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Saturday, 4 May 2013

TGO Challenge 2013: Final tweaks & gear list

Today has been a day of industry.

It won’t have added to our Gross Domestic Product, but Things Have Been Done.

The garage was emptied and dried out (Why did the upstairs loo overflow pipe overflow into the garage – which Einstein designed that, eh?)  Martin’s Solomid and Oooknest has been pitched on the only available bit of grass – the front lawn (the back garden is either flower beds or paved). The neighbours’ kids seemed fascinated. I’ll try them with some Werther’s Originals next, to ensure I get taken away…

Here is Sally – slotted on to the tiny front garden. (I think the grass needs cutting.)

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I was quite surprised how much room there is inside.  It has TARDIS–like qualities. She’s been up and down twice this afternoon.and I think Sally and I understand each other now. She has a fair complexion and we will treat each other with respect.

Then there has also been the small matter of trousers. I am saving a shed load of weight by taking Sally Solomid and abandoning Wanda,. I’m also taking less food – food for three days instead of four at the start of the walk. I’m also a bit stronger than last year as the blood count is quite a bit higher – 10.4 compared to 8.7 of last year. I thought it might be nice to be a bit more spruced up for the new girl, so, to hell with the gram counters! I’m taking some spare strides! Sally & me will look very smart together.

So, this year, for the gear fetishists out there, (you know who you are) this is what the kit looks like:

TGO Challenge 2013 Kit list

[CLICK TO ENLARGE]

It’s a bit fuzzy as I haven’t mastered how to take things from Excel and stick them onto the blog properly, so it’s a bit of a lash-up! It’s sharper and bigger when you click on it.

So, in real money, I’ll be starting off with just 26 pounds on my back, including food and whisky, which is not too shabby for man carrying spare strides and shoes!

50 comments:

  1. Hi Alan - Have a great crossing. The Angus hills were looking rather bonnie from Largo Law last week, their snow-capped summits glinting in the sun.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gibson

      One of these days we'll bump into each other in May. It would be my pleasure to buy you a pint. Good luck with the knee.

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    2. Many thanks Alan. That would indeed be a great pleasure and not just because of the pint! Not this May though - MRI next Sunday.

      Take care.

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  2. You'll love the yellow tent - wake up in a glorious sunny glow whatever the weather!

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    Replies
    1. It's funny but however awful the weather in the morning, I always wake up smiley when I'm out in a tent in the hills. The sunburst yellow will have me grinning like an idiot!
      :-)
      Good luck with your Challenge, Miss - That was a close shave this year!

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  3. It has been list heaven this morning. Both you and Martin Rye have posted gear lists. Can you not persuade Mad and Bad to dash off a spread sheet too for the happiness and benefit of those of us who are compulsive list makers?

    Two pairs of strides? You will look so dapper in the pub. And spare footwear too. But no tie I notice. Standards, Alan, standards.

    I think you may need to read Martin's latest blog post with his list and comments about his shelters. He implicitly suggests that the one he has lent you will blow away in the gentlest of breezes. You may want to add to your kit a dozen MSR Blizzard stakes and some 9mm climbing rope to lash Sally down. And when I write "lash Sally down" I am, of course, talking of the shelter and not another Challenger.

    Not long now :)

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    1. I've spotted that there's an external hanging loop at the apex of the pyramid. I may take some extra dyneema and a couple of extra storm pegs to act as bracing.

      From what I've seen so far, the two trekking poles act as an "A frame" which gives quite a bit of stability. It does look quite sturdy.
      :-)
      We'll see!

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    2. I wrote: "but the Solo has better performance, with the inverted poles creating a v-pole configuration that resists wind force" - so your fine. Shake a bit but better than the DuoMid boys. They will be along soon shouting it’s a 4 season bomber shelter. What ever I say. I never noticed when I used one.

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    3. From what I've seen, and having given her a good old "jiggle" I think Sally is a sturdy little smasher.

      Okay I expect the long panels will bow a bit in a heavy wind, but what I've seen of it fromm Martin's trips, Andrew Skurka's trip in the Yukon (Wow, eh?) I think she should be more than capable of handling anything Scotland can chuck at her, pitched thoughtfully.

      As you say, Martin - with the two poles bracing each other it should be more sturdy than the Duomid.

      However! We'll have to see. Exciting, eh?
      :-)

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    4. Very, and she will thrash a bit but hold in bad weather. DuoMid boys take a ticket and get in line.

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  4. Replies
    1. I love my old Nepals - they aren't made any more. They are almost one piece leather with leather linings - no horrid sweaty Gore-Tex. When saturated from river crossings they dry out remarkably quickly and I have never had a blister in them - with over 3,000 miles done in them. (That's two pairs)

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  5. OMG....You weighed stuff.
    I don't so that, because it scares the shit out of me.

