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Tag-teaming a swift channel of Alaska's Yanert River, which was safer than doing it alone. Put the lightest/weakest person on the downstream side.

High water: Gear & skills for hazardous creek fords

Unbridged creek crossings are the greatest hazards in the early-season. High water volume (due to snowmelt) and steep gradients (due to mountain topography) is a dangerous combination. In comparison, other early-season conditions like sun cups, postholing, intense bugs and even hard snowfields seem like a mere annoyance or inconvenience. Let’s discuss how to safely manage […]

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gear-guide-cover-inside

The Wine Bible, America’s Test Kitchen & The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide

Reviews about the second edition of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide are being posted around the web. So far, very good. Amazon: 4.8/5, 10 reviews Goodreads: 4.8/5, 5 reviews AndrewSkurka.com: 5/5, 6 reviews (some website reader bias, perhaps) It’s more fun to read the reviews though: “Just wow! So worth the price in gear savings […]

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Four shoes that would I think would work well in early-season conditions, due to breathable uppers, abrasion-resistant toeboxes, and aggressive outsoles. L to R: Cascadia, Lone Peak, Ultra Train, X Ultra.

Footwear & foot care for early-season conditions

What must you absolutely get right when selecting footwear for early-season conditions? As with every other season, they must fit. Period. All other footwear characteristics are secondary. However, if you get these right, too, you’ll be much better off than having a well-fitting shoe that never dries and performs poorly on snow. Boots & shoes “Waterproof” […]

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Prepared for biting insects and intense sun exposure, with full-coverage clothing and permethrin-treated shirts.

Backpacking clothing for early-season conditions in the High Sierra

Outdoor clothing brands and retailers present backpackers with a paralyzing number of options. The situation is exacerbated by marketing hype and the infusion of “outdoor lifestyle” clothes, which perform relatively poorly in the field. Two years ago I published a series on Core 13 Clothing, and those posts remain as relevant as ever. These items can […]

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The author atop Muir Pass on May 18, 2007, after a dry winter. Travel was excellent in the morning, when the snowpack had a solid crust. But by early-afternoon I would badly posthole.

Tutorial: Backpacking in early-season conditions || Recommended gear, supplies & skills

Recently I explained how an exceptionally snowy winter in California will affect summertime backpacking conditions throughout the Sierra Nevada, including in Yosemite, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, and Desolation Wilderness, and along the John Muir Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Sierra High Route, and Kings Canyon High Basin Route. For all the details, read the post. In short, expect: […]

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David, wife and speedster Megan, and rescue dog Addie, a spaniel/retriever mix

From ultra(slow) runner to 2:3X marathoner || Training methodology, with coach David Roche

For the last three years I have perhaps been more serious about running than about backpacking. It’s a function of lifestyle and age: running 10-20 hours per week is more compatible with marriage than thru-hiking would be, and at nearly 36-years-old I have only a few years left in which to run really fast lifetime PR’s. I took […]

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