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.

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

46. How to Read the Avalanche Forecast with Snow Science Expert Simon Trautman Out and Back

Avalanches killed 37 people in the U.S. last winter, making it the most deadly season in modern history. Why was 2020-2021 so dangerous, and how can we avoid avalanches this winter? Get the answers to these burning questions in our new winter safety series, dropping on the Out and Back podcast today.In this four-part series, avalanche forecasters expose the factors that played into last season’s tragic fatalities. Tune in to hear the details of one of the most chilling avalanche accidents in Utah’s history. Learn how seasoned ski mountaineers make the tough decision to turn around in the mountains. And let a national avalanche expert walk you through the best way to read an avalanche forecast so you can be as prepared as possible on your next adventure.Listen to all four binge-worthy episodes at once, or pick them up in a random order. However you listen — don’t delay. Each episode gives you real, actionable insights that you can put to use in your next winter adventure.Episode 43: How Last Winter Became the Deadliest Avalanche Season of All TimeLast winter was nothing short of a perfect storm. A dangerously weak snowpack plagued the entire nation. At the same time, people were hungrier than ever for fresh air and fun. This deadly combination clouded people’s judgment and put them at greater risk, says Ethan Greene, Director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. “Part of what we saw last year, I think, was that we were all living in a difficult environment,” Greene says. “And that made it hard going to the grocery store. It made it hard going to school. It made work hard. And when we had time away from those stresses and got to go into the mountains, it made making decisions in avalanche terrain difficult.” The unusual circumstances also brought with it surprising demographics. Greene distills the statistics to tell us what age group, gender, and experience level was most at-risk for getting caught in an avalanche. The answers may surprise you. Plus, Greene takes a look at the way conditions are stacking up for this season. Don’t get your hopes up. This season could be shaping up to be just as dangerous as the last.Episode 44: Lessons from Utah’s Wilson Glade AvalancheLast February, two separate backcountry ski parties headed out for what they thought was lower-angle, safer terrain in the Wilson Glade area of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. The avalanche risk was high that day but they were prepared. Both groups studied the avalanche forecast, made conservative travel plans, and carried all the right safety gear into the mountains. But, precautions aside, the two parties were swept away in a colossal slide. Four of eight people died. What went wrong?Avalanche Forecaster Nikki Champion of the Utah Avalanche Center, investigated the accident. She gives her best insights on the lessons that can be gleaned from this tragic incident.“I think this accident really hit home with a lot of backcountry users,” Champion says. “Because it was a lot of decisions that most of us could see ourselves making: being in lower-angle terrain, traveling one at a time, skiing the slope multiple times and not seeing any obvious red flags in that area.”Champion walks us through what we can learn from this tragic accident. Learn about how to spot and avoid connected terrain. Become more aware of uphill travel. Hear how one survivor’s quick thinking and rescue skills saved the lives of others.Episode 45: How to Avoid Summit Fever with Ski Mountaineers Luke Smithwick and Iain KuoIn the fall of 2021, ski mountaineers Luke Smithwick and Iain Kuo attempted an unsupported, first ski descent of the world's seventh tallest peak — Mount Dhualagiri in Nepal. They spent weeks advancing to the mountain's 26,795-foot summit, but high winds and increasing avalanche danger held them back from the top. After months of planning and training, Smithwick and Kuo were forced to retreat, leaving the ski record on the table for another day. The decision to turn around didn't come easy for Smithwick and Kuo. But sticking with an objective mindset helped them come to the right conclusion. Their number one tip? Erase any assumption of how things will play out. “I have zero expectations going into the mountains,” Smithwick says. “I'm like, wow, the car started, we're leaving town. Great. Let's celebrate that. Okay guys, everyone celebrate.”Smithwick and Kuo review the decision to call it quits just shy of Dhualagiri’s unusually harsh and exposed summit. They check their decision-making