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The Shorts-- Better Than Good Enough
"It was a life that was narrow in its margins and seemingly under my control," remembers John Gray. "It wasn't exactly exciting or fulfilling, but I decided it was good enough for me."
After a breakup and a drinking habit sent him in a downward spiral, John decided that he needed something radical to shake him out of his "life avoidance stupor." He signed up for a semester-long Outward Bound course that would take him from the Appalachians to the Everglades to Costa Rica-- and change his outlook in a lasting way.
"I knew that good enough would never again be good enough."
|Jun 22, 2018|
The Elephant in the Boat - Part I
“The definition of kidnapping is moving someone from one point to another point against their will, and that’s exactly what had happened to us,” says Ben Stookesberry. “But, to me, the most noteworthy part of the day was that, for the first time in the entire trip, we were actually all working together as a team and we were all spending an entire day together.”
Ben and Chris are the expedition kayakers. The two of them have what is perhaps the longest running, most successful partnership not just in kayaking, but in the world of outdoor adventure. They’ve been at this together for over a decade now.
And, yet, in April of 2017, the two boaters wound up on an expedition on which the interpersonal dynamics grew so strained that being held hostage by an armed rebel group in the remote Amazon didn’t necessarily seem like the worst thing that could have happened.
We’ve broken today’s episode into two parts. Today, for Part I, we’ll follow Ben and Chris down a stretch of Colombia’s remote Apaporis River. In Part II, we’ll get into the history of this epic partnership, what went so wrong, and what happens moving forward.
|Jun 08, 2018|
Introducing Safety Third: Channel Risk Into Reward
Today, we bring you the first episode of Duct Tape Then Beer's new show, "Safety Third." Big wall climber and former wingsuit flyer Chris McNamara believes risky outdoor pursuits are essential. But, what happens when something vital has the potential to kill you? You find different ways to take risks.
|Jun 05, 2018|
The Shorts--Spirit B
“In the early stages of my pregnancy, I was intrigued and ready for the changes that would take place,” says Chelsey Magness. “As an athlete, I expected body image and performance challenges. I expected exhaustion. I expected attachment issues to my newborn twins. I never expected what was actually to come.”
Chelsey and her husband Jason have built unique lives as professional adventure racers and partner acrobatics and slacklining instructors--among other things. When unimaginable tragedy struck their family, they came up with a unique way to move through their grief.
|May 25, 2018|
Mission Sorta Possible
More fun than a powder day. Riskier than leaping from a mountain. Weirder than a week on the playa. Paddy O'Connell and Elizabeth 'Rage Kitty' Nakano take you on a wild traverse of the ideas that define the outdoor community and the stories behind them. No topic is taboo.
Welcome to Safety Third-- Ideas forged from adventure. Subscribe on iTunes.
|May 23, 2018|
There are a lot of serious problems in this world, but the solutions don’t always have to be serious. Fly-fisherman and trail-runner Andrew Todd channeled his concern for Colorado’s native trout and the watersheds that support them into the creation of a joyful, irreverent, event: The Flyathlon.
Today, we join producer Cordelia Zars--and a group of Flyathletes--on Gunnison, Colorado’s Lake Fork River.
|May 11, 2018|
The Shorts--The Amazement Meter
Chronic depression and the deaths of a few close friends launched Tyler Dunning on a mission to visit all of the National Parks--to get his head and his heart straight.
He figured out how to support himself by writing for outdoor publications and coordinated logistics to make his way to 53 parks over the course of 8-years. Tyler was on a mission. Until, part way through his project, he lost interest.
“A pang of fear overtook me,” says Tyler, “I’d built an identity around this. I’d turned my outdoor hobby into a makeshift job and into a social expectation. But what happens when the thing you are most known for amongst your cohort—National Park exploration—is no longer rewarding?”
|Apr 27, 2018|
"I was working this corporate job, and, every day, I looked out the window and thought, 'Man, those mountains are so beautiful, I wish I was out there'," remembers Perry Cohen.
Growing up, Perry was an outdoorsy kid--hiking and cross-country skiing in rural New Hampshire. He was thrilled when, as a teenager, he got to sign up for an Outward Bound course. But the experience left him disappointed. For the first time, he didn't click with the group.
Perry reconnected strongly to the outdoors in his late thirties, as he transitioned from female to male. Being outside helped Perry have an appreciation for a body that he had felt alienated from. Looking out that window, he realized that he wanted to help other transgender folks get outside.
"I thought there must be some queer outdoor organization leading trips that I could go work for, but I didn't find one. So, I got despondent for about twenty-four hours, and then I thought to myself, 'I've led a corporate HR department, I understand how to run a business, maybe I should just start one'. And so I did."
Learn more at ventureoutproject.com
|Apr 14, 2018|
The Shorts--Unlearning Adventure Sports
“I’m learning how to listen to that subconscious voice of caution,” says Carmen Kuntz. “Where I used to feed on the feeling of adrenaline and risk, I now have to avoid risk completely. After a mild traumatic brain injury it’s simple: I’m not allowed to hit my head ever again.”
When an overexcited friend tackled Carmen at a bar and thwacked her head hard a wooden deck pillar, Carmen had just started to break into the world of competitive, freestyle whitewater kayaking. That moment changed everything. Rather than pointing her kayak into Class V whitewater, for the past four years, Carmen has had to confront a different kind of challenge: the balance between the risk of re-injuring her head and the risk of losing who she is.
You can find more of Carmen’s writing at her website: CarmeneKuntz.com
|Mar 23, 2018|
Escape From Beacon Rock
"For me, it was a way to stay connected--literally: tied to my free-range daughter by a length of 10-millimeter climbing rope, and connected to my own dream of being an adventurer," says David Altschul. "And that was how I found myself, a few days later, on a ledge, high above the Columbia River, in the dark."
For the past decade, David has told the story of the infamous "Escape from Beacon Rock"--a failed attempt to climb a basalt monolith with his daughter, our producer, Jen. At age 72, it dawned on him that, rather than continue to tell the story of the failed climb, he could connect with his daughter by actually climbing Beacon Rock, and doing it this time as a 'real' climber.
|Mar 10, 2018|
The Shorts--Aloha Life
"Here I was, a professional wilderness instructor with no food or water, a sopping wet tent and wetter sleeping bag, no way to banish the chills or signal that I needed help," says Emma Walker. "For the first time in my career, I began to think I might need a rescue."
Emma's husband Bix has also worked for years as an outdoor guide and educator. So, when the two of them set out on an overnight backpacking trip to a beach on Hawaii's big island, they were unconcerned--maybe a little too unconcerned.
|Feb 23, 2018|
The Punk Rockers of Ski Mountaineering
"The notion that there's one dream that we're all after and agreed upon ways in which you can verify that you are indeed living that dream drives me crazy," says Forest McBrian. "Everyone's dream is a little bit different. If there is a dream that we all lust after, then we're all just trying to do what's pushed by the media. So, yeah, this trip felt like an act of rebellion. Like, 'This is what we think is cool. We're going to do what we think is cool'."
In May of 2017, Forest and his friend and fellow ski-guide Trevor Kostanich spent a month traversing the North Cascades from Snoqualmie Pass to the Canadian Border (well, almost) in a style that broke all the rules of an epic mountain expedition--in the best way possible.
|Feb 09, 2018|
Endangered Spaces--Prince of Wales
"It's like being caught in a spiderweb. You'll find yourself pushing with every part of your body, and no part of your body will be able to move. You're totally trapped by--held by plants," says Elsa Sebastian, describing what it's like to bushwhack through a 25-year old clear cut in Southeast Alaska. It's something the lady fisherman did a lot of this past summer in an effort to defend the remaining old growth on her home island, Prince of Wales.
In January of 2017, Alaska Representative Don Young introduced a bill that would transfer up to two million acres of the Tongass National Forest to the State of Alaska for timber harvest. Much of that land would come from Prince of Wales.
For the fourth installment of our Endangered Spaces series, we travel with Elsa and her companions, botanical illustrator Mara Menahan and biologist Natalie Dawson, as they trek through the areas on the island selected for transfer to see for themselves what's been lost and what remains to be saved.
Learn more about the project at laststands.org
Find Mara's illustrations at maramenahan.com
|Jan 26, 2018|
The Year of Big Ideas 2018
"I think the jack of all trades gets a bum rap. The jack is the master of none, but I think the jack probably has a lot of fun," says Fitz Cahall.
This year, we open our annual Year of Big Ideas with an ode to "mediocrity" from Fitz, then turn, as always, to our community for inspiration for the coming year. Happy 2018!
|Jan 12, 2018|
"I've watched my friends and peers hopscotch across the world," says Fitz Cahall. "Some of them have reached the top of their craft, authored ridiculous lines up mountains, followed rivers into wrinkles of the deepest canyons, found the edge of human endurance.
"If I look back on the last ten years, I'm often surprised that I didn't end up on their trajectory. Something inside, quiet and steady, called me in a different direction--one that I struggled against, at first."
How you grow varies for each person, and it can differ depending on your stage of life. Some people reach upward and outward; others root down.
Please consider a donation to the Bears Ears Education Center Kickstarter.
|Dec 22, 2017|
The Shorts--Zarsian Adventures
"My dad started whistling. That was the first bad sign," Cordelia Zars remembers. "Then walking around the cabin and straightening things. The second. When he tromped up the ladder, rummaged around in the loft, and hollered down at me, 'Oh say, Cord...'? I knew it was over. some ridiculous idea had sprouted in his brain; negotiation was futile, all hope of rationality lost."
In this particular instance, the idea involved strapping on cross country skis and dragging a ninety pound keyboard ten miles through the snow on a nine degree Colorado evening.
Now, Cordelia reflects on how much these hair-brained excursion--postholes, shivers, sweat, tears and all--shaped the people her and her siblings became, and left hem with a deep sense for what they're capable of.
Find Cordelia's music here.
Donate to our Bears Ears Education Center Kickstarter Campaign here!
|Dec 08, 2017|
There's a light-hearted joy in orphan holidays. Thanksgiving in Indian Creek or slaying powder for Christmas may sound like more fun than going 'home' for holidays fraught with family dynamics. At least it felt that way for Katie Wallace.
"Thanksgiving had always been a tough holiday for me," says Katie. "It meant days of pre-cleaning, followed by a day of wearing scratchy sweaters and enduring endless hour adultness. Hemmed in by tradition, social convention, and trying hard to be nice, we endured Thanksgivings with extended networks of acquaintances that none of us particularly enjoyed spending time with."
But, over the past years, Katie has come to see family holidays as a privilege, not an obligation.
You can find more of Katie's writing here.
|Nov 23, 2017|
Over the Line
"It's like the Iditarod with a chance of drowning," says Jake Beatty, one of the organizers of a bizarre, crazy race called the Race to Alaska. The course traces 750-miles of Alaska's Inside Passage through complicated currents and tides, busy shipping channels and bear-ridden coastlines from Port Townsend, WA to Ketchikan, AK. In June. The most unpredictable month of the year for weather. There are two rules: no support and no motors. First place wins $10,000. Second place gets a set of decent steak knives.
What's crazier than trying to race from Washington to Alaska on a boat without a motor? Karl Kruger's decision to enter the race on a stand up paddle board.
We've got one for you today about a ridiculous goal, about stepping over 'the line' and the unexpected places you can wind up physically and mentally.
Want to learn more about the Race to Alaska? Visit R2AK.com
Want to sail with Karl? Check out krugerescapes.com
|Nov 08, 2017|
Tales of Terror Vol. 8
For our eighth annual Tales of Terror episode, we have not three, but five stories that span the range of things to fear--from angry men with shotguns, to bears and mountain lions, to things that really don't have any explanation in the world of science.
First, we visit an abandoned Pennsylvania town with Joe Shearer. Then, we'll wander the overgrown Forest Service roads of the Sierras with Drew Villeneuve, join Maria DeBari on a spooky descent from Washington state's Mt. Stuart, jumpstart a dead car battery at a trailhead on the edge of Colorado's Weminuche Wilderness with Same Whitley, and finally, travel off the map in Iceland with Sal Zullo.
|Oct 27, 2017|
The Shorts--Yard Sale
"On a typical day, I taught farmers how to snowplow and chased foreign exchange students through the parking lot as they careened toward diesel pickup trucks," Tyler Neese remembers from his winters in college at an Iowa ski hill. "While skiing is never a bad way to earn a back, at the the end of the day, I found myself dreaming of powder days and places where Carhartt overalls were not standard ski attire."
So when Tyler and four friends loaded up the truck for a spring break ski vacation in Colorado, the stoke was high. Until, just minutes form the base of Keystone, black ice and a distracted driver flipped their trip--literally--upside down. But, sometimes, it's not about what happens to you, it's about how you react.
|Oct 12, 2017|
Endangered Spaces--Boundary Waters
Raising awareness. It seems like every day, someone embarks on a new project to 'raise awareness' about a particular issue, cause, disease, endangered species or threatened public land. But what separates the projects that cut through the noise and the ones that get drowned out in the static of issues competing for our attention?
For our third Endangered Spaces episode, we travel to Northern Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to follow Dave and Amy Freeman on "Paddle to D.C." and "A Year in the Wilderness," two adventures that had a real impact in advocating for the protection of the place they love most.
To learn more, visit SavetheBoundaryWaters.org,
get a copy of Dave and Amy's new book, A Year in the Wilderness,
watch Duct Tape Then Beer's film, "Bear Witness" about the Freeman's year in the Boundary Waters,
and watch Nate Ptacek's film on "Paddle to D.C."
|Sep 22, 2017|
"If you're thirsty, you're probably already dehydrated. That's what they say. Those perfect people who always have a clean, happily-colored, reusable adult sippy bottle on hand," says Anya Miller. "Most often, I only realize that I'm thirty when someone offers me a drink. My friend Jesse Bushey brought up climbing El Cap. I didn't even know I wanted to--until he suggested it."
Duct Tape Then Beer's Director of Brand and Creative Strategy extraordinaire shares the story of her first big wall attempt, selective memory and different kinds of thirst.
|Sep 08, 2017|
"When we were living in a house, we were always compromising because we had the weight of a mortgage, of doing what we thought we should be doing," remembers Kathy Holcombe. Until, the day she, her husband, Peter, and their daughter Abby moved into a Winnebago to travel and work from the road. "I want her to see that she can do that too: whatever her wildest dreams are, to chase them and not stop until they come true," says Kathy.
Abby's dream? To kayak the 280-miles of the classic Grand Canyon run. But how does a 12-year old arrive at a place where this goal is even conceivable? First, lots of kayaking. But, as in any sport, Abby must learn to walk up to her fears and pick them apart before deciding whether to go or not go.
Follow the Holcombe's adventures at famagogo.com
|Aug 25, 2017|
The Shorts--Double Vision
"I looked like some mountain man's girlfriend, and sometimes, that's all I felt like," remembers Andrea Ross. "It was easy to hide in Darren's shadow--to let the world knock on his door first."
But after an accident on Mt. Humphreys forced Andrea to draw on her EMT training and courage to coordinate a rescue, she reached a turning point in her relationship and the way she imagined her life.
You can find more of Andrea's writing on her blog.
|Aug 11, 2017|
"Picture walking through a parking lot with a ski mask rolled up on your head and a pistol in your pocket. You're getting closer to the bank, your heart's beating faster, adrenaline's starting to rush through your head, and you can't believe you're about to do what you're about to do," says Roland Thompson. "When you're climbing a route you've never done before, it's a grade or two above what you're comfortable with, you're a few feet above that bolt you've got a dynamic move coming up--that adrenaline is definitely the same intensity, it's just cleaner."
After serving 10-years in state and federal prisons, Roland discovered that he could satisfy his adrenaline craving and use his ability to stay calm in high-intensity situations by rock-climbing and snowboarding--instead of robbing banks. The outdoors also gave him what he had really been looking for all along: a sense of community.
Roland is currently writing a book and doing public speaking events. Learn more at Iam081.com
|Jul 28, 2017|
Endangered Spaces--Katahdin Woods and Waters
"The reason that I was able to do it is because I was incredibly naive," says Lucas St. Clair. "I had no idea how much work it was going to be, when I started. Not a clue."
The thing Lucas did: work to establish Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in the North Woods of Maine.
We started this "Endangered Spaces" series for two reasons. First, we want to take a deeper look at a handful of important, active land battles. Second, and every bit as important, we want to follow the stories of a handful of people who, in their own, quirky ways, have stepped up to protect the threatened spaces they hold dear.
For Lucas, the endangered space wasn't the land he was working to protect, but the communities that surround it.
The comment period for the 27 monuments on Zinke's list ends July 10th. Outdoor Alliance makes it easy to speak out for the places that are important to you.
To plan your trip to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, visit Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters.
|Jul 07, 2017|
The Shorts--Exit Strategy
"Three days from the end of the trip, I started to panic," writes Emma Walker. "I still didn't know what to do with my summer, let alone the rest of my life. Inspiration, as I'd imagined it, hadn't struck. Now, I had to face the realization that I didn't have an exit strategy. This had been it, and it would inevitably end."
The summer after her first year of graduate school, Emma enrolled in an Alaska Pacific University Expedition Mountaineering course. She told her family she signed up because it meant she'd earn graduate credits to traipse around the Harding Icefield. But she also hoped the trip would bring some clarity on the bigger questions, like whether or not grad school had been a mistake and what she was still doing in Alaska.
No lightning bolts of clarity struck during her trip, but looking back a year later, she could see that, perhaps, her month in the Alaska mountains had given her the inspiration she needed after all.
|Jun 23, 2017|
Pedal Strokes and Perspective
"As a brown woman, I stand out," says Mary Ann Thomas. "People came up to me just because they were curious, just because they were like, 'There aren't a lot of strangers here, we're just interested in who you are as a person-- as a whole person.'"
