Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => Outer Mountain Loop => Topic started by: mule ears on July 27, 2018, 03:02:09 PM

Title: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: mule ears on July 27, 2018, 03:02:09 PM
The first time I have ever seen a report from a July trip (https://www.reddit.com/r/Ultralight/comments/90himc/big_bend_outer_mountain_loop_oml_summer_july_2018/).  He started with 14 liters of water.   :icon_redface:
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: badknees on July 27, 2018, 03:55:58 PM
The first time I have ever seen a report from a July trip (https://www.reddit.com/r/Ultralight/comments/90himc/big_bend_outer_mountain_loop_oml_summer_july_2018/).  He started with 14 liters of water.   :icon_redface:

30 lbs of water is more than this old man is carrying!

I guess I should say well done, but it's still hard for me to condone that plan. He was lucky it rained. That probably saved him a couple of liters of water. It easily could have turned out differently.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: Jalco on July 27, 2018, 04:34:36 PM
That was pretty impressive.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: dprather on July 27, 2018, 07:04:28 PM
Tell people "don't" and some will "do" just to show you.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: presidio on July 27, 2018, 10:15:16 PM
Tell people "don't" and some will "do" just to show you.

And, some will say 'hold my beer and watch this.'
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: Jalco on July 28, 2018, 08:53:55 AM
Tell people "don't" and some will "do" just to show you.

And, some will say 'hold my beer and watch this.'

And some will say "if you want to experience genuine desert conditions, you go to the desert in the summer."
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: presidio on July 28, 2018, 11:18:08 AM
Tell people "don't" and some will "do" just to show you.

And, some will say 'hold my beer and watch this.'

And some will say "if you want to experience genuine desert conditions, you go to the desert in the summer."

Hey, I said that!
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: Jalco on July 28, 2018, 12:10:31 PM
Tell people "don't" and some will "do" just to show you.

And, some will say 'hold my beer and watch this.'

And some will say "if you want to experience genuine desert conditions, you go to the desert in the summer."

Hey, I said that!

 :icon_biggrin:
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: Keepa on July 28, 2018, 01:09:36 PM
Nuts! The margin for error in these conditions is nearly zero. A sprained ankle could have led to his death.

He accomplished it, but it was unwise.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: dprather on July 28, 2018, 01:16:26 PM
Nuts! The margin for error in these conditions is nearly zero. A sprained ankle could have led to his death.

He accomplished it, but it was unwise.

and you have to tip your hat to him
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: presidio on July 28, 2018, 10:52:27 PM
Nuts! The margin for error in these conditions is nearly zero. A sprained ankle could have led to his death.

He accomplished it, but it was unwise.

A lot of folks have done unwise things, many of which could (and some did) lead to disaster. But, in many cases succeeded in their quests such as they were.

a) any of the 15th16th century mariners who explored any of the oceans
b) any of the explorers (or invaders/conquerors as seen through the lens of current perspectives) who explored the Americas
c) Lewis & Clark expedition
d) any of the pioneers and gold rush folks who undertook arduous journeys with scant knowledge, skills and provisions (and no one to tell them if Boot Spring had water, for example)
e) the pioneers of aviation
f) mountain men trekking alone across the American west
g) spaceflight (even today)

The point is the margin for error was not a factor in any of the above (save the space activities) when deciding to do something, even though today everyone believes it to be a critical factor.

Again, except for space, all of the above was undertaken with vastly imperfect knowledge, no support or rescue other than what they could provide for themselves, no phones, gps units and, in many of the above, without maps/navigation equipment of any kind (or only rudimentary navigation ability and seriously imperfect maps).

So again, through the lens of a technical/electronic/fully explored world, this guy did a risky thing. But did he really?

For those who want to be told and assured of everything ahead of time, and need trail guides, etc. for success, I guess he did.

But, I say no. After all, he was in the arms of the NPS, who knew who he was, what he was going to do and a permitted trip with known itinerary. Sure, he may have gotten hurt or worse and the NPS would eventually have jumped into action (whether in time or not), so he most certainly was not on his own (any more than HMoD on his recent epic river/land solo journey).

The danger in the desert (and especially in the summer) is real, but also real is the fact that the journey was a far cry from the dangers of the events listed above. In actuality, had he chosen to do this trip in a place not crushed with NPS overregulation, no one would even have known he was out there. THAT perhaps would have been a far more dangerous slog (certainly deemed so by many).

