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  1. #1
    Registered User Pacific Tortuga's Avatar
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    Default Any Near Death's While Hiking ?

    I didn't feel threaten but was almost to the top of Clingmans.Triped on a root, went flying towards a sharp turn of the Trail. Thought for sure I was going for take off down a steep cliff, when my ULA belt buckle popped loose. I was able to stop and gain my balance, didnt know that a buckle would do that under pressure.

    North Cascades, headin to Stehekin on a west loop trail, stopped to enjoy some blue berries. Didn't hear, see or smell anything of the big black bear that I had disturbed from what I could only guess was it's nap. As he charged, I could only think about not running and the warm sensation I had in my pritches. In seconds, I was resolved at what was about to happen. He then stopped, stood on his hind legs twirled around and ran off. Tottaly drained, set up camp early and washed out my grainola bars and Dinty Moore beef stew.

    Had dinner at Tow's

  2. #2
    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    Tripped once, caught myself on a handy tree just before going "over the edge".
    Hypothermia once bad enough that I had the slurred speech & had stopped shivering. Saved by some hikers just past Rich Mt fire tower, they made me stop & set up camp, thanks guys.
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pacific Tortuga View Post

    Had dinner at Tow's

    That was a near death experience?
    I'm not really a hiker, I just play one on White Blaze.

  4. #4
    Registered User ShelterLeopard's Avatar
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    Well, one time I ran outa bacon...

    But seriously, never "near death", but I was so dehydrated and tired going SoBo into Lehigh Gap that I easily could have fallen, and a dayhiker gave me a whole bottle of water, which helped. There were a couple times (in that descent) where I almost lost my footing and could've easily fallen and hit my head. But no adrenaline rush bear charging near death, just near injury and very much at frustration level.

    One time (not hiking, but walking) in Carmel, California, however I did. I was on a very high cliff over the ocean, and these enormous waves were actually sweeping over the cliff. And as I stood about five feet from the edge, looking very far down at all the sharp rocks, a huge, very powerful wave came over the cliff and swept me off my feet, and to the very edge of the cliff, and I was almost swept over. FREAKED ME OUT. I was 12. If I'd fallen, I probably would've hit the rocks and died.
    2010 AT NoBo Thru "attempt" (guess 1,700 miles didn't quite get me all the way through ;) )
    Various adventures in Siberia 2016
    Adventures past and present!
    (and maybe 2018 PCT NoBo)

  5. #5
    So many trails... so little time. Many Walks's Avatar
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    In Georgia I was in shorts and Crocs putting up a line to dry clothes. Walking through the leaves to the trees I heard a close hiss and got a strike in my Croc as I raised my foot. Copperhead was gone in a flash. He got a mouthful of rubber, I got lucky!


    In PA we were rock hopping. I take the tops and look for rattlesnakes sunning, while the wife likes to walk between the rocks. She was about to step in some leaves and it registered there was a pattern to them. She caught her balance and withdrew her foot. The copperhead was poised and ready to strike. She avoided stepping right on it by just inches.


    Ascending Mt. Washington was cold, foggy, windy, with ice on the rocks. We hung in Lake of the Clouds hut for a while before heading down to Pinkham Notch to let the weather clear before ascending again. On the way down Tuckerman's Ravine the wife was leading and we came by a hiker sitting on a rock near the edge. It was so steep it was really hard to see exactly where the trail went. She went around him on the left and I proceeded to the right by the edge. A very sudden stop next to him and a look down told me one more step and I'd plunge to the abyss of the headwall. There is another thread about someone falling there. I can see how it could happen. There are places on the trail that every step must be evaluated. That moment of one extra step comes to mind every now and then.


    Wife was leading again in the 100 mi wilderness and out of nowhere a mother moose and her calf came running across the trail at full speed just a few feet in front of her. They appeared to be spooked by something. We didn't see each other till the last second. They took off without a problem and we didn't feel threatened, but potentially being run over by a moose could be an adventure for sure.


    On the other hand we saw lots of bears. Some huffing and gnashing of teeth, but no other threats. Just lot's of great memories.
    That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest. Henry David Thoreau

  6. #6
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    March 24, 1975 on north slope of Mt. Everett (southern Massachusetts): Clouds in the valley held rain that started as a mist as we climbed Mt. Everett, then turned to a moderate rain, then rain mixed with sleet, then blowing snow as we reached the top. We were in ponchos and pretty wet as we neared the summit and tried to find the old lean-to that used to be there. The woods road was entirely ice, forcing us to crawl in places. A decade later I learned that we were in the first stages of hypothermia, but we were fortunate to have dry sleeping bags, hot soup, and the rain/snow wasn't blowing into the shelter.