Mary Ann is the daughter of Indian immigrants, she's queer and she had always lived in the liberal bubble of big cities on the East Coast. When she embarked on a six-month, 6600-mile bike tour across the country, she worried most about the prejudice she might encounter as she pedaled through middle America. She was surprised to discover that the stereotypes she had to confront in a profound way were her own.
|Jun 09, 2017|
When a bad breakup sent him spiraling into a deep depression, Tom Ireson fixated on an unconventional way to get his head straight:
"I really needed something to focus my mind on to pull me out of that," Tom says, "and about the biggest thing I could think of was to try and do a new route on a big wall."
Not just any big wall, a big wall on the other side of the world in the remote and wild valley of Cochamo, Chile. When he latched on to the idea, Tom had never been to Cochamo and never climbed a big wall, much less established a new route on one.
Today, we've got one for you about how, if you find yourself at the bottom of an impossibly deep hole, sometimes it takes an equally impossible goal to pull yourself out of it.
If you want to hear more from Tom, check out his 2014 Short, 'Go For It'.
|May 26, 2017|
The Shorts--Let Joy Rule Your Life
"I used to go climbing in the same way people would go to a well, a source of life equally routine and sacred. It would fill me up--leave me refreshed and full after a hard day in the mountains," writes Keith Erps. "After Ryan's death, climbing appeared dark and ugly. I wanted to love it, but had to find a new answer to the 'why' questions."
For many of us, the relationship we have with the outdoors stretches back longer than most of our friendships. But what do we do when what should have been a type one fun day in the mountains turns into the worst day of our lives? How do we redefine our relationships with the activities we love?
Ryan's family started a scholarship in his name to help underserved youth get outside. You can donate here.
You can find more of Keith's writing here.
|May 12, 2017|
Matt Muchna and Peter Journel are best friends, and complete opposites. Matt is spontaneous. Peter is a planner. Matt is an idealist, Peter in a realist. And a few years ago, they made a bet: Peter bet that Matt couldn't climb one of the highest continental peaks for less than $3,000. If he did, Peter would pay him back for the trip.
"When I made this bet, I had maybe two or three pairs of cut off pants that were now shorts--or jorts--a pair of sandals, and maybe six or seven pretty nice Hawaiian shirts," remembers Matt. "And that was it."
Today, producer Francesca Fenzi brings you a story of mountain climbing on a budget, friendship, and idealism versus realism.
You can find more of Francesca's work at: francescafenzi.com
|Apr 28, 2017|
The Shorts--Catching Hope
"Every day on the mountain and every night at the bar, drinking and partying was as much a part of my life as skiing," remembers Paddy O'Connell. "That is until, of course, they became the only part."
We've heard the stories of addicts who found salvation in the outdoors and the outdoor community, but that's not the way the narrative arcs for everyone. For Paddy, recovery looked less like slashing pow turns with his ski-bum buddies, and more like a game of catch with his dad on the back lawn of a treatment facility in Minnesota.
|Apr 14, 2017|
Endangered Spaces--Bears Ears
Josh Ewing's metamorphosis from climber to climber-activist and the battle to protect Bears Ears.
|Mar 25, 2017|
The Fear is Real
Loosely speaking, there are two kinds of fear. There's the fear of external, objective hazards--like getting caught in an avalanche, or taking a bad fall climbing or getting mauled by a grizzly bear. Then, there's the internal, more slippery kind of fear, like the fear of not being pretty enough, or not being popular enough or not being perfect enough.
When Kat Cannell embarked on a 350-mile, solo horse-packing trip through the mountains of Idaho and Montana, across snowy mountain passes and through a large swath of grizzly bear country, she had to confront both kinds of fears. She realized that maybe conquering the fear of having a head on with a grizzly and conquering the fear of not being pretty enough really isn't all that different.
This April, Kat and activist Katelyn Spradley plan to ride 900-miles from the Washington Coast to Redfish Lake, Idaho, following the path of Idaho's wild salmon up the Columbia, Snake and Salmon Rivers to their spawning grounds in the Sawtooth Basin. Learn more at RideforRedd.org, or follow the trip on Facebook or Instagram.
|Mar 10, 2017|
Leaving the Races Behind
If you travel down to Ushuaia, Argentina, you might just find a bus plastered with a massive photograph of Sam Evans-Brown. In that photo, he's sprinting, shoulder to shoulder, with Olympic cross-country ski-racer Martin Bianchi in the final stretch of the 2008 national ski championship of Argentina.
Today, Sam brings us the backstory to that photograph--a story about a split-second act of kindness that altered the course of Martin's life, and about figuring out when it's time to leave the races behind.
Sam hosts the podcast 'Outside In', a show from New Hampshire Public Radio about the natural world and how we use it.
A version of this story originally aired on 'Outside In'. You can find "Don't Cheer for Me Argentina" here.
|Feb 24, 2017|
The Shorts--The Chute
"'Oh, shoot', my dad muttered for the tenth or fifteenth time in the last five minutes. Then, he burst into exhausted chuckles," remembers Deron Daugherty. "I looked up the chute that we were trying to march out of: thirty degrees of slop, several hundred feet to go. 'Shoot', I agreed, and laughed, the dark laugh of those initiated to the secrets of redlined exertion. Type 2 fun before I knew its name.
When Deron's uncle coerced him and his father on a trip to Vasey's Paradise, an oasis at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, they had no idea what they'd find down there. They didn't know about the chute. They also had no idea what truths they would uncover about one another, the bonds that would form between the three of them or how long those bonds would last.
|Feb 10, 2017|
The Year of Big Ideas 2017
No matter who they voted for, right now, a lot of people in this country would agree that things could be better. In the long term, if want thing to go well or if we want to move forward or to grow, then two, almost evenly divided, sides of the country can't remain at intellectual war.
So, this year, we bring you our annual Year of Big Ideas, but with a twist. With the current state of our country, asking people about their personal goals to get rad outside didn't quite feel right. Instead, we went out the simple/utterly confounding question: How do we move forward?
Today, our friends, contributors and listeners weigh in with their thoughts and goals on what we do in 2017 and in the years to come. Happy New Year!
|Jan 27, 2017|
"I have now officially sold out," writes Chris Kalman. "I work more than I climb. I pay rent and sleep in a house I'm getting rich off of writing--so rich, in fact, that I do my grocery shopping inside the store now."
Today, we bring you the story of Chris's life through the eras of three vans, "Ford," "Chevy" and "Van," to his current, nameless fancypants car. How do you reconcile a dirtbag soul with changing goals and dreams?
You can find more of Chris's writing at FringesFolly.com
|Jan 13, 2017|
Chad Kellogg. September 22nd, 1971 to February 14th, 2014. Seattle climbing community legend. Dear friend to many. And the toughest guy around.
"For Chad, not eating and shivering on ledges--that was like skiing powder for him. It was just that fun," remembers Jens Holsten.
Today, we take a look at what gets left behind when someone like Chad leaves us, and what grows in that vacant space.
In part one, we hear from Jens, Chad's climbing partner, good friend and mentee during the final years of his life.
In part two, we follow Ras Vaughan and Gavin Woody as they pick up the torch on a project Chad dreamed up, but never completed: the Rainier Infinity Loop. An idea so grand, it seemed almost inhuman.
|Dec 23, 2016|
The Shorts--The Skin Track
With a professional ski guide for a dad and a skin instructor for a mom, Nina Hance learned early how to set a steep skin track and charge hard. At 20, she started to work toward her ski guide certification and got a job as an apprentice guide for a heli operation in Alaska. Imagine her delight when, her first week of college, she met Olivia, climber skier and aspiring avalanche forecaster: the ultimate female adventure companion.
"She taught me how to party hard, and I made her wake up early for powder days," says Nina. "Whether in deep conversation over a bottle of wine, swapping leads on a multi-pitch, or giggling in the skin track, we couldn't get enough of each other."
Then, one morning, Nina awoke to a phone full of missed calls from mutual friends, and the terrible realization that she would have to find a new way to love the mountains.
|Dec 09, 2016|
"As a mom, you have no book that tells you the right way to take care of your kids through bad times," says Bonnie Elozory, mother of four.
For seven-years, the Elozory family weathered a relentless streak of bad luck. With no instructions on how to pull her family out of the muck, Bonnie got creative. When her husband nudged Bonnie to rekindle her dream to hike the Appalachian Trail, she latched on to the idea. And decided to take the kids.
"Oh my gosh," Bonnie remembers thinking, "this is going to save our lives."
*This episode contains discussions about assault. If you're listening with young ears, or have sensitive ears, you may want to skip this one.
|Nov 26, 2016|
"This is the part that I never anticipated: the boots have taken on a life of their own. They've just worked magic with people," says M'Lynn. "I'd like to see Paul's boots continue to be an inspiration, continue to get people off the couch and out into the fresh air and paying attention to what they're doing with their lives."
Paul's boots have now covered all 2,189-miles of the AT. All three pairs have summited Katahdin. Now, we've got quite the collection of size 13 hiking boots at the office. And we agree with M'Lynn: we think it would be a shame to let them sit in the corner and collect dust.
For our third and final episode on the Paul's Boots project, we bring you the story of thru-hiker Alex Newlon, who carried a pair of boots the entire length of the AT, and we have one last ask for you:
Where do these boots go next?
Email ideas to email@example.com
Watch the full Paul's Boots film.
|Nov 11, 2016|
Tales of Terror Vol. 7
This is our seventh annual Tales of Terror episode. Over the past seven years, we've read a lot of scary stories about things that happen out in the woods. We've discovered that there are all kinds of frightening things that can happen out there, but there are two ingredients that, mixed together, seem to lead to a terrifying experience more often than anything else:
1. Going out alone
2. Trying to go to sleep
Today, we bring you three stories of what happens when you try to go to sleep alone in the woods. First, we'll hear from Ryan Taylor, then from Jason Prinster and then from Duct Tape Then Beer's very own Isaiah Branch-Boyle. Happy Halloween, everyone. Maybe go camping with a buddy.
|Oct 28, 2016|
Mileposts--Greater than the Sum of its Parts
In the fall of 2015, photographer Pete McBride and writer Kevin Fedarko embarked upon a journey to rally support to protect one of our most awe-inspiring national treasures: the Grand Canyon. Their method? A 700+ mile sectional thru-hike of the wilderness that lies between the rim and the river. They knew the trek would challenge them, but they had no idea how quickly and completely the canyon would leave them demoralized and physically destroyed.
The two of them were contemplating giving up when, as Kevin puts it, 'A miracle happened'.
Today, a story about three people who have dedicated the better part of their lives to developing a unique skill--and a project so complicated and important that it required their cumulative experience to pull it off. It's also a story about friendship, and how friends working toward a common goal can lead to something greater than the sum of its parts.
You can find Pete's photography and film at: www.petemcbride.com/
To learn more about Pete and Kevin's journey, check out these two articles: "6 Painful Lessons I Learned by Hiking the Grand Canyon" and "Are We Losing the Grand Canyon?"
To learn more about the current threats to the Grand Canyon and what you can do to help, visit: savetheconfluence.com
|Oct 14, 2016|
The Shorts--The Dirtbag Ministry Co-Op
"The days and months on the road had unspooled before us and we'd simply followed the thread. But the bobbin was empty now," writes Dave McAllister. "Fine Jade would be the last cumulative "now" we shared, the final adventure we'd have as a group. At least on this trip. Maybe ever."
Last spring, Dave and his band of dirtbag travelers celebrated their last moments together and helped their friends get hitched in style--atop a desert tower. Today, we bring you a story of gumby ingenuity, spring in the desert, feather boas and a little tale of 'dirtbag theology' in motion.
You can find more of Dave's writing at: Thundercling.com
|Sep 30, 2016|
Paul's Boots--An Update from the Trail
Last winter, we received an email from M'Lynn. Her late husband, Paul, had a dream to hike the Appalachian Trail. He never made it to the AT--but, M'Lynn thought, maybe his boots could?
Maybe they could serve as a reminder for all of us to live our dreams while we can. Maybe they could go one step further and literally pull someone off the couch and onto the trail.
We asked you, our community, to help us make that dream a reality. More than 400 emails poured in, from seasoned thru-hikers to first-time backpackers. We heard a resounding, 'Let me know how I can help'. We knew we were part of an incredible community, but damn. We're floored.
Today, we bring you an update on the journey Paul's boots have made over the past nine months, introduce you to some of the hikers who carried Paul's boots and hear M'Lynn's reaction.
|Sep 16, 2016|
Mothers Have It Hardest - Kyle Dempster Tribute
"Maybe you and I would have the same recommendation--from my standpoint to the climbers out there, and from your standpoint to the mother's of those climbers out there," Kyle Dempster said to his mother. "Talk about the worst case scenario. Don't pretend that it doesn't exist. Express the love that you have for each other, and also the insurance that, in the event of worst case scenario, life will go on."
On August 22nd, 2016, Kyle and his climbing partner Scott Adamson went missing on Pakistan's Ogre II. After days of bad weather, friends and family, with incredible help from the Pakistani government, were able to conduct a search, but found no trace of the two climbers.
Our hearts go out to Terry and to all of Kyle's friends and loved ones. We know that he understood the risks involved in the activities he did, and we know that still doesn't it any easier for the people close to him to live with the hole he's left in their lives. Kyle was one in a billion.
We originally aired a version of this episode in 2014--a story from Kyle and his mother, Terry, about the struggle of loving an adventurer. The struggle between loving them so much that you don't want to see them hurt, and loving them so much that you want to support them in pursuing their dreams and doing the things that make them tick.
Last year, we reworked this piece to submit to the Third Coast Audio Festival. We have never aired this version publicly. It seemed like the right moment.
|Sep 09, 2016|
No Way Around It
Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic are the expedition kayakers. Over the past decade, the duo have made first descents of over 120 rivers in wildly remote locations across 36 countries and 6 continents. In 2016, Ben and Chris traveled to Myanmar to complete a source to sea descent of the Irrawaddy River.
The both say it was the first time they failed completely to accomplish their objective--and also one of the richest experiences they've ever had.
"Had we floated freely down the Irrawaddy, I don't know that we would've learned nearly as much about what actually was going on," says Ben. "The corruption that's occurring in that area stopped us from running the river. It wasn't just a side note. It was directly in front of us."
Today we, bring you a story about the intersection of politics and adventure, and about the richness in failure.
You can read more about Ben and Chris's trip to Myanmar here.
|Sep 02, 2016|
"I think all of us -- dad, me, my brother -- recognized a window of opportunity in which our flexibility as freelancers overlapped with dad's entrance into the golden years of being both retired and fit," says David Hanson. "Plus, it felt like dad and I had some things to figure out. Our differences weren't just that he liked park lodges and I preferred remote bivy sites."
For the past five years, David's father, Scott, has visited a cluster of National Parks. And every year, David and his brother take turns accompanying him. Today, we travel with David and his father to Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe Mountains and Big Bend in search of two of the greatest gifts our public lands give us: family time and common ground.
You can find David's writing, photos and video at: davidhandson3.com
|Aug 19, 2016|
Start Saying Yes
"Over two weeks I went from pretty 'fine'--I have to say 'fine' with air quotes and an eye roll because it's that kind of fine--so, I went from 'fine' to 'I'm out'! I just needed a life restart," says Katie Crafts.
For her thirtieth birthday, Katie gave herself a trip on a cruise to Antarctica. In the other, older passengers on the ship, she caught a glimpse of her future if she continued on the path she was on. In the ship's crew, she saw something else: a superwoman equivalent of herself. Today, we bring you the story of a journey to the far reaches of our planet, and of what it takes to see the person you want to be, and then become that person. It starts with saying 'yes'.
|Aug 05, 2016|
Start Saying Yes
"Over two weeks I went from pretty 'fine'--I have to say 'fine' with air quotes and an eye roll because it's that kind of fine--so, I went from 'fine' to 'I'm out'! I just needed a life restart," says Katie Crafts.
For her thirtieth birthday, Katie gave herself a trip on a cruise to Antarctica. In the other, older passengers on the ship, she caught a glimpse of her future if she continued on the path she was on. In the ship's crew, she saw something else: a superwoman equivalent of herself. Today, we bring you the story of a journey to the far reaches of our planet, and of what it takes to see the person you want to be, and then become that person. It starts with saying 'yes'.
|Aug 05, 2016|
Mileposts--The Grit to Make it Happen
"If you go on some really big, really ambitious trip or you have some enormous goal, if you look at the big picture all the time, it's too intimidating, it's too big, it seems too insurmountable," says Jim Harris. "If you break it down into the next move, or the next pitch, or the next day of hiking, or the next rapid or whatever it is, those chunks are manageable. And there's a lot of aspects to spine injuries that are that same way."
A year and a half ago, Jim traveled to Patagonia to attempt a 350-mile traverse of the Patagonian ice cap via kite-ski and packraft. But before the team even made it out of town, Jim was practicing with his kite when an errant gust of wind pulled him into the air and the slammed him back into the ground, breaking seven vertebrae and rendering him paralyzed.
For the fifth installment of our Mileposts series, we travel to Grand Teton National Park to bring you a story of how much these places we love can take away from us, and about how, sometimes, those same places can teach us the skills we need to come back.
You can find Jim's photography at: http://www.perpetualweekend.com/
|Jul 22, 2016|
The Suffer Vest
"I'm not what you'd call a 'runner.' I prefer it to getting fat, but not by a lot," writes Brendan Leonard. "The most I'd run in the past fews years was probably close to 12 kn. I ran a marathon once, and although it felt pretty recent, it was nine years ago." So what's a non-runner to do? Sign up for a 50K trail race with less than 25 days to train, of course. Ready, set, race.
