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Alasdair Fowler
(MessiahKhan) - F

Locale: Newcastle, UK
My PCT 2012 kit list on 04/19/2011 06:07:58 MDT Print View

Hello Everyone,

I have recently joined this forum as I am currently planning a thru hike of the Pacific Crest trail in 2012 with my wife. As I have been doing my research, I keep coming across the extensive knowledge of this forum, so thought I might as well join and hopefully get some help and ideas with my plan.

After much deliberation, me and my wife (to be. Getting married in 8 days :D ) have decided to go and do the Pacific Crest Trail. We are very excited by the idea, but a little overwhelmed by the amount of planing required. This isn't helped by the fact that we are from the UK, so visas etc are also involved, and ideally the PCT forms just the start of my plan. The second half of the plan involves 2 x 1 year working visas or a permanent residency (which we are in the middle of the process for) visa for Canada.

Anyway, I digress. So far I have been drawing up a detailed list of the equipment we will be requiring, and a rough itinerary of the 4-6 months. I have been doing plenty of research into equipment and feel I am finally starting to nail some of the specifics down. I am however somewhat scared by the final weight of the rucksack! I wouldn't say I'm weak, but I can see the pleasure of the PCT being somewhat diminished if I have to hike in hot temperatures with a very heavy rucksack. Unfortunately I can't do much about the temperature, but hopefully you lot can help me get my pack weight down.

I don't intend to go fully 'ultralight' as my wife will want some home comforts. Even I would like some comfort if I am walking solidly for 6 months! But if I can get my rucksack closer to 15Kg (33lbs) with average food and water, and Sarah's pack near 10Kg (22lbs) with average food and water, I would be much happier.

Anyway, the list so far looks like;


My pack:

Rucksack F-Stop Gear Tilopa 1.392kg
Tent MSR Twin Sisters 0.816kg
Tent Pegs Vargo Titanium Ultralight Tent Peg 0.042kg
Groundsheet MSR Twin Sisters Footprint 0.460kg
Stuffsack MSR Twin Sisters Stuffsack 0.036kg
Sleeping Bag PHD Mountain Software Minim 400 Down Sleeping Bag 0.670kg
Sleeping Matt POE Peak Elite AC 0.324kg
Boots Keen RedRock 0.450kg
Sandals Keen Escape H2 0.379kg
Down Jacket PHD Mountain Software Minimus Down Jacket 0.330kg
Waterproof Jacket Marmot Mica Jacket 0.198kg
Waterproof Trousers Marmot Essence Pant 0.174kg
Mid Layer Montane Lite-Speed Jacket 0.175kg
Long Sleeved Shirt Craghoppers Nosilife L/S Shirt 0.270kg
Trousers Montane Terra Convert 0.360kg
Gloves Mountain Equipment Randonee 0.140kg
Hat Mountain Equipment Powerstretch Beanie 0.030kg
Sunhat Trekmates Bush Hat with Mosquito Net 0.100kg
Socks 1000 Mile All Terrain Sock 0.231kg
Pants X-Bionic Energiser Mens Sport Boxers 0.090kg
Stove Trail Designs Caldera Stove 0.060kg
Fuel Bottle Trangia Fuel Bottle 1 Litre 0.160kg
Cooking Pots MSR Titan 2 pot set 0.144kg
Pot Cosy AntiGravityGear Pot Cosy for MSR 1.5L Titan Pot 0.048kg
Cuttlery Tibetan Titanium Polished Knife, Fork and Spoon Set 0.050kg
Towel Pack Towel PackTowl Ultralite 0.051kg
Water filter MSR Sweetwater Microfilter 0.320kg
Hydration bladder Camelbak Antidote 2L 0.155kg
Water bottle Camelbak Antidote 3L 0.155kg
Water bottle Camelbak Antidote 3L 0.155kg
Trekking poles Mountain King Expedition Carbon Compact Walking Pole 0.400kg
IceAxe Camp Corsa 60cm 0.205kg
Crampons Kahtoola Crampon KTS Aluminium 0.540kg
Multitool Leatherman Skeletool 0.142kg
Para Cord 50ft 0.200kg
Lighter Zippo Venetian High Polish Chrome Slim Lighter 0.030kg
Flint & Iron Swedish Firesteel 0.010kg
Torch Petzl Zipka 0.064kg
Compass Silva Ranger 3 Compass 0.010kg
Guide books/maps Yogi's book, PCTA Data Book, 3 x Guide Books 0.100kg
Sunglasses
First aid kit Lifesystems Trek First Aid Kit 0.240kg
Emergency Whistle
Suncream Riemann P20 Sunfilter 200ml 0.260kg
Insect Spray Jungle Formula Aerosol Spray 125ml 0.030kg
Shower Gel/Shampoo Radox active shower gel and shampoo 250ml 0.290kg
Alcohol Gel Cutieura hand hygiene gel 0.123kg
Comb Tesco Value Pocket Comb 0.005kg
Toothbrush Colgate Wave Wave Comfort Fit Soft Toothbrush 0.018kg
Toothpaste Colgate Ultra Cavity Protection Toothpaste 100ml 0.110kg
Toilet Paper 2 Rolls for 7 days 0.329kg
Camera Nikon Coolpix P7000 0.271kg
Batteries Sanyo Eneloop AAA x 12 0.132kg
Bear Canister Wild Ideas Bearikade Expedition MKII 1.050kg
Bear Canister Ursack S29 AllWhite 0.227kg
Rucksack dry liner
Fuel Alcohol/Petrol 1.000kg
Water Fresh Water 1.000kg
Food Mixed food 3.630kg