In order to grow in skills, knowledge or competence, you have to push boundaries. Those that cannot function without trail guides, facilities and (false) assurances of safety/success will never know their limits and never will discover anything on their own.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: Jalco on July 28, 2018, 10:59:54 PM
In order to grow in skills, knowledge or competence, you have to push boundaries. Those that cannot function without trail guides, facilities and (false) assurances of safety/success will never know their limits and never will discover anything on their own.

 :great:

Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: mule ears on July 29, 2018, 08:49:18 AM
The first time I have ever seen a report from a July trip (https://www.reddit.com/r/Ultralight/comments/90himc/big_bend_outer_mountain_loop_oml_summer_july_2018/).  He started with 14 liters of water.   :icon_redface:

30 lbs of water is more than this old man is carrying!

I guess I should say well done, but it's still hard for me to condone that plan. He was lucky it rained. That probably saved him a couple of liters of water. It easily could have turned out differently.

He definitely was lucky with the rain and despite his claiming he was well experienced with the conditions what I read says he was not but he was fortunate with the conditions that he did get.

Here in the deep, eastern South we say "Hold my Everclear and watch this"
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: NatureBoyFatAdam on July 29, 2018, 08:56:42 AM


Nuts! The margin for error in these conditions is nearly zero. A sprained ankle could have led to his death.

He accomplished it, but it was unwise.

A lot of folks have done unwise things, many of which could (and some did) lead to disaster. But, in many cases succeeded in their quests such as they were.

a) any of the 15th16th century mariners who explored any of the oceans
b) any of the explorers (or invaders/conquerors as seen through the lens of current perspectives) who explored the Americas
c) Lewis & Clark expedition
d) any of the pioneers and gold rush folks who undertook arduous journeys with scant knowledge, skills and provisions (and no one to tell them if Boot Spring had water, for example)
e) the pioneers of aviation
f) mountain men trekking alone across the American west
g) spaceflight (even today)

The point is the margin for error was not a factor in any of the above (save the space activities) when deciding to do something, even though today everyone believes it to be a critical factor.

Again, except for space, all of the above was undertaken with vastly imperfect knowledge, no support or rescue other than what they could provide for themselves, no phones, gps units and, in many of the above, without maps/navigation equipment of any kind (or only rudimentary navigation ability and seriously imperfect maps).

So again, through the lens of a technical/electronic/fully explored world, this guy did a risky thing. But did he really?

For those who want to be told and assured of everything ahead of time, and need trail guides, etc. for success, I guess he did.

But, I say no. After all, he was in the arms of the NPS, who knew who he was, what he was going to do and a permitted trip with known itinerary. Sure, he may have gotten hurt or worse and the NPS would eventually have jumped into action (whether in time or not), so he most certainly was not on his own (any more than HMoD on his recent epic river/land solo journey).

The danger in the desert (and especially in the summer) is real, but also real is the fact that the journey was a far cry from the dangers of the events listed above. In actuality, had he chosen to do this trip in a place not crushed with NPS overregulation, no one would even have known he was out there. THAT perhaps would have been a far more dangerous slog (certainly deemed so by many).

In order to grow in skills, knowledge or competence, you have to push boundaries. Those that cannot function without trail guides, facilities and (false) assurances of safety/success will never know their limits and never will discover anything on their own.

I see where he will rely on SAR if needed. Which means he's not real worried about putting anyone else in jeopardy when they come looking for his dumb ass. He's probably gonna reimburse the bill for everything related to SAR as well. Not! Maybe you will help pay the next time someone does something stupid like this and doesn't get so lucky. I doubt it.
He made it this time, but might not next time. I hope you're there to help this pompous jackass.

You're comparing explorers to some dummy hiking around BB in the middle of the summer.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: nuggetf5 on July 29, 2018, 09:30:57 AM
Just my opinion but he couldn't have posted a hike like that on a more appropriate site. Not a fan of what goes on there.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: presidio on July 29, 2018, 11:16:42 AM
You're comparing explorers to some dummy hiking around BB in the middle of the summer.

No, you are assuming he's a dummy, and there is no objective evidence that was the case.

If you read his report I'd say he acquits himself fairly well. While all self-reports tend to emphasize correct decisions and minimize bad ones, he seems to be reasonably objective in his comments about decisions made.

Assuming his recollections of interaction with the funny hatters is accurate, he got the expected routine response upon first contact (where the NPS makes outrageous statements ... 'SAR will not come'), and speaking with a perhaps more rational employee who suggests itinerary modifications, all parties seemed to end up informed. Again, anywhere but in the NPS, this kind of interaction would not occur; he'd just go do what he wanted without needing the type of concurrence the NPS thinks it needs.

