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too many LOOP trip requests

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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby Troutdog 59 » Fri May 06, 2016 9:40 am

I agree with Tehipite Toms descriptions. If you start at one trailhead and end at another that has always in my book been a shuttle. Did lots of them in the old days (Bishop to Sawmill, Bear Diversion to Florence, etc), but nowadays I don't hike with as many folks (son and daughter are my typical companions these days) so having two cars is not always an option. If possible, I prefer a loop or semi-loop/lollipop, but I've done numerous out and backs and don't have any issue with them as well. If you get to see a beautiful area, I really cant complain if I get to see it again on the way out. Sometimes it can be a whole different world on the hike out when compared to the hike in. I once hiked over Mono Pass to the Pioneer Basin. We went in in a storm and the views on the way in were limited at best as we just got over the pass and into the Basin as quick as we could. When we left 3 days later it was clear and we were amazed at how gorgeous the views were across to 4th Recess, and with the views of Pioneer and Little Lakes Valley as we crossed Mono Pass. I almost felt like we were on a different trail and seeing it for the first time. Also have to agree with OR about responding to requests. Far prefer those that name a few options to those just asking where to go, but maybe I'm just getting a tad cranky as I get older :unibrow: :D :wink:
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby sambieni » Fri May 06, 2016 10:08 am

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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby guiriguiri » Fri May 06, 2016 12:30 pm

In defense of myself and other newbies to this site. Many of us, even those experienced at backpacking/trip planning, aren't used to the competition for permits. When you're slightly late planning an up-till-then unexpected trip and seeing how few permits are left for the window available to you, it's hard to wait for maps/books to arrive or to spend enough time digging through TRs to find the perfect loop.

Also, I use "loop" as a loose term and generally expect a lollipop, albeit with more lollipop than stick.

Anyway, I've appreciated getting helpful answers from enthusiastic members rather than derision around here!
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby ERIC » Fri May 06, 2016 2:35 pm

Tom_H wrote:I too like the lollipop concept. While I appreciate the notion of encouraging newbies to expand their ideas of what a good trip entails, I think the original post came across a bit strong.


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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby Jimr » Fri May 06, 2016 2:59 pm

While I get that there may (or may not) be a false idea out there that out/back are less desirable than other shapes of travel. I don't think we should discourage anything. If people come here looking for advice on a loop, why not? If loops are tough to fit into a given criteria, we can always suggest an alternate out/back that would fit or inform them when there doesn't seem to be a good loop that fits within their criteria and suggest a bang on out/back or two that would fit. The goal, IMHO, is to educate about the possibilities, not squelch the desire for a particular type of trip.
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri May 06, 2016 3:00 pm

If you are solo or a "group" of two, I would not be so concerned about the reserved permits being already taken. There are always cancellations and a certain amount are left for first-come. I have never been able not to get a walk-in permit, excluding major holiday weekends, and even then, you will get cancellations. Same day "no-show" cancellations are given out at 11AM. Walk in permits can be obtained the day before or the day of your trip. Be flexible and have a "plan B" that works from a nearby trailhead and you should be OK. I have not bothered with getting a reserved permit for years.

In my opinion, the best trip planning resource is the 3-map series, "John Muir Wilderness (Inyo and Sierra National Forests)/Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness (Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks); North Section, Central Section and South Section. USFS 1"=2mi. I have the 1992 maps. I am not sure if there are newer versions. These maps are of perfect scale for planning. The best thing about these maps is that they show the currently maintained trials vs. not maintained trails. Lots of good information, including campgrounds, the "no fires allowed" areas, and trailhead access roads. I think these are available at REI as well as on line. Pick out some "loops" or whatever looks good and then ask for advise. I try to be helpful, but ALWAYS can give more detail when someone has a few defined options already chosen.
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby Ikan Mas » Fri May 06, 2016 3:00 pm

Several thoughts on this with some mixed feelings:

- Loops are nice, but truthfully, there aren't that many. After a certain point you either figure out your own, or do some backtracking. Remind them, there are no bad days backpacking. Boredom is a state of mind, not going on the same trail there and back. Encourage people to do their own planning and be rewarded with their own discovery.

- Lord knows there are more than enough resources out there to plan trips. Harrison's maps are the best thing since sliced bread in that regard.

- Yes, if you fly into LAX or SFO from back east there are going to be logistical challenges. You might have to pay for a rental car to sit at a trailhead for a week or pay what seems like a lot for someone to pick your butt up. That's just the way it is. This isn't Europe where you go from airport to train to trailhead with little effort. California is big, and now more than ever, expensive.

- I get why scouts are looking for loops. They want that elusive 50 miler and to minimize logistics. That said, our troop did a number of trips that weren't loops and required shuttling. Nature of the beast. Our troop probably had a 7 year repeat cycle.

