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Expiration date on hiking?
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Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Expiration date on hiking? on 08/30/2011 11:28:20 MDT Print View

Read a trip report on another forum on a recent retiree not completing a dream trip due to physical ailment despite top-notch lightweight (though not UL) gear. Similarly, I've personally seen with some fairly fit retirees give up the ghost even with UL gear. Plus even some of the fitter retirees I know had to stop backpacking to take care of elder parents in their 80's.

What's limit to hiking, even with UL equipment?

Also if there's a limit, how do we avoid it?


Edited by hknewman on 09/07/2011 11:19:00 MDT.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
time limit?? on 08/30/2011 12:15:11 MDT Print View

the only thing that will keep me from going backpacking is being under the lawn at Grassy Knolls. i will scale my outings to my abilities, i will not stop until i stop.

Edited by asciibaron on 08/30/2011 12:15:49 MDT.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: Expiration date on hiking? on 08/30/2011 13:22:12 MDT Print View

There is a fellow Cimmaron who is 89 trying to be the oldest AT thru hiker. He started at Springer the end of Feb. got 700 miles to Daleville, Va and then leap frogged to Mass. and is going to Katahdin then I guess head south from Mass. to finish it up. He has had a number of falls and some help in places but he is averaging a bit over 8 miles a day I think.

Edited by abhitt on 08/30/2011 13:26:03 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
keep doing what you love on 09/06/2011 00:06:35 MDT Print View

or you wont be able to do it one day and regret it

its that simple ....

and dont worry about it ... just keep doing it ...

Mark Primack
(Bufa) - MLife

Locale: Cape Cod and Northern Newfoundland
Old and Up on 09/06/2011 05:08:52 MDT Print View

Early last year, after a thrice a week round of physical therapy for severe pain in the knees and achilles tendon, I started dayhiking and then backpacking again after a lapse of ten years, much aided by new much lighter equipment. I set my sights on a five-day winter ascent of Mt. Adams, second highest mountain in the Northast, which I hadn't been able to get up in a dozen years.

There were reports of 3-5 feet of snow and my buddies strongly suggested I take my snowshoes, which I hadn't used with a pack on in many years. I told them it would be hard enough to make it in boots and that I couldn't imagine making it in snowshoes. Nonetheless, at their insistence, I threw the snowshoes in the truck. At the trailhead I was postholing up to my hips and said that I would stay in a motel while they hiked. Again at their insistence, I put on my snowshoes and started snowshoeing up the trail, which is fairly steep in places, with five days worth of equipment and food in my pack. We made it to the RMC cabin we were staying in and I was beat but just so proud of myself for making it at 63 years old. The next day we ascended the summit, snowshoes all the way, and I was even prouder.

When we returned to the cabin, five new folks had arrived and they looked older. Their ages: 62, 68, 69, 72, and 74. The 69er was woman! My pride was seriously tempered by seeing all of them come in on their snowshoes. The next day we all ascended Adams and then those five elderly! hikers went over to Jefferson and didn't make it back to the cabin until nearly three hours after dark. Nonetheless, I was so happy being in my beloved alpine zone again, with the wind howling and the snow blowing.

The key is getting into condition and staying in condition. Age and physical issues can be a problem, but as Nietsche noted, in the overcoming there is the greatest joy.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Expiration date on hiking? on 09/06/2011 05:15:04 MDT Print View

Well said!
Keep on truckin'!

Gerry Volpe

Locale: Vermont
expiration on 09/06/2011 07:30:26 MDT Print View

I met a guy on Mt.Katahdin out with his grandson for his 75th birthday. As he cruised over the knifes edge, sheath knife and leather covered canteen bouncing in the air he grinned and said "just keep doing it". Truly inspiring.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Expiration date on hiking? on 09/06/2011 07:31:38 MDT Print View

I've adapted Aragorn's Black Gate Speech to this very topic.

I see in the mirror a progress of aging that could take the heart of me. A day may come when my body fails, when frailty bars me from the trails, rivers and lakes, but that is not this day. An day of weakness when I cannot travel in wild and remote places, but it is not this day! This day I hike (bike and paddle)! By all that I hold dear on this good earth, I pledge that I will get outside to experience the natural world that I have been given and use the body I have been given so as to delay that horrible day!

