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  1. #1

    Default Nervous on steep inclines?

    Feel free to skip my short story...

    About 3 years ago (I was 17) a vacation in NH landed me on a hike up Mt. Monadnock. I was wearing skateboard shoes and carrying an energy drink. I quickly became obsessed with hiking. While working on NH 48 I learned a real lot from many rookie mistakes, such as hiking shoes are ideal, and water as well. Who wouldve thought? I got my ten essentials, an REI membership, and my first day pack. Fast forward a few years and here I am a few months away from my LT e2e. I have an UL setup, and have become a self-taught backpacker (okay okay, a forum/self taught backpacker.) One thing that remains however is a very uneasy feeling on super steep inclines. For example, Mt. Adams via king ravine, or the tripyramid slide.

    How many people experience this nervousness when hiking up a very steep incline?
    Under the treeline steepness doesnt seem to bother me. Maybe above its the vulnerability?
    Has it gone away for the seasoned hikers/backpackers?
    Is it jut part of the thrill? When I get to a peak I always feel its worth it. What is everyone elses experience with this?

  2. #2
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    I feel nervous if there is a steep drop on one side, so a misstep might be fatal. Just a steep trail is no big deal after a while.
    Ken B
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    Our Long Trail journal

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by HeavyPack627 View Post
    Feel free to skip my short story...

    About 3 years ago (I was 17) a vacation in NH landed me on a hike up Mt. Monadnock. I was wearing skateboard shoes and carrying an energy drink. I quickly became obsessed with hiking. While working on NH 48 I learned a real lot from many rookie mistakes, such as hiking shoes are ideal, and water as well. Who wouldve thought? I got my ten essentials, an REI membership, and my first day pack. Fast forward a few years and here I am a few months away from my LT e2e. I have an UL setup, and have become a self-taught backpacker (okay okay, a forum/self taught backpacker.) One thing that remains however is a very uneasy feeling on super steep inclines. For example, Mt. Adams via king ravine, or the tripyramid slide.

    How many people experience this nervousness when hiking up a very steep incline?
    Under the treeline steepness doesnt seem to bother me. Maybe above its the vulnerability?
    Has it gone away for the seasoned hikers/backpackers?
    Is it jut part of the thrill? When I get to a peak I always feel its worth it. What is everyone elses experience with this?
    There is a difference between a healthy respect and an unfounded fear. If one doesn't have a healthy respect for situations that could result in injury or death, he or she is likely to die young. On the other hand, I have hiked with people who panic when the trail has a steep drop off on side. With experience you should keep the healthy respect but get over the panic.
    Shutterbug

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by HeavyPack627 View Post
    Feel free to skip my short story...

    About 3 years ago (I was 17) a vacation in NH landed me on a hike up Mt. Monadnock. I was wearing skateboard shoes and carrying an energy drink. I quickly became obsessed with hiking. While working on NH 48 I learned a real lot from many rookie mistakes, such as hiking shoes are ideal, and water as well. Who wouldve thought? I got my ten essentials, an REI membership, and my first day pack. Fast forward a few years and here I am a few months away from my LT e2e. I have an UL setup, and have become a self-taught backpacker (okay okay, a forum/self taught backpacker.) One thing that remains however is a very uneasy feeling on super steep inclines. For example, Mt. Adams via king ravine, or the tripyramid slide.

    How many people experience this nervousness when hiking up a very steep incline?
    Under the treeline steepness doesnt seem to bother me. Maybe above its the vulnerability?
    Has it gone away for the seasoned hikers/backpackers?
    Is it jut part of the thrill? When I get to a peak I always feel its worth it. What is everyone elses experience with this?

    have any rock climbing friends? have them take you slab climbing (with ropes) you can work on your technique and be more confident. you can also learn to read the trail/route better so you pick good lines that have the best holds.

    I did Tripyramid this summer and i was fine. I've been rock climbing for 12 years so it does not feel that steep but being unroped i was sure to be cautious

  5. #5

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    I understand risk and know my capabilities. I dont doubt my skills, its just being a little freaked out. I feel like I could fall backwards and just keep going! I guess with all things the more you do it the easier it becomes.

