This is the only post I shall make on this
I've resisted responding in order to prevent another epic Jed-bashing, but I feel I should lay out some pertinent info.
Sarah contacted me through the 14ers Facebook page since I posted on there regarding this hike. She said this would be her first Winter climb. I was really concerned that she wouldn't know what to bring for a Winter climb, so over several days leading up to the climb we PM'd and texted back and forth about what gear she should bring. I informed her that the forecast was for -1F w/ 20-30mph winds with LOTS of fresh snow (the forecast said 10-20" was supposed to have fallen, in actuality it was about 1-2"). She said she had a warm ski jacket and ski pants and hat, so I tried to think of gear that she would need that she might not think of since this was her first Winter climb.
I told her to bring: Snowshoes,
and to wear two pairs of warm wool socks.
She didn't have ski goggles so I borrowed some from my next door neighbor.
She didn't have snowshoes, so I recommended that she rent some from REI, but then Aaronmojica
had said he had an extra pair, so I PM'd him about her borrowing his extra pair of snowshoes and poles.
Unfortunately, she mistakenly thought the "gaiters
" on her ski pants would be sufficient for this climb, and that her layered gloves would be sufficient. It turned out that neither pair of gloves she had were waterproof.
Also when I texted her about warm/waterproof boots she said that Keen
had just sent her a pair and that they should work. Well, Keen does make winter snow boots, but the "boots"
she had were actually just normal low-top, non-waterproof, meshy
trailrunners, which I didn't realize that's what she actually had on until at the end of the day when she got back to the cars and I was helping break off the ice balls that had formed on her sock cuffs.
I also guessed correctly that she'd be bringing a Camelback, so I reminded her that she needs to remember to blow out the tube after every
drink or the tube will freeze. I even demonstrated at the TH how I push the tube all the way back into the bladder sleeve in my backpack to keep the tube from freezing.
Maybe I should've gone through a more thorough gear check with her at the TH, but I thought I had communicated/recommended all of the gear that she would need for a Winter climb.
On the ascent, Brian texted me saying that he and Sarah were sticking together on the climb up so I knew she wasn’t left alone. Kudos to Brian!!!
While we were descending I gave her some hand warmers and an extra pair of wool gloves I had. They probably didn’t do much as her other gloves were wet from snow.
Missing the bootpack trail on the way down and ending up in the bottom of the gully was really unfortunate. They weren’t the only ones to miss it as Matt Lemke did the same thing and ended up post-holing down Gibson Creek until reaching our snowshoe track from on the way up. I tried texting and calling Brian several times to get status updates while they were coming down, and was worried sick until I finally heard from Brian after they reached the snowshoe trench.
I really feel bad for how things turned out for you Sarah, your perseverance and will to finish is something I am in awe off. I’m not sure I would have done so well in similar circumstances. I hope you recover quickly and look forward to hiking/climbing with you again in the future.
• It's by getting away from life that we can see it most clearly... It's by depriving ourselves of the myriad of everyday experiences that we renew our appreciation for them...I've learned from my experiences in the mountains that I love life. — Dave Johnston
• Mountains are not climbed merely to reach a geographical location — but as personal and spiritual challenges to the participants. — David Stein
• The best climber in the world is the one who’s having the most fun.— Alex Lowe
• Why do I climb the mountain? Because I'm in love! — The Captain