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  1. #1

    Default Does "slackpacking" count?

    So I'm new to site and not seeking controversies but I do have some questions. I'm starting next week and want to know if "slack - packing" counts for a through hike. Until now I've been just a section hiker.Thanks! :-)

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    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
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    Folks will have rather strong opinions one way or the other. In the end though only you can determine for yourself whether it counts.
    igne et ferrum est potentas
    "In the beginning, all America was Virginia." -​William Byrd

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    Some say yes, some say no, It's up to your attitude. Blue blaze into a shelter and take a different blue blaze out, skip a 1/4 mile of the AT, but you hiked twice that. Aqua blaze Shenendoah? Flip flopping? The ATC counts slack packing a few people don't. It's about the hike, not the bragging rights.

  4. #4

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    Lots of people have their own definition of what counts for a thru-hike. From ATC's perspective, it doesn't matter whether you slack pack or not, how many miles you cover in a day, what direction you go, how fast you hike, in what sequence you hike the A.T. There's a subculture of purists who claim slackpacking doesn't count. Where this came from, exactly, I don't know--it's probably inevitable in all similar pursuits.

    As far as I know, it has never been ATC's position, and we are the organization that was formed to oversee the building of the A.T. and has been the lead organization managing and protecting it ever since. We also oversee the official recognition program for 2,000-milers (thru-hikers--defined as completing the A.T. in 12 months or less--and section-hikers alike)

    In a way, slackpacking is good for the Trail and trail corridor, in that it reduces impacts associated with overnight camping, and allows more people to enjoy the Trail. Slackpacking can also help support the local communities and business, which is generally good for the Trail and for hikers.

    How you experience the A.T. is up to you. You can read our guidelines at www.appalachiantrail.org/ATCompletion.

    Your question will likely spark considerable debate.

    It would be awesome if hikers would spend as much energy debating things like how best to dig a cathole so that it will protect water quality, reduce the spread of disease, and reduce the chance that others using the Trail will be negatively affected.

    Laurie P.
    ATC

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    Registered User Walkintom's Avatar
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    Hike your own hike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dark side View Post
    So I'm new to site and not seeking controversies but I do have some questions. I'm starting next week and want to know if "slack - packing" counts for a through hike. Until now I've been just a section hiker.Thanks! :-)
    Yes , as said.
    Different folks have different opinions though about what matters to them.
    In the end, its all stupid
    If you are hiking to get your name on a list, you may be doing it for wrong reasons.

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    What shuttle service providers are ATC sanctioned?

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    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
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    This link will take you to information about shuttles -- http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hiki...transportation
    igne et ferrum est potentas
    "In the beginning, all America was Virginia." -​William Byrd

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    As already mentioned, there are many different definitions/opinions. If you want some authority to cite to support the opinion that slackpacking is part of a thru hike, then the ATC says

    Those who hike the Trail in less than one year are called "thru-hikers"

    It says absolutely nothing about carrying your own gear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dark side View Post
    So I'm new to site and not seeking controversies but I do have some questions. I'm starting next week and want to know if "slack - packing" counts for a through hike. Until now I've been just a section hiker.Thanks! :-)
    absolutely not. it's cheating

  11. #11

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    Thru hiking means you went from one end of the trail to the other in one go. Doesn't matter if you lugged a full pack all the way, a day pack or no pack. The only problem with slack packing is if you start to make a habit of it, it can get really, really expensive.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post

    Those who hike the Trail in less than one year are called "thru-hikers"
    Quite ridiculous that 12 mo would be a thru hike, and 12 mo + 1 day wouldnt.

    Most people could go home for 6 mo off in the middle and still do it in 12 mo. Is that really a thru?? ( if going right direction and seasonal timing)

    All definitions are completely arbitrary, and stupid including the ATC's.

    But, there is a way to solve these issues.
    We can grade all hikes based on difficulty factors , to reach a score that will range from 0 to 100
    The score can follow the hikers name on the 2000 miler list
    Then everyone can compare others scores to their own "real thruhike"

    You start with a score of 50
    You recieve points for faster hike, more wt carried, bad weather, cold weather, nights on trail
    You lose points for trail magic, yellow blazing, aqua blazing, slower hike, good weather, zeros, nights off trail, accepting rides

    Unless you spend every night on trail, and never yellow blaze, you cant get a 100

    Ill leave yall to work out the details.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-14-2015 at 17:06.

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    In the truest sense, adventure shouldn't be bound by rules. Of course, some of us require order and are bound by strong opinions and belief. While I don't feel thru-hiking is much of an "adventure" (but I love it just the same, as it is quite challenging), many thru-hikers do. Naturally, there is plenty of adventure that can be had in the course of a thru-hike. Most of it occurs when the unexpected transpires: a lift down a mountain road on the back of a motorcycle, a bear crossing your path, a snake crawling into your sleeping bag, etc. When we impose rules we limit our exposure to possibility. Why other impose rules on others is beyond me; I carried my crap the whole way, but I didn't give a damn about what others were doing: that was their journey.

    Rhetorically speaking, if it doesn't affect you, why worry what others are doing? Does it undermine your accomplishments when someone else does things differently, their way?

    The ol' 'HYOH,' 'live and let live,' 'live and let die'...should all apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    absolutely not. it's cheating
    Like golfing with a cart.

  15. #15

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    Don't most northbounders slack the last 5 miles up to Baxter Peak?

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    If I live to be 90 years old, I'm going to hike the trail from end to end. I will probably take 364 days to do it and have someone carry my gear for me. But if some young wippersnapper tells me "that's not a REAL thru hike", he will be receive a severe ignoring by me ;-)

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    Since the vast majority of "thru hikers" don't finish I would worry more about finishing than the style in which you do it. If slack packing removes the burden and allows a more enjoyable experience and increases your chance of accomplishing your goal then great, do it.

  18. #18

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    A dangerous question on this site. Some folks have strong opinions.

    My theory is that unless someone starts the trail with all the food and gear on their back to make it to the other end than every other hike is compromise. That's not very realistic so then the definition of a thru hike is whatever folks will agree to. ATC has published "rules" that a hiker must self certify prior to applying for a certificate. Many folks have applied for the certificate and therefore they have tacitly accepted the ATC "rules" of the game. There are some folks who have dayhiked all or nearly all of the trail and have covered ever mile of the trail. They are thruhikers.

    it is interesting over the years to have met many through hikers in the whites and Gorham who admit that at some point along the trail they became less of a purist and have embraced slackpacking.

    Ultimately anyone can apply to ATC for a thruhike certificate, its a self certification, there is no proof required. If a person wants to delude themselves and others by sticking a certificate on the wall there is no one stopping them. If you are the type of person who allows others to diminish your accomplishment by claiming their hike is more "pure" than yours I am sorry for you. You cant change other folks, all you can change is how you regard them.

    That said, having done all sorts of different variations of hiking over the course of my AT journey, just realize that slackpacking with paid shuttlers is going to cost a lot of money and take a real long time as inevitably adding in a shuttle can eat up half a day. I would expect someone intentionally starting out with the plan to slack with shuttles is going to lose interest. There have been group hikes where they slack a section and a van meets them every night to either bring them camping gear or bring them to a shuttle. They count their hikes as thruhike and the cost is spread over several folks plus there is not as much back and forth driving.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lauriep View Post
    In a way, slackpacking is good for the Trail and trail corridor, in that it reduces impacts associated with overnight camping, and allows more people to enjoy the Trail. Slackpacking can also help support the local communities and business, which is generally good for the Trail and for hikers.
    That is absurd.
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

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    There is no requirement to carry a pack at all, it is just a luxury that many chose to carry.


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