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)

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.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: the AT in the spring on 11/17/2006 10:46:27 MST Print View

>>"that smell, it's...thru-hikers"

Good one!!!

But, really, that's only in the shelters (which i avoid like the plague).

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: thru hike min resupply on 11/17/2006 13:52:25 MST Print View

Ron-I used a “back of the envelope” model for the Artic 1000 backpacking forecast. I posted my 643 mile estimate to this forum prior to the attempt; the actual result was 620 miles. Of course I realize that my small 3.6% forecast error, in a large part, was just dumb luck <grin>.

There are many different backpacking models that could be applied to analyzing this problem. I think the different forecasts will result in a spirited debate and most importantly a strong catalyst to actually have people attempt the effort to determine which model is right, if any.

The models also have the benefit of allowing us to do theoretical “what-if” scenarios to see how the output of the model changes and compare those results to real world experiences. For example what impact would it have: if hiking boots x were worn rather than running shoes Y; if a fly rather than a tent were used; if garment list X versus garment list Y were used; if sleeping pad X versus sleeping pad Y; or a titanium trowel was carried rather than a plastic one?

For the models to yield comparable results we first need to agree on the input parameters. I suggest you moderate this input parameters effort. When complete, you could then ask for the model forecasts. At minimum the following input parameter information is required:

-Hiker’s sex, age, weight, height, VO2max, and RER profile. As an alternative to a specific RER profile, I suggest that we leave this up to the modeler to factor in.

-Base pack weight (itemized), clothing weight (itemized), and shoe weight.

-Trip segments Terrain surface by % of trip
1.Soft Snow (14")
2.Soft Snow (10")
3.Soft Snow (6")
4.Loose Sand
5.Swampy Bog
6.Heavy Brush
7.Hard Packed Snow
8.Light Brush
9.Dirt Road/trail
10.Blacktop Surface

-Trip Segments elevation profile by % of trip
1.Moderately level
2.Hilly
3.Climbing to a mountain peak

-Trip Segments min F, max F, & rain % by % of trip, and average miles between water sources

The segment information would result in something like this:

1,500 mile trip

1. 70%-Dirt Trail, hilly, min 40F, max 80F, 10% rain, 20 miles to water
2. 10% Dirt trail, climbing to a mountain peak, 70F max, 20F min, 10% rain, 5 miles to water
3. 10%-Hardpacked snow, hilly, 70F max, 30F min, 5% snow, 1 mile to water
4. 5%-Blacktop surface, moderately level, min 50F, max 90F, 20% rain, 10 miles to water
5. 5%-Loose sand, moderately level, 90F max, 60F min, 1%, 30 miles to water

I suggest that the models create forecasts for 3 scenarios: 30 years old male, 30 years old female, and 60 years old male. This will give a broad range of forum participants one of the three forecast categories to most closely relate to.

Edited by richard295 on 11/17/2006 13:54:45 MST.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/17/2006 16:26:28 MST Print View

If you want to play with my data here it is as best as I have it.

Bill:
sex - Male,
age - 66
weight - 150
height 72"
VO2max - 34.1 but based on a weight of 163. My current weight is 150 and my estimated VO2max is now 42.46.
RER profile - I don't have this but I think I know what it is and might be able to get it next week if it is that necessary.

My calorie burn per minute is 6.8.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/17/2006 19:45:47 MST Print View

Bill-I will use your profile as one of the test cases. To do a complete AT analysis, I need someone who has hiked the AT to provide the distances and a summary of the trail segment types and I will build the model. None the less I can model your personal information now.

An RER test shows the mix of fats and CHO your unique metabolic system burns at different % of your VO2max. The test typically costs about $250 if done by a sports club or physiology lab. Without exception everyone shifts to a higher % of CHO burned as their % of VO2max goes up but the starting mixture and rate of shift varies widely. Without your RER information, I can still calculate the C burned for any given trail segment type and be accurate to within 14%.

Without your RER, I can’t calculate your substrate mix as accurately as your calories. Consequently, the optimal food weight you need to carry for each trip segment type is not as accurate as the C rate. The higher the % of fat to CHO you burn in the backpacking MET range, the higher the C density of the food you can efficiently carry. I will use the mean values in the absence of an RER.

The following is your unique metabolic information to assist in your backpacking trip planning:

Name - Bill Fornshell
Sex - Male
Age - 66
Weight - 150
Height - 72"
VO2max - 42.46.

Note that your VO2max is greater than 40 which puts you in the Elite cardiovascular conditioning class for your age range.

Attached is the unique metabolic analysis I conducted for you using a physiology modeling system that I am still developing:

BF AT Analysis

The thin lines are the mix of fuels you will be burning ½ hour into your daily backpacking activity. The thick lines are what you will be burning from about 3 hours until you finish your backpacking day.

The MET numbers are multiples of your unique BMR which is 60.99 C/h. My system is designed to be used in conjunction with any MET table you find on the Web. Assume you planned an AT trip segment to backpack, at an average 3.5 mph, carrying an average 30 lb pack, and travel through hilly terrain. You can look up this activity in most MET tables and find out the value is 8. I put a white line on your chart at 8 METs to assist in this explanation. While backpacking your % of VO2max will average 51%, your % of MHR will average 70%, your HR will be 107 (HR zone 2), your C/h will be 489 and your BMR = 60.99. Note that 489/60.99 determines you MET level.

When in camp your MET level will average 2.5. You can use the fine lines on the graph to also determine your C burn rate and the substrate utilization for camp activities.

After about three hours of backpacking, your system will stabilize at a substrate utilization ratio of 60% fat, 35% CHO, and 5% protein (thick lines). These values should be used to help determine your optimal menu selection.

Your powdered Ensure provides the following nutrient profile per 8 fl oz: Calories 250; Protein (% Cal) 14.1, Total Fat (% Cal) 22.0, Carbohydrate (% Cal) 63.9. Your Carnation Breakfast (Original Dark Chocolate) mix provides the following nutrient profile: fat 7%, CHO 78%, and pro 15%. In sufficient quantities to meet you daily caloric needs, these foods would provide near optimal support for your substrate ratio and calorie requirements.

Edited by richard295 on 11/17/2006 22:24:06 MST.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/17/2006 20:09:49 MST Print View

Richard, could you briefly give definitions for the acronyms in your post? RER, MET, et al. The precision of the approach you're taking is outstanding!

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/17/2006 21:47:37 MST Print View

Sam-In laymen’s terms:

RER-This stands for respiratory equivalence ratio. A participant wears a mask and sits on an exercise bike. As they pedal, the mask captures the amount of oxygen they are breathing in and the amount of carbon dioxide they are breathing out. The ratio of these two gases is then used to calculate the fat and CHO percentage being used as fuel. Protein is not used as a fuel source if you are taking in adequate calories. Based on the ratio of fast twitch and slow twitch muscles you inherited, you cardiovascular condition, etc., this set of numbers will vary for each person and sometimes significantly. For backpacking it is normally OK to just use the mean values.

MET-This stands for metabolic equivalent. When you are at rest the energy you burn is referred to you basal metabolic rate (BMR). When you exercise the amount energy goes up to some level. By dividing the energy exercising / the energy at rest the MET rate is determined. For a given activity, the Calorie expenditure and the mix of fuels are being burned are unique for each person. The MET ratio is surprisingly consistent. A large number of hiking and backpacking MET ratios for different speeds, terrain, and pack weights have been analyzed and published by various sources.

Edited by richard295 on 11/17/2006 21:49:58 MST.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/17/2006 22:23:41 MST Print View

Richard,
Thanks for taking the time to work out the data on me.

Remember that I also use
Hammer Perpetuem in all my water at half strength or about 130 calories per 1 liter of water.

On my hike in Georgia last month I used both the Dry Ensure/ Carnation Drink mix for food and the Hammer Perpetuem in my water. This seemed to work really well.

While I am sure I could not do this in 3 re-supplies I might be able to do it in 5.

I did divide the 2175 miles into three segments.
1. Springet Mt, GA to Daleville, VA. 714.3 miles
2. Daleville, VA to Pawling, NY 716.8
3. Pawling, NY to Mt Katahdin, ME 743.9

This could change but it would give you 3 segments.

IF, I was doing this in 5 resupplies I would want to apply a little stratagity according to the terrain. I would try a shorter first section to gain strength and get my trail legs. Then add mileage to each of the middle segments and then another shorter last segment or the Maine section. Some parts of the AT have terrain that would lend itself to higher mileage and could be longer than 1/5 the distance.

I think five resupplies would give me a pack weight of around 40 pounds on day one of each segment. I can't even think about a pack weight of 70 plus pounds. A start date needs more thought and I might have to reschedule a couple of my up-coming medical exams. A start date of 1 April would be a good date for planning at this time. I would also plan between 100 and 110 days to do the hike. It would be nice to do it under 100 days and as the hike progressed that might even happen. Baxter State Park starts letting hikers climb Mt Katahdin on or after 15 May each year. A start date of around 1 April and a 110 days to hike the AT would put a person on Mt Katahdin on or about 19 July.

As an after thought some time also needs to be planned for the four resupply orgies, book signings, pod casts, TV interviews, etc, etc.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/17/2006 22:31:59 MST Print View

Bill-In between planning for your: four resupply orgies, book signings, pod casts, TV interviews, etc, etc <grin> I need one additional key piece of information from you or someone that has done this hike. What is the terrain like? You metabolic rate is the lowest walking moderately level ground (what % of the hike). It goes up in hilly terrain (what % of the hike?), and it is the highest when you are climbing a mountain range to get over a pass (what % of the hike?).

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/17/2006 22:39:30 MST Print View

Richard,

I don't think I am the best person to try and answer the terrain question.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/18/2006 08:07:06 MST Print View

Richard, what is your background? You have a very analytical approach to problem solving, so I was figuring you are a scientist?

