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Re: Fishhook: end of the line

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Fishhook: end of the line
January 28, 2012 07:09AM
There are times on the trail when it is important to recognize when you are at Fishhook. We once climbed up to the top of Chilnualna Falls in Yosemite in the winter. The trail was covered in snow, but we were fine until we got to with about 100 feet of seeing the top of the falls. Because at this point the trail had three feet of powdery snow on it, and followed a narrow ledge along a 500 foot drop. And we couldn't exactly see where the trail actually went. We poked our feet around in the snow for a minute or two and decided that we were at Fishhook. The benefits of seeing the top of the falls just didn't justify the risks of having one of us slip off that ledge.

(You can get an idea of the terrain in the photo here. And yes, if we'd had hiking poles, or climbing ropes, the decision might have been different. We didn't.)

So we turned around.

What brings this to mind is our recent trip up Fairview Dome in Yosemite. It's steep, and the wind was howling. And because it was January, it was cold. And so we decided that it didn't really matter that we weren't going all the way to the top. As a friend told me many years ago: "Summits are all in the mind."

We've stopped our hike or changed our route many times because of swollen creeks, time of day, or icy or overhanging snow. And we have never once regretted it.

When we hear of people getting rescued off mountains, we usually don't admire their courage or their adventuring spirits. We dp find ourselves questioning their judgment, and wondering why they didn't turn around when it made sense to do so.

So when have you turned around? And when did you keep going...and realize it might have been a mistake?

There are plenty of examples on our blog: https://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home/our-blog/fishhook


follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Re: Fishhook: end of the line
January 28, 2012 04:44PM
We turned around when climbing Mt Dana once due to pending thunderstorms, another time for high winds. I've never regretted either decision.
avatar Re: Fishhook: end of the line
January 29, 2012 04:05AM
Hey Balza, great post. I agree with you. Myself and my group have changed route many many many times, and its never been an issue. I've never understood the attitude of "I have to get to this point at all costs". If something is meant to be, it'll happen, if its not meant to be, it won't.

As for when I kept going that I shouldn't have, I was doing a solo trip to Vernon out of Hetchy and it started raining hard about 2 miles out of Beehive. I should have just said "screw it" and found a flat spot and set up home. I kept going until I hade Beehive, cold, wet, shivering, tired, and damn near frozen. I would have been much better off had I stopped. Oh well, live and learn.

You have any more pics of Chilnualna? I've always wanted to check it out, but never made it to there. That may be the place I check out once I'm done with all the overtime at work come mid-March.
Re: Fishhook: end of the line
January 29, 2012 07:13AM
WE have pictures of Chilnualna from this hike, but that's in winter. And as per the post, we didn't make it to see the top of the falls--which is where they finally come into view.

Here's the link to the Picasa page for that hike: https://picasaweb.google.com/balzaccom/Wawona2009#5311041672880098482

We have also done the hike in the summer (a VERY different experience) but didn't have a digital camera, so we don't have photos.


follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
avatar Re: Fishhook: end of the line
January 29, 2012 05:00AM
I like the chilnualna falls hike very much! I've gone to the top when there was maybe a foot of snow on top but the trail was still pretty visible. I almost got lost once hiking to Ostrander lake in the snow but found my way grinning smiley got a few neat pictures of ostrander in the snow and had a very fun time; it was worth it =)
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