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Nearly sold out: just 1 spot left on 2014 guided trips

Update, 9:30 am MDT. The spot has been filled. Additional registrations will be placed on the waitlist; it would not surprise me to have another cancellation over the next two months. I thought I’d sold out my remaining 2014 trips on Friday, when there were three registrations for the remaining two spots, but on Saturday [...]

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Alaska, on a scale of its own

Earlier this winter I was awestruck by the enormous avalanche near Valdez, Alaska, that covered the highway with 40 feet of debris and blocked up the Lowe River, creating a lake upstream. I saw another similar story yesterday, courtesy of the Yale’s environment360 blog. Recent images from a NASA Landsat satellite showed a landslide in [...]

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Registration now open for 2014 trips!

January 20 Update Registrations have been coming through all weekend, and several trips actually already have more registrations than there are spots. Please proceed with registering for you first-choice trip, as all registrations received through the end of the day will be considered equally to those received earlier. (First-come, first-serve starts tomorrow.) However, if you [...]

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Registration now open for select guided trips

Earlier this morning I opened registration for three select guides trips: Backpacking Fundamentals — Feb 14-16 — West Texas Backpacking Fundamentals — Feb 17-19 — West Texas Winter Backpacking — Feb 28 – Mar 1 — Colorado The West Texas trips are conveniently scheduled over Presidents Day weekend, which should ease the long drive from [...]

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Registration schedule, policies, and tips for 2014 guided trips

The amount of interest in my guided trips is flattering, and beyond what I ever expected. It’s also problematic since I can’t offer enough supply to match the demand — at least not without putting excessive strain on my marriage, never again doing another personal trip, raising prices significantly, or outsourcing the guiding of my [...]

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Thoughts and conclusions about ski shopping for Amanda

Shh, Amanda is getting a new alpine touring ski setup for Christmas. While I’ll have to pick up the tab, it’s a win for me, too: If my wife can now backcountry ski, I’ll get to backcountry ski more. Ski shopping is a good excuse to create another spreadsheet — it’s useful to compile and [...]

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Characteristics of an expert navigator: Part II — Proficiency in the understanding and uses of tools

This post is part of a series on the characteristics of expert navigators. I’d recommend first reading the Introduction and Part I, and then returning to this latest installment. Within a few days of starting my Appalachian Trail thru-hike in 2002, I began dead-reckoning using my watch and the Databook. With surprising accuracy, I now had [...]

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Update on 2014 guided trip scheduling and registration

On the flight home from my last guided trip of 2013 three weeks ago, I began outlining my schedule for next year. Finalizing it takes time: it requires input from a number of people (e.g. Amanda, assistant guides, partners), hinges on the availability of commercial permits for land use, and — most important — demands [...]

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Characteristics of an expert navigator: Part I — Equipped with proper tools

This is Part I of a series on the characteristics of an Expert Navigator. Read the Introduction. More installments are forthcoming. Every “Ten Essentials” list I’ve seen has included a map and compass, and modern versions sometimes also include a GPS. If only the first characteristic of an expert navigator — being equipped with proper [...]

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Characteristics of an expert navigator: Introduction

Learning how to navigate was one of the most important and liberating skills that I have developed as a backpacker. On my earliest trips, when my navigation skills were at best rudimentary, I was unable to safely or confidently leave the security of obvious footpaths, foolproof blazes, and accurate signage. I also struggled to reliably [...]

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