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What does "unsupported" stand for to you?
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Ulrika Dahlin
(ulrika) - F
What does "unsupported" stand for to you? on 04/21/2007 17:21:11 MDT Print View

Having some ideas to see how far you can go "unsupported"

So, what does "unsupported" stand for to you?

Yours Ulrika

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
unsupported = on 04/21/2007 17:25:49 MDT Print View

wife says: "you wanna go on that trip, fine - i don't care; do whatever you f'ing want"

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: What does "unsupported" stand for to you? on 04/21/2007 21:42:20 MDT Print View

My definition is likely a good bit different from some others, and it is mostly based on the through-hikes I've made in the last few years.

For me: Hiking without specialized access to services one could not reasonably walk to along the trail corridor.

Maildrops COULD count as support if you have to have someone back home mail them out. For my AT thru-hike, I was supported in this aspect in that my mom took the pre-addressed maildrop (which I packed) to the post office and mailed it out with the cash I left for that purpose on the timetable I left her. Still reasonably self-sufficient, but lightly supported. Onthe Colorado, I mailed all my mail-drops out from Denver just before I started the trail. I wouldn't consider these as supported as I did the work myself.

The other types of support would be transport. If you're walking into town, you're not supported. If you're paying for a shuttle, you're supported. If you're hitching, this is a grey area for me, since you're somewhat "living off the land".

For most all of my longer hikes, I've had a degree of support (bymy definition), but minimally so compared to those who have friends or outfitters actually meet them at predetermined points.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re:What does "unsupported" stand for to you? on 04/22/2007 01:06:16 MDT Print View

Saving weight by leaving the boxers at home?..

Actually I thought it means not taking assistance or food from any person; living off the land and natural sources of water; such as the recent BPL Alaska trek. I think if I hitchiked one mile, or a thousand miles, I would think of myself as having received support; but then I've never done a thru-hike.. :(

Alan Garber
(altadude) - F
Re: unsupported = on 04/22/2007 05:50:10 MDT Print View

wife says: "you wanna go on that trip, fine - i don't care; do whatever you f'ing want"

lol.......I definitely can relate to that situation and comment.......though by your definition-unsupported becomes not taken.........;-0

I am still laughing.........great one.......

BTW-not to hijack but the arctic 1000 - is there a webpage for this unsupported hike, which I thought meant carry all your needs from start to finish without any resupplies or help.......

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Unsupported how exactly? on 04/22/2007 14:20:57 MDT Print View

And here I always thought it referred to hiking without underwear ... (oops, sorry that one's been done ...)

Seriously, my unthinking assumption was that it means you're continuously away from any human infrastructure, carrying whatever you need to survive except for water. I don't think that "living off the land" is super practical for most folks, particularly for those that want or need to do any significant per-day distance.

Edited by brianle on 04/22/2007 14:21:57 MDT.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Unsupported / Unresupplied on 04/22/2007 15:07:57 MDT Print View

I think what you are really looking for is a way to define "un-resupplied". Demetri Coupounas (Coup) did the Colorado Trail "un-resupplied" and "unsupported". He carried all his gear and all his food for his CT Hike. He had no one help him in anyway on his hike. He did receive "moral" support such as phone calls to his wife as he hiked. At lest one person hiked along with him a short way but did nothing for him nor gave him anything.

"The Colorado Trail Alpine Style, by Demetri Coupounas (Coup)
ALPINE STYLE THRU-HIKING MEANS UN-RESUPPLIED BUT NOT UNSUPPORTED When I came up with the phrase “alpine-style thru-hiking,” I thought of it as un-resupplied and unsupported. I now think differently. While I took no water, food, gear, or anything else from anyone on these trips, I can not claim to have been “unsupported” on the Colorado Trail any more than the other two. My biggest supporter was my wife Kim."

You all might enjoy this thread from last November called

Ulrika Dahlin
(ulrika) - F
What is the longest "unresupplied" hike you know? on 04/22/2007 18:17:30 MDT Print View

A big thank you! to everybody for the interesting comments.

The "Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes" from november was a VERY interesting read.

From that thread It looks like it would be "possible" to walk 1000 miles carrying all your food on a good trail for the "optimal" person with all the stars in the right place.

That is the theory, but does anybody know the longest unresupplied walk that has been done?

