Mark Jenkins/The Hard Way

Oct 26, 2004
Outside Magazine
Mark Jenkins

Mark Jenkins   

Outside Reconnaissance Agent Mark Jenkins is a critically acclaimed author, internationally recognized adventurer and columnist for Outside. For the past six years, Jenkins' column, "The Hard Way," has explored the meaning and joy of the physical outdoor life. From clandestine journeys across Tibet to mountaineering in Bolivia to sea kayaking around Turkey's Gallipoli peninsula to canyoneering in Australia, Jenkins covers the globe in search of adventure, history and human understanding. He is the author of three award-winning books: The Hard Way, To Timbuktu, and Off the Map. Jenkins lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with his wife, Sue Ibarra, and two daughters, Addi and Teal. Check out Mark Jenkins' own The Hard Way page at


Dream Bandit
Under cover of night, a light-fingered phantom made of memory and shadow duels with a watchful sentry who's not about to become a victim again

The Good Company of the Dead
The discovery of George Mallory's broken body on the north face of Everest inspires a reexploration of the brilliant climber's poetic soul

Hallelujah, I'm a Fool
The adventurer's antidote to quiet desperation requires a suitably insane plan, a little crazy abandon, and a flair for making-or stumbling into-your own dumb luck

To Hell with Me
Looking for answers in "a place of unquenchable fire," where the blind seer is open for business but the gift shop closes at half past two

The Ghost Road
Winding a thousand miles from India to China, the Burma Road was built to defend China in World War II, but the atomic bomb made it irrelevant and the jungle reclaimed it. Mark Jenkins vowed to do what no one had done for nearly 60 years-travel the entire Burma Road-and discovered the madness of present-day Myanmar.

Switzerland: The Haute Route
Watch your step on this spectacular journey through the Alps, or you just might fall off the edge.

The Unguided Route
Awhile back I was on a travel panel in Berkeley with Richard Bangs, author, adventurer, and founder of Sobek, one of the first and most successful adventure-travel outfitters...

Are We Not Men?
Give it up, cut it out, travel light - because nobody wants to be a pack mule.


The Blowhard Way
Do you lie awake at night worrying that everything you know is wrong? You need what this guy is selling!

Goodnight Sweet Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry spent his life defying and outflying death. Then it caught up.

Captain Retro
Is time traveler Tim Severin the greatest living explorer? Probably-but you'll never get him to admit it.

Aerial Maneuvers
Pilot an ultralight and what do you get? A bird's-eye view of the world and a dose of the maverick spirit of flying.

Welcome to Ghana, where commuting is a nightmare-and optimism is a bright-yellow bike of one's own

Leap Year
Travel is one thing. But uprooting your family and moving abroad is a much deeper plunge into adventure.

Fire and Ice
A journey to the cradle of climbing reveals a strange new alpine environment, where glaciers are melting, mountains are falling, and nothing is as it was

Head Trip
Sometimes the toughest climb is out of your mind and into your own animal skin

Aron Ralston - Between a Rock and the Hardest Place
What happens when a solitary day hike turns into the ultimate test of survival?

Hot on the Trail
Australia's first great adventure was part Lewis and Clark, part Donner Party-searing proof that fame is a four-letter word

Misery Loves Company
In 24-hour mountain-bike races, riders bond over singletrack and sleep deprivation. What's not to like?

Beyond Belief
In Bhutan's pristine alpine sanctuary, even a heathen climber can see the light

Up the Creek
Canoeing the jungles of South America, where freedom is a family affair

Learning Curves
The process is the point. But just try telling that to your younger, untutored, world-conquering self.

Unbroken Chain
Every adventurer knows those magical moments when it all flows-and those wretched times when it won't

I Know Where I'm Going
On getting lost, GPS, and a farewell to maps

The Stone Mirage
For two credulous seekers, dreaming of the lost big-wall treasure of the Sierra Madre Occidental is better than the real thing

Suffering a Sea Change
Who knows best the cost of rowing solo across the Atlantic? She who finishes last.

Split Decisions
When the weather turns ugly and conditions get rough, every mountaineer must make the ultimate choice: storm the summit, or call it quits.

A Modest Proposal
Looking for adventure? It's right outside your door.

Winter to the Corps
The marines' mountain warfare training center is the ultimate test for some of the world's toughest troops: a make-it-or-leave regimen of backcountry ski combat, torturous night maneuvers, and deadly cold. Any volunteers?

Seismic Shift
He was packing for a trek through roughest Afghanistan when the world shook. Sometimes adventure has to wait.

King of the Dirtbags
Going core with Yvon Chouinard-leery capitalist, walking contradiction

That's Entertainment
Scenes from the Gorge Games, and looking for the new face of adventure

World of Hurt
Injury, pain, the psychology of recovery, and getting back on the trail

Better Shape Up
Once a nation of adventure-athletes, America is getting fatter by the day.

Temple of Zoom
A speed ascent of a Grand Canyon spire proves that light is right

Bleeding Hearts
Of baboon lust, ibex ballets, and the necessity of the African wolf.

The Universal Guide to Hitchhiking
Time was, you could crisscross America with nothing but a rucksack and a thumb. You still can, if you know how.

The Hard Way
Halfway up Ben Nevis, splayed against hollow ice like a cat clinging to a curtain blown out the window of a skyscraper, I realize that falling is out of the question.

Spin the Globe and Go
Why travel to remote places? Why bother with the hassle, the expense, the danger? Because it's actually cheap, intoxicating, and easy.

Voyage Between the Wars
Some peaceful recreation on a journey from Gallipoli to Troy, where the echoes of war never die

Companions in Misery
A cold mountain, a mismatched pair, and a meditation on the strange chemistry of partnership

Breathless Heights
If you want to get high, there's still a price to be paid for invading the towering ranges-despite some newfangled shortcuts

Give 'Em Enough Rope
Has this tired old world been explored-out? Not Down Under, where uncharted, bottomless slot canyons hide just west of Sydney.

Testosterone Alfresco
Once a year, the adventurous Jenkins boys will be boys, reforging the bonds of brotherly affection by nearly killing themselves

The Shaggy Tremendous Shape
An outsized wilderness lives on in mythic dreams and salvaged hope

Instant Karma
Take three travelers, a nation of Buddhists, and one unfortunate rodent. Add a forbidden journey and a dark childhood secret, and you could have the time of your lives.

Tombstone White
The treacherous history of the Matterhorn can be read in books and snowy graveyards, but to write it you've got to survive it

Crossing to Safety
From beginning to middle to end and back again, one adventure leads to another. So hold tight-it's a long ride

Truth or Consequences
Does wildnerness therapy help troubled kids? After a gang of teenagers staged a violent mutiny in the badlands of Utah, we joined the search for answers.

Confessions of a Solo Climber
A partner drops out, one thing leads to another, and suddenly our hero finds that peer pressure has him fighting for his life

An Un-American Activity
What gets the equivalent of 1,000 miles per gallon, doesn't pollute, will save the world, and transports you in breezy style? Your bike

First and Last Ascents
The rules (there are only three of them) remain the same for a lifetime, and they come from the mouths of babes

A Storm in the Distance
The come-on: Grab two hours of challenging fun and fast adventure. But when a dark wall of water swept away lives and reputations, the question became: Why?

Burma or Bust
A half-mad dash to Hkakabo Razi seemed like a good idea at the time. And hey, how tough can it be to sneak past the Chinese Army?

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