About a week ago I finished my thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, 1 2,655 mile mountainous footpath from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington. It is the longest continuous footpath in the world. Ask me anything!

Proof (ish): http://i.imgur.com/kkqlN.jpg

EDIT: I uploaded an album of some pictures from my trip. Enjoy!

EDIT 2: Here is my gear list, roughly. It did change along the way. Gear List!

Comments: 1694 • Responses: 50  • Date: 

Jett2111259 karma

Did you get a ride to Stevens pass from two guys a few Sundays ago?

climberslacker1013 karma

I did. One dude owned a ski company. Chill dudes. (P.S. if you were one of us you fucking saved us.)

Jett2111118 karma

Yeah mang I was riding shotgun. That's my buddy's company - Artificial. Ski Company. That's fucking sick that I saw this and you made it the whole way!

climberslacker868 karma

Thats rad! Thanks for the ride!

unfitforradio351 karma

isn't that cheating! :P I thought you walked the whole way!

climberslacker588 karma

Its allowed as long as I hitch into a town (the trail doesn't usually go through towns) and hitch back to the exact same point on the trail. It was a 20 mile hitch on an interstate into the town so walking would not have worked.

Blargame265 karma

While walking on this journey what was the wierdest thing you saw.

climberslacker784 karma

Every once in a while there would be a big pile of animal bones with the same phrase sharpied on to them: "They're all dead". Kinda creepy.

Swissgiant68 karma

woah what. The same pare of bones followed you or they were different piles.

climberslacker194 karma

There were a few. Turns out they were being left by a group of thruhikers ahead of me. Super creepy to run into while hiking alone though.

Corvese258 karma

How long did it take you?

climberslacker433 karma

Four months almost exactly.

agup48209 karma

Did you ever run?

climberslacker580 karma

Yeah, occasionally if I was really tired I would run. It sounds counter intuitive but after hiking 30+ miles only specific muscles are sore. Running uses different (i.e. less tired/sore) muscles and so it doesn't hurt. The next morning is a different story.

NiceTryThis193 karma

Calf pics or it didn't happen.

climberslacker240 karma

You can't really see them super well but they are much bigger/more defined than when I left. It doesn't help that I have absolutely no idea how to take a picture of my calves.


MorseCodeDude465 karma

Generally people point the camera at their calves, and then take the picture. You did it right.

climberslacker183 karma


roddy0596154 karma

What was the hardest point of the journey? Did you ever feel like giving up? Thanks, and congrats :)

climberslacker249 karma

The SoCal desert was pretty tough, I had 122 degree heat one day with no shade. I also had a day where I had to hike through food poisoning. Luckily, I was only two days from the border at that point or else I would haver seriously considered calling it quits.

eovogt106 karma

You must have had some pretty mild food poisoning. I had food poisoning once and shit myself and couldn't keep down water for a week.

*Edit: shitty wording.

climberslacker128 karma

Thats what we decided it was at least. I left unpasturized goat cheese out in the sun for a few hours then ate it. I wanted to puke and had a fever. I could have just had a flu or something and the cheese was unrelated.

hypnolobster148 karma

What was your gear like? ultralight? traditional? tarp or tent? etc.

climberslacker240 karma

I had a 10lb baseweight leaving the Mexican border. This probably slowly crept up with the adition of random stuff to ~11 pounds. I carried a plastic samurai sword for about 500 miles. That thing was awesome. I had a tarp-tent which I found to be overkill. If I did it again I would use a tarp and bivy.

mapam136 karma

Why did you carry a plastic samurai sword?

climberslacker503 karma

Because plastic samurai swords are super badass. No bear will fuck with you if you have a sword.

It was also a great conversation starter. I couldn't pass up the deal either. I was on sale for $1.99.

[deleted]77 karma


climberslacker122 karma

I mainly bought as I went. For Oregon I mailed food ahead from Ashland. I really liked this as it allowed me to have much more variety as well as make changes to my food as I went along. I would hate myself if I had mailed all of my food ahead before I left. My appetite increased tons as well as what I was eating changed a lot. I generally carried an extra dinner as well as a few extra snack in case I was getting low. It rarely happened as I became almost scientific with what food I brought. It worked well for me.

rescuedlotion144 karma

A few questions:

  • What were you doing before you decided to complete this journey? Occupation or what not?

  • What did you learn about your body on the trail?

  • What was your most important possession while hiking?

  • How much did you sleep?

