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Thread: Bob Marshall Hike

  1. #21
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    Yikes! Good luck with that ankle, I hope you did not suffer any lingering damage. Post some pics when you get a chance.

  2. #22
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    Likewise hope you have been mending & look forward to a candid report of things you learned.

  3. #23
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    I'm glad to hear you are ok. Did you have trouble getting out?
    I always recommend stout boots for that area.
    I hope you come back and try again.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serlo II View Post
    I'm glad to hear you are ok. Did you have trouble getting out?
    I always recommend stout boots for that area.
    I hope you come back and try again.
    I keep telling myself that I am going to start a multi-post write up. I'm 5 weeks post ankle reconstruction surgery and just started walking in a boot. It's been very difficult mentally, but the pain has been a 0 or 1 since three days post op.

    I did not have trouble getting out, in the fact that I walked an additional 30+ miles after my injury. This is not a testament to my toughness, but my stupidity. The last 10 miles or so I was truly trudging along, shuffling if you will.

    I was wearing above the ankle Keen's, but will be using a higher boot in the future. This was a traditionally unstable ankle, so I had packed a brace in my ruck, but was not wearing it at the time. #genius.

    I was set to come back this summer with my wife and was hoping to summit Haystack Mountain, but I don't think my surgeon is going to clear me. They say full recovery takes 1-2 years. Surgery was 3/12/19.
    Last edited by CPM; 04-21-19 at 16:04.
    When you're done saying what you're saying, stop saying it.

  5. #25
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    I typically wear mountaineering boots but forest service fire guys have to wear specially rated higher boots. Maybe 8" minimum and very heavy duty. They typially destroy a pair in one season.
    Sorry to hear your ankle is so Fu#*ed. I've had a lot of injuries over the years and I get the chills when I hear this stuff.

  6. #26
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    Day One(July4):

    My partner, who is an Active Duty 11C and had just completed SFAS(30 day non-select, passed all land nav, extended scale PT stud, no negative peer evals) flew to Great Falls from Nashville while I flew in from DFW. I flew United and paid for first class to get the free checked bags as I was packing pistols for both of us and a few knives. Miraculously, both my DFW-DEN and DEN-GTF flights were on time, as were my partner's. We got our rental car and headed to Augusta for our last stop before driving to the Benchmark trailhead.

    I had a gut feeling before leaving Great Falls that I should pull over and inspect all of my sensitive items and make sure all of the gear was accounted for- there isn't a Wal-Mart in Augusta. I pulled into the nearest gas station and opened my trunk and was pleasantly surprised to see everything had arrived in one piece. While I was back there, I also examined my water bladder, and started putting my leatherman on my belt and knife in my pocket. I asked my companion, "Hey- where is your knife?" His response was, "I don't have one." I asked him if he really showed up to the big W wilderness without any means of cutting anything and he said, "I wasn't planning on stabbing a bear." This was the first inkling I had that something was amiss. I then inquired about his water source. He replied that he was just going to "Stop and get a jug and carry it." I re-queried if he really intended to hand carry a 8 lb water jug, a single source of water, for 5 days. He said, "Yeah dude, I just got done with Selection, I know what I'm doing. I immediately drove us to the nearest Wally World for him to buy a knock off camelback bladder. I was already supplying him with a pistol and I always work the one is none rule, so he got a pocket knife from me as well.

    The drive to the trail head was uneventful and we stopped at the Western Bar in downtown Augusta for one last meal around 1700. I had a unbelievably good grilled chicken sandwich. If you're ever in the area, it's worth a stop. We hit the trail around 1930 and started off. The initial hike was easy and beautiful. We ended up moving 5.5 miles that first evening before we agreed to settle in for the night before it got dark. I was completely unaware that it doesn't get dark until 2230-2300 each night and the sun rises around 0500.

    Another unique challenge we had was that while I packed a tent, he decided to use a hammock/tarp combo. This particular area of the Bob had been ravaged by wildfires, and since the hammock required live trees, we were limited in our camping locations. We ended up just blazing a trail up a hillside after crossing the West Fork of the Sun River to a small collection of trees. I don't remember what I cooked, but I fired up my micro stove for something and celebrated my birthday(yes, July 4) with a protein cookie my wife packed. I even took a picture to show her how lovely it was. The night was relatively uneventful, except for the temperature. It got down to 42 degrees in my tent according to my Casio Rangeman(not the most accurate, but I didn't pack a separate thermometer). I was using the summer weight bag from the military sleeping system. It was one of the coldest nights I have ever experienced since I was in the Army, and I was stationed at Ft. Riley, KS. I remember rolling the zipper to face the ground and trap the heat to try and stay warm. I suppose my body being conditioned to Texas in July, I was in real shock. I probably slept around an hour total. Maybe. This came in to play the next day, which will be my next post.

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    Last edited by CPM; 04-21-19 at 16:06.
    When you're done saying what you're saying, stop saying it.

  7. #27
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    How did you like that Snow Peak titanium cook gear?

    That kinda boggles my mind about your friend's gear choices. Not talking smack about him at all, but it sure is a head-scratcher. A decent fixed blade knife would be the very last thing you could take from me before entering the wild. With a knife, I can get or make everything else.

    Looking forward to the rest of the writeup.

