This video sucks (Classic post-game)

Damn you Luc! You beat me, and get better footage!

In truth, even after the rain let up late on the third day I kept the camera stowed. Didn’t have the will to get much with it, sadly. These things never come close to doing what they’re meant to, but this one is table scraps from a meal that was never eaten.

So, onwards to the nuts and bolts, before I tackle the thoroughly intimidating task of really writing about the last two weeks.

First, I created an updated list of actual gear taken. You can look at it on BPL. In summary, next year (yes, next year!!) I’ll bring a small tarp rather than space bivvy.  A tarp would also keep the rain off, perhaps reflect the heat of a fire better, and allow the fire to dry clothing while you sleep.  This last was the biggest downside by far, and both Paige and I ended up using them as blankets for this reason.  I’d also take rain pants, and warmer clothes.  As an extra safety margin, and because a few days in your metabolism and heat production became a little idiosyncratic.  A fleece vest, light puffy, and light fleece pants would be good.  Of course, on warmer years like 2009, this would go mostly unused.

Next, our footwear worked out very well.  I wore Injinji Coolmax mini-crews, Hydroskins, Dirty Girl gaiters and LaSportiva Crossleathers.  Paige just wore Hydroskins and LaSportiva Fireblades.  We got one blister between the two of us, one in the metatarsal crease next to the ball of my right foot, very late in the race, likely due to macerated skin.  On the last bivvy we slept in our shoes, and thus had them on with no breaks for something like 27 hours.  Paige suggested a shoes-off break on the soft tundra at the top of the final pass, and my demurring was a tactical error borne of impatience.  We both got abrasions around our ankles from the back edges of our shoes rubbing them during all the sidehilling and uneven terrain, and I think the rolled edge of my low liner socks made this worse.  Not sure what would have cured this problem.  Overall, our feet got sore, but never close to debilitatingly so (even during the 8 miles of ATV trails at the very end).

Next, food.  The above is what I actually brought, minus the olive oil.  All the candy, coffee, soup mix, jerky, sesame snaps, and granola got eaten.  Most of the cheese did too (the romano I brought was too hard).  The halvah (bottom center zippie) never tasted all that good, neither did the almonds.  I ate most of the chips, but other things were usually bettter.  I had quite a bit more food than Paige, who finished with none (and ate two snickers of mine on the last day).  I liked having a bit of a buffer, as on the last morning I had a hard time staying warm if I wasn’t stuffing my face.  Overall a success, I’d bring more of some stuff and less of others in the future.  If it had been warmer the salty stuff probably would’ve been in greater demand.  Having a stove was vital.  My cartridge was almost totally empty by the end, though more than half of that was likely using it to start fires.  As a team it might be worth having one Jetboil for fast brewing, and one normal stove as a backup and primary fire starter.  Perhaps.

Ask any other tech questions here.

10 responses to “This video sucks (Classic post-game)”

  1. So whom are you going with next year ;)

    1. I definitely want a partner, it’s much faster and safer and more enjoyable. I’d race with Paige in a second, she was super strong (ex collegiate nordic racer) and we had a great, great dynamic.

  2. No questions but thanks for the post! I’m looking forward for the full report. So much interesting reading coming up and no time to read!

    I got some heel/achilles problems on my last hike with the old trustworthy La Sportiva Wildcats. It lead to inflammed and svollen tendon. I think that was mostly because of the shoes being so worn-out but it’s nice to know that other have problems too, even with more seasoned and better trained feet.

    And +1 on the idea of tarp instead of bivy sack. Sounds like a good idea if fires are available. But as fires are an option, I’d say two stoves (for team of two) is an overkill.

    1. Interestingly, the abrasions weren’t on the back on the achillies, but the side (or rather, between the achillies and ankle ball). No shoe slippage, just shoe contact. Aside from normal swelling (which was holistic insofar as the feet and ankles were concerned) my achillies felt great the whole time.

  3. What kind of maps did you use? Print out NatGeo Topo! maps and hide them in ziplocs??? Other system?

    How did you install double grips on your Ultradistance poles?? where did you even find the grips?

    1. Airic, the grips on my poles are the standard ones. By “double” I meant that I find the high and low grip positions to be equally functional, and used both extensively. One a related note, with past poles I’ve had success adding grips with tightly wrapped layers of bike handlebar tape.

      For maps I used 3 1:75,000 scale maps I custom ordered from Their waterproof paper is good, if not infallible, and I just let whichever I was using get wet in my packs sidepocket. They’re all ready for future use. Their size makes them a bit slow to use, but I like having the big picture in case mid-route adjustments are needed. As a team, it’d be nice to have one set of big maps, and another pocket map (with just the intended route, cut from paper and laminated with tape, for quick reference). Paige had just that, and we used both (along with her GPS).

  4. Yummy looking food Dave! Do you calculate your food cache by calories per ounce? I shoot for 165 – 175 calories per ounce, while most protein & candy bars are in the 130 range. Definitely want ‘yummy’ food as well, but calorie dense ‘yummy’ food. That would vet out to 1.5lbs/day for 4,200cals/day.

    1. By my math I was around 120 cal/oz for the above pile. I’d be curious to hear what you bring to get around 170 (a very impressive number). Maximizing cal/oz is important, but having food that’s quick and fun to eat is moreso.

      1. I continually strive to attain that number. My main go to items are Almond Butter (168cal/oz), Honey Stinger Waffles (160cal/oz), and the trusty chip variety pack (160cal/oz). As soon as I start adding milk chocolate and protein bars the numbers start to drop. However, I could live on those first three they are so darn yummy! :-)

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