Thru-Hiker Clara “Redfeather” Hughes

In Canada, Clara Hughes is a household name.

A legend, she won multiple Olympic medals in both Summer and Winter Games — 6 medals total. The only person ever to have won multiple medals in both.

BUT she met her husband, Peter Guzman, on the AT.

And went on to become a legendary thru-hiker.

#193 | Hiking the PCT in a High Snow Year with Daniel Winsor and Ned Tibbits Backpacker Radio

In today's episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are yet again talking all things hiking the PCT in a high snow year. This episode was recorded in early March, now that we have a clearer picture of what the 2023 hiking season will look like, and it is historically snowy. Today's episode features a pair of interviews- first we are joined by Daniel Winsor, 2017 PCT NOBO thru-hiker and author of "Crunch: A Million Snowy Steps Along the Pacific Crest Trail". Daniel was one of the first people through the Sierra in 2017, another historically high snow year, and shares in detail what his experience looked like, including his preferred traction, how to safely navigate high water crossings, the importance of traveling with a group, the schedule necessary for making miles, his close calls, and more. We are then joined by Ned Tibbits, founder of Mountain Education, a non-profit, public charity wilderness school that has been teaching people how to safely backpack year-round since 1982. Ned gives us even more nitty gritty detail about his advice for navigating the Sierra in high snow, including the safest time to enter the Sierra, the proper traction equipment, managing water crossings, and more. A lot of Ned and Daniel's advice overlaps, some of it deviates. Importantly- the advice issued in today's show is for informational purposes only. This is not intended to and should not be relied upon solely for how to navigate dangerous, backpacking conditions, which the PCT is sure to offer this year and beyond. Please seek the guidance of a skilled instructor for learning how to backpack through high snow and do not rely solely on any podcast, this one included. We wrap the show with two very embarrassing stories for ole Badger. Gossamer Gear: Use code “BACKPACKERRADIO” for 15% off at  Organifi: Use code “BACKPACKER” for 20% off at Enlightened Equipment: Use code “TREKPOD10” for 10% off Enlightened Equipment’s Stock Revelation Quilt or Torrid Jacket at RTIC Outdoors: Shop at Treecard: Use code “BACKPACKER” for 1,000 free reward points at [divider] Interview with Daniel Winsor and Ned Tibbits Daniel’s book: Crunch: A Million Snowy Steps Along the Pacific Crest Trail Daniel’s Instagram Ned’s Courses: Mountain Education Mountain Education Facebook Page Time stamps & Questions 00:05:54 – QOTD: Do you prefer dry food or wet food? 00:09:42 – Reminders: Take our listener survey! Support us on Patreon! 00:11:23 – Introducing the episode and Daniel 00:13:47 – Tell us your outdoors experience. 00:16:52 – What prep did you do before hiking the PCT in 2017? 00:20:19 – How much of your prep was self-taught versus watching tutorials? 00:23:50 – Tell us your start date and when you reached Kennedy Meadows. 00:26:00 – What was your mindset at the start of the Sierra? 00:29:49 – What were other people’s mindsets at the start of the Sierra? 00:36:10 – Did you encounter sketchy parts of trail prior to reaching the Sierra? 00:39:05 – Which conditions are better for crampons versus microspikes? 00:43:30 – What are your opinions on snowshoes or skis? 00:48:08 – What other gear changes did you make going from desert to snow? 00:55:00 – What were the snow conditions like given that you were so early in the season? 01:03:10 – Discussion about 2017 Sierra incidents 01:18:30 – Can you talk about your approach to water crossings? 01:23:06 – Was there a chain of command within your group? 01:27:38 – What other non-obvious advice do you have? 01:29:42 – Walk us through the schedule of your typical day in the Sierra.  01:32:30 – What other elements were particularly difficult to deal with? 01:36:15 – What signs did you look for to indicate if you were walking over water? 01:39:23 – If someone was on the fence about the Sierra this year, what should their thought process be? 01:42:25 – Where to find Daniel’s book 01:44:15 – Introducing Ned Tibbits 01:45:53 – Tell us about hiking the PCT in 1974. 01:51:00 – How did you plan your PCT hike? 01:54:18 – Were there other people on the trail? 01:55:20 – How did you stay so connected to the trail all this time? 01:59:15 – Have you ever estimated how many hours you’ve spent traveling on snow? 02:01:35 – Can you put into context what we’re looking at for the 2022-2023 winter? 02:09:38 – Is March the right time to start, or no? 02:15:58 – Do you have thoughts on the safest window for entering the Sierra? 02:20:28 – What day would be Ned Day? 02:24:14 – What are the requisite skills a PCT hiker should have before arriving at Campo? 02:29:50 – Can you talk about an ice ax versus a whippet? 02:38:00 – Is using a whippet ever risky during water crossing scenarios? 02:49:10 – Discussion about traction 03:01:10 – What’s your take on the appropriateness of snowshoes? 03:06:27 – Can you talk about pitching a tent in snow? 03:11:30 – What’s your top advice for dealing with water crossings in a high snow year? 03:25:29 – For river crossings in general, what shoes should I wear? 03:31:51 – Where can people find more information from you? SEGMENTS Stupid Thing of the Week [divider] Check out our sound guy @paulyboyshallcross. Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes (and please leave us a review)!  Find us on Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Support us on Patreon to get bonus content. Advertise on Backpacker Radio Follow The Trek, Chaunce, Badger, and Trail Correspondents on Instagram. Follow Backpacker Radio, The Trek and Chaunce on YouTube. Follow Backpacker Radio on Tik Tok.  A super big thank you to our Chuck Norris Award winner(s) from Patreon: Andrew, Austen McDaniel, Austin Ford, Brad & Blair (Thirteen Adventures), Brent Stenberg, Christopher Marshburn, Dayne, DoGoodPantry, Greg McDaniel, Kristina Diaz, Matt Soukup, Mike Poisel, Morgan Luke, Patrick Cianciolo, Sawyer Products, and Tracy “Trigger” Fawns. A big thank you to our Cinnamon Connection Champions from Patreon: Dcnerdlet, Jacob Northrup, Jeff LaFranier, Keith Dobie Jr, Liz Seger, and Peter.
  1. #193 | Hiking the PCT in a High Snow Year with Daniel Winsor and Ned Tibbits
  2. #192 | Alex "GPS" Brown on Gear Talk, Gatekeeping, and the Pfiffner Traverse
  3. #191 | Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail 2.0: High Snow Year Considerations, Gear Changes by Section, and More
  4. #190 | Brian "Buck-30" Tanzman on 45,000 Miles of Hiking, the Hot Springs Trail, Desert Winter Thru-Hike, Tracks in Australia, and More
  5. #189 | Christine Reed on POTS, Hiking with Grief, and Her Book: Alone in Wonderland

