SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – May 2009

Ridge Runner: An Interview with Glenn Dunmire

Undeterred by injuries that would cripple most men, a Colorado hiker nears the halfway point in a pioneering attempt to thru-hike the true crest of the Continental Divide.

by: Steve Howe

PAGE 1 2
Glenn Dunmire (Scott DW Smith)
Glenn Dunmire (Scott DW Smith)

trip icon Ridge Runner: the Extended Interview
Can't get enough of Glen Dunmire? Read our extended interview right here.

How do you handle navigation on such a long, complex course?
On a treeless ridgeline, it's no big deal, but when I'm in the trees or a whiteout, I'll use map, compass, and GPS together. I haven't gotten lost, aside from a temporary setback in a snowstorm in the San Juans. I was absolutely sure the GPS was wrong, but of course it wasn't. The maps have been good, too–I've only found one error. In southern Yellowstone, I was climbing over piles of fallen lodgepole from the '88 fires, trying to follow the Divide despite not touching ground for a quarter of a mile at a time. In one minor spot, the map showed the Divide going the wrong way.

What's been the toughest part?
In the southern San Juans, I kept encountering this band of rock that's so rotten that it's hard to even stand on it. You can't be roped up because rockfall would just cut your rope, and protection points are impossible. That rock is as close to unclimbable as anything I've ever seen. If I pull off the Divide, I won't claim to have 'done it,' because there are 50-yard sections I've had to skirt.

What's been your favorite area?
Strangely, since it's low-lying, the Great Divide Basin, south of the Wind Rivers. There are gigantic herds of elk, deer, and wild horses, and lots of sage grouse and mountain plover–along with a huge oil and gas boom. It was pretty surreal with these massive oil trucks rolling by all day. The north end of the Basin hasn't been developed yet and it's fabulous, but there are survey stakes everywhere.

What keeps you going back to the Divide?
Because the crest itself isn't on trails, and it isn't a destination or a famous peak, it's not a place people flock to. So the solitude is a draw. And freeform wilderness journeys are where I came from. Going out for a stroll on the Divide under a 50-pound pack just seems like a good, normal thing to do.

How long will it take you to finish?
Probably several more years. I have much of Colorado and Wyoming done, and some of New Mexico, and that's taken 100 days. There's still Glacier and the Wind Rivers. If it weren't for the realities of life, I'd be done by now. But I have a job, and I'm married, and I'd like to stay that way.

For Dunmire's progress reports, log onto therealcontinentaldivide.com.
PAGE 1 2

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: Star Star Star Star

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Health and Fitness
2014 fitness updates
Posted On: Jul 23, 2014
Submitted By: ol-zeke
Trailhead Register
The "Good Morning" thread: part 2
Posted On: Jul 23, 2014
Submitted By: ol-zeke

Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions