Its been two summers since I did a long section of the SHR. My training and prep, gear selection, food prep, and actual experience after coming back were quite a bit different than from my original expectations.Imagine that!
Here's a baseline (in general)of what I brought and what I'd do differently next time: My goal was 14 days at 14 miles a day. Thats actually pretty reasonable for a fit person. I'm over 50 and even when it was hard, that was very doable. Terrain wasn't anything more or less difficult than any of the other miles I've done off trail in other alpine settings. Route finding was a lot more serious because of the sheer scope of the distance. My base weight was 11.8 with a small solo bear can, a couple of extra clothing pieces,digital voice recorder, and some fishing gear. 27.8 lbs trail weight at Roads End, with 2 liters of water and food for 8 days at the start. Comfy shelter, warm bag, nice pad. It was only "heavy" for a day or two, and after I got up out of Kings Canyon, water was everywhere so that weight went away quickly. Conditions and timing didn't work out and before my resupply in Mammoth I had to end around a section and call it quits, head home after 160 miles and 8 days of hiking.
4.5lbs is just a number. It needs to be in context. If you add that to an 8lb base, yes its huge. But if you add it to an already existing 30lb pack, quite frankly, so what?
If you plan on cruising the SHR in any kind of fast pace, rest will be one of your most important tools. You can't recover if you don't sleep well, or eat properly. Hence the whole UL mindset of a series of systems comes into play. But what is more important? the chicken or the egg? Your sleep system is not any more important than your cooking system is not any more important than your clothing system is not anymore important et al..... Don't overthink or provide imbalance within your systems and expect high end results.
With that in mind, I'd throw out one more intangible. The route. Its not something that you are going to go out and "do"(conquer). I made that mistake. And because of that mindset I missed out on some really spectacular sections because I had to make miles. I took one of the coolest routes in the land and corrupted it to fit into "my" timeline, and now I regret that immeasurabley..... My two cents, be very fit, go light, go prepared, and spend whatever time you have available on the route, and wherever you end up when the bell sounds to go home, call it good. Not finishing the entire route does not mean you have failed or come up short! It just means thats all the time you had to spend on this trip. Its not going anywhere after you leave it. The very accomplished alpine climber Marc Twight once told me when we were preparig for a Denali climb that the most important advice he could give was to be willing to "fail" on any given route. He said that too many people were unwilling to learn what it takes to succeed, and that sometimes in order to succeed, we have to be willing to fail. Go try it one way, if it doesn't work, go try it another way.
Wish you all the best, and if you have any questions I can help with, drop me a line!