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John Shannon

One thing you could do instead of carrying two pairs of shoes is take one extra pair of insoles. That way you could get some extra support in shoes that are wearing out. Just a thought.

Ryan Jordan

John, that is exactly what I'm doing - I have custom footbeds made of closed cell foam, impregnated cork, and a plastic orthotic. They weight 3 oz/pr and I will be taking the 2nd pair.


What are you going to do to keep the bears from eating your 45lbs of food? Hanging it in the arctic sounds problematic? Ursack Major Hybrid? Supersized Bearikade?

Andrew Browne

Oware website listed above is incorrect
Should be www.owareuse.com


That would be www.owareusa.com


Watching this come to fruition has been good. Seeing it bloom into things tangible such as gear, food and route lists is better. And reading and seeing live posts from the backcountry will be the best. The lightweight community will send you off with admiration!

Kevin Davidson

Always thought that the "harness style"pack/drybag combo was promising and have hoped that a comfortable UL version would make the market. Hopefully ULA will add it to their line (w/ youze guys permission, of course).

I assume that Odorproof liners will be your prime strategy for food pro. Will you also be carrying bear spray?

Richard S

I'm curious about the SLR. Those things are very heavy, especially when combined with zoom and/or multiple lens. Why not just an Optio WP or two?

Also, wouldn't bear spray be more valuable than separate shelters? or maybe you should condsider both?

John Shannon

On the sponsors page is mention of UDAP bear spray and the pentax optio wpi.

Ryan Jordan

Bear pro: we'll be sharing a can of bear spray, using some new odor proof and tougher liners from the OP Sak folks at Watchful Eye Designs (product not on the market yet), and sleeping with our food. Bear gets food = trip over = not a good situation so far from civ. There is no way you can carry the weight of enough bear canisters to house 45 lb of food each for 3 people. The added weight would eliminate the possibility of doing this route unsupported. Ursacks require trees to tie to. Not a lot of those, I'm afraid, up there. One of the risks of doing a trek like this without support is dealing with food storage and having the means to defend it. I expect this to provide some fodder for controversy. But there aren't many other realistic solutions for an unsupported trek of this magnitude.

DSLR is needed for magazine photography that will be published after the trek. I'm taking a WPi for web and live sat photog.


How do you plan to carry 15# of body fat with a pre-trip workout schedule like yours?

Ryan Jordan

Tony wrote: "How do you plan to carry 15# of body fat with a pre-trip workout schedule like yours?"

It's really hard to maintain weight. I trained very light last fall, I was recovering from a broken back, so I had the chance to add the weight gradually. So, my training this winter and spring focused on maintaining that weight instead of feeling pressure to put any on. That's far easier to do than "bulking" up with fat with this sort of training schedule.

I try to overfuel slightly when I train so I'm not dipping into my stores, and I've ramped up my calorie intake a ton. I'm eating around 4-5k calories per day, even on off days, just to maintain my weight.

I also plan to spend a few days in Kotzebue before starting so maybe I can snack on whale blubber and dried salmon just before leaving there...

Buzz Burrell

That's an extremely ambitious plan. If it was anyone else I'd doubt it would work. Good luck!


The food list sounds very American: heavy on junk. Instant mashed potatoes? Pringles? If I was walking 1000 km I wouldn't carry chocolate bars and such all that way just to have the pleasure of eating low-nutrition styrofoam foods instead of the nourishing types of foods that olympic athletes and mountain climbers eat. But hey...

I wonder what these guys eat? http://www.thepoles.com/page/explist.htm

Roman Dial


Good point about the junk food -- but it's really about fuel, not nutrition. My experience, possibly different from yours, Olympic athletes (which I am not), and mountain climbers (which I was) is more like that of adventure racers and Iditarod sled dogs (not the mushers). For example, are there any Olympic events that last longer than what, 2 hours or so for marathon runners, or 8 hours for a cycling race or triathalon? And mountain climbers spend an inordinate amount of time unmoving (belaying on technical climbs) or moving slowly (at altitude).

