Thru-hiker Envy | High Sierra Topix  

Thru-hiker Envy

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Re: Thru-hiker Envy

Postby Troutdog 59 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:47 pm

No real envy for me as I've never had the ambition to do a major hike like the PCT, but I do like/envy the camaraderie of the many PCT hikers I've crossed paths with. What I've seen is a real sense of community. Social hierarchy's seem to melt away and most seem to get along quite well. Theres always exceptions, but most seem quite pleased about their surroundings. I like the nicknames they assign to one another and the little quirks they add to their hikes. Now this is likely not all that typical, but in 2012, my brother and I ran into a group of 4 heading over Silver Pass that were hiking in only their trail runners. We were somewhat dumbstruck by their appearance, but they cheerfully announced it was National Hike Naked day and urged us to do the same. We applauded their style, but still chose to hike in our shorts and long sleeve shirts!! To each their own is my motto!!!
If you stand in the light, you get the feel of the night, and the music that plays in your ear......
In your mind you can hear, a voice so sweet and clear, and the music that plays in your head......
As it flows up from the ground, taking all that hear the sound, close your eyes, it’s about to begin.

R. Trower



User avatar
Troutdog 59
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 549
Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:11 pm
Location: Clovis
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Thru-hiker Envy

Postby SSSdave » Fri Jul 08, 2016 4:04 pm

Thanks Hobbes for shining some insight on current thru hiker gea, amusing.

I have a half dozen pairs of Darn Tough DT1905 that so far are the only socks I have never eventually destroyed with my toe nails. My outer socks are Wigwam Merino Comfort Hiker Crew Socks that seem to be protected in the toes using the DT1905 inside.

Smart water bottles are great to toss in a daypack but have no securing mechanism for use with a strap and being thin skinned cannot take abuse. For serious offtrail travel will not want to chance losing or not being able to use one's water container. On many trips if water is abundant my Nalgene quart bottle is rarely more than half full. Its a bullet proof design of prime importance. And a light otherwise deflated Platypus shines once one gets to any camp not atop a water source.

The sleeping bag and rain jacket changes are predictable. Many thru hikers are young without much experience. They may have done a few trips just fine but the after they eventually experience uncommon Sierra weather like we had plenty of last summer, spending a chilly uncomfortable night or with inner layers of clothing wet from leaking outer wear, they may have learned their lesson haha.

David
User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Location: Silicon Valley
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Thru-hiker Envy

Postby Hobbes » Fri Jul 08, 2016 4:15 pm

Snowtrout wrote:They google search what gear they need to buy and buy it (Hobbes top 10 list). Most I have talked to, never tested their gear on a pre-trip and have no other experience with other types of gear. They know nothing besides what someone else told them.


Crowd sourcing can be an effective way of determining high value-to-cost propositions. This book describes the phenomenon in more detail:
https://www.amazon.com/Wisdom-Crowds-James-Surowiecki/dp/0385721706

For many, the top 10 list is a refinement of what successful thru-hikers have found to work. I hadn't even considered the Exos 58 until I started seeing it everywhere. I ran into this PCT hiker last year @ TM, and bought him lunch in HB as he was cycling through on his way south to Mexico. (He's section cycling from Alaska to Patagonia.) He's now doing the CDT:

http://bikehikesafari.com/
Image

He had some very interesting comments/observations about gear; or as he referred to them as "UL freaks". LOL. Anyway, the point being that if you're starting from scratch (or just updating gear), discovering not what just everyone else has, but what "successful" thru-hikers actually used (and the reasons why particular items worked), seems to be a reasonable strategy.

I'm sure there are other contributing factors such as fashion, herd mentality, fads, perceptions of fitting in, etc, but those personalities tend to get weeded out pretty fast. The glamour (whatever may have existed) about the trail is usually brutally squashed within weeks of starting.

Snowtrout wrote:I will say I am soured by my JMT experience and will try to stay away from that trail. Makes me appreciate the wilderness areas between Yosemite and SEKI and west of the JMT even more.


The number #1 reason for our early season JMT section hike was to "take back the trail":

http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... =1&t=14472

There's no reason to give up a great location just because everyone else has figured it out. Rather, you just need to go when crowds aren't there. Early season requires additional skills that many/most thru-hikers don't (yet) possess. Or, as so many who either quit or skipped the Sierra were fond of saying "I didn't sign up for thru-mountaineering"

That being said, there are some out there early season who perhaps shouldn't be. When we were taking a break on top of Kearsarge on our way out, a group of 20-something betas arrived from OV after re-supplying in town. One of them had an Exos, and like all Osprey backpacks, it had a plastic coated cable on one side to hang cams & carabiners. However, in his case he had his ice-axe head hanging through the loop, so that the pick was facing his groin and the shaft was down by his thigh.

