My suggestion is to go with what works for you. If that works, go for it. The one thing you don't want to do is to start experimenting with something new on race day. For me personally, I've experimented different ways on my long training runs to see what works best. I've found 3 that all work great for me. 1. Ucan and S caps w/ water. 2. Vitargo and S Caps w/water, and 3. Tailwind Nutrition. So I choose 1 of the three and have no GI problems and feel fueled through my long runs. Again, what works for me, may not work for you.
As far as protein, it's really more important after the race for recovery. The carbs are what will fuel you through the long arduous journey.
In response to:
I will be a back-of-the-packer on the PPA. Any suggestions for nutrition for the long journey? I typically run using EFS as my carb/electrolyte fluid mix (96 cal., 24 g carb per 12 oz)and use Hammer Gels. I did the same in my road marathon. Should I do anything different when doing the climb? More protein?