While the NPS conceivably could (and sometimes probably unfairly does) deny backcountry permits, I doubt they would have had any authority or even reason to do so in this instance (whether they agreed with his plans or not) given that the regulatory reasons for permit denial (occupancy limits reached, wildlife closures, fire closures, etc.) all were inapplicable in this instance. Being the only person out there makes it easy to do what you want.

As I earlier said, he certainly is in the company of other explorers (but better informed and equipped). The NPS does court dummies; some of whom have expired while surrounded by support, due entirely to profound ignorance or stupidity (there is a difference).

Just because someone does something of which you apparently disapprove, it does not follow that the participant is either a dummy or cannot succeed.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: Slimkitty on July 29, 2018, 12:38:42 PM
Wow.  This guy successfully completed the OML in extremely tough conditions.  Were he a member of this site, congratulations would be in store for his “epic” accomplishment.  Instead I’m seeing a bunch of salty responses. This is a site where we celebrate our love for Big Bend and the adventures of those who choose to explore it.  I only wish this guy was a member of our group so we could pick his brain a little more.


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Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: wrangler88 on July 29, 2018, 01:13:48 PM
Wow.  This guy successfully completed the OML in extremely tough conditions.  Were he a member of this site, congratulations would be in store for his “epic” accomplishment.  Instead I’m seeing a bunch of salty responses. This is a site where we celebrate our love for Big Bend and the adventures of those who choose to explore it.  I only wish this guy was a member of our group so we could pick his brain a little more.


Exactly.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: Keepa on July 29, 2018, 03:28:14 PM
Quote
In order to grow in skills, knowledge or competence, you have to push boundaries. Those that cannot function without trail guides, facilities and (false) assurances of safety/success will never know their limits and never will discover anything on their own.

I agree. Clarke's second law says: "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."

But, there is a difference between going into the unknown (as in explorers) and knowingly taking risks.

I do not diminish his achievement. I just think it was dumb-luck. He says so himself, his training was not adequate for the terrain at Big Bend. Had he died, I am sure everyone here would have criticized him for putting himself in danger.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: presidio on July 29, 2018, 04:33:42 PM
But, there is a difference between going into the unknown (as in explorers) and knowingly taking risks.

Had he died, I am sure everyone here would have criticized him for putting himself in danger.

You're probably right,  though it would depend upon the accuracy of the reporting and the facts surrounding the demise.

Even with accomplished outdoors persons, sometimes the luck runs out and the odds get them. Many outdoor activities essentially are high risk. Look at the fatalities in mountaineering (the folks who are acknowledged experts, not the trendy day trippers in way over their heads due to action-adventure tours). There's always an element of unknown as conditions change on the rock, but the risks are well-known and accepted. And, all explorers (the real deal ones) are both in the unknown and they certainly are taking risks just by being in such conditions.

Bad judgment can crop up anywhere, not just in the desert in the summer. Going left instead of right on a climb and learning it was the wrong move. Activities relying heavily upon technical equipment can be deadly through no one's fault (rockfall severing a rope; lightning strike from unforecast weather; even catastrophic failure of equipment known to have a  more than adequate safety margin).

Admittedly, there always will be those who go off on adventures without a clue, or skills or equipment (tends to happen far more often in NPS areas than elsewhere due to the uniquely inept clientele they attract. Witness the dolts (and they ARE dolts) traipsing down into the Grand Canyon in shorts, tank tops, sandals, no hat, no pack, sometimes no water or clearly not enough). There are signs everywhere warning of the dangers and still they go unprepared; many/most are lucky (and may learn from it), some don't make it.

But, our correspondent very much did have a clue about what he was getting into. The fact that he deemed his training inadequate for the effort does not change that he clearly knew the conditions he would be operating in. Humping an enormous load of water says he well-understood the demands and the risk of not having enough.

Was he wise? Depends. Did he exceed his limits? Obviously not.

Elsewhere on this forum I have opined in the past that you really do not experience the desert unless you are in conditions such as he described. Everyone should get a taste. Not by undertaking a long waterless slog, but by doing at least several short hikes, on circular routes so you are never more than halfway from your vehicle (and an opportunity to be able, and know when it's time, to bail out).

I've hiked Big Bend in the summer. Yes, it's brutal. But it's also exhilarating. The wise hiker emulates the wildlife by not moving too much about in the middle of the day, and never wasting a piece of shade (tree, arroyo wall, etc.) to take a break and a drink. You cannot learn this if you don't try it.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: jeffblaylock on July 29, 2018, 05:19:29 PM
Quote from: presidio
Even with accomplished outdoors persons, sometimes the luck runs out and the odds get them. Many outdoor activities essentially are high risk.