In contrast, adventure racers and long distance sled dogs race for 5 to 10 days, non-stop. They need to eat no matter how they feel (often worn out and wretched) and have good feet.

As for me, it turns out that the only way to determine what I can eat when doing mega-distance days consecutively is to do mega-distance days consecutively. For me, I simply can not eat the conventional "healthy foods" in the quantities necessary to stay at a high mileage.

A simultaneous mouthful of Twix and Sour Cream and Onion Pringles is sometimes the only thing I can get in my body to propel me forward. And instant mashed potatoes -- they really only need warm water to reconstitute -- again form a very satisfying matrix to other foods.

Food is a very, very personal thing, because it involves actually putting something into our bodies. Since it is so very personal, it seems very likely that many of us will differ in what we want to and can eat under various conditions.

And thanks for the web site to the cold weather "work trips". Typically, cold weather trips are heavy and slow. The expedition member's engines work at lower RPM and burn lots of fat. Faster paced trips, like the one we are attempting, tend to need more short chain carbs. Although almost everybody, including mountain climbers, polar explorers, and adventure racers -- but possibly not Olympic Athletes or Iditarod sled dogs -- likes lots of chocolate.

My junk food diet does not typically follow me home -- sometimes if I get really hungry on one trip, I will come home and gorge on junk food for a week or so, trying to satisfy a craving, possibly getting my weight back to where my body feels it should be. But, honestly I don't usually sit at the keyboard with a Pepsi and a bag of Doritoes....although a pint of B&J Ice Cream is a weekly pleasure and I do like half and half in my morning Americano.


Interesting discussion re: food. Obviously every person's different, but you don't find that you crash after a junk food meal? I've been looking for food that leaves me alert and energetic long term, and found that mashed potatoes for instance take me up, then down over the course of a couple hours. Wouldn't begin to presume to suggest what you should eat, but interested in learning from your experience.

Ryan Jordan

John, here's my take.

I see junk food as that which is very high in simple sugars and low in complex carbs. To that end, Gu gel would qualify. Great stuff for giving you a kick to get you over the top of the hill for the final 20 minutes of climbing, but not the greatest for sustained energy.

I do take Gu, and other simple sugar foods, like fruit snacks, to deal with blood sugar lows. They are the only foods that can snap you out of a sugar low quick.

But it doesn't end there, you need a steady diet of complex carbs for good sustained energy.

I don't view complex carbs as junk food, even if they come in the form of Pringles or mashed potatoes, which have a very low sugar:total carb ratio. Good for sustained energy (e.g., they bleed calories over a few hours rather than < 1 hr like sugars).

Like Roman said, you spend a lot of time on a long fast hike somewhat ... nauseaus ... and whatever you can get down, you get down. If it's oreos or pringles or chocolate, so be it. It beats not eating.

As for mashed potatoes, which is pretty starchy and not the ideal food to eat midday before 3000 feet of elevation gain, it's a great way to restore glycogen at the end of the day to slow down muscle cannibalization, especially if it's mixed in with some assimilable protein sources. I sometimes supplement my mashed potatoes or noodle sauce mixes with a spike of powdered amino acids, with the hope that it might improve recovery at the end of a long day.


The potential for bear problems with food is overhyped in the Brooks Range where bear encounters are extremely rare. It isn't like the Sierra where bears have been habituated. In nine trips there over as many years I haven't had a single problem. Food is packed in compactor trash bags and left in the pack next to the tent. The greater risk is surprising a bear while bushwhacking, and even then they almost always run off. If they know you're there they leave you alone.

Richard S

Quoted on BPL - "...food is the final frontier". Now I have never done long distance so I am just wondering rather than speaking from experience. A gram of carbohydrate or protein contains 4 calories but a gram of fat contains 9 calories - more than twice the amount of the other two. So if weight is crucial, wouldn't it make more sense to carry a majority of the calories as fat? And why bother to build and carry a lot of body fat (except that a bear can't steal it while you're sleeping :) ?

