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Archive | Short is the new long

The spectacular and remote upper Stubblefield Canyon

Do you have 2 days or 2 weeks? Yosemite High Route thru- & section-hikes

For the fullest experience, the Yosemite High Route is best completed as an end-to-end thru-hike. For most backpackers, however, it will be more practical to undertake the route in more bite-sized pieces. These section-hikes are: More compatible with family and work commitments; Loops, and therefore logistically simpler than point-to-point itineraries; and, Less physically difficult, due to […]

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A big horn sheep in Rocky Mountain National Park. I also saw moose and herds of elk.

Comparison: Nolan’s 14 vs. Pfiffner Traverse || Wilderness, difficulty, and flow

As part of a 650-mile, 39-day self-supported hike along Colorado’s Continental Divide last summer, Sam Chaneles completed both Nolan’s 14 and the Pfiffner Traverse. Nolan’s 14 and the Pfiffner Traverse are both high routes in the Colorado Rockies, suitable for advanced backpackers and adventurous ultra runners. While they both feature lengthy off-trail sections and alpine […]

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The loose Class 3 gully below Paiute Pass, at the head of Thunderbolt Creek on the Pfiffner Traverse.

Words of caution: FKT’ing or “running” the Pfiffner Traverse

In a recent photo essay in Trail Runner, Sunny Stroeer gave a hearty endorsement of the Pfiffner Traverse, for which she set a 55-hour fastest known time (FKT) last summer: “The Pfiffner Traverse is a mountain runner’s dream: miles of smooth, gentle singletrack that flow through high mountain meadows and across infrequently traveled passes along the […]

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Harriet Lake alpenglow

Where should the Yosemite High Route start and finish?

As a distraction from more time-sensitive and critical work, recently I began drafting the Yosemite High Route Guide, which I’m planning to release in late-winter. This first edition will be about 90 percent right; it will need a revision after double- or triple- checking my work and field-researching some minor areas of interest in summer 2019. […]

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Unnamed ruins in a deep alcove in Grand Gulch, between Bullet and Shieks Canyons

Quickstart guide: Cedar Mesa & Grand Gulch, Utah || Wild archaeological epicenter

Years ago I was turned on to Cedar Mesa by Alan Dixon, but needed inspiration this spring from the roamings of Paul Magnanti to plan a trip of my own there. It was a perfect couples trip for Amanda and me: the wilderness that I needed after a winter inside, with an additional and more unique dimension […]

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pawnee-lake-divide

Route beta || Pfiffner Traverse: Thunderbolt Creek & Paiute Pass

To connect Buchanan Creek with Cascade Creek in Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness, the Pfiffner Traverse ascends a knife-edge pass at the head of trail-less Thunderbolt Creek that offers sweeping views of the Pawnee Lake basin and the Continental Divide. The alternative to this route is an ordinary and relatively view-less all-trail route around the west […]

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The Tribal Lakes basin, as seen from its western edge at the top of the elk trail.

Route beta || Pfiffner Traverse: Northeast Gully, Lone Eagle Cirque & Lost Tribe Lakes

The Northeast Gully is the most difficult feature on the Pfiffner Traverse: it’s filled with snow through mid-summer, covered with talus and loose scree in late-summer, and always steep. Unfortunately, it’s also a critical connector between Lone Eagle Cirque, Lost Tribe Lakes, and upper Arapaho Creek, all in Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness. An easy all-trail […]

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