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#11214 - 03/01/11 09:17 AM Water purification
Sublatum Offline


Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 40
Loc: Orange Country, CA
I have my fingers crossed that'd i'll get accepted to spend a few days on Whitney this summer. That being said, what does everyone think of the different kinds of water purifiers? Any to stay away from? Any that are absolute must haves?

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#11216 - 03/01/11 11:03 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Sublatum]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
I've used a few of these in the past - from some no-name unit in the late 80s and 90s that required the filter to be submerged up to most recently a MSR Hyperflow. None of them are much fun to use, some are faster than others. They all work and all cost a lot of money, and all weight a pound or so. For a short Whitney tour, any will do. Or just drink smart and bring some Aquamira pills or bleach if in doubt.

I've read about water on Whitney and there are several places that are safe to use without filtration. Always go to inlets of lakes or the waterfall at Bighorn Park. On the other hand, the Whitney Zone is one of the highest use areas of the Sierra, so it isn't necessarily the place to take chances.

a water source map for the east side of Whitney:



Been looking at the Steripen for winter use when normal filters are a bust, but I'll probably be melting snow most of the time anyway, or just take my chances. Giardia and many other bugs don't survive freezing temps anyway and are re-introduced each season.
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#11217 - 03/01/11 11:11 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Sublatum]
lynn-a-roo Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 627
Loc: OrangeCounty
I and my friends really like our Katadyne pump filter. I don't know the model number. It's about 8 to 10 inches tall and not too big around, maybe two to three inches. It works beautifully, we've been using it for about 5 years. One filter will filter a lot of water. I personally have the same water filter at home in my emergency gear (in case of earthquakes, etc). In a addition to our Katadyne, each one of my friends and I carry our own Bota water bottle with a built in filter in case we get separated. None of us have ever experienced Giardia or any other type of micro-organism / bacteria. (frankly, I don't know what Giardia is, I'm not even sure I'm spelling it correctly, all I do know is that it can mess with your system biologically). Guess I should head straight for Wikipedia to look up this little varmint. We picked up our Katadyne at REI. Bota bottles are probably available at REI; however we got ours online from Sierra Trading Post. Adventure 16 probably has all these water purifyng devices too and don't forget to check out Campmor.com, I love Campmor, I've been shopping with them for about 30+ years now.

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#11218 - 03/01/11 11:43 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Sublatum]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
One thing about the standard Katadyne filters such as the hiker or hiker pro is I found that in a durability sense the hiker is superior because the hiker pro is built with a detachable outlet hose system but after a very light drop that valve stem broke and I was unable to repair it in the field so I threw it away. The hiker version does not have this so it is less likely to break on you.

That being said I think the Katadyne Hiker is a decent filter and comes in at about 11 ounces.

The best thing about having a pump filter is it allows you to get water from small trickles that you other wise would not be able to fill a bottle with.
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#11225 - 03/01/11 05:38 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Sublatum]
docdiamond Offline


Registered: 01/06/11
Posts: 18
Loc: Raleigh, NC
The Katadyn Hiker or Hiker pro are light and very effective. You may want to also consider a Steripen. It is also very effective, compact and light. The Steripen uses ultraviolet light to kill all of the bugs, so all you do is turn it on and stir the water with it until the light goes out. I don't recommend the tablets because they make the water taste so bad. Many hikers on Whitney don't treat their water, since water quality on the mountain is generally very good. Personally, I always treat water taken from surface water before I drink it. Better safe than sorry!

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#11226 - 03/01/11 07:28 PM Re: Water purification [Re: docdiamond]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
I have used my steripen a couple of times on the Whitney trail and didn't get sick.

I have drank straight from the source several times and didn't get sick.

I just have a rule of drinking from rapidly moving water...preferrably from a water fall....or the spring on the switchbacks.

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#11227 - 03/01/11 08:04 PM Re: Water purification [Re: tdtz]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: tdtz

I just have a rule of drinking from rapidly moving water...preferrably from a water fall....or the spring on the switchbacks.


I have not decided which rules apply when there is a dead mouse at the bottom of the stream staring back or how close the human fece should be to the water source before all previous rules are null and void crazy (both witnessed at the same water source during the low season on Whitney)
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#11228 - 03/01/11 09:12 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Sublatum]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
Quote:
I just have a rule of drinking from rapidly moving water...preferrably from a water fall....or the spring on the switchbacks.


