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kmehrtens

Rainier Trail Food

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So the Rainier trip is coming up at the end of the month & I am looking for some advice on trail food. What is everyone's favorite trail food during the hike up Rainier?

 

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I seem to always lose my appetite at elevation, so mainly eat for fuel. I normally go with Gu (or similar), delicious halva, and snickers.

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eat whatever you like.

 

I usually go with some kind of liquid energy stuff in the water bottle (cytomax, perpetum, ect), small halloween sized snickers bars every hour or so, cheese sticks and the usual "energy" bars. I know that mixing fancy perpetum and sugar/fat is not the recommended dietary intake but I am not doing some high performance enduro racing thing.

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I too tend to loose my appetite at altitude so it boils down to fueling up. I use NUUN tabs in my water for electrolite replacement. GU Roctane for quick energy along the way. Eat Probars during quick breaks & throw down some beef jerky too. Cinnabon's pack a whopping 880 calories each so I've just started packing one or two of them recently, mighty tasty as well. If you wrap it in aluminum foil you could warm it up as a solar oven, bit if its overcast like it was for me use your armpit ;)

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eat whatever you like.

 

I love junk food. I've bought food for my whole trip at seven eleven several time on the way out of town. Snickers and cheese puffs are so good in camp.

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I enjoy a plain bagel with cream cheese. Also a PBJ is nice. My thoughts are to enjoy "real food" along with a energy gel shot and Nuun in the water. I've climbed with a guy that LOVES chicken strips, and swears by them not freezing; although no danger of that on Rainier for a bit.

If you listen to an ipod or other device, just remember to take a sip of water every couple of tracks. It's easy to forget to eat and drink and start bonking. Just a couple pennies for you!

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Beef jerky is great, those small cheese packets you can buy at the grocery store are nice for some real food too. Bagels and those peanut butter squeeze packets, and as others mentioned real candy bars. They give you just as many calories as the others do. Just make sure you take stuff you already like to eat since your appetite does go away.

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No need to spend money on expensive "high-performance" foods like Gu. Eat what you like. Make sure it has fat and salt- too little salt in your diet will dehydrate you very quickly. Luckily, fat and salt are what make most junk/cheap foods "unhealthy".

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I agree with the eat what you want idea. However, as you go higher avoid the fatty stuff. Fats and proteins become far more difficult to digest and turn into energy as you move higher. I think that is when gu type things shine since they are designed to be absorbed easily under "load."

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First of all, Rainier, even by the walk ups is not a "hike" it's a climb. Food intake depends on what kind of shape you are in and your age.

 

If you have excess conditioning and are acclimatized you can get by with whatever.

 

If you have marginal conditioning for this climb you should really pay attention to what you eat especially on summit day.

 

Rainier is pretty hard in the normal 2 day push, it's easily compared to a 24 mile marathon. Ask any marathoner and they will tell you they race on an empty stomach, and they use power gels.

 

Power gels are essentially pre-digested. They require very little energy expended on digesting them. This is especially important when you are near maximum aerobic capacity, which is what happens on the upper half of summit day in a two day push. When you eat something that's harder to digest, like peanuts, a lot of blood/energy has to go to your stomach/intestines, blood/energy that would be better utilized aerobically.

 

Your body has reserves to last for 24 hours plus during exercise when it comes to most nutrition. The gels target just those things that can use immediate replacement.

 

If you are in good shape eat whatever you want on the climb to high camp. Also try to eat something with fat in it for dinner. Yvonne Chounaird would down shots of olive oil.

 

While it is true that some people can get away with eating whatever they want, even near the summit, they might find that their performance would be that much better if they tried the power gel system.

 

If expense is an issue, which I understand with RocketParrot being a student, then just save the gels for only those peak events.

 

Even more important than food intake is hydration, especially up high hydration takes precedence over calorie intake. Stay hydrated first, then worry about calories.

 

I would avoid the Gels with caffeine on summit day. Caffeine is a diuretic which is the opposite of what you want at altitude. Again while some may get away with it, for most it will have a detrimental affect.

 

I've actually switched from the gel to the energy blocks, which are exactly the same thing just in a gummy bear consistency. They are much easier to deal with than the sticky messy gels.

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FWIW - On long pushes I hydrate with 1/2L per hour of Accelerade mix (180 cal) and two non-caffeinated gels (200 cal) per hour. This is just under 400 cal/hr which is about the max your body can absorb while working hard. Ideally I should be drinking a bit more, but this gets me up OK without bonking and I'm not eager to carry more than 3L without stopping to melt and refill.