You can find more of Brendan's writing at semi-rad.com
|Jul 08, 2016|
The Ultimate Weekend Warrior
Jim Herson and Anne Smith live in the Bay Area. They're in their fifties. Jim has worked the same computer science job since he graduated college in 1982, and he and Anne have been together nearly that long. They have two kids, a 17 year old daughter and a 13 year old son, who they shuttle around the city in a maroon Subaru wagon. An all-around American family.
Except for one thing-- Jim and his kids get their family bonding time a thousand feet off the deck on Yosemite's classic routes.
|Jun 24, 2016|
Little Explorers Club
"Tommy grew up in Estes, but you notice that so many families and so many kids just don't go into the the National Park," says Becca Caldwell. While Rocky Mountain National Park is just a short drive from Estes Park, CO., Becca found parents gravitated to the local playground and coffee shops for playdates. "Why aren't we going out on the trails and letting the kids run loose? How can we change that for my sons's generation?" she asked. It's a question that many experts have been asking too.
Today, for the fourth episode of our Mileposts series, we hike with the Little Explorers in Rocky Mountain National Park, and see how Becca's simple act is forming a community of kids and parents out on the trails.
|Jun 10, 2016|
Live From 5Point Vol. 9
Before Semi-Rad.com, Brendan Leonard wrote a Short for The Dirtbag Diaries called Sixty Meters to Anywhere. He recently published a book with the same title, documenting his journey from handcuffs to hand-jams, from rural Iowa to the mountains of Colorado and from business casual to assignments for Climbing magazine. We returned from our sixth annual pilgrimage to the 5Point Film Festival with something a little different this year: a lightly edited version of the presentation Brendan gave to a packed house. See you there next year?
|May 26, 2016|
Looking west from Seattle, the skyline of Olympic National Park is defined by the notched peak of The Brothers. "I see it stuck in traffic. I see it from meeting rooms in downtown Seattle. I see it on my evening runs that I use to stay in shape for my days in the mountains. I've looked at that skyline and imagined the light, the wind and thought, 'I could be standing on that peak,' -- instead of dealing with 'this', whatever 'this' is," writes Fitz Cahall.
It can be easy to wallow in the constraints, responsibilities, and duties of life. It can be so damn easy to play the grass is greener game. When Fitz takes a spring Friday to go and climb The Brothers, he gets a chance to look back in the opposite direction and realizes that it's not about which side is greener. It can be as simple as going when you get a green light.
|May 13, 2016|
The Shorts--I Poo, A Love Story
"My new husband, Bix, consulted the map and asked if I thought we'd make it to Bowknot Bend that day. Lots of honeymooners probably have similar conversations, except for one small detail," writes Emma Walker. "Unlike those couples who coyly take their twos at the gas station down the street, my spouse of less than a week sat discussing the finer points of canoe rigging from his perch atop of the river toilet."
Today, Emma shares her take on the ingredients for an awesome relationship: honesty, openness, unconditional acceptance of ourselves and of each other--and a solid foundation of poop jokes.
You can find more of Emma's writing at: https://myalaskanodyssey.com/
|Apr 29, 2016|
"You have to imagine that you're on the frozen Arctic Ocean. You're six miles from shore, you can't really tell where the ocean stops and the white shore begins. All you see is white--and this thing where they're dumping crap into the ocean to make this island," says Dan Ritzman. "And there, stuck in the ice, is a sign that says 'No Trespassing'."
It was 1999, the beginning of the climate movement. Oil companies had started to talk about green energy, but continued their dogged search for fossil fuel. At the time, Dan worked for Greenpeace, who was determined to expose that hypocrisy by any means necessary.
Today, we bring you the story of a Danish ex-special forces trainer, some very cold weather, some crooked State Troopers, a group of activists and the sometimes thin line between standing up for our wild places and adventuring in them.
|Apr 15, 2016|
Mileposts--The Miracle of Darkness
"The sky above you goes on forever, and the landscape appears as endless as the sky. The world is expansive and you are tiny. All of your problems shrink down to the head of a pin," writes Melina Coogan. "This is why places like this matter--places like Great Smoky National Park: they give us perspective."
Just months after Melina got married, she walked out of a doctor's office with a sobering health diagnosis. Today, for the second episode of our Mileposts series, we travel with her to Great Smoky National Park to see what perspective we can take home.
You can find more of Melina's writing at: http://www.thewildercoast.com
|Apr 01, 2016|
A Slosh in the Bucket
Eric Johnson lives in Sturgis, South Dakota with his wife and three young daughters. He works as a high school English teacher. He's responsible--well, most of the time.
Half way into his thirties, Eric emptied his retirement account to buy a raft, despite the fact that he lives in a state without any navigable whitewater. Just over a year later, he found something too good to be true: a group of experienced guides advertising an open spot on a pre-season trip down Idaho's Main Salmon.
Today, we bring you the story of what happens when you ignore the red flags that pop up when something is actually too good to be true and of what it feels like to bob around in the bucket of someone else's bucket list.
|Mar 18, 2016|
The Shorts--Tower Climbing, Baby!
"I unclipped the hot belay device from my harness. I looked over at Conor, smiled and announced, 'This is the best part of my day so far'!" writes Jen Altschul. "For a moment, a smile of pure joy spread across his face--which, just as quickly, flipped into disappointment when he realized that I was talking about being back on the ground."
The first time Jen tried to climb a desert tower, her and her partner bailed after the third pitch and returned the guidebook. Today, we bring you a story of abrasions, frustrations, failure and an eventual, unlikely love for the peculiar formations of the desert southwest.
|Mar 04, 2016|
Mileposts--Celebrate with a Milkshake
"Sometimes, when I'm hiking somewhere near Moab and chatting with other people, I think about saying something like, 'You know what's great about this hike? In about 75-minutes, you can be at Milt's Stop & Eat'," says Brendan Leonard. "Milt's is a 19-mile drive from Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, it's 55-miles from Indian Creek and 75-miles to Canyonlands' towering red and white striped sandstone needles. I mean, when you think about it, it's kind of the nucleus of all that rad stuff."
In the first episode of our Mileposts series, we explore the national parks around Moab, Utah--and celebrate with a milkshake.
You can find more of Brendan's writing at: www.semi-rad.com/
|Feb 19, 2016|
Roll The Dice
"We started the trip without much of a purpose," writes Fil Corbitt. "We wanted to be pushed around. Wanted to find something we didn't know we were looking for. We wanted to take some small chance and see where we landed. And see which side was facing up."
But how do you find that kind of serendipity when you only have a week? Fil created a game. Each morning, he and his friend would wake up and roll a single dice. The rules? A one meant go north. 2 = east, 3 = south, 4 = west, 5 = stay put and 6 meant to cross the nearest state border. The only rule? No backtracking.
Today, we follow Fil as he and his friend Brian figuratively and literally roll the dice and see where they land. And which side is facing up.
This episode originally aired as a six-part series on Fil's awesome podcast, Van Sounds. We cut quite a bit of material to turn it into a single piece. You can listen to the full version of the Dice series as well as other awesome travel stories, like the Freight Train episode, at: http://vansounds.org/
|Feb 05, 2016|
We got a call from Australia. M'Lynn's husband, Paul, passed away this past July. He left behind three pairs of polished hiking boots and a backpack packed for his dream hike: the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail.
M'Lynn reached out to us. She had an idea for one final gift for her husband. "How good would it be," she asked, "for his boots to make the journey even if Paul could not?" We want to make it happen. Give a listen. We need your help.
Want to help? To learn more, click here.
|Jan 22, 2016|
The Shorts--If The Shoe Fits
"I followed my friend through the small, dark weight room in a crusty garage-like building left over from the station's army days and up a narrow, twisted staircase," Hilary Oliver remembers. "Behind the door at the top of those stairs hid a magical place."
Drudgery and boredom ruled most of Hilary's season at Antartica's McMurdo Station, but she also got an unlikely introduction--one that opened up a whole different world.
You can find more of Hilary's writing at thegription.com
|Jan 08, 2016|
Everybody Loves LeeRoy
God told Steve Wescott to walk from the Space Needle to Times Square, NYC, with a goat named LeeRoy, to raise $200,000 for an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. Or at least that's the elevator pitch. In truth, when Steve started out of Seattle in 2011, it had much less to do with God, and much more to do with running away from himself and the mistakes he had made as a Christian rock star and sex-and-love-aholic. You probably don't want to listen to this one with your kids.
To learn more about Steve's project and the orphanage, Uzima Outreach, visit: http://www.needle2square.com/
|Dec 10, 2015|
The Shorts--Powder and Hookah Smoke
"In the end, Iran's spirit took me completely and pleasantly by surprise," writes Greg Buzulencia. "The benevolence I received inspired me to approach every situation with a more open mind. Doing so opened up the world in a way I hadn't expected." Greg left for the Middle East with dreams of powder turns, but returned with the best gifts that travel can offer: new friends, shattered assumptions and a refreshed perspective on the world and the people in it.
|Nov 20, 2015|
Tales of Terror Vol. 6
Phantasmal footsteps, strange silhouettes, inexplicable movements and unaccountable sounds. In our sixth annual Tales of Terror, Bix Firer, Lorraine Campbell and Kealan Sojack share three stories of 'What the *&@! was that'? A dream? Or an indication that, perhaps, we are not as alone in the woods as we like to think. Happy Halloween.
|Oct 30, 2015|
The Shorts--Commit Fully
"Our four seater plane touched down on a small gravel bar in the heart of the Brooks Range. We unloaded. The engine roared back to life, and the plane disappeared down valley into the blue-gray mountains. Then, the mosquitos came," writes Fitz Cahall. In May, Fitz received an email that contained a golden ticket--a float trip down the Kongakut River through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. There was just one problem: the timeline collided with prior commitments to family and friends. How one email, one trip and one decision to say yes crystallized Fitz's commitment to responsibility and desire.
|Oct 16, 2015|
"This was one of those rare moments in life where you must act or die and everything was therefore very simple--although the outcome remained unclear," writes Kim Campbell. "If I lived, I knew that I could manage what followed. It was like a dare and a promise."
Today, we bring you the story of Kim's first sailing trip, of horizontal masts and lightning strikes and, in her words, a "kernel of confidence that bloomed over the years."
You can find more of Kim's writing at: http://blog.kimzyn.com/
|Sep 24, 2015|
Beyond the Lines
Maps. We've all studied them. Stuffed them into backpacks or the seatback pocket of our car. Maybe we've even been led astray by a map. But have you ever thought about the person who made that map? Or how that person might influence your initial impression of a landscape?
"A map in not a perfect representation of a landscape. It's an abstract representation." says cartographer Marty Schnure. Today, we have a sotry about a mapmaker, Patagonia Park, and the process Marty uses to create a map--a map that she hope will connect you to a place.
|Sep 04, 2015|
The Shorts--The Hourglass
"By midweek, I can't focus on my duties at work, and spend most of my time on Summitpost and Mountain Project," writes Niki Yoblonski. "There are so many things in the world I want to see--so many mountains to climb, things to discover. I have to get out of there." Yet, inevitably, Sunday evening has her praying for the trailhead, a burger and a soft bed. Niki's theory on achieving the work-outdoor life balance? Just turn the hourglass.
|Jul 23, 2015|
"I was looking for no less than a new way of living in this world for our entire society," says Clay Shank. "Like, 'What's the alternative to this capitalistic system that we have here'?"
Today, we bring you "700," the story of Clay Shank's ambitious goal to find a new way of life and his unlikely method: skateboarding 700-miles through the state of California, hiking the 210-mile John Muir Trail, climbing Mt. Whitney and Half Dome and, all the while, capturing a video portrait of the people living in California. But, first, Clay had to learn to talk to strangers.
|Jul 02, 2015|
The Shorts--Painkillers and Perspective
"All of my friends kayaked. All of the trips we went on were kayaking trips. When not kayaking, we talked about kayaking," writes Sarah Paul. In the four years since she left home, Sarah had constructed her whole identity around whitewater kayaking. Then, on the first day of a whitewater rafting guide course, she felt something shift inside her shoulder. In a bad way. As recovery dragged on, Sarah had to figure out who she was-- other than a kayaker.
|Jun 11, 2015|
Live from 5Point Vol. 8
In our fifth annual "Live from 5Point" Film Festival, we interviewed Frank Sanders and Tommy Caldwell.
Frank spent his youth climbing on the East Coast. His path took a turn in 1972, when he hitchhiked west and saw Devil's Tower for the first time. Now, at 63, Frank owns and guides out of Devil's Tower Lodge. He shares the story of his journey and what it's like having found his place.
Over the last seven years, Tommy has spent months at a time focused on climbing The Dawn Wall, the hardest big wall climb in history. On January 14th, he and his partner, Kevin Jorgenson, pulled over the top of El Capitan into a swarm of cameras and microphones. He talks to Fitz about what it's like to end a seven-year relationship with a project and how his life has changed now that people outside the climbing world recognize him.
|May 28, 2015|
The Shorts--Sleeping Bag Metamorphosis
"After a summer of bussing tables and lifeguarding, I had saved up enough and I was finally going to get it. My ticket to anywhere I wanted to be," writes Anya Miller. "I was a little worried about the money, but I was in complete realization that anything I actually wanted to do in life -- literally, anything -- depended on it." Today, Anya shares the story of her first sleeping bag, and the person she became with the help of the women's medium, right-hand zip cocoon. When you can sleep anywhere, you can go anywhere.
|May 14, 2015|
The Modern Dirtbag
In the golden days, dirtbags lived to climb. They didn't work, have permanent addresses or sponsors. They ate leftovers off of tourists' plates and slept in beater cars or caves. They stayed in one place only as long as teh weather allowed for climbing. Now, our modern world of fees, time limits and locked dumpsters has made it nearly impossible to live that way anymore. Dirtbagging is dying-- or at least that's what some people claim.
Join Matt Van Biene for a day on Yosemite's Camp 4 as he talks to climbers of all different ages, nationalities and backgrounds. Is dirtbagging dead or alive? And what does the modern dirtbag look like? Tune in.
|May 01, 2015|
The Shorts--Two Wheels to Anywhere
"We opened my aunt's basement door and walked into the dusty room. Among cardboard boxes and carpentry tools stood a bright red bicycle. The frame had a few patches of rust. The components looked clunky and the gears grated roughly when I spun the pedals. It had no seat post or saddle. It was unrideable, but it had character," writes Graeme Lee Rowlands. He had a few months before he would move from Oakland, CA to start college in Squamish, BC. And he had decided that he would make the 1000-mile trip on a bicycle that he would build himself. He didn't know anything about building a bike, nor had he ever ridden more than 40-miles in a day. But he was determined.
|Apr 10, 2015|
The Shorts--Blind Date with the Desert
"My first few days in Moab's red rock desert were like a blind date where everything went wrong," writes Hilary Oliver. "For one, it was August. My metal aviator sunglasses got so hot in the sun that I couldn't smile or they'd burn my cheeks."
Four years later, Hilary and the desert got a second chance at their botched first encounter. Over the past ten years, they have developed a relationship with one another. Now, she has to learn how to share her place with all of the other people who have had their hearts stoled by the landscape of juniper trees and red and orange sandstone.
You can find more of Hilary's writing at thegription.com
|Mar 27, 2015|
The Threshold Moment
When Kevin Fedarko stepped through the door of the O.A.R.S. boathouse in Flagstaff, AZ, he didn't realize he had crossed a figurative threshold as well as a literal one. Kevin had planned on rafting the Grand Canyon for a wilderness medicine course. Then, he planned to go back to his life as a successful freelance writer. But what he saw in that first week on the Colorado River left him desperate to find a way to keep coming back. Kevin spent the next smelly, humiliating, beautiful and life-altering decade of his life developing a relationship with the Grand Canyon, writing about the Grand Canyon, and, ultimately, figting to protect it.
You can purchase Kevin's book, The Emerald Mile, here.
Brendan Leonard wrote and narrated this episode. You can find more of his work at Semi-Rad.com.
|Mar 13, 2015|
The Shorts--The Swallow and the Anchor
"My future captain interviewed me with three questions," remembers Joe Aultman-Moore. "Had I ever sailed before? No. Did I get seasick? I don't know. And, could I leave tomorrow? Yes." As Joe learned to sail while hitchhiking a sailboat across the Atlantic Ocean, he also discovered the unexpected ways in which travel could explode his perceptions of normal.
Check out "Going Into the Wild," another essay Joe wrote on hitchhiking--but this time thumbing cars, not boats, through Interior Alaska.
|Feb 27, 2015|
When Matt McKee first heard about the position forecasting avalanches for Minera Pimenton, a gold mine in the Chilean Andes, it sounded like the snow geek's dream job. But, mere hours after his plane touched down in Santiago, Matt started getting hints that maybe he had walked into a situation that more closely resembled a nightmare: a den of avalanche paths, a mine full of workers who didn't believe in avalanches and a country that looked for someone to blame if things went wrong. Today, we bring you Matt's story of trying to make it out alive.
|Feb 13, 2015|
The Shorts--365 Days
"In the day to day tangle of life, it's easy to let go of the things that provide focus, and calm and perspective," writes Fitz Cahall. "I find that serenity so easily in wilderness. How do we carry that home?" While on a trip to Minnesota's Boundary Waters, Fitz resolved to do something back in "regular life" to try to tap into that quietness every day, for one year.
|Jan 29, 2015|
It's January. Time for our annual "Year of Big Ideas." This year, we talked to Alastair Humphreys, a 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. Among other things, Alastair has walked across India and 1000 miles through the largest sand desert in the world, cycled 46,000 miles around the world and rowed across the Atlantic.
