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[pct-l] hiking speed vs. pack weight

In '77 there were about 25 successful "thru-hikers" (in quotes as the trail 
was not finished, so we count thru-hikers in '77 as those who hiked from Mexico 
to Canada regardless of route) out of perhaps 80 or so who started with the 
intention of thru-hiking.  I don't think that anyone tried to go ultralight by 
today's standards and most, if not all, of us carried external framed packs, 
two man-double walled tents, bomb proof stoves, heavy weight leather boots, 
wood handled ice axes and 3 to 5 pound down or first edition Polarguard sleeping 
bags.  Thus our pack base weight was most likely an average of 40 pounds or 
more.  I know that my pack base weight started at about 45 pounds and went up to 
about 55 going into the Sierra with extra clothing and gear and went down to 
35 or so through Oregon when sharing weight with a hiking partner and shedding 
unnecessary clothing and gear in the heat of the summer.  

This is the time when hiking the trail meant that you were a man (or, if a 
woman, then you had to be strong as an ox!)  and young girls, old men and little 
boys ran crying home with blisters as big as their heads, blown knees and 
mosquito bites festering with infection. 

You pansy asses have it so damn easy now!  I tell you, back in our day the 
snow fell hard, the trail wasn't marked, the food was better, the women 
prettier, the mosquitos bigger, the guide book sucked and everyone knew it, and there 
wasn't any PCT-List, PCTA website, thru-hiker journals, ADZPCTKO, Ray Jardine, 
books and guides on how to do it everywhere! A good switch back was angled at 
45 degrees, the desert heat was hotter, the distance between water was 
greater, Forester Pass was uphill on both sides   .   .   . 


On the other hand, you ultra-lighters have made us old guard look mighty 
silly carrying all of that weight and unnecessary gear!

Greg "Strider" Hummel

In a message dated 8/2/2004 2:07:15 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
dude@fastmail.ca writes:
I beleive that alot of the 77' crew were thru-hiking the PCT with 40+ 
lb packs.  someone correct me if I am wrong.

> This discussion has been extremely helpful in deciding to how light to
> go. I have never thru-hiked but I am definitely attempting the PCT in
> 2006. I have been an avid backpacker all my life but I traditionally
> take a heavy load (i.e. 40+ lb packs). To me, it seems like such an
> accomplishment to go 50-60 miles in a few days. But it is WORK! It
> seems like there might be an intermediate level somewhere between
> ultra light and the daily fatigue associated with a heavy load. Is it
> possible to go, say, 25lbs and still be comfortable enough to do the
> whole route? Does anyone try to do this whole route with heavy packs?
> Could this be why there is about a 50% success rate for this venture?
> Thanks for all the discussion. Extremely helpful!