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Rodchester

Ways to cut pack weight?

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OK - So I have a buddy (fairly novice) who is doing a traverse of the Wind River Range. He will hit four big peaks, Jackson, Fremiont, Sacagawea, and Gannett.

All routes are fairly simple mountaineering routes with some scrambling, so they will carry little in the way of "trad" gear. The trip will last 7-8 days (yes, it could be done in four by Alex Lowe/Carlos Buhler types).

I have always been quite successful at keeping my pack weight down to a minimum. My friend on the other hand seems to go heavy. He has e-mailed me and asked for some pointers on going light.

So the question is:

What are some ways to cut your pack weight on this type of trip? Put another way, what are somethings we see others carry that can be left behind?

My initial response to him was that most people seem to carry:

1) Too much food

2) Too much extra clothes

3) Too much knick-nack crap gear (Candle lanterns, crampon bags, etc.)

So what do you think?

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I think all of the things you listed are common weight-adders that can be left behind.

I shelled out the cash for a really lightweight pack (Arc'teryx Khamsin) and appropriate temperature down bag. I also leave the Thermarest behind, and carry a 3/4 Z-rest. But then I am short, so 3/4 is ok.

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Don't forget drilling holes in your toothbrush grin.gif

In the summer, take an overbag only, and wear all your clothes to bed, instead of taking a sleeping bag. You have to take the clothes anyways.

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Single use items in the mountains are worthless. Search for ways that something can be used at least twice, if it can't, out of the pack. Another way of reducing weight is to mark everyhting in your pack that wasn't used everytime you get home. Anything with two or more marks gets canned.

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Going lightweight is not for everybody. If your freind is a novice, he may be looking for trouble unless his parnters have some experience. The reason I say this is the more experience you have out there, the better you are prepared to deal with not having extra dry pants or emergency food.

I have used the old "if there is doubt then there is no doubt" philosiphy in packing with some success. If you hesitate while packing your leatherman wondering if you will really need it, then nope, it stays home. Leave the big first aid kit at home and just bring a roll of medical tape and bandana.

Drilling holes in the handle of your boyscout hatchet is also preffered as well as beer in cans over bottles. grin.gif

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Rent lamas. That way you can take the kitchen sink and not have to carry it. Bring steaks, beer, camp chairs, and don't forget the pink bunny slippers for those cold belays. Apparatly people take llamas into the winds quite frequently.

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Depending on fire restrictions/wood availability you can eliminate alot of weight by using a wood-fueled stove. There's a commerical one with a battery powered "blower", but a "hobo" stove works fine. A few ounces of alcohol or gas as insurance is handy. They don't burn much wood, get incredibly hot, and no worries about carrying lbs of fuel.

Leave the water filter at home, for a week just use iodine/chlorine/whatever. Leave the crazy creek at home, use a 3/4 length pad and your pack for your lower 1/4. Bivy sack instead of tent (although I do have a 4lb 2-man that's equal when there are two people, but equally as tight as a bivy). One pot for everything..no cups, coffepots, etc. No nalgenes, use 2L platypus instead they're way lighter. Sleep in clothes use lighter bag. No "creature comforts" like walkman, etc. Rain pants should be your only pants (except long undies). Take the "top loader" pocket off your pack.

Plan to be either moving, or in your bag, not alot of hanging around. This will allow you to carry less insulation clothing. Leave the 2lb first aid kit at home, you can improv anything in there anyway.

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I use a Mountainsmith Auspex, 4000ci, and under 4 lbs. I climbed Liberty Ridge with it and lots other routes. It minimalistic yet still comfortable

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quote:

Originally posted by specialed:

Rent lamas.

 

That way you can learn about Tibetan Buddhism too. tongue.gif

 

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I agree with most of the advice above. Tell your friend to take a half length ridgerest, the lightest sleeping bag he can find, a minimal first aid kit, and few extra clothes. Iodine instead of water filter. Don't bring camp shoes or tevas. One headlamp is sufficient for a party of four if you are not planning to travel at night. Consider a tarp instead of a tent, perhaps a poncho/ground cloth instead of rain gear, and don't bring as much or as fancy a bunch of food as he think he needs (I have almost never been on a trip where we ran low on food and most of the time we come back with stuff sacks full of things we didn't eat). As was noted above, however, consider whether your friend has the experience and judgment necessary to take care of himself without all those extra things that are generally carried for a reason, even if they can be done without. As to the choice of a pack, I would urge caution. Many of the super light packs do not carry even a medium heavy load very well. My Khamshin, for example is great for an overnight trip without full climbing gear but for loads heavier than that I much prefer a pack with a stronger frame and better hip belt – for me, the extra two pounds are well worth it in this department.

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Yeah those Llamas are pretty hardy. they don't eat much, and they don't drink any of your beer but they're always praying and blabbering about enlightenment this and five perpetual truths that and yadayadayada. They've got these cool orange robes they're always wearing though.

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Remove all body hair, clip all nails, see a doctor about having tonsiles and appendix removed, relieve yourself frequently, and tie helium ballons to your pack...It works!!

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Use "Rabbit Runners" as slings. This is truly a grams/ounces saved technique and not a full pound. "Rabbit Runners" work well also to clip away from your body instead of the traditional over your head pull off.

