- Stonehouse Camp: Water flow GOOD (Updated: 6/20/2013)
- Third Stream Crossing / Camp: Water flow GOOD (updated: 6/20/2013)
- Commanche Camp: Water flow LOW (Updated: 6/20/2013)
Always treat drinking water from backcountry sources
Water sources may be contaminated by unseen pollutants.
While the clear water in that cold mountain stream may look inviting, there may be a number of harmful parasites or bacteria floating in it. Particularly troublesome is Giardia lamblia, a microscopic parasite that can be found in fresh waters. Ingestion of Giardia causes intestinal discomfort, diarrhea, and cramps that may last several months. To avoid the risk of ingesting this organism, treat all water before drinking it.
Water treatment methods include:
Water filters. The most convenient method of water treatment is a lightweight filtration system consisting of a pump and filter material capable of trapping Giardia. Though somewhat expensive, the filtration system is an increasingly popular alternative. Read the label to see if the filter is effective against Giardia.
Iodine. Iodine tablets (Potable Aqua) or solution of iodine (Polar Pure) is far cheaper, easy to use, lightweight, and take up hardly any space in a pack. Iodine treatment can take 20 minutes or longer, and the effectiveness is lessened in cold or murky water. Read the label to see if the manufacturer guarantees the effectiveness against Giardia, and follow directions for use. Chemical treatment can give a mild unpleasant taste to the water. If desired, add powdered, flavored drink mix to the water to improve the taste. (Note that iodine can have unwanted health consequences, especially in people with thyroid disease, pregnant women, and individuals with shellfish allergies.)
Chlorine based treatment. An alternative to iodine is chlorine based products commercially sold for water treatment (Aquamira). Just as easy to use as iodine with out the potential downsides of iodine. Household chlorine bleach should not be used as there are no accepted dosage instructions fro treating water in the backcountry.
- Boiling water. Keep water at a boil for at least one minute (up to five minutes at high altitudes). Boiling water is a reliable method of destroying Giardia.