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