Saturday, October 24, 2015

Death Valley preparations and equipment

28 October
It is today I wanted to start the expedition but it is hard to find a way to get to DV (Death Valley). I take a bus Las Vegas (8am) to Beatty (Nevada) and then I'll hitch hike to Furnace Creek (DV) where my Clif Bar package is and where I'll meet the rangers. Normally in the afternoon I'll meet with Farabees Jeep Rentals and try to find a way to get to the start during the evening or early morning on Friday as I want to start at 5am.

27 October
I just flew from NYC to Las Vegas. What to do today? Shop for food, prepare the maps, read the GPS manual and insert GPS points. And find a way to get to DV tomorrow. Find also a way to be dropped at the Northern part of the National Park for the start at 5 am on the 29th.

26 October
I found and bought a 630gram and high tripod and visited the Freedom tower. At 8 am I called the rangers and at 6 pm I attended a lecture at the Explorers Club. Clif Bar just accepted to send me bars for the expedition and that is really great. Another company that believes making a difference in this expedition.

25 October
It's midnight in NYC and my day isn't finished. I spent the morning checking some info about the hurricane Patricia. During the afternoon, the sun came out and it was time for training: walking with a heavy backpack in NYC which is very enjoyable because I actually visited at the same time and walked in areas of New Jersey and Wallstreet. I took a ferry to Staten Island and back to see the statue of liberty. I entered a shop and bought some extra small electronics.

24 October
Finally some sleep. this morning I went to visit my cousin (works for OMEGA). He showed me his office and we talked expeditions, NASA, Bertrand Piccard and James Bond (all sponsored by OMEGA). During the afternoon, more preparations. Next shop in a pharmacy and buy a lightweight small tripod.

23 October
After a long night to prepare my pack and a 30 min sleep, my alarm clock told me it was time to go to Brussels airport and fly to New York. In big Apple my first stop was the Explorers Club where I got my packages arrived: tent, trekking poles, sleeping mat, satellite phone SIM card (activated successfully). No idea there was a drink for members on Fridays and a reception for Oceans protection and leading explorer Anne Doubilet, who I was happy to meet again. During the evening I was invited at a friend's place and my smartphone "died" again. No way to turn it off again. I think I know why and perhaps in 24h it will work again.

22 October 2pm.
I worked 19 hours straight yesterday. My brain was painful I had to sleep. Makes me understand I need more sleep and during the trek I'll need to sleep 6 hours the first 2-3 nights otherwise I will become a zombie -not being able to think properly- and make deadly decisions. Sleep deprivation is my biggest fear in this challenge. The accumulation of stress will be so intense.
I ordered/bought a new tent & sleeping mat. Thanks to a good discount from CascadeDesigns. A new MSR and a new Thermarest. I trust these products eyes closed as I have already older/heavier models used in all my expeditions Australia expeditions and treks.
I ordered an Iridium SIM card +75min and all my stuff should arrive in NYC (like me) tomorrow.
Hotels booked. Still need to find transport, a light tripod and to replace my stolen GoPro.
I'm off to buy new hiking trail shoes and socks. My parents come to see me later today.
I even had a job interview this morning. Seriously, I might be the only person in the world doing job interviews 24h before leaving for another continent. Crap. How am I gonna get to the airport by the way ?
I went to decathlon to by some small equipment including a new pair of trekking shoes. I'll use them in NYC.

21 October
My Millet equipment has arrived. To celebrate this here is a 360 photo of my room. On the table I'm like "what electronics and cables do I need?". Next finding a hotel, transport to get to DV and by socks and new trekking shoes. Re-contact several brands for more items and print maps. Another big day with a JCI event tonight to network and eat well.

20 October
LEKI USA was very reactive and will ship to me a new pair of carbon trekking poles. For those who never walked with (carbon) poles, well, if you find your own pace you can increase your speed a lot. In my case it's speed increase and safety. First the pain in my knees will be less but with a heavy pack, having a total of four legs prevents you many times per day to fall. And in the washouts, canyons and down the mountain at the start of the trek, it can just save my life. No LEKI, no go. Simple.

16 October
I received good news today Millet agreed to give me a PROLIGHTER MXP 60+20 backpack and a LTK600 (gram) sleeping bag. This weekend is the last one I will email potential partners to get equipment that is lighter to help in this Death Valley expedition crossing.

I just received a sample of fabric that a new company called Outback Logic. They are crowdfunding on Kickstarter for a new tent that is able to reflect most of the sunlight and keep you cool inside. See my test with light and laser beam below.