forward. To get to the road crossing to call for a ride out.
    That was it for a scheduled 8 day hike.

  6. #6

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    I can only recall two actual falls in my rather long backpacking career. Both were going downhill on muddy trails.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  7. #7
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    I’ve fallen about 25 times in 1540.3 miles on the AT, about every 60 miles on average. But I fell three times in one day on those sloping flat exposed rocks in NJ or NY, once while standing still.

    I tripped after leaving the Johns Hollow shelter in VA and did a full frontal and facial, the pack really drives you to the ground. Made me realize that I’d be SOL if I broke my glasses. Got to the top of Bluff Mountain and called the optometrist to get a spare pair of glasses made. My wife included them in a resupply box to Harpers Ferry.

    I have managed to do some good PLFs while falling.
    76 HawkMtn w/Rangers
    13 HF>CramptonsG
    14 LHHT
    15 Girard/Quebec/LostTurkey/Saylor/Tuscarora/BlackForest
    16 Kennerdell/Cranberry-Otter/DollyS/WRim-NCT
    17 BearR
    18-19 AT NOBO 1540.5

  8. #8
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Falling down? It ought to be my trail name. In southern Virginia there were some wet leaves that sent me down and underneath them was a nice, big rock. Cracked the lens in my glasses and it gave me a black eye. In the White Mountains, I was on my way up to Mount Washington when I lost my balance on a boulder. I threw out my trekking pole to stop my fall, but it just went in between two boulders. I thought I broke my hip. That one ended what was up to that point a 600 mile LASH as my leg stiffened and swelled up. There was also a time not far from PenMar Park where I was carefully descending a boulder field. I still don't know how it happened, but next thing I know I'm rolling down the rocks. In a way that last one was kind of funny, because when I walked into the park (a Sunday), there was a music concert going on and people started freaking out as I headed to the concession stand because my legs were all bloody from the fall.

    There have been more falls but those are the most "memorable." Strangely enough, I didn't fall in southern Maine this year, which is where I probably should have fallen the most. I have problems with boulders and rocks obviously.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
    Blog - www.tonysadventure.com

  9. #9
    GoldenBear's Avatar
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    Cool I actually have definitions

    A "slide" is when my foot slides more than a few inches on slippery ground.
    A "slip" is when I need to use my pole, or my hand grabbing something, to prevent a fall. It's usually caused by a slide that gets out of control.
    It's only a "fall" if I would be considered "down" in a game of american football -- ie, knees or backside touching dirt.

    I used to fall about once a day.
    I got to the point where I might go several days without a fall.
    When I hiked down the Liberty Springs Trail in Franconia Notch, for three hours in pitch dark, I stopped counting my falls after about six.

    Total number of falls? I haven't kept track, but I'd say on the order of a few dozen.

    More than once after a fall, I've laid on the ground for a few seconds wondering if I've had any serious injuries. Since I always hike solo, even a twisted ankle would lead to some serious change in plans. Praise God (so far!), I've never had so much as a bad bruise.
    Last edited by GoldenBear; 09-10-2019 at 15:28.

  10. #10
    Registered User Crossup's Avatar
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    I guess I'll be the first...300 miles and zero falls, zero injuries or even tweaks. Mostly easy hiking, Ive done SNP to north of H'burg PA. I probably average one minor stumble a day, it helps a lot to almost always have poles in hand.

    Have yet to be sore or stiff the next day but I only do 10-12 mile days with only occasional stints up to 20.
    A small factor in that is I go 7-10 days and always NO resupply so I am humping 40lbs or more on my massive 148lb bod.

  11. #11
    I plan, therefore I am Strategic's Avatar
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    I've only fallen a couple of times and none since I started using trekking poles instead of a single staff. Of course, one of those times as a doozie. I was hiking in NY, coming down the switchbacks from the secondary summit of Arden Mt., when I slipped on some loose scree and went sliding toward the edge of the drop-off. I'd have been fine, except that the upper right corner of my pack caught on a branch as I was sliding. Since my staff was in my right hand, I had nothing to plant to stop myself. The branch torqued me around to the left and I ended up doing a lovely swan-dive off the switchback. I tried to roll with it and land on my back, but didn't quite make it. Instead, I hit so that left shoulder rolled forward but my pack caught on the slope. The resulting force snapped my left scapula clean in half. Needless to say, that hurt a lot and I couldn't use my left arm for anything. I ended up having to hike the 1 1/2 miles out to NY17, which included climbing down the Agony Grind (aptly named, as it turned out) with only one arm. Not my best AT hiking experience, but one I definitely won't forget. That was what made me switch to trekking poles.
    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
    Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

  12. #12

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    I stub my toes most often and lose my toenails as a result. Happened twice, within a 24 month period.

    Once I lost balance in camp and ended up next to the tent, on the ground looking up at the sky.

    I’ve not fallen on trail, yet. I expect that’s coming

  13. #13
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    Coming from rock climbing, where you learn to never slip, I hardly ever really fall when hiking.

