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Last month Andrew Skurka, most well known for being the first person to complete the Sea-to-Sea Route in 2005, hiked 385 miles through northern Minnesota, from Duluth to Ely, along the Superior Hiking Trail, Border Route Trail, and Kekekabic Trail. This region of the country regularly cooks up the most frigid conditions in the Lower 48 - giving it its “Nation’s Icebox” title - so Andrew thought it would be an excellent time of year to test the limits of lightweight backpacking and to learn things about gear and technique that he would not learn in more sane conditions. He began on January 4th and finished 16 days later on January 19th. This is his trip recap.


  • Introduction
  • Trip Recap
    • Snow Conditions
    • Temperatures
    • Trail Maintenance
    • Pace
    • Other "Crazies"
    • Lodging
  • Select Gear Assessments
    • Vapor Barrier Liners (VBL)
    • Footwear
    • Sleep System
    • Shelter
    • Final Gear List
  • Five Tips for Winter Backpacking
    • 1. Do not fight the cold - instead, embrace it.
    • 2. Never mess up, ever.
    • 3. Never be "hot" or "cold"; always be "comfortable."
    • 4. Know how things behave in frigid conditions.
    • 5. Go ahead, give it a shot.
  • About Andrew Skurka

# WORDS: 3010

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