028: It’s All Uphill From Here

Today on The First 40 Miles, The Top 5 Tips that will help you make it through the tough uphill climbs. On the SUMMIT Gear Review, we’ll show you a vast improvement to the humble hiking stick. For the Backpack Hack of the Week, noodles noodle everywhere. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from Mr. Emerson.

Show Notes: Episode 028


Girls Camp prep

Survival Skills the youth leaders will be teaching:

  • Know when to use these knots: Square Knot, 2 Half hitches, Bowline
  • 2 methods of purifying water
  • How to signal for help (and contact local authorities)
  • How to identify and prevent camp pollution at water sources
  • 3 types of emergency shelters
  • Sever Weather: Lightning, tornado, avalanche, flood
  • Bedroll or emergency ground bed made of natural materials

What will the real survival skills at Girls Camp be? Surviving with under 4 hours of sleep a night…

Top 5 Tips for Backpacking Uphill

Keep your pace, but shorten your stride

  • Don’t be tempted to stop on the uphill
  • Keep steady pace
  • REMEMBER: Stopped is zero miles per hour.

Exertion breath

  • Breathing is an important part of pain management—or uphill management.
  • A forceful breath out

Try the Rest step

  • Stand up completely with the leg that you stepped forward with, and let your knee lock briefly
  • That gives your quadriceps and glutes a chance to rest on each step
  • Even that split second rest, really helps as you climb the trail

Try Trekking Poles

  • Heather recently tried trekking poles
  • Study on trekking poles: Muscular and metabolic costs of uphill backpacking: are hiking poles beneficial?
  • The study says “By redistributing some of the backpack effort, pole use alleviated some stress from the lower extremities and allowed a partial reversal of typical load-bearing strategies.”
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11128857

M&Ms= Mantra & Music

  • Mantras: Man versus mountain, one step at a time, I am strong, Whatever doesn’t kill you…
  • Music: High energy, since your steps will be shorter, you can keep tempo with a faster song

SUMMIT Gear Review™: LEKI Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles


  • Carbon Shaft
  • Foam Grips which are edgeless, and comfortable, so no matter how many miles you go, they’ll feel great
  • Wrist strap (security strap) made of wicking material and dries quickly
  • Baskets on bottom are standard trekking baskets (you can remove them and the poles can compress down even more compact.
  • Purpose of baskets (snowshoe concept)


  • Super compact, so you won’t be poking people if you put them away in your pack
  • The push-button release mechanism that slides part of the pole into itself, and the rest pulls apart and folds
  • Very easy to adjust, using their “Speed Lock”. Flip latch out, adjust to desired length, and flip latch back. Holds securely


  • Sold as a pair
  • 14.6 oz for the pair
  • 110-130cm
  • (Micro Vario Carbo Lady goes down to 105 cm)
  • Fold down to just 15.5″


  • Wipe clean before collapsing so grit doesn’t get inside


  • $200


  • Trekking poles made me think more strategically
  • Felt like jet packs on the trail
  • Incredibly invaluable on uphill
  • Not as noticeable on downhill
  • Put my weight on wrist straps (aka security straps)
  • Gave me crazy amounts of speed
  • Any time you are doing a significant amount of elevation gain, bring your trekking poles

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Rice Thread Noodles

  • Rice or Bean Thread Noodles (no hot water needed)
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be found at most good sized grocery stores in the Asian aisle
  • Just need water to rehydrate and soften
  • Infinite recipe ideas!

Challenge: Try these at home, and see if you can come up with a recipe that you can bring on your next trip!

Trail Wisdom

“Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson