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Help Needed; JMT FP trek synopsis & 2012 gear
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Jorge DeLaSierra
(DeLaSierra) - F

Locale: SoCal
Help Needed; JMT FP trek synopsis & 2012 gear on 02/12/2012 20:25:06 MST Print View

Greetings all; sorry for the long winded entry… but, I would appreciate your input.

I have worked for the last two years to make a transition from traditional backpacking to a “lighter” backpacker mode. This has been a physical, educational and in some cases, a behavior-changing experience. When I went over Forester Pass in 2009 (JMT), I had a 40-pound pack on my back. In 2010, I went over Forester with a 27-pounder (Onion Valley to Portal / 43m/1.5 days). Last year, among other overnight treks, I went from Happy Isles to Mono Pass junction (86m) in three days with a 23-pounder. In 2012, my pack is about 21.5 pounds.

During that last long-range fastpack in 2011, I found that traveling light required discipline I did not (yet) have. For example, I found I did not operate well while being wet for an extended period of time; it rained and hailed a lot that week in the Sierra. I did not enjoy the trek under those conditions because I could not improve my situation without the benefit of the sun; or, spare (dry) stuff. I learned that if one is going to enjoy the profit of traveling light, one better be able to live with whatever nature offers at the time.

Also, although I woke up in the mornings anxious to go and maintained a good pace for most of the day (I don’t like hiking in darkness), my insistence in meeting the planned distance for the day made me crash on day one and two; leg-pain, impatient/moody, could not “down” the required food amount and water, did not carry out self maintenance chores, desperation feeling and absolute exhaustion – I just set up the tent and went to sleep – or tried to.

Being a type-2 diabetic has disadvantages, and consistently keeping up with the right nutrition is a must. I believed this crashing happened because I over exerted myself with the mileage/speed and because I was not “one” with my nutritional requirements; the calorie output and fat burning rate situation was more than I was prepared to handle. (I subsequently found out I was burning between 7-8,000 calories a day while taking in less than 2,000; NUTS!!)

Since then, I learned that, even when I think I’m going strong, not taking scheduled soft and hard breaks will tax my strength little by little. Not fueling my body on time and/or enough will come back to haunt me toward the end of the day… And, once the body starts going “down”, no amount of breaks and food will help it recover in an expeditious manner; except, setting up and calling it a day. I learned that once you crash, it will take the body between 24-36 hours to fully recover (depending on age and/or athletic condition); so, a “zero” day following a crash is a must. The body will start recovery as soon as it is well fed and rested. I learned not to go out the day after a crash or I will have a miserable hiking experience!! I now maintain a militaristic break schedule that has proven to help me end the day much stronger. I learned to keep fastpacking on the fun side by being able to identify my pre-crash condition; usually near mile 25.

I have picked up plenty of my fastpacking know-how right here in BPL thanks to the candidness of its members. If you have time to check my 2012 gear list (mainly for JMT mid-September), I would appreciate any advice you could render; especially from any medically inclined member with diabetic sports nutrition or personal experience. I included every darn thing I carry. I am planning a “three stepper” style trek; where I take a “zero” day every three days of hiking. I am still working on a more efficient nutritional tactic.
Thanks and Happy Trails!

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Help Needed; JMT FP trek synopsis & 2012 gear on 02/12/2012 20:40:07 MST Print View

You just need to get back onto the Whitney Trail.

All of the endurance athletes that I know have one trait in common. They have the ability to do their sport and eat at the same time. In other words, they take breaks while still on the run. They may slow down a little while they snack, but they keep moving and they keep digesting their food on the run. Now, I guess some people can do that, and other people can't. Once they get so tuned into their own abilities, they simply know when they need to snack somewhat before they crash, and they carry an assortment of snacks so that they can boost fast or boost slow, just depending on what they feel.

Too often, some of us push until we are crashing. Then we become too tired to eat. We have to stay ahead of the game.


Jorge DeLaSierra
(DeLaSierra) - F

Locale: SoCal
Help Needed; JMT FP trek synopsis & 2012 gear on 02/12/2012 21:49:51 MST Print View

Hey BG how are you!

Tks for the advice. I have some short range hikes coming up and will train right from the get-go. I tried eating on the go in 2011. It worked initially and then I got lazy in the PM. But it's like you say; you have to make it part of you in order to make it work. When you saw me in 2010, I was FP 40s and 50s. Last year I increased the distances and everything changed. I think I'm going to find a stable Sierra mileage plato and stick with it for good. I'll see you out there!