People often come up to him after his talks and tell him they wish they could go on the kinds of adventures that he does. Alastair believes that they can. Today, he explains what he's learned about what it takes to make an adventure happen. Here's to another year of big ideas, and committing to them. Happy 2015
|Jan 15, 2015|
There comes a stage in a great athlete's career when the pursuit of the technical difficulty take a backseat. It gives way to simplicity, an aesthetic, and possibly to an iconic style that leaves an impression on a sport. Will Gadd is one of the most accomplished mountain athletes ever. Most people know him as a climbing legend, but he also holds that stature in the fringe sport of paragliding where he's won competitions and held the single flight distance record for a decade. Last year, Will and renowned pilot Gavin McClurg embarked on a truly incredible trip down the spine of the Canadian Rockies. The goal was to create a continuous line through the air. At night, they landed in the alpine, slept and repeated the process for 35 days. The trip changed Will's perspective, not just on the craft, but on how he pursues adventure.
|Jan 06, 2015|
The Journey Within
"I'm thirty-year-old, and a complete and utter failure," writes Chris Kalman. "My mom is a PhD astrophysicist, my dad, a PhD mathematician, and my sister has a Master's in epidemiology. They all have jobs, children, houses. I, on the other hand, am a dirtbag."
Earlier this fall, Chris moved away from his favorite climbing haunts toward something bigger and more intimidating than giant rock walls. As he helped care for an extended family member thousands of miles from the place he had called home, he had to figure out how to take a journey very different than an annual pilgrimage to climb in Patagonia: a journey within.
You can find more of Chris Kalman's writing on his blog, Fringe's Folly, "for the purists, dirtbags and salty oldtimers who live climbing."
|Dec 12, 2014|
More Than Just a Camping Trip
"Death-by-lightning-strike statistics kept swirling through my head, causing me to push my 13-year-old daughter to the very limits of her physical ability. We were on her Trip," writes Otto Gallaher. Today, we bring you the story of a rite-of-passage tradition in Otto's family simply known as 'The Trip'. What outdoor traditions does your family keep?
You can find more photos of Otto and Riley's trip on Otto's photography website.
|Nov 26, 2014|
What You're Handed
Regardless of how you choose to play outside, if someone gets hurt in the mountains, the first step on the checklist remains the same: "scene safety"--you make sure the thing that hurt your buddy isn't going to hurt you too. But there's no checklist for emotional safety when things go wrong. Today we bring you the story of a family, an accident and the repercussions they navigated for years afterwards.
|Nov 14, 2014|
Tales of Terror Vol. 5
Ghost stories. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, ghost stories have a way of seeping into your mind. And, if they're really good, suddenly, that soft rapping on the window or the flickering lights become more ominous--like we've primed out minds to seek another explanation. In part, that's the fun of ghost stories. But how do we explain those things we had no intention of seeing? Our Tales of Terror winners, Justin Gero and Melina Coogan, present tales of seeing something they really, really didn't want to.
|Oct 31, 2014|
"It's never encouraging to be awoken in a tent by headlights. I wanted to play possum--roll over, and pretend to sleep until they left," writes David Hanson. "But this was exactly why I was here, a few hundred miles into a 500-mile canoe float down Georgia's Chattahoochee. I came here to see the river, but I really came here to see its people. And here they were."
Today, we bring you David's story of discovering a culture at once foreign and strangely familiar--and all within a day's drive of the place where he grew up.
David recently returned to the Chattahoochee to create a documentary, Who Owns Water, that chronicles a tri-state water war that threatens the river and the communities that depend on it.
|Oct 10, 2014|
The Shorts--5 Steps to Bailing
"The reality of climbing is, if you climb long enough, you're bound to bail," writes Dean Fleming. "I've left rappel biners on sport bolted 5.8s. I've bailed from trees, chockstones, fixed cams, and Manzanita bushes. Sure, sometimes my pride gets a little dinged, but so far I've survived some pretty weird situations."
We figured with that kind of experience, Dean could teach us a thing or two. Today, Dean presents another Lifestyle Tip for the Committed, with his five step guide to convinving your climbing partner to rig a retreat.
Find more of Dean's words + photos at California Climber Magazine.
|Sep 26, 2014|
The Shorts--Go For It!
"Encouragement. Peer Pressure. Bullying. Call it what you like," writes Tom Ireson, "but the climbing community is full of it."
We rely on our friends, mentors and coaches to push us past our own self-doubt--help us realize what we're capable of. And yet, we never actually know what someone is capable of ahead of time. Today, we bring you a story on searching for the line between pushing someone to succeed, and pushing them too far.
You can hear more of Tom's stories if you visit him at The Olive Branch in El Chorro, Spain--a family run hostel for adventurers of all kinds--where he works as a chef.
You can find Paul's music here.
|Sep 11, 2014|
Mothers Have it Hardest
"I remember really quickly going from, 'Wow, I'm home, this feels great', to 'Holy s***, what did I do to my mom'?" says alpinist Kyle Dempster. "And that was the first time I saw how truly difficult it is for mothers."
Today, we bring you two stories--one from Hilary Oliver, and one from Kyle Dempster and his mother, Terry--about the struggle of loving an adventurer. The struggle between loving them so much that you don't want to see them hurt, and loving them so much that you want to support them in pursuing their dreams--in doing the things that make them tick.
This story was originally inspired by one of Kyle's blog posts by the same title. You can find more of Kyle's writing at Through My Eyes.
You can find Hilary's writing at TheGription.
|Jul 25, 2014|
The Shorts--The Drowning Machine
"I was disoriented beneath the cold water. I kicked toward the surface, but the force of the water held me down. I twisted and hung underwater for a moment. A thought passed through my head--this is what it feels like to drown," writes Dan Gingold. Dan and three friends planned to raft the Musconetcong River into the larfer Delaware River over three days. With the river running high with spring rains and little prior recon, their mellow trip became more than they bargained for as they navigated multiple dams.
|Jul 11, 2014|
"It's like you're scared to move forward-- you just need something to give you a little nudge," says Jonah Manning. "You can call it support, but, really it's just like a little bit of a shove forward. And I'll never forget it, because Widge was certainly that for me." Today, we bring you the story of Widge, the ultimate adventure partner. Sometimes when that metaphorical door of adventure opens, you need someone to walk through by your side.
|Jun 26, 2014|
The Shorts--My Bluebird of Happiness
"Standing up in my pedals, I dug so deep to make it to the top of the hill I wasn't positive that my butt could bear sitting back down on my bike seat when I got to the top," Hilary Oliver remembers. "I'd hardly said a word to another human being all day, and began to wonder: What the hell was I doing out there, anyway?" Hilary had driven that stretch of asphalt between Fort Collins and Denver many times, but she didn't know what it had to teach her about herself and where she came from until she got out from behind the windshield.
You can find more of Hilary's writing at TheGription.com.
|Jun 12, 2014|
Live from 5Point Vol. 7
A month ago, we headed south for our annual pilgrimage to the 5 Point Film Festival and our live Dirtbag Diaries. Today, we share stories from two women, from two different generations who share a love for rivers. In 2013, Amber Valenti had the opportunity to paddle one of the last great free-flowing rivers in the world-- The Amur River. Amber, along with three other women paddlers, documented the river from its remote headwaters in Mongolia to the wide-ribboned channels in Russia. Amber wrote and produced the film, "Nobody's River," filled with hilarious antics and the soulful exploration of a new place and oneself.
Our next guest, Katie Lee, was a force to have on stage. Feisty, poignant and ready to tell you what she thinkS, Katie is not your typical nonagenarian. Katie started her career as an actress in Hollywood, but soon left it behind after taking her first trip down the Grand Canyon. But it was Glen Canyon that she fell in love with. When it was flooded in 1963, Katie used her voice to write songs and books about the river and the west. And she's still using her voice as an activist for the environment.
This episode contains strong language.
|May 28, 2014|
The World By Bike
Committed. It’s a word we use to describe people we know, our friends, even ourselves. Committed to a sport. A ski line. A lifestyle. It can be easy to commit to those daily or short term goals. But carving out time to achieve a bigger dream, something that may take weeks or months, even years--it can feel really hard to take that first step. To even know what that first step is. And sometimes, the very goal we set for ourselves can define the duration of our commitment. Twelve years ago, Pablo Garcia left Argentina to pedal around the world. And he’s still pedaling.
|May 01, 2014|
The average American spends a third of their income on housing. Almost as much as the next two greatest expenses--food and transportation--combined. So, theoretically, if you just stopped paying for housing, you could earn a living working three days a week. Or two thirds of the year.
Today, we bring you a story about the pursuit of snow, world domination and cheap rent. It's imperfect. It comes with inconveninces. Trade-offs. But, at the end of the day, what would you rather trade in? Convenience? Or time chasing down dry rock or fluffy snow?
|Apr 18, 2014|
The Shorts--Denial on Denali
Brody Leven applied for a climbing permit for Denali from a rented Subaru parked outside a closed cafe. In a blizzard. In Iceland. Weeks later, he would fly to Alaska to meet up with his team of overly accomplished athletes with the goal of climbing and skiing from Denali's summit. Determined not to be the weak link, he spent his two week layover in Salt Lake City obsessing over his gear. “I packed, unpacked, checked and repacked,” remembers Brody. “I read every online gear checklist I could find, packed my warmest clothes, and measured the length of my prussiks.” Yet, despite all of his careful planning, Brody made one dire miscalculation.
|Apr 04, 2014|
The Shorts-- Dreams Coming True
There are two kinds of dreams. An honest dream. “The kind of dream,” writes Luke Mehall “that keeps you up at night, and wakes you up in the morning with a knot in your stomach that can only be untied with blood sweat and tears.” For Luke, climbing El Cap was that kind of dream. And then there’s the other kind of dream. The kind that starts out as a joke, then escalates to the level of the ridiculous. When Luke drove west towards Yosemite National Park, he was determined to realize one of each.
|Mar 13, 2014|
We all know the feeling of remoteness. The stillness. The perspective. It's part of what keeps drawing us outside. But what does it feel like to be standing, literally, in the most remote place in a state? In the country? And what might those places reveal about the fate of our country's wild lands? In 2010, Ryan and Rebecca Means embarked upon Project Remote to find out.
|Feb 27, 2014|
The Shorts--Zen and the Art of Skiing Powder
“With steely determination, I pointed my tips downhill and tried to power through the deep snow, but I was doomed,” remembers Julia Rosen. “I started to do the super slow splits as my skis drifted further and further apart under two piles of snow that felt like wet concrete. My feet stopped, but my body lurched forward and I was thrust into an unwelcome downward dog.” Anyone who’s skied powder remembers this fall. Anyone who, like Julia, learned to ski pow as an adult remembers it more clearly. But Julia did make it through the painful learning process—only to discover that, perhaps, the wisdom she had gained might just serve her in the horizontal world as well.
|Feb 13, 2014|
Plastic bags. They clog drawers, landfills, coastlines and trailheads. Recycling them is confusing and inefficient. But what if there was a way to turn the trash into something of value? Enter Industrial Designer Will Wells. Today, we bring you our annual Year of Big Ideas. We talked to contributors and friends about their goals for the coming year. Here's to going big, traveling to new places and trying something new. And here's to making something that will inspire others, even if it's small.
|Jan 22, 2014|
If You Build It
Powerful ideas often demand that we leave the comfort of a safety net. We quit a nine to five. We take out a second mortgage on our house. Along the way, we can expect to be called a crazy one day and brilliant the next. In the late 1990's, Jeff Pensiero had an idea--to build a backcountry ski lodge that catered to snowboarders. It was outlandish--targeting a market that barely existed—and yet perfect. But, like any dream, it took years of sweat, worry, right people-right time connections, and damn good perseverance to make it all look seamless. From the shores of Lake Tahoe to the world renowned slopes of Baldface Lodge, we bring you one snowboarder’s journey to create his dream.
|Jan 03, 2014|
The Shorts--Fighting With Our Feet
Significant life tumult propelled Nick Triolo to leave his home and move to Todos Santos, Baja earlier this year. As an ultra-runner, he instinctively explored the area on foot. As he settled into the town and its community, he became aware of a growing resistance to proposed mining in the area. And he knew he wanted to help. But how? It might have been easy for Nick to shrug off the feeling. Instead he thought big-- he would organize a protest run across the 70-mile wide stretch of the Baja Peninsula-- through the heart of where the mining was proposed. And he would run it in a day. Now, could he get anyone to join him?
Special thanks to Montana Public Radio KUFM in Missoula and Sherie Newman for volunteering time to help with the recording.
|Dec 13, 2013|
Tales of Terror Vol. 4
Is there something out there? It’s a question that lurks in the back of my mind. Probably in yours too. It’s one of the very reasons why I love the outdoors: the unpredictability. Over the years, I’ve collected experiences. Moments, like bits of data, that, collectively guide my intuition. And yet. We’ve all had that moment where hairs stand up on the back of our neck. Was it heightened perception? Or did the wind just blow in just the right way? And if you convince yourself it was the wind, does some lump of doubt sit in your stomach? Because sometimes you just won’t believe something is out there. Until it’s right there.
|Oct 31, 2013|
The Shorts--By Slim Chance
"It's the unpredictable elements that throw our lives off course, for better or for worse," writes Niki Yoblonski. We leave a trailhead with some idea of what we're seeking, but on true adventures, what we walk away with is never what we expected. When Niki and her boyfriend, Jason, set out to climb Mt. Darwin one Labor Day weekend, they didn't take home a summit photo, or a bag of shiny coins, but, by a series of slim chances, they took home a treasure perhaps more valuable than anything they could have expected.
|Oct 11, 2013|
The Shorts--Cave Sweet Cave
Walking into someone's apartment, house, van, tent or trailer for the first time can feel sort of like flipping open the first page of their journal. The places we choose to call home and the way we assemble them say a lot about who we are and where our priorities lie. But at some point, our environments can start to construct us as well. In the two months between the end of a semester of college and the beginning of a seasonal job, Ethan Newman loaded all of his belongings into his Saturn sedan "like a champion Tetris player," and drove to Bishop, California. He was thrilled to discover an alternative to pitching a tent every night or getting sand blown in his face while he slept. Until he woke up one morning to realize that the habitat he had constructed had started to change him.
|Sep 26, 2013|
Rebirth of Belief
"We had the discussion around the campfire one night of trying to define 'what is wilderness'," John Stoneman remembers. "We determined that if you get hurt or you have a problem and there's really no way out, you're in the wilderness." Despite the fact that 29,000 people raft down the Colorado River every year, the Grand Canyon is still unquestionably that-- wilderness. But what happens if you do need to get out? When the one place you need to be is a thousand miles away and you are off the grid? In 2010, John put in at Lees Ferry and embarked upon the trip of a lifetime - but not in the way he imagined. Today, we bring you a story about a race against time and the lengths that perfect strangers will go to help others in need. Buckle up.
|Sep 06, 2013|
There's a story that you may have heard kicked around in the newspapers and nightly news for the last few months. It's as unsettling as it is tragic. The rate of suicide among active military personnel, reservists, and veterans has increased to nearly 22 suicides a day. 22 every day, even as more resources are being allocated to prevent it--and finding a solution is likely as complicated as understanding why.
Veterans Stacy Bare and Nick Watson know the struggles that service members face as they readjust to civilian life. Addiction. Depression. An overwhelming feeling of being out of place. But over time, both found a place in the outdoors and the surrounding community to recreate what they missed from the military, and to feel like they had really come home. And they didn’t stop there--they became determined to find a way to make that transition easier for other veterans too. Today, we bring you their stories and the story of how these two veteran's are creating a community for other veterans on the home front.
This episode does contain graphic descriptions of violence and adult language.
|Jul 31, 2013|
The Shorts--The Making Of A Patriot
"Three months ago, I'm not sure I would have considered myself a patriot," writes Hilary Oliver. "Mentally, I separated my nation―government, states, and people―from my country: the mountains, deserts, plains and oceans that took my breath away. Maybe I had taken my privileges for granted, but I couldn't tell you the last time my heart swelled with love or pride for my nation."
Then she drove into Zion National Park. With it's soaring sandstone walls, and man's will imposed upon the landscape to make viewpoints accessible, Hilary found an appreciation for her country and nation.
|Jul 17, 2013|
Mikey Buys a House
We've told stories about people quitting jobs, ditching mortgages and selling worldly possessions to go live life on their own terms. The road is ubiquitous with freedom, and sometimes we hear its call later in life. But what if you heard the call at 13 years old? If you had lived your entire adult life on the road? If you'd never signed a lease or even paid rent. Would there come a time to settle down? Meet climber and photographer Mikey Schaefer. Passion can lead to the most incredible places, even to the most American of dreams -- Buying a home. This is our version of the picket fence.
|Jul 03, 2013|
Our baptism in wild places is different for each of us. For some, it's ingrained so early in life that it hardly registers as a memory. For most, it was probably a little awkward, a bit daunting, yet so compelling that we wanted to do it again. For Wendy Irwin, it began with, "a soft-shell cooler, a MacGyver like trust in the magical properties of duct tape, and a 'Tent for Sale' ad in the classifieds." Though much went wrong on Wendy's first backpacking trip, the tendrils of nature's beauty wound themselves into her mind and around her heart. And years later, when she met a teenager hiking the John Muir trail carrying two backpacks, she knew to smile and wish him luck. Because if you love it, you'll figure it out.
|Jun 14, 2013|
Live from 5Point Vol. 6
Our second installment from the third annual Live from 5Point in April at the 5Point Film Festival. If you missed the last episode, we talked with snowboarder Kevin Pearce and skier Chris Davenport. Today, we present stories from James Walsh and Kyle Dempster. James has focused his camera lens on the biking culture within African. But the creative process can be a frustrating journey where you have to be doggedly determined to succeed. Today, James talks about the odyssey of being a filmmaker.