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/18/2006 09:31:49 MST Print View

John-I am not formally trained in any of the disciplines that I post to the forum on. My degree is a BS in Information Systems Management. My resume includes 14 years in software engineering followed by the remaining time in computer/software marketing and sales.

The forum topics I contribute to contain primarily self learned information. Take my theories with a grain of skepticism and challenge anything that appears wrong. Not that I needed to make that point <grin>.

Edited by richard295 on 11/18/2006 09:33:01 MST.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/18/2006 12:22:35 MST Print View

Do the folks interested in this thread have any good bookmarks of some common MET ratio tables located on the Web?

I'd be interested in applying my personal statistics into a table to see what my fuel consumption needs would be throughout a day, week, month.

Edited by sharalds on 11/18/2006 12:30:44 MST.

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Re: Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/18/2006 14:14:32 MST Print View

Richard,

Can you work your model backwards? For instance, what parameters would sastisfy walking the PCT across Oregon and Washington, say, in a month and a half, without resupply?

I guess what I am asking is, if given age, and the other physical parameters that a person is "stuck with", could you tell us what level of exertion or effort will be required to do a big challenge like 1100 miles in 6 weeks?

It would be interesting to know......

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/18/2006 16:05:56 MST Print View

Roman,

Based on what you accomplished during the Artic 1000, your capabilities are obviously at the very elite end of the athletic spectrum… congratulations for your achievement. I don't have your (age, weight, height, and VO2 max) stats. In the absence of this information I will use Ryan’s stats for your analysis. I will work backwards and then post the results within the next couple of days.

Richard

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/18/2006 18:51:10 MST Print View

Food and Related Items for the Hike:

Since all my food has to be liquid, well I can eat a few soft things if I am careful, I have an interest in higher mileage between resupply stops. I can't just walk into many stores and buy Dry Ensure. To do an AT Thru-Hike or a very long hike of any kind I had planned to do a lot of mail drops. In the early planning I thought about just doing my resupply when I walked through a place with a Post Office or a store that would hold a food drop for hikers. The idea of going into town after town has very little interest to me as I can't eat the kind of food I would find there.

This idea of only a few resupply stops wither it is 3 or 5 or 10 plays into my food needs. I am sure I can not nor would I even try a 3 resupply AT Thru-Hike "this time". I might think about 5 resupply stops. That would give me a average food weight at the start of each of the sections of about 33 pounds. I was surprised at the large volume that amount of food was going to take up in my pack. My Dry Ensure packs a lot of calories in a small package. A one serving size is 282.5 calories (2.29 ounces) will pack into a coffee filter and be about 2" square for planning. The zip lock bag in the picture is 10 servings or food for one day (2825 calories). I am using Hammer Perpetuem in all my water and that will add about 520 more calories a day for a total of about 3345 calories a day.


Nutritional information for Dry Ensure:


Nutritional information for Hammer Perpetuem:






Multi-Use in action:

On the second half of my hike in Georgia last month I started packing my Dry Ensure in large paper coffee filters. It made my every 90 minute food stops go much faster. The paper coffee filters also turned out to make great TP. That saved a little weight and got rid of the filter. The paper filter will burn nice if I need something to start a fire with.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/19/2006 01:47:25 MST Print View

Bill, that may be yet another "Fornshell-First"!! Very clever dual-use of the coffee filters.

Thom Kendall
(kendalltf) - F

Locale: IL
Re: Unsupported/Thru-Hikes on 11/22/2006 15:33:04 MST Print View

I am new to this lightweight camping but I think you guys and gals are making this to complicated. What you need is an increase in knowledge and then you can go unsupported for long lengths of time. If you know your camping area you can learn the edible plants in that area. The food you carry can help supplement this gathering. It is now illegal in most places but at one time you could also hunt and set snares for meat.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Unsupported/Thru-Hikes on 11/22/2006 15:53:04 MST Print View

In summary this analysis, concurs with Ryan’s assessment that the AT can be done unsupported in three segments by using ultra-light backpacking equipment and techniques.

The first chart is a composite of 4 simulations I conducted to answer the question, “What is the theoretical maximum unsupported backpacking segment distance for the AT?”

If this activity were an Olympic event, the record unsupported segment would stand at ~ 1035 miles. The average winner each year would probably be closer to the Artic 1000 team’s simulated results than the record holder’s.

The exceptional three athletes, who participated in the Artic 1000 event, would achieve ~ 921 miles. Their physiological characteristics, combined with there backpacking knowledge, are quite exceptional.

The average male is defined by ISO 8995 (2004). I have defined him in the simulations as Average 30 Year Old Male. He would be able to achieve ~754 miles. I also attached a physiological profile from the output of my simulator for this theoretical individual. I believe that the average BPL forum participant is closer to this profile than the other three.

I used Bill Fornshell to represent the physiology of an exceptional 66 year old. Bill’s VO2max of 42.46 is in the Elite class for his age range. Bill's number is ~742 miles. Obviously any individual with special diet requirements should consult their physician before attempting what the model suggests.

Bill defined the AT segments as follows:
1. Springet Mt, GA to Daleville, VA. 714.3 miles
2. Daleville, VA to Pawling, NY 716.8
3. Pawling, NY to Mt Katahdin, ME 743.9

Each segment is less than what could be achieved by the average 30 yr old male using only what is in his pack. As long as he paces himself to the specified exertion rate, he shouldn’t require excess body fat.

In order to maximize the model execution time, I used table lookups extensively. The table values are rounded and consequently some totals will vary a few % from just adding up the reported substrate utilization.

This AT model is a prototype product which I designed. This is its first set of output scenarios. It is labeled as revision .1 to reflect the prototype status. If you see an unreasonable equipment assumption, suspect an error, or you have a suggestion for presenting the information more clearly, please email me with your suggestions. I will attempt to incorporate them, rerun the simulation in question, and post the new result. Each model revision will increase the revision level by .1. Only after a real AT unsupported segment attempt closely matches the model results would I feel justified to changing the revision level to 1.

BestArtic30YBF
Avg Physiology

Edited by kenknight on 04/28/2007 13:25:58 MDT.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Unsupported/Thru-Hikes on 11/22/2006 16:13:05 MST Print View

Chart by itself

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/22/2006 16:52:44 MST Print View

Richard -

Those are some very useful charts. You've given a nice broad range of individuals to base oneself against. I haven't heard many women chiming into our conversation but if they did they may feel left out.

Below is a Web site I found that suggest ways of calculating ones V02 Max.

http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/vo2max.htm

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Re: Re: Unsupported/Thru-Hikes on 11/22/2006 17:05:48 MST Print View

Richard,

I really should be working but hey it's almost Thanksgiving so what the heck.

I want to know, have you actually hiked any of the AT? I occasionally love to dwell in the land of the theoretical, metaphysical or the “way the hell out there”, but you’re numbers extend well beyond my rational limits. While I admit I don’t know the difference between a VO2 max and well most other scientific terms, I do know a thing or two about thru-hiking and the AT.

Case in point: Primary Surface – Hard pack dirt and rock.

I thru-hike the AT in ’77 at the age of 24 and did another 700 miles in ’97 and I don’t remember much “hard pack dirt” trail. The PCT yes, the CDT yes again, the AT seemed to have a lot of moss covered rocks, roots, boulders, steep sharp climbs and descents and the occasional flat but probably muddy section of trail. In ’77 I got so frustrated with the rock in Pennsylvania that my wife had a tee shirt make of my favorite saying while traversing that state, “Pave the AT in PA”.

As to the idea that your average 30 year old can carry a 76 pound pack for a distance of 36 miles over 12 hours over terrain like that seems to really stretch the imagination. My guess is your average hiker carrying those weights at that distance would be looking at knee replacement surgery by the time they were leaving Georgia after 2 days of hiking.

Having known and talked to hundreds of AT hikers over the years, my guess is that your average AT hiker currently carries an average 35+ pound pack and covers 8 to 10 miles a day, slowly gaining more distance as they get into shape. On the other hand your average PCT hiker has a slightly lighter pack and probably averages 15 to 18 miles a day at the start. The primary difference between the two is that the PCT hiker generally has a bit more experience and the trail is easier to maintain a consistence pace on all grades.

Brian Robinson trained daily for over a year to get into shape before he started on the AT. His pack probably never more than 25 pounds (due to frequent re-supply) and he found maintaining 30 miles a day difficult. Also while Brian ate a constant 3 pounds of food per day, he supplemented his diet by eating additional calories in town while doing re-supply. As a result his starting weight and ending weight after 7200 miles was the same.

What would be interesting is what kind of advanced training regime it would require to get into good enough shape to even contemplate such an endeavor. Physical conditioning is far more important factor in the success or failure during the early stages of a long distance than pack weight. Yet it’s rarely discussed, even in thru-hiker gatherings. Most thru-hiker are so busy doing all the things necessary to take off the 5 months to hike that conditioning generally gets ignored. The beauty of a long hike is that if you take it slow you can get into condition while on the hike.

Well back to work.
Ron

Edited by rmoak on 11/22/2006 17:14:08 MST.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/24/2006 08:01:30 MST Print View

I tested the average female, as defined by ISO 8996 (2004), in my AT simulator. It shows 758 miles as the limit for unsupported travel.

Female

Edited by richard295 on 11/24/2006 08:05:57 MST.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Theoretical Unsupported Hiking on 11/24/2006 08:16:19 MST Print View

Ron wrote:

>> I occasionally love to dwell in the land of the theoretical, metaphysical or the “way the hell out there”, but you’re numbers extend well beyond my rational limits.

Six months ago, I might have agreed. However, after watching Roman walk unsupported for 620+ miles over the terrain of the Alaskan Arctic, I think someone with similar fitness could walk on a trail without support for 700-1000 miles.

Extrapolating from 600 miles in the Arctic, which requires navigation that is difficult on the microscale with high consequences for bad decisions (tussocks! brush! water!) and sopping wet ground cover, to 700+ miles on trails that don't require navigation...shouldn't be a stretch.