The best image to conjure would be sort of like a gunslinger with his pistol hanging low for quick access. Seeing that and feeling charitable, I calmly/quietly (not wishing to call attention or embarrass) suggested to his friend that he might wish to advise his buddy about re-positioning his axe. That is, to the actual ice-axe loop so that the pick was upside down and facing inward (at the back of the pack as far away from his body as possible), with the shaft pointing up. His response "the pack has two ice-axe loops - that one is for quick access".

I sh!t you not. I didn't even know how to respond - I was tempted to go into full Marksor mode. Quick access! "Son, if that axe ain't already in your hand when you need it, it's already too late". LOL. This numbskull had a sharp, dangerous weapon pointed inches from his abdomen. It wouldn't even require a fall, just kicking a root/rock and a slight stumble would have done the trick. But, like the old saying goes "you can't fix stupid". I guess they got through ok, or for all I know, took one look at Glen and headed back out, promising to do the Sierra later in the year.
User avatar
Hobbes
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 680
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:09 am
Location: The OC
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Thru-hiker Envy

Postby longri » Fri Jul 08, 2016 4:55 pm

Hobbes wrote:He had some very interesting comments/observations about gear; or as he referred to them as "UL freaks". LOL. Anyway, the point being that if you're starting from scratch (or just updating gear), discovering not what just everyone else has, but what "successful" thru-hikers actually used (and the reasons why particular items worked), seems to be a reasonable strategy.

I used to think the UL guys were kind of nuts.

Then I did a long walk in another country where camping wasn't allowed and you had to use the huts. So I had a day pack that weighed maybe 10lbs. And while I missed camping, walking unencumbered day after day really opened my eyes. I thought -- can I do this in the Sierra? And of course the answer is yes, it's possible. The "freaks" already figured out how to do it.

I walked the JMT a couple of years ago like that, with a pack that averaged a little over 10lbs. Even though it was a very rainy trip it was a great experience.

But blindly following their lead, buying their gear -- sans experience -- is risky.

That year there was a big monsoon and it was hilarious to see so many people shell shocked over the weather, swearing they were going to buy new rain gear and better tents. One old guy told me that rain like that hadn't happened in the Sierra in the last 30 years (he was wrong of course). Another young man with a homemade Henry Shires style tarp asked me if I thought that the Rae Lakes ranger would let him sleep in the ranger cabin if he got cold that night.
User avatar
longri
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 505
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:13 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Thru-hiker Envy

Postby Hobbes » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:47 pm

longri wrote:I thought -- can I do this in the Sierra? And of course the answer is yes, it's possible. The "freaks" already figured out how to do it.
I walked the JMT a couple of years ago like that, with a pack that averaged a little over 10lbs.


I sewed up a new Dyneema 140 pack a few months ago that has neither a sternum strap nor hip-belt. It's part of my (super) SUL kit that has a baseweight of 6lbs. With food, DeLorme, Tenkara, phone/camera, the total weight for a 3 night excursion is 11.5lbs. I'm planning on using this kit to attend the meet-up in a few weeks.

But yeah, you definitely gotta know what you're doing. In my case, the only rain protection is a tarp & and emergency poncho - I'm leaving both my regular poncho and/or rain jacket behind. Likewise on clothing, just a down vest and long-sleeve shirt. Quilt, poly-cru ground cover & mini-neo round out the basics.

Might even go no cook and plan on hitting Vogelsang on my way out. As you say, there is nothing like hiking with a day pack. So effortless, but a little bit risky. You really don't have that margin as the hike either gets longer or the re-supply points diminish. Then, you gotta carry everything on your back like a pack mule.
User avatar
Hobbes
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 680
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:09 am
Location: The OC
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Thru-hiker Envy

Postby Clown Shoes » Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:36 pm

And I tried the Hoka One Ones. They were crazy bouncy funky things that I couldn't wait to get off of my feet. :-)

Hah, You dont like my Shoes !!!!! LOL Thats the point, we all have our preferences. I was down in Le Conte Canyon last weekend and
There were a number of hikers coming through, but it didnt spoil my experience. But thats the beauty of it,just pick yourself a off trail route
or my choice is to come out normally Aug-Sept-Oct etc.
I loaned my shelter out last year, and used an old Gatewood Cape on a weekend trip and got caught in a Thunder storm. I was bone dry, but I
thought it was a little small. I was packing up the next morning and a guy who was camped near me asked me how I did in the storm and I mentioned I would have liked more room , and he couldnt wait too jump all over it with sarcastic remarks about, "oh but i bet its light", and a few others. It really made me see how many of you are hung-up and are out to judge others, here is this guy with a 5-6 lb tent blasting me for being under a tarp. The Hokas are ugly, but have helped my knees and they are killer on down hills, btw
Its so funny how this has partly turned into a gear discussion.