Jorge DeLaSierra
(DeLaSierra) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Help Needed; JMT FP trek synopsis & 2012 gear on 02/13/2012 09:00:56 MST Print View

BASE PACK WEIGHT (pack itself and gear in pack or attached to pack)
1. ULA Ohm backpack – 22.6 oz
2. Henry Shires Tarptent; Tyvek Sublite single wall tent w/bag & stakes – 21.5 oz
3. Walmart ground mat (blue) – 8.25 oz
4. Dupont Tyvek sheet (tent’s ground cover) - 7 oz
5. Mont-Bell Down-Hugger #2 sleeping bag – 28.875 oz
6. Bearvault 450 bear box – 33.5 oz (I hate the two pounds of dead weight! But, last I checked the box is required all over the Sierra… might as well!)
7. Platypus 32oz bottles & carrying sacks (2ea) – 4.76 oz
8. Sea To Summit Cordura - all purpose rain poncho – 12.125 oz (pack and body rain cover, field shelter)
9. Etrex GPS w/ batts – 4.75 oz
10. Notebook /pen/ 550 cord – 2.75 oz
11. 3 (extra) AAA batts – 1.12 oz
12. 1st Aid kit – 7.5 oz
13. Nano – 1 oz
14. Car keys – 2 oz
15. Mont-Bell wallet (IDs & cash) – 4.5 oz
16. I-phone – 7.125 oz
17. Little Fly head/face net – 1.375 oz
18. Mini shovel – 2 oz
19. Mini carabineers (4) - .875 oz
20. Road ID tag - .375 oz
21. Misc (spoon, toothbrush, 550 cords) - 2.375 oz
22. Thermarest stuff sack – 2.25 oz
• Patagonia ‘Capilene 3’ long sleeve – 7.5 oz
• Go-Lite runner’s long sleeve – 4 oz
• Mont-Bell down jacket & bag – 8.75 oz
• REI heavy crew socks – 4.875 oz
• Injinji socks – 1.5 oz
• Jockey underwear – 2.8 oz
• Mountain Hardware balaclava – 1.375 oz
• North Face gloves – 3.125 oz (not waterproof)
• Inka head warming hat – 1.375 oz
• Petzel headlamp w/batteries – 2.375 oz
• Bear bell – 1.275 oz
• Julbo (spare) sun glasses – 1.275 oz
• Bandana (spare) – .875 oz
• Extra camera battery – 1 oz

BASE PACK WEIGHT (BPW) = 220.705oz = 13.79lbs

Clothing and miscellaneous gear worn….
1- Patagonia ‘capilene 1’ long sleeve – 4.875 oz
2- Columbia hiking pants – 11.375 oz
3- Rigger’s belt – 3.25 (pants, first aid, general utility)
4- Jockey underwear – 2.8 oz
5- Injinji sox – 1.5 oz
6- REI heavy crew sox – 5.125 oz (must be thick in order to accommodate wide shoes)
7- New Balance ‘1000’ boots – 37 oz (18.5 oz ea w/ Superfeet inserts)
8- Outdoor Research hat w/ neck cover – 3 oz
9- Fox bike gloves – 2.625
10- Julbo sun glasses – 1.75
11- Pro-Tec knee support/ guards (2) – 3.375 oz (prevention and treatment)
12- 2XU calve compressors (2) – 1.5 oz (prevents calve cramps//good for warmth)
13- Watch, bracelet – 3 oz
= 81.175 = 5.07 pounds

Carrying gear… (this is mainly the stuff I carry on my person and pockets; in case I lose or have to ditch the backpack)
1- Suunto; compass w/ whistle – 1.625 oz
2- Day’s Maps & protractor – 2.375 oz
3- Quick Find; personal locator beacon – 5.625 oz
4- Sawyer; filter, bottle & bags – 4.875 oz
5- Bic lighter - .5 oz
6- Outside; utility knife w/550 cord – 4.375
7- Bandana w/550 cord - 1.5 oz
8- Komperdell; walking stix – 14.75 oz set
9- Casio; digital camera w/ batt - 5.75
Cargo = 41.375 oz = 2.58 pounds

TOTAL BASE WEIGHT = (BPW) 220.705oz (13.79lbs) + (clothes worn and gear not packed) 122.55oz (7.65lbs) = 342.755oz = 21.42lbs