  8. #28
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    Day Two(July 5th):

    Well, as stated before, the first night in the Bob was a real eye opener. It got down to 42 degrees and neither one of us slept for more than an hour. The sun also rose around 0530, so there wasn't much darkness. We awoke and had a small breakfast of some cliff bars, packed up, and started hiking. Our plan was to hike 5.7 miles to the Indian Point Cabin, have lunch there, then continue to Haystack Mountain. The hike to the cabin was relatively uneventful. The trail conditions at times were pretty crappy. A lot of folks and outfitters take horses and llamas on this route, and they really screw up the trail, leaving lots of mud and places for water to collect. The other odd part about this trail, and almost all of the trails I hiked on, was the presence of fist-sized rocks scattered intermittently right in the middle of the trail. I have no idea where they came from or why they were there, but they made our lives a living nightmare. Ironically, this was not the cause of my rolled ankle.

    It wasn't until we got to the cabin that I realized my first mistake. I had neglected to do an accurate map reconnaissance. Well, that was a half truth- I had neglected to take note of the contour lines of the map. I just wasn't paying attention to detail, and somehow neglected to notice that my planned route for the day took us up and over the Continental Divide three times. This would not be possible. I didn't realize that until I was eating lunch at the cabin. Through a cool twist of fate, my partner happened to take a photo of me right as I was realizing this. I didn't see this photo until after the whole trip. It is my favorite picture of the whole hike because it is the exact moment I realized how stupid I am.
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    The plan was to continue on trail 203 for another mile, ford the sun river, and continue on 211 for 4 miles up the side of Red Butte to the White River Pass(the Continental Divide). At that point, we would have two choices:

    1. We could do a mild boulder on the divide itself to Haystack Mountain for 1.5 miles. or
    2. Add 7.5 miles of actual trail through the White River Pass and end up descending and re-climbing around 2500'.

    We decided to stay on trail and take the long route. We began the second movement around noon. No one had told us that you want to make the most strenuous movement of the day very early in the day to minimize the temperatures. It was around 85 degrees, which after a 42 degree night felt like 120. We approached the Sun River and chose to remove our boots and tie them around our neck for the fording. What no one realized was how incredibly cold, fast, and slick-bottomed the river would be. Within 10 seconds of entering the water your legs are burning from the cold. As I begin to walk the bottom felt like glass with hot butter poured on it. It was the slickest thing I've ever felt(That's what she said). I remember making fun of my partner before entering myself and him looking at me furiously as he tried not to fall. When it was my turn to enter I got about halfway across before I decided to take my boots off my shoulders and throw them to the other side. I was so convinced that I was going to fall and soak everything, I wanted to have dry feet when I got out.

    I didn't fall and we made it across, geared up, and started up the southern side of Red Butte. The first half mile was actually a little scary. It become apparent almost immediately that you are probably one of very few people that are on that side of the river. It's very dense forest for the first bit and very quiet. Whenever I'm hiking in NW Montana the idea of becoming the next Todd Orr is always in the back of my mind. The first half to three quarters of a mile is nothing but switchbacks in the woods, then you break out. Once you break out there is little to no cover. It's like being on Mars as you ascend- red, dusty, and hot.

    We made it about 3.5 miles before we started thinking about our capabilities. The sun was killing us. We were around 7k, which for a person that lives at 700 is brutal. The packs were getting damn heavy(40-50lbs), and there was no place to stop and get out of the sun. Eventually we got to the point where we could see White River Pass and noticed that there seemed to be about 3 feet of snow for a half mile on the pass. You could barely make out the trail with the snow. We both decided that we could not safely make that movement. We were pretty exhausted, it was hot as heck, and we were unprepared for any movements involving snow. When we considered continuing on and over the pass we thought about having to spend the night up there, and given our unpreparedness for 42 degrees at a much lower altitude, decided it would not be safe up by the divide. It was a very tough decision, but we chose to turn around and head back to find a camping spot by the cabin and reconvene.

    Yet another example of my stupidity is my ankle, and this is when it really came into play. My right ankle has been unstable for as long as I can remember. I constantly roll it. Ironically, in all of my time in a Scout/Sniper platoon, I never remember rolling in while I was in the service. I've had a couple of major sprains, including one on a hike in Colorado that made my eyes water. OK, I was pretty much crying. As we descended the slope was going from right to left, and as you can imagine, we made it about 200 yards before my ankle gave out. I didn't fall to the right, thank God, but it hurt a good bit. I actually had an ankle brace with me- in my ruck- not on my foot. I have yet to figure out that thought process. I sat down, put it on, and continued down the mountain. It wasn't the worst roll I've ever had, but it was a close second. It was too the point that my mind was spending 50% of the time thinking about it, which is no fun.

    We continued down the mountain, re-crossed the Sun River, and found a camp site about 1.4 miles in the direction we had came. This was fortuitous as it was already occupied by a grandson(in his late 20's) and his grandfather. His grandfather lives in Montana and they were using 4 horses to travel the trail and fish. These two welcomed us into this large camp site and let us set up shop. I spent the rest of the evening going down to the river to soak my ankle in the freezing waters.

    The grandson was actually a very experienced woodsman and taught us both quite a bit about gear, hiking, etc... as we sat around a campfire. He remains a friend to this day. This campsite was right on the edge of the river, and I slept a little better as there was a lot of ambient noise and I was exhausted and on no sleep.

    Miles traveled on Day 2: 14.5
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    Last edited by CPM; 05-04-19 at 08:35.
    When you're done saying what you're saying, stop saying it.

  9. #29
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    Good write up, thanks for sharing.
    Psalm 34:19

    To argue with a person who renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead. ~ Thomas Paine

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