Backpacker Radio 92 | Andrew Skurka Returns

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are once again joined by Andrew Skurka- and as you might’ve already guessed, it does not disappoint.  We touch on a range of different subjects in today’s show ranging from how COVID effected his guiding business, to why wildfires have been so bad in the west over the past couple of decades (and the reason might surprise you), to Andrew’s favorite trail meals, to the intricacies of the backcountry bidet, to picking the perfect campsite, to layering in the winter, and much more.  Put simply, you will enjoy this chat.

We round out the show with a reminder of our impending butt tattoos, a triple crown of the worst chores, an explosive butthole patent-pending, picking death by shark or mountain lion, and some horse facts, crab edition.

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Interview with Andre Skurka

00:04:49 – Intro to Andrew Skurka

00:06:38 – What has Andrew done since 2019? 

00:07:53 – Is it usually bigger nes in the FKT world when someone breaks a record rather than setting one? 

00:09:28 – Was 2019 mostly dedicated to the guiding business? 

00:10:20 – How did guiding go in 2020? 

00:12:15 – What was your thought process on when to pull a plug on a trip for 2020? 

00:14:48 – You also dealt with a lot of fires this year correct? 

00:15:14 – How many clients are usually on each trip? 

00:15:40 – Did you run into any problems with the number of people? 

00:17:04 – How are you feeling about trips in 2021? 

00:24:41 – Are people going to have to submit whether or not they’ve been vaccinated before going on a trip? 

00:25:56 – Did the 2020 fire season impact how you are scheduling trips in 2021? 

00:28:09 – What is your personal threshold for hiking in smoke? 

00:34:19 – Do you want to speak to what is causing wildfires? 

00:37:50 – What is the solution for wildfires? 

00:40:20 – Is climate change part of the causes of wildfires? 

00:41:00 – The Ted Talk Andrew shared on wildfires

00:41:19 – Do you have tips for hiking in smoke/near wildfires?

00:43:09 – Would you ever consider making plan B’s for your trips? 

00:45:00 – Can you touch on some of the trips you are looking forward to in 2021?

00:49:42 – How active are you with new gear testing? 

00:51:10 – Skurka uses a pillow.

00:57:10 – Is there anything else you’ve used this year that you like? 

01:01:10 – You’re a hunter right? 

01:02:25 – What are some of your favorite backcountry recipes? 

01:04:42 – Do you put anything with the protein powder? 

01:05:27 – What does Skrurka eat in normal life? 

01:06:10 – So you run fasted? 

01:10:19 – People want to know about the backcountry bidet? 

01:12:22 – Do you bury the things you use to wipe? 

01:14:00 – Do you use an accessory? Do you poke a hole in the lid? 

01:14:28 – Have you ever thought of making a video that demonstrates? 

01:15:48 – How do you know you’re clean at the end? 

01:16:39 – Wait, so you don’t just splash the water? 

01:18:00 – Do you use soap on your hands after? 

01:18:33 – Out of your high route guides, what is your top recommendation for beginners? 

01:19:47 – What do you look for in picking the perfect campsite? 

01:22:30 – Do you have any advice for beginner winter hiking/snowshoeing/backpacking?

01:28:03 – What do you want to plug? 



How to Get a Job In the Outdoor Industry by Kelly Floro 

New Podcast Seeking Research Intern (A Juliana Chauncey Project) 

How much money would you have to be paid to be someone’s personal bidet assistant? 

Triple Crown of Chores You Hate 

Patent Pending: A Washer and Dryer in One Machine 

Horse Hermit Crab Facts

QOTD: Would you rather be trapped in a cage with a mountain lion or a pool with a bull shark? 

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Comments 6

  • chris mcgovern : Jan 9th

    I was really suprised to hear Skurka say leaving 1 square of high quality TP in your poop hole to be ok…… um, no. that is not ok.

    • Eric Boxer : Jan 27th

      Word. NO amount of TP , ANYWHERE, is cool.
      Go for that sub-alpine fir, dude.

  • Tom Jarvis : Jan 10th

    Chaunce thinks washer-dryer appliances don’t exist???????

  • Clay Bonnyman Evans : Jan 21st

    Good to hear from Andrew Skurka again. He’s a goldmine of knowledge.

    Re wildfire contributing factors:

    All the way back in 1994, when I did my wildland firefighter training (my “red card”), fire managers were massively frustrated by the “Smokey Bear problem” — decades upon decades of fire suppression had allowed “fuel loads” to build. Thus, when fire did strike — fire is a natural part of the ecosystem — it often burned catastrophically hot, as in Yellowstone in 1988; so hot that it literally sterilized upper soil levels.

    At the time, fire managers were hopeful that a new ethic would take hold, in which fewer people moved into zones where wildfire is endemic, and those that did would vigorously practice “defensible space” principles. Neither, unfortunately, has happened, so firefighters are still having to suppress fires to protect property, and fuel loads have continued to build.

    The total number of wildfires in the United States has fluctuated, but remained more or less the same since the 1980s. However, fires have become more severe, as measured by average area burned (individual years may vary widely in number of fires and area burned, due to proximate weather conditions such as snowpack, precipitation and temperature).

    While it might seem obvious why warming temperatures would cause more severe wildfires, some of the causes are complex. For example, research has repeatedly demonstrated that bark beetle populations are surviving warmer winters more frequently, killing more trees; in some counties of Colorado, forests have seen as much as 70% beetle kill — and dead trees make good fuel. The lodgepole die-off near Rocky Mountain National Park noted by Skurka was largely due to beetle kill.

    In short, while you can’t say that climate change is “causing” more severe wildfires, it is certainly contributing to the problem.

    Now, regarding bidets, in the backcountry or otherwise:

    My elderly mother spent thousands of bucks (grrrr….) on a super-fancy toilet from McGuckin Hardware in Boulder. You can adjust the temperature of the water in the bowl (why?) and of course the seat is heated. The throne also has a built-in bidet.

    One day, irked by this unnecessary luxury, I told my wife I was going to check out the bidet to see what it was all about. I plopped down and pushed the button and HOLY S**T, a powerful jet of warm (why?) water blasted directly into my nether regions, causing me to leap off the thing and crash into my mother’s shower door, cutting my lip.

    I did learn, later, that you can adjust the damned thing so it doesn’t drill any new orifices or castrate you, but again … why? WHY?

    And I would never, ever allow another human to aim a jet of water at my anus, no matter what.

    Incidentally, even the Leave No Trace people agree that it’s OK to leave a few thin leaves of TP in a well-dug cathole. I pack out all my TP, because it’s easy and no big deal. But a square in a deep hole easily and quickly biodegrades in most conditions.

  • WannabeThruHiker : Jan 26th

    OMG, my mind is blown. Now I finally understand how the Backcountry Bidet works. I couldn’t figure out how to get a spray with enough power to clean out the crooks and valleys.

  • Owen Cowan : Feb 11th

    Chaunces anus tattoo


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