Mar 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm #1287719
My list for 3 day 2 night trip in Hells Canyon, hopefully around the middle of April. Will be first time going SUL. Solo, ~60 miles, either out and back starting at Pittsburg Landing and hiking along the Snake River plus ascending a side canyon to snow line, or out and back starting on Oregon rim and dropping down to the river.
Sleeping low near the river, I'd expect overnight lows a little above freezing (maybe warmer) and wouldn't expect heavy or continuous precip. Of course, I'll check weather report before heading out.
Here's the list (if too small to read, it's also under my profile):
A few notes: Items marked with an "X" are included in base weight. My P&S camera is listed as an "extra" and not included in BW–not because I won't carry it, but because it contributes neither comfort nor safety to the hike. If anything, I'll one day use the weight saving to add a better/heavier camera rather than try to reduce the weight. I acknowledge the map and LM Squirt in my pocket is a bit of a cheat, and my old hiking poles will need replacing with a much lighter option some day.
I know the routes and area I'm thinking about pretty well, and hiked the canyon mid-April last year covering similar miles. I own and have used almost all the gear on the list before, except the pack which I just finished, and the Merrell Trail Gloves. Used Inov8 295s on previous hikes in the canyon–the TGs are more minimal, but I've been wearing them around town and on the footpaths I take to work. Also trying to decide between a Driducks jacket, or a MYOG poncho.
Any suggestions or comments welcome.Mar 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm #1858417
Steven ParisBPL Member
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
You should HYOH, as they say, and it seems that in putting together this list, you will already have a good idea about the capacities and limitations of your gear, but going SUL in April in Hell's Canyon carries some risk.
I haven't been there in April before (only in the fall on the Oregon rim and NOT down to the river) so take this only as a consideration.Mar 24, 2012 at 8:44 am #1858617
Thanks for the comment, Steven. I'm basing my expectations on previous trips into the canyon (backpacking and not), a few of which were around this time of year, but as I say, it would be a first with a kit this light.
Are there specific risks you think SUL in this environment would heighten? I've tried to account for a number of scenarios, but likely haven't considered everything.Mar 24, 2012 at 8:55 am #1858619
I don't think that things which are best kept in a pocket counts as cheating. I'd probably put the lighter with tinder in pocket too.
Add a plastic pealess whistle on-person.
I'd bring the Driducks along with duct tape for patching. (My rain gear is either Driducks, or eVent Packa for sustained rain or cold.)
Trail Gloves sounds like some risk without much actual hiking in them yet.
Might need some rain or wind pants?
I'm very skeptical of any matches based on my experience with them. The only ones I somewhat trust are the UCO Stormproof.
If it matters to you, you could probably cut your stove weight by about 2 oz if you use Esbit. That cuts fuel weight also.
Stakes are a luxury item with sticks and rocks around. :)Mar 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm #1858719
Have you had much experience with your sleep system in that temp range? It seems a little on the light side if the temps drop near freezing. Obviously you'd be wearing everything together but I think I would be cold especially with the blue foam underneith me. YMMV though.Mar 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm #1858887
Good points, all. I should clarify: my reasons for choosing Hells Canyon are it's relatively close to where I live and I'm pretty familiar with the terrain, plus weather in the canyon bottom should be mild for the season, at least compared to upper elevations.
Andy: Good thought with the whistle, and good to hear the DriDucks have worked for you. The matches are backup for the mini-Bic–could just go with a second mini-Bic.
I'm comfortable and experienced with my stove system, so prob. need to stick with it for this trip, but have been thinking of trying Esbit at some point. This will be a shake-down for the Trail Gloves (has to happen sometime) but if I stick to the river trail plus side trips, it's pretty easy to dial back the miles if soreness becomes too big an issue. Again, Inov8 295s worked fine for me all last year, so I hope it won't be too big a change.
"Stakes are a luxury item…" Not sure I want to trust my tarp to the sticks available (it's an arid climate with few trees of any size near the river). The stakes I'm taking are bare minimum for my shelter, so will use rocks if I need a more secure pitch.
Dan: This is a similar sleep system to the one I used last April in the canyon, with an overnight low ~33-34F. I sleep pretty warm–I wouldn't say I was toasty, but never felt too cold. Differences are: the MB down inner has replaced a mid weight fleece, and I was using a 3/4 Prolite (2.2R) instead of CCF. The CCF I have is pretty dense–like Ridgerest foam rather than the plastic-y stuff–if anything I expect a little higher R value than the Prolite. Less comfort though. Still, a backyard test may be in order. FWIW, I measure single layer loft of my quilt at ~2"
Again, thanks for the insight. I'll post a trip report.May 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm #1874457
James JonesBPL Member
@maniacjwjLocale: Colorado Rockies
I was hiking in the Colorado Rockies last weekend and it got into the mid to upper 20's, I got pretty cold with my 35 degree WM Highlite bag even with a silk liner. I made it but both my water bottles were slush. I hope you stay warm.
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