This is a link to my current Adventure: 2017 PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
This a much delayed post that I’ve been meaning to do since I finished last September, and it’s everyone’s favorite topic …GEAR!
With the PCT Class of 2018 getting ready to hit the trail soon I figured I should finally return the favor of all my predecessors who posted their gear lists and pics.
I’m not going to get into the weight of every single item but generally, my base weight varied from 10.5lbs (in desert) to ~14.5lbs (in Sierras).
The majority of the hike I would say I was at ~11lbs. Once you add in food and water for a typical 4-5 day segment I was typically leaving town with about 22lbs (usually 1-liter of water, sometimes 2L, occasionally 3+L).
A couple comments on this gear…
-My trail runners were comfortable enough that I had very little need/desire for camp shoes. I was also spending very little time “in camp” so even less of a need.
– I started in the desert with the Arcteryx running pants seen here as well as my rain skirt. There were a lot of cool mornings in May when I wore pants and only twice did I see any precipitation when I used rain skirt. I don’t like hiking in pants unless it’s really cold. When I got to the Sierras I swapped both of these for my rain pants.
-When I flipped back to the Sierras in Sept I had my 15degree sleeping bag liner sent because temps were getting colder, my sleeping bag wasn’t quite as warm after 100+ days and my body wasn’t too efficient at keeping warm (skin and bones).
This is the Grivel ice-axe/trekking pole (extendable) I used in the snowy stretches. Very similar to the Black Diamond Whippet, but this one allows the business end to retract into the handle when not needed. Luckily, I never had to self arrest but I liked that it was always in my hand… I saw a lot of dedicated ice axes living on the back of people’s packs
I’m planning to do some gear specific write ups so let me know if there any particular items you’d like to hear about sooner than later.
The Full List…amazing how much stuff fits in a tiny pack!
Shoes: Altra Olympus
Socks: Darn Tough (crew-no cushion)
Compression Calf Sleeves: Zensah
T-shirt: 32 degree cool (Costco)
Shorts: North Face Running
Running hat -quick dry
Sunglasses -orange lens
Pants: Arcteryx (full zip running),
swapped to rain pants after desert
Trek poles: Fizan
Packed Gear (~1400)
Backpack: osprey exos 38
Tent: Zpacks Altalplex (hike pole- 58-60″ / 150cm)
(8-stakes: titanium/carbon: hooks, Vs)
Pole Extender for tent
Sleep Pad: Neo Air 3/4 (homemade inflator)
Sit Pad: Zrest (cut from full size)
Sleep Bag: EE Convert (20 degree, 20oz)
Sea to summit 15deg liner for Sierra
Pillow: Sea to Summit (2 oz)
Polycryo Pack liner (homemade w/inflator hardware)
Zpack Food Bag
Umbrella: Chrome Dome (attachment to pack)
Trowel: Deuce of spades
Bear Can: BV500 (Sierra)
Grivel Ice-axe/ trek pole (Sierra)
Micro Spikes (Sierra)
Packed clothes (~500)
Hiking sleeves: Smart Wool
Leggings: 32degrees (4oz)
Down jacket: Montbell ultralight sweater (5oz)
Long sleeve: OR Hoodie (4.5oz)
2nd hike socks: Darn Tough
Sleep socks: Possum down
Rain Skirt (changed to rain pants after desert)
Rain pants: Berghaus paclite full zip (or skirt)
Rain jacket : Berghaus VaporLight Hyper (3oz)
Glove: convertible fleece mit
Waterproof Mit: Borah (used 3x)
Ski Hat (Sierras)
Cooling towel (great in desert and NorCal)
Filter: Sawyer Squeeze
Water bottles: 1L-Sawyer, 1L-Smart Bottle, 2L Sawyer
Dipping cup nests on smart bottle
8oz protein shake container
Hydration tube w/bottle adapter
Spoon, knife: lexan
Micro Pocket blade (serrated)
Utility Razor blade
Head lamp: Mini Petzel
Luminaide solar light
Lighter/matches, Fire starter
Repair Tape (Tenacious)
Velcro for gaiters
Hot Hands Handwarmers
-Head net (in resupply)
Lithium Batteries: headlamp
Guthook App download
SanDisk Clip MP3 w/FM tuner (8gb)
Charge cord/plug (3amp)
Power Bank: Anker 10,000ma+ cord
-Bug Deet (100%-resupply)
Nail clippers (Nail File)
Tooth brush/ paste
Ear plugs on cord
Cortisone hand cream (allergy)
Advil / Naproxen/Imodium/Ambien/Allergy meds
I woke up a before my alarm, a combination of excitement to be finishing the final day of the PCT and the fact that my mattress was mostly deflated, so I might as well just get up.
This final section of trail is really spectacular. Today would be the third time I’d hike through Rae Lakes and over Glenn Pass (previously on the JMT as well as a 4-day loop through Kings Canyon). I took a lot of photos since the scenery (and the lighting) were so spectacular and figured I might as well send this blog off with a bang.
Technically, I completed the PCT at this junction (where I’d hike over to Kearsarge Pass and down to Onion Valley, then hitch into town) but this wouldn’t have been a very exciting place to celebrate with pictures 🙂
It was kind of odd waking up this morning (9/21/17) knowing I wouldn’t be hiking 25-30 miles today, or anytime soon. I will let things settle down for a day or two and be back with some final thoughts.
