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May Backbone Trail UL List-- critiques welcomed!
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Kenneth Cowan
(zeros) - F

Locale: California
May Backbone Trail UL List-- Suggestions welcomed! on 05/01/2011 17:51:11 MDT Print View


This trail runs east-west along the length of most of the Santa Monica Mountains. About 134 miles round trip. Municipal water is plentiful aside from a 25 miles stretch at the west end, hence the extra platy. I'll be giving myself 4 days, but would like to eventually shave it down to 3. Highs ~80, lows ~50. Units in ounces.

Zpacks Zero 5.65

JRB No Sniveller 21 (listed)
Neoair 20x66 12.48

Zpacks Hexamid solo w/ beak, guylines 3.86
Polycryo sheet 2.6
8x Mountainfitter ti-eye stakes 1.86

Montbell Tachyon shell 2.42
i/o bio merino long sleeve zip 6.35
merino buff 2
Ibex merino glove liners 1.31

Photon x-light micro + shockcord .29
Dermasafe blade .27
Bodyglide/neosporin mix in balm jar .66
Bronner's unscented soap in dropper .15
Lightload Towel .27
Bug repellent in dropper .15
Baking soda .35
Toothbrush .37
Matches in ziplock .1
2 safety pins .04
Bandaids, Advil, Benadryl, Immodium .3
CA drivers license .12
Food ziplock .1

Canon s95 w/ card + battery + stickpic 7.15
Samsung gusto cellphone 3.29

Aquamira (repackaged) .29
2.65liter platy 1.38
2X .75 liter smartwater bottles 2.34


pack weight: 78.23oz = 4.89lbs

Worn/Carried -
New Balance MT101 9
simblissity levagaiters 1.8
smartwool phd ankle socks
nike compression shorts
Ibex Indie merino hoodie 8.93
Kavu Chillba Hat (modified) 3.4
MYOG golf shaft poles w/ duct tape 9
eyeglasses + cord .63

possible additions:
spot2 (w/ mods) 4.04
zpacks cuben groundsheet/poncho ~3
nano puff ~9

possible weight savings:
nix neoair (12.48oz) for trimmed blue foam pad (3.75oz)

Edited by zeros on 05/01/2011 19:59:37 MDT.

Morgan Strauss
(voodmann) - MLife
Awesome List; Awesome Trip Idea! on 05/04/2011 08:23:04 MDT Print View

Great list. Sub 5 with a neoair, camera and phone, pretty impressive. That said, what about a map(set)? I know the trails are pretty well marked, and perhaps you're very familiar with route—there are a few forks however that I've had to stop and consider.

I've been wanting to plan a similar (one way, west to east) Backbone trip. I hope you post a trip report. Will you be stealth camping or are you going to try to make it to a campground each night?

Looking forward to reading more about UL in the Santa Monica mountains.

Kenneth Cowan
(zeros) - F

Locale: California
Re: Awesome List on 05/05/2011 09:44:45 MDT Print View

Thanks Morgan.

Howard's trip report on his website was a big help to me figuring this trail out:

I've done the entire route in sections many times over, but there definitely are a few spots where a wrong turn could waste an hour or two. I do believe Tom Harrison makes a couple of maps that cover the whole trail. Those, in combination with the NPS info, should put everyone on the right path.

I've always just stealth camped along this trail but I do have some favorite spots that I'd be willing to divulge if anyone wants to PM me.

I'll definitely be doing a thorough trip report with the most recently completed sections of trail and all water sources. I am a big fan of this trail and highly suggest it to anyone in the LA area. It really is a great respite from the LA rat race, and full of amazing wildlife and varied ecosystems!