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Grizzly

A poem by my uncle about backpacking in Denali: Thin And, Flapping all day, The north side of this thin rip-stop tent Goes quiet, At midnight And reddish, From sunset… Think of them, As surrounding den’s’ a ground squirrel’s, An excavator, Tearing up the tundra, Scooping aside Dwarf Willow chunks and peat, Burrows left shredded, Then […]

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Patagonia Grade VII Review: The Best Down Parka Ever

Overview  I have had the great privilege of testing all of the best down parkas in the world—over 20 models worth more than $12,000. Of these, the Patagonia Grade VII is by far the best. It is the SpaceX rocketship of down parkas. No other parka offers: As much warmth and a voluminous expedition fit […]

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Ultimate Alaska Backpacking Gear

INTRODUCTION Carrying everything on your back and traversing a wild landscape—linking watersheds, climbing mountain passes, following braided rivers—is an immensely soul-satisfying experience. It leaves a permanent imprint in the mind and the heart. In few places is this more powerful than here in Alaska, one of the only locations in the world where “real wilderness” still […]

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First Aid Kits for Ultralight Trips and Expeditions

What’s the best first aid kit for backpacking and ultralight wilderness trips? What’s the best first aid kit for remote overland expeditions? This article shares my explorations with those questions. My goal is to have the right tools to manage a low probability, high consequence event. Basecamp for a rescue operation that lifted me and […]

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Days I Remember

On Saturday, over 21 hours, we slithered through alder, climbed up rock, ice, and snow to a beautiful summit only 30 miles from my house and returned to camp the long way via glaciers and gorgeous valleys. We saw seven bears and too many sheep and goat to recall precisely. We moved through the night without headlamps, […]

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The Best Synthetic Insulated Jackets of 2018 Review

What’s the best synthetic insulated jacket for you? The answer may lie in the Synthetic Insulated Jacket State of the Market Report and 16 associated reviews that were recently published by BackpackingLight.com. I worked on that project for two years. The reviews total around 30,000 words and are the best summary of synthetic insulated jackets on the internet. This […]

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Rescued From Mt. Logan’s East Ridge!

A year ago, two friends and I were rescued from 16,000 ft on Mt. Logan’s east ridge while attempting to traverse over the mountain, the largest in the world. Eric had high altitude pulmonary edema and high altitude cerebral edema. This is the story of an ambitious-for-us trip, the mistakes we made, and lessons we […]

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New Job: Climate Change Adaptation with Alaska Native Villages

I started a great new job last September. The purpose is to assist the Alaska communities most impacted by climate change with their adaptation efforts. VICE News came up and filmed a piece for HBO about one community. It’s an excellent summary of the issue and challenges. Eight engaging minutes. And you can catch a brief […]

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Baranof Island Ridge Traverse

Baranof Island is almost entirely mountains. They rise from the outer coast of Southeast Alaska, steep, rocky, clad with rainforest, and capped by glaciers. Most are rarely visited and many non-technical peaks are unclimbed. In the spring, from almost any point on the interior ridge, you can see dozens of waterfalls pouring thousands of feet […]

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