Sarah's pack

Rucksack Mountain laurel designs 3500ci EXODUS 2011 0.510kg
Sleeping Bag PHD Mountain Software Minim 400 Down Sleeping Bag 0.670kg
Sleeping Matt POE Peak Elite AC 0.324kg
Boots Salomon Tiana 0.325kg
Sandals Keen Newport H2 0.341kg
Down Jacket PHD Mountain Software Minimus Down Jacket 0.330kg
Waterproof Jacket Marmot Women's Crystalline Jacket 0.176kg
Waterproof Trousers Marmot Women's Essence Pant 0.174kg
Mid Layer Mountain Hardwear Womens Transition Jacket 0.299kg
Long Sleeved Shirt Columbia Womens Bug Shield Long Sleeve Trekking Shirt 0.300kg
Trousers Women's Psych to Hike Full Leg Convertible Pant 0.300kg
Gloves
Hat Mountain Equipment Women's Andes W/S Beanie 0.030kg
Sunhat Trekmates Bush Hat with Mosquito Net 0.100kg
Socks 1000 Mile All Terrain Sock 0.231kg
Pants Icebreaker Hipster 0.090kg
Towel Pack Towel PackTowl Ultralite 0.051kg
Hydration bladder Camelbak Antidote 2L 0.155kg
Water bottle Camelbak Antidote 3L 0.155kg
Water bottle Camelbak Antidote 3L 0.155kg
Trekking poles Mountain King Expedition Carbon Compact Walking Pole 0.384kg
IceAxe Camp Corsa 60cm 0.205kg
Crampons Kahtoola Crampon KTS Aluminium 0.540kg
Torch Petzl Zipka 0.064kg
Sunglasses
First aid kit Lifesystems Trek First Aid Kit 0.240kg
Emergency Whistle
Camera Fuji Film FinePix Z10 0.100kg
Bear Canister Wild Ideas Bearikade Expedition MKII 1.050kg
Bear Canister Ursack S29 AllWhite 0.227kg
Rucksack dry liner
Water Fresh Water 1.000kg
Food Mixed food 3.630kg


