You two be careful!
Thank you! It's easier to be careful now since my wife doesn't want to follow me off the trail anymore!
Perhaps you two would benefit from those new GPS 2-way radios... Great tale/lesson combo!
Not a bad idea-- thanks for the suggestion.
Thanks for another engaging, well written and thought provoking essay! I have definitely found that having a wife as part of my outdoor life changes the game. It hasn't always been easy for me to be honest with myself about her own abilities, to see through how much I want her to make it somewhere to the fact that she can't, and probably shouldn't try. I also have to be honest with her that there are certain outings where I don't want her along. I need a good epic, even a close call now and then; she doesn't at this point. I can certainly identify with your feeling of relief at getting her down safe and sound!
Your comments are spot-on, but what they do most is soothe my guilt over feeling exactly what you've expressed. We pretty much stick to trails together now, and nothing in the range of taking several hours to do. For the epic stuff, the stuff that could get you killed but which is fun for exactly that reason, I go alone or find some sucker like one of my brothers to go along.
however I do relish that someone else often has the same problem I do when exploring the frontiers of our mountains while with thier wife. I often tend to forget the same rules that I so harshly try to imply upon my less experienced wife. It is not only good to see the thought process of someone else but also effects of what would actually happen if I did the same thing. Great TR.
It always is good to know that others have the same situation, isn't it? In fairness, it's unreasonable of me to push people into doing what I suspect is beyond them and then get mad when they can't or won't keep up. So I usually go alone now, which carries a host of problems, too. But what else is one to do?
Thanks for commenting.
Hey bro, I also have two major bad judgement strikes, one involving my wife and lightning. We should go drinking together, our wives could come along and make sure we stay out of trouble.
Great report! Thanks.
Thank you! Sounds like a good idea, too. But can't the wives just show up at last call and take us home?
Exceptional job on this one! What comes through more than anything is your honesty in dealing with this. And as for "...think I might be the worst hiking and climbing partner in the world...." I'll go with you anytime. And would like to do so.
Thank you, Vernon! It's a very personal story, and I'm glad to hear through commenters that it both strikes a chord and reassures people that there are others who do these things!
I do very much hope we can get out there together. I'm dragging my brother, he of the Jackson Glacier TR, out to Wyoming this summer. That's a bit out of your way, but if you want to explore some great wilderness peaks that are not on SP yet, let me know. And then it will be back to Montana for 2008, or maybe earlier if I can find a way to escape the wife and kids in August!
Very touching and honest trip report. I'm not sure I could have written something that personal. It was an enjoyable and suspenseful read. I always think that camp is the unspoken meeting place if something goes wrong. I've had partners wait for me at the base of mountains and we have a time cut-off where we'll meet at camp. As for the lightning on the ridge, I personally just like to keep moving (easier said than done) and as scary as it may seem, I still think the odds of getting struck are astronomical, particularly if you stay just to the side of the highest point of the ridge. Okay enough of me trying to over-simplify things. Great write-up!
Thanks for commenting. We had no established meeting system or cutoff time back then (owing to my own oversimplifying of things and misjudging the weather), but when we split now, I usually tell her or whoever else where I am going, how I plan to go, and how long I expect to take (always tacking on an extra hour or two). And we establish where we will meet.
My other bad lightning experience left me with no choice but to keep moving, which I find far preferable to crouching when there is no shelter. I was hiking to Mount Ida in Rocky Mountain N.P. one afternoon. Storm clouds had cleared and the sun was out, and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity. It was about a 4-mile trip to the summit and only about 2500' to climb. Halfway there, though, storm clouds returned. I tried to beat the storm to the summit, but about 15 minutes from the top, I realized I was going to lose and needed to turn back. The route was across gentle, rolling tundra with absolutely no places for shelter. Faced with my two choices, I chose to keep going, which was pretty scary at times, and difficult because of snow and hail falling, but better than crouching and praying.
The next time this happens, I'll try to remember what you said about staying to the side of the highest point of the ridge. I hadn't heard that before.
...we're gonna get suspicious soon, like imagine you are hiking along, then say, "Hey I bet this would be a really great trip report if I raced ahead, lost my partner and went through a gut-wrenching moral crisis..."
After waiting in the rain for two days in June 1983, my wife and I decided to try the east ridge of Pecos Baldy anyway, even though thunderheads were all about. What turned us around?
Bighorns! Literal bighorns. They came racing down the slope at us, scaring the crap out of me. Actually, they just wanted handouts. But as we were fending them off, we heard very loud thunder, and decided the sheep were an omen.
So the problem with your bighorns, is that you had no bighorns to warn you.
I guess my story about an aggressive chipmunk won't move you, considering your run-in with the bighorns, but at least I can now blame the bighorns that weren't there instead of blaming myself. What kind of good human would I be if I didn't refuse to accept responsibility for my mishaps?
And that TR idea-- hmm...don't tell my brother, who's going out to Wyoming with me in the summer, about that!
You did a great job of expressing what many of us struggle with when hiking. My wife's okay with me doing an epic climb or two on my own (with someone else, but not her) each summer, but for the most part we stick to easy trails that aren't too long. It makes me feel better knowing there are other hikers out there in the same situation.
Thanks for commenting, and reinforcing that idea of not being the only one in that situation. What you two do is pretty much what we do now, especially since kids have entered the picture. I wonder how old a kid should be before you take him climbing...
Telling one's mistakes is never easy, well done.
Thank you-- it's important to be honest with yourself about mistakes.