Today was a classic Sierra hiking day. The trail followed a creek (Evolution Creek) upstream for many miles (16) passing alpine lakes on a series of benches. Then finally topping out on a high mountain pass… Muir Pass in this case.
Just Bob! We met back in Tehachapi. Bob is 66 and crushes miles..i hope I’m in that kind of shape in 20+ years!
This trail must have passed half a dozen or more major alpine lakes today.
There was still some small snowfields to cross.
The famous Monster Rock of the JMT. I was glad I could point out the landmark to this 10 year old Australian boy and his family who are hiking the whole JMT.
I was glad to find an unoccupied campsite around 6:45 because there are quite a few JMT hikers out here. It’s getting fairly dark by 7:15 now.
It was a cold night…especially, since my mattress didn’t hold air 😦 There was frost on the outside of my tent and small puddles were frozen on the trail.
My resupply box has been waiting for me here since June 13th…amazingly, the tortillas were fine and had no mold!
Apparently, I still have a slow leak in my mattress. I re-inflated it three times in the middle of the night.. definitely more comfortable than nothing (like the night before)!
The morning started with a 2.5mi walk down a forest service road to get to the trailhead for Bear Creek which would take me back to the PCT. All-in I think it was about a 6mi detour to resupply at VVR.
I decided to make the short detour to Muir Trail Ranch. They are known for the vast quantities of stuff hikers leave behind after sending their resupplies. The goodies are organized by type (i.e. oatmeal, batteries, toiletries, etc) in Home Depot buckets. I picked up much needed lip balm (still in packaging).
I had a feeling I might catch my Swiss friends (they hadn’t stopped at VVR). Sure enough, they were camped at just the spot where I had decided on calling it a day (~7:00pm). It’s always nice seeing a familiar face when you get to camp 🙂
I was surprised I didn’t take more pics today since the scenery is so spectacular on this stretch through the high Sierras. I think it’s too overwhelming to capture suitable images. Even a 360 panorama wouldn’t do it justice.
I pushed pretty hard today figuring I’d rather make my final day a bit easier. The two 12,000′ passes were summited under blue skies but my legs know the end is near and weren’t giving me my normal power output (7000′ of climbing gave them their money’s worth).. .I guess they are ready for a break!
Tomorrow is just 8 miles to the junction for Kearsarge Pass and then another 8 miles to Onion Valley Trailhead (w/ 4000′ of climbing) where I will hitch a ride 15 miles into town. If any of this sounds familiar, I did the same thing back in June when the trail was buried in snow (there’s a video of Sequoia glissading down). It should be easier to hitch a ride since there are actually people hiking the trails now that the snow is gone.
Somehow, I got a hole in my mattress the other day (while drying it out ?) so I didn’t get the best nights sleep. Fortunately, I was camped on some soft pine needles and it wasn’t too terribly cold (the mattress insulates too). I used my sit-pad under my hips and managed OK. Today I was able to find the hole when I stopped at Reds Meadow Resort and hopefully the patch works.
The Butcher parted ways this afternoon to push ahead and finish at Bishop Pass in three days. I hiked the rest of the day with Old Bum from Big Sky, Montana. This was our campsite. I very carefully chose a site with soft pine needles in case my mattress fix didn’t work. (Currently, it’s now a slow leak).
Tomorrow will be a shorter day into my last resupply at Vermillion Valley Resort. The resupply box was sent back at the end of May when I had was still planning to arrive here mid-June. I’ve emailed them with my new planned arrival date. So hopefully, the box is still there with nothing worse than some moldy tortillas to deal with (they have a small camp store to buy any additional items).
I have just about 100 miles to go plus a little extra to hike off trail to town…2550 miles completed!
It was a cold at night and a slow morning getting ready. Thankfully, the skies were clear.
There was still plenty of frozen hail covering the ground.
Today’s route and the rest of the trail I’ll be doing basically follows the John Muir Trail. There are a lot more people on trail than I’ve seen in a while… mostly JMT hikers.
My body and legs definitely did not have their normal energy/power. Hopefully, a good nights rest cures that problem. Perhaps it was the cold/wet energy sapping weather last night ?
The Butcher and I walked out to the road around 7:15am to hitch a 10 mile ride to the Tenaya Lake trailhead. It took about 45mins to get a hitch (not much traffic) from a nice German couple. Our hike would take us over Clouds Rest (~10,000′) which would give us one of the best views of Half Dome anywhere in Yosemite. Clouds Rest is about 1000′ higher and only a couple miles away.
When we got to the Village we caught a free shuttle to the Post Office then stopped at the Village store/ grill. We bumped into Bullfrog who had hitched a ride down to meet up with his parents who were visiting from Lake George, NY. Very conveniently for us they were going to be driving back up to Tuolumne and offered us a ride. Four of us stinky hikers jammed into the back of a Subaru with packs on our laps. (Old Bum, Butcher, Bullfrog, and me).
Hopefully, the trail dries out tomorrow before too long. Just walking through the campsite we were dodging very cold pools of water/hail.