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Expiration date on hiking? on 09/07/2011 11:13:28 MDT Print View

There's a big difference between slowing down and stopping! Just because a 30-mile day is no longer within reach (it never was for me) doesn't mean it's time to quit.

I plan to keep going as long as I can put one foot in front of the other!

"We don't stop hiking because we get old; we get old because we stop hiking." Finis Mitchell, 20th century Wind Rivers pioneer.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Expiration date on hiking? on 09/07/2011 20:53:44 MDT Print View

I met the late legendary Grandma Whitney (Hulda Crooks) near the top of the Mount Whitney Trail when she was on her last successful summit. Of course, she had her whole family with her for support, but she was 89 years old at the time.

She described growing up in Western Canada, and working hard all of her life. Her husband passed away when she was 65 years old, and that is when she began backpacking.

When I get to be 89, I hope I am just breathing, much less doing Whitney.


USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Gets harder on 09/09/2011 22:44:51 MDT Print View

At 57 last year, I did my longest day ever bping, a 22 mile day in early Oct. Even fast packed part of the trail. My eight day, 80 mile bp a month ago over Kearsarge, Forester, Colby Passes was a little tough, but fun when you start passing folks on the downhill that were over an hour ahead of you in summiting, then call you a mountain goat as you scramble past them and quickly leave them behind.:)

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Expiration date on hiking? on 09/10/2011 02:26:59 MDT Print View

That's why the Creator made river valleys as well as mountains--- leave the steep pitches for those foolish youngsters :D

I just watched 180 Degrees South and Yvon Chouinard going up the glaciers on Cerro Corcovado at 69. When they reached the rotten rock at the top of the ice, Chouinard said that was enough for him headed back down with the female member of the party to let the two young bucks risk their lives. I thought, what a crafty old fox-- he's headed to the beach to eat and drink and surf with a beautiful woman while the kids dodge falling rock. WAY TO GO, YVON!!!

You get it one day at a time. Like the old Jansport ad said, "Get out, while you can."

Edited by dwambaugh on 09/10/2011 02:29:26 MDT.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Expiration date on hiking? on 09/10/2011 07:49:21 MDT Print View

>"We don't stop hiking because we get old; we get old because we stop hiking." Finis Mitchell, 20th century Wind Rivers pioneer.

Ain't it the truth. My expiration date on hiking will be about the same as my ultimate expiration date, or so I fervently hope.


Dan M
(r4gl7q) - MLife

Locale: Arizona
Not stopping anytime soon on 09/10/2011 16:42:03 MDT Print View

In 2004, I had a heart attack halfway through a hike.
Was able to contact help via a ham radio.
Was taken out by helicopter.
Within 4 hours, I had 2 stents in my right coronary artery.
Did the same hike about 4 weeks later ... with out the HA.
Yea, I won't be stopping anytime soon ... at least by my choice.

Ryan Krause

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Fred Beckey on 09/11/2011 11:41:50 MDT Print View

Look up Fred Beckey. The guy was born in 1923 (making him currently 88), he's a mountaineering legend, was Yvon Chouinard's instructor, wrote the definitive guides to climbing the cascades, hundreds of first ascents - he still climbs.

If you get the Patagonia catalogs he's the focus of the fall 2011 catalog - there's a pic of him lead climbing at age 86 in the Selkirk Mountains. This dude rules.

Edited by rmkrause on 09/11/2011 11:43:27 MDT.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
the other thing on 09/13/2011 14:56:37 MDT Print View

Beckey stole my girlfriend several decades ago, he has stolen hundreds since, his climbing ability isn't the only thing that hasn't slowed appreciably.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Expiration date on hiking? on 09/13/2011 15:00:22 MDT Print View

I once thought I had an expiration date. Really freaked me out. It was printed in a spot I'd only see in the shower. Then a friend told me that actually I got really drunk awhile ago and got a tattoo while inebriated. I had totally forgot! I was so relieved.....

So I guess I can hike forever. No wear out date.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Expiration date on hiking? on 09/13/2011 15:40:43 MDT Print View

Expiration date on hiking?

A: When I expire
A: Does beachcombing count? =)