Kyle's path as an alpinist is firmly rooted in first ascents around the world and a good humor. He's won the Piolet d'Or twice. And in 2012, he traded in a climbing partner for a bike as he journeyed through Krygystan in search of more first ascents. Today, Kyle talks about the origins for his trip, how it evolved, and how his dad helped an alpinist take a bike trip.
|May 31, 2013|
Live from 5Point Vol. 5
We're back for our third annual Live from 5Point event. The sun was shining, but Steve's Guitars was at capacity. Today we present the first two stories from Kevin Pearce and Chris Davenport. In 2009, Kevin was one of the best snowboarders in the world. On a training run, he had a major accident (his story is chronicled in the film "The Crash Reel"). Today, he talks about finding happiness after suffering a traumatic brain injury.
Chris' career as a big mountain skier is impressive- numerous first ski descents of peaks, traveled around the world to ski, a two-time world champion. But I've always been impressed by Chris' creativity in the mission he chooses. Today, he talks about the aesthetics of the lines he chooses and what he loves about mountains, especially those close to home.
|May 17, 2013|
The Shorts--Ode to An Ice Chest
As the days grow longer and warmer, the road beckons us . And while we can pile gear into the car until we can't cram anything else in, packing some items take a bit more thought. Like, how will I keep the cheese cold? "The ice chest is the vagrant’s culinary miracle. It allows you to transport cold, somewhat-fresh food to almost anywhere your beater car can haul it," writes Dean Fleming. But it can still break the bank. Fortunately, he has extensive experience living on the road and scraping by on a budget. Today, Dean presents another Lifestyle Tip for the Committed-- his secrets for eating well, but cheaply, while you're out on the road.
|Apr 26, 2013|
The Shorts--Hey, Bear!
"We traveled in an ode to that particular brand of privileged American adventure, the cross-country drive, funded in equal parts by savings from crappy after-school jobs at a camping store and graduation money from loving parents," writes Graham T. Beck. Fresh out of high school, Graham and his friend, Tim, headed to Yellowstone National Park for a backpacking trip. They knew they were in bear country. But only after they'd hiked 40 miles in could they begin to understand the horribilis of the grizzly bear.
An earlier version of this story appeared on The Morning News.
|Apr 12, 2013|
Great stories often have these 5 words, “and then it got dark.” But how can carefully executed alpine starts and planned summits turn into watching stars dot the sky? Well, getting benighted can happen for a few reasons. One- unforeseen circumstances. Two- complete denial of reality. Or three- getting too comfortable in the dark. Kelly Cordes, Ryan Peterson, and Jay Puckhaber share their tales of being out, long after the sun has set.
|Mar 29, 2013|
The Shorts--Castleton Fall
While climbing Castleton Tower, Brendan Leonard watched a climber cruise past him, take on a piece of gear, and then fall onto a ledge right at his feet. The immediate moment had Brendan dealing with the logistics of how to help someone when you're a pitch off the ground and initiating a rescue for the climber. But the image of what he saw lingered long after the ambulance left the parking lot, and had him questioning his own climbing motivations.
|Mar 06, 2013|
Love- It's life's great surprise. You can try to pin its origins in brain chemistry and hormones. Or the right timing. But those don't explain why tough guys make slow rock mixes or why a timid person suddenly introduces themselves to the person of their dreams. Why it works for one couple and not another is beyond me, so I've stopped trying to guess. Your mate could be across the ocean or right next door. But if you find him or her, it feels as though every moment lead to the perfect culmination, even the awkward middle bits. And even if you need the help of a voodoo doctor. Today, we present two stories about finding love.
|Feb 14, 2013|
The Shorts- Just Make It Happen
Ever managed to talk yourself into an adventure or a job only to realize you have gotten yourself in way over your head? Sometimes these scenarios lead to embarrassment. Sometimes they begin horror stories. But, sometimes, they provide unexpected opportunities for growth. In 2007, Jen Altschul talked her way into a job as a ski patroller. And then the snow began to fall. Today, we present her story of learning how to be one.
|Jan 30, 2013|
The Magic of Serendipity
You might remember a story about climbers in the Magic Kingdom. It sounded like a dream job- climbing, secret lairs and cutting to the front of the roller coaster line. Our inbox flooded with emails about how to apply. But the program was canceled in 2007. Until last year. In an audition room filled with sponsored climbers and underground crushers, Susanica Tam felt her resume paled in comparison. Could climbing a mini-Matterhorn change Susanica's outlook on climbing?
Today, we present our annual Year of Big Ideas. We went out into our community and listened to what you want to do in 2013. Here's to saying yes to new opportunities, stretching ourselves, and embracing a little spontaneity.
|Jan 18, 2013|
The Shorts--Pedaling to Silence
Greg May signed up as a rookie for the 24 Hours of Exposure at the heckling of his friends. But as he stood on the start line he felt under prepared, under biked, and overweight. "Probably not the thought you want before your first 24 hour mountain bike race." Though Greg wanted to finish, he'd also needed a distraction from writing his Ph.D. thesis. Laps spun to hours, and Greg found that pushing his body stopped the whir of thoughts. As he nerared the finish line, he wondered whether his body could finish what he had started.
|Jan 03, 2013|
Alastair Humphreys has biked around the world, crossed glacial highlands and desert lands. But in 2011, he stayed in Britain, focusing on trips close to home. The idea of backyard adventure wasn't new, but he put it in terms everyone could understand. While Alastair was perfecting the microadventure, Josh Norris and Ty Atwater were distilling down the elements of past adventure and cramming them into an all day-- well, Sufferthon. Can they create Type 3 fun without leaving Oregon?
|Dec 18, 2012|
The Shorts-Don Manuel's Nails
In 2010, Seth Adams worked in Ecuador with Round River Conservation Studies. He was there as part of an effort to show the locals the importance of conserving the surrounding forest and wildlife. Yet, the longer that he was there, interacting with locals like Don Manuel and Stu, the more he began to reflect on his own perspective. Could the Ecuadorians show Seth something about himself?
|Nov 30, 2012|
We've all day dreamed about it - becoming a pro. What would it be like? Well, besides getting to do the thing you love everyday, you'd probably get free gear, meet incredible people, get your photo taken, maybe travel the world. You might even get paid. We call it living the dream. And it's good work if you can get it. But, how do you get the gig? And is it really all that it's cracked up to be? Zack Giffin and Timmy O'Neill share their stories of finding the spotlight and moving beyond it.
|Nov 15, 2012|
Tales of Terror Volume 3
Ever walked through the woods late at night and felt like you were being followed? Had a strange feeling about someone you just met? Encountered the strictly inexplicable that led you, abruptly, to pack up and bail? Often, we rationalize these instincts – just a bird in the trees cracking limbs, just a strange fellow with good intentions, or, well, our senses simply must have failed us. But what about when these warning signals don’t go off? Today, Micah McNulty, Trey Johnson, and George Braun bring us stories of the times that intuition didn’t kick in when maybe it should have.
|Oct 30, 2012|
The Shorts--Dream, Interrupted
Steve's typical weekend would make any dirtbag jealous. Concerts by the river, sunrise climbs, hiking a new trailhead just because. He's living his own version of the dirtbag dream; the one he wanted to achieve for so many years. Until one day, he realized the dream he chased, wasn't all that he'd imagined it to be. Could he change his dream to reflect the reality he now wanted?
|Oct 09, 2012|
The Shorts-Meditation in Motion
"A friend of mine said that it was worth getting a budget flight to Morocco just to eat an orange. After that you could turn around and fly home content." Writer, photographer, and surfer Mat Arney was ready for a break from his routine; and really ready to go surfing. While driving or flying was the simple solution, Mat made the journey equal to the destination, taking the train from England to Morocco. As the landscape outside the train's window subtly change, he enjoyed the slow release and focus of travel.
|Sep 21, 2012|
Crash and Burn
Drive it until it dies. That's the motto I lived by as my truck, Crash, crisscrossed the West. Family members would doubtfully ask, "Are you sure you want to drive there?" I did. Friends would ask about Crash's well being as though he was my aging dog. Though I knew the day was coming, I was still blindsided when the gears ground to a halt on my way to Yosemite. Could my belief in Crash transcend beyond the hulk of metal?
|Sep 07, 2012|
The Shorts--One Last Hike
"My father would collected me in the summer and we would range farther in our explorations of the West. We would find small towns on the edge of wilderness and he would tell me, 'If I ever disappear, look for me here.' These trips nurtured a love of the outdoors that I cannot imagine being without.” Deron Daugherty pays tribute to his father as they take one last hike together into the San Francisco Peaks in Arizona.
|Aug 15, 2012|
The Shorts--Parking Lot Players
Next time you're out at a popular trailhead, take 30 minutes, crack a beer and take a look around the parking lot. You'll start to see that there are a few distinct types of people you can meet in the parking lot. Each has their merits that can help you achieve a spectacular day. And each has its drawback too. It’s up to you to decide which player you want to be in the parking lot.
|Jul 13, 2012|
Jessie Stone has a resume that would make any dirtbag proud -- raft guide, pro whitewater kayaker and member of the US freestyle kayak team. At the end of that list is medical doctor. And the director of the Soft Power Health Clinic in Uganda. She is a career shape shifter. who followed her passions and ended up in an unexpected place. How do you know when it's time to step out of the current and follow an alternative path? Trevor Clark traveled to Uganda to tell Jessie's story.
|Jun 22, 2012|
The Shorts--5 Types of B.O.
"If there are three types of fun, there should be five types of B.O." It happens to all of us. You're out camping for a few days, maybe more. Free from the hygienic shackles of society, you sniff and think, "I'm good." Brendan Leonard's been there. He'll go multiple days without a shower, because one isn't readily available, or he doesn't want to find the soap buried in his car. It's gotten bad. Really bad. Brendan breaks down the B.O. levels. What's your rank?
|Jun 06, 2012|
Live From 5 Point Vol. 4
Welcome to the second half of our 2012 Live From 5 Point show. This week we continue the show from Steve's Guitars in downtown Carbondale, CO. Photographer Ben Moon presents his story about overcoming cancer, the community that rose up to support him and his thoughts on fear. Veteran alpine climber Mark Richey recounts the incident that almost took his climbing partner's life during their ascent of Sasser Kangri II. Colorful language included.
|May 22, 2012|
Live From 5Point Vol. 3
5Point Film Festival invited us back for another live Dirtbag Diaries. And of course, we said, "Yes!" We invited four people up on stage to to talk about a moment in their lives when it all seemed to go wrong. And where those moments have led them, as the effects have rippled through their lives. Today we present the first two stories. At 23, free skier Josh Dueck overshot the landing of a jump and fell 100 feet out of the air. He returned to skiing the following winter in a sit ski. And he rips! You owe it to yourself to watch The Freedom Chair and Josh hucking a backflip.
Kayaker Chris Korbulic was nearing the end of a 7 week trip through central Africa with Ben Stookesberry and Hendri Coetzee. After paddling the difficult stretch of the Lacuga River, a crocodile pulled Hendri underwater. The film Kadoma (full version available on iTunes) tells the story of their trip. Chris has continued to return to Africa pursuing the rivers that brought him together with Hendri.
|May 07, 2012|
The Shorts-Pedal Your Turns
Our local ski hill is a two hour drive away. Getting out the door some mornings is a process, but always worth it for schussing downhill. But could I pedal there? Sure, maybe. Would I? Umm, I'll take the 5th. Fred Sproat knows he would. Last spring, Fred and his friend Sam pedaled 630 miles from Eugene, OR to the heart of the Sierra. Their mission was to ski couloirs by truly earning their turns and challenging the status quo of how we feed our backcountry addictions.
|Apr 13, 2012|
The Shorts-Post-Emphatic Wilderness Disorder
"When you’re in a crowded movie theater or stadium, do you nervously fidget and plot an escape route? Does setting foot in Costco or Wal-Mart cause you to blackout and crash into discount clothing racks?" asks Dean Fleming. If so, you may be suffering from Post-Emphatic Wilderness Disorder. Never heard of it? Dean walks you through the symptoms and three steps to help you cope with this recently diagnosed disorder.
|Mar 23, 2012|
The Dirtbag Diaries turns five. This also happens to be our 100th episode. To celebrate the occasion, we reached out to our collaborators, our contributors and our friends and asked for ideas. I pitched them a bunch of ideas. They shook their heads. Their response was resounding. "We want to hear your story, the story of the Diaries," they said. Our intern, Austin Siadak, stepped forward to do the interview and relay the story. The tables were turned. By nature, we like our creation stories simple. An idea appears in the void. A light bulb goes off. The apple hits Sir Isaac Newton on the head. In reality, creation stories are messier, more complicated and more interesting than abbreviated elevator pitches. They are a sum of parts. So here goes.
|Mar 06, 2012|
The Shorts--The Mobil
"I am a connoisseur of convenience stores," writes Brendan Leonard. On road trips, he always stops to check out the t-shirt rack, bumper stickers or display of trinkets unique to the area. And every stop is a chance to find the best, ever. But he hadn't quite found it. Until friends told him of a magical place huddled in the shadow of the Sierra. Instead of hot dogs endlessly spinning under heat lamps, steaks sizzled. People gathered and celebrated. Circus troops careened through the skies above. Indeed, this was a magical place, but could it exceed his checklist of expectations?
|Feb 10, 2012|
When will it snow? It's the question on the lips of ski town locals throughout the West as fluttering flakes have been late to arrive. Sill, the winter provides opportunity. Tacky mountain bike trails usually buried under feet of snow. Ice climbing on routes normally inaccessible. And ice skating on remote alpine lakes. John Dittli says the skating has been epic in the high Sierra. While others have bemoaned the lack of snow, John has seized the extended window to ice skate on multiple lakes; many more than a typical year allows. He may even secretly hope that the snow remains at bay for a little longer. In the spirit of making the most out of a situation. we present the Year of Big Ideas- goals from friends, pros and creative thinkers. And no matter what 2012 brings, we'll make sure there's more lemonade in all we do.
|Jan 19, 2012|
The Shorts--By Any Means Necessary
Growing up in Ireland, writer Lisa McGonigle wasn't immersed in snow and mountains. But a trip to the Pyrenees when she was 19 to try snowboarding realigned her priorities. Lisa scrimped her savings and made due with periodic trips until she graduated and set her sights on fulfilling her dream of ski bumming in British Columbia. While little rivals fresh lines on a powder day, she discovered the fine line between passionate and obsessed can be difficult to distinguish. What fuels your decisions?
|Dec 12, 2011|
No one skins uphill to put together a splitboard efficiently. They do it to shred down. Making a transition at a belay is part of the process, not the main event. Transitions may not be sexy, but they make or break us. They are the difference between a cold night spent shivering on a ledge and walking out in perfect evening light. Almost five years after I wrote the Monoboard and started The Diaries, I find myself in a metaphorical transition. My passions run from the mountains to the Seattle music scene and I've become adept at moving between them. My life is about to change. My passions won't. It's time to refine the transition.
|Nov 23, 2011|
Lifestyle Tips for the Committed
What have you given up for dirtbaggery? Regular car maintanence? Cable TV? Your favorite craft brew? Dean Fleming writes, " Like most rock climbers, I’m a control freak and I’m cheap. So I’ll share one lifestyle tip for the committed to put extra cash in your pocket." DIY haircuts. Dean lays out 3 simple steps to keeping the dirtbag dream alive.
