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OML Group hike Nov 15-18

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Offline JRidz

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OML Group hike Nov 15-18
« on: November 13, 2019, 02:33:50 AM »
Iíll be backpacking with a group of 7 (from Dallas, Houston and Austin) this weekend clockwise around the OML. Hoping to visit Emory Peak and the South Rim as well. Iíve posted our route and my gear list below for those interested. This will be my first trip to Big Bend, which Iím very excited about After pouring through lots of posts here and elsewhere about this trail.

Our itinerary is to arrive on Friday around 1pm, cache water at Homer Wilson and then get our permits and head out. Seems like this is doable if weíre only trying to reach Pinnacles/Boots Canyon camp that night. Night hiking isnít a problem either. Everyone in our group is aware of the plan to put in the miles so that we can finish on Monday. Darn jobs get in the way of pulling off a longer trip.

Water: it looks from the most recent water report that the usual water sources are flowing well, plus the precipitation from this weeks freeze will only help. I have 6L of capacity, but Iím planning on carrying 4L given these current conditions. Any feedback on my markers for water locations would certainly be appreciated.

Conditions: at the moment it looks like fair weather. The NOAA states highs in the 70ís in the desert and 60ís in the mountains. What Iím unsure of is if the stated lows are in the high 40ís, is that for the basin/desert/river? Should I assume the mountain lows will be closer to freezing?

Clothing: Iím switching to running pants vs. shorts for this trip, since it sounds like thereís enough brush to warrant it. Plus theyíll double as a thermal layer with my quilt, if needed. Iíll be well covered For the sun, since I donít like keeping up with sun screen. A light down puffy and wind jacket will pair for evening/morning and some extra warmth with the quilt. My shelter is a poncho tarp that Iíve used for both uses a few times with success. I tie the guy line around the waist which keeps it above my thighs and away from most brush. I wore the same trail runners comfortably on the John Muir Trail, so assuming theyíll be adequate here.

 Shelter: sounds like a fully enclosed net/bivy isnít necessary. Although, does anyone have experiences with snakes and tarantulas trying to snuggle?

Thanks in advance for any advice the community has.

Map:
https://caltopo.com/m/7CRB

Gear list:
https://lighterpack.com/r/61xohn

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Online mule ears

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Re: OML Group hike Nov 15-18
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2019, 06:48:04 AM »
JRidz welcome to BBC!  I recognize your name from Reddit UL Texas and knew that you all were planning a trip this weekend.

I find Weather Underground's forecast a bit more accurate, especially for the lows recorded at PJ.  That said you are only looking at a few degrees difference into the high 30's at 4000'.  The thing that can happen at this time of year is the desert is colder than the mountains with cold air sinking and the mass of the mountains still warm.  I would figure on temps into the 30's.  That said your clothing is essentially the same as I would carry except my Synth top is a Cap 3, just a bit heavier but I carry a vest instead of a down jacket.  Good looking list otherwise.

Your itinerary looks sound.  You can easily get to Boot canyon Friday evening, sunset is about 6:00.  The Toll Mtn. campsite will not hold your group so you will need to get campsite(s) at Boot canyon, closer to water any way.  You might not have time to climb Emory Peak depending on how well the group moves but besides saying you did it, the view from the South Rim is much better anyway.  Not sure how the group will feel about the out and back to the South Rim after climbing Blue Creek canyon but it is not a bad walk.  It would be better to figure out a way to include the Rims in the full route but that is up to you all.

As to shelter, with that forecast I would be tempted to leave the poncho tarp in the car.  I always cowboy camp and have never had any critter try to crawl in with me, Nov.-April and after the cold snap they will be much less around.  Looks like you are hitting it just right both water and weather wise. I would probably carry only 3 liters most of the trip, the longest stretch will be from Homer Wilson back to the basin with a dry camp and for that I would leave HW with maybe 5 depending on the time of day (assuming you get there midday).  The climb up Blue Creek in the afternoon is exposed and hot.  Have a great trip and give us report when you get back.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline JRidz

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Re: OML Group hike Nov 15-18
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2019, 09:30:14 AM »
Thank you for the helpful feedback, mule ears. Glad to hear my water and clothing estimates are in-line with reality.  An extra 2 oz to swap the Cap lightweight for a Montane Allez (active grid fleece) might be more appropriate for sleep/active insulation. I will suck it up and not pack my fears of the creepy crawlies. : )

If we have to pass Emory Peak Trail by another mile or so to camp, that may put it out of comfortable reach for a sunrise slack. It looks like the South Rim is accessible from the Pinnacles Trail via either the Boots Canyon Trail or East Rim Trail (or a loop of both) that would only add 1.5 miles. That would make it a full 16 mile day to Fresno Camp, but a sunrise on the South Rim would be pretty amazing, put it on the downhill day and not make us feel like we have to rush on Sunday to get to the South Rim. I'll note the different mileages and elevations from CalTopo and propose it as an option to the group. Then see how folks feel along the way.

