Author Topic: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?  (Read 1915 times)

gunwharfman

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I've had one or two over the last few years. I was walking along a flat gravelly and sandy path, on my way to Florac on the GR70, fence on my right hand side, raging rocky river on my left. Suddenly the footpath just crumbled away from under me. I have no idea to this day how I managed to grab a clump of brambles before I fell into the river, but I did and I managed to pull myself onto the path again. I was so scared and shocked I just lay there and could hardly move for some minutes! My hands were cut badly and they were painful for a couple of days but I survived!

Whilst walking towards Champex on the Tour du Mont Blanc I crossed over the top of the Fenetre d'Arpette and whilst descending over some large boulders, in an instant I slipped and luckily fell backwards, my rucksack cushioned my fall (I could have I think broken my back?) but I was only bruised and shocked. I just hit the deck and then fell and rolled to one side. If I had fallen forwards I'd be no more!

The first time I walked from Kirk Yetholm it was blistering hot and I ran out of water well before I got to Byrness! So scary, my throat was like a rasp, my thirst was overwhelming,  a very scary period of time! Since then I've always made sure my water supply amount is more than good enough!

On odd occasions I've also had irrational thoughts as well, especially when crossing large boulder areas. Going up or down hasn't worried me particularly, its the horizontal crossings that starts me thinking, what if it all moved and I become part of an avalanche?

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?
« Reply #1 on: 18:03:43, 16/12/18 »
Many years ago I had a slip after ascending a verglas slope in the Alps. I had a walking ice axe, but no crampons. I had succeeded in climbing the 45 degree slope by keeping my boots dead flat on the ice and chipping handholds. Unfortunately, once I had completed the difficult bit I relaxed and must have lifted my heels. I quickly descended with the ice axe making little impression on the hard ice or on my speed. Due to the lack of crampons, I could also use my boots as brakes and eventually brought myself to a halt in the snow. This all seemed to pass in slow motion despite taking only seconds to unfold. In the end the only damage was a gouge across my sunglasses where the ice axe hit me at the start of the fall and the lining of my mitts becoming welded to three of the knuckles of my right hand. I did not realise the latter situation until I tried to remove my mitts, in the process also losing most of the skin on the knuckles. I still have the scars nearly 30 years on. I wasnít frightened at the time, but went into shock afterwards and was stumbling all over the place with my navigation gone to pot.

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?
« Reply #2 on: 18:17:51, 16/12/18 »
I was taught a knee friendly descent method by an old friend, which uses gravity rather than fights it. This method looks a bit strange as the knees are kept bent and the hips flexible, a bit like a race walker. This can mean fast descents with minimal impact to the knees and is also good for loose or unstable ground, as foot contact is short and light. You do have to be careful about controlling speed and keep a good lookout for steepening slopes.


I had ascended a couple of Munros in the Glenshee area with some work colleagues. I explained that I would go ahead on the descent, as my walking method meant I would be much faster than them. I would pause at suitable points to allow them to catch up. Unfortunately, I caught my toe on a rock and this caused me to stumble forwards. It would have been better to fall flat on my face, but the trip meant that my upper body was moving faster than my legs. I accelerated to keep upright, only to be in a full on sprint down the mountain. Fearing a sticky end, I managed to veer right into some heather. Tripping over some roots, I executed a 270 degree flip to land on my back, cushioned by my full winter pack. My friends were first bemused, then worried and finally roaring with laughter.

sussamb

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Re: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?
« Reply #3 on: 18:37:39, 16/12/18 »
I was taught a knee friendly descent method by an old friend, which uses gravity rather than fights it. This method looks a bit strange as the knees are kept bent and the hips flexible, a bit like a race walker.


One I use a lot, it's a good technique  O0
Where there's a will ...

sussamb

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Re: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?
« Reply #4 on: 18:43:27, 16/12/18 »
The first time I walked from Kirk Yetholm it was blistering hot and I ran out of water well before I got to Byrness! So scary, my throat was like a rasp, my thirst was overwhelming,  a very scary period of time! Since then I've always made sure my water supply amount is more than good enough!


Strangely enough I had a scary experience going the other way, but for me due to driving rain and wind I realised I was becoming mildly hypothermic but was able to make Hen Hole hut and sort myself out. Closest I've come to danger on the hills.
Where there's a will ...

Jays

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Re: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?
« Reply #5 on: 19:15:16, 16/12/18 »

One I use a lot, it's a good technique  O0


I agree itís a great method for descent, untill you trip and fall over.

