B2T2B, R2R2R, and Surprise Canyon comparsions

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wbdeford
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B2T2B, R2R2R, and Surprise Canyon comparsions

Post by wbdeford » Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:40 pm

Getting started with the comparison write-up of three major backpacking trips (major as judging by my abilities and/or lack thereof). One major reason I am doing this is so that when I am too old to do this sort of thing, I will be able to look back on this and it will help me remember the adventures.

Here is a high level overview of the three hikes, including a photograph, a satellite image, and a topo map of each, followed by a comparison chart (which will probably change as I go) :

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 7795aa5d89

Feel free to weigh-in with your own opinions and experiences, and also if I got the data wrong, please correct!

I will add more later via comments on this post.
Last edited by wbdeford on Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Death Valley Dazed
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Re: B2T2B, R2R2R, and Surprise Canyon comparsions

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:54 am

wbdeford wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:40 pm
One major reason I am doing this is so that when I am too old to do this sort of thing, I will be able to look back on this and it will help me remember the adventures.
My sentiments exactly and having discovered Death Valley late in life I feel an urgency to get out and about now while I can.

I won't be able to dive deep into your exciting write-ups and photos until October. I'll post my reactions to your body of work then. Thanks in advance for taking the time and trouble to post here!
Life begins in Death Valley

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wbdeford
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Re: B2T2B, R2R2R, and Surprise Canyon comparsions

Post by wbdeford » Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:20 pm

Death Valley Dazed wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:54 am
I won't be able to dive deep into your exciting write-ups and photos until October.
This will probably be a very slow process as I get time, and then will have to compete with my planning of future trips, which include:

1) A day hike extravaganza, hoping to do Charleston, White Mountain, Whitney, as day hikes
2) Panamint crest traverse, from near Striped Butte, to Bald Peak
3) Off-corridor Grand Canyon hikes.

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blackturtle.us
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Re: B2T2B, R2R2R, and Surprise Canyon comparsions

Post by blackturtle.us » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:07 pm

I've done Charleston, Whitney, and White as dayhikes. Whitney would be the only one that would be difficult for me currently at age 57. I could do it, but it would be a bit beyond my comfort zone. A couple of years ago I did Langley as an over-nighter. Again that's one that could be done as a dayhike, but it's outside my comfort zone. Although I've not done a rim to rim at the Grand Canyon, I think the special feature to consider there is heat. BTW, although I did Charleston and Whitney (three times) before I started making videos, I do have a video from White Mountain. It features one of my short, annoying songs and it's cornier than most of my videos:

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wbdeford
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Re: B2T2B, R2R2R, and Surprise Canyon comparsions

Post by wbdeford » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:39 am

Nice video! I had an encounter with a lone, elderly female bighorn in the Grand Canyon. She was just coming up the trail toward me. She stopped briefly to look at me, then casually passed on by just a few feet from me, completely unafraid. The first picture I got of her has her sticking her tongue out at me. I liked it so much I made it my new FB profile pic :)

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MojaveGeek
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Re: B2T2B, R2R2R, and Surprise Canyon comparsions

Post by MojaveGeek » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:25 pm

Interesting comparison! I was interested to hear that you found them pretty similar in effort, though I predicted that you'd find the GC hiking easier because of the prevalence of trails. I'm paying more attention to this because I find as I age my ability to move fast off trail (at least in rocky terrain) is diminished, as my knees are going and I try to walk very carefully to avoid nasty pain out there. I also find that I no longer have much advantage of speed on descent, because I'm watching my feet so carefully, except I can really fly downhill on nice dirt trails. In fact if I am going in and out on a trail, I'm mentally classifying the trail on the way in, thinking about what it will feel like on the descent, so I can time my turnaround point appropriately.

I've never really been tempted by a R2R or whatever in Grand Canyon because the trails are too busy for my taste. Oh I've used them to get into more back country places, and I've used them as day hikes in and out, but I shun crowds. Man those trails are like highways though, almost with banked turns :) And with the water available, you can really lighten your pack.

