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About Andrew Skurka

I’m a 38-year-old adventure athlete, guide, and writer, and I live in Boulder, Colo. with my wife Amanda and feline fur child, Oden.

As a twenty-something I was a prolific long-distance thru-hiker. My most notable trips were the:

  • Alaska-Yukon Expedition (6 months, 4,700 miles),
  • Great Western Loop (7 months, 6,875 miles), and the
  • Sea-to-Sea Route (11 months, 7,775 miles).

Only one of these has been repeated, and only once. Before and between these trips, I completed a number of smaller ones.

Overlooking the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River in September 2007, as part of the Great Western Loop.

For these trips, I was named “Adventurer of the Year” by both Outside and National Geographic, as well as “Person of the Year” by BackpackerNational Geographic described me as “a superman among trekkers” and “one of the best traveled and fastest hikers on the planet.”

In the process of covering mega distances over rugged terrain in relatively short periods of time, while also trying to enjoy the experience, I helped to define modern light-and-fast backcountry travel. My typical 3-season kit weighed between 8 and 10 pounds, sans food and water; and I regularly logged 30+ miles per day.

In Arrigetch Creek, Brooks Range, Alaska

More recently, I’ve focused on high routes and long-distance running. I pioneered four off-trail backpacking routes and created guidebooks for each of them.

  • Yosemite High Route
  • Pfiffner Traverse
  • Kings Canyon High Basin Route
  • Wind River High Route

I own a marathon personal-best of 2:28:24, and placed 73rd at the 2017 Boston Marathon. But, naturally, ultra trail running has interested me more: I’ve completed six 100-mile races, and have finished Top 3 at the Leadville 100, Run Rabbit Run 100, Bighorn 100, and Vulcano Ultra Trail 100K.

Straining but moving well on Commonwealth Ave, with one mile to go

My definitive book, The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Tips to Hit the Trail, was published by National Geographic and has sold over 125,000 copies. And each year I manage about twenty learning-intensive backpacking trips, which I lead with the help of a dozen other world-class guides.

Media Highlights & Accolades

National Geographic, March 2011. Circling Alaska in 176 Days.

Outside, April 2011. Adventurers of the Year.

National Geographic Adventure, December 2007. Adventurer of the Year.

Backpacker, August 2005. Person of the Year.

Men’s Journal, December 2005. Adventurer Hall of Fame.

Interview with Skurka, from National Geographic