Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Summer Snow Survival

Title: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail // Author: Cheryl Strayed // Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf // 315 p. // 2012

I recently read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail and loved how Strayed tells her story of a life-changing adventure hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. She’s funny and honest and real. Strayed sets off to hike the PCT in the midst of grieving over her mother’s death and a recent divorce. She’s able to tell a balanced story that offers the details of an exciting adventure and reveals the emotional depth that underlies it. Strayed does most of the hike alone, but along the way, she encounters rattlesnakes, endures excruciating blisters, and pushes herself to achieve new mental and physical limits. She meets a host of interesting characters along the way, but she emerges as the most interesting one of all.

The Pacific Crest Trail begins in Mexico and ends in Canada, crossing through California, Oregon, and Washington along the way. It crosses through both the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade mountain ranges, so Strayed covers a lot of high ground on her journey. She tells about hiking across snow slopes and learning how to use an ice axe to self-arrest in case she falls. Even though she bypasses a particularly snowy area in the Sierra Nevada, she encounters snow in many other areas and has to cross the snow slopes that she fears.

Crossing a snow slopes is a challenge that many hikers will face in the mountains during the summer, even if it hasn’t snowed for months. If you plan to go into an area where you might encounter snow this summer, check out these two articles I recently wrote on the Survival Skills website. First of all, get some snow slope basics by reading “Summer Hiking and Snow-Covered Terrain.” For more on a related skill, read “How to Self-Arrest With an Ice Axe.”

I’ve also created a YouTube video demonstration of how to self-arrest with an ice axe:

Enjoy Wild–and get out there for some good mountain adventures this summer while you’ve still got a few months left!

Photo © Alessandra Montalto/The New York Times; Jacket: Alfred A. Knopf.

Further Reading on the Survival Skills website:
“Summer Hiking and Snow-Covered Terrain”
Hiking across snow-covered slopes in the summer requires a specialized set of skills and techniques. Learn how to survive this challenging terrain by knowing what to do when you encounter it.

“How to Self-Arrest With an Ice Axe”
These step-by-step descriptions and photos demonstrate how to stop yourself from sliding down a snow-covered slope.


2 responses to “Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Summer Snow Survival

  1. How does it feel to agree with Oprah? 🙂 She picked this as the book to use to restart her Book Club.

  2. Hello, there!! I think that Oprah made a great choice. This book is inspiring, empowering, and well-written…these things seem to be themes in her Book Club choices. Hope you read it…and enjoy it!

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