tonyk

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Re: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?
« Reply #6 on: 19:43:18, 16/12/18 »
 Back in the eighties when walking the Alpine Pass route in Switzerland I was hit by storms on the third and fourth day and had to make camp at around 6000ft .After a warm start to the night the temperature dropped and the snow started.It kept snowing for around 36 hours and during the fourth night I was hit by an avalanche at 2am.A very scary experience as the tent was flattened and I had difficulty finding the zip for the door.I spent the rest of the night sleeping under rocks in the open and wondered if I would survive.My kit was up to the job,at least in terms of keeping me warm and dry and by morning the snow had stopped and I managed to fight my way to lower ground.The next day in the Klausen Pass I saw a car destroyed by a minor avalanche,very similar in size to the one that hit my tent.The rest of the walk was quite eventful courtesy of the bad weather but I never felt in real danger.
 I have had minor accidents on other walks such as slipping on wet rocks and falling on the second day of the Pennine Way and smashing my head open.A quick clean up and dressing fixed things and I was soon on my way,albeit with a bit of a headache.Had bad hypothermia on Shunner Fell and it took four hours for the shakes to stop.Most absurd accident was on the Trail Blazer Challenge walk where I jumped off a stile at the ten mile point and broke my left ankle.I thought it was badly sprained so I decided to carry on to the finish,another 15 miles.This wasn't too bad but the fifty mile drive home was absolute hell as I had trouble operating the clutch.It was only six weeks later after having the ankle x-rayed that I found out it was broken rather than sprained.The doctor told me I had either got an extremely high pain threshold or was barking mad.

BuzyG

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Re: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?
« Reply #7 on: 20:28:19, 16/12/18 »
Never had a scary moment yet walking.  Have had one are two.  What are you doing here moments scrambling, that really focus the mind.  Plus a number of interesting hold downs, when I used to surf.  One of which I later worked out was around 200 yards under water, coming up about 70 yards off a harbour wall at Arifana in Portugal, completly spent, but still enough addrenilin fortunately, to duck dive the following monster wave and eventually clear the wall.

Slowcoach

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Re: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?
« Reply #8 on: 21:17:13, 16/12/18 »
Many many years ago two of us were coming down from Great Gable probably on the path from Great Napes to Kern Knotts and we were crossing a large scree patch when it all shifted. I felt the path under my feet give way , everything seemed to moving around me and then I found myself 30 to 40 feet down the slope on my stomach head down hill. I lay very still for what seemed quite a while til I couldnít hear anything more moving around me. I was covered in dirt and stones to a depth of a couple of inches up to my waist. I wriggled free and took my time creeping across the remaining scree. My mate hadnít been caught as much as me and was sitting on the scree still above me. I have taken particular care over scree ever since.
It's all uphill from here.

happyhiker

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Re: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?
« Reply #9 on: 22:51:34, 16/12/18 »
Had a potentially dangerous situation in the Alps once. On a blue sky, not a cloud in the sky day, climbing this mountain and was within about 2/300 ft of the summit when a French mountain guide came the other way. He advised us to descend as there was a storm coming and the mountain was evidently primarily iron oxide!


However, on such a beautiful day and so close to the top, I could not resist the urge to summit. It was only as we crested the summit that we were face to face with blackest, most evil looking cloud I had ever seen. It had been obscured by the mountain itself. We descended as fast as we could, sheltering under the eaves of a chalet as the lightening flashed around. It was quite frightening.

Maggot

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Re: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?
« Reply #10 on: 22:57:10, 16/12/18 »
I walked around the corner back to my car after a day walking on Dartmoor to a car-park near Burrator Reservoir. There were two 'yoofs'  stood at my car.  One of them started a swing at the rear passenger window, so I shouted and ran at them.  I must have looked like a nutter, running, shouting and swearing.  I punched the one stood furthest away from the car and knocked him off his feet, the one at the window looked like he was having a heart attack and legged it.  His mate got up and ran to the car by the entrance, jumped in and I saw there were a total of 4 of them.  The one by the window had dropped a jack handle.


I often think how differently that could have turned out.  A bloke with a metal bar, 4 lads in a car, one of who I had punched to the floor, absolutely no-one else around.  You have to hate adrenalin some times.


That is probably the closest 'I could have been really hurt moment' I have had that is walking related.

richardh1905

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Re: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?
« Reply #11 on: 08:52:04, 17/12/18 »
He advised us to descend as there was a storm coming and the mountain was evidently primarily iron oxide!

Yes, Alpine storms can be something else. And Pyrenean.
« Last Edit: 08:55:17, 17/12/18 by richardh1905 »

richardh1905

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Re: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?
« Reply #12 on: 08:56:18, 17/12/18 »
Broad Stand on my own. :o

Enough said.

Percy

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Re: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?
« Reply #13 on: 13:09:15, 17/12/18 »
Walking up the lane at Rydal to start the Fairfield Horseshoe I was seconds away from being squashed by this:



« Last Edit: 13:33:39, 17/12/18 by Percy »

ninthace

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Re: Have you ever had a hiking 'I could have died' moment?
« Reply #14 on: 14:39:37, 17/12/18 »
Sliding head first towards a crevasse while off piste skiing - done that.  Air supply failure 40 feet underwater - done that.  Control failure in a glider - done that. Caught in a flooding pothole - done that.  Turning up to work with a foreign military  to find that the country had mobilised overnight for real - done that (it was a tense 2 days).
But hiking, can't say I have ever had a near go just hiking.  Yes I've had the odd exciting moment with thunderstorms in the mountains but no "I could have died" moments.  Perhaps the nearest is meeting the milk tanker coming round the corner in a hurry in a Devon lane.  Still, I have always thought I would make an attractive bonnet mascot  ;) .
Solvitur Ambulando