    March 25, 1975 at Sages Ravine: Successfully crossed the overflowing stream on a small tree trunk, only to slip on the sheer ice while ascending the other side. I 'turtled' while sliding down the iced-over slope down to the rushing water. I managed to just stick out my boot on the thin trunk of the last bush to stop me about 5 feet from the edge.
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014

  7. #7
    trash, hiker the goat's Avatar
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    chased by a sow black bear in snp. still surprised i'm alive.
    "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive." -TJ

  8. #8
    jersey joe jersey joe's Avatar
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    It felt like I was near death when I got caught on an exposed ridgeline on Stone Mtn. and a wicked storm blew through. Lightning crashing everywhere.

  9. #9
    Formerly "Totem"
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    Slid maybe 200' down a 35 degree angle while descending St. John's ledges (right before the easiest 6mi stretch along the AT, the CT River Walk, HAH) a couple weeks ago.

    The leaves were so dry and I couldn't tell what was rock and what was not. Ended up slipping on leaves on a rock and down I went.
    up over the hills, theres nothing to fear
    theres a pub across the way with whisky and beer
    its a lengthy journey on the way up to the top
    but it ain't so bad if you have a great big bottle o'scotch

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Totem View Post
    Slid maybe 200' down a 35 degree angle while descending St. John's ledges (right before the easiest 6mi stretch along the AT, the CT River Walk, HAH) a couple weeks ago.

    The leaves were so dry and I couldn't tell what was rock and what was not. Ended up slipping on leaves on a rock and down I went.
    The last two miles of the river can be real difficult when your heart's in afib. Not exactly life threatening though unless you get a blood clot.

    Made it down the ledges the night previous in the dark and rain. Thought I could die there but since it was so dark I figured what I couldn't see couldn't hurt me.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  11. #11
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    I had a scary moment going down The Trough on Longs Peak last summer. I was tired, cold, numb fingers and toes, and suffering from Flatlanders Disease / AMS. I missed a step, slipped and lost my balance. Somehow I manged to recover and not fall and split my head open. Next time I climb that mtn Im wearing a helmet.
    Adventure is the invitation to the common person, to become uncommon. ~ wm
    Bivouac is a French word for "mistake". ~ Ed Viesturs

  12. #12
    avatar= bushwhackin' mount kancamagus nh 5-8-04 neighbor dave's Avatar
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    ran into some armed guerrillas in the jungle of northern guatemala back in 1981

  13. #13
    Formerly "Totem"
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    did you have guerrilla spray or have to hang your food bag at night?
    up over the hills, theres nothing to fear
    theres a pub across the way with whisky and beer
    its a lengthy journey on the way up to the top
    but it ain't so bad if you have a great big bottle o'scotch

  14. #14
    NOBO toBennington, VT plus 187 mi in MH & ME
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    a guy with the trail name shadowcast, who I met in Maine, got bitten by a spider (brown recluse IIRC) somewhere around Pennsylvania or New York and ended up with blood poisoning.

    Spent about a week in the hospital, but finished his through hike.

    Don't you just love happy endings
    Grinder
    AT hiker : It's the journey, not the destination

  15. #15
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    Took an off trail route suggested by a ranger in Jasper NP. Ended up crossing a glacier without gear for it. Foot went through into crevasses twice. Then we crossed a very steep scree slope on a 2" wide goat path. One slip would have been the end. That night I couldn't get to sleep for fear of dreaming myself back up the route.

    That was the only time I've been seriously scared in the backcountry.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  16. #16
    Registered User sasquatch2014's Avatar
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    I was hiking in the Big Horns in Wy back in the mid 90's. Not really backpacking as much as fishing some small lakes when I decided to go up through the pass and try to fish the lakes on the other side of the ridge. At this point I was already 6 miles from my truck which was parked at Bighorn Resivor and 4 miles from the last trail or road. I was basicly bushwacking my way along the creek and valley floor. This got much easier as I got closer to tree line. I figure I was somewhere about 10,500 ft at this point. This was over the 4th of july but there was still tons of snow in the headwall. This was Cross Creek Canyon for those of you who know the area at all. As I was about halfway up and noticed that no one had been up through as the snow was completely undisturbed the snow step that I had kicked in let loose and I slid for a little bit. It seemed like a long way but was not much more than 5 to 10 feet before I was able to use the butt of my fishing pole to slow my slide. I am not sure how long the snow field was, a couple of hundred feet or more, but I know that if I had fallen and not stopped I would have been moving really fast as I slammed into the rocks at the bottom.

    Even if I didn't die from that making it the 6 miles back to where my vehicle was would have been doubtful at best. For the rest of the time that I was out all that kept going through my head was a conversation I had had with a co worker who years before while coming out of Geneva Pass one valley over tot he west had found a body in the scree field at the bottom of the pass with a very clearly compound fractured femur. I just keep thinking of how that could have been me. I took a much longer but more traveled and gentler route home. I will never know for sure it it was just clouds setting in but the high peaks seemed much more dark and forbidding the rest of the day.

