Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

How do you prepare for the rigorous physical requirements of high elevation adventure? Strength and endurance are key, but are only part of a more complex equation. How do you prepare for changes in altitude, exposure, diet, etc.? How do you mentally prepare? Learn from others and share what you know about training in advance for outdoor adventures.
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Wandering Daisy
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Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:23 pm

I have never "trained" for a long backpack. Just do a lot of weekend trips this spring. Henry Coe Park is my go-to early trip. It has a lot of ups and downs. When the high country opens, do lots of weekend trips. Just walk the miles and elevation gains you plan on for your JMT trip. Spend a little time at altitude. I see no need to day-hike with a full pack. Do an overnight to Merced Lake if you want to carry a pack.

Just take the first few days easy and work up on mileage when on the JMT. You will be fine in a few days.








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AlmostThere
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Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by AlmostThere » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:32 pm

rlown wrote:Wow. 90lbs isn't normal. :eek:
It is if you are one of those guides who does the cooking, the camp setup and caters to the client.

Or it might be if you are trail crew and carrying rock bars, a saw, a pulaski, etc. plus hardhat and axe.

But a good pack can make a big difference...

You could always solve the issue by hiking somewhere other than Yosemite. The rangers are thick there. Out in the national forest there are far fewer patroling rangers.

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rlown
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Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by rlown » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:02 pm

At 30, maybe. At 50, I was good to 75lbs once, but my legs melted after 10 miles. At 55, I aim for a max of 45lbs. I'm sure it'll be less soon.

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Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by Tom_H » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:17 pm

flown wrote:Wow. 90lbs isn't normal. :eek:
I worked as a guide for a church affiliated outfitter. Our director was a NOLS graduate and he trained all of us who worked for him exactly according to NOLS methodology. We didn't carry other peoples' stuff for them, except when they couldn't manage. Sometimes I had to take other people's food bag for them. One day a girl was sick and I put her pack on my front with mine on my back. It was about 125 lb. total.

So what added up to 90 lb? Food and fuel for 18 days, Peak I stove, frying pan, Optimus oven, fishing gear, climbing rope, rack of climbing hardware, climbing helmet, ice axe, crampons, gear repair kit for 16 people, first aid kit for 16 people. Storm gear and wool clothing for temp. down to about 20 degrees. And this was back in the days when gear was heavy, there was no such thing as lightweight yet, much less ultralite or SUL. The meat was freeze dried, but a lot of food was only dehydrated. Foods like butter, flour etc. are heavy. We did some pretty exotic cooking. The Optimus oven for baking weighed a pound all by itself.

We did new staff training in CO in early June while everything was still in deep snow, As summer wore on, we shed the snow gear and did shorter trips that were more leisurely. When you are in your mid-20s the body can seem indestructible. All I can do now is day hike. One of my supervisors is 75 and still day hikes over 300 days a year in the Appalachians. I admire those older than myself like Wandering Daisy and Old Ranger who still manage to backpack. Sleeping on the ground puts my back in spasms now. I had a great run, though and my nighttime dreams are often of meadows full of wildflowers, bubbling brooks, rappelling cliffs, and quietly following elk herds. I was lucky to do all the packing I was able to do.

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Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by rlown » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:46 am

I thoroughly respect anyone who ever could carry that much weight.

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Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by Tom_H » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:41 pm

flown wrote:I thoroughly respect anyone who ever could carry that much weight.
Well, that is kind to say. Of course, you cannot go as fast. Using the Rest Step and correct breathing technique helps a lot.

Wandering Daisy is a petite small woman. She was a NOLS instructor and they have to be very strong. I have met several other NOLS instructors and all were built like NFL linebackers. Knowing that she was out there doing the same tough hiking inspires awe in me. And in her later 60s she still spends a lot of time on the trail. That is amazing.

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Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:14 pm

Once you add serious technical climbing gear your pack weight goes way up! The "backpacking" gear I carried when climbing was pretty minimal. We reduced this type of weight by eliminating anything not absolutely necessary (before the days of UL equipment). So far, nobody has made a UL rope, or ice axe, or crampons (but they ARE getting a bit lighter) . But the heaviest pack I ever carried was elk meat, it actually broke my pack frame. LOL.

If you go out for a long time (say 2 weeks ) and if you do this all summer, like the PCT hikers you need to eat an enormous amount of food but unlike the PCT hikers, you do not stop into town to chow down regularly. The good thing about food is that you eat it up! Not so with climbing gear. But looking at the JMT, a good look at your gear and reducing weight is one of the best things you can do. I see no need for base weight to be more than 16-20 pounds. UL guys go down to 10 pounds. Pare down food - you should not be carrying out ANY extra. (I am never too proud to beg a bit of food off others on the last day of a long trip! or simply go without.)

Back to the training for JMT. If you are not down to your lean ideal weight, loosing that extra body weight will do as much as hauling around a full pack. One reason to "train" is to loose body fat and increase muscle. There are many ways to do that than carrying a pack - and something you can do every day is probably better than a weekend trip to Yosemite.

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Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by sgenise » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:20 pm

Thanks for all the thoughtful replies everyone! The reason I go with my actual gear instead of just rocks or books is because it also helps me become more efficient in packing and to try out different ways to pack, so while I appreciate everyone offering me alternative options for what to hold in the pack to convince the rangers, that's not exactly what I'm looking for haha

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Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:57 am

OK. Then why not just get a permit? Walk-in permits are generally available for just one person and free. Nothing says you have to stay overnight. I get my permits at the park entrance (you can get them at 7AM if going to Hetch Hetchy) and then just am on my way. I never reserve and nearly always get the first-come permit with no waiting.

A bit of a jest, but you could also offer to carry someone else's pack. Just think if someone came up to me as I started up the trail from Happy Isles and some dude said, "may I carry your pack?" LOL I would be thrilled! And on your way back, some burned out backpacker would just love to have you carry his pack back. You would be an instant hero! Put on a Superman costume, and you would become a backpacker legend! :D

But I think the best answer is to hike where permits are not required. Good Luck on your JMT journey.

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Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by AlmostThere » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:39 am

I dunno, I would take the fine pretty seriously... it used to be fifty or seventy bucks. I think it's up in the hundreds now for being caught out without a permit. And if you didn't pack the bear can the ranger can slap down a $5000 fine. Of course, it all depends on the ranger you run into. But I've been checked three consecutive times on the same day by three different rangers on the trail to Rancheria Falls, and I'm glad I had both canister and permit - would have been ugly.

I get permits and do single night trips to train, or take a day pack, myself.

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