Do not forget to add some lubricating lotion between your legs for long hikes. It might keep you from getting mighty sore down under.
Diamox is a prescription drug. I started taking half a pill instead of a full one on altitude climbs where I normally use it. It seems to work as well with fewer side effects. You get up less for bathroom breaks in the middle of the night and your finger do not tingle.
Remember to load the heavy items into the center of your pack. Too much weight up high will cause your pack to pivot on your hips, which makes for an uncomfortable ride.
While hiking on snow or in the bright sun, you should be prepared to constantly reapply a good sun block to your lips. Each application does not seem to last very long but its worth the hassle of putting it on so often because a lip sunburn will take a long time to heal.
Boots too Small?
It is easy to buy hiking boots that are too small. I measure my feet exactly and then start trying on boots that are one full size larger in length than I have measured. When it comes to the width, I buy the same that I normally wear. The width of your shoe also effects the volume or inside height. When the boot's volume is too high you will not be able to keep your foot in the back of your boot while hiking.
While you're rushing to camp, take time during the day to drink plenty of water, eat enough slow burn food, readjust your pack, put on sun block and care for your feet. These items will delay your camp arrival time by an hour at most, but it will make a big difference in your level of comfort and overall enjoyment of the trip.
Eat Slow Burn Food
After reading the book The Glucose Revolution, I now plan my hiking meals around slow burn foods. Last year on Mount Whitney I ran out of food energy at mid-afternoon on the 1st day. To stop this from happening, I now eat slow burn foot that will last for hours of hard hiking.
Dry Those Socks
I take two sets of Marino Wool Socks on every overnight hike and while wearing one I am drying the other. A change into dry socks can reduce stress on your feet and discomfort. It makes a big difference to hike in dry socks.
Just Try Down
Once you sleep in a good quality down sleeping bag you will never return to any of the others.
A Real Beating
A few years ago, on the last day of a tough hike my external frame pack beat me as I walked out to the car-- at least it felt like a beating. The pack was loaded down with lots of winter gear and it moved every which way as I walked. I retired the pack when I got home, and now I exclusively use internal frame packs.
I always place one coffee filter on the inlet of my water filter and where possible I pump out of a collapsible plastic bucket. As a result, my water filter now lasts years instead of months. I have been using the same filter now for three years. Just because one coffee filter works well doesn't mean that two will work any better. If you try this, you will find the pumping mighty hard.
Don't Breathe so Hard
A few years ago I stared power breathing on high altitude hikes over 9000 feet in order to get more oxygen into my blood and it seemed to work great. But I discovered that I was breathing too hard and too deeply. It seemed that my stomach and intestines were getting upset on every high altitude hike and I had all kinds of theories but no solution. It didn't take me long to figure out that the sick stomach I got was a side effect of my breathing. Now when it comes to power breathing, I've learned not to overdo it. I just returned from climbing to 13,500 feet where I still did some power breathing but I did it much slower and calmer. On the hike I had plenty of oxygen for my brain and muscles with out the internal upset. This was a great discovery.
My legs have been cramping on hard hikes from my youth. In fact, on one hike when I was 17, I had to return home early because my legs were cramping so badly. Everything I tried failed to fix the problem but it did seem that with better fitness my cramps were reduced. Two years ago I discovered sodium free electrolyte tablets and I now have hiked for two seasons without any cramping and at least two of the hikes were the hardest of my life. This was a great discovery.
Sleeping Pads on Snow
When it comes to their insulation value, not all pads are created equal. When you are sleeping on snow a pad with a low R-value, you will freeze, even with a super warm bag. You will need to weigh the trade off of a warmer sleep or a higher hiking load. Personally, I now always choose more pad weight and warmer nights when I camp on snow.
The Best Socks Ever
Since I discovered Marino Wool socks, that is all I will wear. They come in a variety of thickness to match your needs. With some boots I wear one pair but with others two socks are needed. The comfort of Marino Wool cannot be compared to any other fabrics.
Those Hiking Poles
I heard some critical comments when I first started using hiking poles. Like "look mom that guy is using skiing poles in the summer". Now that lots of people have joined me in using them, the comments have dropped off. I never hike without them, but the other day I lent them to my wife and I sorely missed them. They remove a great load from your legs and on downhill slopes they spare the knees.
Yosemite National Park
Upper Yosemite Falls
Winter in Yosemite
Vernal Falls in Yosemite