I'd like to add the infamous Crib Goch "trail" to the list, which is a ridge leading up to the summit of Snowdon (the highest mountain in Wales, UK). Dunno why it has trail status, because as you can see it's a long way from being something you walk upon. It's something you crawl along. As I know only too well, the photo above is reversed (or the climber is heading *down* the ridge, not upwards).
20 odd years ago, a desperately ill-prepared Ric Capucho was egged on to do this on his own (by someone with military training in the hotel bar who should have known far better; "I just did it today, not as hard as they say"), without crampons or icepicks or any other equipment other than a stout pair of walking boots. It was an early Easter that year, so conditions (snow, ice) were pretty much as you see then in this photo I found online. Maybe more pronounced snow cornices along the ridge when I was up there. And the mist on the photo disguises the obvious sliding drop just a few degrees off the vertical that would have yer sliding down on yer bum to a terrrible death 1,000+ feet below.
Anyways, the razor thinness of the ridge goes on for many hundreds of feet and from memory improves and then declined 2-3 times. There was a patch around half way along where my uncrampons boots had to use someone else's crampon holes to "walk" left to right along the steep slope an armhold below the ridge itself. My left leg always had to slide awkwardly between the slope and right leg, but then again my right leg had the pioneering duties finding the next hole. There were hand holes above me, but quite shallow and far from being the right shape and profile to allow yer fingers to really take a good grip. But in areas where the cornice had broken, I could use the top of the ridge itself as a grip.
I think the former traverser must have been much taller than me (I'm 5'9ish) because there were many spots where the top of the ridge was a few inches beyond my hands, so my hands used the useless hand holes, or even rested flat on the slope. And of course on the corniced stretches it was the hand holes or nothing, And it was in one of those spots where I realised that the next crampon hole was beyond my left leg. And my right leg was doing more important duties such as stopping me from plunging into the abyss. I had to either return the way I'd come or somehow switch legs before I could proceed. Ahh well, back I go... only the former hole was likewise beyond the reach of my right leg.
So I was stuck in limbo, neither leg able to reach any hole left or right of me, my hands resting in shallow indentations in the slope above me (rock hard snow/ice, so can't create proper hand holes), on my own, in late winter, on the most dangerous "hiking" ridge anywhere in the UK with no hope of passing traffic. It was a Sunday, so I'd expect the next (and better prepared) hiker to have found me sometime the next month.
That was the day I died...
Only it wasn't, because desperate people cook up desperate plans. I decided to use the little hand friction I had to sort of "slide me up" the slope a little, allowing me to cross my legs, and hopefully both feet would slip back into their respective holes before the little friction my hands had would be overwhelmed and I'd slide down down down where I suppose a passing helicopter might spot my broken body some days or weeks later.
I had a few personal problems at the time, and it did cross my mind that this might wrap them up in a few moments. But truth is, I wasn't ready to die yet, so best if this worked out.
I mentally prepared the move, repeating it over and over, making sure each hand, arm, leg, foot knew the plot of the story in muscle memory. Over and over like an obsessive compulsive, until I realised I'd run out of excuses.
So I attempted it... which was the second time I died that day... only it worked.
To this day, I don't know how, but it worked. My legs crossed, my feet slotted firmly into the holes, the friction didn't let go in my hands, and I didn't die.
So onwards, McDuff, and the ridge narrowed here and there, but I never found myself in anything like as desperate a situation. Further on the ridge becomes something you can truly walk on, and further on again I found myself on the rather unimpressive Snowdon summit. It even has (the shame of it) a small train station, which I would have gladly used if it'd been running that time of year. It wasn't, so I hiked down... the safe, tourist trail.
I had another narrow scrape a few years later during my private pilot training (not my fault) which was the third time I've died (but didn't), but that day on that ridge remains the most dangerous thing I've ever done or ever plan on doing.
Watch out for big mouths in bars. There were plenty of spots up on that ridge where I'd have seen clear signs of recent passage. The crampon and hand holes were weeks old. The bast@rd had lied to me, of course. He'd never been up there in a month of sundays, and never would. But he'd brag a 28 year old boy onto doing it. The bast@rd.