As my wife and I remind each other, "It's not the first mistake that kills you. It's the third one, compounding the second one."

A lot of my hiking history, including off-trail hiking, has been solo, and some of those hikes have been the most beautiful, meaningful and emotional. Hiking solo is inherently more risky than hiking on well-developed, well-traveled trails with a group of people, at least one of whom is more experienced and better prepared.

Of course, driving in traffic every day is inherently riskier.

This guy seemed prepared and seemed to understand the risks and issues of hiking the OML in July. I wouldn't have done it then, and I wouldn't advise it, but that's my personal preference. I've hiked the South Rim in July a couple of times, and those were some great trips even though it was hot ... and dry ... and I had to carry a LOT of water. I've been in other hot places hiking in July (like Canyonlands).

If hiking solo in these places in July is a mistake, just don't make a second one. If you don't, then the third one can't kill you.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: Hang10er on July 29, 2018, 06:13:50 PM
I gotta agree with Slimkitty and Presidio, I think the guy deserves some admiration. 

Reading his account he seemed like he knew what he was getting into, although he said something about not having been to BiBE in 20 years.  He said he had a plan B and C (although not sure what that was).  The people that lived in the area a hundred years ago, did they only go outside October through May?  I agree that it's too damn hot to be outside this time of year.  I wouldn't want to do what he did but he made it and it didn't seem like it was a near death ordeal to him.  I think the average person shouldn't.  I think it's dangerous.  I wouldn't. 

He wasn't the guy that comes on here and has to ask "how do you hike the OML?".  I'm more suspicious of those guys.  Remember a year or so ago the military guy who asked a bunch of questions and everyone warned him of how hard it was and he constantly countered with his number of combat tours and the excessive heat he was used to.  If I remember, he bailed a day into the OML.

Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: presidio on July 29, 2018, 08:42:34 PM
The people that lived in the area a hundred years ago, did they only go outside October through May?

Oh, man. You shouldn't ask tough questions like that.

Of course they didn't go outside back then. They hunkered down sipping their lattes and watched the world go by from the comfort of their climate-controlled hideaways.  :s_laugh:

Folks today mostly are wimps, and when courage and resourcefulness are needed they don't have any.

The great majority (at least in the US) survive today by dint of technology; they give little thought about disaster. Facebook not working or delayed flights are what constitute crisis. But just let a real disaster occur: earthquake, hurricane, wildfire, etc., and you see, on the nightly news, how coping mechanisms immediately fail and they wait for someone to come save them.


Quote
Remember a year or so ago the military guy who asked a bunch of questions and everyone warned him of how hard it was and he constantly countered with his number of combat tours and the excessive heat he was used to.  If I remember, he bailed a day into the OML.

Reality check.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: mule ears on July 30, 2018, 08:30:18 AM
Wow.  This guy successfully completed the OML in extremely tough conditions.  Were he a member of this site, congratulations would be in store for his “epic” accomplishment.  Instead I’m seeing a bunch of salty responses. This is a site where we celebrate our love for Big Bend and the adventures of those who choose to explore it.  I only wish this guy was a member of our group so we could pick his brain a little more.


Sent from my iPhone using Big Bend Chat (http://r.tapatalk.com/byo?rid=88143)

I'm not seeing "salty" responses.  Essentially everyone has said it was an amazing feat that he actually completed it but at the same time experienced heads shaking at what could have been.

He rightfully talked about the miscues he made and because he appears to be young and in good shape he was able to push through them, not necessarily because he really had the depth of experience to overcome them.  Walking with a day pack around the hills near San Antonio does not equate to the elevation and conditions on the OML.  I think if he was a member here we would have similar questions of him.  I counted at least a half a dozen things he said he did or didn't do that made me wonder about his level of experience. 

Like jeffblaylock said, congratulations on doing it, not what I would do or recommend but there it is.  The other obligation we have is to point out to others who may run across this July OML report, is that it is not always possible or a good idea.  The problem with the internet is people read things and say "hey I can do that" which the NPS rangers see all too often and have to deal with.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: badknees on July 30, 2018, 11:24:22 AM
Quote
Clarke's second law says: "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible

Badknees' Law.......keep repeating Clark's Second Law and an untimely end is a certainty. You may get away with it once, or twice, but the 3rd time might just get you.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: austin gorpchomper on July 30, 2018, 12:29:43 PM
Wow.  This guy successfully completed the OML in extremely tough conditions.  Were he a member of this site, congratulations would be in store for his “epic” accomplishment.  Instead I’m seeing a bunch of salty responses. This is a site where we celebrate our love for Big Bend and the adventures of those who choose to explore it.  I only wish this guy was a member of our group so we could pick his brain a little more.


Sent from my iPhone using Big Bend Chat (http://r.tapatalk.com/byo?rid=88143)

I'm not seeing "salty" responses.  Essentially everyone has said it was an amazing feat that he actually completed it but at the same time experienced heads shaking at what could have been.

He rightfully talked about the miscues he made and because he appears to be young and in good shape he was able to push through them, not necessarily because he really had the depth of experience to overcome them.  Walking with a day pack around the hills near San Antonio does not equate to the elevation and conditions on the OML.  I think if he was a member here we would have similar questions of him.  I counted at least a half a dozen things he said he did or didn't do that made me wonder about his level of experience. 

Like jeffblaylock said, congratulations on doing it, not what I would do or recommend but there it is.  The other obligation we have is to point out to others who may run across this July OML report, is that it is not always possible or a good idea.  The problem with the internet is people read things and say "hey I can do that" which the NPS rangers see all too often and have to deal with.

How many times have I thought "Mule Ears said exactly what I was thinking?" (Emphasis mine.)

I respect the Reddit poster's accomplishment, but sort of in the same way I respect Keith Richards every time I see another interview with him. Amazing, but kids: don't do that!
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: get lost on July 30, 2018, 05:48:58 PM
Wow!!! First for surviving Texas extreme heat& a mountain lion. Jealous, been going for 20 plus years& only stories of seeing them. Kudos man


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Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: marufo on July 30, 2018, 08:44:07 PM
Quote
I respect the Reddit poster's accomplishment, but sort of in the same way I respect Keith Richards every time I see another interview with him. Amazing, but kids: don't do that!
:great:
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: dprather on July 30, 2018, 11:12:32 PM
Keith Richards, or Ann Richards?  Or are they actually the same - have you ever seen both of them in the same picture?
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: Jonathan Sadow on July 31, 2018, 03:03:24 AM
While the NPS conceivably could (and sometimes probably unfairly does) deny backcountry permits, I doubt they would have had any authority or even reason to do so in this instance (whether they agreed with his plans or not) given that the regulatory reasons for permit denial (occupancy limits reached, wildlife closures, fire closures, etc.) all were inapplicable in this instance. Being the only person out there makes it easy to do what you want.

The NPS won't deny anyone a permit to go backcountry camping for something other than the regulatory reasons you mention.  The visitor may be advised that the proposed itinerary may be unwise and the permit notated as such, but you won't be denied a permit just because the ranger thinks you've got more guts than brains.

He rightfully talked about the miscues he made and because he appears to be young and in good shape he was able to push through them, not necessarily because he really had the depth of experience to overcome them.  Walking with a day pack around the hills near San Antonio does not equate to the elevation and conditions on the OML.  I think if he was a member here we would have similar questions of him.  I counted at least a half a dozen things he said he did or didn't do that made me wonder about his level of experience.

I did chuckle when the poster said hiking Hill Country State Natural Area prepared him for the OML.  I used to hike in HCSNA some, and while it's about as rugged as one can get around the San Antonio area, it's only a pale imitation of what one faces in BIBE.  I'm sure you'll agree that your training hikes in the Appalachian foothills are a meager substitute for the real thing.

Quote
Like jeffblaylock said, congratulations on doing it, not what I would do or recommend but there it is.  The other obligation we have is to point out to others who may run across this July OML report, is that it is not always possible or a good idea.  The problem with the internet is people read things and say "hey I can do that" which the NPS rangers see all too often and have to deal with.

The main job of the rangers in these cases is to inform the visitor so as to cut down on the number of potential SARs.  In the specific case of the Reddit poster, the rangers did just what they were supposed to do, although it probably could've been done in 15 minutes rather than two hours(!)
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: Buck on July 31, 2018, 08:25:18 AM
I used to do dumb $h!t like this.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: Talusman on July 31, 2018, 09:39:13 AM
Nuts! The margin for error in these conditions is nearly zero. A sprained ankle could have led to his death.

He accomplished it, but it was unwise.

