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PCT 2014
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Eli Zabielski
(ezabielski) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
PCT 2014 northbound on 12/23/2013 12:04:29 MST Print View

Planning a start around May 11th.

(PDF Link:

Missing items:

BD Raven Pro Ice Axe (65cm, ~16oz) for the High Sierra
Microspikes for the High Sierra
Bear Vault 500 for the High Sierra

An additional 70oz Platypus for the desert (making a total water capacity of 160oz or 5L).

I still have to do some shoe research. The La Sportivas are just in there as a place holder. They are not nearly durable enough for a thru-hike.

Edited by ezabielski on 12/23/2013 12:11:11 MST.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Re: PCT 2014 on 12/23/2013 12:21:57 MST Print View

- I always carry a few ClO2 tabs with me on the off chance that the AquaMira spills. The extra weight is negligible.
- You won't need DEET until the Sierra.
- Think about getting chapstick with SPF.
- You must have a really strong back if you're okay with carrying up to 150 miles of food and 20-30 miles of water (sometimes at the same time) without a hip belt.
- For the Sierra and southern CA the nightlight alone might be marginal on cold nights.
- For me, there's no way a buff alone would be warm enough to keep my head warm at night. How about a balaclava?
- No bug net on the tarp? You won't miss it until the Sierra. But then you'll REALLY wish you had one.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
PCT Plan on 12/23/2013 15:52:39 MST Print View

What is your expected daily mileage or better yet, when do you expect to get to Kennedy Meadows? The reason I ask is that you are starting fairly late and unless you are planning on doing major mileage at the start you will likely get to the Sierra fairly late and unless it is a high snow year I would question the need or the micro spikes and/ice axe. I wasn't able to get on your list by either link on my ipad so I can't really comment beyond that.

Jeff Jeff
(TwoFortyJeff) - F
Re: PCT 2014 northbound on 12/23/2013 20:08:34 MST Print View

A May 11th start will easily get you to Kennedy Meadows in mid June, which would mean you'll see a ton of snow if it's an average year.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: PCT 2014 northbound on 12/23/2013 20:21:29 MST Print View

This year is not shaping up to be a normal snowpack year, not by a long shot.

It's too early to make firm predictions, but it looks like it will be between poor and extremely bad.


Eli Zabielski
(ezabielski) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: Re: Re: PCT 2014 northbound on 12/23/2013 21:19:35 MST Print View

The wool buff is merino wool. I've used it most nights in the backcountry recently for three season conditions. It's longer than a normal buff, so it can go over your eyes and nose, if necessary. I haven't decided between that and a down hood for equal weight.

The mosquito solution is something I still have to figure out. I can't decide between DEET, mosquito head nets, a mesh tent inner, some combination, or some other solution.

Starting May 11th means 20.6 miles per day to reach Kennedy Meadows on June 14th.

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
Mosquito solution on 12/24/2013 15:19:59 MST Print View

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

Can't see list on 12/24/2013 18:27:16 MST Print View

Couldn't see your list but

With respect to Desert Guy - - NO to the big full body mosquito suit -- you aren't hunting, you're hiking.

Still early to guess at snow levels -- a wide brim hat with bug headnet and 100% with my windshirt and pants when really needed did just fine (NOT windshirt and DEET underneath..chemicals can eat away at clothing)

I did Mexican border on May 19th to Kennedy Meadows on June 19th. Carried as light as possible, but really fairly doable if you are in ok shape and carry a light load and hike smart.


Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: PCT 2014 northbound on 12/29/2013 17:18:28 MST Print View

The 5L might be too much once you're into the Sierras. I technically carry 3L with me but 2L is technically a pee bottle and just makes it easy to keep 2L in camp which is plenty of water for dinner and breakfast.

Eli Zabielski
(ezabielski) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: Re: PCT 2014 northbound on 12/30/2013 10:57:34 MST Print View

The 5L is just for the first 700mi or so.