If you like nuts, I think they are the ultimate hiking food. You get a suberb high calorie mix of fat, protein, carbos, fiber, and nutrients. Also, an interesting fact (?) is that animal meat is the only food which can sustain a human exclusively and indefinitely. This speaks to it's extremely high value.

I'm concerned about nutrition here - the movie Super Size Me it showed how quickly a poor quality yet calorically adequate diet could put a person's health in serious jeopardy. Not in a week, but certainly by the third week of the experiment this was clearly evidenced in blood tests and in the well-being of the test subject.


Great press on the grand adventure this weekend in the Montana media. I even had calls from my hiking buddies wondering why we're only doing 55 mile crosscountry primitive routes in the Grand Canyon for fun when you guys have put together the ultimate trip. I reminded them of 3 things ... 1, we're geezers compared to you young turks ... 2, what you're attempting is cutting edge and just a little bit insane ... and 3, we get to follow along on the internet while continuing to plot our own adventures!
The food discussion is interesting and points out part of the difficulty of planning and pulling off your journey. With over 30 years of planning menus, packing meals and cooking in the backcountry for groups of 2 to 20 I know that each individual has his or her own tastes and needs when it comes to food. One person can't digest oils in the heat, another has problems when the fat content in an individual meal drops below 30%, a third hits the wall after only an hour if not constantly nibbling carbs. You guys know your bodies best, listen to them.
One interesting tidbit for your planning. The candy bar with the most calories per ounce is "Butterfinger", according to Rick Ridgeway.
Best of times to you on the trip. We'll be following your progress with great interest. Be safe, be swift and remember to have as much FUN as possible.


Re: Food/bears
Have you tried a dry bag anchored with a rock and thrown into a lake or stream?
The rock is in a separate "mesh" bag (like cantalopes come in) tied outside, on the end of a dry bag. Tie a line (5/16 Spectra) to the bag. Toss into the water & tie the end to a fixed object on shore for retreval. The rock anchor bag is important as it must slide easily over obstuctions e.g. rocks on the bottom - watch out for snagging logs & branches.
Depending on conditions, squeeze the air out of the bag so it sinks or inflate and tie the rock bag at a point on the retreval line so the bag floats with the rock on the bottom of the lake/stream. If extra flotation is needed, good quality ballons work well.
Advantage: Bear can not smell the actual location of the food and usually do not figure out how to haul it in by the line.
Disadvantage: Be sure the food stays dry. Swift streams do not work well.


You might want to inquire of DNR about the likelihood of finding enough fuel for cooking fires. Much of Alaska is treeless.


Re: Solar Charging

How many watts and hours charge time will you need to keep your electronic equipment charged in best case weather, worst case weather, and anticipated weather? Once your needed capacity was determined, was the watts / ounce ratio the deciding factor in the vendor and model selected?

Which Brunton Solaris model will you be carrying, the 6 watt (7.1 oz), the 12 watt (11 oz), or the 26 watt (28 oz)?

matt thackray

:...one GPS to find and mark America's remotest spot",

is an arrogant and inconsiderate gesture. I hope you leave it as you found it. I hope you are practicing Leave No Trace ethics on your journey. We all know the backcountry is tainted and true wilderness is diminishing and to mark the center of any wilderness area no doubt would strike a blow to the center of the hearts of more than just this one Nature lover. I love the wilderness bacause it is wild; cairns are for graves.

Good luck and godspeed.

Ryan Jordan

On "marking" the remotest spot:

Don't worry, Matt, we are not making any physical marks there. No signs, no cairns, no trace. We are "marking" the location on our GPS unit :)

And yes, minimum impact is certainly an integral part of our travel style.

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What is Arctic 1000?

    In June 2006, adventurers Roman Dial, Ryan Jordan, and Jason Geck will attempt the first unsupported trekking traverse of America's most remote wilderness - Alaska's western North Slope and Brooks Range - a distance of 1,000 km (600 miles).
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