We meticulously packed for this trip. It wasn't our normal Sierra backpacking trip where great summer weather allows for mistakes in packing. Arctic conditions are usually present in mid-October in the high Sierra. The right amount of food, fuel, and clothing are necessary for a safe trip this time of year.
Here's my spreadsheet I used to determine what to bring. I weighed ever item with a mail scale. My pack weight plus the weight of stuff I wore was 54 lbs for this trip.
Usually, I'm in the 30 lbs range, but on this trip, we had to bring:
- Extra food to account for the expected freezing weather.
- Extra warm gear, for me that included two down jackets and an extra sleeping bag.
- A tent with rainfly. Often I'll just bring a tarp to sleep on in sunny summer weather.
I figured I'd burn 200 calories per mile on the 43 miles of backpacking with a 50lbs on my back going over steep terrain at average elevations above 11k feet, plus about 3000 calories a day for 5 days for keeping warm in the wind and cold. 23,600 calories food supply was my target.
I have a chart of extremely high calorie to weight foods:
And from that chart, I made a list of foods to bring.
I ate all those calories on the trip, and still came back 5 lbs lighter.