Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes
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Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/07/2006 15:58:24 MST Print View

Wondering if any one knows of any Records/ Info for any of the triple crown hikes, AT/CDT/PCT by folks going unsupported (no help from crews) and with the fewest resupplies. Could the entire AT be done with only five or even four resupplies? Could all of the 550m in VA be done in one push? What would the starting weights and miles per day need to be? How long to complete? How crazy to try? Gear lists?

Edited by mountainlaureldesigns on 11/07/2006 15:59:00 MST.

R K
(oiboyroi) - M

Locale: South West US
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/07/2006 16:59:23 MST Print View

Ron,

Andrew Skurka attemted to do between 700-850 miles without resupply this past summer but had to call it off due to recurring injuries. Andy has a very informative site that may answer some of your questions.

here's a link to Andy's "How far how fast challenge".

Edited by oiboyroi on 11/07/2006 21:04:48 MST.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/07/2006 18:55:30 MST Print View

I think the AT can be done in two resupplies by a very strong person.

Doing it in one might be close to inhuman.

Jeffrey Kuchera
(frankenfeet)

Locale: Great Lakes
My 2 cents on 11/15/2006 20:28:47 MST Print View

I feel that a thru hike of the entire appalachian trail with as few as three resupplies is definitely attainable as well as feasible. I feel this could be accomplished in as few as 70 days traveling about 30 miles a day. Dr. J's suggestion of two resupplies for this hike just doesn't seem feasible although it may be attainable if one is in awesome shape and driven by the fires of hell.

Edited by frankenfeet on 11/15/2006 20:41:38 MST.

Jeffrey Kuchera
(frankenfeet)

Locale: Great Lakes
Shattering perceptions on 11/15/2006 20:50:20 MST Print View

Ron, A unsupported thru hike with four or five resupplies would be huge news in the AT community. Most thru hikers on the AT re-up about twenty times. Even four or five resupplies would shatter many peoples perception of what is possible during a thru hike of the AT.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: My 2 cents on 11/15/2006 21:14:02 MST Print View

>> Dr. J's suggestion of two resupplies for this hike just doesn't seem feasible although it may be attainable if one is in awesome shape and driven by the fires of hell.

2,100 miles. 700 miles per resupply. ALL BLAZED TRAIL.

I know, I know, AT thru's enter stage left:

"Elevation gain, Pennsylvania rocks, humidity, shelter mice..."

Roman Dial walked 622 miles across the Arctic with no resupply, no trails, tundra. And I think he enjoyed it. Driven by the fires of hell? Is Roman a freak of nature? Not at all. He's in great shape, yes, an experienced walker, yes, has a drive, yes!

The challenge with the AT @ 700x3 is that you have to do it x3!

But c'mon, we're ripe and ready? Anybody want a sponsor? :) :)

Ry

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/15/2006 22:12:43 MST Print View

This should be easy. Start when the days are longest and it is warm. Then walk 8 hours, sleep 4, walk 8, etc. If I averaged 2 to 2.5 miles an hour it would seem that I could travel about 30 plus miles a day. SUL pack and most of the weight would be food. About 30 pounds of food at the start of each 700 mile segment. Total Thru-Hike of about 68 days. A piece of cake. But no record.

Jeffrey Kuchera
(frankenfeet)

Locale: Great Lakes
Departure and direction of travel on 11/15/2006 22:42:23 MST Print View

Didn't mean to start a holy war over one resupply. Shelter mice! Ha ha Dr. J very funny. Moving on however... What would you consider to be the optimum departure time and direction of travel? I would think that a northbound hiker departing April 1st would be afforded the best oppurtunity at a 700x3 attempt. One could avoid both the need for a heavier cold weather rig and water shortages of late summer in New York and PA.

Jeffrey Kuchera
(frankenfeet)

Locale: Great Lakes
Howdy Bill! on 11/15/2006 22:54:46 MST Print View

Bill I think the record or accomplished feat would lie in the fact that one will be unsupported and only resupply two times. The 68 days would certainly not be any kind of speed record to cover the distance of the trail. I am not aware of any unsupported hiker covering the kind of distance we are talking about with so few resupplys ever. You do raise a interesting point- Is it possible to shatter AT speed records on an unsupported hike with two resupplies.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Departure and direction of travel on 11/15/2006 22:58:37 MST Print View

If it were me I would start as early as possible from the south, to avoid snow.

The cold could be your ally in terms of not overheating so you can maintain a good pace. Whether you ditch two pounds of gear or not won't matter when you're pack weight is laden with a LOT of food.

