Monday, November 9, 2009

Nov 7&8 Crowds, Medical Assists, Training

Saturday and Sunday November 7 and 8, 2009
Great weather both days.

The Old Rag Fee Station's neighbors opened the pasture to aid with overflow parking on both days. Keep in mind they charge for parking and this charge is on top of the park boundary entrance fee so on any day that has the potential to be super busy it is best to plan to bring extra money (at least $10 per car).

Leaves are completely off the trees at the higher elevations. Trees at lower levels still have colored leaves but not for long.

The Stewards meet early in the morning to establish their plan of action

Here is a rare shot of the neighbors pasture open for parking. This is usually only required on two or three days in the fall of the year when all the various factors align to create overflow crowds.
Looking back at the first false summit from just before the cave. (Double click for higher quality).

A couple of new Old Rag Mountain Steward (ORMS) volunteers on the Ridge Trail.
On Saturday there were two different but overlapping medical incidents. It helped that one of the injured parties could cautiously self ambulate. It was determined it would be best to litter the other party down off the mountain. Both responses went smoothly and the individuals where off the mountain long before midnight.
Sunday's Stewards first action item was to carry the SAR equipment and reset supplies up to the SAR cache. After returning the gear we got in lots and lots of great training at Byrds Nest Shelter.

After training everyone headed for the summit. We enjoyed a little summit time before splitting up with some going down the Ridge Trail and some going down the Saddle Trail.
For the next couple of months sunset will be happening between 4:30 and 5:30. Weather can change rapidly on Old Rag. You can be in tee shirt weather one hour and needing to bundle up for freezing rain or snow the next. Keep in mind it can take 2-3 hours to get from the summit to the Nethers parking. Unless you are experienced with hiking in the dark and are well prepared (headlamps, backup lights, warm cloths) you should probably plan on leaving the summit between two and three. If you have a light that needs to be held by hand my recommendation is that you take the Saddle Trail down. The Ridge Trail requires use of both your hands at times. If you accidentally drop your light it could possibly break or fall into the inaccessible void. Add a little cold rain, a slip that results in a twisted ankle, and imagine what a fine mess you'd be in then.

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