Close Calls in the Sheep Mountains...

Snyd

WKR
Joined
Feb 10, 2013
Messages
809
Location
AK
So lets hear em. I’ll start with a couple.

First sheep hunt for me 20 years ago, my buddy drew DCUA. We were 4 days into the hunt and had hiked in 20 miles. He shot a ram late in the day a few miles and a couple steep drainiges away from the tent. I had half the ram in the bottom of a borrowed Barneys frame pack. The bar that goes up over your head was installed on the frame. As we we were scrambling up the last steep, rocky/boulder strewn slope in the dark I got to a spot where I could stand upright instead of “4 footin” it. As I stood up the the weight in the bottom of the pack leveraged me over backwards. I fell backwards downhill, my feet went over my head and I landed on my feet facing uphill as though it was some sort of acrobatic move. The bar on top of the pack frame over my head acted like a roll bar. I had a pistol on my belt, no rifle on the pack and no trekking poles in hands. Whew… that was a close one!



Same partner years later we were 12ish miles into sheep country and stalking a ram. We had dropped our packs and trekking poles and were “4 footin” it up a steep, narrow couloir. I took a step and the ground gave way under my left foot, my left hip landed where my foot was and my left arm was extended. I felt the pain and heard the sickening sound of my shoulder dislocating as I was sliding down the slope. I was digging in my boots and was able to self arrest. My buddy was below off to the side watching, I hollered to him I’d dislocated my shoulder. He scrambled up to me and I told him what to do to put it back in (reduce it) I had dislocated my other one years previous skiing. We got it back in. Circulation, motion and sensation was good. He scrambled down and brought me back a trekking pole. I put my rifle on my right shoulder, grabbed the strap with my left hand and used a trekking pole in my right hand. We continued on with the stalk, rams were long gone. We carried on with the rest of the hunt, Motrin during the day, muscle relaxer or pain killers at night. Whew…that was a close one. I think what saved me from going to the bottom was having plastic mountaineering boots. My Ski Patrol training/knowledge of Outdoor Emergency Care and having a partner there meant we could deal with the injury.

Then of course there was the time the tent and our gear got blown off the mountain but that's a different story.
 

easttex

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
180
Buddy and I were taking a nap on a ledge of a cliff. Woke up to a buzzard 10'or 12' away trying to land. Was that a near death experience ?
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2013
Messages
597
Hunting Ibex in Kyrgyzstan horse back.

We had a storm roll in reducing visibility to mere feet. My horse hated me. She was a stocky mare named Bismilda. She kept slipping and falling on the steep and icy slopes with me on her back. I was so unnerved that I tried to hike but couldn’t generate traction with my boots. Everywhere was a long steep icy slope over looking tall cliffs. My guides did not speak English, but from what I understood the storm was bad enough the horses couldn’t get out of the mountains if we didn’t evacuate then.

At one big stream crossing I had a bad feeling. I insisted that I get off and cross the stream on foot. 30 seconds later I watched the horse I was riding slip on and icy rock, fall ass over tea kettle on her back in the icy stream, right on top of the saddle. She layed in the stream, not moving, for 5 whole minutes. The guides damn near had to winch the horse out to get it moving again. I don’t know what would have happened if I would have stayed in the saddle, but it would have been a bad outcome even best case scenario.

Even after that I still had to ride the horse to get out of the mountains. She slipped and fell a few more times through the day and night. Around 2am we got to a lower elevation with no snow, overnighting at a sheep hearders cabin. I still hate horses.
 

TxxAgg

WKR
Joined
Dec 27, 2019
Messages
2,054
Sounds like I'm not tough enough to be a sheep hunter. Keep the stories coming!
 

cbeard64

WKR
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
357
Location
Corsicana, Texas
These are the trails left by horses and men after riding off the wrong mountain face (instead of the one the horse trail was on) after darkness caught us while we were trying to make it to a remote camp.

Amazingly, though gear was scattered all over the mountainside, no man or horse was seriously injured during the melee. We camped at the bottom of the canyon that night.

29E7786E-8781-4130-942F-4AFD39650A05.jpeg
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2015
Messages
1,228
Location
British Columbia
We had eyes on a potentially legal ram the prior day across the valley. In the morning we located the ram at 5am and then made a move across the valley. This involved 3,600ft down our ridge top and another 3,900 up the next mountain. We went light and finally found the ram at 6pm. He was at 363 yards and 37 degrees downhill. After an hour of looking we finally aged him at 7. Oh well, that’s sheep hunting, it was time to go back to camp.