On the flip side, I'd argue that the AT's hardpack is a liability on a trek like this. I have zero desire to carry a heavy pack on a paveway, knowing full well that each step is going to destroy my feet just a little bit more because the ground isn't giving way at all and providing shock absorption.

This is why the AT or PCT will be "easy" hikes for speedy thru-hikes with light weight but very difficult walks to do any meaningful distance without support with a heavy pack.

600 miles in the tundra with no trails or 600 miles on the PCT/AT? I'll take the softer ground of the tundra, thank you!

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Theoretical Unsupported Hiking on 11/24/2006 08:30:53 MST Print View

Just curious, what were the cumulative elevation changes per linear mile traveled on your Artic Trek? *IF* not much, how will the dist. covered over that Artic Terrain cp. to the AT's frequent elevation changes in some places. Also, correct me if i'm wrong, but i think, in BF's case, he is planning his hike when the trails might be very soft and muddy at times and in places?

Edited by pj on 11/24/2006 10:41:01 MST.

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Re: Theoretical Unsupported Hiking on 11/24/2006 10:49:21 MST Print View

Ryan,

I don't disagree that a committed hiker can do amazing things. Both Brian and Matt's single year Triple Crowns proved that point well beyond any words I can come up with. A year before Brian’s hike he told me his plans and I told him he’s crazy. So when we talked after his hike I consumed lots of crow.

Richards charts refer to the average 30 year old male and female (thanks to the recent addition). From my reading, this leaves the impression that if you fall into one of these categories you can load up with the recommended gear, food and head out for a 700 plus mile hike without re-supply. It may be true from the point of view of calorie consumption. I don’t know I’m not a physiologist. Though from practical experience, I’d say more calories are probably required than listed.

I do think it represents a starting point for discussion. But there’s a significant difference between walking 700 miles around a track and doing so on mountain trails over a wide range of conditions.

As to comparisons between the Artic hike and an AT or PCT hike, I lack the suitable knowledge. Having never hiked across Artic tundra I don’t know its effects on one’s hike. However, I do know the AT, PCT and CDT quite well and can pretty well predict how well the average hiker will fair on those trails. While it is relatively easy for a conditioned hiker to be able to sustain a 3 mile and hour pace going up or down hill on the PCT or CDT, the same can not be said about the AT. Both the PCT and CDT are reasonably well graded trails with the CDT being composed of miles of old jeep tracks and forest roads.

The last thing I’d like to point out is that your Artic trio were anything but average hikers. I thoroughly read through your posted training regimes. Assuming you maintained anything close to your stated regime, you’d fall well outside of the norms. The same could be said for Brian Robinson, I’m afraid I don’t know Matts pre hiking conditioning.

I would like to see more discussion on training or conditioning techniques in the pages of BPL, though I understand that it is quite difficult to do. The fact is that there has been little scientific study of long distance hikers either in terms of physiology or nutrition. I’ve known of a number of people who have attempted this only to abandon the effort. Long distance hiking isn’t a competitive sport and doesn’t attract the level of scrutiny of distance runners. Plus it’s extremely difficult to track a wide range of people over 1000’s of miles and for up 6 months.

Ron

Edited by rmoak on 11/24/2006 10:51:58 MST.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Theoretical Unsupported Hiking on 11/24/2006 11:34:37 MST Print View

Ron -

Richard pointed out early on in this thread that he didn't have any solid information regarding the elevation profile or trail quality of the Appalachian Trail and was hoping that information would be provided by someone such as yourself who has hiked it (preferably more than once).

Also when he refers to the "average hiker" I believe he is referring to only a handful of the statistics on the chart, age, V02 max, weight. The distance traveled per day could only be achieved through a lengthy training process such as Robinson's.

Your opinion about the legitimacy of theoretical vs. actual hiking statistics is lauded but do take into account that for barriers to be broken down the theoretical must be contemplated and attempts at actualizing them undertaken.

What's the saying?, "No pain no gain!"

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Theoretical Unsupported Hiking on 11/24/2006 15:27:28 MST Print View

Ron-Thank you for your valuable contribution of characterizing the relative trail surfaces for the AT, CDT, and PCT. I will factor in your AT trail surface characterization and rerun the model.

As Sam mentioned, I was aware that this information was needed to achieve better accuracy. I started to look at this theorectical problem on 11/17/06 after Ron Bell's post in which he said in part, "I'd love to see someone do all the calorie and gear math to break it down to see what's theoretically possible."

Before beginning the task, I posted three times to this forum thread on 11/17/06 asking what the AT trail surface, etc. was like. I didn't receive any response within the ensuing 5 days, I worked on the AT model part time. I posted the preliminary model results, sans the trail specific surface information, on 11/22/06.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Re: Theoretical Unsupported Hiking on 11/24/2006 17:49:27 MST Print View

Ron, we agree regarding differences between the AT and the PCT/CDT. I think the AT tends to get slammed because it's the low elevation hike that everyone does. But my experience on those three trails indicates that the elevation changes alone give the AT some of its challenge.

Ridgewalks are hard. There are lots of ups and downs on the AT that really beat you up, even down south, that you really don't have on the PCT. You have quite a lot on the CDT if you actually stay off the official route and enjoy the ridge!

Erin McKittrick
(mckittre) - MLife

Locale: Seldovia, Alaska
why not break new ground? on 11/25/2006 17:12:28 MST Print View

The discussion of how far it's possible to go without resupply is interesting. But I'm curious - why such a focus on preexisting trails (like the PCT and AT)?

If you're going to be crossing roads and passing through towns anyway, why not resupply?

It seems like the real strength of this kind of thinking is for all those places in the world where resupply is difficult or impossible (like the Arctic trip). Being able to go 700 miles without resupply opens up all sorts of new possible routes in Alaska, Canada, probably Russia, maybe in the Amazon, etc...

Otherwise, aren't you just carrying a heavier pack than neccessary?

-Erin
www.groundtruthtrekking.org/WildCoast.html

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: why not break new ground? on 11/25/2006 17:31:58 MST Print View

Erin - I wholeheartedly agree. But the existince of the long trails are very helpful as a training ground for longer, riskier walks.

I "practiced" a few of these before I was comfortable doing a true roadless long walk.

And, I've had some long walks w/o resupply that have crossed 2-3 roads in 300+ miles, but the road crossings provided very inconvenient resupply options. This is common throughout my long treks in the Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Updated Theoretical AT Unsupported Hiking Limit on 11/25/2006 20:42:34 MST Print View

Ron Moak provided an analysis of the AT surface as compared to the PCT and CDT which was collaborated by Ryan... thanks Ron and Ryan. This valuable input resulted in me updating the version .2 AT Simulation Model surface characterization. The Version 1 results, previously posted, should still be valid for the PCT or CDT.

Ignore the first name field following the simulation time. I forgot to update this information between runs. The correct name is found in the last field for each simulation summary.

The .2 model shows that only the Artic 1000 participants or a hiker with comparable conditioning or better, could hike the AT in three segments (2 re-supplies).

Ron posed a question about whether the average hiker description in the model actually matched the average hiker who would attempt an AT hike. The ISO 8996 specs for the average female and male is an International standard. Based on antidotal evidence from the US trade press, I assume that the average US hiker would both be heavier and have a lower VO2max.

If this were an Olympic event the record would be 891.6 miles. The Artic 1000 team would achieve 790.7 miles. The International average male would achieve 642 miles. The International average female would achieve 651.2. A female partner on this hike would not be a record liability. Bill Fornshell, an elite cardiovascular conditioning example of the retired age category, would achieve 685.9 miles.

Olympic2

Artic2

Female2

Male2

BF2

Edited by richard295 on 11/25/2006 20:47:28 MST.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/26/2006 09:45:07 MST Print View

I introduced this thread and the idea of 3 to 5 resupplies to do a AT Thru-Hike to WhiteBlaze.net.

AT Thru-Hike with only 3 to 5 resupplies?

In less than 24 hours the thread got 31 replies. Some were, well, I will not go into a any detail about them. There were some good comments and a couple of good questions or thoughts.

There was one interesting thought. I have put it in the form of a question.

Question: "if you get 3 to 5 resupplies does the stuff you start off with count as one of them"?

If we use the term "resupply" that does seem to imply that you would start your hike with a full pack and then resupply 3 times - or 5 times??

If we do it that way then the food necessary etc would divide by 6, not 5. I start off at Springer with a load and then resupply 5 times or 3 times - what ever??

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/26/2006 11:45:05 MST Print View

Two thoughts:

1) "resupply" is NOT the initial supply. this is how i would normally interpret the English word "resupply" (note the "re-" prefix).

2) IIRC, Richard broke the AT into three ~700 mile "legs". Hence, your initial starting supply (70lb pack) and then only two resupplies returning the pack to its starting weight.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/26/2006 12:22:35 MST Print View

PJ,
I think Richard was responding to Ryan's thought about a 700 mile unsuported hike x 3.

Ron mentioned 4 or 5 "resupplies" in his early post.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/26/2006 19:45:56 MST Print View

Bill,

Right you are. Thanks for the link over at WhiteBlaze. Interesting Thread you started over there. I saw there that you were considering a five section/[re-]supply hike and not three.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/26/2006 21:47:52 MST Print View

Some theoretical subtleties of long distance hiking efficiency

On 11/16/06 Roman Dial said in part, "…It needs somebody small with big feet and a low metabolism…"

The Version .2 AT model now seems, to me, to be in the general realm of real world probable results. I decided to use it to test Roman's hypothesis about optimal body size and feet size. Regarding Roman's point about body size, the simulation model agrees with him. I had the model test every combination of weight, height, age, and VO2max to determine the characteristics of an Olympian which would yield the longest hiking distance. Much to my surprise, the optimum body weight was 163.7 lbs which is indeed a small person compared to the professional football player like proportions I expected to see as a result.