Edited by ulrika on 04/22/2007 18:57:12 MDT.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
What does "unsupported" stand for to you? on 04/22/2007 19:11:59 MDT Print View

If you liked those you should like these:

How Far How Fast

About Food

A Plan for 700 to 800 miles on the AT

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: What does "unsupported" stand for to you? on 04/23/2007 22:08:23 MDT Print View

Am wondering if you are unsupported and unresupplied if you start from a point and do the first section in stages. Ie I start on one end of a trail, with my gear/food dump at the start. I walk in 100miles and drop off some food, then walk back to pick up the rest. If you think about it, this is what most mountaineers do on a mountain. I am not sure of the "alpine" style climbers do this, or do they, just not without a massive support team placing dumps for them along the way?


Douglas Hus
(Hustler) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
unsupported on 04/26/2007 05:00:00 MDT Print View

What you can carry, is what you have.
(anything more would be in support of your trip)

Using the KISS principle,

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: unsupported on 04/26/2007 12:26:27 MDT Print View

"What you can carry, is what you have."

Would this mean that by drawing water from a stream, you are being supported? I could agree that cached water is support, but taking what is naturally there seems a bit of a stretch.

Douglas Hus
(Hustler) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
unsupported on 04/26/2007 13:50:33 MDT Print View

Hi Shawn, Unsupported.
If I have the means to clean (and carry) the available water, I would consider it unsupported.
Where I spend most of my time, (fresh) water is either immediately available or with in an hour.

All the best,


Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: unsupported on 05/01/2007 20:03:48 MDT Print View

I'm going for the Unsupported/ Undersupplied JMT record this summer and have been asked questions about this.

The questions that have come up is if someone wants to visit you on the trail and walks with you on a section of it, (not pacing you), is that support?

If 2 people go for an Unsupported attempt, can they load share? Along with that, you are only really setting the pace half the time while just following the other half, (support or not)?

Edited by awsorensen on 05/01/2007 20:04:27 MDT.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: unsupported on 05/02/2007 07:30:47 MDT Print View


What if you start out with a pack with top pockets and side pockets and then mail the side pockets home, then mail the pack home and do the last several days with just the top pocket/lumbar pack?

Do you have to finish with the same kit you started with or is it acceptable to replace gear? Maybe your sole came off and you replaced it with an identical shoe.

What about trail magic? In athletics the umpires are considered a part of the field. Maybe trail angels are a part of the trail.

Are you allowed to discard trash?

My point is that it is possible to become too obsessive about the "rules". If the point is to set a standard that can be recreated then that is impossible in hiking. I have hiked that same trail on Memorial Day weekend multiple times over more than a decade. Every hike is different and unique.

I prefer to celebrate the endless variety that hiking offers rather than setting "standards". However, the unsupported hikes help us all think about the effect of carrying different weights and nutrition. I am just glad that I receive the benefits of an activity that I would never attempt.

Hike on and thanks.

Edited by food on 05/02/2007 07:32:24 MDT.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Re: unsupported on 05/02/2007 12:59:16 MDT Print View


"My point is that it is possible to become too obsessive about the "rules".

Yes, but never the less we are discussing it.
I just say help, or actuall assistance that will help get you through the trail faster than without is support.

If I find that I have 2 pounds of extra food half way through and I get rid of it, that will help, there for I would consider it support.

Maybe if I just force the issue for a bear to get into my pack and have it just some how eat the food, then I'm good. It could also rip my bag into 2 and save me some weight that way.

Oh wait here's another one; if I have the bear chase after me the whole way, I will easily be able to get the record.

Edited by awsorensen on 05/02/2007 12:59:53 MDT.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
unresuplied/ unsupported on 05/02/2007 13:20:13 MDT Print View

I always considered a hike in which you carry all of your gear/ food to finish the hike is without resupply.

when a hike completed without a support crew is considered unsuported

Ex. "Coup's" mini triple crown hikes = unresuplied

a PCT thru hike where you have to go to town or a mail drop yourself to pick up food = unsupported

(for a supported hike, the hiker has a support team bring them food ect. so they can stay on the trail)

Im interested in the speed records for various thru hikes
PCT? supported and unsupported
AT? supported and supported

anybody know?

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: unresuplied/ unsupported on 05/02/2007 17:05:10 MDT Print View

"AT? supported and supported"

There may have been a change in the supported hike this past year, but my best knowledge is 48 days and a handful of hours. (The runner was trying to finish it before his 49th birthday.)

Unsupported was 62 days.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: What does "unsupported" stand for to you? on 05/02/2007 18:07:43 MDT Print View

going commando?

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
What does "unsupported" mean to me? on 05/02/2007 18:34:17 MDT Print View

Going Rambo (but w/ better acting and a coherent plot).