Guide profile: Joe McConaughy (“Stringbean”)

By Andrew Skurka / December 17, 2020 /

I live in Seattle with my wife, Katie and Australian Shepherd, Crash Bandipooch. I work as an ultrarunning coach and Andrew’s Program Manager for both his guided trips and the online planning course. I’ve set Fastest Known Times on the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail (52 days, supported in 2014), the 2,160-mile Appalachian Trail (45 days, self-supported in…

Apply now: Our 2021 guiding season has started

By Andrew Skurka / December 14, 2020 /

Yesterday I switched on the Application Form for our 2021 guiding season. Each year I do this, part of me still wonders, “Will anyone even sign up?” Thankfully, there’s been no basis for this concern — some new applicants always find us, and some alumni always return. The more significant challenge usually is finding everyone…

Guide profile: Jessica Winters

By Andrew Skurka / December 11, 2020 /

This will be Jessica’s fourth season with us. She’s a full-time yoga teacher, and also organizes whitewater-and-yoga expeditions on the Colorado, Salmon, and Tatshenshini Rivers. After completing the Triple Crown of thru-hiking in the early-2000’s, she’s gone on to traverse Iceland, complete the Arizona Trail, and climb dozens of peaks in the Cascades and Olympics,…

Guide profile: Scott Christy

By Andrew Skurka / December 10, 2020 /

Scott has taught backpacking skills for over 20 years with NOLS, where he helped develop the NOLS lightweight backpacking program. In that capacity, he’s backpacked and trained a diverse range of participants including NASA Astronauts, MBA students, US Marines, and Google directors.

Our Covid-19 protocols for 2021 trips

By Andrew Skurka / December 9, 2020 /

This pandemic has been dynamic since spring 2020, and I expect it to remain so in 2021. As the circumstances change throughout the season, our protocols will also change. I’m optimistic that mass vaccinations, widespread rapid testing, and effective therapeutics will destroy this virus in 2021, but until real progress is made I’m looking at…

Guide profile: Christy Rosander

By Andrew Skurka / December 9, 2020 /

Christy was new to our program in 2020, and an instant hit. She lives in Tehachapi, California, the gateway to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, with her husband of 32 years, Dan, and has three children and two grandchildren. In 2021 she will be guiding trips in Colorado and Yosemite.

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.

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…

Last call: Register now for Session 3 of our online planning course

By Andrew Skurka / July 2, 2020 /

Session 3 of our online planning course starts on Monday, July 13, and registration will close on Tuesday, July 7. To save yourself time and money, and to make the most out of your 2020 and future backpacking trips, register now. Sessions 1 and 2 both sold out, and Session 3 is about 60 percent…