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Via Internet: Stranded on Baden-Powell Jan 2014

"Don Buchanan (trail name: Don Viejo), then 85, spent a night on a ledge in California’s San Gabriel Mountains on January 25, 2014.
by Don Buchanan, as told to Amanda Hermans "

".....Instead of hiking 8.7 miles and 2,800 vertical feet to the summit via the PCT, as I’d done every other time, I would go up the backside of the mountain using an old, mostly forgotten trail that I found while scouring maps of the area.....From the Vincent Gap trailhead, I turned left instead of the usual right  to hike the 2 miles to the ruins of Big Horn Mine....

In the underbrush beyond the mine, I found the trail I was looking for. The path was only about a foot wide, but the going was easy. After 5 miles[AW: .5 miles?] of cruising, I passed a couple of hikers who had turned around because they were worried about increasingly steep drop-offs. I paid no mind; a little exposure doesn’t bother me. The biggest dangers I had seen were the overgrown patches of Spanish bayonet bushes, a cactus with long and knife-sharp fronds.....

In the early afternoon, I came to a right turn where the trail narrowed and traversed a rock face. A 200-foot drop rested just beyond my left shoe, and, in the middle of the trail, stood a spiky, 3-by-3-foot Spanish bayonet, itself partially hanging over the void. To my right, an old rope hung from a metal piton, presumably to aid hikers through the exposed part...But then only a quarter-mile later, the path disappeared completely and I was still miles away from the top....

The scramble quickly proved harder than I expected. The terrain was loose. I had to pull  myself up by grabbing onto bushes. Climbing like this demanded all my focus; I must have been at it for four hours. Finally, I gained a ridge—the first flat ground I’d seen in a while. I expected to see the summit, but I was still 1,000 feet below it, with another valley in between. I was completely exhausted, full of cactus wounds, and dusk was settling in. It wasn’t until this moment that I realized how badly I had miscalculated....

I surveyed my ridge. It was narrow and below was the incline that I had just climbed up. There was no way around it; I would have to wait here for rescue. I took a seat on a triangular rock that was about 2 feet wide and started a vigil that would last all night, at least....."

Too cool. Thanks Adubs.


Cool story! I never heard of this guy.
I hope that I am still hiking at that age

Great story and a tough bird. Don't we all aspire to be there at 85?

lol it's this same guy!



The ultimate in 85 y.o. studliness.


Encountered him climbing Markham (solo) in September 2014 (I was 68 at the time)...amazing and cool guy...

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