And here we go again The route for the 2018 Marshall Open was recently announced- Indian Meadows in the Scapegoat (south) as a start and Marias Pass (north) for the finish. Like previous events, the start and finish points are fixed- how you arrive is completely up to you. All legal human power means are acceptable- hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, rafting- no bikes allowed in the wilderness. Like past years will start Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend. This is not a race. This event will be the longest mileage event to date- what are normally in the 110-ish mile range traverses will in the 140+ mile range- likely adding at least a full additional day of travel. I'm thinking about doing a very bare bones, all out push. Short nap (4-5 hours) vs sleeping at night (~7-8 hours). In the past I've put in ~ 16-ish hour days, I'm thinking more like 20 hour days, which means more night travel. With that strategy, more of bare bones sleep/shelter- Apex jacket combined with a Apex half bag and small tarp. I've thought about going stoveless, but I've really enjoyed that hot, sit down evening meal on the trail. 45 minutes of complete rest and a good, high calorie, hot meal is a real morale boost and probably a good physical boost as well. Not to mention hot coffee in the morning I think with a longer traverse it might even be more important. Have my clothing system pretty well dialed in, the only change I see is leaving home the mid-layer fleece and instead bringing a Patagonia Nano Air pullover instead- just a couple of ounces heavier, but more insulating value and breathes every bit as well for a on the move layer. Combined with my Apex jacket, should give me enough insulation for a few hours of shut eye. I've threatened to not bring snowshoes, but really needed them last year- less so in years past. I'll keep an eye on the surrounding snotel sites and probably make a last minute decision on them. I have what I believe are the lightest snowshoes (MSR youth Shifts), but 2.5 lbs would be a welcome shed if doable. Have a new pack that is a little lighter I'm going to try. Will probably carry two headlamps if I decide to push 20-ish hour days, just in case. Training wise I've found the more snowshoeing I do prior the better-the added difficulty and stress seem to train the muscles better than just straight hiking or trail running. I've also found the more hill repeats I do, the better. Ditto on strength training, particularly squats and lunges. I'm also going to try and get at least two back to back 20-ish mile days under my belt to see how that goes. It's always a challenging event, this year proves to be even more so.