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Early-season backpacking || Merits of skis, snowshoes, crampons & axes

By Andrew Skurka / March 30, 2017 / 69 Comments

The early-season is a messy inbetween — it’s no longer winter, but not yet summer, either. Snowpack and cornices still linger in the higher elevations and on shady and leeward aspects, while snow-free trails are found lower down and on sun-blasted slopes higher up. This inconsistency presents backcountry travelers with a dilemma: What will be…

My most popular & favorite posts of 2015

By Andrew Skurka / December 31, 2015 / 0 Comments

To close out 2015, I’d like to share my most popular posts. My method in creating the list was only partially scientific — I started with total page views for 2015 in Google Analytics, and then I loosely accounted for publishing dates, since posts released earlier in the year have had more time to be viewed than those released…

Gear List || Cross-Country Skate Ski System

By Alan Dixon / February 12, 2015 / 9 Comments

There are few things better than gliding along fresh corduroy on a crisp morning in the splendor of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. While Alison and I enjoy backcountry skiing on un-groomed terrain, a grand tour on groomers in the Whites is sublime, and it’s no wonder that cross-country skiing may be our favorite shared outdoor activity. Skiing on groomed trails…

Gear List || Backcountry Nordic Ski Touring

By Andrew Skurka / January 17, 2015 / 83 Comments

My backcountry Nordic touring ski setup excels on ungroomed or unbroken trails through rolling terrain. I used this equipment during my Alaska-Yukon Expedition (see the video above), and it’s my preferred setup for ski trips in Colorado. It does fine on the flats, but cross-country skis are lighter and will track and glide better. It’s even less optimized for groomed…

Winter backpacking revolution: the 10th Mountain Division Huts

By Andrew Skurka / December 23, 2014 / 17 Comments

Within minutes of entering Skinner Hut, I knew that the 10th Mountain Division Huts would revolutionize my winter recreation. Outside, it was nearly dark (at 4:30 pm!) and lightly snowing; temperatures were in the teens. But inside, my friend Dave and I had all the amenities of a home: solar-powered lights, gas-burning ranges, two wood-burning…

Thoughts and conclusions about ski shopping for Amanda

By Andrew Skurka / November 27, 2013 / 28 Comments

Shh, Amanda is getting a new alpine touring ski setup for Christmas. While I’ll have to pick up the tab, it’s a win for me, too: If my wife can now backcountry ski, I’ll get to backcountry ski more. Ski shopping is a good excuse to create another spreadsheet — it’s useful to compile and…

Costco does it again: two 21-oz telescoping aluminum backcountry shovels for $20!

By Andrew Skurka / November 20, 2012 / 14 Comments

This past summer I was delighted to find Cascade Mountain Tech trekking poles at Costco for Amanda. The twist-style locks are failure-prone, but for $27 they were by far the best value on the market, featuring carbon fiber shafts, faux cork grips, carbide tips, and several types of baskets. This past weekend I found another fantastic…