Saturday, July 2, 2011

Preparing for Jotunheimstien

I'm already four days into my summer vacation, but haven't really felt like time off to be honest because I've been very busy preparing for my upcoming Jotunheimstien thru-hike with Joe :). We're leaving real soon for the 320 km trek that will take us from Oslo to the mighty mountains of Jotunheimen, which is probably the finest alpine area in Norway. We'll start off at sea level and then move through forests, marshlands, past lakes and ponds, up and down hills and finally move through some fine alpine scenery above tree level as we get close to our destination.

The path is well marked and documented by the norwegian tourist association and is estimated to take 17 days to complete. I'm guessing we'll do it in 12-14 days. We got inspired to thru-hike the trail after reading and watching pictures from a thru-hike done by Bjørn Chr. Tørrissen in 2008. He did it in 11 days which proves that it is doable in a lot less than 17 days, but 11 days is an average of 29.1 kilometres per day which is quite a bit. We're not out to set any records; it's our holiday after all :).

Some gear choices
Ultralight? Lightweight? Well, no I'm not even breaking the lightweight barrier (base weight of less than 15 lbs / 6.8 kg, that is everything carried except for consumables like food, water and fuel) on this trip. At the moment I'm at 7.3 kgs, but I feel it's a good setup for the conditions we might face. It's summer, but it's Norway after all, so it can still get challenging, especially in the mountains.

Shelter (1050 g)
I'm going with the MLD Trailstar, combined with a Pyranet 1 inner. I chose the Trailstar for the stability, huge protected space and the possibility of cooking under cover, and it's yellow. The combined package including stakes is about 1050 grams with stakes, so not the lightest, but I'm keen to try it. I've also considered my SpinnTwinn and Alpinlite Gear Bug Shelter 1.25 and the Tarptent Moment.

Backpack (1060 g)
My newly acquired ULA Circuit which I'm impressed with so far. I think this will be a good option for the PCT next year so want to give it a real test on this trip. The suspension and padding is great so it won't be uncomfortable to carry the upwards of 15 kgs we'll start off with. Would love to have used my huckePack, but I'm afraid it would be uncomfortable (I know Hendrik will disagree on this).

Sleeping (860+403)
WM Ultralite. A 20 degree bag, so may be overkill for this trip, but again this is a prime candidate for the PCT, so I want to give it a real test. I've been very happy with it so far. I could have chosen my Sierra Sniveller quilt, but I know how breezy the Trailstar and similar shelters can be, so I'm opting for the warm cocoon like goodness of a traditional bag. Pad will be the Neoair regular.

MSR Titan kettle with Ti-Tri Caldera Cone and the meths stove. I was thinking of bringing a wood burning stove, but opted for meths because it will allow me to cook under the tarp, the simplicity and because I won't get soot on my pot and everywhere else (not a big deal when on a short trip, but I think I'll get tired of it during a longer trip).

About food
This is the real crux of trip planning. How much food do you really need? It looks like I can't really ever bring enough if we'll be steadily cranking out the miles. The amount of calories needed is quite substantial. I'll just have to view this as a learning experience.

Dehydrating "Rice and lentils"
After a week we'll stay at a B&B and pick up supplies that we have mailed in advance. A frend of mine will probably meet us there too and can bring or take excess food off our hands :)

Here's an example of what I'll probably eat during a day:

Breakfast: oatmeal with nuts, dried fruit, milk powder. 1 dry portion is 120 grams / 4 oz.

Lunch: tortilla(s) with sausage (Mørpølse) and parmesan or babybel cheese.

Dinner: rice and lentils + tortilla(s). 1 dehydrated portion of rice and lentils is 130 grams / 4.5 oz.

Snacks during the day: 150-200g homemade gorp, snickers bar, sesame bar, homemade lara bar.

I'll just have to see how it works out. We have a few options to buy food on the way if need be.

I hope to have some energy left when we get there to explore some of the area, but I'm guessing I'll head home to Oslo to kick back and prepare for my next trip to Hardangervidda later in the month. I'll be going with my brother and hopefully a guest from England :).

1(!) large tortilla (nothing added) is about 200 calories.
Olive oil is almost 900 calories pr. 100 grams / 3.5 oz.
The world hot dog eating record is 68 in 10 minutes.

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