In a low snow year, a March 10 start could get you wrapped up by late May which requires low snow in NH and ME. An April 1 start would not be governed by snow conditions in the south, but may be required if snow is high in NH, because you'll be up there so quickly.

Here's the other option worth considering. Start from the Katahdin LATE and just beat the winter snow in NC...In some (low snow) years, you could have started Sep 1 in ME, and arrive GA mid-Dec and never see snow pile up, but you risk no H2O in NY/PA doing that...

Jeffrey Kuchera
(frankenfeet)

Locale: Great Lakes
Digging Southbound Option. on 11/15/2006 23:41:34 MST Print View

I think you are onto something with the second option. A late southbound would probably provide a hiker with the best weather for this record attempt as there would be no concern of serious snow and the temps would be cool and comfortable. Having to haul a little extra water at times in NY/PA wouldn't be too bad. As long as the record attempt was not made during the year of a drought I really dig your southbound strategy. Thanks for your input!

Edited by frankenfeet on 11/15/2006 23:45:27 MST.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/16/2006 00:05:15 MST Print View

If the Maine, NH and South area had a low snow or very little snow winter you could start the first of Feb or first of March at Katahdin and go south with a goal of 3 to 5 resupplies. The number of resupplies could take into consideration the snow and if the trail was open enough to find your way.

Ryan, this would be more in line with your research for Winter SUL Gear.

jonathan hauptman
(6hauptman6)

Locale: A white padded room in crazy town.
pct maybe better on 11/16/2006 00:50:15 MST Print View

What about doing the PCT with 4 to 5 resupplies? Less rain, more sun! Problem is snow, snow, snow and desert heat. Perhaps North bound-June through July? With a sub-5lb skin-out weight minus food+water. Go no cook(nuts/bars/etc...). Perhaps 65-75 days? Perhaps some nice fellow bpl members could help out with the resupplies(drive out and hand hiker a bag of food prepared ahead of time)? Perhaps some one could give shuttle to start and end? Some of us could even help make gear(cuben stuff sacks/tarps/silnylon this and epic that/etc...)? Just my two cents.
P.s., If anyone actually decides to try and pull of an A.T. midway resupplied attempt, I would be happy to deliver a mid way resupply. I live in Philly so it is a short drive to Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or New York A.T. Us ultralight crazies got a stick together!:(:O:O:(:):S:S:):O:I:I:D:D

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
the AT in the spring on 11/16/2006 02:42:10 MST Print View

Bill,


ahh.. don't you just love the smell of the AT in the springtime...


while i actually like to trek (shorter ones in my case) both in the dark and in the rain, unfortunately, spring on many parts of the AT has a downside.

just remember two words applicable to some parts of the AT in the spring:


rain [a lot of it] -- issue: down vs. synthetics, or how to keep down dry, or perhaps more accurately (since it will probably get wet), how to dry it out - if it's raining non-stop mod-hvy, a fire won't dry out your gear even if you can build one large enough. since, in some cases drying just ain't gonna' happen for a while, how to keep it as dry as possible is a worthwhile consideration, viz. sleeping bag with Epic fabric, DWR, UL WPB bivy are choices, etc.; also rain gear, tarp size considerations, also ground sheet and digging rain channels vs. bathtub floored tarptents. read DrJ's Lost Coast experience - perhaps worse than most days/nights on the AT in the spring, but some can be prit' near as bad or equally wet. oh, and on rare occasions i've seen fog into the mid morning hours, so thick, and on one occasion again in the afternoon as the heavens let loose on the already saturated earth with trails under a 1/8" stream of moving water, that i couldn't see the lowest branches of trees above me, nor further than 10'-12' (3m-4m) in front of me.

frankly, when you're surrounded by such high humidity for days on end, [nearly] everything in your pack (even inside of a pack liner) ends up, at best, damp, if not wet - compression/release cycles of your pack as you move, not to mention opening it, unpacking, packing, and closing it each day, causes air to be pumped out and humid air in which is now in contact with gear that might be somewhat hygroscopic. perhaps one of those ULA packs B.F. made for the "Terrific Trio" on their somewhat recent Alaskan Trek might be in order, but then it's not cuben and weighs a bit more, but it's something to consider. can you make cuben dry-sacks, Bill?

mud [a lot of it, and sometimes, i do mean a lot - had a trail runner sucked off my foot in ankle deep mud] -- issue: wet feet, spare socks, & sufficient foot care products. sometimes, you have to go off-trail, into growing green, dripping wet foliage to avoid the mud on the trail. this slows you down and gets your lower legs and feet soaked, plus makes a poncho/PT difficult to use.


