Sep 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm #1278994
Companion forum thread to:Sep 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm #1776623
Awesome! Thanks Dave.Sep 6, 2011 at 6:28 pm #1776708
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
This is an amazing accomplishment and one that should be cherished for a lifetime. I can't even imagine the strengths it took to place where you did, and yet I look forward to seeing the rematch. Thank you for sharing this with us.Sep 6, 2011 at 7:50 pm #1776736
@anneflukeLocale: northern Minnesota
Congratulations! and thanks for writing it up.Sep 7, 2011 at 9:48 am #1776878
@ksawchukLocale: Northern California
It is great to read about your adventures. Sounds like a blast: a tiring, wet and scary blast!Sep 7, 2011 at 9:50 am #1776880
@gabe_joyesLocale: Lander, WY
High FiveSep 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm #1777071
@mckittreLocale: Seldovia, Alaska
The Classic is quite the race. The one time I did it, I thought the best part was hanging out with all the other racers. That said, I don't think I have enough of a racer's heart to take that kind of punishment again. After the first time (and coming in nowhere near second), I ended up thinking the exact same trek would have been much more fun at half the speed, so I've gone back to my pokier wilderness adventures.Sep 8, 2011 at 6:58 am #1777266
Erin makes a very good point, that this (and other classic route, no doubt) would make as excellent backpacking trip of just about any length. The diversity and beauty of the terrain were really outstanding.Sep 8, 2011 at 11:13 pm #1777660
Something to be very proud of at the least!
Simply an amazing adventure that at this point, I can only dream of.Sep 9, 2011 at 8:39 am #1777755
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
I just don't get sick of reading about the AMWC.Sep 9, 2011 at 10:22 am #1777791
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
This is first class. It's obvious this was a seriously enlightening experience for you, almost equally a pleasure for us to read. I've followed your training and mental preparation for a while now over at the 'Bedrock' and it's awesome to see all those cast arrows over the year finally hit their target in your completion of the Classic. Well done Dave.
What changes will you make next year in your training? Physically? Logistically? Gear?
Will you attempt this solo? Your training trips in MT were all solo, this seems to be a natural approach to how you engage wilderness and challenges.
How necessary is a packraft for the Classic?Sep 9, 2011 at 2:14 pm #1777862
A packraft is essential, really. Supposedly required gear, not that anyone will check. This is supposedly just about the only Classic route which has been raced without rafts (first cycle on this course, back in the 90s). Crossing the Delta and Yanert without a raft would almost certainly require swimming, and while hairball would be doable (if you're a nutter). Most other routes have enough floating that 7-8 pounds of raft/paddle/etc is more than made up with fast floating miles. Even on this route, it's hard for me to see the lighter pack being better than the miles of floating.
I wouldn't do anything categorically different for training. The main flaw in my buildup were two hitches in the winter/spring. In February I smacked my leg into a tree backcountry skiing and had to take about 3 weeks off almost all physical activity. Then in late April after the adventure race I got sick and took the better part of two weeks to get up to speed. Baring these, and with more aggressive training in deep winter, I'd be able to hit the overnights harder earlier and peak at a higher level. I hope to do a mid-April training trip to somewhere without snow next year, too.Sep 9, 2011 at 2:29 pm #1777867
As for solo, I'd prefer to do the race with a partner. It's faster, almost certainly, and when it works more fun.
I trained solo for two reasons:
-It was scarier and thus better mental training. This is an invaluable aspect of it that I'll repeat in the future. I also find the solo time necessary given my line of work.
-I know a very few number of people whom I'd invite on my training trips (especially the Bob Memorial Day trip), and none of them live close by. It can be a good experience (especially for stubborn me) to adapt your preferences to those of others on a trip (did it last weekend), on that Bob trip it just would not have been safe.
