Job posting: Backpacking guide for High Sierra trips

I am seeking one exceptionally accomplished backpacker to join my guided trip program. Employment will be short-term and seasonal.

This year I need help in guiding one 3-day Backpacking Fundamentals course and two 5-day Adventure trips, starting Friday, September 21 and finishing Wednesday October 3. The trips are in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park in California. If you are not local, you would need to arrive the day before (September 20) and could fly out the day after (October 4, or possibly late on October 3).

You will work with three world-class backpacking guides: Alan Dixon, Flyin’ Brian Robinson, and yours truly.

Necessary qualifications

Please apply only if you have:

1. Extensive backpacking experience. I’m interested in applicants who have:

  • Slept on the ground (or between trees) for hundreds of nights and have hiked about (or in excess of) 10,000 miles;
  • Mastered a variety of seasons and ecosystems;
  • Robust knowledge of backpacking gear, supplies, and skills;
  • Completed multiple long-distance trails; and,
  • Undertaken multiple routes with significant off-trail travel (e.g. high routes, Alaska, self-made).

2. Community credibility. Have you been recognized by media outlets for your accomplishments? Have you written a book or developed route guides? Does your website and/or social media profiles have notable followings? Do you work with outdoor brands as an athlete or ambassador? Have trail associations, hiking clubs, retail stores, or community organizations asked you to speak for their group?

4. Interpersonal skills. Do you enjoy working with people? Can you effectively communicate your thoughts? Are you comfortable managing groups and group dynamics?

5. Physical fitness. Applicants must be capable of comfortably hiking:

  • 20 miles per day consecutively when on-trail;
  • Off-trail on uneven, loose, and snow-covered surfaces; and,
  • At elevations up to 14,000 feet, though usually between 10k and 12k.

I am most concerned with the aforementioned qualifications. But I will give greater weight to applicants with:

  • Prior guiding, instructing, or general teaching experience;
  • Wilderness medical training (e.g. WFA, WFR);
  • Demonstrated efforts to professionalize your backpacking experience; and,
  • Geographic proximity to the High Sierra or Colorado Rockies.

Examples of qualified applicants

Not sure if you are qualified? To help illustrate the caliber of desirable candidates, please refer to the current guide roster.

FWIW, I was hoping that Cam Honan would fill this position, but unfortunately he’s unavailable.


You will be paid a daily rate for days in the field, plus one preparation day. Travel expenses will be reimbursed.

To apply

The position has been filled.

Please be succinct. I stop reading long applications. Focus on your most noteworthy qualifications.

If you have general questions about this position, leave a comment below. I will answer it there, to avoid multiple private answers to the same questions. If you have a question that pertains specifically to your application, please email me.

Andrew Skurka Adventures LLC is an equal opportunity employer.

Posted in on May 7, 2018


  1. Stinky on May 11, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Dang! A very impressive bunch!

    As a man who’s just been walking and running around in the backcountry for a few decades, I neither need instruction nor am I likely qualified to provide it.

    Evrrything–now even getting away from everything!!–is a saleable commodity these days!

    Just being an old grouch, I reckon.

    I’m all for people shortcut learning backcountry skills from experts if they got the cash, and I’m definitely all in on said experts getting paid.

    Carry on!

  2. Stinky on May 11, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    Otoh, a few Benjamins invested in hanging out with Buzz Burrell for a few days would likely be well spent, whether I learned anything or not.

    Intriguing guy, that one.

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