Actually I have heard the standing water such as in lakes is better because the UV rays from the sun pound down on it all day and serve to sterilize it. I could be wrong though.
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#11230 - 03/01/11 11:39 PM Re: Water purification [Re: RoguePhotonic]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7871
Loc: Fresno, CA
Just to give equal time to the "Dip and Drink" people...

It really doesn't matter to me whether you carry a filter or treat your water or do nothing, but here is some worthwhile reading from old discussions:

    Water and Giardia around Mt. Whitney (especially the 60000 liters part)
      and
    Filter question

I have hiked nearly all the JMT without treating the water. It is quite a feeling of freedom to carry the old metal cup, and just dip the water and drink. My pack is lighter, and water stops are simpler and more frequent. Since filtering is not an issue, I don't carry a filter, and I don't carry a load of water (Whitney area above 12k is an exception). The next water stop is usually just a short distance up the trail.

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#11235 - 03/02/11 05:32 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Steve C]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Just to give equal time to the "Dip and Drink" people...


I am a "dip and drinker", and I got giardia last summer to prove it grin

I'm far off the 60,000 liters, but I probably was getting too comfortable with some sources I should have been more careful about. From now on, anywhere in Yosemite below 8000 feet is filter/chemical country for me.
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#11249 - 03/02/11 01:48 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Sublatum]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
I have to admit I love dip and drink. No weight or hassle from a filter. Dip your bottle in and it's full in a couple seconds.

Sediment free water can be a problem though. Especially if your on a shore line of a lake and the wind is blowing in your direction.
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#11250 - 03/02/11 01:56 PM Re: Water purification [Re: RoguePhotonic]
Sublatum Offline


Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 40
Loc: Orange Country, CA
So a water filter may not even be necessary, that is what i am taking from most of this, along with a 'at your own risk' factor...

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#11252 - 03/02/11 02:01 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Sublatum]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
Exactly...

This debate isn't even really about filtering mountain water but it's more about Whitney Zone water.
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#11253 - 03/02/11 02:18 PM Re: Water purification [Re: RoguePhotonic]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: RoguePhotonic
Exactly...

This debate isn't even really about filtering mountain water but it's more about Whitney Zone water.


I think this comment is very important because 1. there are no pack animals on the Main Trail 2. there are not herds of deer, either (both candidates for gastrointestinal buggers)

On the other hand, the idea of drinking the Yosemite water below 8K gives me the chills....ever notice the "apples" on some of the trails....or the hordes of deer in the meadows at night or morning. To each his own (I could care less what other people do regarding their health, as long as it is not contagious), but the odds definitely are in favor of picking up something with abundant carriers around the water (example: the trail next to Tuolumne River/Falls is rank with pack animal droppings...next to the water...)
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#11255 - 03/02/11 02:48 PM Re: Water purification [Re: docdiamond]
SoCalGirl Offline


Registered: 12/06/09
Posts: 225
Loc: Spring Valley, CA
Originally Posted By: docdiamond
I don't recommend the tablets because they make the water taste so bad.


I usually carry a filter with me... but something to take into consideration that doesn't get bantered around alot in these discussions is this...

The iodine tablets that are used in the chemical treatments kits can be dangerous to people with certain health issues.

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#11256 - 03/02/11 03:15 PM Re: Water purification [Re: SoCalGirl]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2249
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
As a callow youth, I bushwalked the Southern Alps from Murray's Gorge in Victoria to Mount Kosciuszko, the highest point in Australia. My companions were Bob Jones & Bill Zytnik. We weren't even sure we could even survive at lofty elevations of 7000'.

The Alps, are of course, the backbone of the continent, so you would think you would need to carry a lot of water. In fact, the rolling terrain was mostly hummocks of some kind of grass.

We were told that we didn't need to carry a lot of water, just a plastic tube. As we all worked in a research laboratory, we had plenty to choose from.

So here's how it worked. In the sides of the grassy hummocks you would find a myriad of holes. These were the burrows of yabbies (freshwater shrimp). So you just stuck the tube in & sucked. Water! Sometimes a shrimp. As we jumped from hummock to hummock, sometimes our impact would eject a yabbie right out of it's burrow.

