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#160708 - 01/20/12 02:19 PM Loops vs Through Hike?
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
I am in the process of planning my summer trip(s) in detail. I am plagued with "loops" vs "through-hike" where I want to see several areas (about 27-30 day through-hike)on the crest of the Wind River Mountains. The areas I want to see are just about 100% off-trail so 6-7 miles a day is all I can do. This is a dilema for "slow" through-hiking. Walking out to resupply is very time consuming, plus most trailheads have no services and are a long way from anything. I do have friends who live in the area who could pick me up at trailheads, but each walk-out and back to town would likely eat up 3-4 days. The worst part is walking back in with a pack loaded with two additional days of food. Thus, a through-hike would be easier with two commercial outfitter resupplies (over $250 each). I generally do loops because of the cost of resupply plus family members prefer to hear from me once in a while! The hot shower between trips is also a bonus! But I keep going back to the through-hike as more aesthetically pleasing. I have spent 30+ days straight in the mountains plenty of times and like it, so the isloation is not an issue to me. Were I wealthy, this would not even be an issue. I really do have more time than $$$. On the other hand, I seem to spend plenty of $$ when I go out to towns. Another issue is that at my advanced age I really cannot carry more than 10 days food at one time. Part of the problem is that the off-trail travel is somewhat technical and a heavy pack will not work. I am going to have to carry ice axe and crampons (there is 2 days food weight!) so I need to be very careful about food weight.

Another point is that with several loops, I would actually see more country than through-hike with walk-out resupply. So I guess the choice is down to two- outfitter resupplies vs several loop trips.

If you also have gone through this decision process, what has swayed you one way or the other?




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#160711 - 01/20/12 03:18 PM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: wandering_daisy]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3236
Loc: Portland, OR
If you also have gone through this decision process, what has swayed you one way or the other?

ANY time I've had a legitimate shot at staying out for several weeks, rather than shorter times, I've taken it. The whole quality of the experience changes as the days go by and you never see a road, car or building, and never hear an unnatural sound aside from the random airplane.

...I keep going back to the through-hike as more aesthetically pleasing....Were I wealthy, this would not even be an issue.

I think these two quotes really isolate the crux of the issue. In the long run, spending $500 or $600 is what stands between you and doing the hike you really want to do. If I were you, I'd look at what that money would be needed for if it weren't spent on the outfitter resupply, and decide based on priority.

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#160713 - 01/20/12 03:50 PM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: wandering_daisy]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Sounds like you need to coordinate with a Sherpa who would cross paths with you and bring in a food supply, either as a kindly favor, or for a whole lot less that $250. Ought to be omeone out there who would qualify.

5 would offer, but I won't be any closer to the Wind Rivers than the Black Hills of SD, and most likely not at the right time....

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#160714 - 01/20/12 03:54 PM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: wandering_daisy]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
This Wind River trip is along the lines of one I have been thinking about since last summer. Sounds marvelous! I will never get to do my version as my limiting factor is time. My decision process...this is the kind of thing I am too chicken to put up as my thought processes seem to be somewhere else compared to most people who frequent this site. I am not sure I could explain it in a clear manner anyway. So I will not go that route. Since time is not an issue, which will take you through more of the areas you wish to visit? Loops or through hiking? If anybody knows that area well, its you. In some areas, loop hiking/resupply adds to the experience. Whereas in others it detracts and becomes a drudgery.

You may want to consider another option. Something I have done before is have friends meet me on trial with my resupply at a predesignated spot. Everyone needs to be clear on instructions for this to work. But I have arranged for this twice in the past and I lost maybe a half days hiking on 1 occasion. The next day I would have headed out the way they were coming in if they had not shown up.

With a couple options, you could mix it up. Maybe take a shower in the middle of the trip and the rest of the time be resupplied via short visits with friends.

