Andrew Skurka is an accomplished adventure athlete, speaker, guide, and writer. The 31-year-old is most well-known for his solo long-distance backpacking trips, the 6,875-mile 7-month Great Western Loop and the 7,775-mile 11-month Sea-to-Sea Route. In total, he has backpacked, skied, and packrafted 30,000+ miles through many of the world’s most prized backcountry and wilderness areas—the equivalent of traveling 1.2 times around Earth’s equator!
Skurka, born and raised in Seekonk, MA, has been described as “a superman among trekkers” and “one of the best traveled and fastest hikers on the planet.” In the process of trying to travel mega distances over rugged terrain in relatively short periods of time, Skurka helped to define light-and-fast backcountry travel. His typical 3-season pack cumulatively weighs between 8 and 10 pounds, sans food and water; and he regularly logs 30+ miles per day, even off-trail.
When not in the field, Skurka occasionally dabbles in ultra-running. In his first and only 100-mile run, the prestigious Leadville Trail 100 in 2008, he placed second in 18 hrs 17 min. His PR for the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim, which is 42 miles long and features 21,420 feet of elevation gain & loss, is 8 hrs 2 min.
On Skurka’s most recent trek, the 4,700-mile 6-month Alaska-Yukon Expedition, he had a close encounter with a grizzly bear; make that two grizzly bears in the span of 30 minutes. Although visibly shaken by the experience, Skurka was able to compose himself and find humor in this potentially fatal faceoff.