The Ultimate Mountaineering Food?
Cover: The birthday boy happily cutting his cake at 9400 feet.
Need to pack in the calories for a summit push and also celebrate a birthday all in one go. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you what I think will be the biggest thing in sports nutrition since someone decided that Clif bars were actually made of edible materials: Birthday Cake!
This gastronomical revelation was revealed when we decided to summit our local high point on a weekend that also happened to be one of the participant’s birthday. Also, food shopping while hungry, never a good idea…
At 10 miles and 4000 ft +/- round trip, Mt Wrightson isn’t making the cover of Nat Geo anytime soon. But it’s close to home and quite brutal.
The high carbohydrate content and excellent flavor make cake vastly superior to energy gels or other lesser athletic foods. Modern whipped frosting has so little actual organic compounds in it that melting or spoilage is not really a problem. Packability can be a problem, but nothing says “step aside” to oncoming traffic like a fully loaded 60l pack with a cake strapped to the top. As one would imagine, we got many puzzled looks from passing day hikers. Fully kitted out backpackers hand carrying an Oreo cake to the summit of a mountain is not something that you see every day.
We bivvied on the saddle just before the steep, final ascent. The next morning, after a brief summit push, we reached the top and festivities commenced. Again we were looked on with disdain by other hikers as we savored our still relatively intact birthday cake and epic panoramic view.
Blood sugar spiked, the hike down was much faster.