Teton Traverse Nutrition: Part 2


By Colin Montgomery

Last week we looked at the caloric demands of Crux Award Winner Ryan Burke’s Teton Traverse. This week we dive into the details of what he will be eating when and why. We needed to find a way to provide the most calories for the least weight while still fueling him effectively to maintain a high level of performance. We broke this meal plan up into two sections: the food he will eat each day while moving in between meals ( i.e. movement nutrition) and the meals he will eat (i.e. bivy nutrition). These caloric expenditures are based off of Part 1 of this article using Ryan’s Grand Teton Trip as a caloric baseline. We are continuing to monitor Ryan’s longer training events to gain a better understanding of his precise caloric needs.

Movement Nutrition:
Ryan’s hourly nutrition will equal roughly 350-375 calories, 76-83g of carbohydrate, and weigh 3.1 Oz.

Every hour:
(1) 20 Oz of water mixed with one packet of GU Roctane Energy Mix

  • Each Packet is 250 calories, 59g of carbohydrate, 320mg of sodium
  • Each packet weighs 2.3 Oz
  • Ryan can’t eat all of these calories with solid food. We need him to drink calories. This mix also provides a large amount of carbohydrate, and enough sodium to help offset sodium loss via sweating.

(2) Half a Twix peanut butter bar …or… 3 individual Clif bar energy blok chews. 
Why the choice? To give Ryan variety to see which option works best for his stomach.

  • Half a Twix bar contains 125 calories, 17g of carbohydrate, 100 mg of sodium  and weighs .9 oz
  • Three Shot Blok chews contain 99 calories, 24g of carbohydrate, 100 mg of sodium. Three chews weigh 1.16 Oz
  • The reason we vary between candy bar and a chew is candy bars are more calorically dense, however, chews have a sugar profile that allows them to be digested and utilized quicker

Every 4 Hours:
(1) Probar meal bar …or… half a peanut butter sandwich on a bagel. 
Why the choice? Again, to give Ryan variety.

  • A Probar meal bar contain 370 calories, 48 g of carbohydrate, 17g fat, 9g of protein, 20mg of sodium and weighs 3 Oz.
  • Half a peanut butter sandwich on a bagel contains 310 calories, 42g of carbohydrate, 600 mg of sodium, 9g of fat, 18g of protein and weighs 3 Oz.
  • We want him consuming additional meals to provide him with protein to help limit muscle protein breakdown and damage as well as provide fat that can be used for fatty metabolism later in his traverse
  • We have given Ryan the choice so he can test which option works best for his stomach and is easiest for him to eat during movement

Bivy Nutrition
Breakfast and Dinner provide 3,015 calories per day and weigh approximately 2 pounds.


  • 1 Cup Granola
  • 2 serving instant milkman’s powdered milk
  • 2 Scoops BSN True Mass
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 Probar Meal bar 
  • With Breakfast and at hour six Ryan will take 1x ProLab caffeine capsule.
  • 1,581 calories, 225g of carbohydrate, 71g of Protein, 34g of Fat
  • Breakfast weighs 13.6 Oz.
  • Granola, powdered milk, and a mass gainer are a light way to get a ton of carbohydrates into Ryan early in the morning without a lot of weight in his pack.


  • 2 Cups pre-cooked Rigatoni
  • 3.52 Oz. lemon butter sauce
  • 2 oz parmesan
  • 1,434 calories, 97g of carbohydrate, 38g of protein
  • Dinner weighs: 9.6 Oz.
  • Ryan typically eats pasta with a meat sauce after long days. Although this is a great recovery meal with ample protein and carbohydrate, meat sauce is heavy and not calorically dense enough to be worth carrying. Lemon butter sauce decreases his protein intake but drastically increases his calories for dinner and cuts down almost 5 Oz. on weight.
  • Ryan is pre-cooking the pasta as he will not be bringing a stove with him during the traverse


  • Ryan will have access to water along the way and will be able to refill several times throughout the day.
  • Ryan will be carrying one 1 Liter Nalgene water bottle which holds roughly 32 Oz of water for the duration of the trip
  • We want Ryan to consume roughly 20 Oz. of water per hour. The body can absorb roughly 500ml of water per hour or 17 Oz. We are having Ryan consume extra roughly 91ml extra to help stave off mild dehydration that will negatively affect performance. In well trained athletes they can absorb more than 500ml of water per hour at altitude and in heat. We will be testing this hydration strategy in Ryan’s next scouting trip.

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***Ryan will be caching food before the traverse so he doesn’t have to carry seven days worth of food at one time. He will set off on the first day carrying 3 days worth of food. When day 4 starts he will then reach a cache containing two more days of food. Finally on day 6 he will reach his final cache with two more days of food which will complete the traverse. Pack Weight decreases with these intervals to demonstrate how consuming each day’s food supply will lighten his pack.

These meals provide Ryan with enough calories to sustain his level of activity and recover after the day’s event is complete. The meals follow an approximate 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio which is ideal for recovery from these type of endurance events.

By consuming calories throughout each day we hope to limit the amount of muscle and glycogen breakdown Ryan experiences and therefore decrease his level of fatigue and soreness which will negatively impact his performance.

We chose these meals as they are calorically dense, can be made ahead of time and cached, and are items Ryan typically eats during these type of events. By doing this we can limit the possibility of negative effects from eating new meals and provide him with a meal that will satiate him and be far more substantial than strictly eating gu’s, candy bars, and supplements.

Although Ryan will be operating in a caloric deficit throughout the majority of this event this nutritional plan and strategy should limit the amount of weight he loses and fatigue he experiences.

Ryan will be testing this nutrition plan in a few weeks during a scouting trip. It is possible he will not be able to stomach that many calories or may have an adverse affect to some of the meals. We’ll continue change and adjust as we learn more about Ryan’s caloric demands, and what he can stomach. 

Email Colin@mtntactical.com



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