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Current snowpack versus other "big winters" from the past 20 years, as recently as 2010-11.

No longer #snowpocalypse: Just an “average big winter” for the High Sierra

Through the beginning of March, California was having an extraordinary winter. Snowpack in the High Sierra was keeping pace with the wettest winter on record, 1982-83. If the trend had continued, conditions would have been very challenging for aspiring Pacific Crest and John Muir Trail hikers, due to extensive lingering snowpack and high run-off, probably […]

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High volume weeks in February, to build a base of endurance.

A 526-word summary: The complete training cycle for road, trail & ultra running

Recently I have posted two excellent interviews with running coach David Roche: From Ultra(slow) to 2:3X Marathoner, and Dialing it in: Taper training for the Boston Marathon They’re long and rich, but not quick reads. To maximize their value, you might actually have to read them more than once. So for those just wanting an executive […]

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Cruising country roads in Boulder County, with views of the Flatirons and snow-capped Indian Peaks.

Dialing it in: Taper training for the Boston Marathon || Interview with David Roche

Last month I posted a comprehensive interview with running coach extraordinaire David Roche. If you have not read it already, you should — it is valuable context for this interview, in addition to having standalone value. Days after publishing it, I entered the last stage of my training for the Boston Marathon, which is April 17, a week from […]

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The UA HeatGear Armour Compression Shorts (left) look very similar to my trusted UA Sonic Shorts (right), but they are NOT a worthy substitute.

Review: UA HeatGear Armour Compression Shorts || More realistically, “fitted underwear”

For several years my go-to short for long runs and cool temperatures as been the Under Armour HeatGear Sonic Compression Short. Read my long-term review. Unfortunately, the Sonic Short was discontinued a few years back, and leftover inventory is just about gone. I was hopeful that a similarly spec’d model, the Under Armour HeatGear Armour […]

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In early-season conditions, the trail is just a tool. If it's there, great. If not, oh well, you can manage without it.

The trail is just a tool: Navigation skills, resources & gear for early-season backpacking

Even if your itinerary is entirely on-trail, you should expect an occasional off-trail experience when backpacking in the Mountain West in early-season conditions. On trade routes like the John Muir Trail, a continuous boot-track across lingering snow will develop by July, especially where the terrain funnels the foot traffic (e.g. at a pass). In less popular […]

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At the lip of Knapsack Col in the Wind River Range, the south side of which holds a lot of snow. Personal comfort on snow is a big factor in the value-added of crampons and an axe. I was fine without them, but I know that others have struggled here.

Early-season backpacking || Merits of skis, snowshoes, crampons & axes

The early-season is a messy inbetween — it’s no longer winter, but not yet summer, either. Snowpack and cornices still linger in the higher elevations and on shady and leeward aspects, while snow-free trails are found lower down and on sun-blasted slopes higher up. This inconsistency presents backcountry travelers with a dilemma: What will be […]

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