A lot of folks have done unwise things, many of which could (and some did) lead to disaster. But, in many cases succeeded in their quests such as they were.

a) any of the 15th16th century mariners who explored any of the oceans
b) any of the explorers (or invaders/conquerors as seen through the lens of current perspectives) who explored the Americas
c) Lewis & Clark expedition
d) any of the pioneers and gold rush folks who undertook arduous journeys with scant knowledge, skills and provisions (and no one to tell them if Boot Spring had water, for example)
e) the pioneers of aviation
f) mountain men trekking alone across the American west
g) spaceflight (even today)

The point is the margin for error was not a factor in any of the above (save the space activities) when deciding to do something, even though today everyone believes it to be a critical factor.

Again, except for space, all of the above was undertaken with vastly imperfect knowledge, no support or rescue other than what they could provide for themselves, no phones, gps units and, in many of the above, without maps/navigation equipment of any kind (or only rudimentary navigation ability and seriously imperfect maps).

So again, through the lens of a technical/electronic/fully explored world, this guy did a risky thing. But did he really?

For those who want to be told and assured of everything ahead of time, and need trail guides, etc. for success, I guess he did.

But, I say no. After all, he was in the arms of the NPS, who knew who he was, what he was going to do and a permitted trip with known itinerary. Sure, he may have gotten hurt or worse and the NPS would eventually have jumped into action (whether in time or not), so he most certainly was not on his own (any more than HMoD on his recent epic river/land solo journey).

The danger in the desert (and especially in the summer) is real, but also real is the fact that the journey was a far cry from the dangers of the events listed above. In actuality, had he chosen to do this trip in a place not crushed with NPS overregulation, no one would even have known he was out there. THAT perhaps would have been a far more dangerous slog (certainly deemed so by many).

In order to grow in skills, knowledge or competence, you have to push boundaries. Those that cannot function without trail guides, facilities and (false) assurances of safety/success will never know their limits and never will discover anything on their own.

Well said
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: RedditLowlife on January 07, 2019, 09:31:39 AM
Hi all,

I’m the OP who did the July OML trip.  Just stumbled across this thread as I prepare for another trip to BiBe.  Interesting to see how many people who don't know me quickly call me foolish for doing a hike I knew from experience to be within my abilities.

“Thank you” to those who didn’t automatically assume I was an unprepared dolt who got lucky by not dying.  I’m a “traditional” backpacker from way-back-when, and have recently drank the Ultralight koolaid (and I like it). 
You’ll note in my post the many things that I said didn’t work well during this hike; that’s because I’m still (always) trying new things to perfect my kit and technique - not because I’m clueless.

Here is my response to some of the questions, criticisms, misunderstandings, or inaccuracies I saw in this thread.

My favorite:

Quote
Just my opinion but he couldn't have posted a hike like that on a more appropriate site. Not a fan of what goes on there.

REALLY curious what this means, lol.  Are you not a fan of people lightening their pack?  Supporting each other to achieve bigger and better things?  Maybe you are not a fan of HYOH?
I’m also a paid member at BPL, am I good enough for you now - or do you not like “them” for some reason either?

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He was lucky it rained. That probably saved him a couple of liters of water.

I disagree. The hail on Friday cost me almost an hour moving time, and the threat of rain on the Dodson saw me choose to walk through the heat of the day instead of taking a siesta. Overall I feel the rain was a net negative.

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A sprained ankle could have led to his death

While technically true, that’s pretty dramatic.  Walking down the sidewalk could lead to your death this afternoon.  You talk like if I sprained my ankle I would just say oh-woe-is-me and lay down and die.  How many options do I have before death?  I started typing out a list, but it was getting really long so I just gave up and laid down to die instead.

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He says so himself, his training was not adequate for the terrain at Big Bend.
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Walking with a day pack around the hills near San Antonio does not equate to the elevation and conditions on the OML. 
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I did chuckle when the poster said hiking Hill Country State Natural Area prepared him for the OML.

That’s just plain not true.  I said I realized that I was tiring myself out trying to keep up the paced I use on 400-ft climbs at other parks, so I dialed it back a notch.  (edit: I did mention being tired in my decision to pitch camp early, I was tired but not exhausted and that was only a small factor - the increasing intensity of the rain was the primary factor).

Regarding my regular hiking / training:  Those assumed “day hikes” are actually 3 full days spent in the backcountry, covering as many miles as possible (generally 15-20 miles/day), and dialing in my kit and technique for hot/desert hiking.  Do you have any better suggestions?

Wow, I didn’t know OML was the most strenuous hike that ever existed, when did that happen?  What if I said the OML hike wasn’t the most strenuous hike I’ve done in the last 6 months?  The OML trip wasn't "THE" hike, it was actually training/preparation for a bigger hike.

