Bob Marshall Open 2019- it's on!

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by mtwarden, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    And here we go again :)

    The route for the 2019 Bob Marshall Open was recently announced- Swift Reservoir (Northeast) to Swan Lake (Southwest). 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 year's route appears to be one of the shorter ones. After last year's 120+ mile route, that will be welcomed. Snowpack at this early juncture is near normal; last year was record breaking snowpack and consequently, record stream flows- making it easily the most hazardous Open to date. We could easily do without that again!

    I have several changes I hope to give a go this year, but as in past years- the snowpack, runoff and weather forecast will dictate a lot of what goes into my pack.

    From a training standpoint, I'm as good to go as any previous year. I plan on a lot of snowshoeing in the mountains (including several multi-day trips), it seems to be the very best training for this kind of event. I'll mix in trail running, hiking as well and will continue to strength train twice a week.

    As this appears to be a little shorter route (at first blush- 80-90-ish miles), it might be the year to go all out and shoot for a 2-ish day finish; easy to say- much harder to do :D

    Anywho- this is typically one of my highlights of the year and no reason to expect that it won't be this year.

    Mike
     
  2. racetrack

    racetrack Supporter Supporter

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    Will be watching
     
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  3. GoKartz

    GoKartz El Coyote Supporter

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    As usual, I’ll have to live vicariously through you. Good luck Mike!
     
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  4. Calicoast

    Calicoast Scout

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    @mtwarden / have fun out there!

    Use to look forward to the Wild Mile every year as well. My avatar picture is of Echo Lake. Beauty at its finest.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
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  5. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Best of luck to you again @mtwarden . You doing this solo or with company?
     
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  6. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    thanks all!


    not sure at this juncture, have one buddy that's a big question mark due to back issues
     
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  7. oldpinecricker

    oldpinecricker Guide

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    Yikes! That's a lot of miles in a hurry.
     
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  8. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    indeed :) the "trouble" is everything looks good on paper on how many miles a guy can cover in a day and then you hit a 1/2 mile stretch of blowdown hell- crawling under/over/around or get into bad snow crossing a pass or walking 1/2 mile up and downstream looking for a suitable ford- this is closer to reality and the 40 mile days then become 25 mile days :D
     
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  9. oldpinecricker

    oldpinecricker Guide

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    25 mile days are insane. But then again a mile thru blowdown is even worse. Blowdown saps your energy and will.
     
  10. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    agreed- it really sucks! with the May date we beat all Forest Service folks in, so there is no trail clearing whatsoever (the trail crews come in mid June)- on top of that the Bob Complex is so vast that there are trails that haven't received any trail clearing in nearly a decade

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. backlasher

    backlasher nothing to do and all day to do it in Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    As usual, I'm in awe of you folks to do this.
     
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  12. UAHiker

    UAHiker Supporter Supporter

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    CAN't WAIT!!!!!!!
     
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  13. rustystove2017

    rustystove2017 Guide

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    same here..^^^^
     
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  14. Soilman

    Soilman Scout

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    Looking forward to it, as usual. Really enjoyed tracking your progress a few years ago when you used a Spot device. Good Luck!
     
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  15. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    thanks guys!

    I have an inReach so I can still track, I'll post up a web address when it get closer, so folks can track in real time :)
     
  16. Lichen

    Lichen Supporter Supporter

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    I still think you're crazy, but do it before your body gives out.
     
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  17. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    ^ true that :)
     
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  18. TheWhiteWoodsman

    TheWhiteWoodsman Scout

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    Woot! One of my favorite times of year to be an armchair bushcrafter ;):D
     
  19. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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  20. Chriiis.Glover

    Chriiis.Glover Tracker

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    Taking notes. I dream of giving this a shot and I’m honing my skills, fitness, and gear with this goal in mind. 2021 is my target.

    Thanks for documenting your preparations and experiences, it is highly motivational.
     
  21. A Seedy Lot

    A Seedy Lot Supporter Supporter

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    Mike makes it sound so much fun that I convince myself I want to participate and block it off on the calender only to reach spring and realize how crazy it is to traverse the Bob so early in the year.

    Enjoy your training.
     
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  22. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    danke- gents!
     
