I got sick from water while in the Colorado backcountry when I was 17. It was on an Outward Bound mountaineering class and we all had been drinking water from the streams without any problems for several weeks, since the instructors assured us the water was pure and none of them ever had a problem. Then one day, near the end of the solo part of the class, I and several other students got terrible diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, and weakness. We spent the next few days prostrated in our sleeping bags with fever, dragging ourselves out once every hour or so to crap and find leaves or pinecones to wipe our asses (toilet paper wasn't consistent with OB "leave no trace" philosophy) instead of climbing. Turns out a local rancher had taken a herd of stock through an area upstream of where the sick students had done their solo.
The Bishop pass trail gets very heavy traffic, both human and pack animals, and while the water might be fine 99% of the time, I know from experience that if you're in the unlucky 1% you will be very miserable for days. Iodine tablets or a filter are cheap insurance.
Last edited by JHH60
on Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.