West Coast Trail reservations open Jan 7th

It’s difficult to get a reservation for our #1 hike in the world.

Be on the phone at 8am Pacific Standard Time to book for summer 2019.

Pacific Crest Trail stats

Mac posted his 6th annual Pacific Crest Trail (2018) Thru-hiker Survey, a terrific resource. It’s interesting to see what gear successful hikers carried and liked best.

He interviewed 496 PCT hikers:

  • Average age 34. 65% began hiking alone
  • 81% said they’d consider hiking the PCT again
  • On average, thru hikers spent $6,274

Click through to read more:

2018 Pacific Crest Trail Thru-hiker Survey

modest National Park proposals

In the era where Trump and his appointee Zinke are happy to sell off protected public lands, these proposals from Backpacker magazine might not seem modest to all.

Casey Lyons – Make More National Parks

M. John Fayhee – Let the National Parks Go Wild

Rachel Zurer – Make the National Parks Free

consider doing the JMT Northbound

Only 2% of applicants get permits for the John Muir Trail, one of our top 10 hikes in the world, southbound.

Odds are better in the other (more difficult) direction.

This superb trip report is recommended for your planning.

Brown Gal Trekker:

I completed my solo thru hike of JMT’s entire length of 210 miles plus 11 miles climb up from Whitney Portal starting from Whitney on July 29, 2018 and ending in Yosemite Valley on August 21, 2018, a day ahead of my schedule …

JMT northbound wasn’t the original intention. The start supposedly had to occur in Yosemite heading southbound and ending with the highest passes like most thru hikers do. Many proclaim southbound route trains you best for the harder climbs and higher altitudes. And yet northbound JMT took shape due to the permit limitations. Hence, northbound became the journey.

… Whitney greeted me on the 2nd day. Forrester pass at 13000 feet came in on day 4. Kearsarge at 11750 feet came the next day. I hauled 40 pounds all the while. …

The regular SOBO permits can be obtained solely through a lottery.  You can apply 170 days prior to the start date of your choosing.  Application form must be completed and faxed.  For the SOBO permit, you must fill out your starting and ending dates plus your trailheads of preference. The instructions are straightforward but the chances of getting a permit are rather slim.  You can learn more about applying via this website.

Because we weren’t the lucky 2% who scored a SOBO permit, we ended up taking our chances on the unclaimed permits going NOBO via Whitney Portal.   If you wish to go for overnight Whitney permits from the start, the application usually starts in February. See details on how to apply for Whitney overnight permit lottery here. We searched for permits on May 1st, when the unclaimed permits were released. These permits can be booked via Recreation.gov. To learn more, go to this site.

In applying for the permits, you will need to guesstimate your itinerary.  The most important part is the entry date and entry point. In our case, we were seeking to secure the overnight Whitney permit for our desired date. When you get to Lone Pine, CA, make sure to stop by the Eastern Sierra Park office to pick up your permit. …

 

If interested in doing the John Muir Trail yourself, check our JMT information page.

my hiking jacket – Columbia OutDry Ex Gold

I’ve was very happy overall with my OutDry layers purchased December 2017. But within a few months the decals on both jackets started flaking off.

After about 7 months the OutDry coating on the down jacket began peeling off.

Columbia was very responsive when I contacted them. They want me to send them the jacket at my expense … then they’ll assess whether it is normal wear-and-tear or whether it’s my fault. That’s too much time, cost and bother for me. Especially if they somehow determine this was my fault.

I’m not sure I want an unreliable replacement.

Instead I’ll warn you here about the OutDry on the down jacket. It’s too sticky, I feel. Don’t buy that product.

The OutDry rain shell I really like. And I’m still using it as my main waterproof layer.

Here’s their email response:

All of our Outerwear and Equipment products benefit from our “Limited Lifetime Warranty”. This covers any manufacturing defects in the material and workmanship but excludes normal wear and tear and does not cover products that have been misused, neglected and the natural breakdown of materials over time. Receipt of purchase may be required. This Limited Lifetime Warranty lasts for the expected lifetime of the product from date of purchase. Coverage ends if you sell or transfer the product.

Shipping Information. Customers are responsible for shipping items to Columbia Sportswear. We will cover the cost of return shipping. We recommend that you ship your product with a reputable carrier that can provide tracking information and proof of delivery, such as Purolator or Canada Post. Customers are responsible for their product until we sign for delivery. Columbia Sportswear cannot be held responsible for packages lost in transit

All warranty claims are subject to evaluation by our warranty department and if your product is deemed out of warranty, it will be returned to you as is. If your product is deemed defective but unrepairable within a reasonable amount of time you will receive a Virtual Merchandise Credit equivalent to the MSRP value. Depending on the season or product, it may take longer to repair certain items. We will discard your product if it is covered under our applicable warranty when we provide you with a Virtual Merchandise Credit. If you would like your original product returned to you, you will not receive a Virtual Merchandise Credit, please check the box on the printable warranty form.

First option when possible is to have it repaired locally and send us the receipt for reimbursement up to $35 plus taxes per repair. All receipts require stamp of retailer/business and a clear description of the product and the repair that was performed.