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He said he had a plan B and C (although not sure what that was)

Plan A: 3 day/2nights
Plan B: 4 day/3nights
Plan C: Hitch a ride from HWR

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I respect the Reddit poster's accomplishment, but sort of in the same way I respect Keith Richards every time I see another interview with him. Amazing, but kids: don't do that!

That made me laugh

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I counted at least a half a dozen things he said he did or didn't do that made me wonder about his level of experience.

I’m open to feedback and constructive criticism, but not insults (not saying ME’s comment above was insulting, but plenty others were).

Feel free to ask me anything.
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: jim2 on January 07, 2019, 10:24:55 AM
Welcome to BBC!
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: mule ears on January 07, 2019, 10:44:31 AM
RedditLowLife another welcome to BBC! 

As with all of the internet, folks can get carried away especially when the subject not actually being part of the discussion.  I am also member of reddit, you have to admit, it can get snarky over there too.  I think most of us were well impressed with the feat.  Your preparation was as good as you could have done and the fact that you got by the rangers was equally impressive.

I can't remember all of my questions and did not put together that you were doing your training hikes back to back but they were day hikes correct?  The big thing that I would have tried to do was to get there early enough the day before to get my permit in the afternoon so I could hit the trail at first light.  I always appreciate trip reports that include what went well and what didn't.

I am not sure anyone said the OML is the most strenuous hike that ever existed but it is certainly more than most folks expect which is why more than half don't finish it even in cool weather.

What was the big trip you were getting ready for and what are you planning for your next Big Bend hike?
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: RedditLowlife on January 07, 2019, 11:25:05 AM
As with all of the internet, folks can get carried away especially when the subject not actually being part of the discussion.  I am also member of reddit, you have to admit, it can get snarky over there too.   
Totally agreed.

Your preparation was as good as you could have done and the fact that you got by the rangers was equally impressive.
  Lol, I was not prepared for that "challenge", for sure.

I can't remember all of my questions and did not put together that you were doing your training hikes back to back but they were day hikes correct?
I did not really specify, so I think many people assumed they were basic day hikes.  My normal itinerary for a local weekend looks something like: take a half day vacation Friday and try to get to the park in time to do 10+ miles Friday afternoon, then 20 miles Saturday, and 10-15 Sunday morning before lunch (and departure).  Unfortunately no parks around here are even a fraction the size of BiBe, so to get that kind of mileage I often have to hike circles around the park. In context of BiBe it kind of sucks, but it's better than sitting at home, right.

The big thing that I would have tried to do was to get there early enough the day before to get my permit in the afternoon so I could hit the trail at first light.
Indeed, I would say that is a significant key point.

What was the big trip you were getting ready for and what are you planning for your next Big Bend hike?
The big trip wasn't THAT big (PCT thru-hike or anything).  It was 6 days in the San Juan mountains with some old friends, all at high elevation, although poor weather kept us off any peaks.  Next for Big Bend I'm planning to do OML again with 2 friends in Feb, and I might have some time off this month (January) so I was here researching other areas.  Right now I'm looking maybe at something in Mesa de Anquila because I want to practice some off-trail skills.


Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: Hang10er on January 07, 2019, 12:05:33 PM
Welcome to BBC.  You survived a summer OML and a BBC grilling,  Not sure which was hotter. 

I think it's only fair to introduce yourself.


Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: House Made of Dawn on January 07, 2019, 12:12:10 PM
Hey, there, Lowlife!  (nice handle  :icon_wink:)

I didn't participate in this thread when it was first posted, even though I'm a regular here, but I did pop over to Reddit right after ME posted this, and congratulated you, saying your hike was the latest summer OML I knew of, exceeding my (very painful) June OML in 2017 with temps in the One-teens. What you did is amazing. If you look around here, you'll find another trip report by HomerWilson in which he and a couple of friends did it in August this year as an epic day-hike!!!!  You guys are all way beyond my 61-year-old draggy butt.

I'm curious about your water load and the thinking behind it.  The first time I did the OML (20+ years ago) I left the trailhead at Homer Wilson with 5 quarts, and my brother carried a quart. And that was for two people. I've done the OML many times since as a solo and never (even in June) started out with more than 2 quarts in my pack. Boot canyon has always had water, and if didn't I'd go over to Cattail Canyon near the Laguna Meadows campsites. Heading down to the Dodson....Upper Juniper Spring, Dodson Spring, Adler Spring and Fresno drainage always have water, too.  That said, I've never even THOUGHT about doing and OML in July, like you did, and am not sure what the water sources would be like during that time of year.  I can't remember the details of your trip: did you find water in any of those (or other additional) natural sources along the way?
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: RedditLowlife on January 07, 2019, 04:46:14 PM
I think it's only fair to introduce yourself.
I'm a Texas native, Husband, Father, Aggie, Engineer who enjoys cars, cycling, hiking, and all sorts of DIY.