    Earlier this summer I did a nice 3-days hike here in the local mountains with my wife.
    I was so enthusiastic that I didn't notice that my wife, being quite out of shape, was nearing her limit towards the end of the last day.
    So when we finally reached the forest road that would lead us back down into civilisation, she slipped on a steep gravel piece and fell so bad that she got a deep 2" cut on her knee. We couldn't stop the bleeding, so had to drive her out by car straight to the hospital, where they dug out a load of stones and debris and stitched her up.

    Lesson learned is, that "it" always happens when you are tired and nearing the end of the day.
    We now take extra care and take extra breaks when getting tired.

  14. #14
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    I trip and stumble all the time (stupid roots!), hence the trail name "Thumper". My toes gave me that name. On my thru I recall one huge fall (there were only about 3 total, one in the whites that broke my pole, but I fixed it and kept it until the end!). It was right after the FAA building and I tripped (not trying to hurry or anything, just enjoying life) when all of the sudden my hands caught in the straps on my poles and I couldn't swing my arms around to catch myself. My head missed a big rock and planted right in the dirt, only about 2 inches away. I stayed there for what I thought was a good 10 minutes bawling my eyes out because my leg hurt so bad. My calf landed on a sharp jagged rock and I thought for sure it was broken, ending my 2nd thru attempt. Finally gathering myself, I finally looked down at all the blood and thought crap, I really need to tend to this thing. After cleaning it with lots of water and a 'chief, I found it was a huge brush burn type bruise. After about 30 minutes my feet finally started tingling again and I got feeling back into my leg. Then like an idiot, I tried to stand up but the pain kept me from moving any farther. I stayed there for about 2 hours, eating my lunch and just letting it rest and let the feeling come back in play. I made it to the next shelter and tended to it again (now all black and blue) and stayed there the night. Late start the next morning and took it really easy and finally worked my strength back up to where I could put full pressure and walk on it normally over time. Took about 2 weeks to get back to "normal".
    - Trail name: Thumper

  15. #15

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    Twice in one day coming down Mt Sterling.I caught foot on a root both times.I was wearing zero drop Altras for the first time and do not know if that had anything to do with it or not but I changed back to Salomons.Jury is still out.

  16. #16
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    I've fallen several times over the course of hiking the southern half of the AT. The most memorable one was on my most recent trip. Coming up on the highway at Keys Gap south of Harper's Ferry, I looked up and started watching for traffic too soon and failed to notice the one rock in the middle of the trail. I ended up face first in the mud, right next to the busy road and trailhead parking lot where several day hikers were watching.
    It's all good in the woods.

  17. #17
    illabelle's Avatar
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    If you woulda told me ahead of time that you were going to ask, I could have been keeping a tally! Fortunately I haven't fallen bad enough to break any bones. When young people fall, we laugh - unless it's serious. When I fall, people ask if I'm okay, and offer their hand to help me back up, and offer to carry something. Like I'm some sort of feeble tottering imbecile. Sigh.

    One day I was crossing a street on UT campus in Knoxville. I was looking up at a building and managed to trip over the curb, falling clumsily onto the sidewalk. In full view of every pedestrian and motorist in the area. I felt just like a feeble tottering imbecile!

    I hike in the woods so that you won't see me when I fall.

  18. #18

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    Good subject. On my AT thru I fell 22 times, right at 100 mile average. Over half were related to wet conditions. Many were stumbles likely caused by me catching a root or rock. I think most of the stumbles were in the afternoon, when I was a little tired and lazy picking up my feet. When I fall on my backside, all is fine. The headfirst variety are a little more dangerous. I lost a bout with a rhody bush in NC once and took a nasty header into rock hard trail just outside Antietam Creek in MD. That last one opened up a nasty cut just above my eye.

    I fell twice on the JMT in the last two years over about 260 miles, so I think 100 miles is probably average for me.

  19. #19
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    A couple months ago I was on Rough Creek Tr in GSMNP, which is where the fire came thru a few years ago. The upper half of the trail was completely burned out, and the only things to grow back is 3' tall grass and 8' tall BlackBerry bushes. Most of that completely covers the trail and you can't really tell where to go. Top that off with the slope of the mountain there to be about 90% and staying in the trail is difficult. I took a step, and there was no trail beneath my feet and I tumbled down the mountain. I did a full on somersault and slid down the mountain quite a ways. I only stopped my slide by grabbing a sapling. I had to kick footholds into the dirt to crawl my way back up to the trail.

    When I got up, I realized I had twisted my ankle pretty bad, in fact it still hurts if I over do it.

    Afterwards upon reflecting on what happened, I realized that this is how people get lost in the mountains. They fall down the mountain, can't make it back up and try to find another way, but then go off course. Gave me a whole new perspective on how things can go sideways

  20. #20

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    I probably fall on average once a week while hiking.
    Usually when going downhill and too fast.
    I don't complain about it, just get up and keep going.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

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