Father of the FKT – Buzz Burrell

The poster boy for Fastest Known Times is Kílian Jornet Burgada.

As I post, Kilian holds the fastest known time for the ascent and descent of MatterhornMont BlancDenali and perhaps Everest.

But it’s  Buzz Burrell who really popularized the concept, co-founding with Peter Bakwin and Jeff Schuler.

Buzz Burrell

Those three run the site on a voluntary basis.  And it’s a ton of work.

Buzz himself had been racing routes for decades. He set the FKT on the Colorado Trail in 1999.  The FKT on John Muir in 2000. 

This interview with Buzz will fill you with respect.  Buzz co-hosts his own audio show called the FKT Podcast

NEW podcast – Cicerone Hiking guidebooks

As publishers of nearly 400 outdoor travel guidebooks, Cicerone Press are a specialist team who love the outdoors and want to inspire and guide you on your next outdoor adventure.

In this episode, hosts Amy Hodkin and Hannah Stevenson introduce themselves and speak to Joe Williams about the history of Cicerone, our team of expert authors and the areas and activities covered in Cicerone guidebooks.

Whether walking, cycling, trekking, scrambling, mountain biking, running or skiing, Cicerone offers guidebooks written, edited and tested by outdoor experts.

Find out more and view our full range of guidebooks on the Cicerone website,

You can also search for @CiceronePress on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and join our Facebook community group, Cicerone Connect.

I used their Aconcagua guidebook, for example, when hiking independently to French Base Camp.

super hiker Mary Cochenour

Tune in to this week’s episode of the Out and Back podcast as Mary tells a thrilling tale about her early days as a wilderness ranger in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Hear about her first night spent alone in the wilderness and what happened months later when she discovered that a man had been following her around the backcountry. …

Mary … is the Out and Back podcast producer and a writer and editor at Gaia GPS.

When she is not in the office, Mary works as a guide for Andrew Skurka Adventures in wild places around the west, like Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite, and the Brooks Range in Alaska. …

Click through to listen to the story online:

Solo Backpacking with a Stalker

Andrew Skurka interview

Andrew Skurka is without question one of the most accomplished hikers in history.  A legend.

  • Alaska-Yukon Expedition (6 months, 4,700 miles),
  • Great Western Loop (7 months, 6,875 miles), and the
  • Sea-to-Sea Route (11 months, 7,775 miles).

