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#154369 - 11/05/08 05:12 PM Re: Stay put or hike out? [Re: Hikin_Jim]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077

The decision to travel via the dirt road or XC (saving half the distance, but certainly not half the time) will depend on local knowledge of the terrain and/or by looking at the detail of the available map in conjuction with the weather conditions predicted. Last thing you want to do is to come across an impassable obstacle such as a cliff face or river, which requires such a wide detour that it makes the other choice of the dirt road much more sensible in the first place.

Trekking unknown XC without a map which doesn't have terrain features detailed such as contour heights and detailed features such as rivers, dense woodland (dense woodland is sometimes easier to detour around) and streams, is not really recommended.

As you can see above from the Jocks Road example it could potentially catch some folks out, if on the map it didn't indicate the type of terrain it passes over.

Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (11/05/08 05:29 PM)

#154372 - 11/05/08 06:20 PM Re: Stay put or hike out? [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
Hikin_Jim Offline

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor
Trekking unknown XC without a map which doesn't have terrain features detailed such as contour heights and detailed features such as rivers, dense woodland (dense woodland is sometimes easier to detour around) and streams, is not really recommended.
Good point. My personal experience bears that out. One time on a hike in the Hualapai Mountains in Arizona, I wanted to traverse between two mountains. All I had was a line drawing with an "x" marking the summit of two mountains that I wanted to traverse. Down the side of the first mountain I went only to find some tough cliffs. I got down the cliff all right, but a slip and injury there could have been serious. One never knows what lies between two points when all one has is a little line drawing sketch. Even a topo map doesn't show everything, particularly ones with 40m contour intervals (or greater) (We used 1:50,000 maps with 40m contours in the army. 40m! You can drop an entire company of men in a 40m interval with nary a trace. Completely inadequate for XC travel)
Adventures In Stoving

#154496 - 11/06/08 10:15 PM Re: Stay put or hike out? [Re: Hikin_Jim]
7point82 Offline

Registered: 11/24/05
Posts: 478
Loc: Oklahoma
Put my vote in for hiking out. Most likely I would have voted to stay on the road for many of the reasons others have pointed out. I don't know if anyone else mentioned it but if you stay on the road you have, at least, some change of being spotted/picked-up mid way.
"There is not a man of us who does not at times need a helping hand to be stretched out to him, and then shame upon him who will not stretch out the helping hand to his brother." -Theodore Roosevelt

#154554 - 11/07/08 03:23 PM Re: Stay put or hike out? [Re: Leigh_Ratcliffe]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 854
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Leigh_Ratcliffe

In their shoes I would have stuck to the road. The road is a known quantity. Going across country is an invite to a busted ankle/sprain or worse.

Ok, its further. But shortcuts have a nasty habit of turning into long delays.

I concur. You probably won't have the good luck by meeting someone else while x-c but might while on the road and catching a ride in a vehicle could save hours and hours of walking. Worth the chance. Plus it makes a much easier backtrail for searchers to follow if necessary.

I think they did fine. They did a self-rescue after careful, informed consideration of the circumstances. They get a 98. Deduct 2 points for deciding against the road.

#154561 - 11/07/08 05:24 PM Re: Stay put or hike out? [Re: unimogbert]
Tom_L Offline

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
I don't think anyone here is in a position to criticize their decision. I for one believe they made the only sensible decision. They had maps, they knew the area "very well". The weather was clearly not a big factor and the distance was entirely manageable. Why try to sit it out when it's much simpler to do a little SERE?

If you have the means and skills to get back to safety on your own in a situation like that, do it! As simple as that. It will save the SAR teams a lot of time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere. I really don't have much sympathy for folks who expect rescue from any situation they could easily get out of themselves.

The decision to travel cross-country instead of following the road makes sense as well. In many kinds of terrain travelling cross-country can be a lot quicker. With a map and compass (plus a bit of skill and experience) it isn't that difficult to find your way out. More so if you know the terrain well already - in places like that you would even need the map & compass as long as you are in a decent shape, the weather isn't too bad nor the distances too long.

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