How committed are you?
|Nov 11, 2011|
Tales of Terror Vol. 2
What frightful things get your heart racing? Ghosts? Unidentifiable sounds in the middle of the night? Or the person you might meet out in the woods? It can be difficult to separate an initial seed of fear from the growing tangle of possibility that can quickly emerge in your head, but sometimes that sprouting seed is very tangible. Today, we bring you stories from Sara Porterfield and Jeremy Allyn. They'll make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. You'll try to shudder them off. But the seed- the seed will remain. And isn't that what scary stories are all about?
|Oct 28, 2011|
The weekend ritual of loading up a car with gear, picking a destination, and watching out the window as the landscapes passes by is familiar to most of us. Whether it's two days or a month long, there is a method to organizing and assessing. Kelly Wilder writes, "We need the car; it's our ticket out of wherever we are in the world." Yet when you're trying to live by the ethos of local and low carbon, a car "saddles us with guilt." We may have a love-hate relationship with our vehicles, but they are able to take us to the places that help clear our heads and restore our souls. Is that rationalization enough?
|Oct 12, 2011|
The Way of the Underdog
The Underdog is the most potent myth in America. It pervades film, pop culture, music and sports. Politicians use it to frame their campaigns. Professional sports teams use it to psyche themselves up before big games. In theory, we've always liked the long shot. Is this special type of hero just a myth or is the underdog real? Contributor Brendan Leonard thinks it's real because he's seen it in person. Jayson Sime was a small town Iowa kid from the tough part of town. He was told he wouldn't amount to much by his teachers and hazed by his peers. The greatest successes require the most difficult obstacles. From north of nowhere to a career in politics to Mount Shasta's summit, Jayson has overcome. Maybe heroes are real. To be in their presence is a powerful thing. Can you learn how to emulate the underdog by watching one?
|Sep 29, 2011|
The Shorts--Drifting to a Fork in the River
"Each trip I return from is like a seed for the next one. I imagine finding solace through solitude and bliss in the backcountry," writes Fred Sproat. "At the same time that I think about endless wilderness pursuits I think about retuning home...to her." While in school, Fred successfully balanced his time between guiding and love. Guiding takes a commitment to dealing with Mother Nature's spontaneous eruptions- rainstorms, mosquitos, relentless winds- and the tenacity to keep clients happy. But you are able to pursue you passion, even if it means leaving somethings- or someone- behind. With new opportunities on the horizon, could he maintain the status quo?
|Sep 13, 2011|
You Are Not Alone
How do you start to see the complex relationships that make up a community? The first time I sat around a climber's campfire at 19, I could sense that though our lives were superficially different with jobs and responsibilities, something greater connected those gathered around the fire. It was the first time I felt a sense of belonging. Since then, my community has grown, and encompasses just about anyone who understands dawn light and type three fun. But getting into the spider-webbing network can be difficult even if you know it's there. Today, we present two stories from women- one a climber and one a creator- about the moment when the random became connected at a time when it mattered most. Gather round.
|Jul 27, 2011|
The Shorts--Conquering Sherman
We are a community that likes to push ourselves. Whether we set a goal of miles or grades or just getting out there, we prepare for our feats. When David King set out to ride his bike across the US, he had read the books, bought the right gear and trained tirelessly on hills back home. But biking day in and day out started to wear on him mentally, as well as physically. As he cranked up a steep pass early in the trip, David wondered whether he had the mental tenacity to complete the ride. A lot of road lay beyond Sherman Pass. Was he really cut out for this?
|Jul 11, 2011|
Do as I say, not as I've done. It's the central paradox of many father-son relationships. We strive to learn from our mistakes and grow throughout our lives. We want to see our hard earned wisdom reflected to others. After road racing bicycles for seven years, and pushing his youthful limits of bravery and luck, Gary Visser settled into life in South Carolina. He discovered a new passion in the salt water marshes, raised a family, and taught his son, Garrett, to fly fish. As Garrett prepares to leave for college, Gary appreciates that letting go, much like his parents did more than 30 years ago, is harder than one might think. Happy Father's Day.
|Jun 17, 2011|
Live From 5Point Volume II
Our long held dream of creating a live performance of The Dirtbag Diaries came true this spring at the 5Point Film Festival. We interviewed filmmakers and people who were in films and let the conversation flow as though we were sitting on the truck tailgate. If you haven't listened to the previous episode, check out the stories from Baybe Champ and Frank Smethhurst. Today we present the stories of the folks behind the camera. A surf photographer who created a viral video sensation that simultaneously radiates sadness and joy. And a young filmmaker draws a connecting line between skiing and art. The audience has settled into their seats and the mics are on. Mickey Smith and Nick Waggoner join us on stage. Welcome to the 5Point Film Festival.
|Jun 02, 2011|
Live from 5Point Volume 1
For years, Becca and I have wanted to create a live performance of The Dirtbag Diaries. But with little extra time and money, the idea sat, waiting for its moment. When 5Point Film Festival gurus Julie Kennedy and Beda Calhoun approached me earlier this year about creating a onstage storytelling hour at the festival, I immediately said yes. We interviewed filmmakers and people who were in films featured at 5Point and let the conversation flow as though we were sitting on the truck tailgate. Today we present two of these stories. An old soul living in a 22 year-olds body who set out to change his own life and has started a movement in his community. And an angler, who gave away a secret in order to protect a place. The audience has settled in their seats and we're set-up to record. Baybe Champ and Frank Smethhurst join us on stage. Welcome to the 5Point Film Festival.
|May 19, 2011|
The Shorts--Dispatch from the Middle
Would you be satisfied pursuing your outdoor activity for only a few weeks of every year? Geography can be heartless. Climbers find themselves in the heartland. Skiers in the South East's warmer climate. For surfer Wade Grocott, his local break is thousands of kilometers away. The weeks he's not surfing, he's surrounded by the prairies of Saskatchewan, reading surf magazines, swimming to stay in paddling shape, and scheming for vacation time to warmer, wavier climates. Answering the questions of his fellow and understandably curious Saskatchewanians is just part of the process. Surfing? Saskatchewan? Really? You're probably asking those very same questions right now. Wade has got the answers.
|May 06, 2011|
In 2005, Gregg Bleakney was on the rise. He was crushing his job as a software executive. At 30, he owned a beautiful home complete with white picket fence in North Seattle. He had a serious girlfriend. He drove a fast car. His sofa was black Italian leather. He had all the trappings of a successful life, but Gregg also had a secret. Something he wasn't sharing with his boss, his family or friends, even his longtime girl friend. It was an idea that was about to change his life. Today, we present Ditch Logic. Evolving as a person isn't always pretty.
|Apr 20, 2011|
The Shorts--The Pee Tree
How do you choose the stories to retell when you get back from a trip? Finding those perfect moments that capture your travels, the scenery and the action, can make you feel as picky as Goldilocks. What to say? Shane Robinson writes, "At first, I tried to recount every amazing detail of my travels, only to watch my unsuspecting friends' eyes gloss over in bordom." He switched to the quick hit replies, "Soooo amazing! Can't wait to go back." A little too big, a little too small. And then the memory came tumbling out, "I miss the pee tree!" The stories we share are gateways beyond the mechanics of a trip, but dig into how we appreciate spending times away from our daily routines.
|Mar 22, 2011|
Our sports transcend languages. Ever seen two climbers mime the sequence to a boulder problem? Smiles between skiers on a powder day? Our passions become a vehicle to explore a world outside of our own. Jacob Bain has traveled to SE Asia, Cuba, and Africa. And though he sometimes has climbing gear, he always has a guitar. Through music, Jacob has jammed with locals, incorporating the new sounds and experiences into his music. In the summer of 2010, Johnny Fernandes invited Jacob and his band Publish the Quest to Cape Verde to partake in a musical experience as part of his goal to preserve the local music. Can a hook, a horn line and a new take on a traditional song overcome culture and language barriers?
|Mar 04, 2011|
The Shorts--Sitting In Silence
Mike Colpo went to guide school in search of a different life. His rugged instructor, Cody, taught him the basics of guiding climbers, but also pushed Mike and the other students towards something bigger. After spending many years in the outdoors, Cody had a wisdom beyond guiding that he wanted to convey to the young climbers. He spoke of the wilderness within, and encouraged the young guides to explore this frontier. What did it mean? Some bits of wisdom we accept easily, and others take years to truly understand. Mike found himself facing a fear greater than physical risk.
|Feb 21, 2011|
What Is Hardcore?
Our sports have long heralded rating systems that let us know just how we're doing. We may bicker over their ratings, but we return to them again and again. They help us set goals, and push ourselves harder. But what happens when we go beyond the limits of these systems? How do you measure fatigue, thirst and mental reselience? When these elements merge together, we begin to enter the mythical realm of hardcore. Today, Brendan Leonard dives in with some simple ideas on who and what are hard core. How do you measure up?
|Feb 08, 2011|
The Shorts--How She Got There
Christine McMahon read Ranger Rick, stole her brother's Boy Scouts Manual to learn survival tricks and was driving by age 9. She grew up relatively carefree surrounded by friends and family who made sure she feared nothing. Until the day circled in red on her calendar arrived. The day when she would try to walk again. In the rare moments when the self we imagined collides with reality the intensity can be terrifying. Yet that moment can also propel us along a path that we've dreamed about for our entire lives. It was time for Christine to take the first steps to leaving the crutches and wheelchairs behind and embrace the possible on her own.
|Jan 24, 2011|
James Q Martin has an incredible, carefree life. For the last five years he's traveled the world, often to warm locals to photograph beautiful athletes in stunning places. It would be hard to let go of that kind of job, but two years ago, James stumbled upon a blog post about the impending damming of the Rio Baker in Chile's Asyen region. It set off a powerful reaction. A decade earlier, James had traveled through the Asyen region, and the great wilderness left a lasting impression. Now, with the massive hydro-electric project impending, James came up with an idea. What if you took a naturalist, a writer, a photographer, a filmmaker and a conservationist on a source to sea descent to document the last days of a wild river? Could that act even help save? In 2010, James launched Rios Libres and made his dream happen. Completing his dream, would mean giving up the perfect lifestyle. With that, we present our 2011 Year of Big Ideas show. Professional athletes, passionate weekend warriors and Dirtbag Diaries contributors come together to present what they are working on in the coming year. Get inspired and then buckle down.
When you are done listening check out Rios Libres website and learn how you can help.
Also, check out Caleb Simpson's new energy bar company Adventure Naturals on Kickstarter. They are almost to their goal.
|Jan 11, 2011|
What We Had
Mark Rutherford and John Merritt grew up sharing the same sand box. As they grew up, they each followed separate paths. John had a successful career in the Chicago financial world. Mark moved to Alaska and raised a family in tiny cabin he built with his own hands. Twenty years ago, Mark began a successful adventure fly fishing guide service in the Bristol Bay region. An avid fisherman, John got in touch with Mark and scheduled a trip. On that first trip, John revealed that he had been diagnosed with M.S. Ten years prior, doctors told him he had seven years to live. That first trip marked the beginning of decade of trips, each more adventurous than the last. Today, we are headed up stream to the confluence of several lives. Friendships are a bit like rivers -- when they converge, they swell into something greater.
|Dec 23, 2010|
The Shorts-Cardboard Canadian
If you've ever stuck your thumb out to catch a ride, you understand the highs and lows of hitchhiking. Passing cars, sandy highway shoulders, cardboard signs, and a belief that mental telepathy can lure cars to slow down are tools of the trade. After hitchhiking in Canada and Arizona, Graham Waugh thought he'd easily catch a ride from Needles to Joshua Tree. He didn't account for the nearly deserted 100 odd miles on California's highway 95. He scrawled "Canadian" on his last piece of cardboard, and only then did he discovered something wonderful.
|Dec 08, 2010|
Unseen But Felt
This last fall, Becca and I embarked on a trip of a lifetime. We began on foot in Sequoia National Park and hiked north through Yosemite. Along the way, we would climb as many routes as our rations, our bodies and the weather would allow. It was a slightly inefficient approach to a climbing trip that begged an explanation. To those who asked, I offered a slew of reasons. My heroes, John Muir and David Brower, had taken the same route. I wanted to prove we are capable of world class adventure in our backyard ranges. Those closest to me knew better. I was trying to save myself. At its core, The Diaries has always been about the joy of wild places and our community's profound optimism, but at times contributors have stepped forward to provide stories about personal struggle, sorrow and depression. The Diaries has embraced both the light and the dark, because ultimately The Diaries are a reflection of me. Today, I present my own story. It may be hard to believe, but it happened.
|Nov 25, 2010|
The Shorts--The Lost Art
Surfer. Waves. Design. Surfboard. In 25 years of surfing, Will Ranken never thought much about how those four elements interrelated to one another. When he needed a new board, he would buy one off the racks, hand over the cash, and soon he was paddling into the line up again. That was the status quo, until he read an article about making and shaping wooden surfboards. He writes, "Buying a new board suddenly seemed so boring. Like I was missing out on the really important part, like I was only pretending to be a surfer." Will designed and cut and sanded a board. He worked on it tirelessly. Flew back and forth the country to attend workshops until the day finally arrived. It was time to paddle out. Was it love at first surf?
|Nov 12, 2010|
Tales of Terror
It's that time of year. Leaves line the sidewalks. Darkness tugs at the soul. A cold wind blows. Today, we present Tales of Terror, two stories from the most terrifying moments of our contributor's lives. This year's contest winners reminded me why I love working on the Diaries. Sometimes the stories are serious. Sometimes they're funny. They come from all over the world. Our first story was recorded in the field somewhere in Afghanistan. The second comes from my old stomping ground -- Tahoe. Despite the differences, both stories are the result of passion, imagination and creativity. Today's contributors reached these terrifying moments because they have chosen to live both the width and length of their lives. Thanks to everyone who participated. We had great submissions this year. Becca and I really appreciate it. Happy Halloween!
|Oct 29, 2010|
The Shorts -- Packing
Whether you're going to the crag for the day or embarking on a long adventure overseas, packing is a fact of life. Some of us make lists, others calculate every ounce, and still others throw every possible thing that might be needed into the back of the truck. Best to be prepared after all. When writer and biker Dean Campbell packs he "always forgets one thing and always brings too much to read." Can your packing style influence how you experience a new place? After traveling by bike for four months through Africa, Dean understands that what we bring dictates what we take home from our distant travels.
|Oct 12, 2010|
I love bikes. I like riding them through the woods. I like working on them. I even like riding bikes on roads, but I've never been a road biker. To me road biking has always seemed a bit like raw oysters. I take one look at it and I think, "I don't want to try it." Despite their slimy demeanor, I really like oysters. Once I got over their looks, they taste pretty damn good. Maybe road biking would be like that for me. This summer I decided to not only try road biking, I decided to embrace it in all its spandex glory. My climbing could suffer. The mountain bike could collect cobwebs in the garage. Along the way, I discovered the joy of riding through my city.
|Sep 21, 2010|
The Shorts -- Zones of Subduction
Growing up, inheritance and parenthood – these themes have quietly woven their way into the Diaries’ Fabric. Whether it’s Brendan Leonard’s Go West or Steve Bohrer’s Balance, we’ve explored how parents introduce their children to the natural world. Today, Bob Nydam presents a story about the sometimes painful process of watching a child grow up. It’s a little like geologic processes at hyper-speed. Moments of calm serenity are punctuated by violent upheaval. Even when seemingly, we are in the midst of movement. We are climbers, adventurers and dreamers because these pursuits ask us to step beyond ourselves. Certainly, the same can be said for parenting.
|Sep 02, 2010|
"There aren't so many real cowboys left in America, just a lot of folks who dress like them," writes Brendan Leonard. Maybe the cowboy is gone, but the tradition of going West to reinvent oneself has remained a part of our culture. Where does that desire come from? Is it a part the American Psyche? In Brendan's case, it came from his father's passion for the West. In small town Iowa, the only way Brendan and his dad, Joe, could foster the dream of red rock and sage was by watching westerns. Lots of westerns. Today, Brendan presents a story about mountain people and the dreams parents instill in their children. Go West.
|Jul 27, 2010|
The Shorts -- Dirtbag Resume
The M.O. was familiar -- work hard at a series of bizarre jobs, make money and then hit the road to travel. During his twenties, writer and Diaries contributor Ryan Nickum went around the world and drifted across the Pacific Northwest. When it came time to settle down after returning from a Peace Corps stint, the economy tanked. Once Ryan finally wanted a steady job, it seemed impossible to get one. He authored standard resume after standard resume. The results were disheartening. Ryan pieced together whatever work he could -- data entry, process server and ditch digging. He began to question whether his youthful wanderlust now impeded a more adult life. In a moment of frustration, Ryan decided to create his curriculum vitae on his own terms -- Nickum style.
|Jul 13, 2010|
The Accidental Journalist
As a child, Freddie Wilkinson was fascinated by K2 and the adventure narratives from 8,000 meter peaks. It led to an incredible career as an alpinist seeking out difficult routes on obscure peaks across the globe, but his interest in climbing the trophy peaks waned. In August 2008, 11 climbers lost their lives on K2. The ensuing media frenzy was just that -- a frenzy. Facts were hazy and right from the start people began making broad generalizations even though the details had yet to emerge. Something about it pissed Freddie off and stirred his curiosity. What really happened up there? Freddie started asking questions and in the process he found himself chasing an incredible story. You don't need a journalism degree or a press pass to be a reporter. All it takes is a little New England "Can Do Spirit" and curiosity that won't rest.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
|Jun 23, 2010|
The Shorts -- Yosemite's Next Top Idol
Yosemite has always been a crucible of hard climbing and big egos. Every year the sport's stars, die-hard dirtbags and hungry youngsters flock here to throw themselves at the big stone. Only the great will become legend. There is Surfer Bob, Mr. Magoo and Platinum Rob. James Lucas had dreams of rock stardom. He wanted to cast a shadow longer than El Cap. He wanted to live forever in camp fire conversation. He wanted to be Yosemite's Next Top Idol. What would it take? He would have to chisel his body into a granite monolith, learn to suffer through storms and develop swagger. He turned to the legends for advice and they welcomed him with open arms. Turns out nobody can resist sandbagging a young hungry climber.
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|Jun 03, 2010|
"Fantasies happen from a safe distance. It's one thing to say you want something, even convince yourself of it. It's another thing all together to stand under a 3,500-foot nightmare you've feared for 15 years and try to actually climb it," writes climber and writer Kelly Cordes. At a quick consideration boxing and alpinism have little in common. Ponder if for a second and you might see the similarities. After years in the ring and even longer in the vertical life, Kelly certainly does. Each challenges its practitioner to accept fear. A boxer's opponent can deal out pain and defeat and when you put it in that light, a mountain isn't all that different. Today Kelly presents a story about the biggest fight of his life and embracing the mythic choss pile that has haunted him since his early days of climbing.
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|May 18, 2010|
"There is a wonderment in scars, the remnant of a body able to heal itself," writes Becca Cahall. "I love that my skin has chosen to retain memories that I might have otherwise have forgotten." We've all got them. War wounds. Battle scars. We get them from crashing bikes in the woods, surgeon's scalpels and cheese grating falls on granite. If you look back at each scar, each of them tells an incredible story, tales to share around campfires and over beers. The real incredible thing is that we chose to see what we want in our wounds and in others. We look past them to the emotion and memory behind them. The become the physical diary of our lives.
|Apr 27, 2010|
A Successful Life
Success. What is it? How does each of us define it in our lives? It’s a question that has hovered over many of the stories we’ve told in the last three years. Aimee Brown has been many things in her life – a snowboarder, a hydrologist, a pastry chef, a goat farmer and a writer. Always a writer. Being a wordsmith and making a living as one are two different things. Last year, Aimee got the opportunity of a lifetime a job writing for National Geographic. Excited, she packed her Subaru, threw in her cowboy boots and moved east from her beloved Oregon towards an incredible career. After a few weeks of living in D.C. a nagging feeling set in. Were days looking out an office window, lonely treadmill runs and sun salutations without the sun success? Could you ever define it as such? It took six thousand miles of driving for her to answer that question.
