Associated Press story about “hardcore hiking” in Yosemite’s remote backcountry

The Class III descent off the west side of Stanton Pass, in Yosemite National Park

The Class III descent off the west side of Stanton Pass, in Yosemite National Park

The Associated Press released a story earlier today about one of my guided trips from last year: “Hard-core hiking on Yosemite backcountry adventure.” It was written by John Pain, a member of the group who works for the AP, though not as a journalist; it wasn’t a press trip, though I suppose I should think about comp’ing him now.

The story went live at 1:13pm EDT so, thus far, I can only confirm that it’s been picked up online, including most notably by:

Hopefully it makes print tomorrow, or in the weekend’s Travel sections.

John did a great job with the story, capturing both the experience and the overriding philosophy. It was indeed a “hard core” trip — it was the strongest group of clients that I’ve ever had, so much so that Flyin’ Brian Robinson and I confided our shared insecurity on the first night about our own fitness. Because of the group’s strength, we were able to witness parts of Yosemite’s high country that few ever do, and probably almost never in just a week.

I’m sure this story will illicit some comments to the effect of, “Why would anyone want to do that? What’s the rush? Why not stop to smell the roses?” But I’m unapologetic about this approach to backpacking: I’m an endurance athlete at heart, and I find that when I challenge myself physically in the wilderness, I become more emotionally vulnerable and thus more appreciative of Nature’s awesomeness.

Plus, I’d challenge anyone to argue that we saw less of Yosemite while hiking comfortably at 3 mph than the millions who visit Yosemite and never even wander off pavement — or, for that matter, the thousands of backpackers in Yosemite who only stay on high-use trails and/or who are so overloaded with unnecessary belongings that they can’t pick their head up to look around.

If any reader is interested in having the type of experience that John wrote about, you might consider registering for the High Sierra Adventure scheduled for September 1-7; there is only 1 spot left. There are also less hardcore trips available — rated “Moderate” or “Low” instead of “High”: a 7-day Alaska Adventure, June 24-30; and ten 3-day Backpacking Fundamentals courses offered May through October in seven regional locations.

There is only one correction that I would like to make to the story: one of the featured images is of Mt. Banner, south of Yosemite and not within its boundaries. John must have taken that photograph on his personal trip immediately after our group trip.

Posted in on April 24, 2013


  1. Stephen on April 24, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Wow, that is some great press… That should fill up your classes fast now.

  2. maurik on April 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Wow, those are some dirty socks. Nice trip.

  3. samh on April 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Excellent comparison between your approach to seeing Yosemite at 3 mph vs the millions seeing it [lazily] from their car.

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