Its been about four months since Luke and I finished the trip on top of Longs Peak. I have spent the last few months recuperating, working, and trying to process the trip. I am now back up to my normal weight and my knees don’t ache every time I go down stairs. I’m in the beginning stages of planning a book about the trip but for now I’ve updated the website a bit: changing the text to reflect completion rather than aspiration; deleting almost all of the old SPOT updates since the SPOT site itself only displays checkins for the last 30 days; changing the google earth file to the ‘walked route’ (pretty close anyway) and it includes the SPOT checkins. I’ll be adding new pictures to the photos page soon and plan to write a review of all the gear I used. We’ll be doing other updates too over the next few months.
What are your questions about the trip?
I am sure that your book will have these few now but this is so interesting!! So from the photos, you guys did shelters and not tents, did you just sleep on private land w/o permission (I am good with that( during your walk say from Culebra to the Crestones and everywhere else, how many pairs of shoes did you go through, how many days of food did you carry at any one time. If I ever did this (while I have done all 54 already, would have to be after I retire) but I would need vehicle support to restock me or just take the tent and food to reduce the weight. I would still call it good but keep you guys at the top as you did it unsupported.
We each went through two pairs of shoes. My first pair were Vasque Velocity 2.0 and went about 700 miles, half the miles, more than half the peaks, three ranges (Sangre de Cristo/San Juan/Elks), and 100 miles of pavement. I replaced them in Aspen with Vasque Velocity (originals) which completed the trip. I still use them for day hikes. For both pairs I used the same set of Superfeet, the green ones.
You’re right, we both used tarps: I made mine from a Cuben kit from YamaMountainGear.com and Luke switched to a Yama Mountain Gear shelter part way through. Our route was mostly on public lands so private land was only an issue in a few areas. Usually providence and kind strangers came through for us, other times we ended up having to do a few more miles that day. Between Culebra and the Blanca group for instance: we slept in a yard across the street from the gas station in San Luis which was offered up by the attendant, who happened to own both; then in the town of Blanca we slept at the RV park. While doing the crossing of the San Luis valley we had to do about 35 miles to make it back to public lands, it was a long day.
We carried about 5 days of food most of the time, a bit less for some stretches. We did have a number of food items that carried over for multiple resupply legs though. Examples: we bought 3 logs of salami and carried them one at a time, they weighed 3 lbs each as I recall; large olive oil bottles would only be refilled when they go too low.
I recently completed the PCT and am eyeing up the CDT for 2015 and maybe someday your 14’ers route. In terms of skills, how much rock climbing did you end up doing and what gear besides the usual through hiking kit did you take along?
Our route was all class 4 or lower, the most exposed sections being in the Elks (maroon traverse, Capitol for instance). There were relatively few class 4 sections but there were many class 3. I’d say that some rock climbing experience is required for short stretches on a few peaks, and makes movement on the class 3 sections faster and safer. We carried a 50ft blue water Titan rope but only used it once for expedience (on the maroon traverse because there were two rappel rings right there just asking for it). We also carried a few caribeeners and few slings. For the first half (thru the Elks) we carried Petzl Sirocco mountaineering helmets. For the finish on Longs Peak we carried a full rope, ice axe, crampons, and some other things too. We expected snow and ice but only used them for a short stretch coming back over Andrews glacier after the finish. Better gloves and down mittens for some stretches as well.
Gotta love that PCT! Good luck on the CDT, who knows I might be out there too!
Hi, just love reading your website. I got a chance to visit Colorado this past July and although I only did one summit (Sherman) I had a blast rock climbing as well! Love CO! Has your book come out yet?