98C00BFA-06AF-4041-B63F-408B677D33E9.jpeg

By sunset at 9:30pm I was starting to get a bit delusional and my partner and I had lost each other. I was soon falling apart and started uncontrollably vomiting on the way back up towards camp. I got myself together a bit and kept asking myself how do I improve my situation. Thankfully we had found some water left over from the recent rains on a rock a couple of hours earlier. I decided to down most of my water I was bringing back to camp and to rehydrate some Heathers Choice salmon. No stove I decided to put it under my clothes.

0A61FA42-631C-4057-A359-B36594520078.jpeg

With my meal “rewarming” I made the decision to not guess my way back up to camp in the dark. Over half the chutes back to camp led to a cliff out and with the current state I was in I decided to stay put. However, I knew there was a grizz and cubs in the valley bottom as we had just seen them yesterday but I felt the cliffs could be certain death in the dark. I found a bush to keep me from rolling down the mountain and laid willows down to act as a bed. In the hustle of setting up camp I accidentally let the meal explode inside my shirt. Great, I’ve got food all over me. I downed what was left of the non re-hydrated meal, put the rifle on my side and went to bed.

41FF737E-BC68-4FC1-AE22-96277C1A40A1.jpeg

I knew from mountaineering that even closing your eyes but not actually sleeping still afforded the body rest. Thankfully I had my 7 piece clothing system per Barklow. It made the night fairly bearable. By 5am I felt myself again, put together a plan on FATMAP, and took off. By 11am I was finally back at camp in one piece.

Man, I learned a lot on that one.

C1E54850-3DBC-4FA5-874C-0A8A11C3D354.jpeg
 

Danomite

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Dec 8, 2016
Messages
193
Location
New Mexico
A couple years ago a buddy and I were Barbary sheep hunting in southern NM. We saw a group and decided to try a stalk. There was a small knob between us and them and if we could quietly get around the knob we’d be in shooting range. We had put away trekking poles and were carrying rifles. We were making our way around the side of the knob and I was looking up expecting to sheep any second. I stepped on a baseball sized rock with my left foot and went down hard on my right side, still wearing my pack. I put my right hand out instinctively and it hit a very sharp rock, cutting my hand at the base of the pinky. In the moment I just got the bleeding stopped and wrapped up. We never found the sheep. After returning to camp that night I decided to unwrap my hand and clean it. Upon further inspection, I could see the bone. I decided to drive the 3 hours to the nearest medical facility, arriving about 9 pm. After 13 stitches I got out of the hospital at 230 am and hit the nearest roach motel for a couple hours of sleep, then drove back the next morning and hunted 4 more days. Never did kill a sheep that trip.0C9B589C-181A-4CBF-97EE-187A091CBED3.jpeg
 

Sourdough

WKR
Joined
Oct 23, 2013
Messages
499
Location
In a cabin, on a mountain, in "Wilderness" Alaska.
Four days on a shelf 30 foot down in a crevasse on the Robertson Glacier, trapped under four & half feet of snow. That was the first time in Alaska history the F&G allowed National Guard to find and extract Dall Sheep hunters. This was in early September.

Another year guiding a Dall Sheep hunter in early September, on "Rip'Snorter" mountain, out of Clark Engles camp. The night of the first day of the hunt, we got four feet of very heavy wet snow. At very first light a super great pilot named "Gator" buzzed us, came around & made two "touch and goes" on skies building a semi-packed landing area, screamed at me for my hunter to grab his rifle and sleeping bag "ONLY" and be ready in ten minutes, he then made one more landing and go'around extending the strip with his "Landis" skies.

Came around and was screaming for the hunter to get in. Yelled at me to abort the entire camp, be ready for me my personal gear "ONLY" and that he would be back in 40 minutes. When he took off with me, he had to circle around and come back over the camp, just as we got abreast of camp, a thundering avalanche buried everything. Hunter and I would have surely died. Back at base camp (the lovely lodge) two days later someone said, look there is a beautiful moose on the runway, in a mega-second I grabbed my hunter and whispered in his ear, "grab your rifle, and follow me". While heading out the door, I asked if he would like a moose. He said is that legal....???

He shot the moose about 70 yards from the lodge. The best thing was, this is a large guiding operation, with many guides. I was considered an old man by the young guides; they basically elbowed me away and five or seven of them caped and processed the moose. There were snow machines to pack the moose.

In extracting other camps, they had to leave three beautiful over full curl harvested rams on the mountains.

