The Outside Blog

Adventure : Dec 2011

Video: Picture the Leviathan

Here are some filmmakers you can help, if you so desire. Hal Clifford and Jason Houston have begun a documentary project, called Picture the Leviathan, about artist James Prosek's mission to draw the 40 most important fish in the Atlantic Ocean at their actual sizes—as they look when they're still alive. Prosek plans to get on fishing boats and get a picture of the fish immediately after they're pulled from the water. Why is it important to paint them as they look at this moment? The fish lose their bright colors as life fades from their veins. Or, as Prosek quotes a local fishing boat captain on the blue shade of a swordfish...

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The 10 Most Read Outside Articles of 2011

Here are the articles you read the most in 2011. They are a mix of longform journalism and inspired service. We're hoping this list will help you in 2012, whether you're looking for a good read on your next flight or a new job.


Whitewater kayaker Hendrik Coetzee had decided to call it a career after a decade of first descents on the wildest rivers in Africa. The river’s most feared predator had a different ending in store.

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Adventure Parenting: Keeping It Real

6598641233_139aeeb986_b15-year old Jordan Romero on his quest to bag the 7 Summits [Jordan Romero]

Now that the holiday madness is almost over, I finally have some time to reflect on the happenings of the past year. I’ve been lucky to have so many great adventures, and Raising Rippers is one of them. But as I sit down to write my final post of 2011, I can’t help but wrestle with a question that’s been nagging me for the past few months:

When we encourage kids to do cool things outside, and write about them, are we exploiting them for our own benefit? 

As parents, we want our kids to be better off than we were when we were young: We wish for them a more normal family, nicer teachers, kinder friends, more and better opportunities, and sooner. We want them to learn to ski before they can talk, so that they’re too young to remember that awkward, flailing stage, and we want them to grow up ripping powder on big, majestic peaks right out their back door rather than waking up at 4 in the morning to ride the school bus across New Jersey to the icy lumps of the Poconos. We want for them the best and most technical gear, not the shapeless navy blue bibs with the elastic waistbands our mothers dressed us in. We want them to be rad and fearless because, when we were their age, we weren’t. 

And that’s one of the biggest pitfalls of adventure parenting: It’s tempting to use it as a giant do-over, to see it as our best chance to improve upon all the things we wish had been different about our childhood and ourselves. Feeling bad about who we were then helps us feel better about who we are now. Their successes make us look good. Except when they’re throwing epic hissy fits on cross-country flights, and especially when they're summiting the highest peaks on seven continents by age 15 (like Jordan Romero did last week), kids can be major ego boosts. 

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30 Things Cyclists Were Talking About in 2011

The year in cycling was one of surprises. For the first time in ages, there was no invincible patrón to lock up the race results before they'd even begun (though Philippe Gilbert did his darnedest, and Contador still stood atop the podium plenty). It was the year of the underdog (Cadel Evans) and break-out gregarios (Chris Froome). It was a year without many new doping scandals, and yet here, too, Contador was inescapable as his clenbuterol trial churned on. It was a year of aero bikes (Specialized McLaren Venge), aero wheels (Enve Composites), and carbon everything (while small-scale metal manufacturers like Vanilla and Moots still thrived). Here's what we heard the cycling world talking about in 2011.

1. Riccardo Riccó. The Cobra beheaded at last?

2. The Fall of Spartacus. Fabian Cancellara couldn't follow up on his 2010 classics domination. Only the big Swiss could be disappointed with second at Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix and third at Flanders and the Time Trial World Championships.

3. The Rise of Philippe Gilbert. The Belgian one-day specialist won whenever and wherever he liked.

4. Tainted Beef. Insert joke here.

5. Electronic shifting. Shimano lowered the bar for entry and Campy raised it.

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