    Then again that might explain why my rucksack weighs about twice yours, and looks like I am carrying a hang glider on my back.

    As fopr this BASE weight stuff which does not include food, water and drink.

    Just plain bizarre that on a multi-day trip.
    You carry what you carry.

    I will never fully understand the menta state of the so called UL tribe members.

    Se you soon buddy.

    Make that VERY SOON.

    Just look for a bloke with an EEENNNOOUUURMMMMOUUUSS Rucksack :-)

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    Replies
    1. Go on. Weigh it. You know you want to...
      :-)

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    2. I did think that perhaps weighing a j-cloth was taking it a bit too far......

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    3. Laura. You're not entering into the spirit of this UL thing, are you?

      Now take yourself off to the corner of the classroom and don't say another word until you have completed two spreadsheets and told the class that you are sorry.

      And, mean it.
      :-)

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  6. Well lets hope Sally is all you hope for. Light, compact lady with a hard edge. Kit list looks good. I have to add spikes and food to my total.

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    1. So far I have to say that I am impressed by her good looks and strong frame. She's an athletic girl. I like the athletic willowy types.
      :-)

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  7. Thanks for sharing Alan. I always enjoy reading what others pack. Just for my own curiosity, why are you taking a bivi? Not something I would consider taking.

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  8. Hi Al
    :-)
    I only started this gear list thing last year. It's all Louise's fault... But once started, it's difficult to stop - you get this primeval urge to compare things to last year's... Oh dear...

    It's not really a full-on bivi bag; it's more like a sleeping bag cover. I'm expecting a bit of condensation misting from the underside of the Solomid, and the Oooknest upper material is just mesh, which I doubt will catch all the "shake-off" moisture in a storm. My bag's made from lovely 800+ fill down and I don't want it to get wet, which over two weeks of heavy weather, could be a possibility without the Ultrabivi. When bags get damp they lose their loft badly - not something I fancy over a two week walk.
    :-)

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    1. Did you not specify Dryshell when you did your bag spec with PHD.?

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    2. I did indeed. Here's the spec: (copied from a post back in October 2006)

      Outer fabric in Black Drishell: Its a long walk and I want it to stay as dry as possible - the black to get it aired as quickly as possible in the sunshine.
      Inner fabric uprated from Quantum (very light indeed) to M1 (still very light) to get a tougher lining in a nice berry red to look all snugly and warm.
      I increased the fill weight from 400g to 450g (800+ fill power) to get the bag rating increased from a notional -5C to -8C
      A full zip with single draft tube to give me more temperature control in warmer nights and a quicker egress when I wake up in the night desperately needing a pee!
      I went with the optional side baffles to stop the down migrating down as I will be on my Exped Downmat 7 short anyway.
      I opted for a down collar to keep me more snugly.


      The thing is, the Drishell has never really worked and I do notice the down dampening down over a long walk without being able to give it an airing in the sunshine for a few hours.

      I am not convinced by PHD's claims for Drishell.

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    3. Mmm. I have found the Drishell works. Even at -7 with frost the outer had a wet feel to it but by the time i was ready to pack up it was completely dry. All down bags need an airing and the more times the better. What ever the outer. But like i say the drishell works imho.
      I like your thinking with the black outer.

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    4. Ahem! I heard that...I was not the first you know. Our base and all up weights are not dissimilar. Which is perhaps disappointing. For me.

      Not long...

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    5. I've just re-read your kit list post. I hadn't realised the blindingly obvious point you make about large people having heavier loads as their clothes are bigger & heavier. But, as you say, they should be stronger, so it all balances out. (Not me though, 'cos I'm a weedy wimp)
      :-)
      I don't know why I hadn't realised this. I put it down to tiredness and not just being thick.

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    6. I think I've talked myself into a corner with large clothes and a heavy pack. Ooops...

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  9. A great list, Alan.

    That's much lighter than when I did LEJOG!!

    You and the Mad Bad one will have matching coloured shelters this year, so be careful arriving back from the nightclubs :-)

    Martin has been very generous in letting you take Sally away for a couple of weeks. I'm sure you'll treat her well.

    I have to agree with you and Andy on gear fetishists and UL tribe members. To think that anyone would actually saw their toothbrush in half! (sad, but true :-))

    It still comes back to comfort and safety - and here there is no compromise.

    See you in the Bree Louise on Wednesday.


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    1. Thank you, Sir
      :-)
      We both know that it's only a matter of time before Andy has his digital sales out. As sure as the next sunrise...
      Perhaps his monster rucksack will then be trimmed down slightly? But no matter - the lad's a star and he needs a big sack so he can fit in those magic beers.
      :-)

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    2. It won't be a problem, he's only got a little one ;-)

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    3. I may be daft, but I'm not deaf, you know!

