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Author Archive | Andrew Skurka

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Job Posting: “Mad scientist” with Exxel Outdoor’s Advanced Development Center

Exxel Outdoors — formerly American Rec, and the parent company of Sierra Designs, Ultimate Direction, Kelty, among other brands — has a job opening in its Advanced Development Center. The ADC is tasked with developing many of the “mad scientist” projects that eventually trickle down into tangible products. As one example, the ADC did the earliest prototyping for […]

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A slightly soupy version of Thai Peanut Noodles, a reliable favorite.

Dinner Idea: Thai Peanut Noodles

This Thai Peanut Noodle recipe competes with my Beans & Rice for the crowd favorite. It goes on nearly every single guided trip, and on most personal trips, especially if I have a prepared batch of sauce already in the fridge. The sauce is worthy of at-home use. Meal stats Recommended meal weight: 5.7 oz Total calories: 717 Caloric […]

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A classic Colorado start for the Dirty 30: beautiful morning light, brisk temperatures, and thin mountain air.

A dirty wake-up || Dirty 30 Race Report

Last Saturday I kicked off my ultra racing season with the Dirty 30 in nearby Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Unofficially, the 31.8-mile course has 7,800 vertical feet of gain, with elevations ranging from 7,750 to 9,500 feet. For me, this race was a perfect season-opener. It was conveniently local. The late-May date guaranteed at […]

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Live near Boulder and a size Large? Sierra Designs needs you.

Sierra Designs is a looking for a fit model. Details and an application below. Requirements Reside within a commutable distance to the Sierra Designs headquarters in northeast Boulder, Colorado (Gunbarrel) Male Size Large for tops, per SD sizing. Ideally, 44-inch chest and 34-inch waist. Work + compensation About four office visits per month, for about 2 hours […]

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East Fork, with views of the peaks surrounding Gardiner Basin. This is big country.

Finest route in the High Sierra? Introducing the Kings Canyon High Basin Route.

Seven years ago I thru-hiked with Buzz Burrell the Sierra High Route, which parallels the crest of the High Sierra between Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park and Yosemite National Park. Its 200 miles represents less than 1 percent of the total miles that I have hiked, yet the experience proved to be one of the most […]

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A closeup reveals how much topographic detail is compressed onto these maps. The upper map of Utah is at a scale of 1:75,000, or more than 1 mile per inch; the lower map is 1:250,000, or nearly 4 miles per inch. These maps are most useful when planning a trip, and may be sufficient in the field only for on-trail itineraries.

Essential backpacking maps: types, online platforms, software, and printing tips

When I mostly only followed established backpacking trails or routes, I relied heavily on existing resources — topographic map sets, route descriptions, databooks, and now digital trail apps — under the assumption that they were sufficient, which they normally were. But when my trips became more of the choose-your-own-adventure variety, I had to develop these […]

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