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
PCT 2014 on 01/01/2014 20:12:25 MST Print View

Seth you are funny...:-) I'm a woman....the suit was "some other solution" suggested in fun. I use the exact same stuff you use for hiking with Mosquitos. Loved your PCT report by the way. Rock. On!


Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

Whoops - Desert Woman :-) on 01/02/2014 09:32:30 MST Print View

Sorry about that shot in the dark for the gender specific usage - I thought it was a hilarious suggestion, just didn't know if others would take it as such.

I did get an immediate vision of this dusty hiker, fully clad in camo mosquito netting, lumbering up to a remote campsite and scaring the wilderness right out of some relaxing overnighters.

Glad you enjoyed the info, and feel free to check out the site: as I continue to add more trip reports and gear reviews to it.

FYI to the OP: Feel free to check out my PCT gear list seen on my website listed above, or in the BPL thread on 2014 hopefuls.

There are as many ways to successfully enjoy a thru-hike as there are successful thru-hikers. Many different combinations could work just fine for ya to complete this trip, so when all is said and done, go with your gut instinct and just be prepared to have a few mid-trip purchases made along the way if needed.

With regard to the LaSportiva -- they are somewhat fragile, but if you love the way they feel then wear them until they wear out and get another pair. I hiked with a young guy who used multiple pairs of Nike Free running shoes to do the whole trail -- including finishing in snowshoes and winter weather with me in Washington. I loved my Altra Lone Peaks and my Brooks Cascadias, but the Salomon XA Pro or even some Merrell's may suit your feet better. Prepare to purchase 4-5 pairs of shoes for the PCT -- better to replace worn out shoes than worn out knees and feet.

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
Hehe on 01/02/2014 19:16:05 MST Print View

"I did get an immediate vision of this dusty hiker, fully clad in camo mosquito netting, lumbering up to a remote campsite and scaring the wilderness right out of some relaxing overnighters."


The "new" Big Foot.Netted man

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: bigfoot on 01/03/2014 08:05:54 MST Print View


Just add some dim lighting conditions and some camera shake and out of focus effects, and we have an official Sasquatch sighting!

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

Perfect Visual on 01/03/2014 08:44:49 MST Print View

Just what I'd imagined - along with the shaky visuals and out-of-focus image :-)

Apologies to the OP - I think I drifted this a little into the Bigfoot thread...

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

Gear Comments on 01/03/2014 08:55:03 MST Print View

After viewing your list I have a few more thoughts:

1) Try using some GPS / Digital Map Apps like GutHook or PCTHYOH and Halfmiles app , since you have a smart phone

2) SERIOUSLY RECONSIDER YOUR PACK. I love MLD gear, and I think the Prophet is a great pack, but I forsee a lot of swearing on your part using this set-up. EVEN with only a few days of food, NO bear can, and 2 Liters of water, my shoulders would be killing me. STRONGLY consider looking at something WITH a hipbelt and has decent weight transfer -- I liked my Zpacks Arc Blast, but would also have been fine with a ULA Circuit, a Gossamer Gear Gorilla, or maybe even a MLD Prophet with hipbelt (thought I tend to like structured bags these days). FYI: I had about 10 lbs base weight leaving the Kennedy Meadows for Kearsage Pass, and I had 34 lbs with only 2 liters of water....that is MAY to much weight for not having a hipbelt...YMMV

Had MANY TIMES that I needed to do 25 mile water carries, so just think about it.

Otherwise it looks pretty solid - any excellent decision on the Umbrella!

Eli Zabielski
(ezabielski) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: Gear Comments on 01/03/2014 11:32:21 MST Print View

Thanks for your input, Seth!

1. I would like to just use my phone. I am worried about battery life, especially if big snow cover forces me to check the GPS a lot. What do you think?

