OxDEAD Unicornz

Have you ever seen so many?

I'll Be Back Shasta

Sup guys I’m back and I have something for you nerdy hikers. If you’re impatient enough please feel free to skip to the bottom of the post to get the details.

Few weeks ago I’ve made an attempt to summit mt. Shasta in northern California – from Bunny flats, via Horse camp, 50/50, Helen lake, Red banks. Reached the bottom of Misery hill (4km point) and turned back.

Lessons learned:

Planning matters

I seriously underestimated how strenious the hike is going to be basing on my Half Dome hike experience. Reports on the Internet contain way too optimistic timings.

Weight matters

I almost exclusively attribute the fact that I didn’t summit to the excessive weight of my backpack. Second medkit is toleratable but climbing with binoculars and a power bank were clearly a terrible idea. All junk combined built backpack weight up to something about 20 kg and slowed the climb dramatically. We only reached the bottom of Misery hill at about 15:00 completely wasted, chilled for about an hour waiting for our companions who did summit and started descend at 16:00.

What next?

I’ve spent some time trying to find some instruments allowing to predict my performance and to my great surprise was not able to find anything worth mentioning. Well, if there is nothing, something had to be created. Presenting Super duper hiking calculator of DEATH(unicorns).

Web application aims to predict how much slope angle, thin air and your backpack are going to slow you down. Also it builds elevations profile and calculates some other hike related data. The calculator is intended for ballpark estimates. If you’re not hiking in a ballpark use your discretion.

As a base I decided to use Tobler’s hiking function because Naismith’s rule does not really map to my personal experience.

In order to account for elevation effects I’ve decided to include coefficient matching elevation changes in atmosphere density. Maybe the relation is not that straight especially for higher elevations but it’s still better than nothing.

Backpack weight – was able to find only one empirical rule, 1% worth of body weight added to your backpack slows you down for 6 seconds for mile. It was presented as some army empirical rule and it may work for heavy loads. Does not map to me. Decided to go with simple formula – backpack worth n % of your body weight slows you down for n %.

Have fun folks but please note – application is running on a free Google project so if you see ‘Limits reached’ message you know – something on the Internet clicks too much. You (and someone else, possibly) is going to wait till the limit is being reset.