Anyway, building memories is good stuff. Some say that happiness later in life is most strongly correlated with having built good memories while younger. Well I'm still trying to build some good ones for myself :)

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wbdeford
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Re: B2T2B, R2R2R, and Surprise Canyon comparsions

Post by wbdeford » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:07 pm

MojaveGeek wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:25 pm
Interesting comparison! I was interested to hear that you found them pretty similar in effort, though I predicted that you'd find the GC hiking easier because of the prevalence of trails.
I've been thinking more about this question. Generally, while hiking uphill, I tend to go whatever speed is drawing a given amount of energy. Consequently, I was going faster up the GC trails than I was up the much steeper crossy country slopes up the Panamints, making them feel more equal than they really were. Further, I was more cognizant of keeping my speed down and reminding myself, "it's not a race" in the Panamints than in the GC--precisely because of the difficulty of the DV hike, and it not seeming to be as necessary in the GC.

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Re: B2T2B, R2R2R, and Surprise Canyon comparsions

Post by MojaveGeek » Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:10 pm

I've thought about this a lot as I'm having real knee issues. It's not quite the same question, but may be similar. I've hiked this summer in Montana (mostly trail, some off), the SIerra (almost all the real climb off trail) and Washington (again mostly trail, though some climbers' "boot track" trails). My conclusion is that for me, its the footing that matters more than the total ascent, in terms of how my knees do. Climbing 3K feet on a nice and generally flat (few roots or rocks) dirt trail is definitely less work for me than picking out a route across rocks or boulders or talus that 2K feet or less. I thought it was mostly just how attentive I had to be but now I'm thinking is the various foot movements associated with careful placement at sometimes off angles to get good traction and not trip. This is also very true on downhill, which in rough country is slower for me than up, because I have to take pretty good care to not slip on the way down, and there tends to be more impact on my knees (I use my poles a lot going down, to take the impact. On the way up, I use my arms muscle to pull up to help my legs).

So now, on the way up, I am thinking what will this route be like coming down? Or ridge walking, is it going to be rolling meadows or scree slopes? I can't just assume I'll get down in say 60% of the time I took coming up, which I used to when I was younger. Part of the issue on the way down is whether I can maintain a continuous motion from step to step, versus having to do a "mini stop" at each step. You probably know what I mean. If you have a smooth and continuous motion you move faster but it's also much less work, as your leg muscles are stretching and compressing, and storing energy in the process, like a spring.

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Re: B2T2B, R2R2R, and Surprise Canyon comparsions

Post by kkrtrek » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:54 am

Yeah, talk about knee issues! I have them in spades. My experience is somewhat similar to MojaveGeek's but a bit different, too. I have no knee issues at all uphill. I prefer easier trails to rocky, rooted ones, but mostly because the latter take longer to negotiate and deprive me of some of the scenery. Going down even a medium steep descent, though, and every step is an adventure.

Two springs ago, the wife and I did Wildrose Peak on a gorgeous day in late March--shorts and tee shirt all the way up and own. First time, so the hike up took awhile, but, as is usually the case, we took one short break and just kept climbing. Down was another story entirely though: Hike 15 minutes, then take a break to try to give the knees a chance to recover. Repeat, repeat, and again, until the canyon mercifully moved toward flattening out. The descent was really challenging. Full disclosure: It was a wet winter where we live, so we had absolutely no chance to train for Wildrose, and, we are--ahem--into retirement age. Boy, did I love that hike, though. Wonder if I will ever get such perfect weather again.

Same experience in Grand Canyon. Up is hard, hot, and dry, but I'll take it any day over the relentless, painful descent.

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Re: B2T2B, R2R2R, and Surprise Canyon comparsions

Post by MojaveGeek » Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:42 pm

Age is the problem, isn't it? I retire at the end of the year. Too much arthritis, too little cartilage left in those joints.

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wbdeford
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Re: B2T2B, R2R2R, and Surprise Canyon comparsions

Post by wbdeford » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:24 am

I now have an official name for my knee issue: Illiotibial Band Syndrome. It seems to be primarily a nuisance issue, which I was glad to hear because I feared I was doing actual knee damage. I posted a question about it to the Grand Canyon Hikers group on Facebook and got lots of ideas about how to combat it. (If interested, search the group--it's a Public Group--for "illiotibial" and you should find my post).

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wbdeford
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Re: B2T2B, R2R2R, and Surprise Canyon comparsions

Post by wbdeford » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:56 am

I made a minor addition to the hike comparison: breaking down each day into 3 segments. It is now the last picture in the album:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 7795aa5d89

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