Which takes us up to a total of;
Ali's Rucksack Weight - Stage 1 9.476kg
Ali's Food, Water & Fuel Weight - Stage 1 12.630kg
Ali's Total Equipment Weight - Stage 1 22.106kg
Ali's Rucksack Weight - Stage 2 11.289kg
Ali's Food, Water & Fuel Weight - Stage 2 7.630kg
Ali's Total Equipment Weight - Stage 2 18.919kg
Ali's Rucksack Weight - Stage 3 11.289kg
Ali's Food, Water & Fuel Weight - Stage 3 7.630kg
Ali's Total Equipment Weight - Stage 3 18.919kg

Sarah's Rucksack Weight - Stage 1 5.022kg
Sarah's Food, Water & Fuel Weight - Stage 1 11.630kg
Sarah's Total Equipment Weight - Stage 1 16.652kg
Sarah's Rucksack Weight - Stage 2 6.819kg
Sarah's Food, Water & Fuel Weight - Stage 2 6.630kg
Sarah's Total Equipment Weight - Stage 2 13.449kg
Sarah's Rucksack Weight - Stage 3 6.819kg
Sarah'sFood, Water & Fuel Weight - Stage 3 6.630kg
Sarah's Total Equipment Weight - Stage 3 13.449kg

That is assuming having to carry 8 days worth of food each, and 8 litres of water in Socal/3 litres each everywhere else. I have broken the PCT up into 3 sections; Pre Kennedy Meadows, Sierras and Oregon/Washington. This is for water calculations but also for things like needing crampons/iceaxes and bear cannisters. As for bear canisters I am still considering the option of just using Ursacks/hanging from trees etc, and then use provided bear proof bins on campsites for those areas that require canisters. Any thoughts about this would be greatly appreciated. Some things are yet to be decided, but any comments on what I have so far would be greatly appreciated.

Ali. :)

Edited by MessiahKhan on 04/19/2011 06:08:33 MDT.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: My PCT 2012 kit list on 04/19/2011 06:43:38 MDT Print View

That's a lot of clothes. Skip the boots and sandals. The tread on the PCT enables you to wear trail runners. Ditch the camelback water containers. Just pick up/toss water bottles as you need to increase/decrease your capacity. You won't need the bear canisters and ursacks at the same time. Just keep the spoons,knife and fork for eating are not necessary. Too much TP, you could go without(horrified look on your face) and survive just fine. Stick with a mini Bic lighter and leave the Zippo at home. Are you planning on doing a bounce box? Or do you have someone over here that can mail you things as you need them? I've got to go get ready for work. I'm sure other will chime in. Cheery bye.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: PCT 2012 List on 04/19/2011 08:55:52 MDT Print View

Just a few quick thoughts -

You won't have to carry food for 8 days...The longest stretch is the Sierra, and only then in the event you decide to forgo the stop at Independence via Kearsarge Pass (and honestly, it was a very pretty pass and in my mind anyhow, worth doing). The longest stretches are generally around 7 days, and even then, there aren't that many of those. Most stretches are 4-5 days.

Having 8 liter capacity gives you wiggle room but I would think carrying 8 liters would be extreme. That is 16.6 pounds of water by itself. I think I carried 5L at the most, and it was a fairly hot year.

I hiked in light trail runners the entire trail - something that breathes well is nice for the desert. In the Sierra it may be advantageous to switch to boots, but that is a preference thing. But shoes are largely preference, so whatever you take, it's good to have some experience with it before you leave. For reference, I went through five pairs of Vasque Blurs on the trail.

First aid kit can be pretty light - my feeling is that a few bandages, pain reliever, antibiotic might be enough. If you are so hurt where you need a serious med kit, well, you are not going to be carrying that anyhow. If you are allergic to bee stings, an epipen. You could get a doctor to provide you with an prescription pain pill in case things go terribly awry, at least it will help you hike out.

Cutting down on clothes, as Ken stated, is a must. You should have one pair of pants/trousers, one shirt, maybe a second shirt for town. Rain gear should be very light weight in California, it can rain, but generally not a lot in the months you are going. But always a good idea to have the protection, especially in the mountains. In other sections, it will be dead weight. Insulating jacket is important, but it can be very light. One set of insulating layer.