There are at least a dozen more. Including mid September sheep, grizzly, caribou, wolf hunt in western Brooks Range, the extraction C-185 lunched a cylinder, and by to time they had it fixed (five days) we were low on food, and the lake we were on had two inches of ice, not conducive for float plane. For three days they flew out of Bettles and kept breaking up the ice. Finally got us out.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2021
Messages
471
Back pack hunting solo 14km's in. This is in Alberta at the end of October about a foot of snow and -15 C . Climbed up a side canyon following 5 rams. I was some where around 20 feet from the edge when began to slide ,dug in with my hands and feet ,slid and slid. Thought this is it, my life is over. I finally stopped just inches from going over basically a sheer 150 foot cliff. I crawled up and sat on a rock for about half an hour recovering from the panic. Finally talked to myself and decided that I needed to be careful because there is no room for error when you are alone. I did stay and finish out three more days of my hunt.
 
OP
Snyd

Snyd

WKR
Joined
Feb 10, 2013
Messages
809
Location
AK
Wow, great stories guys. Keep em comin. We've all been fortunate to make it out alive. I know of a few here in Alaska that didn't. May they Rest In Peace.
 

eddielasvegas

WKR & Chairman of the Rokslide Welcoming Committee
Classified Approved
Joined
Feb 2, 2020
Messages
3,336
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
Good stories and I enjoying reading them.

I think I'll stick to elk hunting. Hahaha.


Eddie
 

S-3 ranch

WKR
Joined
Jan 18, 2022
Messages
1,029
Location
Sisterdale Texas / Hillcounrty
A buddy and I where sheep hunting up the pecos river
when we started getting cliffed out , the trail was getting pretty rough and thin
and I got spooked, he called me a big puss , and said he would go first,
about 50ft later the trail gave way, and he fell about 20-30 feet straight into some jagged rocks and crushed his ankle, I couldn’t move him , so I hiked back to the boat and made it back to the launch, got a 911 call in and the game warden and about 6 others took 7 hours to evacuate him, then he chartered a plane to fly him to Houston for surgery, I have been on many sheep trips since but learned that only fools go where angels fear to trek , / when climbing know your limits and trust your own instinct 603D0C2E-FF7F-47B5-9D46-3687DFDADEE3.jpegF80B6761-4A2F-4E4F-B214-819450D21646.jpeg
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2013
Messages
597
Four days on a shelf 30 foot down in a crevasse on the Robertson Glacier, trapped under four & half feet of snow. That was the first time in Alaska history the F&G allowed National Guard to find and extract Dall Sheep hunters. This was in early September.

Another year guiding a Dall Sheep hunter in early September, on "Rip'Snorter" mountain, out of Clark Engles camp. The night of the first day of the hunt, we got four feet of very heavy wet snow. At very first light a super great pilot named "Gator" buzzed us, came around & made two "touch and goes" on skies building a semi-packed landing area, screamed at me for my hunter to grab his rifle and sleeping bag "ONLY" and be ready in ten minutes, he then made one more landing and go'around extending the strip with his "Landis" skies.

Came around and was screaming for the hunter to get in. Yelled at me to abort the entire camp, be ready for me my personal gear "ONLY" and that he would be back in 40 minutes. When he took off with me, he had to circle around and come back over the camp, just as we got abreast of camp, a thundering avalanche buried everything. Hunter and I would have surely died. Back at base camp (the lovely lodge) two days later someone said, look there is a beautiful moose on the runway, in a mega-second I grabbed my hunter and whispered in his ear, "grab your rifle, and follow me". While heading out the door, I asked if he would like a moose. He said is that legal....???

He shot the moose about 70 yards from the lodge. The best thing was, this is a large guiding operation, with many guides. I was considered an old man by the young guides; they basically elbowed me away and five or seven of them caped and processed the moose. There were snow machines to pack the moose.

In extracting other camps, they had to leave three beautiful over full curl harvested rams on the mountains.

There are at least a dozen more. Including mid September sheep, grizzly, caribou, wolf hunt in western Brooks Range, the extraction C-185 lunched a cylinder, and by to time they had it fixed (five days) we were low on food, and the lake we were on had two inches of ice, not conducive for float plane. For three days they flew out of Bettles and kept breaking up the ice. Finally got us out.
You Alaskan sheep guys are something else. Always have the best and craziest stories.
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2017
Messages
2,046
Location
Eagle River, AK
Was packing a sheep down with a buddy. Of course we took and unknown short cut that we hoped wouldn’t get cliffed out. We got to the edge above the glacier and finally found a rockslide that we could get down.

I was sitting on top of the slide while my buddy with the pistol went first so as to not kick rocks on him. My rifle was strapped to my pack while I ate a snack and waited my turn.

With mouth full I look back along the trail we had just walked and saw a mature brown bear running straight at me! Coming from downwind. I immediately start ripping my rifle off the pack but a pack strap snags on the scope and won’t come off! I brace for impact and thoughts of fighting for my life flash through my head.

A split second later the bear diverts and runs in front of me at 10 yds and hits the rockslide. Waves of relief wash over me, then anger as I finally get my rifle free.

As the bear hits the slide rocks start falling down towards my buddy, who at first thought I was kicking them down, only to see the Grizz crossing above him.

I fire off a couple hasty rounds as the bear continues to run away.

I learned my lesson to always have bear protection at hand. Happens so fast there is not enough time with out immediate action.
 

jhm2023

WKR
Joined
Jan 2, 2018
Messages
635
Location
Delta Junction, AK.
Fresh out of a military mountaineering course and now on my first sheep hunt, a fly out into the northwest Brooks for sheep and caribou. My buddy and I were hiking back to the strip on August 12th to drop off meat and restock on food we left at the strip before shooting up another drainage. He had killed a ram on opening day and we were running low on food. Roughly 5 miles from the strip, I look up and spot an incredible double broomer with heavy bases. I didn't need to look long to know I wanted to try for him.

We came up with the best possible route up the mountain to get within range of him in his rock fortress. My buddy would be staying in the river bed watching through the spotter and giving me hand and arm signals. The best way to stay out of sight and get above him while keeping the wind in my favor was up a talus slope. I made it about 2,000 up the mountain, meticulously checking the large rocks for stability before trusting them with my weight, mostly climbing on hands and feet at this point due to the incline. One rather large rock, close to 6' in length, decided to move when I stepped up onto it. It slid out from under me causing me to fall backwards and onto my back, feet up hill. The rock above it tumbled landing on my leg before crashing down within inches of my head. Lucky for me the curvature of the rock kept it from crushing my knee, leaving me with only some good bruising and some scrapes.

I regained myself and tried picking another route up, but it was more of the same. I sucked it up and kept pushing up the mountain when I encounters another similar spot. Now having lost sight of my buddy and facing another precarious obstacle similar to the one that almost killed me, I decided it best to find an alternate route and head down the mountain.

Back at the bottom, I told him what had happened when he informed me that he couldn't see me, but heard the rocks fall and that the ram had slipped out the back shortly after. I never saw that ram again and he will always be the one that got away and crosses my mind often. It's always a mix of regret for not trying for him again and thinking I made the right call. A 370" caribou rode back with me in the cub that trip, so not all was bad, and lessons were learned. This trip started the addiction for me, not only with the sheep, but the places they live and the solitude and experiences I find there. I've returned to the sheep mountains every year since, except one due to work. There have been plenty other close calls on sheep and goat hunts, but this one was the closest for me.jago.jpg
 
Last edited:

Seeknelk

WKR
Joined
Jul 10, 2017
Messages
789
Location
NW MT
Four days on a shelf 30 foot down in a crevasse on the Robertson Glacier, trapped under four & half feet of snow. That was the first time in Alaska history the F&G allowed National Guard to find and extract Dall Sheep hunters. This was in early September.

Another year guiding a Dall Sheep hunter in early September, on "Rip'Snorter" mountain, out of Clark Engles camp. The night of the first day of the hunt, we got four feet of very heavy wet snow. At very first light a super great pilot named "Gator" buzzed us, came around & made two "touch and goes" on skies building a semi-packed landing area, screamed at me for my hunter to grab his rifle and sleeping bag "ONLY" and be ready in ten minutes, he then made one more landing and go'around extending the strip with his "Landis" skies.

Came around and was screaming for the hunter to get in. Yelled at me to abort the entire camp, be ready for me my personal gear "ONLY" and that he would be back in 40 minutes. When he took off with me, he had to circle around and come back over the camp, just as we got abreast of camp, a thundering avalanche buried everything. Hunter and I would have surely died. Back at base camp (the lovely lodge) two days later someone said, look there is a beautiful moose on the runway, in a mega-second I grabbed my hunter and whispered in his ear, "grab your rifle, and follow me". While heading out the door, I asked if he would like a moose. He said is that legal....???

He shot the moose about 70 yards from the lodge. The best thing was, this is a large guiding operation, with many guides. I was considered an old man by the young guides; they basically elbowed me away and five or seven of them caped and processed the moose. There were snow machines to pack the moose.

In extracting other camps, they had to leave three beautiful over full curl harvested rams on the mountains.

There are at least a dozen more. Including mid September sheep, grizzly, caribou, wolf hunt in western Brooks Range, the extraction C-185 lunched a cylinder, and by to time they had it fixed (five days) we were low on food, and the lake we were on had two inches of ice, not conducive for float plane. For three days they flew out of Bettles and kept breaking up the ice. Finally got us out.
I've got so many questions but I'll just ask about the Avalanche. Had the pilot saw or heard of something? Or? Neat stories and lessons from you guys!
 
Top