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Little Package Archive : hiking

Leave No Trace in Advertising

I’ve been shopping for new gear for 2016 and something is bugging me…

So here’s my call out to manufacturers and users of tents and sleeping bags and camp stoves and other camping gear. All outdoor folk who love nature. (Hopefully that includes you.)

Stop advertising gear with images that clearly violate the Leave No Trace ethic.

Stop glamorizing these violations.

Instead, set great examples of people camping using LNT principles.

Dude. What are you talking about?!

More specifically, I’m talking about images of camps set up right on the sides of lakes. They’re so pretty, but they’re so… wrong.

Please stop posting photographs of tents pitched less than 200 feet from idyllic lakes. Less than 100 feet from lakes. Less than 50 feet from lakes!

What’s the problem with camping near water?

I’d like to camp right by the water. It doesn’t seem… continue reading

talus

SHR Talus Report

I wouldn’t say I had too many surprises this summer on the Sierra High Route (SHR). I was fairly lucky with weather, I had warm gear, almost enough food, and navigation worked out well. I only had two death-defying falls. One thing stands out about this hike and that thing is exceptional amounts of talus. Now that I think about it, talus caused both of my falls (1, 2).

Talus, Talus, Talus

So much talus. Talus fields. More talus than you can shake a stick at. Talus coming out your ears. Talus rainbows. Talus, talus, talus.

What is talus?

ta·lus: a sloping mass of rock fragments at the foot of a cliff.

Pics of SHR talus will give you the idea:

Talus is tricky. Over time, as one hikes over miles and miles of talus field, one might become a TALUS MASTER. One will know in… continue reading

More Sierra High Route “Bonus Miles”

Abram – the mysterious fellow I met on my L2H hike in October – introduced me to the concept of “bonus miles.”

We’re lucky enough as it is to be hiking, thus, any extra miles hiked to get here or there that aren’t on the itinerary are “bonus miles.”

Bonus Miles – Pics

These are shots from the bonus miles tagged to the end of my Sierra High Route trek.

I was done with this epic route at around 1pm October 21st, but I was still deep in the Sierra. A matter of note – the old Taboose Pass trail is very cool. It’s marked on topo maps but little-traveled, a tiny bit hard to find in spots, and quite steep, but I loved it. I took it on the way out for variety.

It wasn’t until about 1pm on the 22nd that I set foot back in Lone Pine…. continue reading

Sierra High Route Part 1: Roads End to Taboose Pass

October 19 – Road’s End to Granite Basin

This 35-mile bit of the SHR took me 5 days (an extra day to hike 20 miles to the trailhead, and an extra day to hike 10+ miles out). On the afternoon of October 19th, I made it to Road’s End. I had already covered ten miles in the morning; here are the next ten.

Going up Copper Creek Trail made for one of the more difficult days I’ve had on trail. It was a gorgeous, groomed trail, even after angry storms blew through the week before. But this trail is straight up. From 5036 feet at the trailhead to of something like that to the 10,347 feet at the Granite Basin lip – that’s 5312 feet in under 7 miles. Even having just completed one of the world’s steepest climbs the week prior (Telescope Peak [11,000ft] from Badwater [-280ft]),… continue reading

A Walk from Onion Valley to Road’s End

In the middle of October, after having finished an amazing L2H hike with two great guys (Bulldozer and Abram), I was looking at wrapping up my season and heading back to Portland to spend the holidays with my mother.

But it was driving me crazy that I hadn’t finished my Sierra High Route hike. I walked around Mt. Williamson, summiting two 14ers to compensate, and I made some excuses, but still it was driving me crazy when I wasn’t trying to put it out of my mind. I’m not sure I’d ever feel right if I didn’t complete the SHR in one season as I intended.

LoveNote showed up in Lone Pine and planted the seed again, a few days later. When I told her my excuses, she (and her dog) gave me this look:

And that did it. Next thing I knew I… continue reading

Making Steve Roper Proud

The Sierra High Route is a 195-mile long route charted through the backcountry — and along some existing trails — of the High Sierra Nevada. It was devised by noted Sierra climber and historian Steve Roper, and originally, discreetly, published in book form in 1982. I first learned about it in 2013 during my thru-hike when the wonderfully thought-full hiker “Manchurian.” Manchurian hiked a section of the Sierra High Route between Reds Meadow and Tuolumne, I’m not sure how much of it he conquered but I remember him telling me it wasn’t too hard, and that the only sign of humanity he found out there was a deflated helium balloon.