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  23. plue

    plue Tracker

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    Love your trip reports on these, look forward to these every year.
     
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  24. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Amphibian. Supporter Bushclass I

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    These threads make my knees hurt. Godspeed, you crazy bastards.
     
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  25. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    thanks guys- (even though most of you are calling me crazy! :D)
     
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  26. Odinborn

    Odinborn BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    You're making me wish I lived closer closer to Montana! I will definitely be following.
     
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  27. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    few updates- at the rate we're going of late, appears snow is going to be above normal- probably not as bad as last year (almost record last year), but plenty of snow- which means plenty of tricky fords and that snowshoes probably aren't optional

    plan is to take a few early forays- one near the start, one near the finish to give us the best idea of actual conditions; the benefit of living close by

    I'm always looking to shave some weight, without jeopardizing safety (and at least some comfort :D)

    I recently traded a gentleman my inReach Explorer for his Inreach Mini- about half the size and half the weight; the major difference is the mini doesn't have a mapping gps, as I use Gaiagps on my phone, not much an issue

    I also recently purchased a Sixmoon Gatewood Cape- basically a poncho-tarp that is more enclosed that your typical poncho-tarp; enclosed enough I think I can forego a bivy- it would also subtract a rain jacket from my pack; total weight savings over previous shelters used is 1-2 lbs

    going to try some different bits in my clothing as well; I've been using a lightweight soft-shell pant from Patagonia the last four Opens- great pants that have worked great, but only one small side pocket on one leg- I've ordered a pair of Sitka Ascent pants, two decent size cargo pockets; based on the weight and reviews- thinking the fabric is going to be similar

    for a top I've been using a Patagonia lightweight merino long sleeve; again a great piece, but would be better with a hood- I found an outfit (Duckworth) that makes a lightweight merino hoody and going to give it a try

    I have enough time that I'll be able to try these changes ahead of time- if any don't workout, I know what will :)
     
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  28. Brook Trout

    Brook Trout Supporter Supporter

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    Yes, you’re crazy! That said, I always follow this thread. Best of luck!
     
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  29. UAHiker

    UAHiker Supporter Supporter

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    your my type of crazy!! which i don't think your crazy at all.... if i could i would and have done plenty in my past that plenty have called me crazy for doing :)

    be really interested in what you think of the mini Inreach and the Gatewood Cape!

    be following with great anticipation.
     
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  30. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    I've used the Mini on a half dozen outings thus far, works great- don't miss the gps as I use my phone (Gaiagps)

    I've got about a half dozen outings with the Ascent pants- they are a go; almost identical fabric/weight and performance as the Patagonia pants, BUT with two nice cargo pockets
     
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  31. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    snowpack is look near to above normal thus far; I'd settle for near normal :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  32. Schmittie

    Schmittie Supporter Supporter

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    That right there is how I know a hike like this would kill me. I can read the map but I have no idea what any of that means. I’m familiar with snow. I shovel it off the drive every winter. I look forward to fresh snow when it’s time to deer hunt. In fact, I know snow is made of frozen water. But SNOTEL?? Snow water equivalent? Nope. I’d die out there.
     
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  33. UAHiker

    UAHiker Supporter Supporter

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    it's getting closer!!
     
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  34. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    indeed, one month to go :)

    training is going well, knock on wood

    plan on a couple of recon trips into the Bob in the coming weeks

    still lots of snow, but less than last years record totals

    much will depend on how the snow comes off- last year we hit record runoff and flows- hoping for the opposite :)
     
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  35. insector

    insector Supporter Supporter

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    Wow!.........best regards on this. I was not aware of that trail system......this should be a dandy!

