Andrew Skurka is a highly accomplished adventure athlete who is most well known for his long-distance solo backpacking trips, including the 4,700-mile Alaska-Yukon Expedition, the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop, and the 7,775-mile Sea-to-Sea Route. He has also completed countless fast and light trips throughout the Sierras, Wind River Range, Zion National Park, and Appalachian Trail, just to name a few. Andrew has been named “Adventurer of the Year” by both Outside Magazine and National Geographic Adventure, as well as “Person of the Year” by Backpacker Magazine.
Andrew is also a published author, having written The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Tips to Hit the Trail, and he is close to finishing the manuscript for the book’s second edition. He also writes extensively on his personal blog, which is full of detailed, information-rich articles about backpacking, gear reviews, and other endurance-related content. On top of everything else, Andrew is a guide, speaker, and accomplished ultra-runner, having placed second in the Leadville 100 and third in the Run Rabbit Run 100. Just this past weekend (6/25/16), he placed fourth at the San Juan Solstice 50-Mile Trail Run, one of the most difficult 50-milers in the country.
Andrew is a great guy, and we had a very fun conversation. We obviously talk a lot about many of his long-distance backpacking adventures, but we also dig into some of the mental and emotional aspects of traveling through such remote areas for long periods of time completely alone. We talk about his personal background and how he became interested in adventure sports, and also about his decision to forgo a traditional career in finance or consulting to carve out a career centered around the outdoors and adventure. As usual, I ask about his favorite books, favorite documentaries, and favorite locations in the West.
Thanks to Andrew for joining me, and thanks to you for listening to the podcast. Enjoy!
All photographs courtesy of Andrew Skurka
- Andrew Skurka
- Alaska-Yukon Expedition
- Great Western Loop
- Sea-to-Sea Route
- Full list of Andrew’s adventures
- The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Tips to Hit the Trail by Andrew Skurka
- Sierra Designs
- Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger
- Duke University
- Camp Carolina
- Appalachian Trail (A.T.)
- 10,000 Hour Rule
- Wind River Range High Route Guide by Andrew Skurka
- Kings Canyon High Basin Route Guide by Andrew Skurka
- Leadville 100
- Run Rabbit Run 100
- San Juan Solstice 50 Mile Trail Run
- The Horizontal Everest: Extreme Journeys on Ellesmere Island by Jerry Kobalenko
- 30 For 30
- Steve Rattner’s blog
- High Country News
- Bedrock & Paradox
- Sierra Nevada Range
- Wind River Range
- Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
- Boulder’s Skyline Traverse