2015 Extreme Athletes R.I.P.

Southern California and far-away places. Hiking, wildlife, cycling etc.

Re: 2015 Extreme Athletes R.I.P.

Postby Sally » Fri Jan 29, 2016 7:53 pm

My oh my, this thread is a little more heavy and philosophical than I can keep up with. I am not a thrill-seeker who engages in practices that have an above average mortality rate, but I do get bored if my hikes do not have enough challenge to get my heart pumping, whether aerobically or with a small amount of risk due to interesting terrain. My last four hikes have had challenges that have put me on the brink of my comfort level, and I have joked with my hiking partners that my next hike is going to be of a gentle nature. My last four hikes have involved:

1) The day before New Years Eve, Ellen and I hiked up Falling Rock Canyon in the Cucamonga Wilderness. The challenging cross-country was accomplished successfully without incident, but while walking down the maintained trail Ellen fell and did a thorough job of breaking her arm, putting her out of commission for the season.
2) I tram-shoed solo to San Jacinto Peak. I have an agreement not to snowshoe solo, but I couldn't dredge up any partners, the conditions were primo so... off I went. I had a set turn-around time and I also had an agreement with myself to turn around if I felt in any way uncomfortable.
3) Marilyn and I did the Baldy Bowl with crampons, ice axe and helmet successfully. Coming down the Ski Hut Trail I did a face plant and got a gash on my nose and a shiner.
4) On Wednesday I entered the San Gorgonio Wilderness with Marilyn and took Dobbs Ridge to Dobbs Peak. Stapled to my permit was a warning "Extreme winter alpine conditions, the following equipment is strongly advised": Crampons, Ice axe, helmet, etc. Well, my crampons etc. were at home. We did it with snowshoes and microspikes. The trip would have been much safer and pleasant with the recommended equipment.

I prefer not to take such risks as I don't want to put rescuers at risk and I would not like the humiliation of having to be rescued. I guess there has to be a balance between challenging hikes and common sense. I am not a great navigator, so I don't do cross-country hiking solo. I know San Jacinto well enough to not get going in the opposite direction, but less familiar terrain could easily get me lost!
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Re: 2015 Extreme Athletes R.I.P.

Postby drndr » Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:52 pm

I am not a risk taker unless you consider solo hiking without a "Spot" or driving in rush hour on the 91 or 405. The biggest flirt with death was telling my wife we were going on an 8 hour hike and it turned into a twelve hour hike :shock: .I almost didnt survive that for a month!!

To be honest I only feel sadness for the guy and his girl in the last video. He didn't want to die. The rest have to know it's going to happen sooner than later living life to that kind of extreme.

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Re: 2015 Extreme Athletes R.I.P.

Postby Ed » Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:40 am

Nice writeup, Sally.

Sally wrote: Marilyn and I did the Baldy Bowl with crampons, ice axe and helmet successfully. Coming down the Ski Hut Trail I did a face plant and got a gash on my nose and a shiner.

A good example of how harm can be lurking closer to the trailhead than to the summit. There are a few places on that trail I don't like when covered with snow. And I don't move with the speed you do. And two injuries in four trips? Please, this is your quota for the season!

I have no issues with level of risk per se, it is a personal choice. Although the extreme sports people seem to have a high death rate, they seem to know what they are doing, enjoy what they are doing, and take well-calculated risks. I have no doubt that it is an addiction, and a way of giving meaning to their lives, but there are many ways of doing that that are far more harmful to others. Personally, I think mountaineering is dangerous enough without being extreme, but I am neither a critic nor a worshipper of people who want to take higher levels of risk. I am a critic of people who carelessly or recklessly endanger, worry and inconvenience others by not being prepared for what they are doing.
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