    :dblthumb:

    way to go
     
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  36. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    thanks :)

    snowpack now stands at 95-110% of normal across the Bob; they are predicting near normal temperatures into the next two weeks, so not a lot of change expected in overall snowpack

    as long as we don't experience a bunch of higher than normal temps, flows should remain at near normal levels- which are obviously high this time of year, but not crazy high

    snow is generally pretty consolidated in the Spring and w/ small snowshoes we should be able to handle most of it w/o too much issue (other than it takes longer to cover miles), we'll also try to plan as many pass crossings as possible in the morning before the snow starts to deteriorate as the day wears on, ditto for larger stream crossings (they are typically lowest in the morning)

    three options (each w/ additional options)-
    1- route where we are confident flows w/ be at or below normal- this is our shortest route option, but includes one major river ford (and several lesser, but tough fords)
    2- route where stream levels are near or slightly above normal- our second shortest route, but still some tough fords
    3- route where stream levels are above to greatly above normal- the longest route and the one w/ the most snow travel

    hoping for option 1 :D

    [​IMG]
     
  37. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    shakedown trip into the Bob this past weekend; snowshoes are not optional- we found a lot more snow at mid elevation than we were expecting, 3-4' on timbered areas

    https://bushcraftusa.com/forum/threads/foray-into-the-bob-marshall-wilderness.250266/

    our longer route is going to be longer yet with that much snow, probably adding a day over what we anticipated originally

    our shorter routes are completely dependent on flows, which are up significantly up after 3-4 days of warm weather, we're supposed to start a cooler trend starting tomorrow which should lower flows, although quite a bit of rain so that might swell them

    anyways we won't know until the day before which route we'll take, always interesting :)
     
  38. insector

    insector Supporter Supporter

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    Lotsa snow up top here also.............more than I remember ever. Streams are maxed out and flooding in lower elevations. It is gonna complicate things allright.

    best regards
     
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  39. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    thanks :)

    the ten day weather forecast is mix of good and bad; the good- cooling temps which will slow stream flows, the bad- precipitation throughout the entire 10 day period- hiking 100+ miles in cold rain/wet snow is not fun!

    if the forecast remains the same- I'll be completely revamping my gear list- tent instead of poncho/tarp, full rain gear (jacket/pants/mitts) vs poncho/tarp, neoprene socks/thin wool liners, canister stove vs esbit, different mid-layer-fleece jacket vs vest and a larger volume pack (to fit the extra crap!)
     
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  40. Gii shi kan dug

    Gii shi kan dug Guide

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    Good luck and stay safe!
    Will be watching for updates.
     
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  41. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    ^ danke :)

    stream flows continue to decline (even below median levels) as the cooling trend remains, snow is going up instead of down, but I'd rather contend with snow vs raging rivers :)

    if the stream flows remain where they are, most likely going to go for the shorter route that includes a couple of bigger (tougher) fords

    [​IMG]
     
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  42. UAHiker

    UAHiker Supporter Supporter

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    i don't know who's more pumped.... me waiting for the trip report and dreaming about it or you waiting to do it!
     
  43. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    :) weather still looks very iffy; I won't make a final decision on gear probably until Friday morning

    here's my inReach tracker page folks can follow along with (if I remember to turn the tracking on :))

    https://share.garmin.com/MikeMoore2
     
  44. rocketbomb

    rocketbomb Guide

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    Best of luck. The weather this spring has been very unsettled for a lot of the US it seems, hopefully it gives you a break.
     
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  45. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    the flows have remained below average (which is a godsend), guessing there will be a bump up later today and tomorrow- sun is out and warming, but another cold front moving in so shouldn't be a dramatic bump; the weather forecast looks pretty dismal however- rain/snow Saturday-Monday

    probably will be making a pretty significant change to my gear

    [​IMG]
     
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  46. racetrack

    racetrack Supporter Supporter

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    Keep your powder dry. Good luck
     
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  47. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    gear list, about 5 lbs over what I was hoping- added a pound for a 65' rescue rope, shelter is 1.5 lbs heavier than the poncho/tarp I was going to use (also this route adds .5 lbs of rain gear over the poncho tarp), .5 pound for the canister stove over the Esbit setup, about .5 lbs additional clothing and about a pound heavier pack for the additional volume

    still not too bad considering the conditions

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  48. UAHiker

    UAHiker Supporter Supporter

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    Good luck! Have a great time! So stoked for you!
     
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  49. oathkeeper762

    oathkeeper762 Bushbum & PT Wanderer Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Wishing you safe travels and a grand adventure.
     
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  50. insector

    insector Supporter Supporter

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    So you will start off with 31 pounds on your back?..........jus curious. If worse comes to worse maybe they can just delay the start date?

    YO
     
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