Skurka's Return Announced

Andrew Skurka has a pretty ambitious route con-packraft for next year:

A big loop from Kotz to AK Range to Lost Coast to Chilkoot to Yukon to Brooks Range to Kotz.

“The GAYL is not an official trail or route; it has never been completed, attempted, and possibly even conceived of until now”

"(No, I do not consider either the 800-mile Four Range trip or the 180-mile AK Mountain Wilderness Classic race “big.”) "

“but if you have more extensive information – because, say, you sea-kayaked some of the Inside Passage – let’s talk first so that you don’t waste time sharing info that’s not applicable to my circumstances.”

Seriously? Is this guy trying to come off pretentious? I think the guy has done some amazing stuff and all the shared info on the website is cool except for the fact that 95% of us dont have access to the gear this guy has which kind of renders the info a little useless. So if not for an environmental/health & wellness cause then why flaunt all this info out there if not to do just that? I’m so over people just doing stuff for the purpose of saying “I did this now pay me for giving a motivational talk about it”… to office workers no less…

my 2 cents

blackPeter -

I’d like to disagree with a few points in your post.

Nearly all the gear that I use comes off the production line, and it can all be purchased either online or from local retailers. I have a few custom or homemade items – like my Fancy Feast alcohol stove and my Mountain Laurel Designs bivy with a heavier bottom fabric – but these items are accessible too if you’re willing to make some holes in a cat food can with a hole punch or call up Ron Bell at MLD and tell him what you’re looking for. I think you’d have a better point if GoLite made me a Pinnacle pack out of Kevlar or if a food company cooked up special meals for me, but they don’t – I’m using the same Pinnacle that you can pick up at REI and I’m eating the same food you can buy at Carr’s. I’d also add that the cost of my kit is far less than that of a traditional kit, so I don’t think cost is the barrier to access – I think it has much more to do with knowledge of what’s available in the marketplace and how to use the gear correctly. One of my purposes in posting gear lists and recommendations on my website is to provide interested individuals with this info.

As for the motivation behind this trip, I’m pretty sure that the tail is not wagging the dog here. If I expected fame or fortune from this trip or past trips, I’d be greatly disappointed. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that the quality of the experience and the sense of personal achievement will be the biggest rewards that come out it. Will I give public presentations post-trip? I would think so. But I don’t see the problem with this – it’s pretty hard to fault someone who is trying to pay their bills by utilizing their experience and knowledge. You probably wouldn’t tell an “office worker” that it’s wrong for them to use their past work experience to make a living, would you?

Overall, your post kind of rubs me wrong. Maybe one day we’ll meet in person and I’ll have the opportunity to show you that I’m a pretty nice guy who loves a good challenge and to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

I think what is hard to understand is that Skurka is really operating at a level of performance and ambition that few others are trying to reach. If you can truly grasp the scope of this route compared with past hikes, then I think you’d see Andy’s tone as focused rather than pretentious.

If possible, and haven’t to my knowledge met either one, can I defend both parties? From somebody who is trying every kind of exercise and physical therapy possible to get a bum knee to a working point of being able to even think about doing what is a major dream of mine, the wilderness classic, I can sympathize with the offense taken of it being described as “not big” by somebody and so on, it sure as hell would be big to me, kind of a kick in the family jewels to my ego… On the other hand, I have to understand that there’s millions of people out there on a whole different planet than me when it comes to outdoor adventuring, and that most if not all of the offense I feel is really just jealousy that I don’t have (or make) the time, skills, tolerance, and whatever else it takes to do something really zany like this (plus I haven’t yet figured out how a vegetarian can live off the land for longer than 3 days here :slight_smile: ). And at the same time I’m jealous of those that have done things I can barely fathom, there’s millions of other people that would look at some of the mini-adventures I have managed to do as huge.
Comes down to, I’m just glad I live in a place where all the wilds haven’t yet been destroyed (although Bush tried) and Andrew’s journey (and past adventures done by Hig, Roman, etc…) is even possible, even if I have no info to pass on that wouldn’t waste his time :mrgreen: other than a hearty “good luck”.

The trips Andrew does is super ambitious and bold.
and it should inspire others to think big.
When someone has found a way to make a living by doing what they love them more power to them.

Like johnz kinda said - when you operate on such a high level, it’s easy to mistake being high ambition & motivation for being pretentious.

on a side note - Adnrew, let me know when you’re coming to Anchorage & you can crash at my place if you need it.