  • What was your favorite sight along the way?

  • What's next?

Continue to be brave, my friend, just as the Kit and Isaac once were

climberslacker156 karma

*I started immediatly after graduating High School (well technically I started before) *My body is capable of things I had no idea I could do. Take a 40 mile day. Or three 37 mile days in a row. *I didn't carry too much extra stuff but probably I am most attached to my hiking poles for some reason. *Way more than I thought I would. We joke that hiker midnight is 9:00. Generally I would sleep from just after it got dark to sunrise. *Thats a tough one but favorite single sight would be the sunset from Mt. Whitney. *Some climbing objectives are in the works. I have no idea though.

MagicEraser114 karma

There was another person that recently posted. I'll ask the same question I asked him. What kind of shoes? Same for desert and snow? I'd be interested in all your major pieces of gear, pack weight, etc...

climberslacker194 karma

I used Innov-8 Flyroc 310 shoes. I attribute the fact that they are very minimalistic to my lack of any real injuries along the trail. I loved them. I went through four pairs on the trail and wore them through everything.

My pack was a Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus which weighs 23oz and was perfect for what I needed. I really liked it because it seemed like it was designed to be lived out of. I'm not sure that the new version will be as good for that but I haven't played with it any.

For my kitchen I used the Caldera Cone Ti-Tri system with my BPL Firelite 550 pot. I would definitely use the Ti-Tri again but would go with a bigger pot next time as I felt limited to what I could cook. Maybe the MSR Titan Kettle?

My tent was way overkill but I was saving up for the actual hike and so couldn't afford to replace it. I had a two person Tarp Tent that weighed 30-ish oz. If I were to do it again I would definitely go with a tarp and bivy as it would allow for cowboy camping (what I did probably 90% of the time anyways) without the fear of waking up covered with dew.

My sleeping bag was a Western Mountaineering Ultralite bag (It's a 20° bag). It seemed to be a thru-hiker favorite and performed beautifully.

[deleted]107 karma

Was it safe? Did you ever encounter sketchy people in the wilderness? Were you armed? Edit: What was the weirdest thing you saw?

climberslacker197 karma

It was relatively safe I would say. I mean it's just walking. I wasn't armed (except for the previously mentioned plastic sword) but I did get woken up at 3:45 in the morning by a law enforcement ranger who was aiming his AR-15 at my face.

CheesySauce110 karma

Care to elaborate?

climberslacker190 karma

There was a fire started about 1/2 a mile above us and they had seen headlight activity where we were. We were traveling through an area that has a reputation for lots of illegal marajuana growing (It was NorCal after all) so they thought we were growers who had started a fire after harvesting our crop and were camping there right by the fire for some reason?

We got kicked off the trail and told to find somewhere else to camp.

dplseattle105 karma

What about lodging? Did you stay in motels or did you camp out?

climberslacker170 karma

I stayed in motels a few times but 95% I was camping in the backcountry. Only stayed in motels if I was in a town that didn't have a trail angel or free camping. One time I needed it to dry out my stuff.

injekted149 karma

What's a trail angel?

climberslacker473 karma

Anyone who uses their time/resources/energy in order to selflessly help out hikers. They do this by leaving coolers of beer/soda/snacks along the trail (its awesome!) or opening their house so you can grab a shower and a soft place to lay your head for the night.

They are one of my favorite parts of the trail community.

[deleted]82 karma


climberslacker107 karma

Dirty secret time: I only treated like five sources along the entire trail. No Giardia yet! My water intake varied a lot by the conditions. I was at a gallon or more a day in the desert (sometimes two or more!). There is a thing called the "Water Report" that lists water sources for the first 700 miles of the trail. It was incredibly helpful as the water can be so variable down there. For the long dry sections there would often be "Water Caches" left by trail angels which had fresh water in them. This was very useful when we had something like a 30 mile dry stretch.