- There seems to be an increase in intellectual laziness in people, perhaps caused by the internet. They can't be bothered to do the research, but want to rely on others advice for what is supposed to be an excellent trip. Unfortunately, backpacking does not fit into the Yelp model.

- At the risk of funneling nubes into a few standard routes (which already occurs anyhow) perhaps we just point people to Backpacker's Trekking California. It has descriptions of most of the standard route and is readily available on Amazon. I use it, though it tends assume that you can do 10-15 miles a day off trail. Perhaps too scary for flatlanders.

- If they don't want to get Trekking California, we could also list here the old standards as a beginning point for those who can't be bothered to plan. "Places to Consider for Your First Trip to the Sierra." The ones I can think of are:

* Hoover Twin Lakes, Peeler Lake, Benson Lake, Matterhorn Canyon, Mule and Burro Passes
* Rae Lakes
* North Lake - South Lake (Evolution Circuit)
* Humphries Basin Bear Basin loop
* Emigrant Kennedy Meadows Brown Bear Pass, Upper Emigrant Lakes, Huckleberry Lake, Buck Lakes, Emigrant Lake, Mosquito Pass, Kennedy Meadows.
* Any number of Lolipops off of Rush Creek in Ansel Adams
* Lodgepole, Silliman Pass, Roaring River, Deadman Canyon, Elizabeth Pass, Hamilton Lake, back to Lodgepole.
* Mineral King, Franklin Pass, Kern Canyon, Junction Meadow, Gallats Lake, Pants Pass, Nine Lakes, Five Lakes, Lost Canyon, Sawtooth Pass, Mineral King

I'm sure you can list a few more. Perhaps some of the members can create a "Famous, Must-Do Canned Hikes" page (yes, gag me). Once you have done most of these, you should have graduated to planning your own hikes.
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby alpinemike » Sat May 07, 2016 12:18 pm

I disagree that there are a lack of 2-4 day loop routes in the Sierra. If you keep a light pack, you can easily go 10-15 miles a day. Given a 30-40 mile route, more loops open up. And add a little off-trail and even more loops open up.


I completely agree with wanderingdaisy's comment about the fact that there are plenty of loops that can be opened up via a light pack. If you're carrying anything over 35+ pounds on a 3-4 day trip you should really reconsider the gear that you're using and taking with you. You will be much happier at the end of the day with a light pack and will be able to cover far more ground, which in turn increases your ability to do "longer" loops/semi-loops. Even more so I believe as many others that we should never discourage new members (or any members for that matter) for asking for advice on any type of trip. The whole point of our forum I hope is to provide valuable information and experience to those who seek it out.
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby LMBSGV » Sat May 07, 2016 12:43 pm

In my opinion, the best trip planning resource is the 3-map series, "John Muir Wilderness (Inyo and Sierra National Forests)/Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness (Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks); North Section, Central Section and South Section. USFS 1"=2mi. I have the 1992 maps. I am not sure if there are newer versions. These maps are of perfect scale for planning. The best thing about these maps is that they show the currently maintained trials vs. not maintained trails. Lots of good information, including campgrounds, the "no fires allowed" areas, and trailhead access roads. I think these are available at REI as well as on line.


I also have been using these maps to plan trips for over 20 years. They "are of perfect scale for planning." I've come up with a lot of trips just by starting at a destination and seeing all the various ways I can get there.
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby SSSdave » Sat May 07, 2016 4:22 pm

Of course most backpackers carry traditional loads of varying degrees with ultralighters in a modest minority. Although there are more loops possibilities available to ultralighters, many of the requests are from those obviously not. I'm not referring just to recent threads but rather over the last few years on the board so believed it would be worthwhile to temper that direction and still do after reading what others have input so far. Thus for traditional loads out and backs far out number loop choices that perusing topos will quickly show to be true.

Of course the discussion intent is NOT about discouraging people from asking for advice and help but rather steering those who are unfamiliar to a thread starting point of broader possibilities that include all route types including loops. Eric and Maverick already have considerable such info and advice in their sticky stuff. We discourage novices from hiking early season in mosquitoey areas or siting camps along trails when privacy is of interest for good reasons. At this point I'll concede any added sticky stuff is not going anywhere as the subject seems to have drawn lines of opinion and in any case is a very minor matter
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat May 07, 2016 6:41 pm

Since we seem to be into "definitions" in this thread, let's clear up the "ultralight, UL" definition. UL packers (such as the PCT hikers) are a minority BUT their base weight is in the 10-15 pound range, with an added 3-4 pounds for food for a 3-4 day trip. That is a total pack weight in the range of 15-20 pounds. "Light" base weights are in the 15-20 pound range. I fall into the "light" category, as do many of those who post here. With a bear can, my "base weight" is about 18-20 pounds depending on if I add fishing gear and extra clothing for shoulder seasons. I regularly do 3-4 day trips with no more than a starting pack of 25 pounds, and that includes the weight of the pack. It does not include what I wear or trekking poles, because that is not on my back.