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    4. TENT! TENT! What are you thinking of?

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    5. You've been peeping when we've been in the showers, haven't you? I'll tell Phil. He'll fall on you in a vicious rage.

      Have you ever seen Phil's vicious rages?

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  10. Hope you have a great trip, Alan. Sally will do you well I reckon. Worth noting there's still some snow about up there. Having just come back from the Cairngorms (again) I can tell you, that on Fri night min 5cm of snow fell on Cairn Gorm alone.

    Much of Braeriach etc are still caked in snow, but below about 600m it all begins to disappear.

    Take care mate and speak soon!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Terry
      I think you timed your filming of "the Cairngorms in Winter" to perfection! Now if you can organise a "Cairngorms in Summer" film, starting on Friday, it would be appreciated by 300 or so Challengers!

      Go on - You know you want to.

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  11. So, just the one base layer then - that's putting a lot of faith in the alleged "no pong" qualities of merino over a fortnight.

    Suppose you meet a lady? Will you be wholly confident that it's just your handsome physique that causes her to swoon?

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    Replies
    1. I only took the one merino base layer last year, as well. You *can* wash them you know.

      I'll be "Toad the Washerwoman" at the Monarch Hotel at Laggan and possibly Braemar as well! I'll be slipping into something more comfortable whilst it, the shreddies & socks are in the wash - probably my very smart new fleece and gilet.

      Besides, I never sweat: I "glow".
      :-)

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  12. I'm cutting down on the prunes this year. I'm an ultra-lite fiend so I am.And by way of excitement, I've sent my first four days food supply to Newtonmore. I must do something about this....

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    Replies
    1. Easily done!
      :-)
      I walked with Phil from Acharacle one year. It was just as well, really, as his maps for the first few days were in the food parcel. He *did* however, have the tide tables for Castle Tioram. Very handy, they were too, navigating Glen Gaur.

      On the topic of ultra-light-fiendism, I'm now thinking of abandoning my trousers, as I've seen there is a "skin out" weight to consider. Who needs trousers, eh? They're for wimps! The Pieman's Virtual Trousers - that's the future!

      Delete
  13. Good to see proper boots in your list. I have had it with Goretex lined boots and shoes. Lining goes in them too often for my liking and they make my feet sweat. When the current boots go I am going back to unlined boots like in the old days. Not that many models these days however. Good luck on your walk.

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    1. Thanks Mark

      Obviously they aren't as nimble as trainers, which I have worn for the last three Challenges, but this year i cannot risk getting blisters as i have my kidney transplant a couple of weeks after I get back and I cannot afford to have any infections for that! So - it's back to the trusty old leather lined boots.

      They fit like gloves and are even more comfy when saturated.

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  14. I weighed it! 18kg all in. My Sherpa has a bad back now. I hope he hasn't noshed my nosh.
    It all looks very good, Alan, I wish I was as organised...
    Good luck, and see you in Montrose.
    Martin

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    Replies
    1. Have a cracking walk, Martin. That's quite heavy - but hey! You're as hard as nails!
      Go steady with that lot, and stay safe, mate!
      All the best & love to Sue
      Alan

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  15. Thanks Alan. 18Kg is my 'gross' tonnage, including boots and three and a half days' food. Base weight is 10.5Kg, rather less if I'm wearing waterproofs! So I don't need to be HAN, which is just as well, 'cos I'm not....
    Sue sends her best - you may see her before you see me.

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  16. Best of luck and I hope you have a fabulous walk. I thoroughly approve of the whisky flask.

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    1. oooh!
      Thank you Flora!
      I've just finished packing the rucksack, and I have to say it's not too heavy, even though I stuffed in a last minute luxury of a squidgy pillow.
      Best of luck with the rest of your walk - I'll catch up with it when I'm back in two weeks time.
      I agree totally with your comments on the rubbish dropped in Dovedale, by the way!
      :-)

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  17. I see you have both a compass and a gps. Its surprising how many people forget to bring the simple compass when it can really keep your butt out of some serious trouble and it weighs very little really.

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  18. Hi Al.
    Just having a read again of your gear list. Any chance you can provide me with a link to those goretex mitts weighing in at 39 grams per pair.

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    1. Hi Al
      I hope this finds you a little bit better.
      I bought these mitts back in 1998 (two pairs - one for me and one for my wife at the time).
      I'm pretty sure they're not made anymore but they *do* weigh a remarkable 39 grams for the pair, which is why I've kept them all these years. they only get worn a few times each year and are still in remarkably good nick. The are mid blue with black tight fitting elasticated cuffs.

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  19. OK Al. That's amazing. I looked all over and couldn't find anything close to them weight wise. Tuff bags are not even in the same ball park. I may ask Brenig to make me a pair. Thanks.

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