Je suis retourné
I will try to how you say écrivez escribe schreiben write in my très pauvre anglais to convey to you my beautiful badass tour (ahh, I love your colorful but quaint idiom Américaine) in your wonderful montagnes sauvages. Like all challenging endeavors, it was peigner la girafe but also pas piqué des hannetons. Useless but great (Français is very verbose).
About 150 km (95 mi.) in 4 days. This would not seem so very interesting except for the fact that only 12 km was done on trail. Significant route finding was required. Longest day was 13 hours, shortest, about 9. As I had earlier alluded on this thread, I linked up some Haute Route sections with significant rerouting to bring me to remoter and higher areas in the Haute Montagnes. The route essentially followed very near the crest along the boundry country of a noted American Nat’l Park starting at a bottomless dusty trailhead, not far as the petit oiseau flies from a prominent Obelisk and ending at a large motorboat strewn lake, a ferry crossing, followed by a hitch hike to dinner at my favorite funky resort.
Snow on some of the N or NE facing climber’s passes made for some interesting challenges. I decided at the last moment to not carry my Ice Axe, which would have pushed the weight carrying capabilities of the MLD pack I used a little too much (I should look into the Helix). This was generally ok except for a couple of off trail “passes”, on one of which I had to negotiate a pitch or so of 4th-ish class rock to get around an extremely steep and bulletproof snow gully, the other, I downclimbed some very steep talus before reentering a 20-25 degree snowfield executing a standing glissade in best style w/ trekking poles (flexxy!) helping me crank several sets of unlikely “turns” before a pert hockey stop at the bottom. This, at least, had a safe runout and was done in the afternoon w/ at least a veneer of soft snow on top.
The route, although it jumped across the crest several times was for long stretches essentially cirque-hopping. Many of the lakes had huge trout and if I were a fishing sort of homme, dinner was for the taking. No bugs and hungry fish. The night sky was fantastique. Nowhere could the skywatching privileges of tentless camping be better appreciated. The Milky Way was so vivid as to be able to make out it’s various whorls and contours and see it whirl across the night. Merde! Mon Anglais has come back in the form of La Prose Pourpre.
Soloing was fun---I go at my own pace, responsible to no one and get to indulge in vices like singing out loud selections from the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’m sure the resident Pika population has yet to recover.
The equipment I used on the trip performed well. I wouldn’t add or subtract significantly from the gearlist except for maybe swapping out food. Due to a shipping glitch, I was unable to get the MLD Revelation on time and so I subbed my Prophet 25. The pack felt weightless, thanks to a competently packed bag and well designed shoulder straps. The sternum strap stabilized the pack to my content. The Arc bag/ MLD epic bivy sack combo was all I really needed on the trip, there was no precip, and kept me snug down to the lows I encountered @ 28 degrees. Condensation was minimal.I wore my windshirt at night. A MLD tarp was pitched on 2 of the nights--- one night was very windy w/ continuous 20 knot winds gusting to over 40. By rights, I should either have picked a more sheltered site or staked the tarp w/ more anchoring points but the tarp, though very noisy, did not tear.
The Montrails were fantastically stable and grippy. The BMW insulated pullover and the Montane Featherlite pants performed stalwart service. and were worth their weight in, well, Pertex.
The Suunto X6 was all I needed for navigation along w/ my custom topo.
My appetite never really picked up and I had to force myself to down sufficient calories----I lost 10 pounds. Kudos to Trader Joe’s Golden Berry blend ( raisons, cranberries and blueberries), Wasabi covered cashews and Peet’s chocolate covered espresso beans--- which were extremely satisfying on the trip. All hail the ubiquitous dried mango. I need to rethink my general energy bar and nut selections, for enhanced edibility under physical duress.
Thank you, Science, for Ibuprofen. It made for good sleeping on a non-inflatable pad.
My food hanging technique--- rock chock hung Ursalite w/ barrier bag on large talus blocks and rock faces was as effective as any canister (for the umpteenth time) and well suited to the circumstances. The solution is not for everyone----one must be a good boulderer and not choose places that will incite the local authorities.
As to the policies to compel the carrying of the boîte plastique d'ours, the canisters for the furry guys, in above timberline areas of no problem bear activities-------
By all means, fine people up the kazoo for sloppy food storage techniques but the bears that play around bear canisters and are ripping apart the hybrid Ursacks (now up to 3 in Yosemite, alone) are already spoiled bears and their behavior will not be modified. Ever. Except by l’morte.
As for me, I will carry a canister in areas of low or no bad bear activity, where legally mandated, Tous les 36 du mois. That is to say---Quand les poules auront des dents!
Now I expect that this philosophy will Ça va chier des bulles but so mote it be. I do respect the work of the SIBBG and I hope that approval of the hybrid Ursack in some form will continue to stand, if just for the sake of thruhikers. But the only way to dance SUL in this realm is the danse interdite (secrètement).
SUL backpaking----C'est le pied. Meaning both that it’s great and (literally) “it’s the foot”!
cordially “Homme Sauvage” Davidson