Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lessons learned from high peaking this year

It's looking more and more like our mountain climbing season may be over for the year. I have little interest in climbing peaks during the winter months (cold and snow, um, no thanks). My goal was to climb 5 High Peaks this summer, and I actually summited 8, so I am thrilled. Of course, that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to climb more (More! More!) if the opportunity were to present itself. But with 3-4 hours drive each way, jobs, dogs, and a toddler, it isn't exactly easy for my sister and me to make the up-and-back trip to the mountains.

I put together these thoughts on what I learned (or re-learned) from hiking Adirondack High Peaks this year.

1. Wear a comfortable bra. For me, this means a regular day-to-day type of bra. NOT a sports bra. They are too tight and restrictive, way too uncomfortable for 10-12 hours of hiking (plus 3-4 hours of driving up).

2. Change into clean, dry socks on the summit. I've always carried spare socks, but I almost never actually put them on. For prima donna feet like mine, this turns out to help a lot.

3. Carry (and apply) bug dope. And I mean whenever there is a chance of biting insects. Don’t rely on trip reports from the forum. Everyone has a different tolerance level for biting insects. And while I have an exceptionally high pain tolerance level, my tolerance for biting insects is LOW. Very, very LOW.

4. Lacing techniques do matter. For best results, I need to knock my heel down into place before lacing my boots, then twist the laces twice to lock the laces on the lower portion of the boot (surgeon’s knot). On the upper portion instead of pulling the laces through the open hooks from below, I hook them over the top.

5. Take 5 minutes to apply moleskin or a band-aid or to tighten laces during the hike. The hassle will be worth it at the end of the day.

6. Snack, snack, snack. Don’t keep pushing until the summit for lunch. Grazing along the way will keep energy levels up.

7. Don’t forget a bandana. Or two. In fact, always carry a spare.

8. If the weather calls for pants, make sure they are stretchy. If the pant legs put up resistance with each step, unnecessary energy will be expended. Plus, I just can't stand to be uncomfortable in any situation, but on a hike it is extra important to not be bothered by something like pants (or bra, see above).


Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Mountain climbing used to be one of my mostest favoriteist things to do, and I'd love to get my health and weight in a position where I could do it again.

I also enjoyed winter hiking. Up mountains. That I may never do again.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Excellent lessons! :-D