Bob Open post-game

There’s not an enormous amount left to say about the Open. yet, which hasn’t been said in the previous thread and the comments.  Dan Durston had a true adventure in the best tradition of wilderness, pushing through a myriad of mental and physical obstacles to grind out a finish.  For everyone else save Greg a DNF of one kind or another is presumed.  I’ll let the participants say what they want and need to say first.  One thing which was clear before we even lined up in now even moreso; I won’t be listing times/results in the conventional manner.  The Bob Open is about the experience first, and the objective second.  The “official” narrative will reflect that, though there will still be numbers for those so inclined.

And yes, we’ll have it again next year.

Same weekend for certain.  Similar distance as well.  The logistics are always going to be a pain, but I’m leaning towards lessening the road walking and making the start and perhaps finish be at a more developed location, like a cabin in which participants can gather.  There should already be plenty of evidence concerning likely conditions, so for those many who were on the fence or professed interest: start training.  You’ve got 11 months to build fitness and plug holes in your skillset.

I’m inevitably left thinking about what might have been.  The original timeline was not realistic given the snow up high, but under better conditions and with closer to prime fitness a ~36 hour finish on that course is quite possible.  It’s also interesting to contemplate, given less fresh snow and two ideal performances, whether my ~100 mile packraft route or Dan’s ~80 mile foot route would have been faster.  But the point of these things is the human details which create and define actual experiences.  I’m content with my choice to bail, but sad I missed out on the full experience Dan had.  I think I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in the Bob this year.

In addition to actual splits, I added a list of clothing worn to the above link.  I went with warmer layers due to both the forecast and my desire to keep still-vulnerable core a bit on the warm side to save energy and preserve my health.  The R 1/2 hoody in particular reminded me how well it works.  The equivalent of expedition weight long underwear, the fabric is a mini version of the still extent R1 fabric.  I bought an XL women’s hoody (they never made one for men), and took in the torso and hood to make it fit.  The combination of grid fleece and pertex kept me comfy the whole time, the outer surface of the fleece got wet when the windshirt soaked through but my skin never did.  The hoods and zips regulated temperature perfectly.  Even though it precipitated almost the whole time, I only used my raingear while packrafting.

I’ve been using my new Crossleathers without insoles for a while, and on the Open discovered the limits of this approach.  Little bits of grit, which fall into the holes of my preferred Inov8 3mm insoles, instead ground into and bothered my feet.  So I ordered 3 new pairs of insoles on Monday.

I’m still on the fence about sleeping bags.  To actually sleep by a fire you need to dry your clothing pretty well, have shelter from the wind and precip, and have a pretty steady blaze.  In a sleeping bag the first requirement isn’t nearly as strict, and gathering enough wood to last hours is in pine forests not the simplest of matters.  In short, this approach is restricted to certain campsites, which limits it’s flexibility and has me thinking it may not be as efficient as it might at first seem.  Further experiments will be required.


10 responses to “Bob Open post-game”

  1. Thank you for putting this on. I will definitely be there next year. Will do a training trip to the Bob the end of this September to plug holes in my skill set.

  2. I want to highlight my above invocation of the Danni hat clause: given that I mentioned a new hat, however obscurely, Danni has no more than 36 hours to acquire it herself.

  3. Awesome accomplishment to all that started, especially in light of the weather and major kudos to Dave for the inspiration to get this going.

    I had planned on being there until a nagging foot problem severely cut into my training. My thoughs for gear were weather dependant. If the weather had been warm and sunny, I would have gone with a fast & light mindset and gear selection. If the weather had been as it turned out, I would have opted for a small shelter with a wood stove. At less than 4 lbs total the ability to easilly warm up and dry out would have made the weight worth it, not to mention that the amount of wood necessary to heat inside a shelter is a fraction of what is required for a warming campfire. Next year if this old body allows.

  4. Yay hats!

    I don’t think conditions are likely ever going to be “better” over Memorial Day weekend in the Bob. Unless you want to ski and more snow is better. Granted, I wasn’t there (off in sunny CA) but I think you’re keeping it sufficiently inaccessible for most people by keeping it during a weekend that nearly guarantees crappy weather :-)

    1. Yes, after reading the reports I’m curious what a trail-centric version of this traverse would be like in July. Would the creeks potentially be wade-able instead of swimming or rafting? Spring is a challenging time of year — high run-off, highly variable snow conditions, and higher potential for mixed snow and rain, the worst kind of precipitation. Bumping the Bob Open back a couple of months (ski classic) or forward into summer might make it less of a logistical nightmare, but I suppose the logistical nightmare is part of the fun?

  5. Dave: What would be the best method of posting a trip report? Do you want it sent to you, posted at the BMWO proboards forum? posted at BPL? I’m starting to work on my write-up now.

  6. Dan, wherever you like! BPL is the biggest audience, and I can harvest it from there easily enough.

    Doing a traverse of the Bob in July would be a simple backpacking trip/trail run. In a normal year by mid-July creek crossings are no longer problematic. By early August in a typical year (below 1000 cfs at Twin Creeks) you could find a place to wade the S Fork where Dan had to swim. In March this would be a ski race. Having it in between the two is the most interesting option, and for my purposes non-negotiable.

  7. Firestarting and [serious] river crossing were the two skills that I wish I would have done a better job with, as far as systematic study and practice before the event.

  8. So I need to see your visor before I aquire one.

  9. My trip report is now posted over at BackpackingLight:

    For next year, hopefully it’s not too far south in the Bob because I cut the bottom section of my map off.

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