Have fun out there and best luck in planning. I'd read trail journals. Honestly, on long hikes, people tend to carry heavier packs than on say, a weekend trip. But still you can really cut down your weight with good planning.

Dirk

Alasdair Fowler
(MessiahKhan) - F

Locale: Newcastle, UK
thanks for the replies on 04/19/2011 10:11:07 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies. With regards to boot and sandles. The 'boots' listed are actually trail runners. I had just left it listed as boots from when I drew up the kit list template. From all the journals I have read it seems like trail runners are the way to go. I love Keen footwear for fit (My Keen current boots are so comfy) but I do somewhat question their build quality, so this choice may chance. Would certainly like to try some Inov8 and Scarpa trail runners on. The sandles I included for 2 reasons; crossing rivers, to keep our main foowear dry. And secondly to wear around camp and let our feet breathe a little. Is this not worth it? How have other people dealt with crossing rivers with regards to footwear, and what do you wear around camp?

I see your point with the water bottles, although I think I would like to take at least 1 camelback so I can drink easily on the go. Does anyone know the weight of empty 2-3 litre pop/water bottles?

The bear canisters and ursacks wouldn't be carried at the same time. They are both just included in the list for completeness. As mentioned, I am hoping to get away with Ursacks for most of the trek, and either rely on bear canisters or bear bins for the small amount of trail that doesn't recognise the ursacks.

Agreed about the cutlery. Will reduce that down to 1 spoon/spork each. Have also reduced the amount of TP. I know it is possible to go without TP altogether, but this is one of the home comforts I think I would like to keep, even if it is severely rationed. Also my bowels are not the happiest of things at the best of times, so it could get messy. Consider the zippo gone and the bic lighter in!

Yeah, we will have to be using a bounce box I think. We don't know anyone over there in the US, and the post from the UK would take far too long and be too expensive. At the very least I want to be bouncing things like iceaxes and crampons forward, but also plan to do the same with maps and guides etc.

Yeah, I know 8 days is a long stretch, but I am calculating my weight on a worst case scenario, so when we do end up carrying only 2-3 days worth of food and 1 litre of water it will be a nice surprise. I am finding the water requirement estimate for socal very hard to judge. A few journals have like yourself suggested that 5 litres each would be ok, whereas one I recently read suggested up to 3 gallons (13.6 litres)!!! may be required! I would like to carry a little more than the bare minimum, but not so much it cripples me. I also tend to sweat a lot, so get very thirsty, so I want to err on the side of caution. Any more comments on this matter would be appreciated.

First aid kit wise, yeah I will be making this up myself as I already do for my daysack. Plenty of painkillers, blister repair kit and tweezers me thinks.

As for clothes, I don't think my list is too different to what you suggested; I have 1 pair of trousers, 1 shirt, lightweight waterproof jacket and trousers and down jacket. Additionally to this I have a lightweight mid layer which I may drop, although I can't help feel this would be nice for walking if it is a little cooler, ie in the mornings/evenings/cooler days. Do you generally get cooler days, or are most fairly warm/sunny? I have also included hat and gloves, I'm assuming this is a a good idea as well?

Thanks for the suggestions so far, please keep them coming :)

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: My PCT 2012 kit list on 04/19/2011 10:44:46 MDT Print View

.

Edited by annapurna on 05/07/2011 10:01:11 MDT.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
other sites to look at on 04/19/2011 11:25:46 MDT Print View

I hiked a lot of the PCT with a fellow from the UK (a former fell runner), and he and I are attempting the CDT this year; it's certainly do-able from overseas but of course additional challenges. For the CDT, I've purchased a few things for him that he'll repay me for when he gets here, as some "light" gear can cost a lot more purchased from there (at least light stuff sold in the U.S.).

I suggest that you order Yogi's guide and study that, it answers a lot of preparation questions. You can certainly find various online info about PCT prep other place, such as http://postholer.com/faq.php, but you'll want Yogi's guide (caveat: what you'll really want ultimately is her 2012 edition ...).
Get it here: http://www.pcthandbook.com/product.php?productListId=1

You might also consider subscribing to the pct-l,
http://mailman.backcountry.net/mailman/listinfo/pct-l
Or alternatively, look on occasion at their archives.

