- Apr 5, 2018 at 3:33 am #3528812
[<- starts waxing up the skis]Apr 6, 2018 at 3:51 am #3528971
Scott GBPL Member
Do any of you guys consider bringing your PFD just for river fords? I’m going solo so all this snow pack and run off is starting to worry me a bit.Apr 6, 2018 at 4:38 am #3528979
That’s a hard one to answer Scott. My preference is no, but that might not be the right answer.
My view is that if I’m fording somewhere without major hazards downstream – which is the only place you should be fording – than the worst case scenario is that the ford will turn into a swim, which I’m okay with. If this happens, I see a PFD as neutral, as the flotation would be nice but the swimming is potentially clumsier. Swimming fast creeks/rivers looks really scary, but as long as you’re swimming laterally and there aren’t major hazards, then the only real challenge is finding a good spot to exit. The faster the water, the harder exiting is.
A life jacket could help if the river/creek is too fast to exit for a while and you need to ride out the rapids for a while, but you don’t want to be in this situation anyways, as the cold water will get to you pretty fast. When I attempt a tough ford, I assess both the ford, and the potential exit options downstream if it turns into a swim. Sometimes the exit options downstream aren’t appealing (like the Spotted Bear River last year) but I was confident I could drag myself out if need be.
Last year Gordon Creek was my hardest ford. I still smile thinking about how ridiculous that ford was – well beyond what I thought was possible. But the only reason I tried it was because the swimming exits were easy with gently sloping gravel banks.
Apr 6, 2018 at 1:03 pm #3529013
- This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Dan Durston.
I agree with Dan that a pfd can make swimming difficult. There are certainly situations where a pfd would be wanted (flipping a raft), but typically you want your fords quick as possible and as Dan points out in an area where there are good downstream options.
I would recommend against trying this :)Apr 6, 2018 at 3:07 pm #3529025
Scott GBPL Member
Thanks guys, That was kind of my thoughts. I figure if it turns into a swim i’d ideally be in the middle or better across by that point. Its not like i’m gonna cannonball off the near bank and make a swim right off the bat. I hope
On a sketchier crossing i’d consider maybe blowing up my air pad a bit and putting it in my pack maybe?
I’m heading on the Smith in 3 weeks so i’m gonna test my crossing skills at camp a few nights with a fire ready and waiting.Apr 6, 2018 at 9:07 pm #3529105
Matt LBPL Member
Yeah Gordon Creek was where I started to lose my nerves with fording …. still remember just cinching up my pack, finding a log that stuck out about 2 feet into the river and briskly walking down the log to launch/jump in and swim. Of course the log was rotted and I dropped straight down upon first step!
Not much traffic this year on this thread … I wonder why that is? I really need to nail down a primary route soon … it looks to me like I may have to go way west to avoid some terrain that is questionable (for me and without skis), but then the fords and HUGE distance may stack up. I have worked 75 consecutive days as of today … I get Sunday off then vacation starts next week, so time to focus.
My wife can’t come out this year, so if there is an open seat from Marias Pass to the start or any other sort of workable shuttle, let me know. I think I will still be good to come out this year as of right now.Apr 7, 2018 at 6:48 pm #3529274
Tyler HBPL Member
Jon and I are definitely coming out this year. Whether we walk out at Marias Pass is less certain!
We will be on a snow-avoiding route… as much as possible. Matt, we may be considering the same westerly route at the beginning that you allude to. We are hoping to get out by Tuesday, and optimistic that if we can get to Benchmark on schedule we will be OK.
We haven’t decided if we will drop a car at the end or have my girlfriend pick us up, and would of course be happy take anybody that was hanging out there back to Missoula.Apr 8, 2018 at 6:49 am #3529375
Yeah the southern 1/4 of the Bob looks like the crux as far as snow goes, which is nice since you can always bail if it’s not working out.Apr 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm #3529388
I wouldn’t totally discount the northern 1/4 – Badger Pass is roughly at 9 feet :)Apr 8, 2018 at 5:27 pm #3529406
Caiti JBPL Member
Is anyone here still thinking of packrafting the South Fork as part of their route?Apr 8, 2018 at 7:26 pm #3529461
I’m leaning towards rafting, but not the south fork.Apr 10, 2018 at 12:39 am #3529713
I’ll be water skiing behind Dan- I think that’s within the rule setApr 11, 2018 at 5:28 am #3529926
Yup. No sense having the skis laying on the packraft bow un-utilized.