On Roman's second point the model disagrees. The model shows that someone with small feet will be able to travel further than someone with larger feet. For example, the model showed that the Artic 1000 team should be able to travel 790.2 miles without a re-supply if they had size 9 feet and wore Montrail Vitesse shoes at 26 oz. When I changed the Montrail Vitesse shoe size to 12, at 29.4 oz, the maximum distance dropped to 781.1 miles.

Taking the feet issue one step further, I tested a range of shoe options that an Artic 1000 participant with a nominal size 12 foot might select. If they wore Montrail Torre GTX boots, for example, their max distance would drop from 781.1 to 712 miles. For every oz added to the size 12 feet, the maximum AT distance dropped ~1.97 miles.

Different studies have reported foot versus torso weight ratios as high as 6 to 1. The existing .2 model uses the most conservative foot weight ratio in determining total Calories burned.

I then tested the model to see what impact on distance, different base weights would have. For every oz added to the base weight the maximum AT distance dropped ~.70 miles.

Efficiency

Edited by richard295 on 11/26/2006 22:16:26 MST.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/26/2006 23:39:25 MST Print View

PJ,

My comments on WB were more in the line of "how to" not "I will be". I will be on the AT someplace NOBO or SOBO in 2007 to try and do it all.

I have two plans, one that would put me in Maine the first of January 2007 and one that would put me in Georgia the first of January. For now I am watching the weather around the NH / ME area close.

This AT hike will not be a 5 resupply hike though. I want this hike to be with a pack weight never more than about 20 pounds worth of food till after I am into the hike by 300 to 400 miles or so.

If there was a good reason I believe that once I got near Virginia I could do a 700 mile section Unsupported/Unresupplied.

I think of all the AT the State of Virginia and enough north or south of VA is an area where a 700 mile section could be done. VA is about 550 miles and then just add 150 more miles north or south and you would have it.

======

Richard,

You just keep on amazing me.

For years I wore a size 9 shoe. Then with different sock combinations I went to a size 10 then a 10.5 and the last few pair have been a size 11. I use a The North Face Ultra 102 (28.3 oz) - 103 XCR (36.3 oz) and I just got a new pair - TNF Hedgehog XRC's ( 36.4 oz). My feet like these shoes and for me that says it all. The XCR adds 4 ounces per shoe that I hope in cold weather is worth the weight.

My base pack weight should be lower than the planning weight you use for me. I will carry no fuel as I do not cook my food. My pack alone - weight will be at or less than 2 pounds with my new external frame pack. I would guess my total would be more like 8 or 9 ounces where it is now 14.9. I think my food weight would be 45 pounds not 60.1. My calories while hiking may be as low as 2825 with a daily total of 3800 calories. I can not see any way I could eat 5564 calories a day. In theory the math may show I need that much but I don't think I could get that many calories down. I figure my food weight per day at 22.9 ounces.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/27/2006 02:55:12 MST Print View

Richard,

First off, that's a great modeling tool you've got there. It must have taken some time to put it together. Good job and many thanks for sharing with us.


I would have thought Roman might been thinking of a smaller person than ~163lb or female - lower food requirements due to body weight (and basal metabolic level in the case of many females).

Though at some point the trade-off b/t physical strenghth to carry a heavy pack and food reaches a limit and it goes the other way (i.e., counterproductive). I guess your model predicts this point to be ~163lb.


Second, we should ask Roman Dial "Why did you say large feet?"

When i read his words, i very tentatively thought (since his words provided no clue to what he was thinking when he "penned" those words):


a) balance (helps with a heavy pack, though trekking poles work even better by providing a wider base with more "legs"/supports - nearly always two or three in contact with the ground at any point in time).

b) larger surface/contact area needed for a heavy pack (65-70lb) in order to reduce pressure on very soft and muddy trail surfaces to avoid sinking in as deeply.

c) perhaps he noticed tussock spacing in the Artic and was thinking of a larger foot spanning the gaps b/t tussocks, thus making walking easier???

d) was it solely the sum cumulative effect of the linear distance covered by each stride and the energy expended to take a step (not merely leg length, but the distance from heel plant to ball-of-the-foot lift-off with - a couple of inches with every step could really add up over ~2160miles or so)? [i would guess that the problem is more than just the energy expended lifting the weight of a larger foot and larger shoe/boot - again, even simplifying and considering foot size/weight alone, apart from other related criteria, it's a min/max problem.]


I really have no idea if he meant any of these possible reasons, but there has to be [a] reason[s] and he knows what it is.

Does your model take into account these phenonmenon? I'd be surprised if it did (other than perhaps one [or both] aspect[s] of 'D' - foot/shoe length or weight, maybe you've considered both - i think both need to be considered).


So, Mr. Dial, would you care to educate us, please?

Many thanks,
pj

Edited by pj on 11/27/2006 03:01:59 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/27/2006 03:13:02 MST Print View

Bill,

Thanks for correcting my misunderstanding.

I'll be cheering for you all the way.

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/27/2006 09:42:26 MST Print View

Bill,

I popped over to Whiteblaze and read your thread over there. While I frequently disagree with people like Jack Tarlin or Lone Wolf I do respect that they each have in excess of 10 thru-hikes on the AT so are still quite knowledgeable and whose opinions shouldn’t be summarily dismissed.

>> I have two plans, one that would put me in Maine the first of January 2007 and one that would put me in Georgia the first of January. For now I am watching the weather around the NH / ME area close.

This AT hike will not be a 5 resupply hike though. I want this hike to be with a pack weight never more than about 20 pounds worth of food till after I am into the hike by 300 to 400 miles or so. <<

If I’m reading the above statement correctly, then I have extreme doubts about your level of understanding about the hike you’re planning on undertaking. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly respect the level of work you’ve done over the last few years in getting your gear pared down to the absolute minimum. I’m also well aware that there is frequently a gap between our expectations and reality. Which is why that of the thousands of people who attempt the AT each year, as much as a third drop out in the first 100 miles.

One of the downsides of dwelling on theory is that it frequently draws us further away from reality. This is primarily because when dealing with theories, it’s extremely difficult to include all of the additional factors that need to be included in forming a realistic projection.

Hiking the AT in New England in January, if not impossible, would be extremely difficult. It’s certainly not something to be done with an SUL pack. Even hiking the southern AT at that time of the year is not something to be toyed with. You should expect to carry and use snow shoes for at least some of the hiking. If you want to know what you’re getting into, I’d read Brian Robinsons journals (http://royrobinson.homestead.com/TrailLogs_Jan.html). On his hike even Brian had to abandon hiking on the AT due to 10 deep snows in Vermont and that was in March.

I realize this post will come across as just another negative naysayer. But I am concerned that you approach the AT with as much of a realistic view as possible. I will also admit that while I know much about your skills at making gear, my knowledge of your hiking skills is severely lacking. Have you done a 2000 mile trail before? Have you hiked hundreds of miles in deep snow and cold? What is the temperature range of your insulation gear? Will it support daytime temps in the 20’s and nighttime temps of 0 degrees? Will your diet support the additional calories needed to combat the additional cold and hiking difficulty?

Perhaps a separate thread should be created. Their you can outline your plans and expectations and request feedback.

Ron

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/27/2006 10:45:20 MST Print View

> I realize this post will come across
> as just another negative naysayer.

Ron -

Postive as well as negative feedback is what makes decisions. You're a respected member of the backpacking community and the points you make are all valid.

We can certainly make remark after remark about gear and weights and other physical attributes of this hike but we certainly need to consider the individual who would attempt this. They would need an iron will and physical and mental preparedness of the highest dedication.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/27/2006 11:09:48 MST Print View

To chime in on what Ron said, a winter hike of the southern AT can be brutal. So many hikers assume that because it's the south, the trail will be reasonably mild in January.

You can get lucky and find it to be that way on a short trip. I once hiked the AT in the Smokies in January and enjoyed 60 degree days in the afternoon.

Or you can get unlucky as folks found out last week. An ice storm hit the higher portions of the park. There are lots of downed trees at this point, and little likelihood they'll be cleared before spring. The main road through Newfound Gap was closed to all except emergency vehicles for a while, and there were folks who needed to be rescued.

I've walked the "glass" trail myself, the condition when feet pack down the trail, it melts, then freezes hard again. I was glad to have lightweight CMI instep crampons.

Because of the elevation, the AT in the Smokies is more akin climatewise to Vermont at sea level. Even the Georgia gets considerably colder snowier weather than the Georgia lowlands.

On my 99 through-hike, I started on March 24. I was lucky to only have gotten about 4 inches of snow in north Georgia. But that same snow dropped over a foot in the Smokies. It never got reported in the papers, because the towns in the low-lying areas only got rain.

A through-hike starting in January IS doable. It has been done successfully by a number of NOBO's, including two I work with. Just be aware that it is still not the mellow walk through the south many think it will be.

P. S. Just realized "Bill Fornshell" meant "Gardenville". Haven't heard from you in a while over on the other site. But good luck. It helps knowing your background a bit better. Just be careful. The shelter system on the AT really allows you an extra margin of safety, but better you than me to head out with a SUL pack in winter.

Edited by Bearpaw on 11/27/2006 11:20:36 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/27/2006 11:10:53 MST Print View

BF is a cancer survivor and ex-Army lifer. I believe that he has the iron will and resolve to push himself until he can physically go no further. I don't think that he will "give up" mentally, though he may make a wise decision and bail if safety warrants such a decision. One thing he appears to be from his Posts, besides being very creative, is that he is NO fool.

Even the most amazing genetic specimen of an Olympic athelete has physical limitations.

However, i too, in some of my prev. posts, have questioned the wisdom of even a slightly later start, particularly a SOBO attempt. I would be very happy to have Bill provde me wrong.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/27/2006 13:04:44 MST Print View

To Ron and Others:
I want to reply to some of Ron's concerns. I do appreciate Ron's concern and the fact that he took the time to outline them.

