On Saturday morning I will be flying to California to spend a couple of days backpacking the Mt. Whitney portal trail with my good friend Ben Tang. This will be my second attempt to summit Whitney. If you recall, at about this time last year I made the same trip but was unable to reach the summit due acute mountain sickness (AMS), or altitude sickness. I'm hoping that won't happen this time.
I've taken some additional precautions this year to help avoid AMS. My doctor has prescribed me Diamox to help combat the effects of AMS. Glen Van Peski of Gossamer Gear bought me some packets of Acli-Mate Mountain Sports Drink mix that you add to your water and which are supposed to lesson the effect of altitude sickness through better hydration. And thanks to my previous fitness preparation for the GORUCK Challenge, I'm in better physical shape than I have been in years. We'll see if any of this makes a difference.
Testing New Gear
I'll also be taking some cool new items of gear with me for testing while I'm hiking. I'll be beta testing the new Gossamer Gear Air Beam Pack Frame, made by Klymit, that is custom tailored to fit into the back panel of GG backpacks where the SitLite pad would normally go. It looks a bit like the world's smallest inflatable sleeping pad at first glance. I'm curious to see how this works out and whether I can find any other uses for it during my hike so that it can perform double duty.
Slightly less sexy that the GG Airframe are some prototype WAG bags from my friends at Cleanwaste. These special WAG bags have been formulated with a mild perfume to help cover the smell of what's inside. I'm eager to try these out.
In addition to the new WAG bags, I'll be carrying some advanced NyloBarrier odor proof bag prototypes from Jhaura at LiteTrail. Originally intended for use as food bags or bear bags, I'm thinking that using one to contain my WAG bags will be about the best empirical "smell" test I can possible perform with it.
I'll be using my new SPOT II Messenger to check in via GPS from along the trail, but other than that I'll be offline for most of next week. I'm looking forward to telling you all about my trip, good or bad, when I return.
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Brian is a Charlotte based backpacker, gear junkie, runner, and CrossFit(er). Originally from Southampton, England, Brian has lived in the US for over 20 years, finally settling in North Carolina. He spends as much time backpacking as his busy work schedule and family life will allow.