What It Takes A 1,100-mile Alaskan trek demands light gear and 15,000 calories a day

February 17, 2003

ON FEB. 23, Slate Stern, a trial lawyer from Santa Fe, will begin
the Iditarod Trail Invitational, in which he and a partner, Tom
Possert, will attempt to trek 1,100 miles from Knik, Alaska, to
Nome. The competition's 33 racers--who have the option of taking
a 350-mile course and traveling by bike, snowshoes or
cross-country skis--must haul their own supplies. (There are drop
spots every 100 miles at which they can pick up food and
equipment.) Here Stern lays out his gear. --Dimity McDowell

1
SHOES
New Balance 806 Trail Runners ($85)
(www.newbalance.com)

"My feet are size 10, but my shoes are a 12 to account for
swelling and all the things I'm fitting in them other than my
feet: thin SmartWool liners, which are wrapped in 2.5 gallon
Ziploc bags. The Ziplocs work better than any moisture barrier
I've used. My feet will be wet, but the bags retain heat, and
they'll stay warm. Over the Ziplocs I'll wear a thicker pair of
SmartWool Mountaineering socks."

2
TENT
Black Diamond Betamid ($98)
(www.bdel.com)

"It's a racer's dream because of its light weight (two pounds,
five ounces). But it's going to be held aloft by trekking poles,
and come mile 750, I might also want a floor. If the conditions
are especially tough, I might opt for Black Diamond's Eldorado at
one of the drop points. It's a more standard tent: four pounds,
eight ounces--and it has a floor."

3
JACKET
Arc'teryx Gamma MX ($280)
(www.arcteryx.com)

"Layering is key, as I plan on averaging 50 miles a day, during
which the temperature can range from minus-40 degrees to 35
above. This is my top layer, which is made of a medium-weight,
highly breathable, nearly weatherproof fabric. You can roll
around in the snow, and you don't feel wet or cold."

4
JUNK FOOD

"I plan on chowing down 15,000 calories a day, which I can
basically get from 12 peanut butter cups, two king-sized
Butterfingers, one box of chocolate chip cookies, one bag of
French Burnt Peanuts, one bag of fried pork rinds, one bag of
dehydrated Oriental-style spicy chicken, three Twinkies, my
beloved Hostess Apple Pies, one large jar of peanut butter and
one regular jar of Goober grape jelly. All consumed sans
utensils."

5
HEADLAMP
Black Diamond SpaceShot ($59.50)
(www.bdel.com)

"No need for sunscreen since I'll only see six or seven hours of
daylight a day. This headlamp, which has both halogen and LED
bulbs, burns through six batteries in nine hours. So I'll need a
minimum of 150 AA batteries. There are nights when I'm counting
on the moon to guide my way, which will conserve energy."

6. Arc'teryx Gamma Salopette suit ($275) (www.arcteryx.com); 7.
Mountain Safety Research XGK Expedition Stove ($109.95)
(www.msrcorp.com); 8. Mountain Safety Research fuel bottle
($10.95) (www.msrcorp.com) 9. Cloudveil Enclosure Mountain Parka
($245) (www.cloudveil.com); 10. Black Diamond Carbon Flicklock
Traverse Poles ($125) (www.bdel.com); 11. Patagonia R2 fleece
jacket ($149) (www.patagonia.com); 12. The North Face Tundra
sleeping bag ($239) (www.thenorthface.com); 13. Therm-a-Rest
Ridge Rest ($23) and Luxury LE self-inflating mattress ($110)
(www.cascadedesigns.com/thermarest); 14. Outdoor Research Deluxe
bivy sack ($269) (www.orgear.com); 15. Nalgene bottle ($8)
(www.nalgene-outdoor.com); 16. Outdoor Research water bottle
parka ($19) (www.orgear.com); 17. Crescent Moon snowshoes ($239)
(www.crescentmoonsnowshoes.com)

COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL CLARK (GEAR) 1 COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL CLARK (GEAR) 2 COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL CLARK (GEAR) 3,6,11 COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL CLARK (GEAR) 4 COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL CLARK (GEAR) 5 COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL CLARK (GEAR) 7,8 COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL CLARK (GEAR) 9 COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL CLARK (GEAR) 10,12 COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL CLARK (GEAR) 13 COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL CLARK (GEAR) 14 COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL CLARK (GEAR) 15,16 COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL CLARK (GEAR) 17 COLOR PHOTO: KAREN KUEHN

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)