Monday, 29 September 2014

Quick review - zPacks Solplex

The zPacks Solplex is a single walled lightweight shelter designed and made in the USA.  I have spent 16 nights so far in mine, so this is more of an initial review rather than a long term review.  I took this shelter straight out on my trip, no practice, no checking, I DO NOT recommend this for any piece of gear and it is rather foolhardy.

The shelter is quick and easy to erect.  I bought carbon poles from zPacks rather than use my trekking poles, this was partly due to knowing that I had no time to test and practice getting the heights correct.  It took some of the guesswork out.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

JMT Post-mortem

My JMT adventure was a series of up and down moments.  I had a great time and a few ‘moments’ too.  The JMT is a great walk and one that I will complete.  I completed around 50 miles on this trip and it was quite stunning, yet I know the best is regarded to be later along the trail.

I was (to be blunt) too big/fat to do the trek justice.  I struggled badly on the hills and this made me very slow.  I was walking 7-8 hours yet at times felt like I was treading water.  Whilst I had no great schedule that I had to stick to, there are practical issues to going so slow.  You need enough food and fuel basically.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Tuolumne Meadows to Upper Lyell Forks

11.99 Miles
367m Ascent 

After yesterday’s day off (despite it raining) I was feeling pretty fresh.  It had been fairly cold overnight with a nice layer of frost and a morning temperature of a degree or two above freezing.  The Zpacks Solplex had stood up to the rain with no issues, though having a bear locker (campground) meant that I had my rucksack well undercover. 
I was on the trail pretty early and there was plenty of frost in the shade.  I thought the slight chill in the air was perfect!  Which shows how much I had been overheating.  Beginning from the campground the path follows the edge of the Lyell creek, a gorgeously clear river. 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Sunrise High Sierra Camp to Tuolumne Meadows

8.51 Miles
276m Ascent
I had planned a fairly early start, but in the end I didn’t set off until after 8.  I was a bit better organised yet still had a bit too much faffing around.  It had got down to around 6 degrees last night so there was a nice chill in the air. 

The day started well across the flat meadow for around a mile.  The path climbed steeply below the Columbia Finger and yet again I struggled, the climb was only around 200m yet I must have taken around an hour.  Another JMT’er stopped for a chat.  It only gets harder was his great advice!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Sunrise Creek to Sunrise High Sierra Camp

4.04 Miles
381m Ascent 

Last night was my first real night alone in the woods.  It was quiet… too quiet!  I slept OK, it was still quite warm at night, too warm under the quilt and too cold without.  I was feeling a bit better and my appetite was returning. 
Today was going to be a short day.  Due to changing my first day, I had enough food to stay on a four day schedule to get to Tuolumne.  From camp I still had a decent climb of around 300m, it was still taking me too long on these sections.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Little Yosemite Valley to Sunrise Creek

8.39 Miles
748m Ascent

I had a much better night’s sleep, probably due to being tired, all that fresh air!  The campground was awake early, but it was after 9 before I got going.  My lack of training was reflected in my lack of camp routine.  I was just slow getting organised. 

The trail heads up towards Half Dome and hits a nice 300m climb up switch backs within half a mile of the camp.  Despite being fairly early it was getting warm quickly.  Something I was worried about.  My pack felt good and didn’t feel overly heavy, yet my pace was stupidly slow.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Glacier Point to Little Yosemite Valley

9.38 Miles
377m Ascent 

After a restless night’s sleep (it was too warm!)  I caught the bus up to Glacier Point to start my adventures. The plan had been changed the day before after getting my Wilderness Permit.  I had planned to have an easy day (partly to help acclimatise) and have a 4 mile walk down to Illilouette creek.  However, the ranger had pretty much insisted that I head straight to Little Yosemite Valley.

The change added around 5 miles to the day and a good increase on elevation.  I underestimated how warm it is in the valley, this despite previous visits at similar times in the year.  My thermometer was above 30 degrees for most of the day.  It hit me hard.  I was using Nuun on every drink, and by having a Sawyer squeeze I had plenty of water.