F E A T U R E S
Wonk on the Wild Side
Every outdoor gear giant was once a fledgling start-up, fighting for a sliver of market share and grappling with the unpleasant question that faces every bold new idea: What are you, nuts? And so it is for GoLite, the offbeat alliance of a backpacking zealot and a number-crunching brainiac who hate weight.
By Mike Steere
The Secret Life of Guides
They're the strapping, charismatic, knights-errant of the mountains, the avatars of bravado and breathtaking skill. But even for a successful guide like Jamie Pierce, the job is rife with endless shifts, needy clients, and the ever-present possibility that a mistake could prove fatal. And that's just on the easy days.
By Bruce Barcott
Dream Jobs: The Best Careers in the Outdoors
Give us your burnouts, your desk-weary, your cubicled masses yearning to breathe free, and send them to this timely compendium of careers in the open air. If you've ever said, "It's just a paycheck," our employment ideas could light the way to vocational liberation.
A cocky bunch of Web jocks in San Francisco are betting the company on Quokka.com, an Internet site whose stated mission is to immerse viewers in thrilling adventure sports with a few clicks of a mouse. But how many vicarious climbers want to hang off a virtual wall while staring at a computer screen?
By Mark Lasswell
Under the Billboard Sky
When did your four-wheel driving and whitewater paddling turn into the lingua franca of Madison Avenue? There was a time when advertising didn't give a hoot about the outdoors. Now, it seems, the pitchmen of today's soaring consumer economy don't want to sell anything without it.
By Karl Taro Greenfeld
"Trust Me. In These Parts, Hot Dogs Actually Repel Bears."
There's always been a bull market in bad advice, especially the kind dispensed in live-bait emporiums where guys named Pappy hold sway behind the counter, dispensing wisdom that sounds so right and turns out so wrong. Why do we listen?
By Ian Frazier
D E P A R T M E N T S
Alex Lowe, 1958-1999 The news that the man widely considered to be the finest mountaineer on the planet had lost his life in an avalanche on a little-known Tibetan peak has shaken the climbing world to its core. A report on an American hero's final ascent.
Lowe reached the top of the alpine world with an elegant solution to a generational problem: what to do when all the great mountains have been climbed. A tribute by Bruce Barcott.
David Bridges, the videographer who died with Lowe, was more than just a cameraman; he was mountaineering's heir apparent.
Farewell to the best: Alex Lowe's friends say good-bye.
Traditionalists worry that rodeo kayaking could turn into the Ice Capades on water.
Drugs, cheating, and embarrassing marketing blunders keep track and field in the sports doghouse.
P L U S : Wild Kingdom or Magic Kingdom?; and a poacher gets his just desserts.
The Wild File
Will death rays from outer space doom mankind? What's a sun dog? Why are polar bears so darned mean?
By Hampton Sides
The Hard Way
Before he died much too young, a man called Coach taught swimming, rock climbing, and life's larger lessons—wisdom that hits home when a former student guides his own kids up a granite dome named the Rat Brain.
By Mark Jenkins
Easy in the Islands: Five hundred miles east of the Philippines lie 343 idyllic tropical islands teeming with marine life and World War II history. A guide to rambling the archipelago of Palau, home to crystalline waters, secret wartime hideouts, and enough diving, kayaking, and exploring to keep you salty and wet and ridiculously happy.
When you're learning to mush a sled pulled by four wild-and-crazy Inuit canines across Lake Superior to Minnesota's snow-covered Apostle Islands, sleeping with the help is not an option.
P L U S / Yellowstone The quiet and cheap way to see Yellowstone's bison, elk, and wolves without a whiff of RV exhaust, and an alpine technique for escaping Y2K-obsessed neighbors.
The Cold, Hard Truth: Winter has a way of turning life into a muscle-popping, hypothermic hell—which is why you need more than long underwear when you hit the slopes, skating rink, or running trail. Our rules for keeping the thrill in chill.
Outside's Sixth Annual Gift Guide Dozens of must-give presents for this year's holidays, including—get this!— a 600mm camera lens from Canon, Kevlar hiking boots, a foldable kayak, an electronic bicycle derailleur, and a cool toy called the Rescue Rocket.
PLUS: Books to upgrade your coffee table, featuring photography by NASA's Apollo astronauts, mountaineering legend Vittorio Sella, Glen Canyon chronicler Tad Nichols, and wildlife portraitist James Balog, along with Patagonia moments, Jane Goodall's chimps, and the world's most disgusting foods.
Cover: Christian Pondella
©1999, Outside magazine