21. Attempt Midnight Lightning
Rarely do history, ambience, and pure animal challenge converge so tidily as at Yosemite's Camp Four, a walk-in campground that still charges just $3 a night. At center sits 40-foot Columbia Boulder, with a chalk graffito identifying the overhanging-granite route for all to see. Though Yvon Chouinard, Doug Tompkins, and others in climbing's Rat Pack scampered around on it in the '60s, not till 1978 did Ron Kauk prove a person could climb it bottom to top. At least he could.
22. Ski the Dachstein by Starlight, One More Time
By John Skow
I did this once already, in a strange, waking dream, on a moonless spring night years ago. Several Austrian friends and I were doing a skis-and-skins tour, as we did every weekend until a sun-blasted Sunday in mid-June, when by tradition our last runout ended in the middle of a small stream, skis submerged and boots filling with snowmelt. Jah, und...? I am thinking in rough-and-tumble mountaineer's German now, thinking that although what we did that dark night was a long run down a shallow glacier, I may have misplaced the glacier. Memory is a great liar. Does the Dachstein even have a glacier? From three decades' distance, I'm not certain. No matter. Wherever we were, we were there, traversing from one high valley up and over to another, well before dawn. We stripped off climbing skins, locked our heels down (the reinvention of telemarking came a decade later), and shoved off into blackness, one by one. The high, indistinct horizon offered nothing to brace my balance against. Since I could see nothing except a few stars, the only way to judge speed was by the sound of skis on hard corn snow. I was skiing by ear.
This slow, dreamlike descent went on for maybe 10 minutes. Then I realized I no longer heard the scrape of skis on snow. The glacier had flattened, and I had stopped. A cough and the rustle of equipment said that my friends had beached nearby. No one spoke. I reached down and freed my bindings, a man roused from sleep.
John Skow is a regular contributor to Outside.
23. Catch an Eruption
Popocatepetl, Mexico? Mostly steam and ashbig deal. Lava flow you want? Merapi, Indonesia, is the place, but you could wait around forever for some decent village mayhem. So get to Stromboli, Italy, which has several eruptions a day and gooey "lava blobs" around the crater, seething like alien life.
24. Hunt Hidden Treasure
There are still some dandies out there, they say: Atahuallpa's golden rope (pure and hundreds of feet long), coiled away in the Andes; that old standby Atlantis. But you can start closer to home, on Oak Island. In 1795, on this outcrop off Nova Scotia, three men found a huge oak with a limb sawed off and a filled-in pit beneath the missing branch. They began digging, and every 10 feet found an oak platform or other blockage. A hundred feet down, the pit filled with seawater. Since then, wild fables of what lurks below have sprouted: Inca gold, pirate loot, Marie Antoinette's jewels.... The latest whopper dates to 1972, when an underwater camera is said to have photographed wooden chests anda priceless detail, authentic or not&3151;a human hand.
25. Go 300 Miles Under Your Own Power, from Your Own Front Door
21. Attempt Midnight Lightning