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Weighty Matters at Philmont...

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OGE, there were scales at the med-check, in the front room. I used them myself to see how much weight I might lose on the trip (10 lbs for those keeping score). None of our Crew were weighed, but none of us were even outside of the "Recommended Weight" category. I was probably the heaviest, at 188 lbs at 72". They did check blood pressure for all adults, and wanted to see any prescribed medication. I only saw one hiker there who I would call obese - and he was up there age-wise, as well. He stood out like a sore thumb, but he had just come over Hart Peak, a nice little 1,000' climb in the heat.


I was more amazed at some of the pack weights. We saw one kid weigh his pack at 45 lbs, and heard him say that was over half his body weight, which was 86 lbs. We saw a number of 50 lb + packs while hanging out in the Welcome center pavilion. Most appeared to be very proud of the heavy weight. I'm not sure what all they were carrying? Our Ranger, a Naval Academy student, told us his previous Crew was carrying too many clothes, and he tried to talk them out of it. He said they were giving clothes away at the first staffed camp they came to. Some learn the hard way.

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BTW --


Based on the shakedown, the zip lines will only be available for Scouts at the Jambo.


Seems the adults lied too much about their weight - which is programmed in to the computerized breaking system on the rig -- so after about 20 "rescues" to correct that problem, the decision was made to only have Scouts on the lines next year.


I was registered to staff next year (maybe one of the first to sign up) - but the Doc wants me to work on getting off some meds first, so he won't approve my physical. So, while I won't be at Jambo, I think I'll go back to PTC - had a great time last week!


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I worked 4 summers at Philmont in the fairly recent past, also taken my share of treks. I was not a ranger but I got pulled into a couple PhilSARs. I have a doctor friend who volunteers in the health lodge every summer for a week or so. This is what I know:


The do review forms and they do own a scale. They look at blood pressure, smoking and other health issues. Some are easy to see and some are easy to hide.


Health forms can be up to 12 months old so there is room for some movement in 12 months.


There is an absolute max weight, I think its 300 lbs. Below that, the more you weigh, the longer it will take to haul you to a health lodge vehicle.


Before they had weigh limits you had a person or two die every year and its probably about the same now. Weight limits are not just about death.


If you are out of shape or have health issues you will have less fun and it will burden your crew. You'll most likely survive, but the better prepared, the better the trek for everyone.


There are plenty of people who get pulled off the trail. If that means you don't have enough leadership, you put the crew in jeopardy. Yes, they'll likely have a ranger hike to replace you, but I guarantee it will mean your crew missing out on something.


Finally, Philmont is worth doing whatever you have to do to go. Lose weight, exercise, pack light and enjoy the experience.



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When I went to Double H (run by Philmont staff but no longer used by the BSA) the medical history form had a height and weight requirement. Unlike Mr. Allen, I'm vertically challenged and at age 51 I needed to either grow another two inches or lose 8 lbs to qualify (I chose the latter).


I lost the weight to come in at around 199 lbs at 5'7". I also did some practice hikes (full backpack, 10 plus miles a day, etc.) and some aerobic training. I was the oldest adult by about 10 years and the scouts were high school athletes (three football players, two wrestlers, one track/cross country, one skier) so I was bringing up the rear so to speak. My "shape" wasn't a health issue but a "fun" issue. Add the elevation (approx. 7,000 ft) and heat, one does tire easily. As I explained to my 15 and almost 17 year old sons on the trek with me, dad is always carrying an extra backpack around with him!


I and the crew did fine on the trek but if I had to do it over again I would have dropped an extra 10 lbs or more. I don't recall being weighted in New Mexico but they did take our blood pressure immediately before the trek began. If one doesn't make the recommended height/weight requirements, you are doing your crew a disservice trying to skirt the issue.

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  • 1 month later...

From 09 trek and a friend's son (former ranger)

Used to be min 2 adults. If one can't go/leaves trail, admin assigns you to hike with sister crew, if available. Or move a 'spare' adult if in contingent mode. May also re-route you if none is available so you can be with a sister crew (This happened while he was a ranger there). Being short on staff like everyone else, they do not have a ranger available to assign to you. Last option is crew leaves trail, and don't know if ever used. I've seen 3 adults often recommended in case 1 has to come off.


Our troop's experience is that admin/staff goes out of their way to keep crews going, and get ppl back on trail if at all possible.


I had decent weight, but I have multiple health issues that get me the hard stare. Contacted admin/health about a year ahead and also in spring. (anyone with issues should do so). Also got some interesting looks from Nav Acad ranger (VERY good btw) on the uphill parts. I would however fail any reasonable timed test. None of were weighed though we all looked good, weightwise at least.

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Last night I attended our council's Philmont Advisor's meeting for 2013, the first of several to come. It was all about physical fitness with lots of warnings about meeting the weight requirements. They told us without a doubt that if you are over the weight limit you will not go on the trail, you'll be heading home. Don't know if they were just blowing smoke or not. I'm gonna loose a few just to make sure.

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I have spoken to three different crews about their 2012 philmont experiences.....we are planning for a 2014 trip......fundraisers are planned and it is in motion.....


Bottom line is......All three crews said the same thing......If your or doctor was honest about your weight on your physical and you were over weight......Then the med check at philmont put you on the scale and the determining factor was other physical health issues..... BTW no one got turned away, even being 20 pounds over weight.


If you and your physician lied about it and your false weight met the BMI requirement then medical staff did not question it.




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Eagle....I need to lose about 70 pounds to get to the recommeded body weight.....I have started the process and I am down 10 pounds in 8 weeks....Now if I can keep it up for the next 20 months.


No way I would spend all that money to get out there and risk being turned away because of my weight.

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I am an engineer so I sit most of the day....I simply reduced my caloric intake.....I drink instant breakfast for breakfast and salad for lunch......then a reasonable dinner.


I am plenty active in the evening, Especially with all the running for recruiting nights for the Pack.....Played with potential tigers and wolves last night for 3 hours, I was whooped. Ya I am SM and I was helping the Pack recruit...


I just was eating about 5k calories a day....Ya know Breakfast sandwich then chinese, bbq or da big deli sandwich for lunch then a big dinner......I have my caloric intake in the neighborhood of 1500 for the day. Weigh is coming off 1-2 pounds a week, I expect to plateau at some point...I will have to change what I am doing at that point....

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