Six hours of Accelerade and strawberry banana GU will make you want to gag, but you won't bonk, and nothing makes water taste so good at the end of the day. I take along a ziploc sandwich bag to stash the sticky used gel packages. Save the tasty comfort food for breakfast and dinner. I leave the heavy Snickers bars at camp as a reward for when I return. I don't start on an empty stomach either. I'm a big breakfast eater, but I have found that not many are. Everyone is different. Whatever you do, test it out before you commit to something big.

Edited by pcg

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Just came back from a 2-day Rainier and what Buckaroo is saying is pretty close to what I followed.

 

On Summit Day

Downed 1/2 Liter before leaving Camp

2L of H20 for the climb (1st liter mixed 1/2 strength Cytomax)

1 pack of shot blocks (2 servings of gummy bear Gu)

1x bar before leaving camp

3x bars choked down between camp and the summit.

Some Chocolate on the Summit.

1x pack of shot blocks for the way down.

 

Ate a reasonably large dinner (600+ calories )the night before and pushed lots of water.

 

I usually take Cliff and/or Builder Bars but am becoming a big fan of the Bonk Bars as well. The Bonk Bars also didn't get hard in the cold.

 

I'm sure I could have substituted GORP or something for the bars, but I like to keep all my food in my pockets so it's readily accessible and I don't have to dig. GORP, Fruit, Sausage etc. is great for lunch and around camp but it always ends up being too much hassle for me during the summit push.

 

All of our breaks were 5 to 10 minutes at most, long enough to drop pack, push some water, catch our breath. By then we were chilling down and ready to move again.

 

Oddly I usually felt better when we were moving than when we stopped to take breaks. I think when we were moving I was more focused on pressure breathing and monitoring my body and didn't breath as well when resting.

 

Was my 1st time up Rainier so I wanted to stack the odds as much in my favor as possible, hence the shot blocks, Cytomax, etc. Don't usually use that unless I'm looking at real big days.

 

Relative to the rest of my team, I think I felt a little better on summit day, but I think that was more tied to getting some rest before the climb. We had about 5 hrs in the tent before getting up and I slept as well I usually do on any climb (i.e. roll over and adjust every 45 minutes, but more or less asleep), while everyone else was more fitful.

 

YMMV

Good Luck :wave:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I know it's a bit late on this post but hey I'll give it what I normally do.

 

I normally drink the crap out of water on the trip to Rainier. I try to get 64oz on the drive to the mountain. Also, I can't stress super hydrating the night before.

 

I fill my 2 Nalgens with Gator-aid (200 calories per bottle)

I also take enough gu powder mix or whatever you like in powder form so you can use it on summit push.

 

On the way up to muir it really depends on your speed. If you're fast, you'll eat less from what i normally see just due to the fact that you're still stopping every hour to eat, but it's only 4 hours vs 7 or something.

 

I normally bring peanut butter M&Ms, gu packs, cliff bars, and anything like that for the way up. Something I can eat and hike with. Also I can't stress enough the gator-aid on the way up, that's 400 calories in your system w/o even chewing, plus some electrolytes.

 

When at Camp, eat, eat, eat, eat. I don't care what it is, how full you are, try to down everything you can. Then, Poo, poo, poo, poo. Less weight for summit, and trust me (I have experience pooing at elevation on a glacier on a rope) you don't want to do this.

 

On my summit push, I fill my bottles up with the powder mix for a extra few hundred calories. I take about 400 calories for each break (think about 3-4 up and 1-2 on way down) I'd stress for 6 breaks at about 300-400 calories or so on each one. Make sure it's food you'll enjoy, so get a mix of nuts, junk and everything else. This should get you where you be. Also remember that the slower you are the more you're going to feel it.

 

I also suggest immodium before you summit run to avoid a epic 14k poo.

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Not to be a naysayer, but you know that consuming that much water on the way won't get processed and retained, right? 8 oz every 45 minutes would be better approach as it will get absorbed and used by the body.

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I could care less if it does or doesn't. It works for me and so I stick with it. :) Just like people who don't change underwear on sports teams until they win a game. Whatever works, stick with. And since climbing can be 90% mental, and this helps me with that, then it helps me climb better!

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Oddly I usually felt better when we were moving than when we stopped to take breaks. I think when we were moving I was more focused on pressure breathing and monitoring my body and didn't breath as well when resting.

 

I noticed the same effect. And actually when I move and "overbreath" (just breathe deeper and more frequent than the actual situation requires) my performance is changing form stopping every so often to significantly faster pace (twice?)almost non-stop. The oxygen is food, and it seems like over ventilation helps balance reduced content of the oxygen in the air.

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Don't forget breathing from your nose helps you prevent a lot of water loss which can help you on every aspect on the mountain.

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