ULTRALIGHT AND ULTERLIGHTER QUOTES
I just may stay put tomorrow though I'm sure I'll want to keep moving midmorning. I'm glad I brought my full winter gear on this trip and the full length Thermarest is nonnegotiable. I'm also thankful I DO NOT subscribe to the ultralight philosophy. A tarp in this snow and cold seems crazy and a Z rest is laughable. As long as you keep walking and don't make a camp it is workable but then in the case all you really need is a buttpack.
The tyranny of the ego is what appeals to ultralight types who flaunt a twisted sort of backpacking political correctness with "Look At Me" being the prevailing emotion. But I guess compared to Norman Clyde we are all ultralight enthusiasts. Enduring harsh conditions is called freedom to most backpackers, while backpacking is of course an exercise in freedom. The ultralight crowd, unless they are related to Milarepa, must either suffer when confronted with harsh conditions or choose to limit their freedom in the face of blizzards and high winds and not go out. Living out is therefore a phrase that says it all and is the goal of all backpackers. Those who have walked the AT 5 or 10 times know this. Where are the ones who never stop camping?
TARPS AND STUFF
Hypothermia, wet gear, bug bites; tarps ain't the way to go. If you trust your people like they are on an expedition climbing Mt Everest, they will learn something and be comfy in addition. Backpacking is hard enough, the camps should be the best camps possible, equal to the effort expended to get to them. The ultralite types like to keep moving, they have no camp comforts except on the best of days. Right now they would be miserable, add a high wind and so long Slickrock, hello Mrs. Robinson(Brian's Mom, he went back home to her ha ha). There are a few hardy idiots out there who could live out with just a wool blanket and flipflops and they would let everyone know it, too. Ya won't see any of the ultralites out here this time of year. I saw one on January first and he looked miserable and in a hurry, like a hot iron was up against his butt.
ANOTHER ULTRALITE SCREED
I would like to see an ultraliter type pull 12 days at 5,000 feet in the winter. They just can't do it. First of all there's no room for 12 days worth of food in the small packs they carry and secondly their flimsy Z rests won't work on snow and frozen ground plus the little 1.5 pound down bags they use ain't no good at 10 degrees for 4 days straight plus the tarps they love so much aren't s*** in a blizzard with 50-60 mph gusts of wind blown powder.
And the high wind itself WILL test any tent not to mention eat up a tarp. Ultralites breeze thru this area in 1 to 2 day trips and you won't see many of them basecamping it for a week. Give me the standard 5000 cubic inch backpackers and we'll have some stories to share, not talk about some 2 day gourmet 50 mile hiking trip where quick movement is the only concern.
90% of the backpackers I see out here are of the heavyweight variety and I'm glad for that. They carry what I carry, food, a tent, a thermy, maybe a book, a stove and fuel, plenty of clothing and then extra food for the soul.