be prepared accordingly. sometimes, literally, DAYS straight of rain w/little let up - i've seen up to five days straight of mostly mod-heavy rain; nothing dries out and it can still get a tad nippy a night. so, can have lots of rain which produces lots of mud which produces a poor and slippery trail surface, especially on rocks, AND slower going or a bad fall or sprain can end the endeavor - keep that in mind when planning resupply and time of year to thru-hike the AT.


oh, and a third word as the temps warm a bit... [drum roll please]


bugs [did "bit" give this one it away? it was an intended clue], issue: bug netting and/or bug dope mandatory.


lastly (this one i have NOT personally experienced, but have talked to enough people who apparently have), Mt. Katahdin to Springer Mtn in the spring: in upper New England, particularly Maine, think SNOW MELT and SWOLLEN RIVERS (sometimes chest deep) that need to be forded - mud can be shin to knee deep in places as those waters recede; all equates to slow going. Depending upon when you start and if the temps are warmer than normal will determine when and how much of this snow melt occurs - so, you'll want to plan to leave Katahdin to avoid it (either early or late). Plan on a crossing of the 100mile wilderness to take longer than you might normally expect and plan accordingly.

there's a reason most people select the proper time of year to go S-to-N on an AT thru-hike. this is NOT to say that you can't do it as you plan to. Bill, you being an ex-Army lifer (Airborne/Ranger???), i'm sure that you are up to the challenge.

also, keep in mind a second rainy season starts in the AUTUMN/FALL out here in the northeast. while not as rainy as the spring, we are currently going through five days straight of rain, some times mod-hvy 0.5"-1.0" per hour at its peak and 1"-2", or more, per day of rainfall. this again makes many of the trails quite muddy at times.

Edited by pj on 11/16/2006 05:42:01 MST.

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Big challenge on 11/16/2006 21:16:24 MST Print View

I think 1100 miles is doable with a 70 pound starting load that is 65 pounds of food -- the other 5 is shared with a partner who also carries the same 65+5 load so that sharing of sleeping, cooking, and shelter are possible. It needs to be somebody small with big feet and a low metabolism eating 1.5 pounds per day and walking 12 hours a day to make 25 miles a day for about 6 weeks.

It would have to be where fires are allowed or done with cold food in warm but not hot weather with no river crossings, no ice. Bugs are not really an issue.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Big challenge on 11/16/2006 23:04:00 MST Print View

"It needs to be somebody small with big feet"

Where's Frodo when you need him. It would be tough dealing with all the drama though, Wraiths and Orcs and all. :) Sorry couldn't resist. Now back to the regularly scheduled thread.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Big challenge on 11/17/2006 02:33:45 MST Print View

"Bugs are not really an issue."

True enough. Need to be prepared though to deal with them both when on the move and when trying to sleep. That's why i mentioned it.

If using a headnet in very humid weather, even in the spring, i find that i'm more often stopping and reapplying Rain-X Anti-Fog (in the black bottle, NOT the yellow bottle which is NOT the Anti-Fog) to my eye-glasses. A headnet exacerbates the fogging. Bug-dope might be the "soup-de-jour" in those situations so as to minimize "down" time and stay on the move more.

Edited by pj on 11/17/2006 02:34:39 MST.

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Re: Big challenge on 11/17/2006 09:11:02 MST Print View

If you find a paraplegic your size, hit him over the head from behind so he can't identify you in court, and steal his full length leg braces, would this allow you to carry a 150 pound pack?

Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
thru hike min resupply on 11/17/2006 09:52:46 MST Print View

I've been thinking about how to do the AT (by folks in good shape but way short of super humans) with a minimum of resupplies. Something light and not 70lbs and reasonable "rules" ( walk withing 94' fo a 7-11 and I'm gettin' a Dr Pepper!).
Wanting to go fast and experience long distance w/out resupply but not totally be outside the trail community experience...
Maybe an average of 35-45 mile days in four 11-14 day blocks, with three resupplies including 1-2 rest/food gorge days in between. A starting pack weight on each leg might be as low as 35-40lbs with 30-35 being food, (2.5-3lbs per day) depending on body weight. It would take about 50 days.

I'd love to see someone do all the calorie and gear math to break it down to see what's theoretically possible.

Idea is to explore the thru hike philosophy and see what might be within reach of a lot of folks philosophy.

Some folks might not want to start with 70lb packs, so how does the time/distance math work out with lower starting pack loads and one or two more resupplies? Is it as big a difference as we might guess (lighter weight = more speed...)

Maybe there are more people than I know already doing this!

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: the AT in the spring on 11/17/2006 10:37:30 MST Print View

>> ahh.. don't you just love the smell of the AT in the springtime...

Paul, dude: that smell, it's...

thru-hikers.