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Apply for 2021 trips starting December 14

By Andrew Skurka / December 7, 2020 /

Next Monday, December 14, 2020, I will start accepting applications for our 2021 trips. Initially, it’s an open process, and all applications received will be considered mostly equally. The open application period closes on Monday, December 28 for Utah and Alaska trips; and on the following Monday, January 4, for our trips in Colorado, California,…

It’s live: Our 2021 guided trip schedule

By Andrew Skurka / December 3, 2020 /

Last year was disrupted first by Covid and then by wildfires, so my primary goal in 2021 is simply to get through our original 2020 schedule (plus a little bit). We start the season in April, when spring arrives in southern Utah; and we finish in early-October, during West Virginia’s peak foliage.

76 testimonials about our 2020 guided trips

By Andrew Skurka / December 2, 2020 /

Since 2014 I’ve asked our clients to complete a post-trip survey to gather feedback about our guides, locations, meals, and curriculum, plus their overall satisfaction. Reviewing the results is a multi-day project but entirely worthwhile: they confirm what we’re doing right, and they give me a checklist of improvements for the following year. Among our…

Major redesign: Salomon X Ultra 4 preview

By Andrew Skurka / December 1, 2020 /

The Salomon X Ultra is the favorite hiking shoe of fellow guide Dave Eitemiller, and it’s one of my recommendations for high routes, early-season conditions, and Alaska. It stands out for its durability, traction, support, and protection, all in a reasonably lightweight package. The X Ultra 4 will be released in spring 2021, and it…

I’m hiring: Backpacking guide position(s)

By Andrew Skurka / November 30, 2020 /

For the 2021 season I plan to hire up to three additional backpacking guides. If you would like to join our team, read on. Position description The work will be short-term and seasonal, and should be considered a supplement to steadier full-time work, an additional contract in a larger freelance portfolio, or a fun and…

In Oden’s best interests

By Andrew Skurka / November 27, 2020 /

Amanda and I have long known that our fur baby Oden would not outlive us, and in 2020 we began to acknowledge that he probably had only months left, no longer years. The ultimate timing or cause was unclear, but his trajectory was visibly downwards — his weight was dropping, his arthritis was worsening, his…

Photo of Iceberg and Barker Lakes WRHR

Trip Report: Wind River High Route, Loop 6 || An extraordinary trip for an ordinary hiker

By Erik Van Os / November 25, 2020 /

I’m not an elite endurance athlete, a long-distance thru-hiker, or a climber.  I respect those things tremendously, but that’s just not me. That probably puts me with most others who visit this website: I love backpacking and keep in reasonably good shape, and I enjoy chasing spectacular scenery and the challenge that it provides. Let’s just…

Glacial Melt Stream

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…