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Author Archive | Andrew Skurka

Typical cowboy camp in upper Conness Creek on the Yosemite High Route in August, when nighttime temps were normally in the high-30's/low-40's. This year I slept on the Insulated AXL for about 30 nights.

Review: Big Agnes Insulated AXL Pad || Very light & comfy, not very warm

Until last spring, Big Agnes had no sleeping pads in its line that interested me. The pads looked comfortable, but they were considerably heavier than my time-tested Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite ($170, 12 oz). But with the AXL sleeping pad, Big Agnes caught my attention — its weight and thickness looked promising. The AXL comes in two […]

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The Packa is a unique jacket/poncho hybrid with an integrated pack cover.

Review: The Packa, hybrid jacket/poncho || A for innovation

When I wrote the Core 13 Clothing series, I was frustrated with the existing rain gear options. Manufacturers were (and still are, three years later) unquestioning of waterproof/breathable fabrics, which fall short of their hyperbolic claims; and there was little innovation in format, with everyone stuck on traditional jackets and pants. Subsequently I was contacted by Edward Hinnant (“Cedar […]

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The Pentax DCF are small and light, but stupidly so. The Nikon Monarch 5 will justify their extra heft with their superior performance.

Hunting binocular shopping: More personal than I thought it’d be

During recent hunting seasons, I’ve been very satisfied with my backpack hunt gear list save for one item: my Pentax DCF LV 9×28 binoculars. They’re compact and light (just 12.9 oz), and they were reasonably priced ($225 MSRP), but they proved ill-suited for big game hunting in Colorado, lacking satisfactory: Low light performance; Field of view (only 5.6*), eye […]

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It always looks better on paper.

Run Rabbit Run 100: Accurate course map, mileages, GPX, and pace chart

The Run Rabbit Run 100 course was changed significantly in 2018. To assist future participants with race planning, at least until information from race organizers is more complete and accurate, I am sharing several resources: Interactive course map Course GPX Mileage chart Pace/split chart Interactive course map A topographic map of the course is available. However, […]

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The loose Class 3 gully below Paiute Pass, at the head of Thunderbolt Creek on the Pfiffner Traverse.

Words of caution: FKT’ing or “running” the Pfiffner Traverse

In a recent photo essay in Trail Runner, Sunny Stroeer gave a hearty endorsement of the Pfiffner Traverse, for which she set a 55-hour fastest known time (FKT) last summer: “The Pfiffner Traverse is a mountain runner’s dream: miles of smooth, gentle singletrack that flow through high mountain meadows and across infrequently traveled passes along the […]

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Harriet Lake alpenglow

Where should the Yosemite High Route start and finish?

As a distraction from more time-sensitive and critical work, recently I began drafting the Yosemite High Route Guide, which I’m planning to release in late-winter. This first edition will be about 90 percent right; it will need a revision after double- or triple- checking my work and field-researching some minor areas of interest in summer 2019. […]

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A typical camp: cowboy camping (no shelter), tucked in among trees for wind protection and thermal cover.

Gear List: Yosemite High Route || High Sierra in August

Last month I went on a 9-day/8-night backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park. My route was more ambitious than the norm: I was scouting the Yosemite High Route, which has monstrous vertical change and extensive off-trail and alpine travel. I tried to avoid popular trails like the John Muir Trail/Pacific Crest Trail and the High Sierra Camp […]

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