Carrying That Weight, How The Boys Got Lou and 1,000 Pounds of Gear Up There


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 5, 2010      


Regarding weight, we’re now at 14,200 foot camp, here is how it went down — or up, actually.

I’ve worked as hard as physically possible at my age and fitness level, and have gotten some help from the boys, who probably don’t even know their own strength — they are amazing.

Me just topping out on Motorcycle Hill yesterday. At this point my pack probably weighed about 50 lbs and I had a lot of trouble getting it on without help. After a few hundred more vert, once we were around Squirrel Point and ready to start the Polo Field, Jordan grabbed my Pelican Case of blog gear which got me 12 lbs lighter and was a a good psycological boost. Even so, the day was a real struggle for me. I honestly didn't think I could make it. The biggest problem was pain from the hip belt and the weight on painful hip joints.  Ibuprofen was somewhat the key, but the rest step that Paul Petzoldt taught me is really what got me there, and Louie was very patient with my old-man pace, bless his heart. I was definitely praying the whole way. Interesting how that happens (grin).

Me just topping out on Motorcycle Hill yesterday. At this point my pack probably weighed about 50 lbs and I had a lot of trouble getting it on without help. After a few hundred more vert, once we were around Squirrel Point and ready to start the Polo Field, Jordan grabbed my Pelican Case of blog gear which got me 12 lbs lighter and was a a good psychological boost. Even so, the day was a real struggle for me. I honestly didn't think I could make it. The biggest problem was pain from the hip belt and the weight on painful hip joints. Ibuprofen was somewhat the key, but the rest step the Paul Petzoldt taught me is really what got me there, and Louie was very patient with my old-man pace, bless his heart. I was definitely praying the whole way. Interesting how that happens (grin).



The amounts we’ve been carrying vary quite a bit. Yesterday, up to 14,200 foot camp, Louie decided to not use a sled and to help me out he took most of our group gear. Jordan and Joe helped as well. This got my pack down to around 45 lbs though Louie’s was still around 65. Even at 45 lbs I had a difficult time getting the chunk of about 3,000 vert done, especially since we were going to the equivalent of more than 15,000 foot elevation. I was quite proud of Louie and the boys, as they did haul some weight up here, and in good time at around 6 hours (good time for Denali, anyway.)

Both Louie’s and my packs were difficult to handle but so are sleds on the icy sidehills when you’re moving from 11,500 foot camp to 14,200.
During the first single carry we did from Kahiltna Base, I hauled my half (less a gallon of fuel) which made my total load that day around 120 lbs, with about 40 in the pack and the rest in the sled, and on the double carry we did from 7,000 to 11,500 Louie hauled most of my share of the group gear. To be clear, the boys definitely helped me out getting up here and my thanks goes to them from the bottom of my heart. Oh, and also today they headed down 700 vertical to pick up the last of the cache we left down there two days ago, and left me up here blogging and charging their Ipods.
In summary, If we hadn’t planned on the boys doing what it took to get my sorry ass up here, I never would have brought the blog gear and would have somehow reduced my personal gear weight. That said, if we went that route we wouldn’t be doing the WildSnow Denali trip but rather something else.
I should also add that our plan all along with our gear style was to not get ridiculous, but still bring things like a cook tent, good repair kits and first aid kits, plenty of food, Ipods, two SLR camera setups, etc. Thus, we’re probably an average weight expedition with the added 15 lbs or so of solar and blog gear.



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Comments

20 Responses to “Carrying That Weight, How The Boys Got Lou and 1,000 Pounds of Gear Up There”

  1. Mark June 5th, 2010 12:05 am

    I’m impressed at the weights you guys carry for sure. Keep it up!

  2. Luann June 5th, 2010 8:35 am

    Group effort from the beginning….doing what it takes to get everyone there safely. You all share the load in all kinds of ways, not just the weight in your packs!

  3. Craig B June 5th, 2010 8:59 am

    maybe y’all shoulda left the PBR’s in Talkeetna…..Keep it up boyz!!!!!!!!

  4. bob yates June 5th, 2010 9:30 am

    this is a perfect setup for you lou: super accomplished rad older dude, along with a team of hot up and comer bc rock stars. why you are carrying anything more than a day pack is beyond me!

    start laying the law down! put that team of horses to work for you!

  5. Randonnee June 5th, 2010 10:22 am

    Great job all! Hang in there Lou, I will also pray for you to have the strength to drag your bony butt up that mountain ! :biggrin:

  6. BreckJack June 5th, 2010 10:51 am

    This is a team effort. You bring different skills at 53 than they do in their 20’s. Put the hard bellys to work! Put a saddle on ’em and run ’em till they drop! Seriously, all of us appreciate your carrying the extra lbs. in order to report back about your trip. But, get there and back safely.

  7. Matt June 5th, 2010 12:17 pm

    This blog is great, and inspiring. Would you mind sharing how the “rest step” is executed?

  8. ScottN June 5th, 2010 12:55 pm

    You may think your “old” Lou, but you’re an inspiration to me, and I’m sure others as well. Having what happened me to at 42 yrs old probably will keep me from even considering taking on what you’re doing, but I’m trying to just keep pushing forward and living, and like you said, just taking things one step at a time, and being thankful to be alive and active. Thanks again for sharing the journey with us.

  9. Matus June 5th, 2010 2:23 pm

    Good to read that you are all OK and that you keep going despite the superheavy loads.

    The Slovak group informed on their blog that it is quite cold there (they are freezing during nights). Their backpacks weight 50kg (110 lbs)! Terrible. Inspiring? 🙂

  10. Tom Brannan (Joes Dad) June 5th, 2010 4:16 pm

    Lou, my hats off to you keeping up with Joe, Louie, Jordan, and the other youngsters.
    Joe, keep on climbing, but be safe.
    This blog is a hoot.

  11. Glenn Sliva June 5th, 2010 5:14 pm

    Great work. We’re following all of this and can’t wait for the summit pictures. Stay safe.

  12. Robert Lee June 5th, 2010 5:15 pm

    hang in there lou .

  13. David Butler June 5th, 2010 6:50 pm

    Get after it Lou! I’m only 5 years older than you and couldn’t even dream of pulling off that kind of effort. Your individual work and the teamwork(not to mention Fred B.) are a genuine inspiration for us geezers.

  14. Halsted June 6th, 2010 11:10 am

    The one thing that an Alaska climbing expedition proves is the old saying, “Yes, you to can carry 75lbs of ultra-light-weight mountaineering equipment.” 😉

  15. Day June 6th, 2010 2:39 pm

    Way to go guys! Awesome example of teamwork–tally-ho!

  16. Jim June 6th, 2010 4:02 pm

    As a fellow semi centinarian, I know how hard it is to keep up with the young guys, but we’re with you all the way. Take it slow steady and safe.
    Thanks for hauling the blog gear and cams.

  17. SB June 6th, 2010 4:18 pm

    Keep it up Lou. Hopefully your load will be lighter from here on out.

  18. janice June 6th, 2010 5:03 pm

    I agree with the previous guys who said what a great team effort. Keep it up.

  19. Hamish Gowans June 6th, 2010 11:49 pm

    If you get a chance,
    What are you using to charge everything?

  20. Jason C June 7th, 2010 12:41 am

    Great work up there! I’m loving the blog!

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