All of this happened before algore invented the Internet - so I can't find any references. But it really happened.
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#11265 - 03/02/11 05:03 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Sublatum]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
Mmmmm Yabbies....

I thought Yabbies were crayfish / craw dads or what ever they are called where you live in the world.

When it comes to pack animals I am less concerned with catching something then I am with rodents as I "think" they are the highest percentage of carriers.

I stayed at Wallace Creek once in September where the PCT crosses it and the meadow was completely covered in horse droppings. I went right over and got unfiltered water from the stream and was fine.

The reality is the chances of catching something any where in the Sierra is fairly low but still there is a chance. Even drinking right out of the Merced in Yosemite Valley is probably better then allot of the heavy metals and toxic waste that comes out of our tap water on average.
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#11272 - 03/03/11 04:21 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Bee]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Bee
Originally Posted By: RoguePhotonic
Exactly...

This debate isn't even really about filtering mountain water but it's more about Whitney Zone water.


I think this comment is very important because 1. there are no pack animals on the Main Trail 2. there are not herds of deer, either (both candidates for gastrointestinal buggers)

On the other hand, the idea of drinking the Yosemite water below 8K gives me the chills....ever notice the "apples" on some of the trails....or the hordes of deer in the meadows at night or morning. To each his own (I could care less what other people do regarding their health, as long as it is not contagious), but the odds definitely are in favor of picking up something with abundant carriers around the water (example: the trail next to Tuolumne River/Falls is rank with pack animal droppings...next to the water...)


you need to get our earlier in the season. On our return hike up to TM, we actually met the first horses that crossed Cathedral Pass last summer (trail crew cutting trees for the season), and they almost didn't make it. Deer and bear were out in force, though.

Giardia needs to be re-introduced each year. It doesn't survive freezing temps. So there's some thought behind my madness to drink unfiltered water down there last year. I was the only one who got sick, and it isn't even certain that it came from that area, as the incubation time is several weeks. Maybe it was the tap water at Reds. Who knows? Yosemite just happens to be the place I was in 3 weeks before it started to get ugly and I can think of one place that wasn't as safe a water source as I thought it was when I used it.
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#11277 - 03/03/11 05:55 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Sublatum]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: Sublatum
I have my fingers crossed that'd i'll get accepted to spend a few days on Whitney this summer. That being said, what does everyone think of the different kinds of water purifiers? Any to stay away from? Any that are absolute must haves?


There are some locations along the main Whitney trail where the risk of contamination is low as there is little/no human or animal activity upstream. However, unless you're quite familiar with the area, or go with someone who is, the prudent thing is to carry a water filter or drops. The advantage of a filter over drops is the water is available to drink immediately and doesn't add chemicals to the water. There's a difference between filtration and purification - you can google it to learn more. Since the last reliable water source (Trail Camp) is in a high use area, I always carry a water filter for this location. Mine is now sold as Katadyn Hiker Water Filter and adds about 12 ounces to my pack weight. There are several good models available. I've used the combo filter/water bottle and found they break easily, so don't recommend them for regular use.

Improper hygiene is more likely source of contamination/gastrointestinal illness (not washing your hands after taking care of business) than water-borne illness, so it's prudent to take care of both. If you use a water filter, it's important to make sure your hands are clean before you use it, and to keep some components in a ziplock bag before placing it back into its stuff sack.

Water filters are a bit like seatbelts. Most of the time you'll never need it, but when you do ...

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#11278 - 03/03/11 06:12 AM Re: Water purification [Re: KevinR]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: KevinR
Since the last reliable water source (Trail Camp) is in a high use area, I always carry a water filter for this location.


nothing wrong with the water flowing into the small tarn/lake. Just don't take it out of the lake.

Also, unless you're up there in late season, Trail CAmp is the last "reliable" water source. Check above map - switchback 23 - and ask hikers who come down about it. Saves some weight at least for the first few hundred feet, and if you know where that switchback is, you won't have to filter either unless you find a wag bag right in the spring.

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#11288 - 03/03/11 09:31 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Fishmonger]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: Fishmonger
nothing wrong with the water flowing into the small tarn/lake. Just don't take it out of the lake.


At the risk of putting too fine a point on it - getting to the inflow point of this little tarn is difficult and time-consuming, so for all practical purposes you have to use an area where a hundred other people may use it on any given day - hence the need to filter.

