MARK SIREK Administrator Posts: 313
edited July 2023 in THE GEAR LAB

Words and Photos from @snechemias

Hello there! My name is Scott, and the time that I spend writing this is a brief interruption from what would have otherwise been an evening staring into the comforting electric glow of a Caltopo screen, pondering the promise of what future hiking plans will manifest from the mysterious interaction between the photons shooting off the monitor and the gray matter behind my eyeballs.

I work as a dog trainer and burn the candle at both ends by being on trail typically 80 to 100 nights a year, mostly on cross-country routes of my own design. In the past, I’ve hiked established well-known routes like the Wind River High Route, Pfiffner, Kings Canyon, Weminuche, and Sierra High Routes, and it became a catalyst for who I am as a hiker today–someone who spends more time off trail than on. I have a special affinity for Oregon’s high desert, and the longest cross-country route I’ve designed to date traverses 135 miles of the Columbia Plateau in John Day River Country. I’ve also created routes in the Olympics, Beartooths, Gore Range, and Glacier Peak Wilderness. Now in my mid-40s, I’ve discovered my greatest skill as a hiker isn’t any physical prowess but the ability to plow through head-high sagebrush and catclaw when the need arises. 

On the Weminuche High Route.

As you might have guessed, I really like dogs, and I really like my dogs, Cheese and Special Agent Utah, who often accompany me on trips suitable for canines. The mutts are co-parented by fiancee Jordan, who is a veterinarian specializing in emergency medicine. Jordan is an accomplished route maker and finder as well.

Ignore the sprawl. It’s organized, I promise.

All four of us fit in an UltaMid 2, nicknamed the “Temple of Spoon.” I can’t think of another shelter we’d prefer due to its storm worthiness and ability to house the entire backcountry family at the cost of 18oz. 


I’ve used HMG packs for several years, appreciating their ability to stand up to the abuse my peculiar brand of hiking entails. My primary relationship with Hyperlite (not including sending Josh and Mark annoying messages during the day that they may or may not find funny) (They are. - Ed.) is gear testing. Of these, I’m most excited about the Mid 1, which I’ve been using this year on solo trips and is now my preferred single-wall shelter.

Elk Pass on the PCT in the Mid 1.

My guilty pleasure product from HMG is the Pods. They become instant organizers in camp, sit in my bow bag in my packraft for snacks on the water and to resist light splashes, and generally make me a slightly less scattered person in the backcountry. I’ll often use one to pack my shelter as well. 


  • Patch96
    Patch96 Member Posts: 25

    Thanks for sharing, looks like you get into some pretty awesome adventures! The pfiffner traverse is super appealing to me. I’ve had the idea it would be cool to incorporate part of that route as an alternate when I hike the cdt. I would be curious to hear about some of your experiences from that trip.

    I’m also a huge fan of the UltaMid 2 tent. I think it’ll end up being my go to choice when my wife comes along with me.

    How have you been liking the Mid 1? I have been eying it but haven’t picked one up yet. Hoping to order one fairly soon.

  • snechemias
    snechemias Member, Moderator Posts: 22

    North Inlet to Berthoud makes a great alt for the section of the CDT, allowing a resupply in Grand Lake. Just be sure to factor in lower daily mileage for the route than what you're used to on the CDT. I'd purchase Skurka's Pfiffner guide.

    The mid1 has been great. I think it strikes a nice balance and or supercedes its closest market analogues in a couple of positive ways:

    1. More livable than a plex solo
    2. More stormworthy and doesn't require the peak height of an altaplex
    3. Not as finicky as an Aeon Li, plus no struts

    I think its the best thing going in the 13 to 19oz single pole solo shelter market right now.