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Tutorial || How to store & protect food from bears & mini-bears

By Andrew Skurka / December 20, 2018 /

You’ve set up camp for the night and cooked dinner. Now what should be done with the Snickers, salami, peanut noodle dinners, and the other calories that will sustain you for the remainder of your backpacking trip? Protect from what? Most backpackers seem to protect their food overnight because they’re worried about bears. In places…

Backpack hunting: My evolving approach

By Andrew Skurka / November 26, 2018 /

Originally I thought that hunting would be an extension of the backpacking season. Like in the summer but now with a rifle in hand and in the pursuit of elk and deer, I wanted to roam deep in world-class wilderness areas and to camp in different spots each night. But I’ve learned that this approach is…

Pre-trip backpack hunt checklist: To do before you go

By Andrew Skurka / October 30, 2018 /

This weekend is the start of Third Season for elk and deer. Steve and I liked what we saw last year in the Flattop Mountains in northwestern Colorado, and will be going back, along with Noel, my partner on my first successful hunt four years ago. This is my sixth backpack hunt now, and each year…

Tutorial || Wildfire & smoke management: Strategies & resources

By Andrew Skurka / August 15, 2018 /

For the past month I have been watching the Ferguson Fire, a 100,000-acre blaze on the western outskirts of Yosemite National Park, to assess and predict its effects on my planned backpacking trip there next week. I had to change my destination airport (to Reno instead of Fresno) and I’m expecting some smoke, but fortunately…

My solution to over-training: Racing flat, fast, and short

By Andrew Skurka / July 6, 2018 /

For my Outside blog I recently wrote about the unexpected benefits of running flat, fast, and short this spring, a break from my more usual up/down, slow, and long. Read: How to Avoid Overtraining I was not suffering from over-training syndrome, which is a debilitating physical breakdown that seems to have no cure. But if…

Tutorial: How to predict backcountry weather conditions || Methods & sources for short & long trips

By Andrew Skurka / June 3, 2018 /

I have said this before, and continue stand by it: there is a right way to backpack: equip yourself with the gear, supplies, and skills that are appropriate for the conditions and your trip objective. Among the conditions that I consider (there are about 10; view the full list), the weather — specifically temperatures, precipitation,…

PSA: Secure your permit now for Pfiffner Traverse

By Andrew Skurka / March 14, 2018 /

Public Service Announcement If you have not already, you should apply for your backcountry permit for Rocky Mountain National Park if you plan to attempt the Pfiffner Traverse this summer. The permit system in Rocky Mountain is similar to Glacier and Yellowstone: camping is permitted only in specific backcountry sites and a few at-large zones.…

It’s the vertical, stupid: How many days should I budget for a high route?

By Andrew Skurka / March 12, 2018 /

Last week on r/Ultralight, member u/TeddyBallgame1999 asked multiple questions about the Wind River High Route, including: The essence of this question — “How long will it take me?” — has been posed before, in the context of the WRHR and similar routes like the Kings Canyon High Basin Route, Pfiffner Traverse, Glacier Divide Route, and…

Six questions I ask before drinking unpurified backcountry water

By Andrew Skurka / February 27, 2018 /

They say to practice what you preach, but I’ll be honest: While I recommend that you purify backcountry water sources, I generally do not. But your mileage may vary. Normally I hike off-trail and in low-use corners of the Colorado Rockies and High Sierra — at the headwaters of the Colorado and San Joaquin Rivers…

Houston Marathon training: Re-finding purpose & speed || David Roche interview

By Andrew Skurka / January 9, 2018 /

Prior to my big races last year — Boston, Bighorn, and UTMB — I interviewed David Roche, who has coached me for 12+ months now. They were opportunities to discuss the rationale behind each training block and to reflect on the results they generated, with the hope of providing readers with some value. Read the…