... another trip report by HomerWilson in which he and a couple of friends did it in August this year as an epic day-hike!!!! 
Yeah, that's ultrarunner territory - not my thing...  All credit to the fitness that takes, I'm not at that level.

I'm curious about your water load and the thinking behind it.  ... Boot canyon has always had water, and if didn't I'd go over to Cattail Canyon near the Laguna Meadows campsites. ....Upper Juniper Spring, Dodson Spring, Adler Spring and Fresno drainage always have water, too.  ... am not sure what the water sources would be like during that time of year.  I can't remember the details of your trip: did you find water in any of those (or other additional) natural sources along the way?
Mainly my choice to carry so much water was based on uncertainty.  There weren't any water reports on BBC less than 4mo old, and I wasn't planning to get any info from the rangers.  I did read up on water sources here on BBC, but my takeaway from that research was that Fresno was "likely" to have water, and other sources "may" have water.  Since I departed on this trip at the last minute, I just just grabbed a buttload of water and headed out. I didn't look for water anywhere other than Fresno. When I go back in Feb (hopefully) I will definitely carry much less and plan to use sources that you and others have mentioned. 
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: mule ears on January 07, 2019, 07:27:07 PM

... another trip report by HomerWilson in which he and a couple of friends did it in August this year as an epic day-hike!!!! 
Yeah, that's ultrarunner territory - not my thing...  All credit to the fitness that takes, I'm not at that level.


Not really ultrarunner, they really did hike at a regular 2 mph pace just did it in a day including walking through the heat of the night. (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/members-only-photos-and-reports/one-helluva-bender-82418-to-9818/)

  Next for Big Bend I'm planning to do OML again with 2 friends in Feb, and I might have some time off this month (January) so I was here researching other areas.  Right now I'm looking maybe at something in Mesa de Anquila because I want to practice some off-trail skills.

This is a good winter to do the MDA, should be plenty of water in the big tinajas.  Not a bad place to test off trail skills, it is rough terrain but you can see really well where you are going.

BTW, if you want you can change your BBC name to something more appropriate like July OML man, or Heat Walker, or Carries Big Water.  Just sayin'   :icon_biggrin:
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: House Made of Dawn on January 07, 2019, 08:39:50 PM
Walks In Furnace would be a good one.



I'm curious about your water load and the thinking behind it.  ... Boot canyon has always had water, and if didn't I'd go over to Cattail Canyon near the Laguna Meadows campsites. ....Upper Juniper Spring, Dodson Spring, Adler Spring and Fresno drainage always have water, too.  ... am not sure what the water sources would be like during that time of year.  I can't remember the details of your trip: did you find water in any of those (or other additional) natural sources along the way?

Mainly my choice to carry so much water was based on uncertainty.  There weren't any water reports on BBC less than 4mo old, and I wasn't planning to get any info from the rangers.  I did read up on water sources here on BBC, but my takeaway from that research was that Fresno was "likely" to have water, and other sources "may" have water.  Since I departed on this trip at the last minute, I just just grabbed a buttload of water and headed out. I didn't look for water anywhere other than Fresno. When I go back in Feb (hopefully) I will definitely carry much less and plan to use sources that you and others have mentioned.

That makes complete sense. Having never personally contemplated a July OML, it hadn’t occurred to me that there’d be zero recent water reports for it. D’oh!

Again well done, man!


Sent from my iPhone using Big Bend Chat (http://r.tapatalk.com/byo?rid=88143)
Title: Re: A JULY! OML trip report from Reddit
Post by: RichardM on January 08, 2019, 02:24:18 PM
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Just my opinion but he couldn't have posted a hike like that on a more appropriate site. Not a fan of what goes on there.

REALLY curious what this means, lol.  Are you not a fan of people lightening their pack?  Supporting each other to achieve bigger and better things?  Maybe you are not a fan of HYOH?
I’m also a paid member at BPL, am I good enough for you now - or do you not like “them” for some reason either?
I thought he meant Reddit. Hopefully he'll drop in and clarify. After all, we wouldn't want to jump to conclusions. ;)

Welcome to the board and thanks for having tough skin!