The Dirtbag Diaries is part of the Steady Drip. Click on the image below to see other creative content across the Internet
|Apr 08, 2010|
The Shorts--Upward Mobility
Throughout the course of the Diaries, I'd hazard to guess that hundreds of you have written in about the struggle many of us -- me included -- experience between work and our passions. Even if work is one of your passions, the mountains, rivers, all the tiny places in this great wide world can seem impossibly far away. We are put in positions where we have to decide between pragmatism and passion. Harini Ayer's story epitomized this struggle. She came to the States from Southern India almost a decade ago and fell in love with this country, her research and climbing. Her ability to stay here has always been tied to her visa. Her work was a form of upward mobility. But there was a catch. If Harini switched jobs, or took a break from her research, she lost her ability to stay here. Climbing took a back seat, until eventually Harini made a stand for herself, her style of life and took an incredible risk.
|Mar 17, 2010|
The Adventures of Beansprout
Ryan Nickum was a 20-year-old college athlete with a passion for brutal tackles and body checks. He had yet to grow out of the angst and rebelliousness of his teenage years. Socializing involved cases of Coors, rehashing high school exploits and running from the cops. He wasn't exactly prime recruitment material for Earth First. Spring break of his sophomore year, Nickum and his best friend Woodchuck were too broke for Cancun's party scene and opted instead to join a band of radical environmentalist organizing a tree sit in Southern Oregon. There are many ways to stumble into activism. Maybe some people just shouldn't read the Monkey Wrench Gang.
To download Walker's boardgame version of the Adventures of Beansprout click here.
|Feb 25, 2010|
The Shorts -- Trekker's Blues
More people reach the top of Mount Everest than hike the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail. It asks a lot of the human body. When writer Alissa Bohling and her longtime boyfriend Paul set out of the trail, they thought a trip of that significance would leave a mark on their relationship. They didn't foresee that it would leave Paul hobbling and struggling to get healthy years after they reached the Canadian border. In today's Short, Alissa puts pen to paper and imagines a pain-free life for Paul. If we write it down does it become true? I hope so.
|Feb 06, 2010|
Fueled By Strawberry Jam
Ski filmmaker Nick Waggoner knew what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to be a skier of the diehard variety. There were two obvious hurdles. First, he lived in New York City. Second, he was 11 years old. He found a way to make it work and before he was legally behind the wheel of a car, he was squeezing adventure out of skiing. In the last decade, his passion for skiing evolved into a passion for making films about skiing, but his approach has remained the same. Today, we bring you another Year of Big Ideas -- a time to turn daydreams into concrete goals. Professional athletes, weekend warriors, and full time dreamers present their goals for 2010.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
|Jan 14, 2010|
Forty Miles A Poem
Whether you swing a hammer or hammer on the keyboard, we all
find ways to stay sane during the workweek. Maybe it’s a particularly good
post-work bouldering session or an hour of yoga, which has been the case for me
lately. When Scott Harvey’s poem “40 Miles of Inspiration” showed up in my
Inbox, it was a like a breath of fresh air. It’s hard not to smile at this refreshing cure for the
mid-week blues. Farm dogs. Wayward
bats. Coyotes. All in a day’s
|Dec 22, 2009|
Fun Divided By Three
As outdoor types, we love rating systems. We'll rate anything. Rapids. Climbs. Ski runs. Now, we've gone and tried to rate the unrateable -- fun. Fun divided by three -- it's this concept that has been floating around campfires for years. It dictates that there are three types of fun. There is type one fun and type two fun, but today, we are going to explore type three fun. This is the epic. The suffer fest. This is collarbone breaking, giardia-getting, soaked-to-the-bone, carnage. If it sounds horrible, that's because it probably is. What does type three fun entail? Why do some people seem particularly drawn to these types of adventures and what could possibly motivate us to embrace type three fun? Today, we bring you answers.
|Dec 07, 2009|
The Shorts -- Friends In High Places
Climber and Diaries contributor Kelly Cordes is what you would call an early adopter. Kelly may live in a shack at 8,000 feet, but the guy is no cretin. He’s had an email account for four years now. He knows how to program a VCR. He’s even considered buying one of those new-fangled Blueberry phones. What can I say? Kelly is a mover and a shaker. The guy’s approach to new technology is as cutting edge as his alpine endeavors, but even seasoned pros have the occasional misstep. Two and a half years, Kelly signed up for a Facebook account, promptly forgot the password and found out that negotiating social media can be every bit as difficult as picking a path through gaping crevasses, rotten ice and snow-covered rock. It’s certainly just as time consuming.
|Nov 09, 2009|
It was a tough summer in the climbing community. We lost
heroes, friends, mentors, legends, sons and parents. We celebrate their lives
with stories and memorials, but after the glasses are raised and the happy
times recounted, those closest to the deceased are left in the vacuum their
lives once inhabited. The living
confront hard questions and dark emotions. This year, 22-year-old Evan Piche’s
world turned upside down. He discovered, that even in the worst moments there are seeds of growth.
|Sep 16, 2009|
The Shorts -- Knees and Weather Permitting
Some of us were lucky enough to hoist a bulging pack onto our shoulders, stumble into the mountains and return changed at a young age. Some of us heard the mountains’ calling later in life. That doesn’t mean the passion burns any less bright. When writer Sarah Wroot took her first hike through Scottland’s craggy hills, she was overwhelmed with a surprising notion. “If I had a pack and a tent, I could keep going. I could be free to go wherever I want,” she thought. The idea took hold. Today, Sarah takes us all the way the Scottish Highlands and a journey that changed her life.
Enjoy the rest of the summer. We’ll be back this fall with a whole new season of stories.
|Jul 24, 2009|
Three Eighths to Eternity
“The planks of my boat are three eighths of an inch thick. Three eighths – this is the distance between myself and the depths,” writes surfer and adventurer Christian Beamish. Two years ago, Beamish crafted an 18-foot-long sailboat in his San Clemente garage. His obsession with sailboat-assisted surfing began with small week-long voyages and evolved into preposterous idea – sail the entire length of Baja looking for waves. It would be a solo mission. The proposed trip left his friends questioning his mental state and his mother in tears. It would require big, open-water crossings in rough seas, and in the end it would leave Beamish changed. How far would you go to find the physical and mental limits of human endurance? How raw does your soul have to get before you find peace?
|Jul 14, 2009|
The Shorts -- Summer Invocation
Up in the Northwest, we say that summer doesn’t actually start until July 4th. Right now, we’re experiencing our annual June gloom. So I thought it was time to invoke blue skies and warmer temps. A season’s worth of summits, single track and lounging on the riverbank is just around the corner. It’s time for me to do my part in the changing of the seasons.
|Jun 29, 2009|
“I had convinced myself at that point that my goal was so important it was worth dying for,” says alpine master Steve House about his 15-year-old dream of climbing the Rupal Face. Big Dreams require big commitment. We may not all dream on the same scale and commitment levels, but we all share dreams. They pull us through our lives on solid ground. Today writer and climber Sarah Garlick presents: The Dreamers — reflections from four generations of the world’s best climbers: Steve House, Henry Barber, Steve Schneider, and Colin Haley. In the process Sarah found out a little bit about herself. Do you have a life long dream? What if you completed it? What if you never realized it?
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|Jun 18, 2009|
Sixty Meters to Anywhere
“Is there a statute of limitations on finding something you’re passionate about? Is there a certain age when learning something new becomes too much to take on, or we become to afraid to fail or afraid to let others see us fail?” writes Brendan Leonard. A few Christmases back, Brendan received a rather strange gift from his brother - an old rope. Brendan wasn’t a climber. He had no intention of becoming of climber. Sometimes though gifts can change our lives. It turns out that 60-meters of climbing rope has taken him farther than he could have ever dreamed.
|May 27, 2009|
The Shorts -- Great White Book
“Life isn’t a bolted sport route,” says writer Scotty Kennedy. “The gear is sketchy and the route is difficult to read.” In 2001, Scott and his wife Sophie were living in the States. Scott was interning at a magazine. Sophie was dirtbagging it in Camp Four. On weekends, they would meet up to climb in Yosemite’s high country, Tuolumne. Sometimes small choices reverberate through our lives. Something as simple as the day’s route can carve the bedrock of our personalities. On the Great White Book, Scott was offered a chance to look inside. What he saw was too difficult to share even with those closest to him.
|May 08, 2009|
The Cowboy and the Maiden
In September 2008, Chad Kellogg and climbing partner Dylan Johnson stood atop 6250-meter Siguniang in Western China after completing the 10,000-foot-long SW Ridge. It was a mind-bending ascent through a massive big wall, a razor edge ridge and high altitude ice climbing. The two friends endured days without water and several sleepless nights. Dylan lost 30 pounds over the course of their ascent. If that sounds epic, it pales in comparison to what Kellogg went through to even return to the mountain that had filled his thoughts for years. During a prior trip, Chad was called home after his wife Lara died in Alaska’s Ruth Gorge. Four months later, he was diagnosed with cancer. Summits fade, routes disappear into alpinists’ memory, but occasionally mountains extend back into life on level ground. Sometimes we don’t just want to climb a mountain. We need to.
|Apr 24, 2009|
“As beginners, the foreign language of awkward body movements communicates a commonality and leaves an ego naked. In this fragile moment, we are able to lay a foundation, a connection,” writes Becca. It’s hard to forget the first time you wedged fingers into a granite crack or careened wildly out of control down a ski slope. I bet you remember who was alongside of you. In the outdoor world, as we age, we can become picky. We are able to discern choss from splitter granite or hard packed moguls from Utah’s finest snow. Opportunities to return to that beginner’s wonder can be rare. Sometimes it is as simple as trading two planks for one.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
|Mar 27, 2009|
The Adventurer's Parable
Today’s episode has it all. Steep descents. A battle to save South America’s pristine rivers. Backyard adventure. Eye candy. Photographers and activists Brian Mohr and Emily Johnson present stories and photos from wild ski terrain and their struggle to become a piece of the conservation puzzle rather than a cog in the problem. If adventure is the reflection of the human spirit, do we need to travel half a world away to find it in distant ranges, wild rivers and unpaved roads? And if the very act of traveling harms the places you hold dear, is going justifiable? The answers to those head jarring questions don’t always come easy.
For audio only, click here.
|Mar 12, 2009|
731 Days Later...
Two years ago, I was staring fruitlessly at a computer screen. In between half-hearted stabs at the keyboard, I thought about going back to grad school even though I had sworn that when I finished my undergrad at UW, I wouldn’t be back. I wanted to simultaneously feel alive and afraid atop a 1,500-foot ribbon of Tahoe snow. I wished I was shaking my way through fragile hook placements on El Cap’s flanks. I wanted to be a malnourished and under-washed 22-year-old again, whose only appointment was watching the sunlight move across Western Australia. The grass was greener. The skies above were gray. I was looking back and stumbling forward, while the present slipped by.
I was sick of daydreaming. I dropped the commissioned piece I was working on that day and started writing, guided by the same intuition that leads seasoned alpinists through hazardous terrain or pulls long-distance runners through the dark streets of cities. I wanted to explore, to grow, to learn. If the computer was going to be the vehicle – so be it.
The keyboard clicked like chattering teeth. I pulled out a mic left over from my days of playing in bands. Audio cords coiled around desk legs like creeping vines. I duct taped the mic to the battered stand (I used to rock pretty hard) and without having any idea of where it might lead, I hit the big red record button, stood up, cleared my throat and decided it was time to find my voice.
Two years later, I’m still a struggling outdoor writer. What’s the difference then? I’m a happy, struggling outdoor writer. The Diaries have swelled to encompass a variety of voices and viewpoints. They have become larger than one man broadcasting from a coat closet. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Today, we present The Monoboard Revisited. Here’s to another two years of dreaming, tinkering and coming up with ways to get into trouble.
Click Here To Listen
PS It also happens to be my brother, Walker's, birthday. Happy Birthday dude.
|Feb 25, 2009|
Into the Dark
"Climbing -- this one act saves me," says Portland rock climber Bob Grunau. Throughout his life, Grunau has struggled with the lingering clouds of depression. Until he discovered climbing, the only way to weather the darker cycles was to retreat inward into his mind. That approach worked until he became a part of a family. Grunau had to be present. In those hard moments, he turned to climbing.
High, lonesome places can provide respite and joy. We can love them deeply, but ice and rock will not love us back. Ultimately, our tenuous connections with the vertical life are not nearly as delicate as our relationships with those we love.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
|Feb 09, 2009|
Mister Smart Goes Big
Rangi Smart was riding a small spur of his favorite single-track trail when he stumbled upon a perfectly designed mountain bike jump. A platform of two by fours and plywood launched a rider outward and 20-feet down the steep hillside. It was the kind of thing Rangi had only seen pro riders stomp on mountain bike videos.
|Jan 27, 2009|
Taco Bell. Pizza Hut. Climber and writer, Kelly Cordes had one hell of resume by the time he applied for a position baking bread. The work was simple, came with food and the early starts would teach Cordes to like the dreaded 3 a.m. starts demanded of cutting edge alpinism. It was an ideal job for a dirtbag who lived and breathed climbing, and once resided in a 77-square-foot shack. Then Cordes ran into Bosszilla.
|Jan 09, 2009|
New Year Goals and Music
"Give the people what they want," my little brother told me. For the last couple weeks there have been calls for another edition of the Year of Big Ideas. Little brother had a point. They grow up so fast.
In the next week I'll be collecting goals and dreams from friends, weekend warrior and professionals alike. This year though, I wanted to include the Dirtbag Nation. If you got something to say, drop us a line via email. I'm not big on resolutions -- to me the word sounds like a limp-wristed Congressional process or a marketing point for an Hi-Def TV. I want honest to goodness goals.
In the meantime, here is a little New Years treat....Volume Three of the Dirtbag's Playlist.
from "Ode to Sunshine"
School of Seven Bells
"Half Asleep" (mp3)
Buy at iTunes Music Store
Stream from Rhapsody
"Tokyo Moon" (mp3)
from "Puddle City Racing Lights"
(Friendly Fire Recordings)
Buy at iTunes Music Store
Stream from Rhapsody
"Billionaires vs. Millionaires" (mp3)
from "Second to the Last Frontier"
Buy at iTunes Music Store
Stream from Rhapsody
"Old Old Fashioned" (mp3)
from "Liver! Lung! FR!"
(Fat Cat Records)
Buy at iTunes Music Store
Stream from Rhapsody
"Oh, Alberta" (mp3)
from "Tin Type"
Buy at iTunes Music Store
Stream from Rhapsody
"Well Water Black (feat. Yoni Wolf of WHY?)" (mp3)
Buy at Rhapsody
Stream from Rhapsody
"Gorgeous Behavior" (mp3)
from "Spark Large"
(U & L Records, Inc.)
Buy at iTunes Music Store
|Dec 31, 2008|
Bedtime Stories for Wanderers
If stories are the currency of travel, then writer Ryan Nickum is a very wealthy man. By the time he turned 30, Nickum's passport was chock full of the brightly colored patchwork of entry and exit stamps from dozens of distant countries. He was consumed by a desire to travel and haunted by the inability to sit still. The gaps in his resume developed into oceans between jobs. Cynicism grew. The overwhelming urge to quit the job and pack a bag sprang up every six months like a song that would not leave his ears. With his career stalling and idealism flat lining, Nickum looked into his past to search for the seed of the travel affliction. There was only one person to blame -- his father.
What makes the traveler's feet restless? Is it nature or nurture? Writer Ryan Nickum presents Bedtime Stories for Wanderers.
|Dec 22, 2008|
Warning: This episode contains radio nudity and Christmas carols.
Christmas trees are a massive business. Americans spent $2.5 billion on Christmas trees in 2007. For the last five years, I have been stingier than Scrooge when it comes to a Yule Tree. In 2008, I’m a changed man. Armed with a handsaw and empowered by a National Forest permit, I wandered out into the Cascades to search for the perfect Christmas tree. Sometimes in the darkest days of winter, a little light isn’t a bad thing.
|Dec 13, 2008|
The Shorts -- Friendship is a Used Bicycle
“’You should get a bike. It will change your life,’ my friend Nick said. I heard this over and over again like a nagging brake pad rubbing on the one wobbly spot on a dented wheel,” writes Colorado-based writer Brendan Leonard.
|Nov 15, 2008|
What scares dirtbags? Global warming? Nine to five? Johnny Law? The unequivocal answer – bears. After sifting through the entries for the “Night of the Living Dirtbag”, it became clear – bears scare the daylights out of you all.
To celebrate Halloween, we bring you two tales of terror. Contest winner Chris Peters explains why it pays to listen to the safety talk and a very special guest remembers a family vacation to the Alaskan wilderness gone wrong. Fear is a funny thing. Whether the threat is real or imagined, the emotion of fear – heart-pumping terror – is just as powerful.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
|Oct 28, 2008|
The Shorts -- Balance
The Bohrer clan isn’t your average Idaho Falls family. “Our neighbors have trampolines to break neighborhood children’s ankles and wrists. We’ve installed a slack line for that purpose,” writes father of five, Steve Bohrer. Juggling goals in the mountain with parenting is no simple task. Sometimes balancing competing passions requires combining them into a lifestyle. After all, whether you’re old or young, everyone likes to play hooky if there is snow on the hill.
|Oct 13, 2008|
No Car No Problem
A 1,200-foot rock wall in a wilderness area – that’s standard summer fare. In a day and back before dinner? Sounds easy. Without a car? That’s when my climbing partners stopped returning my phone calls.