process and their egos against the popular FACETS acronym that is widely taught in Avalanche 1 courses. Tune in to this conversation to learn where Smithwick and Kuo nailed the human factors, along with a few vulnerabilities that they work to keep in check. Episode 46: How to Read the Avalanche ForecastChecking the avalanche forecast should be at the top of your safety checklist. It predicts the avalanche danger for your favorite zones and gives you a heads up on worrisome problems within the snowpack. But how much stock can you really put into the daily avy forecast report? US Forest Service avalanche expert Simon Trautman says avalanche forecasts should be the building block for planning a safe day in the backcountry. However, once your feet are on the snow the forecast always takes a back seat to your observations in the field, Trautman says. “The whole point behind the avalanche forecast is that they’re a starting point for your daily planning,” Trautman says. “But people need to understand that what they're doing is providing an expert's idea of a pattern that exists across the landscape. They're great resources but it's kind of like a weather forecast. If you get out there and it said 'no rain' and it starts raining on you, you need to reassess and you need to figure out what that means for your plan that day. Do you just continue to have your picnic or do you change plans?” Tune in as Trautman dissects the avalanche forecast into manageable sections. He teaches us the first things to look at and how to get the most out of the avalanche forecast when planning your next tour.Episode 20: Avalanche Safety Tips with Bruce TremperIf you need more ammo in your avalanche safety arsenal, go back and listen to Out and Back’s episode 20 with renowned avalanche expert Bruce Tremper. Author of Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain and Avalanche Essentials, Tremper draws on his 30-plus year career in snow science to give us his masterful tips for avoiding avalanches. His advice is pretty simple: stick to low-angle terrain.“Whenever there is uncertainty in the snowpack, the terrain is always the answer,” Tremper says. “You can cut your risk in half from going from 39 degrees down to 34 degrees. And you can cut your risk in half once again by going from 34 degrees down to 30 degrees. The handiest tool that you can use in all the world of avalanches is slope steepness.”Learn Tremper’s low risk safety ritual and get some advice on what to do if the unthinkable happens and you get caught in an avalanche.Episode 21: Buried Alive — Bruce Tremper Tells His StoryIt’s almost impossible to grasp the power and force of avalanches, unless of course you’ve actually been caught in one. Avalanche expert Bruce Tremper brings us a little closer to that experience with his story about how he triggered — and was buried in — an avalanche in Montana. He describes the feeling of having the “rug pulled out” from under his skis, being swept down the steep mountain, and what it felt like when the avalanche finally roared to a stop. Go back to episode 21 of the Out and Back podcast to get the blow-by-blow from Tremper on how he survived the avalanche that should have killed him. Tap into these Avalanche Safety ResourcesVisit for safety resources and avalanche forecasts in your area. Sign up for avalanche awareness and rescue courses with American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. Watch the Know Before You Go video to get pumped about avalanche safety. Also, don't forget to snag that sweet 40-percent off on a Gaia GPS Premium Membership through the end of 2021. With Gaia GPS Premium, you can download maps for offline navigation and access our entire map collection, including a trove of layers that are useful for winter backcountry travel. Check out the 3D satellite imagery, our flagship Gaia Winter, avalanche forecast maps, slope angle shading, daily 24-hour snow totals and density readings, and current, 24-hour, and 48-hour snow accumulation forecasts maps for a complete picture of weather conditions on the ground.   Finally, we thank all the hard working folks at the avalanche centers across the U.S. and Canada. We ask that you consider donating to your local forecast centers so they can keep those essential avalanche forecasts coming your way. 
  1. 46. How to Read the Avalanche Forecast with Snow Science Expert Simon Trautman
  2. 45. Avoiding Summit Fever with Ski Mountaineers Luke Smithwick and Iain Kuo
  3. 44. Lessons from a Deadly Avalanche Accident with Forecaster Nikki Champion
  4. 43. The Most Deadly Avalanche Season with CAIC Director Ethan Greene
  5. Trailer – Winter Safety Series

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 …
%d bloggers like this: