So here is a story on a scouting trip taking a turn for the worse in a funny way.
My buddies and I are planning on doing the high buck hunt again. Trying to improve our odds we decided to get some scouting in. (Unfortunately we all have families and full time jobs, so it's really hard for us to find the time.) Anyways the stars aligned and we made our plans.
Hike in in the morning, glass the evening, camp....glass the morning, and hike out. We checked the weather....30% chance of rain.
So we drove 2 and half hours to our spot and started bushwhacking. About 2 hours into our climb the thunder and lighting rolls in with a light rain. No problem. We decide to hold up and see if it's going to pass.
Then comes the hail (spelling). First, they are about the size of peas which makes us all laugh a bit. Then they start growing.....and growing....and growing. They grew to the size of golf balls (no exaggeration). To make it worse the trees were thin at that altitude and not providing cover.
My buddy in the Army Poncho was bent over so his pack covered his head, my other buddy had his head wedged between 2 trees, and I ended up falling while trying shift around a tree. The slope was steep enough I slid down into the open. So....I ended up rolling up into the fetal position and placing my pack on top of my upper torso and head to protect myself.
After about 20 minutes the hail stopped, and gave way to a heavy rain. We continued our climb until it started getting dark. We finally decided to stop and set up camp, despite our not being where we planned.
As we start to setup camp round 2 of the hail storm starts. Same as before....starting small and building up in size and intensity. Fearing it was going to do that all night, and not give us the opportunity to glass the next morning, we decided to call it and retreat off the mountain.
As we proceeded to climb down the ridge we were pelted with hail for about 15 min. And this hail was not ordinary. It was precision guided. Other than the repeated pounding to the head, I took multiple hits to my knuckles, one to my thumbnail (ouch!), and one to the ear (that one lead to a lot of profanity).
So here are some pictures. Unfortunately I only got a couple. I attempted to take some video, but my phone shut off after 6 seconds.
Thanks for that story. It seems that you don't remember the trips that always go right but you'll always remember THIS one. And as the saying goes, "You don't pick and epic, it picks you." See any deer........?
P.S.---I was running in the Hardrock 100 mile endurance race in Silverton, Colorado several years ago and the same thing happened with the hail in an open area at around 13,000 feet. All you really have is your fanny pack so we had to put it on our head to keep from getting pelted. It was not fun and I know how you felt---it just plain friggin hurts.
"Every man has a purpose---------mine is to be behind a rifle.........."
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than be in any city on earth." ---Steve McQueen
As a Ski Patroller I can tell you there is a lot of truth in the saying, "mountains make their own weather". You just experienced a few instances.
Our Ski Patrol book, "Mountain Travel and Rescue" is a good read on the subject of mountain travel. Plus you can take the two courses by the same name if you are proficient in backcountry skiing. Both require winter backcountry ski travel with your pack and overnight bivouacs.
"There are no comfortable packs, only packs that are less uncomfortable than others."
Great story thanks for posting. Have had similar the difference being I always seem to be horse back and you're right when at timber line there is not much cover. Horses first instinct is to get the heck out of there so things can get real crappy real fast.
Welcome to the great outdoors...never a dull moment!!
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. Sir Winston Churchill.
Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. Einstein