Submitted: 11-26-2002 by mike_aka_tig
You decide from the following incident:
While paddling lake Powell, we had stopped for the day to climb out a canyon to the mesa tops. Between two of us was the GPS, I took two extra sets of NiMH AA batteries, we both left the headlights behind for the day's climb, food & water, and some biners and several made steps made from 1 inch tube nylon. Well, we had climbed out of a slot canyon, chimmneyed to a hanging slot, and up that to a curving wall where a series of bolts were driven that led out to a upper canyon and eventually to the mesa top. Turning around, we made our way back, and confident to be getting down through the slots and walls to the inner canyon and most of the way back to where we left our yaks and camp before dark. Getting to the section with the bolts we were stunned to find that someone had taken the nylon steps and biners, leaving us stuck high up. We had no choice but to climb back out and try to figure a way down the cliffs before dark, and after that, get to camp before we froze in the cold. What followed was a freezing, tortuous series of attempts to find a way down the scree and many sandstone walls, without any ropes or protection. How we did it was use the Magellan Marine LCD as a flashlight to find a way down, sometimes lowering it on a 4 mm rope to see the lower parts of walls to see if it could be downclimbed. That night took 7 hours to make it back to camp, freezing cold and shivering, but we got back with only having to change the batteries once. The GPS is waterproof to shallow depths, tough, and makes a tremendous emergency flashlight, too.
Finally, if anyone ever sees someone's ropes or ladders set up, LEAVE THEM, they are expecting them to be there on downclimb. For us we could have fallen or suffered hypothermia because of some dumbshit who took our gear.