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#160717 - 01/20/12 04:45 PM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: skcreidc]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
I have wondered about the "sherpa" thing. Why are there no official "sherpas for hire"? If I were to pay someone to carry food in for me, would that open a can of worms with liablility? I also wonder why there are not more shuttle services. I think the lack of demand and insurance costs probably are prohibitive for anything but "under the table" dealings.

One thing that limtits options in the Wind Rivers is that a lot of trailheads require a 4wd to access, some require special Reservation permits (about $100), most are several hour's drive from a highway which then is several miles from the nearest town and a few even require a boat! Asking anyone to walk a resupply in to me would not be an easy or short trip. Resupplying in the Sierra is SO much easier! But it would not hurt to ask a few people. Nothing gained if I never ask.

I will admit that when I first wrote my Wind River guidebook, the focus was two through-hikes. But after considering that the logistics and costs for these were more than most people are willing to do, I reconfigured the guidebook into several loop hikes. It was simply a matter of needing the wider market in order to make the book viable financially. The Wind River off-trail backpacking market is a pretty small "nitch" and limiting that to those able to through-hike would narrow it to an almost non-existent market. Nevertheless, I have always held an off-trial through-hike on my "to do" list.

Thanks, Old Ranger for the vote for spending whatever it takes! To put it in perspective, it is not much compared to what most people spend on a vacation. Luckily, I personally know several very good outfitters who I totally trust. Nothing worse than being out of food and have your outfitter a "no-show"!

I just thought the decision was an interesting problem and wondered if others had similar experiences.







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#160723 - 01/20/12 09:13 PM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: wandering_daisy]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Besides, this trip is research for the next edition of your guidebook, right? Sounds like all your cots ought to be fully deductible business expenses. You are to be admired for your selfless dedication to accuracy......

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#160729 - 01/21/12 01:05 AM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: wandering_daisy]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By wandering_daisy

If you also have gone through this decision process, what has swayed you one way or the other?


A relative newb, who wanted to see some of it but couldn't do the whole trip, agreeing to meet me at the halfway point with a heavy pack worth of food, with a resupply for me.

I like solving this by solitude, then company plus resupply.

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#160730 - 01/21/12 01:07 AM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: phat]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
And failing that, spend the $500 for the outfitter drops. You're only young once and I can tell from your writing what trip you really wanna do.

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#160748 - 01/21/12 12:48 PM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: phat]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
Phat- you are a great salesman if you talked someone into doing that!

If someone were to join me and do a portion of the trip they would have to walk in over 12 miles, carrying not only their 10 days worth of food (plus another 2 days food just to get to me) in addition to MY 10 day ration. I am certainly not a good enough salesman to con someone into this.

Brian Lee- I read your journals- you have the greatest wife in the world to drive that far and assist you in your food supplies on your CDT quest. I am impressed!

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#160751 - 01/21/12 01:10 PM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: wandering_daisy]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Don't sell yourself short. I would do it in a heartbeat (as long as I got to visit a different area cause I only been once). However, this summer is already booked up for me. For my wife, we are spending a month in Italy. And, she gave me her blessing for trying to do Ropers high route in 10 days or less. You have no idea how hard that one was to pull off... This might be THE summer to try it and I will only get one shot in all liklihood. I have been working and training on this for over 2 years.

Otherwise, hand on a bible, I would have already PM'd you about it. (Course you could have said NO. shocked ) That would have been completely understandable. But the point is there have got to be others out there who would do it. It is for a worthy cause! Besides, with all due respect to the Sierra Nevada Mountain range (I love it dearly), the Wind River Range is a very special place which has a distinctly wild element to it that is lacking in the Sierra Nevada Mtns. Who wouldn't jump at an excuse to go visit if they could. Seriously, everyone else frequenting this forum should consider going here.

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#160761 - 01/21/12 03:43 PM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: wandering_daisy]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By wandering_daisy
Phat- you are a great salesman if you talked someone into doing that!

If someone were to join me and do a portion of the trip they would have to walk in over 12 miles, carrying not only their 10 days worth of food (plus another 2 days food just to get to me) in addition to MY 10 day ration. I am certainly not a good enough salesman to con someone into this.