1- Repel;lemon eucalyptus mosquito repellant – 4.625 oz
2- Vaseline; petroleum jelly (chaffing, 1st Aid) – 2.5 oz
3- Body Glide; anti pain rub stick (part of 1st aid kit) – 1.225 oz
4- Avon Skin-so-Soft; SPF 30 sunscreen – 5.25 oz
5- Blister Shield; foot powder – 2.875 oz
6- Toiletries – 4.375 oz
7- Food – 92 oz (2,761 cal/per day / 3-day supply)
• Erin Baker’s; breakfast cookies (2 during 1st hour of hiking) (640 cal)
• Advocare; spark energy drink (45 cal)
• Jelly Belly; energy “beans” (2 bags for the day)(200 cals)
• Hammer Perpetuom; solid (12 pills per day)(huge source of pack weight) (200 cal)
• Hammer; sustained energy non-flavored drink (big source of pack weight/3 servings p/day)(1,029 cal)
• Hammer; vanilla/chocolate gels (heavy source of pack weight) (2 servings p/day)(180 cal)
• Tanka Bites; (beef jerky / honey) (1 bag per day)(210 cal)
• Tap-Out; post-workout recovery drink (257 cal)
• Hammer; electrolyte pills / bottle full – 5.875 oz
• Advocare; O2 and Ibuprofen pills – 2.125 oz

TOTAL PACK WEIGHT (BPW plus weight of consumables) = 220.705oz (13.79lbs) + 112.85oz (7.05 lbs) = 333.555oz = 20.84 LBS

TOTAL (Carried) WEIGHT; BPW 220.705oz (13.79lbs), + Consumables 112.85oz (7.05lbs) + 122.55oz (clothes worn / gear not in pack) (7.65lbs) = 456.105 OZ = 28.5 POUNDS

Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
Re: Re: Help Needed; JMT FP trek synopsis & 2012 gear on 02/15/2012 09:35:57 MST Print View

Hi Jorge,

"impatient/moody, could not “down” the required food amount and water, did not carry out self maintenance chores, desperation feeling and absolute exhaustion – I just set up the tent
and went to sleep – or tried to. "
> you nailed it man, that's from not eating, also from altitude. Not feeling like eating is a VERY common thing when combined with altitude and rigorous excercise you're not used to. BG nailed it too when he said eat on the trail while hiking. You didn't do well with this last time you said, so adapt. Take snacks you WANT to eat (for me I LOVED big sur bars, hated candy bars, loved nutella, loved tortillas, did okay with trail mix, hated sugary dried pineapple. Next time I plan to include Fritos as a staple. I think you ought to take what you WANT to eat, even if it's junk. We want calories over most everything for short thru-hikes. You may also try protein based drinks, look into something like Hammer Heed. I have little experience with it (day hikes), but plan to use it this year to increase my calories, especially during the beginning days. I'm also bringing olive oil to mix into dinners.

I didn't feel like eating either days 1-3. I was choking down food, force feeding myself, and kind of wanted to vomit. I lost about 8 pounds, eating 3.5k calories a day or abouts.

Platypus - swap to a gatoraide bottle, the wide mouth kind, for one (or both) of your bottles. They're like 1.5 ounces. Save 3 ounces each (and they're nicer to drink out of).

Etrex GPS w/ batts – 4.75 oz Maps are likely lighter here.

1st Aid kit – 7.5 oz . I have no idea what's in it because you don't list it, but ditch any packaging it comes in in trade for a zip-lock quart freezer bag. I cut mine down to about 1-2 ounces. I brought basic things I figured I could actually field-use. Splint? Ditch it and nab a stick. 4 packs of gauze? t-shirt/sock. Exactly equivalent? No. Worth the trade? Yes. Life saving ability NOT hampered? True. Stuff because you're a diabetic and I have ZERO idea what's involved in that? Keep em =)

Car keys – 2 oz. Just bring one, leave the clicker in the car.

I-phone – 7.125 oz . I think "why", but to each their own.

Thermarest stuff sack – 2.25 oz nix. you don't need it.

Mont-Bell ..... & bag - why the bag? nix.

• Julbo (spare) sun glasses – 1.275 oz . nix, bring super glue and tape instead, more versatile.

3- Quick Find; personal locator beacon – 5.625 oz . personal, but I'd nix personally.

1- Repel;lemon eucalyptus mosquito repellant – 4.625 oz. Man I tried Deet 30 and got EATEN ALIVE. I swapped to DEET 90. this is personal though. Still 4.6 oz is a LOT of fluid here.

2- Vaseline; petroleum jelly (chaffing, 1st Aid) – 2.5 oz
3- Body Glide; anti pain rub stick (part of 1st aid kit) – 1.225 oz
^ don't those two things do the same thing?

