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[pct-l] pct-l [too light?]

As a mostly traditional style hiker who has occasionally gone ultralight, I 
wanted to respond to some of the questions/comments raised.

1) There were times in the Sierra when ultralgiht hikers wearing sneakers 
said things to Dan and me like "You go up first; you have boots, so you can 
kick the steps." 
    Ultralight is fine -- but it doesn't mean that you get to rely on someone 
else who has the necessary stuff to do your work for you.  

2) I saw more stress fractures among sneaker-clad PCT hikers than I've ever 
seen on the AT. I think the problem happens when the pack weight and the 
mileage both creep up. 
3) I have seen people with homemade packs have hiking-ending shoulder 
injuries. Also have personal experience with this. Last summer, I carried a 
very very light pack with not much in the way of suspension in England and 
Scotland for a month. Packweight usually didn't exceed 15 - 20  pounds total. 
The injury I sustained from a pack I THOUGHT was comfortable is only now 
beginning to heal after months of extensive physical therapy. Shoulder 
injuruies can include nerve damage and rotator cuff problems -- they take a 
long time to heal and can be very incapacitating.,

4) On the actual PCT, I saw very people go with ultralight techniques the 
whole way. Many changed their gear and the packweight crept up as time went 
on. They found that a pack designed for 15 - 20 pounds doesn't work with 5 
days of food and five liters of water. Or that a totally enclosed tent is 
something they really really wanted in the snowmelt. 

5) Skill level makes a huge difference - -as does having a healthy respect 
for the climate and environment..

Each to his own, though -- I continue to search for ultralight techniques 
that make sense for me and the particular environment I'll be hiking in. 

Karen Berger

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