I am the Lead Guide for all trips, and joined by an Assistant Guide when the group size requires it. This guide roster is world-class — there is simply no other backpacking guide service or educational organization that sends its clients into the field with such accomplished, credible, and authoritative individuals. To boot, they have excellent people and group skills, and necessary medical certifications.
Trip assignments for 2014
- Texas: Andrew Skurka & Ray Fitch
- Winter Backpacking: Andrew Skurka & Paul Magnanti
- Southwest Canyons: Andrew Skurka & Mike Clealland
- Southeast: Andrew Skurka & Chris Wallace
- Mid-Atlantic: Andrew Skurka & Alan Dixon
- Northeast: Andrew Skurka & Philip Werner
- Rocky Mountains: Andrew Skurka & Paul Magnanti
- High Sierra: Andrew Skurka & Brian Robinson
Andrew Skurka is an accomplished adventure athlete, speaker, guide, and writer. The 32-year-old is most well known for his solo long-distance backpacking trips, notably the 4,700-mile 6-month Alaska-Yukon Expedition, the 6,875-mile 7-month Great Western Loop, and the 7,775-mile 11-month Sea-to-Sea Route. In total, he has backpacked, skied, and packrafted 30,000+ miles through many of the world’s most prized backcountry and wilderness areas—the equivalent of traveling 1.2 times around Earth’s equator! He is the author of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Tips to Hit the Trail. Skurka has been named “Adventurer of the Year” by both Outside and National Geographic Adventure, as well as “Person of the Year” by Backpacker. National Geographic described him as “a superman among trekkers” and “one of the best traveled and fastest hikers on the planet.”
Mike has lived in the shadow of the Tetons for over 20 years, giving him phenomenal backcountry skiing, climbing and ultralight hiking access. He has been a guide for the Alaska Mountaineering School and for NOLS, where he was pivotal in creating a lightweight backpacking program. He is the author of ULTRALIGHT BACKPACKING TIPS, an instructional book (with cartoons). He’s been an illustrator for a long list of educational outdoor books and magazines.
Alan is the co-founder of Backpacking Light Magazine. At age 4 he carried his first backpack, into the Sierra Nevada, and since then he’s backpacked, climbed, packrafted, canyoneered, skied, fly-fished and kayaked in spectacular places on six continents. Alan is also a national level kayaker and triathlete. He resides in Washington DC with his wife Alison, who is his partner in outdoor adventures and triathloning. Alan has written numerous technical articles on backpacking and climbing and is a contributing author to publications including Lightweight Backpacking & Camping: A Field Guide to Wilderness Hiking Equipment, Technique, and Style.
Paul is a very experienced thru-hiker: he has completed the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail (the “Triple Crown” of long-distance trails), as well as Vermont’s Long Trail, the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Colorado Trail. He is also an avid backcountry skier and enjoys alpine climbing. Paul is a contributing author to The Colorado Trail Guidebook (8th Edition), has had written articles for various publications and is a well known presence in the on-line backpacking community. When not out in the backcountry, Paul lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his fiancee’ Adrianna, a squeaky guinea pig named Charlie, and an elusive black cat named Frankie.
Brian has been backpacking since the 1970s. He helped to popularize many ultralight techniques, including use of the poncho-tarp as shelter and raingear. In 2001 Brian became the first person to complete the Calendar Triple Crown—a 7,400-mile, triple thru-hike of the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide Trails, all in the same year. This feat earned him the trail name “Flyin’ Brian” and induction into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame. It also caught the attention of Andrew Skurka, at the time still a college student, who was fascinated by Brian’s far, fast and light style. Brian is also an accomplished ultra runner, as is his wife, Sophia. He set the course record at the Barkley Marathons, an off-beat and somewhat insane 100-mile race, in 55 hours, 43 minutes. And he completed the 224-mile John Muir Trail in just 4 days 7 hours.
Shortly after moving from upstate New York to Jackson, Wyoming, in 1985 to be a ski instructor, Tom realized that more exciting and meaningful adventure was to be found outside the boundaries of the ski area. He began a career of ski and mountaineering guiding, and became absorbed with exploration in the Greater Yellowstone region on foot, ski, and packraft. Tom is a guide with Exum Mountain Guides and Jackson Hole Alpine Guides, and has written two books, Teton Skiing: A History and Guide, and the award-winning Select Peaks of Greater Yellowstone: A Mountaineering History and Guide.
Chris is an outdoor enthusiast, writer, photographer, aspiring entrepreneur, and well known gear junky. On any given day you might find him on the streets, trails, or rivers in and around Asheville, NC where he lives with his wife, Robin. Chris has a Bachelors degree in Information Technology but recently gave up his cubicle for a simpler, more adventurous life. He has been certified as a Wilderness First Responder and Whitewater Rescue Technician, and was formerly the Program Manager of the Backpacking Light Wilderness Trekking School as well as the Gear Editor of the online magazine.
Glen Van Peski is a native Californian who is blessed to have grown up in the western outdoors. He is the founder/chairman of Gossamer Gear, one of the earlier cottage ultralight gear manufacturers. He is an internationally sought-after speaker and author on ultralight backpacking equipment and techniques. Glen is an instructor with Wilderness Outings and other outdoor education organizations, and a past member of the Pacific Crest Trail Association’s board. When not backpacking, Glen likes to (slowly) run full and half marathons, preferably on trails. Glen serves as city engineer in his hometown of Carlsbad, California.
Philip is best known for his blog SectionHiker.com about lightweight backpacking on the Appalachian Trail and in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He’s also completed Vermont’s Long Trail and backpacked coast-to-coast across Scotland in the TGO Challenge. Philip is a hiking and backpacking trip leader for the Appalachian Mountain Club and teaches in their spring and winter hiking programs. He also serves as a Long Trail mentor for the Green Mountain Club and maintains a trail on Mt. Washington for the US Forest Service.