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biggest mistake you made in the outdoors?


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Most serious problems occur from either an accident, or a cascade of compounding mistakes.  I have been hurt before in a mule wreck a long way from anywhere , and have learned to be ruthlessly careful.  When you see that you are headed down the road of mistakes, experience teaches us to either shorten the trip or give up entirely.

I have two friends that attempted to x-c ski around Crater Lake in Feb.  They got several feet of wet cement like snow and eventually got helicoptered out.  They were only making 5 miles a day and were running out of food.  They were barely able to make phone contact.  This was in the 1990s when cell phones were pretty new.

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When you see that you are headed down the road of mistakes, experience teaches us to either shorten the trip or give up entirely.

Stop. Keep ego and emotions in check. Re-evaluate.  

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  • 11 months later...
  • 2 months later...

Great stories. One of my blunders was not bringing a map on a 2 night trek in Olympic National Park. My friend and I each bought a map of the trail. It seemed like an easy loop with no other trails. So as long as we stayed on the trail we would end up at the start. We decided not to bring it because we both like maps and we didn't want them to get ruined so we could hang them up at our house. Well, there were other trails that we had to figure out which way to go. Luckily we found other hikers that could confirm our educated guess on which direction to go at the fork. 

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  • 3 months later...

Got to add mine!

A couple buddies and I were on Mt. Hood.  Goal was to summit.  We made to setting up a base camp and we were not but 2,000 feet below the summit.  So, it was a great night  with hot mugs of sweet tea and an early rise.  The weather was not looking good with the clouds obscuring the summit.  But hey, let's start and see if the clouds don't lift as we make our way up.

After a few hours and only 1,000 feet from the summit it was still socked in and getting lower.  So, we decided we better retreat.  One guy was in a mountain rescue organization and got great new gear to try out.  He had a Jansport bibs with double knees and butt and the other guy had on a pair of rain pants.  I was sporting wool knickers, yes I was wearing knickers!  LOL!  The Mountain Rescue guy suggested glissading back to camp and off he went.  The next guy followed and I was the last.

When I got to bottom of the glissade right at camp and stood up they both went into hysterical laughter.  What?  What's so funny.  Until I looked at my rear end.  

The knicker seat was GONE

My wool insulated underwear seat GONE

My underwear seat GONE

My butt was crimson red and frozen.  The pain started after it thawed out!  Thankfully I had a pair of nylon rain pants and a pair of underwear for the hike out.  Let's just say the pain in the butt was for real.  Those expensive European climbing knickers were never replaced.  

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Wow....just wow...

I think this is the best "lesson learned" story so far!  No bum sliding down a snowy hillside!

Thanks for sharing.

Edited by jay
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  • 2 years later...
Michael aka Mac

The idiotic things one does to impress a girl...

It was approximately 25 years ago, and I was on a hiking trip with my girlfriend  at Hunter Mountain, in the Catskills.  Many years prior to this trip I was a regular there, but with all the years away I had seemed to forgotten a lot of the area.

Trying to find a more scenic view, and more private location, I decided to take her off trail. This mistake created a domino like effect which lead to one problematic situation after another.  Eventually I made the worst mistake of all, and trying to save time I lowered her down a section that I thought I knew only for us to be both lowered down a path that ended, as we were now at the side of the mountain on a cliff with a couple hundred foot drop.

I now knew exactly where we were, and the only way out was up the side of the mountain that was pure lose rocks at an extremely steep angle.  Between the loose rock formation, and the steep angle, there was no way a person could trek up the mountain without causing a rock slide and falling off the side to our death.

  I used my belt and what little cordage I had with me to rig a harness & line to connect us together. I then tore my spare shirt into 4 wide strips to use a hand protection against the sharp rocks, and with us both on our stomachs we spent the next hour scaling up this rockslide as slow as a turtle until we reached the top. Once at the top I had to use my survival knife's wire cutter ( knife hole slot fit into the sheath to form a wire/bolt cutter) to cut a portion of the fence wire so that the two of us could squeeze under the fence.

With the two of us finally safe, my girlfriend turned around to see what we just scaled up from ( realize  up to this point I didn't let her look down or back so that she wouldn't be terrified) She started shaking and practically fell down realizing the life threatening situation i led us both into. 

Till this very day, she has not let me forget my blunder decision to go off trail, and she is justified in doing so.  My desire to impress her only led us to danger, putting both of our lives at risk.

Moral of this story,  stick to the trail, it is there for a reason, and you never know where you are going to end up if you don't. And if you want to impress a girl, don't do something as stupid as i Did when i younger

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