Thursday, May 6, 2010


This last week I got a couple of calls from Andy Skurka -- one a cell phone call a week ago when he asked if he should take skis on the next leg. I said yep and leave his raft. All the rivers including the Delta would be fordable now and the skis would come in handy with late snow and any remaining overflow.

He called a few days later on his sat phone after getting hit by a storm.

"Heh Roman, it's Andrew Skurka..

Long pause.

"I'm up here on the Wood River by that cabin just below the pass to the Little Delta." We both knew the place from the Classic last summer.

"It's snowed a foot out here and I am pinned between break up on the Yanert and avalanche hazard. I'm thinking I should just call for an airplane to come pick me up."

"No, no just sit tight. Don't give up yet," I advised. "Let the storm play out and the snow settle. How much food do you have left -- four, five days?"

"Yea, fiver days," his voice warbled through outer space.

"Then just be patient. It's spring time. I know it'll be hard not to eat your food out of boredom but there's no need to run back to Healy or call the pilot. Be patient. Wait a day. If it doesn't improve, then head down toward Cody Creek, and if it takes a day to get there, then head out to Healy. If you make it easy, then head over Kansas Creek. You can still make it across to Delta."

"OK, ok. That sounds good. Thanks. This kinda thing doesn't happen on the Appalachian Trail. It's kinda new for me." We both chuckled, unable to hear the other's laugh over the garble.

"Just be careful going over the pass. Look at what sides are sloughing and go early in the morning. See you in a couple weeks."

And that was that.

I follow his progress on Twitter. Not really a fan of that abbreviated internet medium, but it's pretty amazing to see where he is each day posted via tweets on a sat phone and what he's going through.

The Nat Geo photographer and I are planning to meet him at Solo strip in the Wrangells in a couple week to hike the Goat Trail and float the Chitistone/Nizina/Chitina/Copper in packrafts.

We should be able to keep up with him there!


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  2. Man, its just an amazing undertaking for one person. I'm going to try and get out there and find him once he gets into the Yukon and try to keep up for a day or two.

  3. One thing i forgot to add was a question about his route. Obviously this is just idle curiosity, but I wonder why he chose to go along the coast to Skagway then the Chilkoot, rather than head up from Dry Bay, then up the Alsek or Tatshenshini as a route to gain the interior? There is no doubt that the guy is NOT afraid of bushwacking, I can only hazard a guess that he needed resupply points?

  4. Paul,

    His plan is Skagway June 20, Whitehorse around June 24 and Carmacs June 29.

    He stretched his route all the way down to Glaceir Bay to beef up is mileage and get the WIldest part of the Lost Coast to Glacier Bay.


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