The number #1 reason for our early season JMT section hike was to "take back the trail":

I know you're a very experienced guy, but sorry, its not yours to take back. Some of us are very fortunate to have been able to start early in life, getting into the back country. Others who start later and look dumb because they attached their Ice Axe wrong, could use a little help and understanding from the initiated.
User avatar
Clown Shoes
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:59 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Thru-hiker Envy

Postby sheperd80 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:31 pm

Fwiw that reinforced bungee on osprey packs is part of the trekking pole stow-on-the-go system. The big loop above it is for ice axes.



Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
User avatar
sheperd80
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:17 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Thru-hiker Envy

Postby longri » Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:54 am

Hobbes wrote:As you say, there is nothing like hiking with a day pack. So effortless, but a little bit risky.

Not if you know what you're doing. That was kind of the point -- blindly copying someone else's strategy is what is risky.

But that's a side effect of the popularity of these long trails (and off trail routes), it's not an intrinsic feature the activity itself.
User avatar
longri
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 505
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:13 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Thru-hiker Envy

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Jul 09, 2016 12:28 pm

Thru-hiking is a specific style of hiking and their equipment is targeted for that. Thru-hikers, although solo, are essentially in a larger unorganized group. Safety margins can be squeezed because there usually are others coming along within a few hours, if you get into trouble. And due to their long mileage days, they can usually camp at lower elevations (milder climate). In an off-trail situation, where you may be out for 10+ days at a time, and not see anyone for several days, and camping at higher altitudes, you have to build in more safety margin. There are a lot of UL ideas we can borrow from the thru-hikers. The economics, however, may be a problem; if you are on the trail for 4 months straight, an $800 cuben fiber tent may be justified, whereas, the average weekend hiker may not be able to do that.

The Sierra is a great place to use thru-hiking equipment, because weather is usually quite agreeable, and if you do get rain, you are almost assured that you will be able to dry out soon. On the other hand, if I were going to the Canadian Rockies, British highlands or even the northern US Rockies, that may not work, because you can get week long bad weather spells that do not allow you to dry out. I have experienced some of my most intense weather in the Sierra, but never had a problem recovering with sunshine soon appearing. I have also experienced 28 days straight of snow and sleet in the Rockies. Nothing intense, but never ending.

One thing I have trouble with is their minimal clothing. They plan on staying warm by hiking all daylight hours, and then quickly camp and jump into sleeping bags. That is not my style, so I have to take another layer. Their food amount often is deprived and the calories made up in town. If you are out for 12 days straight, that may not work. I guess I fall somewhere between the UL thru-hikers and the usually over burdened JMT hikers.
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2608
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Thru-hiker Envy

Postby maverick » Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:20 pm

This thread was not started to discuss gear differences, let's please get back on topic, if you care to discuss gear issues please start a seperate thread. Thanks.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8039
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Thru-hiker Envy

Postby schmalz » Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:48 pm

Mav, you started this thread out as an open ended question that started with "is it that they can cover so many miles a day?"

How is gear not an integral part of that question/answer?
User avatar
schmalz
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 9:18 am
Location: Altadena, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Thru-hiker Envy

Postby Hobbes » Sun Jul 10, 2016 6:31 am

Sh!t Brian, how much weight have you lost?

Image

Exos 58, check
Z lite, check

To accede to Mav's wish, given the right mood & circumstances, I could be persuaded to perhaps reconsider my previous declaration and admit that - at least in your particular case - I may possibly be a smidge envious. After all, isn't it a truth universally acknowledged that a person in possession of desire is in want of sufficient uninterrupted time so as to be able to attempt to achieve a goal & objective worthy of their effort?

In other words, what's your planned calendar for Washington?
User avatar
Hobbes
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 680
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:09 am
Location: The OC
Experience: N/A

PreviousNext

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot] and 9 guests