Maybe I can water ski across some river fords too, if there is good snowpack and a steep descent leading up to the bank of the crossing.Apr 12, 2018 at 6:49 pm #3530192
Adrian SwansonBPL Member
@storunner13Locale: Front Range
As of right now, I’m planning a Tuesday exit at Maria’s Pass. We’re headed back south again, so we could probably shuttle some people back to the start.
The good news for me is I got a good deal on a 2015 Yak/Paddle, AND I’ve signed up for the packrafting swiftwater rescue class to keep the GF from worrying too much (and to give me some confidence).
As for snowshoes, I too am considering the MSR Shifts (40oz) . I have a pair of Northern Lites, which for 38oz is a great option for lots of flotation. However, the traction is lacking with the smallish aluminum heel and toe crampons. I guess it’s probably still too far away to make a decision, but I’m interested to know how other people would decide given the option of more flotation or more traction?Apr 12, 2018 at 7:37 pm #3530201
with anything steep and firm (bordering on icy)- I’ve found the traction has come in pretty darn handy
while additional flotation is nice, having the grip where needed trumps it imhoApr 13, 2018 at 8:14 pm #3530337
Adrian SwansonBPL Member
@storunner13Locale: Front Range
Thanks Mike. I’ll look for some Shifts. I’ll probably end up bringing all my snowshoes to the start like I did two years ago…though this year I won’t leave all of them behind.Apr 14, 2018 at 7:24 am #3530411
Yeah I agree with Mike. Traction is more important.
Durability is super important too, as you can be snowshoing in patchy snow areas where you end up just walking on rocks with them. The Shifts hold up great to this. My wife and I put a few hundred kms on our Shifts in 2017, including some fords, like this:
Apr 14, 2018 at 2:20 pm #3530420
great video Dan! another place added to my ever increasing bucket list :)Apr 15, 2018 at 1:03 am #3530476
Kyle PBPL Member
Awesome video, Dan. Catching up on some threads here. Looking forward to toeing the line again this year. I do plan to bring the packraft. CFS levels will factor in to exactly how much it’s inflated. So many amazing options for routes this year.
I’m heading into the Bob next weekend with a buddy for some touring so looking forward to some first hand beta. As for shuttle, this year is a bit daunting but as Dave mentioned last year … that’s part of the challenge haha. I have an AirBnB in Missoula if anyone is looking to arrive early into town and needing a place to crash. I should be able to transport folks one way or another.
Apr 15, 2018 at 5:12 pm #3530545
- This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Kyle P.
Dan MBPL Member
dan , gorgeous video! very nicely done ! what did you shoot that with ?Apr 15, 2018 at 5:22 pm #3530547
Ethan A.BPL Member
@mountainwalkerLocale: SF Bay Area & New England
Dan absolutely stunning video, and Mike ouch I can feel that on my own knees. Wish the Shifts were available for +11 sizes as I typically wear around 12.5 in trail runners or winter boots. Think they might offer them in a larger size next season, or is there a limitation to the structural strength of the material that won’t work in a longer size?Apr 15, 2018 at 6:33 pm #3530560
^ the Shifts are sold as a youth shoe, so unlikely any changes in store for them; it was Dan D I believe that “discovered” they were suitable for adults in spring like conditionsApr 17, 2018 at 6:24 am #3530859
I got the Shift idea from Dave C. No credit for me.
Dan M: Mostly a Panasonic ZS100 – it’s kinda like a Sony RX100 but with more optical zoom (10x). It’s a nice camera, but ours got damp and fried near the end of Episide, so I shot the second half of the trip with a Nikon W350 (still stabilized 4k) after a week of making do with an iPad mini for shooting (Episode 5).Apr 18, 2018 at 4:46 am #3531098
I went for a little fitness test this evening to assess how much my legs have wilted from the office job.
I hiked up a 565m (1850′) tall hill. I ended up wheezing to the top in 31 min. I was pretty happy with that. A goal I always have in the back of my mind is being capable of a 1000 m hour (3300′ per hour), which I could probably just barely do right now.
My connective tissues should also be pretty good since I did thru-hike last summer (~1500 miles) and the connective tissue seems to stick around for a year. So I guess I can resume my couch sitting for another month.Apr 18, 2018 at 12:23 pm #3531113
nothing like a steep hill to assess conditioning :)
I’ve been testing out a new hunting pack- loaded it w/ 30 lbs of sand and packed it around the hills for a couple of weeks. The first day going from no weight to roughly 40 lbs, was like learning to walk again! It slowly got better. I’ve since bumped the sand up to 45 lbs (probably 55 lbs total), again really tough. I’m going to bump it up to 60 lbs of sand here soon, only going to give that one day as I don’t want to risk an injury.
I’m guessing (hoping) that a 20 lb pack is going to feel light.
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