Lance Marshall
(Lancem) - F - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: My PCT 2012 kit list on 04/19/2011 13:21:51 MDT Print View

Ali,

Here is one possible revision of your gear list. Sarah's could be similarly revised.

ali gear list revised

Hope this is useful.

Edited by Lancem on 04/19/2011 13:47:30 MDT.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: other sites to look at on 04/19/2011 14:56:57 MDT Print View

http://www.pmags.com/pacific-crest-trail-planning-info

http://postholer.com/

http://blackwoodspress.com/blog/

http://cwillett.imathas.com/pct/index.html

There are a lot of great links on pmags PCT planning section of his website on the link above that you can click on,but you should check out his whole website it is great!

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: My PCT kit list on 04/19/2011 22:09:22 MDT Print View

Ali -

My apologies, I think I found the differences in terminology a bit confusing. Two nations divided by a common language, indeed!

As to your reasons to have sandals, you won't face many serious stream crossing until you reach the Sierra. And then I think it honestly is unrealistic, given the snow you cross in the mountains. Streams, rivers, melting snow all contribute to a very wet section of trail; the trail runners seemingly were either always wet in this section, so going through a river didn't seem like that big of a deal. You cross the most water in the Sierra, and depending on the snow pack and degree of melt off, the rivers you face will range in a wide variety in speed and depth. Some people carry camp shoes (or sandals), but most give up on that idea as they soon resent unnecessary ounces or rather just carry other luxuries.

At the more northern reaches of the trail, you do cross some streams and rivers, but by then you face rain and morning dew that does a good job wetting out any shoes anyhow.

Brian's advice is sound, Yogi's Guide provides a good, solid overview of the trail.

As for water in SoCal, this again depends largely on the weather. Two years ago, the southern reaches were very hot, last year it was much more mild (but a huge snowpack in the Sierra). If the weather is hot or, like me, you are not used to temperatures in 80 to 100+F range (which SoCal can reach), the key (and I ignored this for a time at my own peril) is to get up early and try to get the miles in. Being on the trail by 5:30 a.m. would be fantastic in the hot stretches, that way you have a reasonable shot of making "10 (miles) by 10". If you can knock off around 11 to noon (during a hot year) for four hours, find some shade next to a watering hole, well, you wait out the worst part of the day, and then get back on the trail in the evening. You will use much less water this way. But carrying gallons of water is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy - the weight of that water would slow you to the point you'd need it.

There is a good water report, which you most definitely will want. Trail Angels monitor water sources and a few caches along the trail in Southern California. You can get it here - http://www.4jeffrey.net/pct/

This is updated during prime hiking season. You can stop at libraries in towns and print off updated copies. It is a great resource when you are on the trail.

Best of luck with your trip!

Dirk

Alasdair Fowler
(MessiahKhan) - F

Locale: Newcastle, UK
Thanks for the advice on 05/06/2011 03:34:13 MDT Print View

I just realised I never replied to this thread, how rude of me. Many thanks for all the comments and suggestions. They really are appreciated.

@Anna; I had actually read those threads a few months ago, but thanks for bringing them back up as re-reading them with a bit more knowledge and context made everything fall into place better. As for the vortex of fear, hopefully I wouldn't suffer from it too much as I am super laid back about most things. My motos in life are; "It will be alright" and "everything happens for a reason" and when I have an idea I tend to be pretty stubborn and single minded. Hopefully this would help me keep on plodding forward.

@Brian Yeah, I will definitely be getting Yogi's guide. I found a nice video blog entry on Youtube re the PCT where it suggested getting Yogi's guide, PCT data book etc, and carving them up into nice section sized chunks then sealing them into ziplock bags and posting them forward in the bounce box. I think this is the way I want to do things. Also according to the PCT facebook page, they seem to be publishing a lot of maps and guides etc recently. As for your UK friend, well that sounds promising for us. Do you by any chance know what he is doing regarding the US visa? Is he traveling on a B2 Visitors visa? And if so, how did he fill out the application form with regards to proving he is returning to the UK (evidence of return flights etc?). If you could put me in contact with him it would be greatly appreciated. The whole US/Canadian visa thing is what I am most concerned about at the moment and is the one thing that could be a total show stopper.

