For about the last month I’ve mostly checked out of my blog and social media channels, a contrast from months prior. I’ve been busier than normal, but projects behind the scenes are consuming all of my time. Partly to procrastinate before having to work on these things again, I’ll offer an unnecessary explanation for my silence.
1. Wind River High Route Guide
Early next week I expect to release my guide for the Wind River High Route. You can order it now, but I haven’t pushed the pre-order much since I don’t yet have something to deliver. The first installment will have all of the thru-hiking materials (annotated topo maps, datasheets, preparatory information, route directions); a second release later in the month will have all the section-hiking information. If it’s not already, this is going to be a 100+ hour project, and I think the finished result will show.
The Wind River High Route is an old idea — Forrest McCarthy skied it in 1994, and it probably goes back further than that. But my guide is the only one available that fulfills the potential of the range. Most importantly, it penetrates the spectacular northeast corner, home to Wyoming’s high point (Gannett Peak, elev 13,809) and the largest concentration of glaciers in the Rocky Mountains. Other route proposals tragically bypass this section, which is never harder than Class 2 and which has no crevasse or high-water risk. The graphic below depicts the elevation of my route (blue) versus the others, for the final one-third of the route. Which experience would you rather have?
Many photos of the route are included in this trip report.
2. Second edition of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide
We’re still working out some of the details, but it looks like a second edition of the Gear Guide will be available in Spring 2017, published again by National Geographic Books. I submitted my final files for the first edition in October 2011, and by now it’s in need of an update.
While backpacking gear has evolved, I’d say that the larger change has been with me. In the last five years my backpacking style has changed (from multi-month thru-hikers to “short is the new long“) and my backpacking knowledge has grown tremendously, mostly due to having guided some 50+ trips with 350+ clients, with a full range of locations, seasons, and client abilities and interests. With that much practice, I’ve been forced to get better.
3. Year-end accounting and taxes
This is the only time of year that I envy W-2 employees. The cost of being self-employed — with utmost scheduling flexibility, no interoffice politics, and the reaping of everything I sow — are the multiple days that I lose in January and February to closing out my books, submitting a dizzying number of forms, and assembling supporting documentation. And I stay on top of my accounting throughout the year, so this is just extra work, not catch-up.
The process also costs me several thousand dollars in accounting and tax filing fees, mostly for the business but also for our personal return. I’d rather be skiing, and I’m almost inclined in March to vote for Carly Firorina and her 3-page tax plan. Don’t worry — I said “almost.”