In my case it wasn't so bad - I met them about halfway (well, only a third for me) - they did about only 8 or 9 KM with a heavy pack, and not a lot amount of elevation gain.

Of course if you get two angels, they each only have to carry half your resupply...

Even if you manage one, that means you only have one time to pay the outfitter. smile

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Any fool can be uncomfortable...
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#160763 - 01/21/12 03:46 PM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: skcreidc]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By skcreidc
But the point is there have got to be others out there who would do it.


Heck, if it wasn't that I'm looking at dragging my swiss buddy down 20 days of GDT and BC rockies in July/August (which I expect is your timeframe) - I'd do it!


Edited by phat (01/21/12 04:11 PM)
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#160863 - 01/22/12 05:41 PM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: phat]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
Roper's High Route in 10 days! Amazing. I used to be a member of CMC (California Mountaineering Club) and a member did the route in 12 days, which was pretty amazing. He did not cook- did the entire route in trail food. In fact he did the entire route in vegan trail food only. That is one way to eliminate the resupply problem! You are right- this summer with the good prospect of low snow pack is a good year to try it. Good Luck.

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#160881 - 01/22/12 07:51 PM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: wandering_daisy]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Thanks W_D. Some people have done it in about 8 days. Andrew Skurka and his pal did it "comfortably" in 8 days and 4 hours. My idea is to carry food for 12 days and shoot for 10. Straight shot, no resupply. Still working this out calorie wise/ weight wise. The not cooking concept has crossed my mind, but vegan? So your friend was a vegan at the time, or was there another reason?

Back to your trip; it IS pretty obvious which way you would like to do it. I'm not good at being inspirational, but don't give up on your dream/to-do list. You are one of the people who inspired me to go for my version of Ropers High Route. If it feels right, you should do it.


Never mind on the vegan question...figured it out.


Edited by skcreidc (01/23/12 01:23 AM)
Edit Reason: last sentence

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#160900 - 01/22/12 09:44 PM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: skcreidc]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By skcreidc

Back to your trip; it IS pretty obvious which way you would like to do it. I'm not good at being inspirational, but don't give up on your dream/to-do list. You are one of the people who inspired me to go for my version of Ropers High Route. If it feels right, you should do it.


+1 on this one.. You go Girl smile
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#160969 - 01/23/12 03:49 PM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: wandering_daisy]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6778
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
If your budget will stand it, I'd bite the bullet and go for the outfitter resupply! Consider that avoiding the inevitable motel and restaurant meal costs involved in a town visit will help offset the outfitter cost. Of course this presupposes that you can last a month without hot showers or ice cream....

Unless you get off schedule, the packers can carry out messages to your family. You could also get a SPOT so your family can track your progress.

As oldranger already mentioned, if this trip is to update your guidebook, all the expenses are tax deductible anyway!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#161054 - 01/24/12 04:13 PM Re: Loops vs Through Hike? [Re: OregonMouse]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
OM- I have done many loop trips in the past and I do not tend to spend much money when I am out, because I either stay at campgrounds or with friends. I rarely need a motel. There are plenty of places one can get a hot shower for minimal costs. So that "rationalization" for spending money on an outfitter is not one I can use.

I have been playing with various trip plans and all require at least two resupplies. If I do the through-hike it will likely be a combination of outfitter resupply and at least one "walk-out" resupply where I will meet friends at a remote trailhead. I do have a few places where the walk-out is only a day.

Two outfitter resupplies would be over my budget and not really justified given that I have plenty of time. If I can coordinate my resupply when an outfitter simply needs to add another horse to an already planned trip, I do not have to pay the wrangler charge, just the additional horse charge. Since I am very flexible with my time, this is a real good possibility.

After getting some firm quotes on prices, I can make a final decision. If for any reason the through-hike does not work out, a month worth of loop trips is not a bad alternative! Either way I will get lots of quality time in the mountains. Sort of like choosing between "best" and "good".




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