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Trip Report: Wind River High Route || Just wow!

By Patrick Mason / November 13, 2020 /

The Wind River High Route is measured at 97 miles, with 65 miles of off-trail travel and over 30,000 vertical feet of climbing. Like other high routes, the general idea is to maintain the highest line of travel through a given area without involving technical climbing. For an overview of the route, make sure to…

Why is the West on fire?

By Andrew Skurka / November 9, 2020 /

My fire season started in August, when our views were badly obscured on a seven-day trip in the San Juan Mountains by smoke from the Pine Gulch Fire, which briefly became the largest wildfire in Colorado state history. In September, I cancelled five trips in Yosemite because of toxic air quality due to the Creek…

Race and privilege in the outdoors

By Alexandra Lev / November 2, 2020 /

In this series we have covered a wide range of topics meant to help aid and educate women in preparation for backcountry travel. It was brainstormed a year ago and designed to add to this website a woman’s perspective on some fundamental outdoor topics. Our final post was to be about “Giving Back” and would…

Tutorial: Smoke forecasting in Yosemite & the High Sierra

By Andrew Skurka / September 16, 2020 /

For five of the past eight years, we’ve guided trips in Yosemite or Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks in September. Wildfires have occasionally affected us — like with trail closures and hazy air — but we’ve typically found ideal conditions: comfortable days and crisp nights, no bugs, and low backcountry traffic. September 2020 has presented us…

What’s for lunch? 40+ favorite ideas

By Andrew Skurka / September 8, 2020 /

As a hard-charging thru-hiker — when I would hike sunrise-to-sunset, take very few breaks, and cover 30 to 40 miles day after day — food was simply fuel. I carried items that were calorie dense, required minimal or no field preparation, and could be eaten on the go. So I ate a lot of bars…

A women’s guide to backcountry hygiene || Menstruation, pee & poop, UTI’s, skin care

By Alexandra Lev / August 14, 2020 /

Has the fear of managing your bodily functions kept you from hitting the trail for a weekend of fun in the outdoors? Does the thought of dealing with your period in the backcountry prevent you from backpacking for several days in a row? Don’t fret! You are not alone in having hesitations about managing feminine…

Backpacking shelters for the BIG & tall, and those who sprawwwl

By Jesse Liesch / August 11, 2020 /

Backpacking tents and tarps are generally not designed for the big & tall and for those who love to sprawl. Many designs are cramped and claustrophobic for these users, which may hinder a night of quality sleep and lead to a soaking-wet sleeping bag from condensation-covered walls. If this sounds like your nighttime experience, this…

Fueling & nutrition for the female trail athlete

By Teresa Hagerty / August 10, 2020 /

My first summit hike of Mt. St. Helens took over 16 hours round-trip, and I hit the wall a little more than halfway up. From there, every step to the summit was a struggle, and it took days to recover after the climb. I didn’t know it then, but a flawed nutritional strategy had set…

Preview: SPOT Gen4 || Updated 1-way messenger

By Andrew Skurka / August 3, 2020 /

The SPOT Gen4 was officially released today. This fourth-generation device remains a one-way messenger, and both its hardware and software has been updated from its predecessor, the Gen3 (my review), which was released more than six years ago. Functionality Like the Gen3, the Gen4 can send outgoing messages only, limited to: SOS, Help, Check in/OKAY,…

FKT attempt: Pfiffner Traverse

By Andrew Skurka / August 3, 2020 /

Starting at 4 AM tomorrow morning I will attempt an unsupported fastest known time (FKT) on the Pfiffner Traverse, a 76-mile high route through Rocky Mountain National Park and the Indian Peaks and James Peak Wilderness Areas. This project has been on my radar for years, and the pieces have finally aligned to make a…