Even with growing environmental pressures and climbing gas prices, we’ll drive hundreds of miles to exist in landscapes devoid of gridlock and angry horns. The irony can be hard to ignore. Recreating without a car might seem impossible, but this summer I set out to test the preconceived notion. What happens when you find yourself trapped in the Urban Jungle? You blaze your way out.
|Sep 29, 2008|
The Shorts: The Simple Joy of Moving Upward
If you plan on calling Craig DeMartino inspirational, he would prefer you wait to see if he can even drag his butt off the ground. After loosing his leg in a climbing accident, DeMartino had to retrain his body and learn his craft all over again. He hoped one day he would compete against the able-bodied, but taking on Chris Sharma in a World Cup? That was beyond dreams.
Craig DeMartino takes us to Vail and the Teva Mountain Games. Behind the bright lights, big names and massive crowds, climbing’s everyman gets his moment in the sun.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
|Sep 05, 2008|
The Shorts -- The Pig
A mythical, semi-secret, surf spot on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast – that’s as descriptive Australian Duncan McNee would get. This secret break, a quick bike ride from McNee’s day job as a high school teacher, requires the perfect synchronicity of swell, tide and windless days. On average, the variables come together once every two years. Sometimes the world shines on us. The wind dies. The tide drops. School lets out early. It’s up to us to catch the wave of a lifetime. At long last, we bring you a surfing story. Amen.
|Jul 03, 2008|
True or False? Standard pushing is for the pros. If you want to shape skiing or climbing, you have to ditch the job, move into the car and find a deep-pocketed sponsor. The tiny window afforded to weekend warriors couldn’t possibly be enough time with which to make an impact. Right?
Today, we bring you the Crusade, the story of two stockbrokers, an engineer and a nuclear physicist who, with a little help from the Internet, helped shaped American ski mountaineering without ever leaving their backyard. There will be no helicopters. No corporate expeditions. No photo shoots. Just a decade-long odyssey from the ambitious imagination of youth across the Cascades' steepest faces all the way to the unsettled wisdom of adulthood. It turns out weekend warriors are just as capable.
The photo and video enhanced version will be out shortly.
Click Here to Listen
For more background info:
|Jun 20, 2008|
The Shorts: Year of Big Ideas Reprieve
In the Year of Big Ideas, my childhood friend Brad laid it out – he was going to climb El Cap in 2008. Never mind that he had minimal climbing experience or had never even been to Yosemite. We schemed and scheduled “vacation.” We planned and tried to convince others to join us, but in the end, Brad and I were on our own to wrestle with one very big – arguably bad – idea. We had four days to pull it off. We would have to climb faster than we could manufacture excuses.
|May 23, 2008|
The Human Mule
Life was good. The approaches were short. The routes straightforward. The work wonderfully mindless. After a long dry-spell of writing, a job as a climbing guide at Smith Rock was like a vacation from life. I was 22 again, not a failing writer struggling to pay the rent. It was too good to last.
Through the years, I’ve tried to escape words and journalism, but the writing life always has a funny way of creeping back into my world. This time it came in the form of a 230-pound cameraman with a fear of heights, a fast talking New York producer and a 30-year-old broadcaster trying to return to her childhood. It turns out you have to earn your 15 seconds of fame.
|May 09, 2008|
The Earth Throne
What defines you? Is it your past? How you look? I doubt it. It’s the course we chart from dawn to dusk that makes us who we are. Seventeen years ago, Sean O’Neill – artist athlete and big brother to pro climber Timmy O’Neill – lost the use of his legs after jumping from a bridge into the Mississippi River. After the accident, Timmy dreamed about helping his older brother climb El Capitan. In 2005, the brothers decided it was time to act.
Reporter and podcaster James Mills brings us a story about two brothers, one very big cliff face and a 17-year-old dream. Sometimes climbs don’t end with summits. They can extend on into our lives.
|Apr 23, 2008|
The Shorts -- Indiana Powder Day
Great outdoor writing lacks ego. When listener Andy Guinigundo’s email appeared in the inbox on a rainy spring day, I read through it, read it again and thought “Damn, I wish I could have been there.? That’s because no matter where you ski, whether it’s the Alaskan steeps or a local hill in Southeast Indiana, a powder day is a magical thing. That’s the great thing about skiing, climbing or mountain biking – you don’t have to be a professional playing beneath stadium lights to understand the crowning achievements of our sports.
Andy has been skiing for decades. During the gray and often rainy Midwest winters he works ski patrol at Perfect North Slopes, a small resort across the Indiana border from his home in Ohio. Until a March blizzard, a powder day was something he had only heard about. I’d been wanting to create some smaller shorts between feature episodes, so Andy joined us in the Dirtbag Diaries Midwest Studios, a.k.a. his walk-in closet, and gave us his own farewell to an unforgettable winter season.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
|Apr 15, 2008|
The Golden Hour
In spring of 1991, Tom Broxson survived a 200-foot fall – a full rope length -- off the top of Yosemite Valley’s Washington Column. To this day, Tom, his climbing partner Pat and the rescuers who saved his life aren’t exactly sure what happened. There are guesses and conjectures, but the exact moment that changed Tom’s life will always remain a mystery.
Dr. R. Adams Cowley, the physician who pioneered our modern Emergency Medicine System, once said, “There is a golden hour between life and death.? His theory that a patient who survives a grave trauma has 60 minutes to reach the operating table was the guiding axiom in emergency medicine for decades.
In these precarious, defining minutes between life and death, patients fight to live, rescuers put themselves in harm’s way and decisions are made in an instant. Sometimes rescues don’t go all that smoothly. Today, with the help of Yosemite’s first responders, we bring you Tom Broxson’s story of survival, recovery and will. It turns out an hour can last a lifetime.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
|Mar 28, 2008|
All These Things
The Weather Channel’s Local on the 8’s. NOAA. Surf cams. We’ve all been there – staring at the places we would like to be through a computer or television screen. We shut our eyes at our desks and try to imagine the feel of cutting through powder or climbing on a sun drenched cliff.
Success in the high country requires early starts and leaps of faith. The same can be said of careers, school and family. Our dreams in the flatlands take nurturing. They require our love and time, and when our personal goals grate against the pursuit of summits, glassy waves and powder days, our heads can fill with a feedback loop of tough questions about where we’ve been and where we’re headed.
Today, I’m proud to present a new voice. Becca Cahall brings us All These Things – a story about getting older and skiing faster. We’re headed for British Columbia’s Selkirk Mountains – an incredible range of open alpine faces, perfect tree skiing and tight chutes that every backcountry skier dreams of visiting. When the life’s pressing questions mount, the only antidote is the inner calm found in cold wind, burning lungs and the hiss of skis sliding across snow. Enjoy.
|Mar 09, 2008|
Little Brother Goes Big
As some of you may know, Walker Cahall handles most of the design work here at the Dirtbag Diaries, and as the name suggests, he is my brother – seven years my junior. Now, all the older brothers out there know that complimenting a younger sibling is a risky and delicate business. Their heads may balloon with pride before eventually imploding like a dying galaxy. When Walker began destroying me in video games, I was forced to retire in order to save him from himself. I may have to do the same with mountain biking if Walker keeps pedaling hard. It's just my little way of upholding the big brother status quo.
Right now though, I’m going to put two decades worth of strategic dead arms and psychological warfare on the line and say it – little brother went big.
While he works as a graphic designer and technical illustrator, Walker is first and foremost an artist with a strong environmental component to his work. His work -- especially his prints and experimental digital pieces – are awesome. The concepts so clever. Conflict of interest you say? As I clearly explained above, complimenting is not in my best interest, and I’m not the only one who thinks this 23-year-old’s work has merit. In 1996 at the age of 10, Walker had his first gallery show. That same year, Art News ran a full-page article on the young prodigy. This week, Portland-based clothing company Nau has featured Walker’s series on sustainable energy on their web site. Completed two years, the series took months to create. I’d post it here, but I have to send you to Nau’s site – the Collective.
P.S. For those big brothers out there, relax. According to this NY Times article, we will always remain atop the dog pile, so have a little sympathy. I send this link to Walker at least once a week, so that he doesn't beat himself up too badly.
P.P.S. The next episode will be out shortly.
|Mar 06, 2008|
Inside the Abysmo
The photo-enhanced version of Datos Insuficientes is up and running. The Range Life’s Andrew Oberhardt and Todd Gilman milked their hard drives to come up with a set of images to fit with Shane’s words. It’s the only way to get a sense of scale. El Rio Apurimac, which roughly translates into divine oracle, is massive. Look for the details. Check out the high water mark on the canyon walls. It may take five to ten seconds to load.
You’ve got two options:
Click here for the full-sized version:
Or Click here for the pop-up player and continue your journey through the Google Machine.
If you liked what you see here, you should definitely check out this short movie on Shane Robinson’s Abysmo trip. Along with some epic whitewater, the short features what must be one of the world’s most burly truck rides. Also check out the Vacation to Hell -- it's definitely one of the more creative expedition ideas out there.
|Feb 21, 2008|
In the summer of 2007, kayaker and blogger Shane Robinson found himself paddling down Peru’s isolated Apurimac River, one of the Amazon’s five major tributaries. Ahead of him lay the Abysmo – a deep, daunting gash in the earth. Thousand foot cliffs rose from the river bottom. Once inside, bailing would be next to impossible. Shane and his partners, Andrew Oberhardt and Bryan Smith, knew two things about the stretch of river that they were paddling into. First, the Abysmo was going to be big. There would be miles and miles of massive slot canyons and fifth class white water. Second, the end of their journey would come in the form of a big, ugly, orange bridge named Puente Pasaje. Everything between was unknown water. They had no map, no aerial photos and enough food for five days. Fifteen years of kayaking had led to this moment.
Click Here to Listen
|Feb 15, 2008|
The Year of Big Ideas
“You don't have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things -- to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals."
-- Sir Edmund Hillary
There is nothing more fulfilling than grabbing an idea out of the air, giving it shape and realizing it. Our dreams, hopes and goals give shape to the year’s course and ultimately our lives. Today we bring you the “Year of Big Ideas? – a show all about goals, some big, some small. We’ve interviewed friends, professional athletes, random people on chairlifts, anyone we could rope into contributing. Climb harder. Ski faster. Push deeper into the mountains than ever before. Here’s to dreaming big and going bigger in the New Year.
|Jan 23, 2008|
A Lifeline Home
There was nothing exceptional about how Ryan Utz and Micah Helser became friends. After nodding at each other in the office hallways for weeks, they happened to discover that they shared an interest in sustainable building. They got to talking and pretty soon found that they both shared a love for climbing and the great outdoors. While the beginnings of their friendship sound average, the circumstances were anything but.
Micah and Ryan were members of Charlie Company, a medevac unit serving the Baghdad area. Together, they were responsible for shepherding the wounded and the dead from the Iraq’s battlefields to the hospital in a Blackhawk helicopter. They cared for fellow soldiers, Iraqi police and the civilians who got caught in the midst of the violence. In the process of saving others, they dodged bullets and mortar rounds. In the long empty hours between shifts and missions, they needed to find a way to escape back to the things the loved the most. So in a flat, arid country plagued by violence, they set out to do the one thing that might seem impossible – to go climbing.
Today, we bring you the tale of two friends -- both climbers, both soldiers -- and their quest to create a lifeline back from the frontlines to the things that matter the most – friends, family and that freedom found only in open spaces. We are headed to the world’s most improbable climbing wall. This is Camp Taji. Welcome to Iraq.
Click Here To Listen
|Dec 06, 2007|
Every aspiring photographer dreams of capturing an iconic image. It’s the same kind of motivation that draws young skiers to intimidating lines in foreboding ranges and pulls ambitious climbers to Yosemite. We imagine these moments a thousand times in advance, but when we finally arrive, we are often surprised and humbled. Epiphanies require stumbling.
|Nov 17, 2007|
There’s no such thing as a perfect job. There’s always a catch – nagging bosses, gossiping co-workers, crummy benefits. That’s why we get paid to work.
|Sep 29, 2007|
Prayer for a Friend
How do people remember the dead? Some people stuff wrinkled snapshots into wallets. Others build ornate mausoleums. Others ensure their friends’ memories by creating goals that can never fully be realized. In 2003, my friend John Bombard lost his battle to cancer. On the day of his passing, I stumbled across an unclimbed route on Washington’s famed Prusik Peak. It was so beautiful, challenging and improbable that I would probably never complete it, yet my youthful enthusiasm and commitment were unflagging. This would be my own awkward offering to my friend.
Today on the Dirtbag Diaries, we’re traveling from the halls of a New England boarding school where two boys forged an unlikely friendship to the wind-swept wilderness deep inside the Cascade Mountains, where a trio of climbers have been hard at work solving one of the Northwest’s greatest free climbing projects. Some prayers can never be whole.
For the photo enhanced version click here.
|Sep 07, 2007|
The First Time
I want you to think back to the first time you touched granite, rolled a kayak or linked ski turns. Whether you’re pushing your sport to new heights or daydream about first tracks during your rush hour commute, those first experiences are something we all have in common. It probably felt a little daring, slightly awkward, but absolutely wonderful, and while the waves may get bigger, the routes bolder, they never get rawer.
This week the Dirtbag Diaries brings you the First Time – stories about people’s initial experiences in the outdoors. Instead of one big episode, we’ve gone ahead and split this week’s broadcast into five parts. We’ve got some very special guests. Some you may recognize. Others, we are proud to introduce. Click on the story description to listen. A complete music list from this weeks broadcast can be found in the comments section. Part Five is a listener favorite.
|Jul 28, 2007|
No Big Deal
In 1996, photographer John Burcham and three friends completed the first foot traverse of the 650-mile long Alaska Range. Together, they forded streams, chased off curious grizzlies and crossed crevassed glaciers. After 75 days, they had become a single unit. After delays mounted, Burcham decided to leave the group at the very end of the trip in order to make it to his sister's wedding. He said goodbye and parted ways. He was alone in the continent's last great wilderness with a sobering realization -- crevasses, hungry wildlife and hypothermia can kill you, but loneliness can drive you crazy.
Click here to watch the enhanced version with photos from John Burcham.
Check out the comment page to find out more about the music from the episode.
|Jun 28, 2007|
1000 Words -- Revamped
Photographer Corey Rich went into his archives to bring you more defining images of the world's best athletes chasing adventure around the globe. Tommy Caldwell free climbs the Nose. Barrett Christie carves it up on Mt Baker. It's just the beginning. Click here to watch the improved slide show.
|Jun 25, 2007|
Anatomy of an Accident
In May of 2007, I made a mistake that should have cost me my life when I slipped high on a Central Oregon volcano. I fell between 250-300 feet, over a cliff, through rock bands before grabbing a rock out cropping and stopping my fall. I'm still not sure how I stopped myself. Amazingly, I walked away with a sprained thumb. This week the Dirtbag Diaries presents the Anatomy of an Accident. What do you take away from a near-death experience? Is there meaning in it? If so, what does it say about our relationships with these mountains, these rivers and these oceans.
|Jun 02, 2007|
A Brief Moment in a Beautiful Place
There is a fine line between a life-lasting memory and disaster. Whatever the discipline -- alpinism, big wave surfing, foreign travel -- we calculate risk, formulate plans and sometimes we have the spunk to see them through. This week we're headed for Laos to recount the story of two friends and one spectacularly bad idea. Join us as we follow Jacob Bain, Colin Brynn and a bamboo raft down a river at the edge of the world. Sometimes bad ideas work out for the better...sometimes.
For the photo-enhanced version, click here.
|May 14, 2007|
A Thousand Words
There is no textbook on adventure journalism, but if there were one, it would contain one single, steadfast rule -- you can't photograph adventure from a safe distance. There are no sidelines in wilderness. El Capitan doesn't have a press booth. Even for the most safety-conscious, danger can come in many forms -- falling rock, toxic jellyfish, even a bad case of the Itch. This week, adventure photographer Corey Rich gives us photos and the untold stories behind them. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Which words? Find out.
To stream the enhanced version click here.
|Apr 30, 2007|
the Great Big Garage in the Sky
Episode 3 -- Many of us associate our vehicles with freedom, independence and youth. Even as we come to terms with the fact that automobiles may be an unnecessary evil, it's hard not to think back to that first surf or climbing trip and day dream about open windows, loud music and a best friend riding shotgun. Can a hunk of metal have a soul? What happens when the motor finally stops running? This week we bring you the sometimes-true tale of a 1974 Mitsubishi Sigma, a boy on the cusp of adulthood and a life changing journey across Australia. My Odeo Channel (odeo/8219bb1ebcf3cd36)
|Apr 12, 2007|
In this week's episode, we are headed for a remote cliff in northern Arizona where we join rock climbers Albert Newman and James Q Martin as they attempt the first free ascent of Tooth Rock. It's been a three and half year odyssey for the duo. They have suffered through life-threatening rock fall and severe dehydration with the hopes of creating one of the finest routes in the desert. Join us as we follow along on the first free ascent of More Sand than Stone V 5.11 and explore the fine line between determination and stupidity.
|Mar 21, 2007|
Gaper. Touron. Weekend warrior. As mountain people, we can be a cold, hard lot adhering to an "Us and Them" mentality, but at the root, what makes a dirtbag a dirtbag? Is it a look? The clothes we wear or the skis we ride? Or is there something deeper to out culture? Can anyone be a dirtbag?
This week, Fitz Cahall finds a kindred spirit in his monoboarding landlord. Welcome to the Dirtbag Diaries.
|Mar 01, 2007|