Springtime Hazards and Swift Water

simplon pass bridgeIn the mountains, springtime poses several potential terrain hazards including unexpected snow slopes, rockfall, mudslides, and swift water. It’s lovely to hike along a bubbling alpine stream; however, in the springtime creeks, streams, and rivers can rise quickly after speedy thaws and rain storms because the soil may already be saturated by water from snowmelt.

Many times, I’ve been thankful for bridges just where I needed them when hiking near swiftly moving water. While hiking in Switzerland, for instance, I encountered an elaborate system of bridges and hiking paths engineered above this swift water in the Gondo Gorge:

simplon pass water

And closer to home, I’ve encountered a swiftly moving Boulder Creek in Boulder Canyon:

boulder canyon spring

Luckily, my friend Deb and I were equipped with climbing gear on this day since we were planning on crossing Boulder Creek to rock climb.

boulder canyon tyrolean

We just put on our climbing harnesses and rigged up a sweet way to make this tyrolean traverse.

Crossing swift water isn’t always so simple; neither are the other challenges that hikers face in the spring.

Want to know more about how to survive spring terrain challenges?
Read my article on the About.com Survival Skills website:
“Survive Springtime Terrain Hazards”

Photos © Traci J. Macnamara.


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