Fastpacking 101


2.5 day introduction to the world of “Light & Fast.” Prepare to change your backpacking life.

This course has a minimum of 2 to run at this price on these dates. Click HERE to request this course on a custom private basis.


Fastpacking 101

This 2.5 day introductory course teaches the basics of “fastpacking,” a sport that uses ultralight backpacking technique to cover an amazing amount of ground in a relatively short time period. Cross the self-sufficiency and ability to stay out in the backcountry with the freedom and lightness of all day mountain running or day hiking and you get a picture of what fastpacking is all about. Although equipment and technology play a critical role in the enjoyment of fastpacking, the real art is in the use of knowledge, skill, and experience to trim down the weight to the absolute minimum without overly compromising safety or overall enjoyment of the experience You won’t hear this from the equipment manufacturers and big retail establishments that want you to keep buying more stuff to tame the backcountry. Learn to trail the mountains more like John Muir and learn to make more out of the less that you carry. After a half day of trip preparations and lessons in Bishop, we learn experientially on the classic “Sky Marathon,” A 26 mile traverse in the Sierra above Bishop from North Lake to Pine Creek. We keep the mileage relatively low so this is a great introduction to fastpacking before embarking on our Mammoth to Yosemite trip or other longer or more committing fastpacking itineraries. One of our favorite courses to teach because the skills are so invaluable for mountain fun in all seasons and disciplines!

DAY 0 Meet at the Sierra Mountain Guides office in Bishop, CA at 1pm. Here you will meet your guide and learn about considerations for planning and executing a fastpacking adventure. Everyone will participate in judging weather and conditions, looking at maps and reviewing the route options, shopping for food and cooking fuel, weighing and packing all gear and food, and generally making sure that the group is prepared to go light and fast in the high mountains.
DAY 1 Start from the North Lake trailhead. Hike up and over Piute Pass, then down Piute Creek to Hutchinson Meadow. Ascend to camp somewhere in French Canyon, depending on the group and weather. Spend the night in a minimalist bivouac. ~12 miles. Total Vertical Gain/Loss: +3200'/-2150'
DAY 2 Breakfast and up to the head of French Canyon where we can choose from two options. The easiest way is to stay on trail and cross over Pine Creek Pass to descend to the Pine Creek Trailhead (7 miles). The more scenic and rewarding way, if the group is up for it, is to go cross-country up to the spectacular Royce Lakes and come down through "CocoLa" Pass and Honeymoon Lake to the same trailhead (9 miles).


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