@Lance. Wow, that is amazingly kind of you to write up a plan like that. Very helpful indeed. I have taken onboard a lot of what you have suggested and am now down to about 15Kg including 8 days of food and water, so exactly where I wanted to be. The Mrs pack is still a little heavy at 11-12Kg (would like to get it under 10Kg ideally), but I still have some room for improvement with her list. I have now started ordering some of the equipment. I am having a custom Caldera Sidewinder made up and shipped over. I have ordered my custom PHD 900 fill down sleeping bags, and down jackets. I have also ordered the sleepings mats. Next big thing to order is the tent, but I still need to settle on which one to go for (The MLD Trailstar is looking like a very likely option now.) I want to get most of the big gear soon so I can test it all out over the summer and autumn.

@Dirk. Hehe, yeah our languages may be similar, but they certainly aren't the same. That was evident when I visited Canada last year, and had to often repeat words. Hopefully I can develop a western US accent in the 6 months ;) Thanks for the advice. I have ditched the second pair of shoes and am now wanting to try on a pair of Inov-8 Terroc 330 to see how they fit me.

Thanks again for everyone's advice. :)

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
PM me on 05/07/2011 09:52:37 MDT Print View

"If you could put me in contact with him it would be greatly appreciated."

I tried to send you a PM, but your profile says that you haven't provided an email address for a PM so ... PM me with your contact info and I'll send it on to him.

Donald Golob
(cancerman) - F
Footwear on 11/04/2011 01:53:23 MDT Print View

From my experience and perspective, you are worrying too much about getting your feet wet. Trail runners, or the equivalent, with mesh provides you with the ability to wade through water and not worry much about getting wet. I hiked the West Coast Trail in June 2011 wearing my Brooks Cascadia trail runners and they worked great. Even though my runners were wet some mornings when I got up once you put them on and start hiking it didn't matter. They warm up in short order. As Ray Jardine states in his book The Pacific Crest Trail Hiker's Handbook, your feet are waterproof. what I did see were dozens of hikers with the standard leather hiking boots trying to dry them over the fire each night and coated with mud which made them heavy and uncomfortable.

There are several ultralight back packing books around such as Mike Clelland's "Ultralight backpackin' Tips' which provide some perpsective to these sorts of things.

Happy thru-hiking.

Cancerman

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: Footwear on 11/07/2011 22:51:30 MST Print View

As far as feet go, your trail runners will be ideal for the whole trip. Wet feet can be an issue in the Sierras though, but more because they will get cold, not due to blisters. At least that was our experience this year with the group I was in. Crossing creeks and going right back in to snow time after time can really chill your feet in short order. Your feet will never dry out trekking through the slush. 2 of us had sealskins socks and they were invaluable through the Sierra to me. They didn't actually keep my feet dry, but they kept them warm which would have been impossible otherwise. Dry camp socks were a life saver too. Have fun! PCT is a great hike

Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Shoes on 11/26/2011 19:38:51 MST Print View

My insight into shoes are similar to the above post.

I hiked 2,000 miles of the PCT this year, and through the Sierra your feet will be wet. You get used to it. Also, 2 pair of socks are nice to have, I think at some points I even carried 3 to swap out. I wore breathable trail runners, and on occasion slept with my shoes under my quilt to keep them from freezing.

Rawhide
http://thf2.wordpress.com

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
PCT - Sierras - rocky socks on 12/23/2011 21:10:39 MST Print View

Does anybody have experience using rocky socks on t sections of the PCT or JMT?

