High routes


Blowdowns & wildfires: Pfiffner Traverse conditions update

By Andrew Skurka / July 12, 2021 /

Several sections of the Pfiffner Traverse were significantly impacted by wildfires and storms in fall 2021, including both on- and off-trail portions, and both the Primary Route and Section Hikes. These events caused an official area closure by the National Park Service and de facto closures on NPS and US Forest Service lands because of…

Photo of Iceberg and Barker Lakes WRHR

Trip Report: Wind River High Route, Loop 6 || An extraordinary trip for an ordinary hiker

By Erik Van Os / November 25, 2020 /

I’m not an elite endurance athlete, a long-distance thru-hiker, or a climber.  I respect those things tremendously, but that’s just not me. That probably puts me with most others who visit this website: I love backpacking and keep in reasonably good shape, and I enjoy chasing spectacular scenery and the challenge that it provides. Let’s just…

Glacial Melt Stream

Trip Report: Wind River High Route || Just wow!

By Patrick Mason / November 13, 2020 /

The Wind River High Route is measured at 97 miles, with 65 miles of off-trail travel and over 30,000 vertical feet of climbing. Like other high routes, the general idea is to maintain the highest line of travel through a given area without involving technical climbing. For an overview of the route, make sure to…

Yosemite High Route: A route overview || Its general track, challenges, and highlights

By Andrew Skurka / November 20, 2018 /

The core of the Yosemite High Route spans 95 miles between Grace Meadow in Falls Creek near park’s northern boundary, and Quartzite Peak at the tip of the Clark Range. Per mile, the best route to Grace Meadow starts at Sonora Pass, and follows the Pacific Crest Trail south. The approach from Hetch Hetchy also looks…

Trip Report: Scouting the Yosemite High Route

By Andrew Skurka / September 4, 2018 /

Last month I had two goals for a 9-day backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park. First, to simply enjoy what is likely to be my only solo trip in 2018. This year I will spend about 55 nights out, but the bulk of them will be on guided and private group trips that come with responsibilities…

Trip Report || Wind River High Route, Loop 4

By David Danylewich / January 2, 2018 /

Trip Data Dates: Tuesday, August 29th to Saturday, September 2nd, 2017 Route: Wind River High Route, Loop 4 Weather: Temperature 60’s to 70’s, rained only one day, otherwise sunny and pleasant Distance: 43 miles Time: 4.5 days Trailhead: Elkhart Park Passes: Angel Pass, Douglas Lake Pass, Alpine Lakes Pass, Indian Pass Background Chris Barrett, Paul…

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

By Andrew Skurka / August 1, 2017 /

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / July 29, 2017 /

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…

In 12 photos || Trip Report: Pfiffner Traverse Yo-Yo

By Andrew Skurka / July 23, 2017 /

Thanks to a delayed arrival of winter, in late-October of last year I finished piecing together the Pfiffner Traverse, a 77-mile high route through Colorado’s Front Range between Milner and Berthoud Passes. But I felt it important to get on the route again this year as a thru-hiker and as soon as conditions permitted, to…

Six lessons learned on my first high route || Wind River High Route, Loop 4

By David Alexander / May 31, 2017 /

After taking Andrew’s Backpacking Fundamentals course in 2015, I decided to test my new skills on Loop 4 of the Wind River High Route. Prior to it, I had completed several trips on the Appalachian Trail and on the Florida Trail. The Wind River High Route promised adventure, but also freedom from fixed itineraries, designated campsites,…