Poll: Backpacking and peak bagging

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What is your primary strategy for bagging peaks while backpacking?

Haul the heavy pack over the peaks
2
2%
Set up a base camp and day hike the peaks
90
84%
Something else (explain)
1
1%
I backpack, but not to bag peaks
8
7%
I don't backpack
6
6%
 
Total votes: 107
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stoopdude
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Re: Poll: Backpacking and peak bagging

Post by stoopdude » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:18 pm

Backpacking is something I love to do with my spouse and my dog, as a family vacation. We try to do 4 trips or so together every year. She's not super interested in peakbagging so I rarely summit anything while backpacking. I like to do long day trips to climb peaks anyways. I always wonder about the amount of energy expended carrying a 35lb pack to basecamp then summiting versus just doing one long day with a light daypack. That being said I've definitely backpacked for peaks, always with friends, in which case I've always used the base camp/daypack method.
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Gene913
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Re: Poll: Backpacking and peak bagging

Post by Gene913 » Thu Feb 25, 2021 3:01 pm

ekalina wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:20 am
I have also thought about dropping my pack at the pass and summiting a nearby peak. I think I've done that once or twice. It always makes me a little nervous being separated from my gear like that. If an accident were to happen, I'd be in a pickle. But I think in a low-risk situation (easy terrain, good weather) it is OK. It also isn't too hard to grab a vital item or two from the pack before departing.
Separating yourself from your pack creates risks that are difficult to mitigate, especially if you are on a solo hike/climb. You can lose gear to marauding animals. You can get injured and the stuff you need to take care of you is back wherever you left your pack. I would personally have a very hard time leaving behind a pack full of gear that I purposefully took because the gear in it was needed for the duration of the time I planned to be on the trail.
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stephakett
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Re: Poll: Backpacking and peak bagging

Post by stephakett » Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:33 pm

justiner wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:12 am
ekalina wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:20 am
I have also thought about dropping my pack at the pass and summiting a nearby peak. I think I've done that once or twice. It always makes me a little nervous being separated from my gear like that. If an accident were to happen, I'd be in a pickle. But I think in a low-risk situation (easy terrain, good weather) it is OK. It also isn't too hard to grab a vital item or two from the pack before departing.
There's always a chance of bad things happening, but there just may be more of a chance that a marmot will come wandering around and chew outta your pack while you're away. Not sure the best thing to do about that, except pray to the benevolent marmot gods, perhaps. Or does marmot repellent work? Do people drag up chicken wire and surround their pack? :lol:

I think the best piece of safety gear when out is a competent partner. If one person has an issue, the other can assist.

I do remember going for Rio Grande Pyramid, which is a long hike in. Weather was already terrible, and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to summit, so I brought overnight gear + food, just in case. Left most of that at treeline, as the weather improved, then left most everything else at the final summit push. A little trail of gear in my wake!
rodent repellant sachets are pretty lightweight 💡
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Teresa Gergen
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Re: Poll: Backpacking and peak bagging

Post by Teresa Gergen » Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:23 pm

I've done all of it - peakbag from a basecamp, haul the overnight pack over a peak on the way to another peak, and cache my overnight pack and take a tiny silnylon daypack with essentials the rest of the way up a peak before retrieving my overnight pack and continuing on to camp, often all on the same trip, doing whatever it takes to clear out an area. I've done solo backpack climbing trips for as much as 13 days; trips up to 10 days have been very common in the Sierra and the Winds.

I've also done loops where there are too many peaks along a connecting ridge for me to be able to fit them all in one day, but it's too far down and back up to get off the ridge to a reasonable place to camp, so I just carry enough water for a couple of days and a night in between and camp wherever I can manage to fit a tent, or a bivy sack, right on the ridge. Using the satellite imagery on caltopo helps with this, to pick out a spot that might be large enough, flat enough, protected enough from wind by trees if possible, etc. I've also done a variant of this where I've melted snow for water on a ridge camp/bivy site when I can see in advance on the current satellite imagery that there's still snow. I've also done a variant of this where most of the trip involves more standard camps, but on a particular night, I'll plan to carry enough water from the last source I'll cross to a dry camp that makes for a better starting point for the peak the next day.

I am not nearly as interested in having a nice camping experience or actually getting decent sleep as I am in figuring out how to succeed on getting the peaks, if those two components of a trip are in conflict.