He’s run a 2:28 marathon, as well.

The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Tips to Hit the Trail, was published by National Geographic – over 125,000 copies sold.

Today he and his team lead people to exciting destinations, teaching skills along the way: planning, gear, fitness, food, navigation, responding to emergencies, etc.

In a recent podcast interview Andrew explains why he still prefers map and compass, using electronics as a back-up.  And you have to believe him since it was sponsored by the Gaia GPS app.

Click PLAY or listen to it clicking through via Twitter.







walking the Keystone XL pipeline route

When writer Ken Ilgunas set out to walk the 1,700-mile proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline and talk to the people he met there, he expected challenging debates about climate change, energy security and national sovereignty. In researching his new book, “Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland,” he expected to experience the wisdom of the people and decipher the pipe’s symbolic meaning. He expected enlightenment.

Instead, he found a country we wish were just a caricature: an America that does not actually value debate, or enlightenment, or wisdom at all. …

LA Times review

Ilgunas is a very interesting and thoughtful writer.

He’s personally against the pipeline.

I listened to an interview on the Backpacker Radio podcast.

The Keystone Pipeline System is an oil pipeline system in Canada and the United States, commissioned in 2010 and now owned solely by TransCanada Corporation. It runs from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas, and also to oil tank farms and an oil pipeline distribution center in Cushing, Oklahoma. … 


… The proposed Keystone XL (sometimes abbreviated KXL, with XL standing for “export limited” Pipeline (Phase IV) would connect the Phase I-pipeline terminals in Hardisty, Alberta, and Steele City, Nebraska by a shorter route and a larger-diameter pipe. …

The Adventure Blog has moved

Our favourite site covering adventure worldwide — including hiking — has moved to a new URL:

The new theme looks great too. Follow them on the site, Facebook or Twitter.

related – The Adventure Podcast

My Interview on Adventure Podcast #17

Kraig Becker:

The latest episode of The Adventure Podcast is now available for download.

As usual, you can grab it from Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher, and Spotify. I’ve also attached it to this blog post for those who prefer to listen directly from their browser ….

Adventure Blog – Interview with Rick McCharles of

We talked best hiking trails in the world. My essential gear. Cam Honan. And much, much more. It’s a long episode.

I’ve learned a lot about a lot over the first 18 episodes.

Adventure Podcast – Episode 2: 10 Essentials of Hiking

Dave Adlard and Kraig Becker talk gear on their new audiocast.

Dave referred to his 2003 edition of Freedom of the Hills. The Ten Essentials first appeared in print in the 1974 version of that classic.

He and Kraig added 3-4 more essentials, only briefly touching on the non-essential electronics most of us carry.

Check it out:

The Adventure Podcast – Episode 2: The 10 Essentials of Hiking


  1. Navigation. Topographic map and assorted maps in waterproof container plus a magnetic compass, optional altimeter or GPS receiver.
  2. Sun protection. Sunglasses, sunscreen for lips and skin, hat, clothing for sun protection.
  3. Insulation. Hat, gloves, jacket, extra clothing for coldest possible weather during current season.
  4. Illumination. Headlamp, flashlight, batteries. LED bulb is preferred to extend battery life.
  5. First-aid supplies, plus insect repellent.
  6. Fire. Butane lighter, matches in waterproof container.
  7. Repair kit and tools. Knives, multi-tool, scissors, pliers, screwdriver, trowel/shovel, duct tape, cable ties.
  8. Nutrition. Add extra food for one additional day (for emergency). Dry food is preferred to save weight and usually needs water.
  9. Hydration. Add extra 2 liters of water for one additional day (for emergency).
  10. Emergency shelter. Tarp, bivouac sackspace blanket, plastic tube tent, jumbo trash bags, insulated sleeping pad.

The textbook recommends supplementing the ten essentials with:


NEW – The Adventure Podcast

 I’m subscribed. 🙂

An extension to the excellent Adventure Blog online.

Kraig Becker:

… The first episode is now available to download through iTunes or can be accessed directly here.

… weekly news from the adventure world, discussing major topics of interest, talking about gear, and having interviews with interesting guests.
It is co-hosted with my friend David Adlard, who has a rich background in the world of outdoor adventure as well having competed in several Ironman events and numerous adventure races, as well as working as a mountain guide and race director himself. …
We have also set up a few social media outlets for those who would like to share feedback and learn more about the podcast. Our Facebook page can be found here and we’re active on Twitter at @adventure_pod. We can also be reached by email at …
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