Blister Shield; foot powder – 2.875 oz
2.87 can't come from the powder alone, nix the tin it comes in and use a smaller plastic pill case or a double bagged ziplock

Toiletries – 4.375 oz

Food – 92 oz (2,761 cal/per day / 3-day supply)
I find this light. I burned through about 3750 cal/day and lost 8lb, though I did really big days (12 days for the total trail), and weigh 220lb.

Mini shovel – 2 oz
poo-poo-shovel? I love having one compared to trying to dig with a stupid tent stake.

All in all good list, just some things I consider extra but might be something that makes you enjoy your trip more and to each their own.

Edited by Trout on 02/15/2012 09:36:34 MST.

Jorge DeLaSierra
(DeLaSierra) - F

Locale: SoCal
Help Needed; JMT FP trek synopsis & 2012 gear on 04/13/2012 17:19:00 MDT Print View

Thanx Michael!!

Wow! Good advice! Thanx for reading my long winded entry and taking the time to help me out. I will definetly jump on most of the points you helped with. Yes there are some that are kinda close to me... like that vaseline/pain rubber combo. Vaseline seems to work on anything I use it for. I will ditch the container and bring half the ammount thou. The phone? Got me a lighter one. Yeah most everything you said is cool w me. The GPS is gone. The BPL, my wife wont let me go without it now... I should have not told her about last year. Too light on food ah? Wow. Yup, I will be eating good this time around; trust me. Most folks tell me that's where I messed up; I starved myself and then asked the body to perform ten times the usual work.

I got me a permit from Happy Isles to MW for August 30/2012. I plan on making my trip more pleasant by cutting down on distance; and, by recognizing when to stop. I will not have a "set" mileage because that will make me tunnel-focused on meeting the distance and not having fun. In other words, I don't want my JMT trek to be "230 miles long and 24 inches wide".

Thank you again for your support. I'll post a report and pictures when I return from the trek...


Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
Re: Help Needed; JMT FP trek synopsis & 2012 gear on 04/14/2012 11:20:35 MDT Print View

Sweet JD. I'm glad you seem more assured with your changes. Feel free to PM if you have any more specific questions. I'm doing it again this year too, though in July.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Re: Help Needed; JMT FP trek synopsis & 2012 gear on 04/17/2012 17:09:19 MDT Print View

Amen Bob G!

As a marathoner and triathlete, eating while active, through aerobitic and strenuous movement, is indeed essential to racing well and completing the tasks at hand. To that end, I still advocate a trip to an endurance sports store to get acquainted with different nutritional products that are engineered to get into the blood stream quickly and provide the needed type of fuel for highly aerobic, sustained efforts and then to recover quickly after. They are worth the price when you see how many "junk" calories in the typical BP diet can be replaced.

I see many thru-hikers using candy and junk just to get calories with little attention to the type of calories they are getting. I find a good mix of nutritious food I want to eat with an appropriate sports drink mix keeps me moving strongly in BPing as well.


Nathan Hays

Locale: San Francisco
Trail Calories on 04/17/2012 19:20:32 MDT Print View

It really does make a big difference where the calories come from. The source strongly affects how you feel about getting them into your stomach and then how they sit with you.

I have been sucking off a baby bottle with Perpetuem (thanks Brett M.!). That's almost entirely maltodextrin and protein. Sipping every half mile or so, I have kept a clean high energy level without the slightest hunger or unease.

Check out Hammer Nutrition, try it out, then make your own to save $$$.

Nathan Hays

Locale: San Francisco
Re: Trail Calories on 04/17/2012 20:07:08 MDT Print View

Haha, thought I was posting to a different thread - you know about hammer already. :)

Robert Perkins

Locale: The Sierras
Help Needed; JMT FP trek synopsis & 2012 gear on 04/17/2012 20:40:54 MDT Print View

JD, Your list looks pretty good. I have a couple of suggestions, some have already have been mentioned here.

Bear Bell, is it for you or to alert you at night if a bear is messing with your bear can? Either way, it's not needed.

It looks like you listed two pair of gloves, you could get away with one.

The splint can be replaced with tree limbs in an emergency.

If you are doing off-trail hiking maybe bring a beacon, but if you are staying on the JMT, it is something I would leave behind.

I don't know if you like the taste or not, but Perpetuem powder has a lot of calories and carbs to keep you going. There is some good info on Hammers website on proper nutrition while doing endurance sports.

You can probably get away with with one long sleeve Go-Lite or Patagonia style shirt.

Have a great JMT trip this summer! It doesn't look like we will be out at the same time.