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
re: PCT - Sierras - rocky socks on 12/24/2011 12:33:28 MST Print View

If by "rocky socks" you mean Rocky brand goretex socks, then sure. I used those when I went through in June 2008. The thing about that time of year in there, however, is that your feet are going to be wet no matter what, so don't think in terms of "goretex socks equal dry feet". A VB sock to add warmth might be a fine alternative, or layer light neoprene and wool. And lots of folks do just fine with wool socks alone.
But definitely thick wool socks (assuming quick-drying shoes, not boots in all of this ...).

Bottom line is that the goretex socks worked for me and helped some, and certainly there might be times when you can keep your socks dry longer, insofar as you start any given day on trail with dry socks to begin with.

The above talks about June, however. The time of year and specific conditions of the given year makes a big difference (!). My wife and I hope to hike just the JMT part in September, and I won't bring goretex socks for that.

a b
(Ice-axe)
Re: Thanks for the advice on 12/24/2011 12:59:54 MST Print View

"The whole US/Canadian visa thing is what I am most concerned about at the moment and is the one thing that could be a total show stopper."

I met a few hikers from other countries, namely Australia, New Zealand, and England on the PCT.
The Visa problem they had was; violating their US 6 month visa by exiting and then trying to re-enter the US.
This is also a problem for US citizens that are denied entry to Canada due to a criminal record or even a misdemeanor.
Sometimes Canada just denies people without an explaination.
Here is what some of those people did on their Northbound PCT hikes to stay within the law and still complete the trail.
They hiked from the southern terminus to monument 78, the northern terminus, in Washington which is on the border between Canada and the US.
There is nothing there but a monument in a clear cut and a level campsite .5 mile on into Canada.
So they celebrated there at monument 78 and then they turned around and hiked 30 miles back to Harts Pass. There is a trailhead there and lots of traffic to make a hitch to Bellingham or where ever.
The 30 miles between Harts Pass and monument 78 are drop dead gorgeous. That last little alpine lake, hopkins lake i think, is a stunner and a fantastic place to return to camp at after the monument.
That way they stayed within the US and did not violate their US Visa which could result in a ban on further Visa's to the US.
So even if you can't get the Canadian Visa thing worked out it does not have to be a "show stopper".
I have to add; On my hike I was able to continue into Canada to Manning park.
This was cool but at the same time expensive and really did not add that much to my hike.
In reality i was kinda jealous of my hiker buddies that returned to Harts pass since they were still on trail.
The next time i hike the PCT (maybe this year!) I would seriously consider returning to Harts Pass myself since it would save me a long bus ride in Canada from Manning park to Vancouver, then a plane to Seattle.
Then again, staying at the hiker hostel in Manning provincial park and making a final hitch 15 km (which is like 99.85 miles.. metric) down the highway and back to get beer was pretty cool.

Edited by Ice-axe on 12/24/2011 13:13:44 MST.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Hart's Pass on 12/24/2011 13:58:39 MST Print View

I went back to Hart's Pass this year just as Matt described due to a last minute change in my my post PCT hiking plans and the fact that my flight was out of Seattle. I timed my exit at Harts for mid-day Sunday and was in Seattle by the early evening, easily hitching three rides into civilization.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Hart's Pass on 12/24/2011 14:15:11 MST Print View

CAVEAT on Harts Pass -

There is a resident trail angel in Winthrop; Teresa Skye (Skyward) and Dave. She posted these abbreviated responses to the PCT_List forum in 2010:

"There are Trail Angels in Winthrop - my partner Dave and I! We live about 5 miles outside of town and can transport you to and from Rainy Pass. The number is 509/996-3217."

"It is probably more difficult to get a ride to Hart's Pass than Rainy Pass. Hart's Pass is a tough, narrow dirt road that won't be accessible by car until early May, while Rainy Pass (off HWY 20) may be open sooner this year-they're assessing the North Cascades pass now to see if it can open earlier this year because of the low snow year."

"There's no public transportation in the whole valley-we're very small. The closest would be catching a bus in Pateros, which is about 45 minutes south of Winthrop. Greyhound runs along US 97 up to US 2 into Seattle along there."