Shackleton’s route, South Georgia

Kraig Becker:

Twelve hundred miles off the southernmost tip of South America, there is a legendary place among travelers and historians. They speak of South Georgia Island in hushed, almost reverent terms.

This small and mountainous island, with peaks above 9,000 feet, is located hundreds of miles from the closest beaten path. But the rugged and remote wilderness is famous for another reason. South Georgia Island served as the final stage in one of the greatest survival stories of all time: Ernest Shackleton’s voyage to the southern seas aboard the Endurance. …

I hiked part of the very route that Shackleton, Crean, and Worsley trekked when they crossed the island a century ago. Hiking through the overgrown mountain trails and snowy paths, I finally arrived at the remains of the Stromness whaling station where the 19th century explorers’ desperate march came to an end. …

The interior of South Georgia is rugged and demanding to say the least, with towering peaks, steep valleys, and crystal-blue alpine lakes frequently presenting impassable barriers.

High winds, rain, and snow, coupled with rough terrain, made my walk a challenging one, even equipped with modern hiking gear and a clear path to follow. The men from the Endurance did it in clothing that was practically threadbare, wearing boots with screws tapped into the sole to provide extra traction. …

While wandering in silence through that wild landscape, I could almost feel the ghost of Shackleton trudging along beside me …

Popular Mechanics – Chasing Ernest: A Journey to South Georgia to Find the Ghost of Shackleton

(via Adventure Blog)

have you trekked Paine in Patagonia?

Without question one of the best hikes in the world. Most popular is the W Circuit.

Click PLAY or watch a teaser on YouTube.

Cost is about $600 / person for 5 days / 4 nights in 2017 if you sign on with Vertice Patagonia.

Even better and longer is the the full Paine Circuit (often called the “O” as contrasted with the red “W”).

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If interested know that logistics are getting increasingly difficult. Costs are going up. But it’s still well worth making your way to southern South America in the trekking season.

Paine

Click over to our Paine information page for details.

hiking Ivvavik National Park

David Webb:

… Tucked away at the tip of the Yukon, with its base camp set at 69 degrees north and hundreds of kilometres from the nearest road, only a handful of people will ever visit this park. Untouched by the last Ice Age, it’s a place of unique rock formations, abundant wildlife—we saw muskox, caribou, grizzlies and Dall’s sheep—jaw-dropping mountain vistas, clearwater rivers and vast open tundra. …

And the hiking… wow. There was no point in the five days I spent in Ivvavik where Iwasn’t surrounded by an awesome panorama. From deep gorges carved by a frothy river; to tundra dotted with bright lupins; to multi-coloured slate stabbing from mountaintops like the spines on a dragon’s back; to the midnight sun circling the whole expanse like a halo. It is the most beautiful natural environment I have ever seen. (And I’ve seen a lot.) …

Video Post: Jaw-Dropping Ivvavik National Park

Click PLAY or get a glimpse on YouTube.

hiking & paddling Gates of the Arctic, Alaska

… to Anaktuvuk, float southwest on the John River, hike west to the Alatna River, float southeast on the Alatna to access the Arrigetch, cross the Arrigetch, float northwest on the Noatak River, hike southwest to the Ambler River, and float west to Ambler. 400 miles in 19 days. …

Gates of the Arctic Traverse, Anaktuvuk to Ambler

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Click PLAY or watch it on Vimeo.

5 weeks hiking, paddling Greenland solo

Willem Vandoorne has done a number of the world’s most difficult long hikes. He’s just back from Greenland.

… which was without any doubt the most beautiful I have ever made and which has impressed and touched me deeply. The feeling which I had during those weeks in the wilderness is hard to explain. As I struggled through boulderfields and moraine, watched the sun set from mountain with views unknown to human gaze, and slalommed along countless muskoxen, I no longer felt like a spectator of any kind in this vast wilderness, but was an integral part of it, obeying to the same rules and laws of nature as any animal out there.

My trip was blessed with sensational weather conditions – during the first 4 weeks of the trip I had only a few overcast days with some rain and a few mornings with sea fog – all the rest was just blue skies and warm temperatures. I hiked over 80% of the distance in t-shirt …

BACK FROM GREENLAND

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Kungsleden trail, Sweden

Cody Duncan:

While the Kungsleden trail is one of the most popular hiking routes in Sweden, as August passes to September and the end of the short arctic summer nears, the crowds begin to thin and the trail grows quiet as the land awaits the coming of winter.

The arrival of September sees the birch forests turn a golden yellow and the blueberries glow bright red, while the wide valleys rise to snow-capped mountains. The days become cold and the air crisp as snow flurries blow over you. The nights become dark again and northern lights once again dance in the sky.

Female hiker with snow covered mountains and autumn colors in southern end of Tjäktjavagge on Kungsleden trail, Lappland, Sweden
Female hiker with snow covered mountains and autumn colors in southern end of Tjäktjavagge on Kungsleden trail, Lappland, Sweden

Autumn is a wild, colorful, lonely, exhilarating, adventurous, time to experience the wilds of Sweden’s north. …

The mountain huts are seasonal, typically closing in mid September. September 21 for 2014.

Candlelight illumintes room Singi mountain hut at night, Kungsleden trail, Lappland, Sweden
Candlelight illumintes room Singi mountain hut at night, Kungsleden trail, Lappland, Sweden

The longest distance between any two huts is 21 km, Alesjaure – Abiskojaure. The average distance for the rest is about 12-14 km.

The price for a bed while the huts are open is between 295 – 330 SEK (in September).

Hiking the (Northern) Kungsleden Trail from Nikkaluokta to Abisko in Autumn, Sweden

300 SEK is about US$40.

dispersed hiking in Alaska

If you’ve been to Alaska, you know hiking there is challenging.

Distances are HUGE. And there are not all that many established trails.

Turns out, that’s partly by design.

GearJunkie in Denali:

The park’s 2006 Backcountry Management Plan … “Except as otherwise specified… backcountry access and travel in Denali will continue without designated routes or constructed trails to allow for freedom to explore and to minimize signs of human presence.”

Similar trail-less wilderness areas exist within Alaska, which contains more than half of all the country’s wildernesses, but Denali is by far the most popular, totaling more than 38,000 backcountry campers last year. According to Burrows, the relative ease at which visitors can access Denali’s backcountry (it’s split in two by the park road) has spurred increased exploration and cause for increased measures to keep the wilderness as Murie intended.

Very quickly after starting hiking from the park road, we ran across our faint trails, and like many of Denali’s visitors we opted to take the path less traveled, spread out to disperse our impact and take advantage of a wilderness experience unlike anyplace else.

Bushwhacking Encouraged: Denali Strives To Eliminate Ad Hoc Trails

Matt Zimmerman - Grizzly bear in Denali National Park
Matt Zimmerman – Grizzly bear in Denali National Park