A pretty reasonable rate of hiking on trails is 2 mph. That also takes into account about a 10-minute break per hour and misc. stopping to read maps etc. Add an hour for each 1000 feet gain for the average hiker. I usually can beat this- generally I take an extra half hour per 1000 feet of gain. So even with a moderate pace, an 8 hour walking day (leaving four hours for camping most of the backpack season) could be 3000 feet gain (pretty typical of my "loops" and 10 miles of distance. Walking 10 hours in mid summer is not that hard. And if coming back, usually down, you are more likely to have about 1000 feet gain or less. Last summer I hiked out of Nine Lakes Basin to Crescent Meadow in 11 hours, just in time for the sun to go down. That is about 21 miles, all on a well graded, well maintained trail. I would not want to do that day after day, but it was fine for a quick exit. Off-trail is a different matter; then a 7-8 mile day is a full day. In summary, "most" backpackers can do 30-40 miles in a 3-4 day loop. Hobbs can beat me any day in his trail mileage! He is actually verging on UL. He is younger than me too! :D

Some backpackers, of course, are more into the down time- camping, fishing, climbing etc. That is just fine too. But if someone wants a loop and says they can do 10-15 miles a day, I will try to think of a trip that meets those goals. Now, if they say 15 miles a day off-trail, then I would correct that and point them to about 7-8 miles a day. New members should also be aware that there ARE great in-and-out routes too. Preferring a loop, but willing to do an in-and-out WILL get them more suggestions from us. And as much as I would prefer "newbies" do a bit more research themselves before asking for a "route", I try not to come off too condescending and give them a few suggestions. When I moved here I had to figure out a whole new mountain range and used plenty of "aids" such as guide books and advise from lots of people (no internet then). It is daunting until you get the geography figured out.
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby Hobbes » Sun May 08, 2016 2:16 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote: Hobbes can beat me any day in his trail mileage! He is actually verging on UL. He is younger than me too! :D


The real reason I can hike fairly long days is because I constantly train. My usual routine is to jog a 10k every other day, and walk 3-4 miles the others. This is year round - the only variance is whether the surf is any good (usually fall/winter). The other exception is when my wife has signed us up for a city vacation, in which case we usually stroll 10 miles/day. (Even so, I often bring my trail runners and go for an early short jog.)

As for being younger, not by much; I'm older than Jim, Mav, Russ and a host of others. My younger brother is pretty competitive, and as we talked last weekend at a family wedding, he was quizzing me about some hikes/daily mileage. Since we have the same build, etc, and have both been pretty good at sports, I told him the only thing he has to do is jog 2-3 miles every other day. That will get you 80-90% of where you need to be condition wise; carrying a load and gaining/losing elevation provide the finishing touches.

I think BlueWater & I might be the two big UL fans/advocates on this board. My standard kit has a baseweight (everything except food/water) of 8.5 lbs. So, for example, a 4 day trip like the 2016 meet-up will start out just over 14 lbs total. I've mentioned this before, but I've also been conceptualizing an extreme/super ultra-light system (XUL/SUL) that could be used for 2-3 day strips. These would be primarily fishing surgical strikes, where I would hike maybe 15-20 miles in, fish for a day, then walk back out.

Right now, with a 25 degree quilt & oversized tarp, my baseweight for the XUL/SUL system is 6.5 lbs. Add 2-3 lbs of food and I'm under 10 total. If I make a 35-40 degree quilt, and reduce another tarp I have (or buy a small cuben tarp), I think I could get the base down to 5.5lbs. As usual, it needs to be said that the name of the game here are materials: the highest possible loft down to provide the greatest warmth/weight ratio, the most effective water-proof material to stay dry, and the strongest/lightest nylon (typically expensive military grade) to carry all this stuff.

Here's a photo of my 35-50L regular pack that can be expanded to carry up to 25-30lbs. I've got it kitted out Joad style - including an additional sleeping pad + 3/4 season tent - for a Whitney hike I'd like to do later this week (after the storm clears out). I'll be camping overnight @ 12.2k on 3-4' of snow, so I need to haul the extra gear:

Image

Here's a shot of my new XUL/SUL 25-30L pack that I sewed up last week (all my primary gear is MYOG) - it weighs 6.5oz, yet could easily carry 20 lbs if need be without any material stretch/strain/tear. Note the lack of hip belts, sternum strap or back pad. None of those features are necessary if the load is under 10 lbs:

Image
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