As for the water flowing across a couple of switchbacks about 1/3 of the way up - even when it is flowing in general, it's often frozen in the early hours as you begin the climb. Even when it's thawed, you have to block the trail in order to get water. So ... because of the uncertainities/hassles of this location, I regard it as an emergency water source, and filter 3 liters at the little tarn.

Of course, YMMV. The above is the basis for my decisions. Everyone is free to make their own choices.

Whether to filter/not to filter is often a prickly issue for some, but not me. Just like I don't play in traffic, jump off 3 story buildings, try to outrace a cop, snack on roadkill - I don't drink from questionable water sources.

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#11289 - 03/03/11 10:36 AM Re: Water purification [Re: KevinR]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
nothing wrong with some good old roadkill. One trip from WI to CA, I counted 53 opportunities to cook some free meat. I then got a Road Kill cook book from Santa...
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#11290 - 03/03/11 10:44 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Fishmonger]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2249
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
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#11291 - 03/03/11 10:59 AM Re: Water purification [Re: wagga]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Figured the roadkill comment would keep the tone light!

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#11292 - 03/03/11 11:11 AM Re: Water purification [Re: KevinR]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7871
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: KevinR
Whether to filter/not to filter is often a prickly issue for some, but not me. Just like I don't play in traffic, jump off 3 story buildings, try to outrace a cop, snack on roadkill - I don't drink from questionable water sources.
grin Well, let me see....

I've played in traffic (heck, the way I drive, I do that often -- just ask wagga). I've jumped off a 3-story bridge, and once got away from a cop (I was ~17). And I have eaten roadkill. So... I drink from more water sources than Kevin. grin

The inflow into the Trail Camp tarn IS a ways off the trail, so it takes a minute or two to get there, but it isn't difficult. I'd trust that water any day.

It's a trade off whether you carry your filter that far and use it right by the trail, or walk a little distance and dip your water.

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#11294 - 03/03/11 01:12 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Steve C]
Joel M. Baldwin Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento Ca USA
There's a nice view of Trailcamp from over there, especially if you climb up a bit.
It's a beautiful spot what with the grass islands, stream flowing by, and the waterfall nearby.
Well worth the effort! smile

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#11295 - 03/03/11 02:26 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Steve C]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Steve C
I've played in traffic (heck, the way I drive, I do that often -- just ask wagga). I've jumped off a 3-story bridge, and once got away from a cop (I was ~17). And I have eaten roadkill. So... I drink from more water sources than Kevin. grin


Okay, now THIS changes the parameters as to what is considered safe. Lesseee....More dangerous: toss filter or survive Steve's maniac driving?? TOSS THE FILTER!!! You have a better chance of survival!!! eek
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#11296 - 03/03/11 03:04 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Sublatum]
Mike Condron Offline


Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 215
Loc: Now Manteca, CA
I get the Heebie-jeebies thinking about drinking water with live things swimming around in that you can see let alone the little things you can't see. I always filter my water.


Edited by Mike Condron (03/03/11 03:04 PM)
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#11299 - 03/03/11 03:46 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Mike Condron]
lynn-a-roo Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 627
Loc: OrangeCounty
I get the Heebie-jeebies thinking about drinking water with live things swimming around in that you can see let alone the little things you can't see. I always filter my water.


I hear ya, Mike, I feel the same way. I'd rather be safe than sorry later that I didn't filter my water. Water purification systems, anywhere from tablet to filters, are well worth their weight, and their weight is so minimal.

And, for the person who spoke about the weight of a filter, you made me laugh. A while back some WZ members teased me for complaining that a bear canister was too heavy, now it's my turn to tease back because a water filtration system is so very light.

We could all do what Bear Grylls does, he ties a knot in the wrist of his shirt sleeve, then places at the base of the knot charcoal from a burnt-out fire, a bit of grass on top of the charcoal and then pours water over both the charcoal and grass and let's it filter out of his shirt into his canteen.

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#11302 - 03/03/11 05:46 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Mike Condron]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Mike Condron
I get the Heebie-jeebies thinking about drinking water with live things swimming around in that you can see let alone the little things you can't see. I always filter my water.


you should see your skin under a microscope... you'd probably faint.
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#11303 - 03/03/11 08:47 PM Re: Water purification [Re: lynn-a-roo]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7871
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: lynn-a-roo
I hear ya, Mike, I feel the same way. I'd rather be safe than sorry later that I didn't filter my water. Water purification systems, anywhere from tablet to filters, are well worth their weight, and their weight is so minimal.