====

Bill,
I popped over to Whiteblaze and read your thread over there. While I frequently disagree with people like Jack Tarlin or Lone Wolf I do respect that they each have in excess of 10 thru-hikes on the AT so are still quite knowledgeable and whose opinions shouldn’t be summarily dismissed.

>> I have two plans, one that would put me in Maine the first of January 2007 and one that would put me in Georgia the first of January. For now I am watching the weather around the NH / ME area close.


This AT hike will not be a 5 resupply hike though.

Reply: [I would want to do a "regular resupply" AT Thru-Hike first and then see if I thought "I" could do it with 5 loads of food.]

====

I want this hike to be with a pack weight never more than about 20 pounds worth of food till after I am into the hike by 300 to 400 miles or so. <<

Reply: [20 pounds of food would give me up to 13 days worth of food or less days and more food per day.] [This does not include my gear - the weight of which is more or less dependent on the weather at the time.] [After 300 to 400 miles or for the Virginia area I might try a really long section or at least all of VA in one resupply.]

====

If I’m reading the above statement correctly, then I have extreme doubts about your level of understanding about the hike you’re planning on undertaking. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly respect the level of work you’ve done over the last few years in getting your gear pared down to the absolute minimum. I’m also well aware that there is frequently a gap between our expectations and reality. Which is why that of the thousands of people who attempt the AT each year, as much as a third drop out in the first 100 miles.

Reply: [I appreciate your concern. I have been planning and revising a winter SOBO AT hike for about 12 years. I even tried it once and ran into very heavy early snow and stopped. I have been to Maine and NH several times during the winter months, hiking, snowshoeing, dog sledding, cross-country skiing and in general playing in the snow and cold to very cold weather. I have both old school cold winter gear - that means on the heavy side - and some newer lighter weight winter gear. One way or another I am good to well below "0" F. The coldest I have been was about -10 F around Mt Washington. Blinding snow and very high winds. That was "get below tree line" weather and we did. That is part of the reason I have been able to grow old. To para phrase PJ - I may be old but I am not foolish. I have had a lot of experience doing "risk" analysis. ]

====

One of the downsides of dwelling on theory is that it frequently draws us further away from reality. This is primarily because when dealing with theories, it’s extremely difficult to include all of the additional factors that need to be included in forming a realistic projection.

====

Hiking the AT in New England in January, if not impossible, would be extremely difficult.

Reply; [I have hiked in the White Mountains of NH (I used a guide service for the Mt Washington part) and parts of Maine in the winter and understand first hand how dangerous and unforgiving it can be.] [When you climb Mt Katahdin in the winter Baxter State Park requires you to use an approved Guide Service. I have investagated the use of a guide services through the White Mt's as well but it is all dependent on the snow level and if the trail is packed down enough to tell where it goes.]


=====

It’s certainly not something to be done with an SUL pack.

Reply: [My weight definition of SUL changes with the seasons but call it what you want.]

====

Even hiking the southern AT at that time of the year is not something to be toyed with.

Reply: [I lived in Dahlonega, GA for 11 years and went hiking on the AT or BMT every month of the year. I understand how the weather can be in North GA, TN, NC and the Smokies.]

=====

You should expect to carry and use snow shoes for at least some of the hiking.

Reply: [I own NorthernLite Snowshoes and Kahtoola Crampons and know how to use them.] [I have also used sheet metal screws in my trail runners for traction on ice.]

=====

If you want to know what you’re getting into, I’d read Brian Robinsons journals (http://royrobinson.homestead.com/TrailLogs_Jan.html).

Reply: [I have read Brian's journal several times along with at least 10 or 12 other good books about or with good sections on Winter Hiking.

====

On his hike even Brian had to abandon hiking on the AT due to 10 deep snows in Vermont and that was in March.

Reply: [This is why I am watching the weather close. I would start earlier than Brian did (1 January) and only with very little snow on the trail. I have a bail out plan for each section of the AT in Maine. I would "bail out" if the snow got to deep or masked the trail.]

====

I realize this post will come across as just another negative naysayer. But I am concerned that you approach the AT with as much of a realistic view as possible. I will also admit that while I know much about your skills at making gear, my knowledge of your hiking skills is severely lacking. Have you done a 2000 mile trail before? Have you hiked hundreds of miles in deep snow and cold? What is the temperature range of your insulation gear? Will it support daytime temps in the 20’s and nighttime temps of 0 degrees? Will your diet support the additional calories needed to combat the additional cold and hiking difficulty?

====

Perhaps a separate thread should be created. Their you can outline your plans and expectations and request feedback.

Reply: [Good idea.]

Edited by bfornshell on 11/27/2006 13:35:44 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/27/2006 13:22:28 MST Print View

Ah, Bill, you never cease to amaze!

All that Army training going to good use with the planning of "Operation SOBO7" and the Recons (or "Reckies" [sp???] as the Brits would say).

Glad you understood my convoluted negative logical wording properly (i.e. "is NOT a fool.").

I have great hopes that you will prove my fears wrong and that you will succeed.

Best wishes for much success,
pj

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/28/2006 10:47:39 MST Print View

Bill,

I'm glad you've got a firm grasp on challenges facing you. I hope you'll be able to find time to update us as your trip progresses.

Since I gather you'll still be attempting to push the envelope on UL techniques in winter, it’ll be interesting to see how well things translate between your expectations and trail reality.

Good Luck,

Ron

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Re: Re: Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/30/2006 00:18:30 MST Print View

Richard and PJ,
I have been busy with some other projects and haven't been reading here until tonight -- But you guys just don't know how excited I am about this thread -- I have been waiting literally 20 years to hear other people's thougths about this topic.

Richard, thanks for running the simulations! Very cool and fun to think about and look at. It's neat how many important variables you take into consideration and how close your numbers are to what could actually be done.

However, Richard, I hesitate to say this and spoil the mystique I have so carefully cultured but I am not an elite athelete (can't hardly spell the word even).

I am a middle aged, thinning haired, mouth breathing, sway-back -- but I am persistent and I have been pushing my body for a long time to see what it can do -- and pushing other people and watching them push themselves -- to the point that I have an idea of what works and doesn't work, for me.

While big feet do indeed require heavier shoes and every ounce on your foot has to vertically travel about five times the distance of an ounce on your back, the big feet do spread weight over a larger area -- it does seem that light weight people with big feet have fewer foot problems than heavier people with small feet (I have smallish feet and weigh about 167).

My experience tends to corroborate with Ryan's: hard packed trails are hard on the feet and legs. While wilderness walking requires more attention, it may actually be a bit easier on the old feet.

When I reached the gravel pipeline Haul Road at the end of the Arctic 1000, I didn't walk much more than a mile, because the road started hurting my feet! Can you imagine that....also, back in my old adventure racing days, I loathed any fast paced travel on dirt roads or even hard packed trails because it just blew out my feet.

When I say blow out my feet I mean blisters on the balls of my feet generally.


Roman

Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
minimal resupply thru hike on 11/30/2006 08:39:23 MST Print View

I've been following this thread, and the one started by Bill at whiteblaze.net, and wanted to say how much I've learned by the exchange of ideas. The tables and calculations are fasinating. Sort of to recap my initial thoughts, it seems based on the info, personal reports and Roman's last post on being a non super human athlete (but super focused and determined!) that a fairly quick AT thru hike of around 60-65 days with a base pack weight of around 7lbs and only five "full" resupplies (gathering any easy to get (super close to trail) extra food in between and never carring more than about 30 lbs is doable physically by a good number of people with good pre hike training. In our demanding time crunched world, I could see this style speedier model of thru hiking increasing. Certainly better equipment, food types, information, etc. is avialble vs even 5 years ago that would help this a lot. Students could more easily commit to the challenge as well as many folks that could swing 8-10 weeks off work vs 20. In a time compressed hike, maybe the same sleeping bag, clothes set, etc. could be used to save initial investment. Section hikers could do the entire trail in two or three blocks in two years using regular work vacation. Of course, there is no best way and each person has to "hike thier own hike." In my mind, thats what SUL is all about, creating options for folks to choose from to fit them and getting more peole out there: Hopefully creating a more determined enviormental mind set that would translate to protectionist action.

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Re: minimal resupply thru hike on 12/01/2006 22:48:17 MST Print View

What's up with the cranky folk at whiteblaze?

If those are the type of people hiking the AT, I wouldn't want to test my limits there!

But then, that's the reason many of us left the east coast a lifetime ago anyway.....

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 12/02/2006 02:44:59 MST Print View

> hard packed trails are hard on the feet and legs. While wilderness walking requires more attention, it may actually be a bit easier on the old feet.

I certainly agree with you Roman. I can go for days on end off-trail with comfortable feet and no problems. I get tired feet on hard roads.

But I would point out that one does travel a fair bit faster on those hard surfaces, so there may be a bit more to it.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re:Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 12/03/2006 09:40:39 MST Print View

Roman, amen to that; the guys at whiteblaze don't seem to get the reasons for going light and fast. Im no expert at UL yet, but I see the logic.
As I like to say on other subjects. "If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand". Some of those posters make the AT sound like the dirt strips between convenience stores- I mean why woudn't you stop at each?? oh brother..

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: re:Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 12/03/2006 11:36:25 MST Print View

I'm one of those who can't do a 100 day through hike even if I can swing the time off work/between jobs etc. My wife is tolerant of trips but I fear 60 days is probably the limit of what I would ask for in the near future. That would be 2 months of a 3 month summer already but at least it's not the whole thing.

While she and I may someday do through hikes together on shorter trails (not AT/CDT/PCT) I still have somewhat of a desire to hike the long trails myself.

Anyway I love to push my limits and while right now that focuses a lot on cycling that may change in the future. This thread is really interesting in that regard.

