Ask us anything: Sign up for “office hours” (free)

Next week we are hosting free “office hours,” starting Wednesday, December 14 and concluding on Friday, December 16. Schedule a chat to discuss anything related to backpacking:

  • Locations,
  • Permitting,
  • Likely conditions,
  • Fitness,
  • Gear selection,
  • Holiday gift-giving,
  • Meal planning,
  • Skills,
  • Women-specific considerations,
  • And, of course, our 2023 guided trips and Plan Like A Pro courses.

If you’re a guided trip alumnus, you can schedule a session to just relive great times, too.

Each one-on-one session is 15 minutes, enough to go deep on one topic or to ask rapid-fire questions. Come prepared! If fifteen minutes isn’t long enough, we can schedule another meeting (depending on availability) or we can run long (if there’s not another meeting immediately afterwards).

Who is available?

We hosted office hours last year, too, and it was really popular. So this year I’ve roped in more of our team to help out. This is an extraordinary group, so take advantage of this opportunity!

Bec Bastian is a K-12 educator based in Bend, OR. She is a Triple Crown thru-hiker (Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails), among others, and knows the Pacific Northwest well.

Christy Rosander, a retired teacher from Tehachapi, CA, has hiked the Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, Great Divide, John Muir, Arizona and Tahoe Rim Trails as well as the Kings Canyon High Basin Route, Yosemite High Route, Sierra High Route, Lowest to Highest, Scotland’s Great Outdoor Challenge, Wind River High Route, and Southern Sierra High Route.

Hunter Hall lives in Los Angeles and is a consultant, government contractor, and lobbyist. He has backpacked extensively in the Sierra, Southern California, and Utah, and is an experienced winter backpacker.

Jessica Winters is a full time yoga instructor based in Seattle, WA. She’s a triple crowner and has thru-hiked across Iceland, the Arizona Trail, and has logged thousands of miles in the Cascades and Olympics.

Joe McConaughy (“Stringbean”) has set FKT’s for the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, Long, and Arizona Trails. He’s a talented ultrarunner and runs his own business coaching runners.

Katie Gerber is a nutrition coach in Salida, CO. She’s hiked the Pacific Crest and Continental Divide Trails, and most of the Appalachian; plus the Oregon Desert Trail, Colorado Trail, Great Basin Trail, and Wind River High Route. She’s completed all of CO’s 14ers and last month she hiked the length of the Grand Canyon.

Melodie Kao is an astrophysicist in Santa Cruz, CA. She’s has biked the Pacific Coast Highway and thru-hiked the JMT, YHR, KCHBR, and WRHR.

Scott Christy, who divides his time between St. George, Utah, and Lander, WY, became the fifteenth person to hike the length of the Grand Canyon in January. He has spent over 200 weeks in the field as a guide.

How to sign up

This is a free service. To take advantage of it:

  1. Check our current availability in the table below, and identify a few dates and times that work for you.
  2. Complete this form, which asks for your name, email, phone and availability.
  3. When you receive a calendar invitation by email from myself or one of the guides select “Confirm.”
  4. If you need to reschedule, respond back to the email invitation and we’ll get it worked out.

Our availability

This table should be generally accurate. It refreshes about every five minutes, but we need to manually update our appointments.

How to join the meeting

In the sign-up form you selected a preference: an online meeting or a phone call.

If you selected a phone call, we will call you.

If you selected an online meeting, use the Google Meet button in the email invitation.

Then, one of will send you an email invite for an appointment. To join the meeting, click on the Google Meet button or call in to the provided number.

Posted in on December 7, 2022


  1. Curt on January 2, 2023 at 10:10 am

    Very sorry I was not able to see/use this earlier, but since you are taking comments perhaps I can post this question. Thank you for doing things like this.

    There is a plethora of advice for new backpackers…calorie count, miles to shoot for, shakedowns, etc–e.g. start at 8-10 miles. If you have completed a couple of thru hikes you already have the information so no need to post it out there really. There is a void for planning if you are in the low intermediate range.We are looking at an AT SOBO, we do at least one 15 mile moderate training hike with pack a week plus a few, 6-9 milers a week. We have done several 4-5 day trips such as Lost Coast, Yosemite, Sheltowee Trace. Here is the challenge planning for the 100 mile wilderness SOBO as your start, if you plan 8 miles a day that is 13 days. If you use the calorie calculator the calorie count is 6000 plus so 39 pounds of food which is obviously ridiculous. I do not think we will be doing 20 mile days out of the chute, but we also don’t like to sit around for hours (camp to hike) and don’t see 8 miles either. So the questions are: in general, and specifically for HMW SOBO, what could fairly fit, intermediate hikers with that level of training miles plan for average miles to start in the HMW, and what is your experience for calorie count for the first 10 days. I had heard it takes some time to get to the 5000 requirement, but have found nothing definitive. We prefer to not do food drops. There’s my dilemma, walk out of the woods with 12 extra pounds of food in 8 days or starve on the trail. I realize there are many factors and no guarantees but your informed input will be much more valuable than my current blind choice or our foolish arrogance.

    Happy New Year and thanks,
    Am willing to do it on phone if that is easier for you. Just let me know


    • Andrew Skurka on January 2, 2023 at 10:56 am

      You don’t need to carry that much food.

      To our clients, we recommend 18-22 oz of food per person per day. Use the low end of the range if you’re petite or older, and/or on a casual itinerary. Use the high end if you’re larger/more muscular and younger, and/or on an ambitious itinerary.

      This will put you in a caloric deficit, but not by a huge amount, and by the time you are craving a pizza you’ll almost be out.

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