2. How long did it take you to go from Kennedy Meadows to Kearsage Pass? How many days did you expect when you set out?

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

More Thoughts on 01/03/2014 21:02:33 MST Print View

Hey Eli - here are some specifics

1. I would like to just use my phone. I am worried about battery life, especially if big snow cover forces me to check the GPS a lot. What do you think?

--> Get a decent Backup battery and keep your phone in Airplane mode when you don't need the GPS. BIG snow depends on the year and when you get there. Even with snow, doing difficult but average milage days would still likely have you at Lone Pine in around 6-8 days. I wouldn't worry about that too much with a larger backup battery.

---> IF YOU CHECK GPS A LOT JUST GET A LARGER BACKUP BATTERY... Even the really powerful ones don't cost more than $90 (I bought a MonoPrice 4600 mAh one for $30 from the Monoprice website and it worked just fine for checking the GPS every now and then -- charged my iPod (Bad Elf GPS on an Ipod Touch), Camera, and Petzl headlamp. Go with a larger one and you'd be fine for 7 days between charges without issue.

2. How long did it take you to go from Kennedy Meadows to Kearsage Pass? How many days did you expect when you set out?

---> I anticipated that I'd hike straight through to Red's Meadow --- that would have been a horrible idea, so I quickly changed my mind and set myself to go into Lone Pine via Kearsage - a much better idea.I had brought about 20 pounds of food to last me about 10 days... and I ate in all in 6.5 days... the mountains made me hungry.
I started from the Mexican Border on May 19th and got to Kennedy Meadows on June 19th (702 miles in the first month) and had NO snow issues on San Jacinto, Baden-Powell or really anywhere.
Left KM on June 21st (did a whole 2.5 miles that day) and got to Kearsage Pass on June 27th - so really plan on 6-7 days for that stretch unless you really want to pound out some miles. I enjoyed my time and really didn't push the miles at all for the whole of the Sierra's. ZERO SNOW ISSUES FOR THE WHOLE SIERRA FOR ME. Didn't even go more than 30 feet on snow -- and that was on flat wide open approaches -- no snow in any of the technical areas for me at all.
I didn't bring ANY snow gear through the Sierra's - no ice axe, no spikes, nada. Just a borrowed Bearikade Weekender that never really fit all my food, but still worked out ok. Your year may vary so HYOH and have fun.


This is the "Dangerous Snow" at the sketchy part of Forester Pass right before the top of the pass...usually a nail-biting event - as you can see it was not cause for alarm.

Forester Pass Snow

David T
(DaveT) - F
snow in the Sierra on 01/03/2014 21:19:46 MST Print View

Currently about 20% of normal (yikes) so I would watch the snow levels from now until April. You might get lucky like I did in 2004 and have a light snow year and early melt, leading to easier travel and fewer mosquitoes. I didn't use an ice ax or spikes/crampons. Just was careful in a few spots.

But we are praying for lots of rain and snow from now until then!

And leaving May 11 is 10+ days after most folks, so that's another thing working in your favor.

Edited by DaveT on 01/03/2014 21:20:18 MST.

Eli Zabielski
(ezabielski) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: More Thoughts on 01/04/2014 13:15:57 MST Print View

Thanks for the advice, everyone!

I think I will get an backup battery.

I want to be done with the trail by about August 22nd to be back for work. That date probably has some flexibility, but that's the goal. And it looks like I can start a bit earlier too, maybe May 6th let's say.

May 6th to August 22nd is 108 days. So for 2,700 miles that's 25 mpd.

But if I leave KM on June 15th, then that's 66 days remaining for 2000 miles: 29.4 mpd. I've done that type of mileage on solo trips before, and I've done some days with big elevation gain. So I hope I can keep it up in thru-hiking conditions with 700 miles of "training" beforehand.

1. If the snowpack continues to be low, what challenges will I face as a result?

2. And is it then reasonable to leave KM before June 15th to more evenly distribute the miles, if the snowpack is low?

Edited by ezabielski on 01/04/2014 13:17:49 MST.