And, for the person who spoke about the weight of a filter, you made me laugh. A while back some WZ members teased me for complaining that a bear canister was too heavy, now it's my turn to tease back because a water filtration system is so very light.

Yeah, I saw that rant about the canister... That person has left us, but you and the rest can laugh anyway.

My point is, and Fishmonger hints at it too, that there are more likely sources than water where you can acquire those intestinal bugs. The current literature on backcountry intestinal issues always stresses cleanliness much more than the need to filter the water, at least in the high altitudes where we hike.

You are all welcome to carry a water filter, but until someone can actually FIND any evidence of water contaminated enough to make you sick, then that filter is about as useful as the T-shirt and charcoal.

I know someone who used to carry a rock hammer in his pack on every day hike. But then he was using it to slow him down enough to be comfortable hiking with all the others in his group.

I'm getting too old to carry hammers and stuff like that. It is far more enjoyable to hike with 20 lbs on my back than 30.

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#11304 - 03/03/11 09:07 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Steve C]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Steve C
You are all welcome to carry a water filter, but until someone can actually FIND any evidence of water contaminated enough to make you sick, then that filter is about as useful as the T-shirt and charcoal.


Just for clarification(unintentional pun!) I do not believe that a certain amount of folks filter their water because they are fearful of giardia, (which is extremely unlikely in the Whitney Zone, or most of the high sierra trails). Rather, it sounds like Mike, Lynne, and others just may not like pulp in their orange juice (I can still see my mother straining my juice because I was convinced that pulp was some sort of contamination)

To each his own, but I gotta say that comparing a filter to a rock hammer???? is really funny.
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#11305 - 03/03/11 09:28 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Bee]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7871
Loc: Fresno, CA
> To each his own, but I gotta say that comparing a filter to a rock hammer???? is really funny.

Ya, well, you know the dude who carried the hammer. wink

Besides, the hammer's a cheaper paper weight. smile

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#11338 - 03/04/11 04:45 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Sublatum]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
I only complain of a filters weight when it comes to long distance backpacking where everything saved is important.

And come on people, does it really matter if your steak had it's throat cut, took a slug to the chest or did a cart wheel over the hood of your car? As long as it's fresh!

Once again about filters. I once was at the Cottonwood Lakes and I had no filter and it was dark as I got my water from Lake 3 and I was drinking on it back in camp and decided to shine my flashlight on it to see lots of little things swimming around in my bottle. I can't say I enjoyed that but extra protein never hurt I guess.


Edited by RoguePhotonic (03/04/11 04:46 PM)
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#11340 - 03/04/11 06:39 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Fishmonger]
docdiamond Offline


Registered: 01/06/11
Posts: 18
Loc: Raleigh, NC
I like the seatbelt analogy. Lots of folks don't filter their water on Whitney, and don't have problems. Not a bad risk if you ask me. But I do wear my seatbelt!

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#11534 - 03/14/11 01:37 PM Re: Water purification [Re: RoguePhotonic]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
RP - I laughed so hard at your steak analogy! Nice end to my work day today. Thanks.
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#11540 - 03/14/11 04:40 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Bee]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Bee
Just for clarification(unintentional pun!) I do not believe that a certain amount of folks filter their water because they are fearful of giardia, (which is extremely unlikely in the Whitney Zone, or most of the high sierra trails).


I am fearful of giardia (because I had it, so it isn't extremely unlikely to ingest those critters in the High Sierra). I thought it would not happen to me after so many summers of drinking unfiltered water. I also read everything about that stuff, and figured I was smart enough to save me the hassle and weight of a filter. Thing is, even if you don't plan on it, sometimes you will find yourself in a place that appears safe, you'll be thirsty and suddenly you're careless and drink what you should have left alone or at least boiled or treated.

Even after a spoiled trip due to giardia, I still don't own a filter; I will just try to be even smarter and avoid sub 8000 foot Yosemite streams. However, I will buy a filter for a October Muir Trail hike I am planning - during my last September trip it was not only difficult to find clean water sources, but water in general. With a filter I would have been able to use almost all surface water. Without filter I had to go through some dry stretches.
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#11541 - 03/14/11 04:47 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Fishmonger]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Fishmonger
I am fearful of giardia (because I had it, so it isn't extremely unlikely to ingest those critters in the High Sierra).