  17. #17
    Registered User Cheers's Avatar
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    My buddy slipped and fell on the PCT north of Stephens Pass in the Cascades. I was right behind him and luckily had enough time to dive and grab his pack strap, then haul him back up. It was a looooong way down!

    Same buddy became hypothermic (as did i) on the JMT, same hike as above. Luckily we had the resolve to follow a pack train from Mt Ritter to a road close to Mammoth Lakes, a good 15 or more miles. It was total torture, but we made it to a road and were able to flag down a ski resort bus. The guy took us for free because he could see the $h*t state we were in, totally soaked, not even shivering, just numb all over and glassy eyed. We finally hit a motel in town, $150/night but so what, we were alive. I opened my pack and EVERYTHING was soaked through, everything. So glad we carried on and didn't risk trying to set up camp somewhere. The very same night my buddy broke a tooth on an oreo, from a bumper pack of double stuffed we'd just bought. I guess it just wasn't his day.

    Cheers

  18. #18
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    One of my walking companions was so annoying that he risked falling off the side of a cliff , several times.
    Does that count ?
    Franco

  19. #19
    Registered User JoshStover's Avatar
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    The closest I have ever came was when I got charged by that HUGE pig in the Smokies. I have had Mutiple close calls while rafting/kayaking but not to many while hiking... Knock On Wood...

  20. #20
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    Pacific Turtuga, sure that was black bear? Grizzlies ar sometimes found up there.

    Feral Bill, ever see that episode of Man verse the Wild where Gryllis climbs down into a crevasse? It was even freaking him out! Not a place I would want to fall into alone or without gear or ever!

    So many trips and falls that could have been fatal for me, and because of the two stories that follow, that I now try to carefully consider my footwork especially on perilous parts of trail.

    Two near death, probably would have been slow deaths too, that stand out for me invlove "keepers." In Arches NP was seeking a short cut down off a very remote rock formation by myself and without climbing gear. Scouted out the route ahead as best as I could. Descended one pour off that I knew I could get back up if I absolutely had to. Came to a second pour off that I didn't think I could get back up but could very dangerously go down. I thought I could see everything that was ahead. I decided to go for it. Got to a third 80 ft high hidden absolutely impossible to descend without climbing gear pour off. Took me 3 hrs. and taking absolutely insane risks to free climb and chimney up that second pour off to get up to the first pour off. At the first pour off it was much more difficult than I had anticipated having to go up. I repeatedly fell sometimes as much as 20 ft. Fortunately there was sand at the base of this pour off. By the time I had finally shimmied, climbed and chimneyed up to the top of the first pour off it looked like someone had taken a belt sander to my body and clothing. Stupid!

    At Oheo Gulch(Seven Sacred Pools) on Maui I swam, climbed waterfalls, and hiked upstream to a 40 ft high waterfall with a deep 40 ft diameter pool at the base of the falls. This was in a seldom(nearly never) visited area of Seven Sacred Pools, which should be obvious because of the way I just described you have to get there. No big deal so far but the waterfall pool was in a depressed stone bowl. I wanted to jump into the bowl. I knew that I would have to get back out. The surface of the pool was only about 4 ft below the ledge that I would jump off and I would have to reach up to to pull myself back out of the pool. In I go. Out I didn't, at least not as easily as I thought I was going to. When swimming in the water I could not reach up 4 ft and get a firm hold to pull myself up out of the deep water(I couldn't touch bottom anywhere in the pool). I swam around in the bowl treading water for 1 1/2 hrs yelling thinking someone somewhere might hear me. There was no place to go. The walls of the bowl were vertical or undercut just below the water's surface. I was getting tired. I wasn't sure if it was possible but I looked for ways to climb up the vertical coarse volcanic waterfall. Repeatedly, over and over, I would find a smidgen of a toe or finger hold but I couldn't manage to pull myself up out of the water into the powerful waterfall. Finally, I would get myself out of the water only to make it 5 ft up the waterfall and then be swept back into the deep pool. This happened over and over. I realized the power of the water was catching my clothing so I stripped it all off and threw it over the edge of the bowl to where my pack was waiting. I was now naked, cold, getting dangerously fatigued and bloody. With one last thrust I mashed myself up into and onto the abrasive vertical 40 ft face of the powerful waterfall. I got 20 ft above the pool clinging to the waterfall face with no place left to go. I could barely see and hold on because the water was so powerful, but I did notice a small 4 inch notch sticking out inside the waterfall 4 ft above my head. I jumped for it. Fell, gashed and bloody, back into the deep pool 20 ft below. Seriously in danger of drowning now. I made it up one last time. Jumped. Held on with three fingers(I'm not really a climber). Reached up with my other hand and pulled, scraped, molded myself to the rock to make it up to the top of the now slippery waterfall. I then had to hike naked all the way around through the thick junglelike forest back to where I could renter the stream and swim, hike, and climb myself back to the pool's edge to get my pack.

    Both those times, I was even more grateful than I usually am, to be alive at the end of the day!

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