Alec Bergoef and Colten Moore set out on a trip to the Ruth Gorge in Alaska this past April/May 2018. Read about their challenges and overcoming adversity in the trip report below. Words and images by Alec Bergoef.
We’ve been sitting in Talkeetna for a couple days now, waiting for the weather to break so we can fly into the mountains. Just when we are about to give up hope of getting a flight into the gorge that day, Colten’s phone rings. We have been waiting for two days. I am pushing the longboard back up the hill to where his van is parked and he is yelling for me to hurry. I hop in the passenger’s seat and we rush down the road to grab our bags from the bunkhouse and pick up the pizza we had on hold at the pizzeria. Hastily, we grab our personal belongings from the hostel and rush over to the restaurant. When we arrive, our pizzas are ready and we head to the airstrip. We park and I stride happily over to the plane with two piping-hot pizzas to bring to the glacier with us. There are four others waiting, along with a pilot and Jim, the grounds manager for the air taxi service. We make small talk while we wait for our luggage to be loaded on to the plane.
Then it is time for us to board...
Our own Tessa McGee reflects on her time hiking the Continental Divide Trail. Words and images by Tessa McGee.
I’m not sure how to tell this story. I’m not much of a storyteller and there are a lot of ways to sum something like this up. A recap feels a bit like trying to tie a little bow around some unruly pile of junk. I find it hard to talk about thru-hiking without making too much out of too little, or too little out of too much. It’s not for anybody else, so sharing it feels a bit uncomfortable. But here it goes – in the spirit of reflection in the start of a New Year – I’ll try to strike a balance!
It was 136 days with 21 zeros (days off). June 28th – November 10th, 2017. Canada to Mexico through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. My hike was a little over 2700 miles.
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, there are two items I will never have too many of; baselayers and fleece jackets. A good baselayer top is the foundation of an effective layering system ready to meet changeable weather conditions from coastal rains to snowy peaks. Because we take our baselayers so many places, we demand a lot from them. We expect them to be warm but not too hot, durable and yet lightweight, and cozy but not overly bulky.
Over the last five months I got to adventure with the new Arc’teryx Phase AR baselayer, and it is now my top-pick for a synthetic shirt.
Have you started training for that mountain yet? It has been two weeks since our last post, and it is already March!
Below are a few more tips to keep in mind as you try to get your body and mind ready to climb.
As before, be sure to consult with your physician before beginning any new activity. These posts are not a comprehensive training program, and don’t forget to learn and practice the necessary technical skills as well!
Words and photographs by Claire Giordano.
1. Simulate the climb with back-to-back training days
Will your climb be one day, two days, or three or more? Most of the volcanoes in Washington are two day climbs (unless you are a trail runner or doing a longer trip with multiple objectives and skill building lessons). This means our bodies must perform a few days in a row, and the best way to prepare for this is to do back-to-back training days or overnight backpacks.
Do you have some big mountain goals for 2017? If so, it’s already the middle of February and summer mountaineering season (in the states) will be here before you know it. Time to begin training.
Here are a few tips to think about as you start getting out there.
As always, be sure to consult with your physician before beginning any new training program. This post is not a comprehensive training program, but hopefully gives you some ideas. Don’t forget to learn and practice the necessary technical skills as well!
Words and photographs by Claire Giordano.
1. Start early, and ramp up slowly.
Climbing a mountain (such as Rainier) takes not only strength, but also excellent endurance. One of the most common routes, Disappointment Cleaver, requires you to carry a heavy pack (usually around 40 pounds if guided, more if your group is self supported) all way way to basecamp at 10,000 feet. Then, that night or the next, you drop the weight at camp and go even higher in your attempt to reach the summit. The combination of elevation and exertion for hours causes a lot of stress on the body.