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Hiking Safety for Spring

Posted by Susan Elderkin at May 15, 2012 11:55 AM |

Spring hiking evokes images of delicate woodland trillium, gushing waterfalls and hikers trying to locate the most compelling destination that they can reach. It's a time of giddy anticipation as we eagerly make plans to visit our favorite trails. With sunny skies and soaring temperatures over Mother's Day, hikers were out in force - many for their first hike of the year. Hikers posted more than 100 trip reports over a three-day time period. WTA has put together some Spring Hiking Safety Tips that are important for even the most seasoned hiker to review - what to wear, what to have in your backpack, how to choose a hike, and how to handle the hazards of hiking in the spring.

Spring hiking evokes images of delicate woodland trillium, gushing waterfalls and hikers trying to locate the most compelling destination that they can reach. It's a time of giddy anticipation as we eagerly make plans to visit our favorite trails.

With sunny skies and soaring temperatures over Mother's Day, hikers were out in force - many for their first hike of the year. Hikers posted more than 100 trip reports over a three-day time period. Some stuck to easy trails lined with spring wildflowers while others pushed the limits of spring conditions and encountered impassable roads, deep snow on the trail and fast-moving streams.

One thought I had as I hiked with my family this weekend: it is time to get our "trail brains" on again. After a long winter, it's easy to forget some of the basic items you need in your pack. About 30 minutes in on the Lime Kiln Trail, I realized I had forgotten my first aid kit. Whoops! Fortunately, we didn't need it - this time.

For other hikers, putting on their trail brain will mean using common sense when assessing trail conditions. It is all too easy to push too far this time of year. Danger from avalanches, snow cornices and stream crossings linger well into July, and conditions can change dramatically during the course of the day as warm weather melts snow.

WTA has put together some Spring Hiking Safety Tips that are important for even the most seasoned hiker to review - what to wear, what to have in your backpack, how to choose a hike, and how to handle the hazards of hiking in the spring.

With a little preparation, you'll be able to find your trail brain and have a great time hiking. And when you return from your hike, please write a Trip Report! Your fellow hikers will appreciate the update on the trail conditions.

Comments

Spring time hiking

I saw your pic by the Cascade Liberation Organization and was wondering from what vantage point that was taken. I've participated in three Granite Mt. hikes this spring, two from the winter route and one from the summer route. I don't recognize that ridge. Probably because I haven't explored that region as much as I would like.

 Anyway we always carry the ten essentials and so much more. Another thing to add to your story is beware of tree wells which can still claim an ankle or worse and please stay away from the boulders as they collect heat during the day and produce cavities underneath the snow which you can't see until you have fallen through them or worse fall next to a rock and get wedged between the snow and the rock.

Posted by:


"Hikes ITR" on Jun 06, 2012 09:50 PM

West Granite Mt.

The photo is from West Granite Mt, the peak to the NW of Granite. We exited via the NW ridge of West Granite, to the Pratt-West Granite col, to avoid the baking SW ridge of Granite Mt. Considerable avalanche danger that weekend; NWAC had put out a special statement. It was the 2nd day of the first (4 day) stretch of hot weather this spring. The snowpack was not yet consolidated. I met people in the parking lot who'd apparently descended late in the day, apparently unaware of the avalanche danger. I started and briefly rode a small slide on the SW slope in spring 2011, very similar conditions. See TR 5/20/12.

http://www.wta.org/[…]/trip_report.2012-05-13.5707771265

Posted by:


"Cascade Liberation Organization" on Jun 06, 2012 09:50 PM