Miles Barger
(milesbarger) - F - M

Locale: West Virginia
PCT Thoughts and Thanks on 12/03/2006 18:46:39 MST Print View

I've really enjoyed this thread. I'm excited by the thought that UL/SUL techniques could let someone such as myself, i.e. good but non-superhuman shape but determined, hike a long trail (my current dream is the PCT) fairly quickly while staying on the trail as much as possible. Currently, I'm not interested in resupplying as little as possible as a way to push my limits (although I completely respect and understand why someone would want to do that and can see myself wanting to do it in the not-too-distant future). Rather, I want the focus of my thru-hike to be on the trail without ignoring small outposts located directly on or very near the trail: no hitchhiking, no hiking more than around .5 miles off the trail, but utilizing small shops and restaurants that are within sight and a few minutes' walk away. In particular, Ron Bell's comments have really opened up a whole new way of thinking about my plans for a thru-hike of the PCT. An average of 3mph for 12 hours/day, never carrying more than about 30lbs (the exception for me being desert sections that would require carrying up to 2 gallons of water), base weight of 7lbs (though I'd prefer under 5), six "full" resupplies (one more for an extra 500 miles seems fair enough) with extra food and calories being gathered on and very close to the trail, with an overall trip length of less than 90 days = great for a graduate student/Fulbright scholar who wants to hike long trails in the summers and stay within .5 miles of the trail at all times.

Cudos to the BPL community for the great discussion and an open interest in exploring new ways of appreciating the beautiful world we find ourselves in.

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Re: re:Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 12/03/2006 22:03:32 MST Print View

This thread got me all worked up again to do a long hike.

I even looked on the Arctic 1000 mileage to see how it increased with pack-lightening, then worked on figuring out how much farther it might be possible to go...and my wife said, "Enough!

"You're going to the Arctic with me next summer and we are going to watch animals and birds, and then do a hike *I* want to do -- and it's not not gonna be a 783 mile trip in 33 days carrying 1.9 pounds of food per day with a 10 pound base weight!! Period"

Luckily, she is into lightweight and beside our spartan and lightweight fabric/materials approach, it's awfully good to share with her;)

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: re:Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 12/03/2006 22:15:40 MST Print View

Roman-You have a good woman and you are a wise man to consider her wants.

Please post your trip experiences as a couple, documenting both perspectives. The rest of us want to learn from you about this type of journey also.

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Re: Re: Re: re:Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 12/03/2006 22:56:51 MST Print View

Richard,

she is a wise woman, as well as a good woman, and I just try to be a good man....

She was the one who told me I had to finish the trip -- not fly out of Anaktuvuk. She told me, it was just two more days and if I had the food and the feet to finish what I'd started.

We talked about doing long, difficult trips today and agreed that the two most important things about maxing distance on a really long walk -- apart from having emotional support before and after the trip -- are:

(1) that you take care of your body so as to make the really big mileage at the end of the trip (40% of the arctic 1000 mileage was covered during the last quarter of the trip -- the last six days. The first six days covered only 20% of the Arctic 1000 mileage).

(2) that challenges like Arctic 1000 are a psychological feat; that is, it was a personal head-game win, more than a physical victory, to make the really big disatnces. Persistence pays. And if you do not persist, if you give in, you may regret that moment of mental rather than physical weakness.

b d
(bdavis) - F

Locale: Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
Re: Re: Re: Re: re:Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 12/03/2006 23:08:22 MST Print View

Dittos to what Richard said.

Roman, travelling with your partner is more than a gear issue and they are the real brains of the outfit ... or act like it or need to sometimes.

It should be a separate topic even. You are so lucky, and so am I, to have partners who care and are so bossy and intelligent as to actually make good choices sometimes ... and enforce them.

Share more of your adventures and misadventures in this vein ... I am all ears. (How do you get them to live in a tarptent?)

Edited by bdavis on 12/03/2006 23:11:00 MST.

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re:Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 12/08/2006 17:38:56 MST Print View

BD

She'll only sleep in a megamid if the ground bug density is low.

Australia and tropics and warm temperate are out -- however, arctic, boreal, cool temperate, and alpine are fine.

Much of the evolution of my experince with UL was with her -- we made a synthetic quilt back in 1986 and shared it, a megamid, a toothbrush, and a single Sherpa packraft on a 300 mile traverse of the Gates of the Arctic.

With her I can go light and spoon for warmth!

ian wright
(ianwright) - F

Locale: Photo - Mt Everest - 1980
unsupported on 12/09/2006 02:16:59 MST Print View

All is possible with the right size pack.

bigpack

Kenneth Knight
(kenknight) - MLife

Locale: SE Michigan
AT resupply-less hike on 04/27/2007 01:26:13 MDT Print View

I'm coming to this very late. I missed this when it was a hot topic and am reading about it now in the latest print magazine. It's intriguing and probably somewhat masochistic.

If nothing else light shoes aren't going to make it all the way or probably even halfway on any of the major long distance trails (AT, PCT, CDT, NCT - I will focus on the AT though).

I agree with Ryan walking the softer tundra is going to be easier on the body than the constant upss and downs and rocks and roots of the AT or PCT. I'm not sure what the elevation change for the Arctic 1000 was but the AT has a stunning amount over its entire length. Last I checked it was about 450,000 feet of change (versus 300,000 for the PCT which is quite a bit longer). The max. elevation isn't that high, but you rarely see a level stretch on the AT.

I can imagine a 3-resuplly trip being quite possible for someone in superb shape both mentally and physically but 2 seems very unlikely to me even if the AT somehow smoothed itself out (it's gotten hillier over the years with re-routes though at least in recent years they have kept the grade consistently lower, more in line with what you would find out west).

I would argue for a southbound attempt starting in late summer or early fall. While the days will be getting shorter you can travel at night with a light and the temperatures won't sap our strength as badly. Water should not be a problem anywhere that time of year and nor will their be any issues with trail mud. Attempting to go northbound startin in the spring will put you smack in some really awful mud in New England come late spring and that will definitely affect your speed.

Some people have suggested some days off to gorge. I'm not sure that's a good idea. Granted your body is going to be starved for good food but gorging yourself on what you can find in a town probably isn't going to really fill that void, just make you ill.

Having good food is going to be important. You can't wimp out here on the quality of what you eat. Low quality foods full of simple sugars and the like aren't going to work for this. This means whole grains, brow rice, beans, things that take longer to cook and require more fuel to do so (unless you hydrate them as you walk). Since fires are not permitted everywhere you're definitely going to need a wood stove like the Bushbuddy which should be acceptable everywhere as long as you stick with small dead wood.

I suspect that somoene else (if not several) has already said all this, but I thoght I'd toss my thoughts in. It's not going to be me that tries something like this - I'm nowhere near in shape for something like this and kinda doubt I ever will be (though people would love it if I were since I'd be much thinner).

Good luck to whoever tries something like this....

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported / Unresupplied - Rules on 04/27/2007 08:14:03 MDT Print View

Un-Supplied Un-Supported Rules of the Road.

Kenneth,

Glad to see this come back up. I have been thinking about this subject since it first came up and we are moving closer to the "season" for a hike like this.

I would like to see BPL.com work out a definitive set of rules for this type of hiking.

From an article about this style of hiking: "Demetri Coupounas hatched the idea of what he calls "Alpine-style thruhiking" years ago as he watched friends go through the logistical gymnastics involved with long hikes and trying to figure out just how much they could carry."

How about a Podcast on the subject with Demetri Coupounas, Ryan J., Roman Dial, and others ?? about their ideas for "Alpine-style thruhiking" and what they think the "rules" should be etc. They may prefer a different term then "rules" but I think this way of hiking needs some "can and can not" structure.

Reference:
From BackpackingLight.com:
A.
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes

B.
How Far How Fast

C.
About Food

D.
A Plan for 700 to 800 miles on the AT

Other places:

E.
Arctic1000

F.
The "How Far? How Fast?" Challenge

Here is a start:

The following are from Roman Dial and found in reference "E" above.

1. "self-contained" travel means they (you) start with the food and gear necessary for the duration.

2. carrying all the gear and food that you need without resupply.

Edited by bfornshell on 04/27/2007 08:17:59 MDT.

Kenneth Knight
(kenknight) - MLife

Locale: SE Michigan
Unsupported / Unresupplied - Rules on 04/27/2007 16:09:17 MDT Print View

Bill, a discussion podcast about the rules for this type of long-distance hiking could be quite a lot of fun. Do you have a reference for the article Coop wrote coining the term "lpine-style thruhiking?"

I can think of a few people that would likely have interesting things to say on the topic. Some might be a bit shy on mic (I know of some that would be), but it's a worthwhile idea to pursue. Sadly one of the best people to get involved with this would be Andy Skurka but he's now engaged in his Great Western Loop hike. But hey you can't have everyone you want all the time.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported / Unresupplied - Rules on 04/27/2007 17:36:49 MDT Print View

Hi Ken,

If you go to this GoLite web site and click on the reference that lists
Burlington Free Press it will download a PDF of the article where it gives Coup credit for that term.

That same page has a Podcast from Andrew that was made for "Practical Backpacking" just before the start of his current hike.

This came from Coup's article about his Colorado Trail Alpine Hike.

"ALPINE STYLE THRU-HIKING MEANS UN-RESUPPLIED BUT NOT UNSUPPORTED When I came up with the phrase “alpine-style thru-hiking,” I thought of it as un-resupplied and unsupported. ........" [You have to understand what he is talking about is something like a phone call from his wife.]

This is on page 3 of another PDF from this
page

I agree that Andrew would be good to have on a Podcast about this subject but I know he is currently on his long hike.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Re: Re: Re: re:Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 04/29/2007 03:06:10 MDT Print View

I totally agree with Roman (and wife)'s comments about taking care of your body and psychological strength.

