|Pretrip||Ship empty stoves & fuel bottles to motel, allow 10 days for shipping|
|Saturday||Aug 23||Fly from BWI to LA, pick up rental cars, drive to park, check into motel, buy fuel for stoves|
|Sunday||Aug 24||Pick up reserved permit, start the backpack at Crescent Meadows trailhead|
|Friday||Aug 29||Layover day at Crabtree Meadow|
|Sunday||Aug 31||Complete backpack at Whitney Portal trailhead, ride shuttle back to start|
|Monday||Sep 1||Drive to LA, ship stoves home, fly home|
If people want to share: tents, stoves & fuel, water purifiers/filters, first aid kits, or meals, you can work that out for yourselves from the trip roster. At a minimum we need one stove, extra fuel, purifier/filter, and first aid kit for every two to three people. I will try to coordinate this somewhat.
In addition to the above items there will be some other common gear that we will have to split up. This includes: plastic collapsible bucket, collapsible bladders (?), and possibly other things. Some common gear that I will carry myself includes an altimeter, and a large detailed topographic map.
Guidebook & Map
Backpacking California, Paul Backhurst, Editor, Wilderness Press, Berkeley, 2001.
This guidebook covers 62 backpacks in California, the High Sierra Trail is #23 and is the longest and most difficult backpack in the entire book.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Trails Illustrated topographic
map, scale 1:111,850, 1 inch = 1.8 miles, this map is a little smaller and
lighter, but less detailed, than the alternative below
John Muir Wilderness and Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness
topographic map, USDA Forest Service, scale 1:63,360
This is a large single piece map, not the set of 8.5"x11" sheets for the John Muir Trail which does not cover our route
The Sierra Nevada mountains of California have aggressive black bears in terms of their trying to steal backpackers food. They are not interested in people, only their food. This trail does not go through a restricted area so we are not required by law to use bear canisters or bear boxes. Every campsite except one that we are using will have one or more bear boxes that we will use. At the other campsite we will have to hang our food using the counterbalanced bag technique. In addition to food we also have to store or hang, our garbage, and any toiletries that have an odor. Bears are attracted to anything with an odor and their noses are 400 times more sensitive than ours!
Everyone is responsible for providing their own backpacking food for meals and snacks. This is not a commissary based trip. Bring more food than you would normally eat at home, but don't over do it. We will be at a much higher altitude than we are used to and many people lose their appetite to some extent. As a backpacker, you will appreciate the concept of food as fuel. Bring things that are lightweight, tasty, and nutritious but easy to prepare, cook, and clean up after.
Don't plan on buying backpacking food out there, it's too time consuming and we really won't have time to do that. All or your food for the entire eight days should be packed before we get on the plane. If you see some fresh food out there that looks good, add it to your pack but don't plan on it. Also if you remove food from your pack we have to dispose of it before getting to the park. The car will be parked at or near the trailhead, we CANNOT LEAVE ANY FOOD IN THE CAR because of bears.
Plan for eight days of food from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day plus snacks. We will have three days of 3500' to 4000' of elevation gain with about 1/3 less of loss, and one day with 5000' of elevation gain. Plan to bring some extra energy food, Gatorade, and salty snacks for these four days. It also might be good to carry an empty water bladder so you have the option of adding an extra liter for these longer days if you want. An empty one liter bladder weighs very little.
We will have to treat all drinking water either with a
purifier, filter, or iodine tablets. I would strongly recommend using a purifier
but the choice is yours. We will carry at least one plastic fabric collapsible bucket
to simplify bringing water from streams or lakes to the campsite and allow silt
to settle out of the water before filtering.
Leave No Trace
We will practice "Leave No Trace" backcountry ethics.
This means that we pack out all of our trash and garbage. It also means that we
do not use soap or shampoo to wash in mountain lakes or streams. Just swimming
in the water without using soap works pretty well all by itself for getting your
body clean. Use a folding
basin and/or wash cloth and soap a reasonable distance away from lakes or streams to wash more
thoroughly. It's okay to use a tiny amount of biodegradable soap in the
lake or stream just to wash your hands and face.
We will be shipping our empty stoves and empty fuel bottles to
the starting hotel. We cannot carry our stoves or fuel bottles with us on the airplane
unless they are brand new and have NEVER been used. Once used they will contain fuel
residue and cannot be taken onboard the plane. Although this policy varies from
airline to airline. NO AIRLINE WILL ALLOW FUEL OF ANY KIND ON THE AIRPLANE. We
will ship the stoves via Parcel Plus, or Mail
Boxes Etc. We will have to buy
fuel out there before the trip, and ship the empty stoves and empty fuel bottles back the same
way in the same boxes.
We need to ship the stoves about 10 days prior to our trip departure to ensure
that they are there as we must use regular ground transportation.
The trip cost includes: round trip airfare from the Baltimore Washington area to Los Angeles, CA, your share of a rental car, one night in a motel before the trip and one night after our backpack, a shuttle from the ending trailhead, and the required NPS fees. Not included: everything else, such as: any motel meals, necessary backpacking food and gear, rental car gas, tips, personal expenses, and any other necessary but excluded expenses.
The cost of the trip is influenced primarily by the airfare, motels, shuttle, and rental car. It is to our advantage to book the airline as soon as possible to take advantage of lower priced seats. Also the participant costs are heavily influenced by the number of people in the rental car and the number of people splitting the return shuttle which is a 7-8 hour ride and is an expensive shuttle. Also rental car fees are notoriously hard to estimate due to additional charges that are tacked onto the final amount plus possibly a required upgrade in size to accommodate all of our gear. Because MWROP is not financially underwriting this trip the air fare, and other necessary, upfront deposits, must be paid from trip participant deposits. This is why the deposit is a little high and we need to get deposits as soon as possible.
It is important that each participant bring sufficient cash/credit cards for incidental personal expenses. Also if the trip plans should change for any reason such as injuries, or the backpack being shortened or extended by a few days due to circumstances beyond our control it could have an impact on your individual cost.
Make checks payable to: Sierra Club MWROP and mail to the leader.
In 2000 I led a one week Paria Canyon backpacking trip to Utah & Arizona for Sierra Club MWROP. The cost of that trip was $900.00 per participant and included RT. airfare from BWI to Phoenix, the participants share of a rental car, two nights in a motel before the backpack and two additional nights after the backpack, plus the BLM permit fees. In comparison the national Sierra Club was running the same week long backpacking trip to Paria Canyon and they were charging $695.00 which included the BLM permits and $50 worth of backpacking food. The airfare, rental cars or shuttles, and motel costs were all extra. I've been on two national Sierra Club backpacking trips and they were both great trips with excellent leaders and I believe that it is a worthwhile and important financial cause but there are limits to my generosity. Spending $100.00 a night to sleep in your own tent is unreasonable. Also the national Sierra Club backpacks require participants to participate in mandatory commissary cooking. They bring way too much cooking and cleaning gear, my pack weight is approximately 6 to 10 lbs heavier per week doing it their way. I would rather carry 6 to 10 lbs of photography gear than pots and pans. Their trips are really best suited to beginners.
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Columbia, MD 21045
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