On the other hand, the Classic probably shouldn't be as scary as it often is. Going fast is one things, but for most who do the "race" it's a kicka$$, a$$kicking 25-30 mpd lightweight backpacking trip.Sep 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm #1777909
congrats – great details!Sep 10, 2011 at 9:15 pm #1778306
Congratulations David! I enjoyed reading every part of this. This is one of those races which everyone who finished won.Sep 10, 2011 at 9:38 pm #1778308
@crwoodLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
Dave, sweet write up right there. I re-lived the cold wet misery and sweet euphoria all over again!
In our defense, Don and I combined had almost 30 years over Dave and Paige, lol. Us old men inadvenrtently also slept longer on our rest breaks because I could not hear my wrist watch alarm.
Also, Don and I had an up close midnight encounter with a Grizzly sow and 2 nearly full grown cubs, and I will absolutely bring bear spray or "bear banger's" cracker shells next time.
Things I brought that provided a bit more margin over Dave's Kit:
PFD- 14 ounces
TI Goat Epic Bivy 9 ounces
Homemade climashield quilt 14 ounces (not warm enough though!)
Cut up ridgrest to fit bottom of packraft (llama) 7 oounces
Gossamer Gear SpinnTwinn tarp 9 ounces
I used a Granite Gear Blaze AC 60 pack due to it's incredible hip belt and frame sheet, a MUST HAVE for my ruptured L5-S1 and L4-L5 disks.
Looks like I had about 8 to 9 more pounds of kit, and it DOES make a big difference over the terrain, and at the speed needed to be competitive in the "Classic".
Congrats to Dave and Paige for showing up Don and I.
Great to meet you up in Alaska, and we will most definitely meet up again at a future winter or summer Classic!
-Cheers!Sep 11, 2011 at 8:13 pm #1778615
@trevormarLocale: Rockies/ Desert Southwest
Cool article! I'd love to be able to do this trip some day.
This is only tangentially related but I noticed in your pic that you have a pair of Altai Hoks. How do you like them? I've been looking at them for a while and they seem really intriguing and like they could possibly be great in certain situations, but as an AT/Tele skier in the backcountry I have a hard time getting past the fact that they seem like "kiddie" skis so to speak. I suppose that they appeal to me as a different/versatile sort of snow shoe. I haven't really been able to find any useful reviews of them on the interwebsSep 11, 2011 at 8:51 pm #1778623
@aviddkLocale: SW Oregon
I am going to second Trevor's comment about shoeskiing. I thought you were preparing a review about The Hok and the Marquette Backcountry skis, is that still forthcoming? Thanks
DavidSep 11, 2011 at 9:09 pm #1778627
The Hok article is in the que, and will be published soon (whenever Addie wants to).
Chris, you guys rocked it. That is a hard route. That espresso in Talkeetna is still the best I've ever had. Until next time sir!Sep 12, 2011 at 7:43 am #1778721
I had an interesting find yesterday while cleaning out my Mom's house, who passed away last month. In the basement I found a folder of stuff of mine I had saved over the years and in the folder was an article on the Wilderness Classic from 1985 in Outside magazine. The Classic has intrigued me ever since and like Sam said, I never tire of reading about it.Sep 13, 2011 at 11:47 am #1779165
@alanyork9Locale: PIEDMONT N.C.
I just returned from a very similar trip(location) guided by Andrew Skurka/Tom Turiano.Same range in 13 days.Wow!We did a couple of 20 mile days that were really tough.I can't imagine doing it at your pace!Great country!Fall was good timing.No bugs/almost no rain/fall colors.
No sleeping bag!Wow!I was glad to have an MLD Spirit 45 Quilt.
You Dave are a SLED DOG!Sep 13, 2011 at 8:33 pm #1779346
Very exceptional read. More of what makes BPL an invaluable source. Though most of us will never be able to do this course or even desire to, there's heaps we can learn just from reading and perusing the gear list. Dave, great adventure and bully to you on your fitness schedule and drive. Thanks for sharing and good luck on the planning and completion of your second Classic.
BTW – Not only is going with a partner advantagous to speed and motivation but it also offers a real margin of safety. And besides, why do it alone when you can enjoy the company of another? That's what I like best about being out in God's natural world. No dig intended. -Rock on. Or is that walk on?
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