So yah, I mostly started this thought process as a mental exercise just to do the feasibility planning. Stage 1 is lay out the peaks on map and copy into spreadsheet that includes the mileages from start etc. Stage 2 of the mental exercise is literally to figure out the daily miles, and do a loose plan of where to camp, within the constraints of how well most folks stick to a hiking plan. Planning something like this in general is really fun for me, I had a lot of fun planning my TRT but basically threw the plan out once the snow cleared and I was able to put boots to ground. An exercise like this would require you stick closer to your plan since you also have to plan your activation time in conjunction with when chasers would be around (no way I’d consider it possible to get 100% success rate). A 2m HT would probably take care of most of the southern segments, once you get into NY/VT/NH/ME I would think the HT lacks the needed reach, so time to hop on HF.
A good example of how the AT compares to the JMT/PCT (I have done the JMT too) is to look at Forester Pass which is flanked by both W6/SS-010 and W6/SS-009 and accessible from the pass itself (fyi, both zero ack’d wink wink). In that case, that’s a 4-5 hour endeavor to hit both peaks, so it’s questionable as to whether a thru hiker would bother with that; just to gain the pass is a slog from either direction. The AT OTOH most of the peaks fall right on the trail, or as noted above barely off trail. Thanks for SOTA/NPOTA map link @WG4I that matches pretty close to the map I have built thus far. It’s always been a dream of mine to finish the AT but do it as a single thru hike, and i’ve done my fair share of thru hiking, adding the SOTA component
really adds an intriguing effort that just IMHO seems fun; I would be mentally prepared for hte side trip as it is part of the experience I am looking for :D. Almost like the new trend with Fastest Known Times on these same trails…just one more way to enjoy getting out there.
So FWIW I am at the MD/PA border in the mapping phase and just shy of 70 peaks (528 points). So assuming 90 minutes per activation (setup, call, tear down) that’s 105 hours, so before boots hit the ground, you are already at ~5 days. In the grand scheme of things that is not that bad. I have still got a few states to go and I know that it gets a bit more remote/mountainous in that northern section. If it ends up being less then adding 30 days overall planning for worst case scenario, then for me it’s totally worth it, (instead of an FKT on the AT, doing a SKT (slowest, not SOTA) :D)
From a weight perspective, any HF gear would probably be best served as a 2/3 band CW Altoids transceiver with EFHW cut to length. My current sota bag is ~5lbs and is bulky, fits fine in my pack, but it is bulky (and I worry about the KX2’s sturdiness). You can also make goat and a half on this one endeavor, but uh…SOTA is not supposed to be a contest .
I will keep updating this thread for those that are interested once I finish how I would plan it out, and from a timing perspective, hitting the trail Jan 1 of 2020 would be a good window for me, otherwise I would wait for my daughter to finish her senior year, so Jan 2022. I would set my start day as January 1st for a few different reasons, I know most folks start around the beginning of spring, so maybe with the added month of activation time Feb 1 is a good fallback plan. Starting on NYD though just adds more to the experience.
Oh, and to the above post about the West Highland Way I would totally love to hit the trail in G for some thru hiking. Is that the trail with the “May” challenge? Every time I visit the UK, I just love how green and open it is, the wife and I are planning on possibly spending a few years living (retiring…) in the UK
More to come as I get closer to finishing the map and stage 1 of planning…