When the Pacific Crest Trail and it’s burgeoning “culture” totally disenfranchised me earlier this year, I made a rather knee-jerk decision to ditch the PCT and instead tackle that remote and “not too hard” Sierra High Route.

The only… continue reading

SHR me and the muir hut

Sierra High Route Part 2: Taboose Pass to Piute Pass

Day 1: Taboose Pass to Taboose Pass

August 16th. I started the day having leftover apple pie, cinnamon rolls, and fresh hot coffee with LoveNote and Burly White’s wedding party near South Lake. This was a beautiful wedding, a marriage of two great people who met while hiking the Continental Divide trail and fell in love. They crowned their hike and sealed the deal by adopting a puppy together, and this great dog, “Huckleberry,” dug holes between the two as they voiced their oaths. Behind them the backdrop of the Inconsolable Range and Bishop Pass Mountains Mt. Goode, Mt. Johnson, and Mt. Thompson seemed only painted on canvas — it was that perfect. I was watching them get married and looking at familiar High Sierra at the same time.

I was something of the “wedding crasher,” having not only just met the couple weeks before, but also under the circumstance… continue reading

Lowest To Highest

The Lowest to Highest Trail (L2H) is a challenging route that runs from the lowest point in the contiguous USA (Badwater, Death Valley, -282 feet) to its highest, Mount Whitney (14,505 feet), across 130 miles. This distance is achieved via the popular running/cycling route, run yearly as an ultramarathon, and also by an . There are also other L2H routes plotted by other parties — there are a lot of ways to get from Badwater to Whitney. Typically it is walked in the late winter (February-early March) or early fall (late September-early October); otherwise sweltering heat in Death Valley and snows in the Inyo and Sierra ranges can hinder completion. The hiking route is largely comprised of 4×4 roads, use trail, well-worn trail, and when those aren’t available, very simple straight-line backcountry (e.g. Badwater and Darwin Plateau).

When I hiked in October 2015, I found the most difficult aspects to… continue reading

Sierra High Route Part 3: Piute Pass to Reds Meadow

Day 1: Piute Pass Trailhead to French Canyon

July 24th. This hike was kicked off with a pleasant hitch in a big truck from a fellow named Kelly. Kelly had just dropped his niece “Sierra” off at Mt. Whitney so that she could summit, and was headed back to Bishop where he was visiting family. Kelly and his niece had just finished the John Muir Trail (JMT) and had themselves hitch hiked, so he was eager to “pay it forward.” He was not only super fun to chat with, but he stopped by Great Basin bakery in Bishop (so much better than Schatz FWIW) and bought me a coffee, a muffin, and a baguette to pack out, AND he drove me all the way to the Puite Pass trailhead. With such luck and grace in the morning, it was inconceivable anything could go wrong.

Well, a couple things could go… continue reading

Sierra High Route Part 4: Reds Meadow to Tuolumne Meadows

This ~50-mile stretch of the Sierra High Route took me four days. I left from Reds Meadows near Mammoth Lakes on a Wednesday afternoon at 12:30pm and came out in Tuolumne Meadows on a Sunday at 11:00am with heels on fire – I wanted to make breakfast at the diner!

Day 1: Devil’s Postpile to Superior Lake

July 15th. It began with a pleasant enough jaunt along the PCT/JMT towards Devil’s Postpile, a mind-bogglingly geometric statue sculpted by no other force than Mother Nature. Mostly hexagonal (44.5%) and pentagonal (37.5%) rock posts — some of them near perfect — arise out of the ground up a couple hundred feet. They cracked into this shape when a mass of volcanic lava cooled slowly gazillions of years ago, and then were smoothed off by glacier movement at the top to show their angles. It was great to take this short side-trip loop… continue reading

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