Just curious (not interested in starting any arguments here) but when you ingested your giardia, was there any time in the previous days that you were below 10K? (My definition of "High Sierra" is anything above 10k)
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#11551 - 03/14/11 05:56 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Bee]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
since there's a 3 week incubation period, it would have been in Yosemite, where, though, I don't know. I was the only one to get sick, and we shared water almost everywhere.
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#11562 - 03/14/11 11:53 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Fishmonger]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7871
Loc: Fresno, CA
Fishmonger, not meaning to be argumentative here, but did you also eat food prepared by others in those several weeks before your symptoms? Maybe swim in a public area?

Your case sounds quite similar to the "smoking gun" case back in the 1970s -- hikers got giardia, so it was obviously the water. It has since been shown that the incubation time, and the lack of any evidence of giardia in the water in the area where they camped, point to some other source of their giardia infection. But that erroneous study started the huge rush to water filter use.

Several years ago, I had giardia. Doctor confirmed it. County health people called me. I said I had been out hiking and drinking untreated water. The person didn't even care that my hike started just four days before the first symptoms. Scientific studies show it takes 7-10 days. So I got it from someplace around home. Daycare situation, swimming pool, some fast-food -- who knows?

But based on the timing, it wasn't the water.

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#11607 - 03/15/11 06:16 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Steve C]
catpappy Offline


Registered: 03/06/10
Posts: 120
Loc: acworth, ga
My 2 cents worth real quick.

Ever since I got my drivers license in 76 I think, I would at every chance head up into the mountains of North GA and NC and go on over night / multi-day hiking trips. Never filtered, never treated the water. Never got sick. In 79 I thru hiked the AT. Never filtered, never treated the water. Did this for 5 months. Never got sick. Continued putting the miles in into the 80's drinking lots of stream and spring water.

The Southern Appalachains are a biologically rich area. Here you have thousands of species of vertebrates and invertebrates pissing and pooping all over the land and in the water. Even the amoebas, flagellates and protozoas excrete waste. Still I gladly dipped my Sierra cup and drank and never got sick.

Then in the mid 80's the ads for water filters started showing up in Outside and Backpacker. The one with the girl coyote pissing in the stream got to me I guess, and I went out and bought a Sweetwater filter, convinced that the next sip of unfiltered mountain water would be my last. Now the romance was gone. The Sierra cup sat at home on a shelf and I now filtered into a Nalgene bottle.

I did this for a few years, and then it dawned on me - wait, Giardia has been around for millions of years most likely and I never got it before. So now I'm back to dipping and drinking on the go. Most liberating. Until a weapons grade strain of Giardia evolves I'll take my mountain water as is.

PS - I do run water with a lot of particulate in it through a paper coffee filter.

John

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#11609 - 03/15/11 07:23 PM Re: Water purification [Re: catpappy]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7871
Loc: Fresno, CA
catpappy wrote:
> I did this for a few years, and then...

I can relate to that. Ten years ago, my son and our friend and did a PCT section from Tuolumne Meadows to Sonora Pass, carrying a Sweetwater filter, and pumping every drop.  Then, the filter got a bit clogged, and the pump lever broke! We thought we were really in for it!

Somehow we got through that trip without dying. Amazing!

Then I started reading on these forums about how overblown the water filter business was. Made sense.

You sure described the sensation, catpappy: liberating.

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#11610 - 03/15/11 07:31 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Steve C]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Then I started reading on these forums about how overblown the water filter business was. Made sense.


Originally Posted By: Fishmonger
I am fearful of giardia (because I had it, so it isn't extremely unlikely to ingest those critters in the High Sierra).




Fish-Man! With testimonials galore assuring us of the Shan-gri-la status of Sierra Water, one is lead to wonder: Just what crime against the Mountain Gods did you commit???!?!? confused
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#11616 - 03/16/11 04:39 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Bee]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Bee
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Then I started reading on these forums about how overblown the water filter business was. Made sense.


Originally Posted By: Fishmonger
I am fearful of giardia (because I had it, so it isn't extremely unlikely to ingest those critters in the High Sierra).




