Posted: Aug 15, 2007 - 8:51 PM GMT
Edited: Aug 15, 2007 - 8:53 PM GMT
My first trip to Washington was in 1972, in June (I believe) up Huntington Ravine from Porky Gulch and over to Lakes where the outrageous price ($28 I think for dinner, bed and breakfast - all you could eat) drove me away to seek shelter on a rocky ledge off the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, wrapped in a moth-eaten sleeping bag and bitten by bugs all night. I was exhausted - even though it was less than half the distance from Carter to Lakes, and making really poor decisions as night approached. It's good it was June, not November-December, or they could have put up a plaque for me. (Not that anyone would have.)
I'll put in another word here for "Not Without Peril". What strikes me is how quickly a life-threatening situation can develop literally out of nowhere so quickly. It seems that wet windy weather with the temperature slightly above freezing is almost more dangerous than a full scale blizzard with subzero temps.
Either way, while a few accidents arose from unforseen circumstances, a lot of them can be attributed to bad judgment- such as failure to turn back and get to lower elevation and shelter when conditions start to deteriorate.
After many successful outings on the big W, I still have a bit of trepidation in the back of my mind whenever I venture out there. My advice is to listen to this inner voice and don't be afraid to bail if things don't feel right. Better to return to the valley with your tail between your legs but still alive than to become a frozen statistic.