  6. #6

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    That is where technique comes in. you shouldn't put yourself in a position to tip backwards. "head down, ass out" is how we describe slab climbing

  7. #7

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    Head down, ass out. The steep incline mantra. Got it.

  8. #8
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    I find going down a steep incline sucks more than going up. I figure if I loose my traction goin up I'm going to face plant and slide on my belly so I can use my hands and toes to arrest myself. Whereas going down slope if my feet slip I'm on my butt or back like a turtle....that's the thoughts that run through my mind in those situations. Traversing a slope on a trail never bothered me--it falls into the same category as going up slope.
    Take almost nothing I say seriously--if it seems to make no sense what so ever it's probably meant as a joke....but do treat your water!

  9. #9
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    Keep weight on the balls of your feet.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  10. #10
    Registered User BFI's Avatar
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    If its steep enough to use your hands for support , use the "Three Point Rule". Thats to say, two feet and one hand or one foot two hands always have to be in contact with mother earth (rocks). Go slow and breathe.

  11. #11

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    It all changes with 75-85 lbs on your back.

    On my last couple trips I hiked three or four "dangerous" stretches---
    ** On the Kings Meadow trail in the Snowbird backcountry---a section goes up as bad as Jacob's Ladder north of Stecoah Gap. I was going up with about 70 lbs and seriously knew if I slipped backwards and fell I'd be cartwheeling like a red-headed bonobo monkey on crystal meth. The biggest challenge would have been to backtrack and lose the trail and have to go back down that sucker.

    ** The lower Slickrock Creek trail around Calderwood Lake is what I call a "peruvian goat path" as it hugs the high hillside with the lake far below. One slip with enormous weight and you're cartwheeling etc. Not a great trail to finish off a long day of backpacking as you're stumbling along.

    ** Then there's a creekside rock face on the lower Slickrock which must be hugged and slid across. It's dang easy with no weight but a real challenge with a fully loaded and heavy pack. If you slip you fall 10 feet into a deep pool of cold February water. The solution? Cross the creek two extra times just to avoid.

    Like I said, it all changes with 85 lbs on your back.

  12. #12
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    loving that description of your catwheeling Tipi...a red-headed bobonbo monkey on crystal meth...that mental image just makes me smile for some reason. Thanks
    Take almost nothing I say seriously--if it seems to make no sense what so ever it's probably meant as a joke....but do treat your water!

  13. #13
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    oh my now if I could just type....cartwheel and bonobo......what's so hard about those words!
    Take almost nothing I say seriously--if it seems to make no sense what so ever it's probably meant as a joke....but do treat your water!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    cartwheeling like a red-headed bonobo monkey on crystal meth. .
    Just for the record, bobobos are not monkeys, they are apes, like us.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  15. #15

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    " It all changes with 75-85 lbs on your back."

    that is why i keep my pack weight around 25lbs. I've climbed trails that involved fixed ropes with that amount so there isn't much on a hiking trail that will cause an issue.

  16. #16

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    I agree that going down is a lot scarier than going up. Especially when the rocks are wet and slick. I took a couple spills last spring in CT when I did Lion's head, Bear, Racerback, and Everett in the rain. I had one sore bum at the end of the day. The biggest thing is to always "fall up" by leaning into the hill so that you land on your butt/side, and then you may end up sliding down a particularly slick face. It still hurts, but it greatly reduces the chances that you split your skull open or go into "cartwheeling bonobo" mode. You can teach your body to instinctively lean up hill when you feel unstable, and if you have a lot of experience skiing or snowboarding you may have already acquired this skill.

  17. #17
    Section Hiking Knucklehead Hooch's Avatar
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    Nah, it's just fallin'.
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

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    just keep your weight over the balls of your feet and your hands in front of you. dont try to reach up or lean into the rock or you'll find yourself slipping. if its the exposure that bothers you, take a rock climbing class, get used to heights while on the safety of a rope.if you're going downhill, always face the rock.

  19. #19
    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    As long as you are concerned you will be okay...it's when you become too comfortable you get hurt.

  20. #20
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    I am older, knee surgery last year, bad back...........and I am out there alone, I go SLOW and EASY on the downs, good tips of weight on the balls of your feet. My hiking poles help a TON.

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