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Longest Time Out

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Longest Time Out

Postby maverick » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:08 pm

What has been the your longest time out backpacking, without resupplying? Was it enjoyable or did you swear you would never carry that much weight again? Did you hang your food, carry 2 canisters and stash one along the way, or carry a canister and ursack combo?
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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Re: Longest Time Out

Postby oldranger » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:47 pm

Back in 1980 I did 3 weeks traveling solo, about 1/2 off trail from TM to Hetch Hetchy. Started with 65 lbs., including 2 liter bottles of fuel, no canisters since they weren't even an option back then. My pack itself was 2 lbs heavier than my current pack and sleeping bag 2 lbs heavier than my current bag and my open cell foam pad probably 2 lbs heavier than my current pad. I think I even hiked in jeans back then. obviously too young and dumb to think the pack was too heavy.
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Re: Longest Time Out

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:57 pm

3 week NOLS winter course in the Wind Rivers in the early 1970's. Hideously heavy packs, but short days, short mileage. Not enjoyable because of cold conditions (0F to -40F range) and too much tent time due to the dark (late December) - not so much the pack weight (but I was MUCH younger then!) Somehow skiing with a heavy pack does not seem as hard as walking with a heavy pack. Used a Kelty external frame pack. We had a group of 20 people, so could share carrying a lot of group gear. Usually when you were the one breaking trail, others would take more of your weight. This kind of "expeditioning" is quite different than solo backpacking. At one point we even shuttled some gear on a short camp move.

18 days summer backpacking, Wind Rivers, in the early 1990's. My starting pack weighed 65 pounds and my daughter's 45 pounds. We shared a lot of gear. Total weight is reduced going with someone vs solo. And I did enjoy that trip. Used a Kelty external frame pack. The last week was really rough x-c where it took us 6 days to go 20 miles. By then the packs were light, but we had to build a driftwood raft to swim our packs around a buttress, shimmy small loads across wet logs, carry packs high above our heads to creep through thick willows, many backtracks due to being dead-ended. One day we did 2 miles in 8 hours! I definitely would not have been able to do that last week's route with the starting weights. We kept most of the first week on trails.

16 days in Sierra in the late 1990's. Pack stayed relatively heavy because I was carrying a short rope and crampons (it was a climbing trip). Carried the ice axe in my hands. Only used a bivy which kept the weight down a bit. Still used my Kelty because of the climbing gear. Mostly enjoyed the trip.

More recently I have done several 14 day trips using my 55L internal frame pack. I put what I can in the bear can, and hang the remainder. It is definitely painful the first few days since the weight is over the recommended capacity of the pack. But in a few days it becomes reasonable. I really enjoy the longer trips. If the pack gets painful at the end of the day I just stop earlier. It is quite easy to make up the mile later when the pack is lighter.

Now, as I am older, and with the a bear can I try to keep trips under 10 days, due to the capacity of the bear can, not total pack weight. I did an 11-day trip last year with the bear can. Two full-day layovers, and mostly only hiked half-days, using the afternoons to day hike.

Carrying a heavy pack is not that bad if you adjust your daily mileages, which is a strategy that matches my preference of doing a lot of fishing and exploring anyway. On longer trips I find it is OK to short-ration (8-9 days food for an 10 day trip). I inevitably end up with a few oz. left over each day which makes the last few days' meals quirky, but it works out. Never have been too proud to beg food off of others on my way out when needed. Most people who carry too much are happy to get rid of a few ounces.
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Re: Longest Time Out

Postby balzaccom » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:27 pm

we've done a bunch of trips about a week long. More than that, and we'd have to re-supply. And once we do that, we might as well get a shower and sleep in a bed and....you get the idea. We have done one trip, come home, and left the next day for another one, though!
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Re: Longest Time Out

Postby ironmike » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:44 pm

3 weeks in Denali NP. Oh yeah, and we summited during that time. Purely alpine style so I think it loosely fits in the backpacking category.
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Re: Longest Time Out

Postby Cross Country » Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:15 pm

In 1976 "saint" Diane and I went over Shepard Pass to Milestone Basin to Junction Meadows to Picket Lake to Wallace and Wales to Kern Hot Springs to Trout Meadows to the Little Kern and out. I caught 12 fish dinners in 7 places. The trip was 16 days and my best trip until Jim, Mike and I went over Bishop to Dumbell and out over Taboose in 1993 (10 days).
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Re: Longest Time Out

Postby Tom_H » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:16 pm

18 days, mountaineering training in Uncompaghre CO in spring of '77. Packs were 90+ lb, full of food, fuel, climbing gear, snow gear, repair and first aid kits, etc. A lot of hiking on snow and postholing. Our program was based on NOLS.
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Re: Longest Time Out

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:21 pm

Not sure this counts, becuse I did get resupplied mid-trip by horsepackers. 15 days of rations, resupply, 15 days, and then 4 days survival with no food. Still it is one trip without shower or sleeping in a bed. This was the standard NOLS course in the 1970's. Did three in a row once with only one day in town between for a 100-day summer.

Ironmike- how did you resupply on Denali- or did you? Or did you have a base camp flown in? Congrats on the climb!
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Re: Longest Time Out

Postby Tom_H » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:40 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:...then 4 days survival with no food...


I knew you guys did that long fasting solo. Ours were only two days and were coupled to/began with a major technical climb (as I think yours did). I had no body fat at all in those days and don't think I could have survived as long as all of you did without food, especially after a grueling climb. I have met a number of NOLS instructors during my life and always had the greatest of admiration for your organization and its instructors.
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Re: Longest Time Out

Postby ironmike » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:01 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Ironmike- how did you resupply on Denali- or did you? Or did you have a base camp flown in? Congrats on the climb!


WD,
This was back in ‘92. My climbing partner and I were flown up to Talkeetna Glacier Base Camp, and from there hauled everything...maybe 90 lbs worth(?). Sleds helped until we reached the base of the West Rib (we backed off trying the Cassin Ridge due to treacherous conditions), cached excess gear and made our summit push. The only reason the trip took three weeks was weather - must of had at least 5-6 snow days on the mountain. We actually cut our food a little too close. Luckily when we got back to the Advanced Ranger Camp at 14000’, they had some extra for us. They were actually glad to see us since our radios had conked out on Day 2 and we were incommunicado for the rest of the climb. My wife was freaking out...

I have taken longer trips that were full-blown expeditions. They were usually 6-12 week affairs, meticulously planned, lots of load ferrying, resupply, hired hands (i.e. Sherpas), and so on. That didn’t seem to be in the spirit of Mav’s original post/question.

But Denali was super satisfying. From drop off to pickup we were completely self-sufficient. In fact for about 75% of the climb, we didn’t see a soul.
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