I had a cell phone that had service sometimes. Many people carry SPOT transmitters but I would have had to rely on self-rescue had my phone not had service.

el1min8r79 karma

How much money did it cost you, and how long did you prepare, how long did it take?

climberslacker108 karma

It cost me overall about $3500 for a four month hike. I spent about 5 months actually planning, but I technically started planning (i.e. seriously figuring out what I had to do to make the trip happen) about 10 months in advance.

brewmasterd45 karma

Can you post something in terms of a cost breakdown?

climberslacker101 karma

I figure about $1.25 a mile. Probably $.50-$.75 per mile for food while hiking, but the vast majority (for me at least) was spent it towns where I would eat ridiculous amounts of food.

watabit72 karma

How did you keep yourself entertained and not bored?

climberslacker175 karma

Walking in some of the most beautiful terrain in the country helps but having someone entertaining to talk to can lead to some crazy on-trail conversations. I would also listen to music to help get me up some big (2000' or bigger) climbs. I had a conversation with a bird once.

rescuedlotion155 karma

So was the bird a dick or what?

climberslacker243 karma

Yeah it tried stealing my food.

smokinjoints65 karma

What did you do to prepare? Did you have any regrets after doing it? Any advice for people thinking of doing a similar hike?

climberslacker127 karma

I hiked some. Not that much though, it is very easy to get in shape the first few days.

As far as regrets: I started hiking with someone who, I didn't realize until it was too late, but was far more goal oriented than me. I still loved every minute hiking with him but feel like I would have wanted to go slower through Northern Washington, especially with the weather we had.

Advice wise, It is good to always remember that the trail provides. The things that you need to happen to make it to Canada (or whatever your goal is) will happen. In the first day all of your planning will go to shit but the trail has a way of making things make sense and you will definitely be able to plan better once you really understand what you are doing.

meiguess59 karma

How many waffles do you think you could eat in one sitting?

climberslacker65 karma

About a pound. Maybe more depending on how I'm feeling that day.

TheChillyCanadian56 karma

Along your journey, which place would you say had the nicest people?

climberslacker113 karma

Thats tough but oddly, the town of Tehachapi surprised me. I had people coming up to me constantly talking to me about the trail. There is tons of kindess out there though and I felt welcomed in almost every town.

listos54 karma

I live in Bishop California, you may have stopped there to get supplies, as it is close to the PCT. I am considering doing the John Meir Trail, which only takes about a month. But I have a few questions...

How do you deal with food. Do you just carry a bear box with a weeks worth of food and just refuel at some random town? or did you deal with food drops?

How did you find the time, I assume it must have taken some 6 months plus...

What spurred you to do it?

Did you enjoy yourself?

And feel free to tell me a little about the ups and downs of the trip.

Congratulations, that is a pretty incredible accomplishment.

climberslacker83 karma

The JMT is pretty much the most beautiful section of the PCT. I seriously recommend doing it! You'll love it!

Regarding food: I did the 175 miles from Kennedy Meadows to Vermillion Valley Resort (Lake Edison) in about 8 days. That was tough to carry all in a bear box but it was manageable. I sent a package to myself at VVR. If I were to do it again I would go into Mammoth at Red's Meadow as I've heard good things. From what I can tell many JMTers resupply at Tuolumne, Red's Meadow, VVR, Muir Trail Ranch or Kearsarge Pass (Lone Pine, Independence, Bishop). The longer you take to do it, the harder planning food is and the more stops you will have to make.

Regarding the time, I started the day after graduating High School and I am taking a gap year before going to college.

It really just seemed like a really cool way of seeing this part of the country and meeting lots of really interesting people. Thruhikers are collectively the most interesting, intelligent, and fun people I have ever met.

Ghooble32 karma

How did you convince your parents to let you do this?

climberslacker66 karma

They were surprisingly supportive. They were very nervous at first but after I survived 700 miles of (relatively) brutal desert they relaxed a lot. I texted or called them whenever I could.

gold_bricks52 karma

What was the weirdest and or most terrible thing you smelt along your way?

climberslacker120 karma

This one hiker, a girl, who I could smell for like 100 yards down the trail. Realize that I am usually not able to smell any other hiker. Ever.

beefofages57 karma

On the AT I noticed that day hikers and section hikers REEKED of shampoo and laundry detergent.

climberslacker100 karma

You get to a point where you can smell day hikers before you see them. Its kind of gross.

MeRyEh50 karma

What were the highest and lowest emotional points on your trip?

climberslacker92 karma

Lowest points were probably when I was in the SoCal desert and wasn't really around anyone. I got a really late start so anyone I met told me that there was no way I could finish.

I also got food poisoning and wanted nothing more than to crawl up in a little ball and cry. That was awful.

I can't think of a single highest point. There are so many and that is one of the greatest things about the trail. The lows are the lowest you'll ever experience. But the Highs, oh the highs make up for it. I loved trail life.

razoRamone3144 karma

how did this affect you physically? IE: are you bruised up or in the best shape ever....

climberslacker72 karma

Its kind of weird. As far as walking, I can do that all day. Running is the same. My issue right now is that I am trying to get back to climbing at the level I was but all of my non-walking muscles have atrophied.

So yes my legs are but the rest of my body went to shit.

demonspawner40 karma

This might sound like a bit of a personal question, but its something that I always find quite a hassle when hiking:

  • How did you handle pooping?

  • Were there many toilets on the way or did you mostly just find a nice spot in the wild?

  • Did you carry around a roll of toilet paper?

  • Did you run into anny sticky situations regarding this E.g Running out of toilet paper when you needed to drop one?

climberslacker48 karma

I dug a hole and did my business.

In fact, while in the backcountry I did not once use toilet paper. I never carried it and never needed it. I'm a leave no trace trainer so I figured it was my duty to do the entire trail sans TP.

demonspawner15 karma

So how did you wipe?

I remember as i kid I used to use leaves and grass but that was always pretty messy.

climberslacker29 karma

Certain pine cones are awesome, moss can be good. Grass, leaves, rocks and sticks though.

Left4Head38 karma

Are you ever thinking of going from CA to NY?

climberslacker132 karma

Oh God.

Marylandman10138 karma

can you post much more pictures!!!??

climberslacker34 karma

Yeah, I'll try to get an album up.

oldswirlo36 karma

My friend Skeeter was also on the trail and should be finishing any day now, happen to run into him? :) Congratulations on an awesome accomplishment!

climberslacker45 karma

Yup! I met Skeeter near Timberline Lodge.

bombaal33 karma

What was your favorite state to hike through? i'm from Oregon, so i've been entertaining the idea of hiking the Oregon section.

climberslacker41 karma

Northern Oregon is pretty fantastic but I would have to say the crappy:awesome ratio is lowest for Washington. Of course I only had a few days of rain so that influences my decision.

NiceNolan32 karma

Would you recommend this trek to someone else or no? Sounds amazing, i think after a while I would get a little nutty from the loneliness and mundane.

climberslacker76 karma

Cowboys don't get lonely [spits into spitoon].

But in all honesty, if you start in the herd you won't be lonely. There are a bunch of other thruhikers who are all very entertaining. I would totally recommend it.

dplseattle28 karma

Was this mostly for the wilderness hiking experience, or did you stop by any major civilization on the way for the purpose of tourism?

climberslacker42 karma

It was predominately a wilderness experience but the trail takes us through some fairly touristy places (Tuolumne Meadows and Crater Lake would be a few). Every few days I would be in a town to resupply. These towns varied in size from tiny towns with just a general store and a Post Office (sometimes in the same building) to big, full service towns like South Lake Tahoe and Ashland, Oregon.

[deleted]22 karma


climberslacker31 karma

I'm 18, but started in may at 17 and turned 18 about 400 miles in. I started backpacking though scouts at about 12. I didn't do any special training other than hiking as much as I could. I'm a student. Hopefully couchsurfing and doing some more adventures before starting college. I knew how much money I had saved and I knew how much I could spend. In the end I actually ended up not spending it all, that was nice.

babooneyes21 karma

was chafing ever a problem? so much friction

climberslacker29 karma

Occasionally, but not that big of one. Just in the heat and dust of the desert/NorCal.

radiosporen21 karma

Really cool, I've often dreamed of hiking at least part of the PCT, but I'm from the easy coast :(

As for a question: what did you do for food/gear? Ultralight backpacking equipment? Magic?

climberslacker29 karma

I bought food as I went, and sent packages from trail towns if there was any particular town that I knew I couldn't resupply out of.

I had a 10lb baseweight and you can see some of my other replies to get a better understanding of what I was carrying. Of course let me know if you have any other gear questions. I love talking gear.

DbagO12 karma

Fuck yea Minor! Did you ever run into Breeze, Estero, Or Legion? I hiked with them on the AT last year. Awesome dudes.

climberslacker15 karma

I met legion near Timberline Lodge, Breeze was like the first to finish. He was insane. I never met him though.

fuzzydice_829 karma

I would like to know if the Proclaimers are your favourite band?!

climberslacker12 karma

Nope. Never heard of them. What should I listen to by them?

lburns7318 karma

what kind of shoes were you wearing

climberslacker14 karma

Innov-8 Flyroc 310. I attribute them to my long-term injury free-ness.