So we’re moving out this Friday again, on our annual masochistic circle jerk, where we accurately measure every gram we put on our backs and drag it for dozens of kilometers through terrain that is, safe to say, not exactly designed with ergonomics in mind- Trying not to wonder why.
The 5 of us are headed for the Triglav reserve this time, located in Slovenia. If you’ll have a looksie, you might understand why we chose the location. We sure as hell didn’t pick it for convenience, with the via ferrata and rainy climate. But, we’ll be going by car so if things get awkward, we can always backtrack and drive to the nearest beach to make up hard-core stories while sipping cocktails. Of course, we’d have to find ourselves a rock for a few photos.
Speaking of which, I’ll be the photographer again. Since a year or two, the guys allow me to pitch in my camera as “common weight”, which also includes food, tent and cooking gear (in short, stuff that we use commonly) which means that they all invest in my photos. While this puts quite a bit of pressure on me, it’s also a pretty big confidence boost- Apparently they like the photos enough to put some effort into making it easier for me.
As usual, the other guys have gone into OCD mode, weighing every single thing that goes into their backpack, and making diagrams of pretty much every single thing concerning weight, calories, distance and altitude that can be poured into numbers and statistics.
Behold, our altitude profile:
In blue, the trip we planned on last year and ended up totally not doing because of altitude sickness.
We’re taking it a little easier this year, with less distance and less altitude, in exchange for a few more interesting features like via ferratas (viae ferratae?) and the fact we’re not allowed to camp anywhere at all. This means we’ll be swapping tents for climbing gear. We probably won’t need much of it (in fact, the helmets are mostly redundant) but I consider it good practice for the future- I for one, wouldn’t mind a bit more complicated mountaineering with less coverage but more strategy.
The other guys invested in their climbing gear this year. I am borrowing the bulk from a colleague who’s more experienced in it, and instead blew my savings on a vest and pair of pants, adding up to €250 or so. My old pants are padded on the inside, unnecessarily giving me extra weight and ridiculous insulation regardless of outside temperatures. Plus, it’s a women’s model, so it’s starting to tear at the crotch from losing the friction battle with my balls. I think I might enjoy this trip a lot more than the others, in that regard.
The vest too, respects the layers rule. I have 4 other vests, but they’re all heavily padded, forcing me into an all-or-nothing choice every time the wind picks up. Now, I’ll be able to combine the specific things I need: Insulation, breathability, and protection from wind.
Layers: It’s what’s for breakfast.
Above, you’ll find (besides a valid reason to show this picture off for the fourteenth time) the full line up of who I’ll be hiking with.
From left to right: Tall man, Professor man, Cuddly man, and Survivor man.
We all have similar for different hobbies and interests, and buttloads of respect for each other, so I can’t imagine a better group to walk with. The only downside is that they’re all engineers who are a little stubborn when it comes to decision taking, so it can be a little hard to convince them that I am right and the facts are wrong.
Also, I just saw Dead Poets Society the other day and it had a scene that looked so much like that photo, it scared me.
It seems like, as usual, I’ll be carrying the heaviest backpack of all. That used to be because my equipment was significantly lower budget than theirs, but this year I’ve managed to catch up in that regard. The only other thing I can come up with is that I really, really like my snacks. I think I’m taking about double of Professor man’s snack-weight. I’ll gladly carry the extra though; My metabolism is insane and if I run out of sugar, I collapse like a sack of losers. And I don’t want to be a sack of losers. We’re saving up on food because we had extra last year, and for me, that’s pushing knee deep into the amber zone.
So, wish us luck.
We’ll keep you posted.