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Great subject and I just learned alot from my 5 day Challenger traverse. Wayne was the "master!" His pack was 38 and mine was 51. He had Aluminium crampons, super light ice axe, single wall bibler tent, no extra clothes, 2lb sleeping bag. Funny thing was, he had a much heavier food bag than me at the start.

We carried one stove and only used one medium size bottle of fuel. One titanium pot and all meals only required hot water. We ate mountain house freeze dried for dinners. No cooking in the pot. I threw out my own bivy sack at the start but in retrospect could have thrown out the sleeping bag and kept the bivy and worn my down jacket and all my clothes. 3/4 thermarest lite was much lighter than my full length with chair setup.

Know what group gear you need and don't duplicate. Many of the items mentioned in the above posts are "group gear".

If you are like me, you have some older gear that you just can't justify replacing at high cost to save a few oz or lbs. Don't worry about it too much. There wasn't much I could do about some of the stuff. One thing I will immediately replace are my Nalgene water bottles with colabsible Platypus. We brought 1 water filter which frankly was worth the weight over iodine. We drank tons of water!

I heard this once: On your living room floor get out all the things you "think" you need for the trip. Go through the pile and throw out everything you can do with out. When done with that, cut the pile in half!

If in doubt, throw it out! Good Luck, David

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This topic is a bit worrisome to me. This sort of advice works great as long as everything goes okay, as it probably will, but what happens if you get lost, one of you twists an ankle, and then a freak summer snowstorm hits?

When I did Adams Glacier with Alex K., my pack probably weighed twice what his did -- and he carried the tent and the rope! His sleeping bag went into a stuff sack smaller than my down jacket's. My steel crampons (in their bag) probably weighed as much as his plastic boots, and his aluminum crampons weighed almost nothing.

Certainly I hauled some extra weight, and my pack is heavier than it needs to be, and for a 3-mile hike in to high camp where there's two dozen other people, it doesn't really matter that much.

But if you're going to be in an isolated part of the state, for a multiday outing, well, weather reports are about as accurate as horiscopes, and maps and route descriptions aren't always up to date.

Of course, most of the time you'll play it fast and light, and come out ahead. But in my view (which I've ignored plenty of times) you need to buy the time that a few extra pounds of gear (a heavier jacket, some extra food, etc.)

In particular, I sure wouldn't count on being able to find burnable firewood this time of year, even if you're someplace where it's legal to do. (Of course, I was never a boy scout...)

And, if this guy's a novice, and is travelling alone, as it sounds, well, geez...

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"reduce, reduce until there is nothing else that can be left behind." or somesuch from Y. Chouinard

 

 

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When your partner goes into the coffee shop, put the beer at the bottom of his pack. Your pack will be that much lighter and you still get to drink the beer.

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Hike like a puss from the get-go, and when your pathetic performance seems to suggest success is out of reach, your buddy will eventually offer to carry some of your gear. Also, the goal is really to minimize the sum of your weight and your pack's weight. Try Dexatrim. Try losing the five ear studs and trendy sport-climber's jewelry. Try taking a crap and a leak BEFORE you start the approach...why would you want to carry that terd a thousand feet higher just to soil the alpine meadows, when you could leave it at the trailhead?

Regarding the problem of staying hydrated, when fluids weigh so much and when mountain streams can make you "regular" beyond belief (at which point you're not regular, you're "continuous"): I've got this deal going with my climbing buddy where, if we get stranded on a wall without fluids, and if it gets to the point where we have to drink our urine, and if he runs out first.....well, he can drink mine BUT HE MUST USE A CUP!

[This message has been edited by pope (edited 07-13-2001).]

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This always comes up in the "go light" debate:

What if the shit hits the fan?

If things really get gnarly, are you really better off with extra gear weighing you down? I'd rather be able to move fast and lose altitude/get over the pass/hightail it backwards/forwards than trying to hunker down and ride it out. If it gets bad enough to sit out, you're probably miserable regardless of what you have. The only thing you'll really be glad to have in those situations is fuel and food. You can stay warm with hot drinks, calories, and exercise.

In my trip up the appalachian trail I was on the fast and light train and once into mid Virginia I sent even more stuff home. I was travelling with a 200wt fleece blanket, a bivy sack, one pair of shorts, one 1.5L titanium pot, a shell jacket, light wt polypro top, an expedition wt capiliene top,a coffee-can stove (wood burning), 3 ounces of gas in a minature nalgene, one 2L platypus, some iodine drops, two extra pairs of socks, a thick hat, and sunglasses...all in a 2200ci daypack. total wt with 5 days of food and a liter of water: 16lbs. And five days of food was huge at that point (I'd been hiking for two months already). The shit hit the fan in Shenandoah NP, a hanging fog and high temps about 28F, and a stiff continual 20mph wind (this was mid June). For 4 days I was cold as hell, didn't sleep much, wore everything I had, slept with my feet in my pack and socks on my hands, was either on the move or in the bivysack wrapped up. I used campfires and the hot rock method, plus hot-water bottles (platypus) at night to stay defrosted. I drank tons of hot drinks, I shivered constantly, I ate 6 days of food in 3 1/2 days. I also covered 90 miles in four days and when the weather broke I knew I had made the right choice. I gambled and lost, but the price was acceptable. Just a thought.

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