Posts by Andrew Skurka

Long-term review: Western Mountaineering AstraLite || Very warm & light

In a one-week period in April I fielded three inquiries about the Western Mountaineering AstraLite, which was released in spring 2018 and which I’ve used for about 30 nights while scouting the Yosemite High Route in August, guiding trips in Sequoia-Kings in September, and enduring cold-and-wet conditions in West Virginia in May. I will use…

PSA | Hazardous High Sierra creeks: List, map & alternates

Every spring, creeks in the High Sierra rage with snowmelt. For one to two months, they are a grave danger, especially after wet winters like 2018-19. Backpackers can still hike, camp, and explore safely, but they should be aware of and respect this hazard. Swift and deep creek crossings will be found throughout the range,…

Drop 4.4 oz from the ULA Catalyst in 5 minutes

For 5- and 7-day guided trips this summer in the Brooks Range and Yosemite National Park, I plan to carry (and review afterwards) the ULA Catalyst. Its key specs: 48 oz (3 lbs 0 oz, 1360 grams) 4,600 cubic inches (75L) Twin aluminum stays Durable fabrics throughout Generous hipbelt pockets and front stash pocket Made…

Why are thru-hikers already in the High Sierra?

Last week an alumnus, Rod, sent me photos of Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers in the High Sierra, climbing over Forester Pass. The photos were taken May 26, but he didn’t know the party. (Update, June 7. In a recent Instagram post, these photos were credited to Justin McCormick, and are of Jonathan Frankson and Abby.…

Wilderness medicine training: When have I actually applied it?

This past weekend I took my biannual wilderness first responder (WFR) and CPR re-certification courses. Between refreshes on the patient assessment system, prerequisites for a FSA, and rescue breaths, I thought about the instances over the past eight years when I’ve had to apply my training. As a new WFR in 2011, I remember being…

New look, same field-proven content

The website that most readers are familiar with launched in late-2011, shortly before the release of the first edition of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide. It was designed by Bracia, which like my company is mostly a one-man operation, and was a technological leap in my web presence. Its aesthetic was vastly superior to the preceding website,…

Crampons & ice axe: Recommendations for the High Sierra

In July I’m running six trips in Yosemite National Park, split between two guide teams: two intro-level 3-day courses, and four more advanced 5- and 7-day trips. We will be hiking sections of the John Muir Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Sierra High Route, and Yosemite High Route, in addition to other trails and off-trail routes. Because…