Trip Planning Tips from Martina & Tania Halik | Coast Mountain Epic
Martina and Tania Halik brought the house down during their presentation at the 2017 Fall Series. The audience sat captivated and mind-blown on how this incredible mother-daugther duo embarked on a five and a half month ski traverse from Squamish, BC to Skagway, Alaska. Many of us couldn’t imagine a 3 day long ski traverse, let alone a five and a half month trip! They weren’t kidding when they called it an Epic. The Haliks are coming back by popular demand for a repeat presentation on Fri, Feb 16, at Centennial Theatre. If you missed it, here is your chance to hear their story live!
They will also be presenting at the Trip Planning Workshop this Saturday, Feb 17, at 2:30 pm at Centennial Theatre, alongside Janneke Vissers who hiked 600 km of The Great Divide Trail by herself. The duo will reveal how they prepared for their Epic from route finding to meal planning. What were the secrets to their successes? And what would they do differently next time?
Below we share just a few of their trip planning insights from training to gear choices. All photos and quotes are from their awesome blog – Coast Mountain Epic – but be sure to catch them at the Ski Show and Trip Planning Workshop to hear more!
Two Approaches To Training
Martina and Tania took two very different approaches to training for a 5 and a half month long epic as they explain their “Strong Like Muskox” blog post. Martina took the “mellower” approach:
I went rock climbing, took up trail running, played lots of tennis, mountain biked, did lots of yoga… I tried to do at least a little bit of something every day. After a few months of this I decided ramp it up a bit and had a personal trainer/kinesiologist in Fernie put together a personal workout program for me. Suddenly I was sore in all sorts of new places.
Tania kicked her training off with a 3 month canoe expedition through the North West Territories and Nunavut taking the much more hardcore approach:
Thousands of kilometers of paddling, battling beastly headwinds, navigating scary rapids and loving it all (in that type 2 – type 3 fun kinda way). Dozens of portages, lugging 450 pounds of gear across marshy, wet, bug infested tundra. Getting bluff charged by muskox, visits from bears, vicious blackflies and so much delicious fresh caught fish. If that won’t toughen you up I don’t know what will.
Good Old Reliable Maps & New Smartphone Technologies
Gone are the days when you need to spend loads of money buying and tracking down expensive maps (especially the frustrating ones ones that only have a little corner of your route on them). Custom made and free maps are better! Create your route on google earth complete with food drop locations, crux avalanche and crevasse areas and cabin locations. Then go to www.caltopo.com and import your google earth file over whatever topo or satellite map you prefer at whatever scale you choose (we chose 1:100000). Select the your area, hit print, and get all your maps to your exact specifications.
Martina and Tania used the maps as an aid to their smartphones running the Gaia gps app (they brought two phones so they had a backup). This app works without reception as long as all maps are downloaded ahead of time. Read more in their blog post “The How To’s, What Ifs, & Scary Beans”.
Who would’ve thought that you can complete a 5 month ski traverse with toboggans made out of krazy carpets? We are amazed at the adventure planning hacks the Haliks used that they outlined in their blog post “I Will Be My Own Machine”.
The krazy-carpet “John Baldwin style” toboggans are a far cry from a camper trailer but they do make it a lot easier to carry our tent and cooking shelter. These are cheap, super lightweight, and easy to make – we added a couple of awesome dry bags from MEC to keep our gear organized and dry. These toboggans roll up easily to be carried on our packs when they are not being used. If you’re planning a traverse of your own, consider making one of these for yourself to save your back from an extra 20+ pounds of weight! ( https://www.johnbaldwin.ca/trip-planning-toboggan.asp )
150 Days Worth of Dinners, Lunches, Breakfast and Snacks
It was a question of epic proportions that we did not have the answer to before we started planning this trip oh so many months ago: How exactly do you prepare 150 days worth of dinners, lunches, breakfasts and snacks? How do you make it all instant, super light, high calorie, and healthy? In other words we wanted to lose weight and stay fat – not really a common problem for the western world these days… We really had to make it up as we went along, and tried to have some fun at the same time. We looked to our gear as well, asking ourselves what was essential to our safety and what compromises could be made?
In the end they succeeded in lowering the weight of their food to around a pound and a half per person per day. Check out more in their helpful post on: Losing Weight – Slimming Down For An Expedition.
The Logistic Ship
Martina Halik summed up the trip planning process pretty well here:
Some days I feel like I’m drowning. I’m being pulled to dark and icy depths by the dreaded many-tentacled kraken of logistics. The sheer enormity of planning and provisions and strategizing solutions threatens to overwhelm me, and I go into panic mode; flinging out emails and phone calls like desperate little air bubbles. Every once in a while, it works. My head breaks the surface, the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day on the Logistic Ship.
But as with any challenge, the reward of dedicate so much time, planning and effort into an adventure far surpasses the difficult days. The stories, laughs and bonding moments made the Epic absolutely worth it. Check out some photos from their trip below and be sure to catch them at the Ski Show and Trip Planning Workshop!