The second option would be for you to send your item to our warranty department. Please proceed to the brand specific website and follow warranty instructions as it pertains to your item to receive your claim #. Furthermore, we ask that our clients pay for the initial one-way cost of shipping and we will cover the return cost. If product is not repairable a Virtual Merchandise Credit will be emailed to you to shop online, as stated above.

All our inspections are taking approximately 4-6 weeks from the received date.
Please note: Your products must be cleaned prior to shipment according to its care instructions. Products received that are deemed insufficiently cleaned will be returned to the customer unprocessed.

 

____ Original post from May 2018:

GearJunkie posted a sponsored ad from Columbia. This is the opposite of transparency in advertising. I’m disappointed. ☹️

The article, at first glance, looks a legit review.

Here’s my legit review. Columbia paid me nothing.

Top layer is the new Columbia Men’s OutDry Ex Gold Interchange Jacket

It’s fairly heavy with the removable Omni-Heat Reflective inner layer. For most hikes, I’ll leave that liner at home carrying only the 2 layer shell.

I tested it in the rain while cycling. With seam tape it feels entirely waterproof. And it’s reasonably light.

It has no pit zips.  Breathability is not nearly as good as Columbia claims. In fact, I’d say breathability is LOUSY.

I paired it with the new Columbia OutDry EX Gold Down Hooded Jacket

For most hikes I will bring this along, replacing my usual down hooded parka.

The most compelling reason I decided to go this direction is the OutDry™ EX outer layer. It seems obvious to me that down jackets should be waterproof. The down is not hydrophobic, but doesn’t need to be as it won’t get wet.

I’m confident I’ll never be wet nor cold with this system. The hoods are excellent.

Some feel the fit is boxy. I’d agree. But I like the extra room for more layers underneath.

For warm hikes I also picked up the Frogg Toggs Men’s Ultra Lite Rain Jacket as an alternative.

This is what the cool thru-hikers wear. It’s not breathable at all. But at US $14.22 you can’t lose.

All in all I’m very happy with my new OutDry system. It has got some bad reviews, however.

Gortex` wets out. Starts to fail after a few years. It’s the fabric of deceit. I’ve never trusted it.

Here’s how Outdry is supposed to work. Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

 

Sacred Valley hike: Maras, Moray, Ollantaytambo, Pisac

The sacred valley is a lush agricultural region about 15 km north of Cusco (Peru) which extends all the way to Machu Picchu. …

This 2-day itinerary will take you from Cusco to the ruins of Ollantaytambo, the Salineras de Maras, the village of Maras, the Moray Terraces and the town and ruins of Pisac. …

The route is in fact almost unknown to most tourists. …

Tales from the Lens

Sacred Valley, a self-guided hiking tour of Maras, Moray, Ollantaytambo and Pisac

 

This looks perfect to me. I’ve added it to our list of best hikes in South America.

new app – Trekking in Nepal

If interested download both the app and checkout the web page:

HoneyguideApps.com

The app offers offline support for both guided and independent trekkers.


Guest post by Ashish Shrestha:

Phuraphuti Sherpa runs the homely Namaste Lodge at Monjo, one of the many small villages that trekkers pass through on their way to Everest Base Camp.

The number of trekkers is close to fifty thousand per year, but only a handful know the fact that Phuraputi also runs a small kitchen garden and serves organic vegetables to her guests.

As she says, “I run a small lodge but I make sure every trekkers leave happily when they go. I even grow my own vegetables and serve organic food. I hope that now even small lodges like mine get equal opportunity to be noticed!

In traditional dress for the photo.

She is one of the 80 lodges in the Everest Region that has signed up for HoneyGuide, an online community that connects mountain lovers with people who depend on the mountains for their livelihood.

The inspiration behind HoneyGuide is to:

  1. Make sure that porters, guides, and lodges get paid equitably and get business transparently.
  2. Make sure that trekkers get enough options and information to run a trek the way they see fit: from going independent without any bookings to a fully guided trek.

To these ends, HoneyGuide is:

  1. A Trek Planning Tool with:
    1. Comprehensive and Up to date information on Everest Base Camp Trek
    2. Complete Checklist for planning a trek in Nepal
    3. Health and Safety Advice for Trekking in Nepal
  2. A Trek Booking Tool with:
    1. Transparent Trek Booking starting with minimum services and options to add on extra services. See Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri Trek.
    2. Capacity to Book Flights, Lodges, and Guides separately. Email addresses and Phone Numbers are also available to aid communication.
    3. Reviews and Ratings to ensure that lodges, and guides get business not based on kickbacks, but hard work and good service.
  3. A Trek Companion that:
    1. Introduces you to the Attractions, Mountains, Birds, Flowers, and Cultural Sightings of the villages you will pass through. See Namche for example.
    2. Breakdown of what you can expect on each Day of your trek. For example see Day 8 of the Everest Base Camp Trek.
    3. Provides all of the above in an offline Mobile App “Trekking in Nepal”. Here are the download links for Android and iOS devices.

(The iOS app is not free right now. Contact Dakshina with the Referral Code BestHike, and we will send you a promo code for iOS devices.)

Everest View from Kala Pathar. PC: Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon.

Author Information.

Ashish Shrestha from Kathmandu grew up surrounded by lofty peaks and early developed a love for mountains. He’s a co-founder of the project 

The HoneyGuide Team.