In the early parts of each segment pack loads are going to be high. With the hilly nature of the AT (so everyone keeps saying-I havent been there) I would assume that there are going to be continuous inclines on which walking speed is going to dramatically cut. In order to maintain richards 3.0 mph speed, you are going to have to pick up the pace somewhere. Trying to maintin mileage early on with heavy pack but running or shuffling will have huge strain on joints and muscles. Running with 30+kg is certainly an interesting experience if you ever try it. I think the risk factor for injury is probably too high to do this early on in each segment, so mileage would have to be made up when pack weights are much lighter towards the ends of each piece.

Mental toughness can overcome some pretty huge obstacles and lacks of physical capability. I agree with Richards assessment (assuming calculations are correct) that the average 30 year old could do this; assuming they have the discipline and mental toughness for it.

Richard: I didnt notice, but do your calcualtions say that there will be any body fat useage to achieve those figures? If there isnt then I am guessing that each leg could be a fair bit longer, as long as muscle mass isnt lost?

Cheers,

Adam

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported / Unresupplied Hike on 04/29/2007 15:29:06 MDT Print View

Possible Pack for an AT Un-supplied / Un-Supported Hike:

First option for a pack. When the Mountain Hardwear Exodus series of Backpacks came out I thought the Harrier might make the basis of a good pack for a heavy load. The stock pack comes apart as a frame and a pack bag. It would be easy to make a Cuben Pack Bag and the Frame can be lightened a bit without to much trouble.

Last December I was able to buy a Harrier at a really big discount. I have several plans for the stock set-up. The first is a new and much lighter pack bag. I have a prototype made and will make the real thing out of some of my "stronger but still really light" Cuben Fiber.

Second option for a pack is a
McHale Pack. I don't have one and don't know what Pack in his lineup of Packs might work for me. He makes great packs and some of them are close to the weight range of what the stock Harrier pack is.
NOTE: To Ken, Mchale would be a good person to add to your Podcast list.

Third option is the
ULA Arctic Dry Pack that is being sold by backpackinglight.com and coming out in a few months.

I have been on a fitness program to help me hike 25 to 30 miles a day. Today I started carrying my Harrier pack at a weight of about 12 pounds. I will add 6 pounds a week till I get up to 60 pounds. I have a walking route that goes up and down some hills and is about 5 miles long. I walk this route twice a day and also workout at a Fitness Center about 1 hour four or five times a week.



Edited by bfornshell on 04/29/2007 15:30:49 MDT.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Unsupported / Unresupplied Hike on 05/20/2007 18:41:50 MDT Print View

I just got back from 16 days on the AT in which the first 11 days and 160 miles were without resupply. I did get a gatorade and icecream and Neels gap and hit up the all you can eat buffet at NOC, but had 2 or 3 meals left over when my buddies came to resupply me at Fontana. I began with 30 pounds or so of food and 10 lbs of gear. roughly 4000 calories per day (i require more calories than most due to an already superfast metabolism and having very low fat safety reserves). I kept my average mileage to 15 or 16 due this being my first hard exercise since my recent tendinitis recovery along with my lack of proper training due to it. While this is very scaled down compared to any kind of unsupported/unresupplied thru-hike of any trail, my biggest impression of this style of hiking is- it sucks for the hiker!
To me, the only redeeming value of this style of hiking is you don't have to go to towns which makes logistics easier.
The reversion to 40 lbs on my back was depressing and taxing on my muscles and infrastructure when pushing any kind of what i would consider big miles (first full day was 19 miles, 39lbs and very harsh). It was also depressing that I found the limit pepperoni can be open before going bad (5 days or so), and even more depressing I couldn't find the limit of Velveeta (over 11 days). I also had to bust out my 2 lb pack which increased my base weight significantly. Luckily (?) my base weight dropped when my silk hammock ripped at both ends on two separate occasions on day 8 and got chunked. While the trip was more than I could ever ask for, I feel this style of hiking, while having a cool/high 'can it be done' factor, is completley impractical for most hikers in most situations.
Only a few examples where I find it could be useful include: hikers without adequate support networks for resupply, trails in far off locations/no resupply availability, super-athletes to set records, macho-challenges, hatred of grocery stores or post offices, or an interesting experiment for someone to try.
A few things I did that I felt helped nutritionally was protein shakes every night before dinner (reduced sore muscles compared to normal), multi vitamins, and 800mg Tums for calcium each day. I do think that for all practical purposes, I will keep my supplies to 5 days at a time tops. from now on. Good luck to other trying to hike 1000 miles plus on one load.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Unsupported / Unresupplied Hike on 05/20/2007 20:03:32 MDT Print View

"my biggest impression of this style of hiking is- it sucks for the hiker!"

I heartily agree, especially when I think of the up/down-repeat ad infinitum killer ascents of the southern AT.

"Only a few examples where I find it could be useful include: hikers without adequate support networks for resupply"

I'm sort of in this boat during my Sheltowee Trace thru-hike starting next week. Because of so-so (at best) resupply options, I'll be hiking two back-to-back 7-day sections (108 miles in one, 104 miles in the second) in order to avoid to get far off-trail or hitch-hike for resupply. But the Sheltowee is a "foothills" hike with some moderate lower mountain ascents, very unlike the "energizer" of up-downs in Georgia and the AT in NC.

BTW, did the shelter system help out after losing your hammock, or did you get another shelter?

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: Re: Unsupported / Unresupplied Hike on 05/20/2007 20:19:27 MDT Print View

Thats pretty funny, I was planning on thru-hiking the sheltowee trace trail with my 11 days of food i bought, but my ride to Kentucky bailed the morning I was leaving so i drove the 30 minutes or so to Springer to improvise a trip.
I think my calves grew a few inches in diameter because of those hills. Now if I could just keep them that big...
I had a 6.5' x 10' tarp for over the hammock. I used it when I wasn't in the AT shelters. I wrapped up in it a few times when my 45* quilt didn't meet the unexpected sub freezing temps I ran into at high elevations. The weather was great though, so the lack of groundsheet was no problem.
Good luck on your thru-hike, and if you are printing the maps off the website, be sure to use a color printer. I didn't and was envisioning lots of 'winging it' situations before my plans got changed.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Unsupported / Unresupplied Hike on 06/08/2007 15:50:39 MDT Print View

I'm not in your guys' league and I hardly have a right to comment in this thread. But here I am doing it anyway.

First, it's totally fascinating to me that the acknowledged gurus of light backpacking are pondering what they could do with a 75lb pack! It's like you've come full-circle, so-to-speak.

Skurka, Dial, Jordan, Fornshell, Bell, Moak, Nisley, the list goes on. Conversing on the possibilities of what kind of a trip could be had if one was carrying the maximum cartilage-grinding load possible. Surprising!

I don't mean this to be in any way disparaging. I think that this concept is a natural extension of the power of lightweight backpacking: you can use lw backpacking to cover more miles in a given time, to have more fun in a given mileage, or to reach otherwise unreachable destinations. You guys have done the first two ad infinitum, and now you're exploring the third.

I found this thread this morning and I've read every word of it; I can't wait to read more of everyone's thoughts and specifically of Bill's experiences!

My only contribution to the brainstorm is regarding nutrition: If I were training for an epic unsupported through-hike in Alaska, I imagine myself doing two types of training:

Phase 1) Mental conditioning: Of course a person has to actually do a 780 mile hike to see whether they're able (and willing) mentally. To practice the toughness and pain tolerance needed, the techniques, etc. And to work out exactly how much and what to carry. This is what you're talking about now.

Phase 2) Physical conditioning: Over the next year I think would train my body. I would walk long distances with a heavy pack *but* I would come home to eat every night! Huge amounts of nutrient-dense food, fresh food, sports drink, sports conditioning powders, vitamins, etc. Foods that are not available out of a pack would build (and rebuild) my body faster and better than the instant mashed potatoes and snicker's bars that ld hikers live off of. There's also massage and physio at home to nip any nascent injuries in the bud before they become problems.

I think that Phase 2 would be critical for such a hike. Because trips like that break the body down.

I think that your physical training shouldn't consist solely of thru-hiking, because thru-hiking itself breaks the body down. I think you'd want to eat 2 excellent meals a day and sleep in a real bed at night during the "buildup" phase. Plenty of time for suffering later!

/my 2 cents CAD

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Unsupported / Unresupplied Hike on 06/08/2007 15:56:32 MDT Print View

PS At the risk of being negative, that was the first thread I've read at Whiteblaze and also the last! :)

Edited by bjamesd on 06/09/2007 04:30:19 MDT.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Unsupported / Unresupplied Hike on 06/08/2007 21:10:34 MDT Print View

Actually most of the guys at WhiteBlaze have dreamed big and already done one or more thruhikes.

If you were there, having already walked a few hundred miles, and saw someone intentionally bypassing a host of simple resupply options, you'd think they were a bit nuts. (Actually more than just a bit nuts).

To me, the AT is one of the worst places imaginable for an unresupplied endeavor. It's almost pointless. Especially when there are more remote trails like the Colorado Trail or John Muir Trail where resupply options are NOT so readily BUT which also offer a decent number of bailout options if things go badly.

This isn't to say the regulars at Whiteblaze are not fairly clannish. But having thru-hiked the AT and rehiked certain great parts of it again, I understand where they are coming from on this topic. It's really not the best venue for experimenting like this. It just goes well beyond artificial IMO.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported / Unresupplied Hike - It is back Coup is on the AT on 03/25/2008 01:09:12 MDT Print View


Demetri Coupounas-etc,etc

[quote]
March 21, 2008

The Appalachian Trail Without Re-Supply

At sunset tonight, Demetri Coupounas, the president and co-founder of GoLite, with the weight of a small person strapped to his back, will set out to hike the Appalachian Trail. For 40 days and 40 nights, Coup will take the classic American pilgrimage—with no re-supply—as an elaborate field test of GoLite’s products. While 127 pounds (eight of them are chocolate!) is, to most, not a particularly light cargo, his journey is meant to affirm the company’s core values—that the outdoors is a lot more fun once you take a load off. He’s commemorating the 10th anniversary of GoLite, which he founded with his wife and late father, while hoping that by the end of his trip, on April 30, he will have broken the current 620-mile World Alpine Style Backpacking Distance record by at least a couple hundred miles. [quote]

Did we all miss this?
Comments?

