Watch Your Step
By John P. DeGrazio
When hiking on granite or any other potentially slippery trail, it’s always best to cover as much surface area as you can with every step. This means that you should basically cover as much ground with your boot as possible. Sometimes you may be hiking on narrow steps that are wet from rain or waterfall mist. Sometimes they’re icy. A hiker should always try to get as much of their foot on the step they are climbing. This is also true and probably more important on the descent. If the step is too narrow to fit your entire foot, turn your foot sideways. This will help you prevent a slip and potential fall. Besides, it’s a lot easier to turn your foot than it is to turn the rock on which you’ll be stepping. Sidestepping is a classic mountaineering technique on steep descents and one that should be utilized on Yosemite’s Mist Trail and any other route to minimize risk. Many accidents occur on the way down when hikers are tired or not paying attention. Minimize your risk by always watching your step.
John P. DeGrazio is the owner of YExplore and lead adventure guide for many guided hikes in Yosemite National Park. He has hiked thousands of miles in the Sierra Nevada and shares mountaineering techniques with hiking enthusiasts on his tours as well as those he encounters on the trails. It’s his goal to minimize risk on his trips and will share safety tips with all listeners.
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