Thanks again and I'll be sure to post a trip and water report when we get back.

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Online mule ears

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Re: OML Group hike Nov 15-18
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2019, 11:43:16 AM »
Thank you for the helpful feedback, mule ears. Glad to hear my water and clothing estimates are in-line with reality.  An extra 2 oz to swap the Cap lightweight for a Montane Allez (active grid fleece) might be more appropriate for sleep/active insulation. I will suck it up and not pack my fears of the creepy crawlies. : )

If we have to pass Emory Peak Trail by another mile or so to camp, that may put it out of comfortable reach for a sunrise slack. It looks like the South Rim is accessible from the Pinnacles Trail via either the Boots Canyon Trail or East Rim Trail (or a loop of both) that would only add 1.5 miles. That would make it a full 16 mile day to Fresno Camp, but a sunrise on the South Rim would be pretty amazing, put it on the downhill day and not make us feel like we have to rush on Sunday to get to the South Rim. I'll note the different mileages and elevations from CalTopo and propose it as an option to the group. Then see how folks feel along the way.

Thanks again and I'll be sure to post a trip and water report when we get back.

Depending on when you all get on the trail, I would consider passing on Emory, stop at Boot Spring for water then take the Colima trail over to the SW Rim trail and camp at SW3, it is a group site and has the only view off the rim from the site.  It would be 6.3 miles from the Basin.  If you can't get SW3 then you could get water from Boot Spring then up Boot canyon and take sites SE 1 and 2 (5.6 and 5.9 miles from the Basin).  Either way in the morning you could walk the SE and NE rims, refill water at Boot Spring or wait until Upper Juniper spring on the way down.

One of the problems you will have is the size of the group and campsites in the Chisos large enough to hold everyone.  See the Chisos campsite guide in the FAQ

If you haven't found it, here are the mileage logs from the OML FAQ.  They are more accurate than the estimates from Caltopo
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline elhombre

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Re: OML Group hike Nov 15-18
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2019, 02:55:41 PM »
You mentioned a "Fresno camp".  Please don't camp where everyone gets water at the Fresno creek crossing.  The valley is such that you are never more than the required 300 feet away from the creek when you a take a crap.  And the only flat spot is not more than 100 feet from the water source.  You have to climb out of the drainage to get far enough away, or crap on the side of the rocky hill where you'll need a real shovel to get any where close to 6 inches deep.  If your group wasn't planning on camping there, then I apologize for the post.

Going clockwise, after getting water from Fresno creek, climb the hill to just past the Elephant Tusk trail intersection.  There is a really big and relatively flat spot on that saddle that will hold your group just fine.  It's a well established camping spot.

We still call it the OMLL:   The Outer Mountain Latrine Loop
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Offline JRidz

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Re: OML Group hike Nov 15-18
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2019, 12:08:24 AM »
Depending on when you all get on the trail, I would consider passing on Emory, stop at Boot Spring for water then take the Colima trail over to the SW Rim trail and camp at SW3, it is a group site and has the only view off the rim from the site.  It would be 6.3 miles from the Basin.  If you can't get SW3 then you could get water from Boot Spring then up Boot canyon and take sites SE 1 and 2 (5.6 and 5.9 miles from the Basin).  Either way in the morning you could walk the SE and NE rims, refill water at Boot Spring or wait until Upper Juniper spring on the way down.

One of the problems you will have is the size of the group and campsites in the Chisos large enough to hold everyone.  See the Chisos campsite guide in the FAQ

If you haven't found it, here are the mileage logs from the OML FAQ.  They are more accurate than the estimates from Caltopo

Ah, I had forgotten about the campsite sizes after our group grew. Based on your suggestions and the NPS campground guide, I've made some updates. At least these will give us some options depending on which sites are available. Thank you again.

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Offline JRidz

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Re: OML Group hike Nov 15-18
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2019, 12:14:25 AM »
You mentioned a "Fresno camp".  Please don't camp where everyone gets water at the Fresno creek crossing.  The valley is such that you are never more than the required 300 feet away from the creek when you a take a crap.  And the only flat spot is not more than 100 feet from the water source.  You have to climb out of the drainage to get far enough away, or crap on the side of the rocky hill where you'll need a real shovel to get any where close to 6 inches deep.  If your group wasn't planning on camping there, then I apologize for the post.

Going clockwise, after getting water from Fresno creek, climb the hill to just past the Elephant Tusk trail intersection.  There is a really big and relatively flat spot on that saddle that will hold your group just fine.  It's a well established camping spot.

We still call it the OMLL:   The Outer Mountain Latrine Loop

Definitely fair to call this out. I was accounting for putting some distance between the creek and where we would camp, and it looks like the marker I set is precisely where you described. Thanks for confirming that there's that flat area to camp. Really helpful.

 


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