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Unsupported / Unresupplied Hike - It is back Coup is on the AT on 03/25/2008 09:06:06 MDT Print View

> his journey is meant to affirm the company’s core values—that
> the outdoors is a lot more fun once you take a load off.

Carrying 127lb day one, and more than 30lbs for the first 35 days? I suppose you can torture yourself for 80% of a trip and then enjoy the last 20% and say "look how much nicer it is with a small load".

This seems like a silly publicity stunt... and a amazing feat if Coup can do this given the speed and the extremely high load. I remember in the 80s carrying a 80lb pack... 10 miles / day was all I was up to.

I totally understand why some routes would be done without resupply given their remote nature... but the AT isn't one of them. Seems like doing 2-3 food resupplies would have dropped the weight down to something reasonable, with minimal interruptions.


--mark

Edited by verber on 03/25/2008 14:36:35 MDT.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Unsupported thru hikes on 03/25/2008 10:03:36 MDT Print View

Dan Mchale has an interesting thread on his site regarding this very subject. Go to mchalepacks.com, click on gallery and go to "1969 muir trail thru hike".

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 03/25/2008 11:55:29 MDT Print View

> 620-mile World Alpine Style Backpacking Distance record

Is this held by Roman? I can't find any references to such a record. Thanks for pointing this out, Bill. That was the first I'd heard of it.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes-Where is Coup? on 03/25/2008 13:20:43 MDT Print View

Sam,

How could this fall below the BPL.com radar?

I am disappointed in you all (staff in general not any one person - Sam).

Does it now take White Blaze to alert us to backpacking news?

Is White Blaze becoming the "backpackers" place on the web?

And I, am still paying for this?

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes-Where is Coup? on 03/25/2008 14:09:34 MDT Print View

I think we are all to blame Bill, I saw this on outside.com the other day and did not even think to report on it. WTF was I thinking :/

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes-Where is Coup? on 03/25/2008 14:27:00 MDT Print View

Let's see.... 127 pounds of food and some gear...

Never even crossed my mind that this is "backpacking light".

Anything here that I can learn from? His gear list - maybe. Human physiology - maybe, if he is willing to share info.

Did Golite send out media packets to anyone beside Outside? Nope!

Amazing, yes. If he walks through that much food at 30 miles a day, it will be incredible.

Embarrassing oversight? Hardly.

Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Re: Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 03/25/2008 19:02:09 MDT Print View

This brings to mind the many "evolution of man" illustrations - starting with the knuckle-dragging ape on one side, with each figure becoming more erect until reaching modern man on the other. I know I've seen parodies of various kinds, but can't remember if I've seen one particular to backpacking - it would be fitting.

As for this particular endeavor, I'm a bit ambivalent. This guy is doing something to remember his father, and there is symbolism of where the industry started (huge packs) vs. where it is now (...light) with a significant boost in popularity from Golite.

But I do find calling this "alpine backpacking" a bit of a misnomer - "alpine" comes from a particular style of mountaineering where climbers carry all of their own gear, as opposed to using fixed ropes and porters. It's similar in-so-far as it's self contained, but more inherent in the idea of alpinism, even used loosely outside of strict mountaineering, is the remoteness of it. What gives alpine style mountaineering its appeal is its simplicity, its elegance, and its ability to allow those who practice it to travel to remote ranges without the absurd footprint of the heavier caravans.

Those benefits seem seriously diminished when hiking long distances, un-resupplied on an established trail, simply for the sake of going un-resupplied. Sometimes, like when carrying 127 lbs, it would simply make more sense to re-supply at a convenient point. On the other hand, I think that going un-resupplied into true wilderness where resupplying would be cumbersome is a sensible pursuit, as is alpine style mountaineering. It allows one to venture farther and to subsist longer relying on only themselves. Good training for that kind of excursion might be an un-resupplied hike on a conventional trail where support is available if things go south.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Will the pack and body hold? on 03/25/2008 20:27:36 MDT Print View

5 days into the hike and Coup has not made the 30 miles into Neels Gap. For those who have hiked the "energizer" of unending straight up and straight down that is the Georgia AT, this may not be all that surprising, considering he is carrying over 120 pounds.

My first thought, in all honesty, was will the pack survive? This is a stock GoLite pack, which we all know means it is designed to hold no more than about 35 lbs. I can't imagine the pack holding up to this sort of load.

And the more I think on it, I wonder if this will create undue complications for Coup's body. This isn't the same as the Colorado Trail load Coup carried in 2004, where he overloaded the pack but still carried less than half his starting weight this time. Will he suffer nerve damage from too much cutting pressure on the shoulders? Will the lower extremities hold up to this weight on just trail runners?

Coup is a remarkable specimen. I would never argue this point. But will his body and equipment hold up to this incredible test? Time will tell, but I have to wonder on this one......

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported / Unresupplied Hike - The fat lady sang and Coup is off the AT. on 03/26/2008 17:01:25 MDT Print View

I hate to say this but Coup has stopped at Neels Gap. His 40 days and 40 nights is called off.

When I was playing "what if" on a long unsupported / unresupplied hike my food weight was only around 60 pounds if I remember correctly. My total pack weight must have been around 70 or so pounds on day one.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 03/27/2008 10:28:04 MDT Print View

In Ron Moak's blog he points out that Coup was carrying seventeen pounds of gear. I presume your hypothetical gear weight was to be sub five, Bill?

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Now supported, but continuing it seems..... on 03/27/2008 15:19:26 MDT Print View

The word I have is that Coup sent over 100 pounds of food home, perhaps to be set up as a maildrop, but intends to continue hiking the trail for the remainder of the 40 days he set aside.

He was a Neel's Gap yesterday, 30 miles by day 5. I suspect he will rocket ahead now that he is, in fact, going light.

Apparently he hasn't spent much time in the east and is very much enjoying the AT itself and looks forward to the Smokies in the near future. So GO COUP!

It seems he is making the best of the situation by abandoning a not-so-great idea in exchange for an excellent one, a traditional long-distance AT section.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Now supported, but continuing it seems..... on 04/08/2008 19:20:29 MDT Print View

Outside BLOG...

April 08, 2008
GoLite Founder Quits World Record AT Attempt

A couple weeks ago, Demetrios Coupounas, founder of GoLite, set out to spend 40 days and 40 nights hiking the Appalachian Trail. In an extravagant, almost biblical, field test, he declared that he would not re-supply, but rather strap 127 pound of stuff to his back and just keep going. But, Coup quickly found, and oddly seemed surprised, that hiking with the weight equivalent of your average lady fastened to his back “really sucked.” Forty days turned into four, and he gave up at Neel’s Gap where the fine folks at retailer Mountain Crossing helped him take a load off.

“By the end of the first day, I had this massively profound and deep feeling of ‘I don’t want to carry this thing for any reason,’” he says. “127 pounds turned out to be too much.” Umm, yea.

His original goal was to hike until April 30th and break the current 620-mile World Alpine Style Backpacking Distance record. “I have maps for about 1100 miles,” he said before he left. “And it’d be a shame to carry a bunch of maps many hundreds of miles and then not use them.” He made it 31 miles. But, he did set a new record, after all. From Mountain Crossing, Coup mailed home 115 pounds of stuff, blowing their average 12 pound ship-off out of the water. Then, he continued traipsing about for a few more says with a less-than-30-pound load before calling it quits altogether. He was back home in Colorado this weekend, several weeks premature.


“One is always thrilled to be proven right in one’s wackiest ideas,” he says. “But it’s one thing to make a plan and it’s another thing to go live it.”
-Claire Napier Galofaro

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported / Unresupplied - Long Hike on 05/02/2008 00:13:55 MDT Print View

I have a question: This is an "opinion" question.

Does it make any difference where (what trail - what direction) someone might attempt a 630 mile or more un - supported / un - supplied hike?

This seems to be the number of miles Coup was going for.

jon goldsmith
(jegsmith) - F
Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-hikes on 05/02/2008 01:38:54 MDT Print View

I simply cannot understand why he was carrying 130lbs. At 2lbs of food a day thats 80lb for 40 days, + maybe a max of 10lbs of gear is 90lbs. 90lbs seems doable considering that is definitely a normal load for infantry. also, The outside article talked about taking a sleeping bag to keep his food warm????? I dont understand how something which does not produce heat can be kept warm with a passive insulation system. Any explanations?

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Unsupported / Unresupplied - Long Hike on 05/02/2008 06:18:30 MDT Print View

"opinion" answer:

No.

In theory, why not repeat a ten mile loop 63 times.

In this case you leave your food and gear at the same spot you came around to each loop.

: )

Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Re: Unsupported / Unresupplied - Long Hike on 05/02/2008 07:54:15 MDT Print View

Bill,

I think "where" matters quite a bit, particularly when it comes to making an extreme distance unsupported/unresupplied hike newsworthy. I think this type of extreme distance trek is most interesting when it allows someone to get somewhere more remote than they would otherwise be able under their own steam. The Arctic 1000, alpine style mountaineering come to mind.

I think it's different when one makes a trek as a personal challenge, and in that case, who am I to judge what someone feels is the best way to challenge themselves. So that part of Coup's trip that was a personal challenge, I whole heartedly supported. That part that was targeted at publicity, I was more ho-hum about.

My own take - Where resupplies are difficult, it's a balancing test - on one hand, there's the hassle of arranging for a resupply, and the intrusion into one's wilderness zen; on the other, the ever increasing oppression of extra pounds. Which ever burden is "lighter" on one's state of mind seems like the best choice. A 130 lb pack would have to take me straight to Xanadu, to win out under that standard.