biggest problems for multi-day hikers

The John Muir Trail is one of our top 10 in the world. It ain’t easy.

Overall, the top health problems reported were blisters (57 percent), sleep problems (57 percent), pack strap pain (46 percent), knee/ankle pain (44 percent), and back/hip pain (43 percent).

Another 37 percent reported altitude sickness. Given that the trail is almost entirely above 8,000 feet, and finishes at 14,505 feet at the summit of Mount Whitney, altitude issues are not surprising …

Here’s What It Takes to Hike the John Muir Trail

A survey of backpackers’ tactics on the 220-mile high-country route offers insights on what works and what doesn’t

Details:

In 2014, 771 people filled out the survey, all of whom planned a trip of at least five days along the trail—a pretty reasonable sample from the total of roughly 3,500 permits issued that year. A group of researchers led by Susanne Spano of the University of California San Francisco Fresno analyzed the data to look for patterns and insights.

Huemul Route, Fitz Roy, Argentina – day 4

trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

Huemul Route – day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | info

Day 4 was my walkout back to El Chaltén. Everyone hikes counter-clockwise.

Here’s the whole circuit visiting the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.

Circuit map via Travel 2 Walk

Very atypical for me, I didn’t sleep well.

And it rained on and off through the night.

Happily the sun came out about the time I got out of the tent.

Despite my efforts of the previous day, I’d only saved about an hour by hiking past the designated campground. I could still see the glacier. And there was again a rainbow. 🙂

The trail continued in parallel to the Lake Videma shoreline thorough dry grasslands.

Though still beautiful, this was the least impressive day, I’d say. Not much variety.

The highlight was rabbits more rabbits. And one non-rabbit. He may have been a Patagonian mara.

When I caught a glimpse I assumed it was a plains viscacha, but it was more likely a mara.

I was looking forward to the second Tyrolean Traverse.

Arriving alone, I found the pulley was at this, the far side of the river. 😕 There SHOULD have been a slim rope attached to pull it over to the start on the other side.

What to do?

I knew I could walk to the lake and (probably) wade the river mouth. But figuring a way across was more fun.

My alternatives:

1. Attach my pulley carabiner directly to the cable (rather than the pulley)

2. Use ONLY my steel carabiner (normally a redundant safety system). This is what the guide did once on our first Traverse.

I went with #1 thinking it was the safer option. That worked. But I had to pull myself every inch with friction from the carabiner resisting. It was exhausting.

Here are some guys wading.

Walk Patagonia

From there it was easy to find my way down to the Bahía Del Túnel dock.

This boat takes tourists to the Videma glacier.

I saw no people. No vehicles. So stayed on the ‘trail’ headed towards a ranch.

Actually, my hiking map showed the trail ending at the dock. Some probably walk the (much longer) road to town.

I could find no trail. Instead I worked my way through more grasslands in the direction of El Chaltén.

Ready to be done, I stumbled on to this calf. It was the second dead cow I’d seen.

When I hit the first fence, being a polite Canadian, I tried to walk around the ranch.

That was a mistake. In the end I hopped about 5 fences and opened one gate. It wasted at least another hour. I should have hopped the first fence and headed directly to the highway.

It was with satisfaction and relief that my final fence hop delivered me to this roadside lookout.

From there was an easy 3km to town on pavement.

I dropped my registration form at the Parks information office. They seemed happy to see I had survived.

With a big smile on my face I returned my rental Tyrolean Traverse harness to ‘Camping Center’ in town. That was the only gear rental store I could find that doesn’t close for siesta.

It was back to the hostel for a long, hot, long shower. 🙂

YES my hostel had a 24 hour a day restaurant! It’s popular with the late night partying backpacker crowd.

All I’d consumed this day was coffee. At 6:30pm I splurged on a huge meal. Breaded chicken a lo pobre.

The Huemul Route out of Fitz Roy, Argentina is superb. Some of the best vistas of my life. One of the very best hikes in the world.

____

If you are worried at all about the Traverses … and navigation, consider signing on with a guided group. Chalten Mountain Guides, for example.

related:

For a MUCH BETTER trip report – Travel 2 Walk: El Chaltén – Fitz Roy and Huemul Circuit, March 2017. (They did it again January 2019!)

bookmundi – Argentina 2019 – Huemul Circuit Parque Nacional Los Glaciares of Argentine

If you prefer your trip reports in video format, here are a few to check out.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Huemul Route – day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | info

Continental Divide data

Mac has posted — for the second year in a row — stats he’s collected from 103 CDT thru hikers.

– 68% Male, 32% Female

– average age 37

– 59.8% began alone

– northbound start date April 17th

– southbound start date April 23rd

– 74% said they’d consider doing it again

– favourite pack was the ULA Catalyst (Hiker Rating: 4.8/5)

– favourite tent was the Tarptent Notch (Hiker Rating: 5/5)

– favourite stove the MSR PocketRocket 2 (Hiker Rating: 4.75/5)

Altra was the favourite brand of shoe

There’s much , much more. Click through.

The Continental Divide Trail Thru-Hiker Survey (2018)

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

I don’t use hiking poles …

… but if I did get some, I’d buy the comparatively expensive Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z.

Click PLAY or watch a review on YouTube.

That’s based on the best review of hiking poles I’ve ever seen:

LIGHTWEIGHT TREKKING POLES: GEAR GUIDE

At age-61 I still prefer to keep my hands free on the trail. But someday I’ll start using poles.

Patagonia donates Trump tax cut to ENVIRONMENTAL groups

Outdoor retailer Patagonia announced Wednesday that it plans to donate the $10 million it is saving from President Trump’s corporate tax cuts this year to environmental groups.

“Based on last year’s irresponsible tax cut, Patagonia will owe less in taxes this year — $10 million less, in fact,” CEO Rose Marcario wrote in a LinkedIn post Wednesday afternoon.

“Instead of putting the money back into our business, we’re responding by putting $10 million back into the planet. Our home planet needs it more than we do.” …

Patagonia calls Trump tax cut ‘irresponsible,’ says it will donate $10M corporate tax cut to environmental groups

SUPPORT Patagonia if you love the outdoors.

related – Patagonia closing stores nationwide on Election Day