Hike In Progress: High Sierra Trail, Summer 2015

posted in: Trip & Hike Planning | 0

Tuesday morning (June 16th), I leave for the High Sierra Trail. It will be my first multi-night backpack as an adult and frankly, I’m not sure if I’m more excited or nervous at this point. When planning  a big trip, it’s pretty easy for me to get lost in the details and not look at the bigger picture. Now that I’ve scrutinized our itinerary, food choices, and gear selection to death, the bigger picture is finally hitting me.

WOW

10 years ago I thought I was done with hiking.
4 years ago, I was hiking again, but swore I’d never go on another overnight trip.
In less than 48 hours, I start a 72 mile trip covering some of the most beautiful land in US, including a stop at the highest point in the lower 48. Here is a look at our final itinerary:



We hope hit the trail by mid-day Wednesday and plan to exit Whitney Portal Monday or Tuesday. Due to the generosity of Dallas and the crew at LowerGear.com, you’ll be able to track our progress below. The device will start updating our location Tuesday morning:

(Please note, as  of 6/23, the image below is static and is just an example of what was available during our hike)

Our location should be updated a few times per day. The device I am carrying will also enable two-way communication in the event of an emergency, allow us to check weather forecasts and serve as a backup to our primary GPS.

We will also carry a SPOT, which will post updates as well as our location:

(Please note, as  of 6/23, the image below is static and is just an example of what was available during our hike)

Here are some last minute thoughts on gear, food and our itinerary. This is the second entry I’ve posted regarding the planning for this trip. The first one can be seen here:
Trip Planning: High Sierra Trail, Summer 2015

Gear

After months of testing and trying different gear out, I still have some decisions to make. I was hoping for a pack weight of 35 lbs without water. I am closer to 40. I can see a couple of quick ways to drop about 5 lbs – smaller camera, fewer battery packs (for camera, phone and Delorme), leave some of my warmer clothes that are unlikely to be used, as well as some luxury items (inflatable pillow, camp shoes, towel, etc). I could also shove everything into my main pack an leave the Ribz pack at home.  I will have to go through everything tonight and see if I can convince myself to leave anything behind.   Here is some of the gear that will be interesting to test on this trip:

  • Farm to Feet Merino Wool Socks
  • Geigerrig Hydration Pack Engine
    • This will be my primary device to carry water. I have adapted a Sawyer Mini to attach to the bladder in the event our primary water filter stops working
  • Hydrapak Stash
    • will be used to mix my electrolyte replacement drinks
  • LowerGear.com Communcation Device
    • Lower Gear Outdoor Rentals and Sales has provided a Delorme InReach Explorer for our trip. This will provide:
      • two-way communication in the event of an emergency
      • a way for us to check weather forecasts
      • a way for friends and family to track our progress on the trail
      • a backup to our primary GPS
  • Nalgene Cantene, 48 oz
    • won’t be needed until the Whitney Summit attempt, during which we will need to carry 4 liters
    • backup for my water bladder
  • Oboz Beartooth BDry Hiking Boots
    • Full shank and waterproof – exactly what I’ll need for this trip!
  • Ribz Pack
    • Decided to carry this to add extra capacity to my back and make gear more accessible during my hike, without digging into the SMD pack
  • Six Moon Designs
  • WoolX Merino Wool
    • Most of my clothing for this trip is merino wool, including some items manufactured by WoolX:

 

Food

I had originally estimated that I needed to consume around 4000 calories per day on this hike. After realizing the volume of food and not believing I’d be able to eat that much, I set 3500 calories per day as the goal. I finally ended up being able to fit about 16,000 calories of food in the bear can, and will carry an additional 2800 calories that will be eaten on the trail the first day. That works out to about 3500 calories per day for a 6 day hike, or 3000 calories per day for a 7 day trip. Probably not as much as I should carry, but I believe it will be a chore eating this amount of food. Here are some things I’ve added since I originally started planning my food:

  • Jack Links Beef Sticks
    • I usually opt for “healthier” jerky with lower fat, but the calories/oz are tough to beat (138 vs. 65)
  • Triscuits
    • The Jack Links are greasier than I’d like, but when paired with triscuits, they’re great. At 120 calories per ounce, the triscuits have a good caloric density on their own.
  • Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate
    • I’m told that these stand up to heat well.

Itinerary

We had originally planned to stay near Guitar Lake the night before our summit attempt. After chatting with some that have hike this route, we will camp in three possible places depending on the weather: