Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva

Ryan "Dirtmonger" Sylva

With an affinity to dirt and mountains, Dirtmonger sprung free from the metropolis of Los Angeles and now lives the life of thru-hiking. The urge to explore too great, he always wanted to go farther, beyond. He sought ground rather than a bed, preferred walking rather than driving, but most of all he craved simplicity. So, he patterned his backpacking style after his ultrarunning background: light, fast, and efficient. He applied the ultra-light hiking style on the PCT and the CDT, mashing mile upon mile over rugged terrain, all the while being healthy and strong.

The impulse to go farther also drives his need to polish his craft. After every thru-hike his pack weight reduced dramatically. On the PCT his pack weighed 10lbs and on the CDT 9lbs. For his next thru-hiking attempt, most likely the AT, his pack weight will hover around a startling 7lbs.

Dirtmonger is a goal-oriented person who craves tough challenges. Through this mindstate, he is constantly striving for growth both physically and mentally. The confines of a city pose too many limits for Dirtmonger so the more outside he is the freer he becomes. Thru-hiking fits this mold perfectly.

Never too keen on the pretty side of life, he prefers the caked-on spackled dirt on his legs to a pair of jeans; he prefers cold re-hydrated refried beans than a hot meal. He sticks to a gruff appearance when possible, the bigger and burlier the beard the better, and loves it when people wince at the sight of his dirtiness. However, no matter how gruff his exterior is, he is a soft-hearted shy soul who simply loves the soft wind soughing across the dark mountain night.

Home: Los Angeles, CA

Website: freedirtmonger.blogspot.com

Outdoor Organization Involvement: Former employee and Newsletter Correspondent at Montana Conservation Corps | Volunteer at Pacific Crest Trail Association

Favorite Training Ground: Moab, Utah. I find the rugged terrain and gritty rock great to train for the rigors of a thru-hike. Plus, the beauty is mind boggling.