GOING DOWN THE SWITCHBACKS
The switchbacks are a section of the trail that begin right at the trail head parking area. It is by far the most difficult part of the trip. Take your time. The switchback portion of the trail takes about an hour.
The Switchbacks are in the eastern wall of a near vertical cliff face. There is about 2500 ft of elevation change in a very short distance. Going down is much easier than coming back up.
Going down has it’s own hazards and difficulties. Every few yards there is a step created by a railroad tie or concrete. I assume to control erosion? Your knee and hip joints can take a pounding, especially if you are pack heavy.
If you didn’t fit your footwear properly. Or break your footwear in well. Or trim your toe nails as we suggested You will probably find out in the first hour of your journey some of the problems you will have. The people that end up with blisters or toenail issue will have the problems start showing up here. If something doesn’t feel right, attend to it right then. Don’t keep hiking without addressing what might turn into something major like a blister or detached toenail.
Those that didn’t trim their toenails, or fit their footwear properly, with find going downhill will bring up all kinds of ill prepared problems. Downhill trekking will naturally have your foot trying to slide into the toe of your footwear. Many peel their toenails off, or bruise them so bad the end up having them come off days later.
HEADING UP THE SWITCHBACKS
Nothing can prepare you for the climb. It is difficult. Heavy packs, and summer heat, in the sun make it down right miserable for many.
Many that backpack in, will pay and use a pack animal on the way out.
You better have plenty of drinking water. In the summer heat, even more.
During summer months it is highly advisable to start hiking as early as possible. That way you are up the switchbacks before they are in full sun.
With constant uphill trudging, and railroad tie steps, the ascend many will feel the physical workout. When you can hear your heat beat pounding in your ears, it is time to take a rest and sip some water.
Take your time and rest often. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water.