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Reader Q: Where should I put my bear canister or Ursack at night?

By Andrew Skurka / January 15, 2019 / 19 Comments

In a comment to my recent post about the ineffectiveness of bear bags and recommended alternatives, reader Jim N. asked, I received a similar question via email from David N., so a standalone post on the issue seems warranted. But to give a more comprehensive answer, I’ll broaden the question to: Official recommendations Let’s first look…

Video: Adventure trip with Clelland & Magnanti in the Colorado Rockies

By Andrew Skurka / January 14, 2019 / 0 Comments

Last year Chris G. and his brother Phil joined one of our Adventure trips in Rocky Mountain National Park. The 5-day session was guided by Mike Clelland and Paul Magnanti, and included parts of the Pfiffner Traverse and the Continental Divide Trail Loop. For those interested in one of our 2019 trips, it will give you some…

Ineffective & outdated: Six reasons to not hang a bear bag

By Andrew Skurka / January 10, 2019 / 128 Comments

Bear bags are a stubborn fixture of the backpacking world. Hanging is recommended, taught, and practiced by influential organizations and individuals even though it is less effective, less foolproof, less reliable, less efficient, and less safe than other food protection techniques, notably hard-sided canisters and (to a lesser degree) soft-sided bear-resistant food sacks. I have not…

Now accepting applications for 2019 guided trips!

By Andrew Skurka / January 7, 2019 / 2 Comments

Back to the Brooks Range!Yesterday afternoon I began accepting applications for my 2019 guided trips. Through January 20, it’s an open application period — if you get your application in by then, I’ll consider it equally with all of the others, though I do give first priority to alumni and to applicants who were waitlisted…

Long-term review: LOKSAK OPSAK || Food storage enhancer

By Andrew Skurka / January 5, 2019 / 17 Comments

LOKSAK OPSAK bags are made of heavy-duty plastic and have a hermetic seal. When closed, the bag is airtight, waterproof, and odor-proof (the “OP” in OPSAK). On some trips, I use the 12″ x 20″ size ($6, 1.5 oz) as a lone food sack or as a liner inside a wildlife-resistant Ursack. I also like the 9″…

Dear Senator Gardner: Support Colorado business by re-opening the government

By Andrew Skurka / January 4, 2019 / 6 Comments

Dear Senator Gardner — I own a Boulder-based guided backpacking company, the lifeblood of which are commercial permits on public lands. Without them, I cannot legally operate in lands managed by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management. Due to the current shutdown, my permits to run trips in 2019…

Women-only guided trips in Colorado in September

By Andrew Skurka / January 2, 2019 / 1 Comment

In 2019 we are offering two women-only sessions. Both are scheduled for early-September in Rocky Mountain National Park during peak fall foliage.

New hires! Anish and Stringbean to guide in WV and CO

By Andrew Skurka / January 2, 2019 / 1 Comment

This winter I’ve hired two more guides, cementing the roster as the most accomplished and knowledgeable team of backpacking guides on the planet. Yes, I’m boasting. No, I don’t think I’m exaggerating. Joe McConaughy (“Stringbean”) will be helping Alan Dixon (“Adventure Alan”) and me guide in West Virginia in early-May. And Heather Anderson (“Anish”) will be…

Spiderwoman’s KCHBR Tips || Reflections, conditions, comparisons

By Spiderwoman / December 29, 2018 / 2 Comments

Where We Camped, Approximate Daily Mileage 2016 1. Tarn below Mt Silliman. 5m 2. Lonely Lake. 12.5m 3. Just shy of Colby Lake, just past “PR-15”. 10m 4. Avalanche Pass area Where We Camped, Approximate Daily Mileage 2017 1. Creek just before Gardiner Pass. 11m 2. Between “PR-31” and “PR-32”. 5m 3. Lake below King…

Spiderwoman’s KCHBR Tips || Section 6: Monarch Divide

By Spiderwoman / December 26, 2018 / 2 Comments

Simpson Meadow Trail I ate a nice big breakfast. Our food bags were full again, so I was back to my normal, stick-to-the-ribs pot full of energy. By the time we got to the “small trailside campsite at Horseshoe Creek” (which I thought was kinda big), I was feeling sick to my stomach. The problem…