Caching your overnight pack and taking essentials up a peak is not really all that different than leaving all your backpacking gear and food that you need for the rest of your trip in your tent at a base camp and then spending the day climbing a peak. Especially if your base camp took two days of backpacking to get in to before you started climbing. I've sometimes carried enough food with me up peaks during the day to get me back to my car if I'm worried about animals getting into the food I left at camp, and I'm a long way in somewhere.
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ezabielski
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Re: Poll: Backpacking and peak bagging

Post by ezabielski » Fri Feb 26, 2021 8:17 pm

Ptglhs wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:41 am
ezabielski wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:11 pm
Plenty of situations where one or the other is better. None of the standard routes/linkups on 14ers really require it. But sometimes getting up and over the summit with your gear is simply required by the backpacking route you're doing. Carrying light gear helps :)
I would argue Chicago Basin requires either backpacking or superhuman running/endurance.

I prefer to backpack since I hate getting up too early. If I'm already camped out at treeline then waking up at 530 or 6 and getting on the trail at 7 or 730 still puts me ob most summits by 10 or 11.

The only time I've dropped everything is when the 13er I'm doing is less than 500ft off the main trail and I'm not expecting to be gone more than 30 min. That happened with 2 peaks along the CDT last July. I've also been hiking from one camp to another and strapped the heavy stuff together off trail. I did Baldy Lejos and an unranked peak while hiking east to the west willow creek TH along the CDT. I got to the pass at 12.8k, strapped my bag, pad, tent, stove, and freeze dried food (in watertight sack) together and under a couple of rocks. I set off north across the tundra for a couple of hours. When I returned I out everything back on and continued on my way.
Maybe I was unclear, I don't mean that backpacking is not required, I mean that carrying your full gear up and over a summit is not necessary on the Colorado 14ers.
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DeTour
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Re: Poll: Backpacking and peak bagging

Post by DeTour » Fri Feb 26, 2021 9:34 pm

My brother and I started camping out of essentially desperation in 2009 after a day hike of Humboldt totally wiped us out (due mainly to lack of acclimation). The first few years had some rough days and nights thanks to lack of knowledge and cheap gear. But over time we started figuring out how to go about it and acquired much better gear. Now I look forward to the camp as a precious part of the experience.

I love seeing the beauty of a mountain basin on the hike in the day before a climb. Yes you typically see a lot on the hike out when you day hike, but there’s nothing like the anticipation and beauty of the peaks emerging before you on a hike in to camp. South Colony, Willow Lake, Chicago Basin, Kilpacker Basin, Capitol Lake, and our Four Pass Loop campsites for the Bells and Pyramid - those will be treasured memories for me until my last breath.
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nyker
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Re: Poll: Backpacking and peak bagging

Post by nyker » Sat Feb 27, 2021 6:54 am

Usually for longer overnight trips just makes the best sense to establish camp, whether 1-2-3 nights, etc. and then day hike the next day. I usually use my same pack just pretty empty rather than carrying an additional "summit pack"
While I like camping, unless its a long trip the hassle of packing it all on a plane and the extra luggage to check usually pushes me in the direction of day tripping where possible to travel lighter especially how pre-COVID airport crowds and delays had been.
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JTOlson26
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Re: Poll: Backpacking and peak bagging

Post by JTOlson26 » Sat Feb 27, 2021 12:20 pm

My first forays into the mountains as a young boy with my father were to hike 14ers, but now that I no longer live in Colorado and only make it out west a couple times a year I typically focus my energies on simply being in the mountains for days at a time. A 5 day backpacking trip in the River of No Return Wilderness this past summer, a few 3 days trips in the Sangres and Sawatch two summers ago, a 6 day trip on the Winds the summer before that...I love just spending time with my two good backpacking buddies in (typically) remote locations and enjoying the solitude.

With all that said, I almost always carry a small Marmot day pack. Sometimes we'll camp in the same place for a couple nights in a row and use one of those days to hit a peak, or in the case of this past summer, we did a 22 mile day hike from our camp in the higher country of the Bighorn Crags down the middle fork of the Salmon River. 6000 feet of loss and then gain...I was very happy to have a daypack with me!
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JChitwood
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Re: Poll: Backpacking and peak bagging

Post by JChitwood » Sat Feb 27, 2021 1:28 pm

Hauling a loaded backpack to the summit??? I can barely make it to the top with an ultralight daypack.
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