Fish-Man! With testimonials galore assuring us of the Shan-gri-la status of Sierra Water, one is lead to wonder: Just what crime against the Mountain Gods did you commit???!?!? confused


I confess. I've been bad. I've made negative comments about horses not being native to the Sierra and having no business up there other than to make us sick and to force overbuilding of trails.

I paid my debt to the mountain gods by exploring the 3rd world health system in this country:

I'll never forget the runaround to find somebody to get me antibiotics in Manteca on a weekend, or the $276 at the urgent care (which my insurance never covered - "not an authorized provider") to tell the nurse what my problem was, but first being forced to watch a blasting TV with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the waiting room for several hours, so i could spent 10 minutes with a nurse telling her what I had. She sends me to the lab across town that had already closed for the weekend while I was in their waiting room, so I went back for another waiting room session to insist on the prescription without lab report. More ridiculous TV for 2 hours in the waiting room while being ignored. Eventually another brief chat with the nurse, and $15 later I left Walgreens with 15 pills of Metronidazole (gotta get that stuff prescribed pre-hike from now on). 2 more days of apparently unchanged symptoms followed - and those are some symptoms - before I could leave town. Spent enough on the hotel to buy me water filters for the rest of my hiking days.

It felt like I was somewhere in Honduras.
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#11619 - 03/16/11 06:55 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Fishmonger]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7871
Loc: Fresno, CA
We sure have a lousy health care system. Hospital emergency rooms are just as bad. Never get sick on a weekend!

So Fish-man... did you ever get it positively identified? If not, then it could have been any number of other bugs.

In my case, I had intermittent symptoms for ~two weeks before I went to the doctor. Got a positive id, then the medication. After the first pill, I never had a symptom again. Maybe mine was a light case -- I don't know for sure if there can be light or bad cases.

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#11620 - 03/16/11 07:28 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Steve C]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Steve C

So Fish-man... did you ever get it positively identified? If not, then it could have been any number of other bugs.

In my case, I had intermittent symptoms for ~two weeks before I went to the doctor. Got a positive id, then the medication. After the first pill, I never had a symptom again. Maybe mine was a light case -- I don't know for sure if there can be light or bad cases.


if it was another bug, and your experience is "normal," then there's an even bigger problem out there. No, I didn't find out what it was for sure - never had reason for the biopsy, since on the Monday when the lab opened, things were starting to show progress. I'd probably be out a few hundred dollars more if I had bothered to get that bipopsy.

My case was textbook giardia according to the nurse, and it wasn't a one pill recovery thing - in fact, things kept getting worse initially following the first two or three pills. It was at least a 5 day recovery. The whole experience was like a "body flush." Symptoms? You don't want the details, but let's just say you're not going to get a lot of sleep for a while, and you don't want to drink, even though you know you're getting dehydrated. It's the most insane thing I ever experienced and I am glad it was me and not one of my kids who got it.

what may have worsened my case was that I did have intermittent symptoms and used immodium to counteract them. I recall first having issues 2+ weeks before exiting the mountains. Learned later that immodium only helps these buggers to multiply by slowing the body's response to get rid of them. Once they are then established at a larger count, things get extreme.

Bascially, use immodium with extreme caution - it may be a brief relief, but if there is a chance you are dealing with giardia, you may just be compounding the problem by giving these critters time to multiply exponentially.
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#11621 - 03/16/11 07:43 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Fishmonger]
Mike Condron Offline


Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 215
Loc: Now Manteca, CA
It may not be 100% effective but I filter because I hope to filter out all the human bits that may be in the water. Upstream bathing, crapping in waterways, too close to the waters edge, etc. A bit of shit in a barrel of wine makes it a barrel of shit.
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#11622 - 03/16/11 07:46 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Mike Condron]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2249
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
I'm getting symptoms just reading this thread!
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#11624 - 03/16/11 08:33 AM Re: Water purification [Re: wagga]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: wagga
I'm getting symptoms just reading this thread!


that's just the radiation coming in from the west...
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#11705 - 03/18/11 01:52 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Steve C]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
Quote:
We sure have a lousy health care system.

While I do understand what you are saying (Cynthia and I have done more than one ER visit in the past year or two), try living in Cambodia, where I spent two weeks this summer. It will quickly realign your perspective.

CaT
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