Outside Classics

The 40-Year-Old Virgin Swimmer

IT'S A LOT HARDER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK to swim from island to island across four-knot currents, gargling salt water hour after hour, getting chased by sharks, and towing your worldly possessions...

A Short Walk in the Wakhan Corridor

The old Wakhi horseman sucks deeply on his pipe, the opium glowing scarlet in the darkness, and blows smoke in my face. We're lying side by side on pounded wool mats in a cavelike hut in far...

Raising the Dead

Ten minutes into his dive, Dave Shaw started to look for the bottom. Utter blackness pressed in on him from all sides, and he directed his high-intensity light downward, hoping for a flash of...

Trapped

"IT'S 3:05 ON SUNDAY. This marks my 24-hour mark of being stuck in Blue John Canyon. My name is Aron Ralston. My parents are Donna and Larry Ralston, of Englewood, Colorado. Whoever finds this,...

Drug Test

"OK," the doctor said when we settled into his examination room. "What do you want to be?" I looked confused, so he explained. "You want to be bigger? Leaner? Faster...

The Mountain of Mountains

THE AFTERNOON I STUMBLED across the human leg bone at the bottom of K2, it was one of those flawless days you almost never see in the Karakoram. The light was radiant, the wind was calm, and the...

The Solitary Way

I take a bearing before I drop off the mesa, then descend through long stretches of sandy hills and scattered juniper until I reach good ol' Jurassic slickrock. Immediately I feel at home. In...

These Pants Saved My Life

IF YOU ARE THE CARHARTT SALES REPRESENTATIVE IN ALASKA, you hear so many stories about how your durable, mud-brown work wear has saved people's flabby backsides from wolf fangs and grizzly-bear...

Terminal Ice

WE ARE MELTING, like the Wicked Witch of the West. Soon there will be nothing left of us but our hat. From Chile to Alaska to Norway to Tibet, glaciers are going in reverse. Artifacts buried...

The Birdman Drops In

THE GROMS PRESS FORWARD, inching eagerly toward the arena entrance. Mullet-haired rampheads, bescabbed halfpipe urchins, scuffling along in their clompy skate shoes, their laces tied with a...

Boy Wonder

ONCE UPON A TIME NOT SO LONG AGO, in a gold-mining town in the foothills of the Sierra mountains, an unlucky baby was born. It was hard for the doctors to tell that the baby was unlucky, because...

Climbing Lessons from the School of Tomaz Humar

MY CHAKRAS ARE SHOT. I know because Tomaz Humar has just checked them. We're getting ready for a hike in Slovenia's Kamnik-Savinja Alps, sitting in Tomaz's Volkswagen Golf in a patch...

Bit

THAT MORNING I WOKE at dawn and crawled from my tent into the big unpainted schoolroom where the members of our biology expedition slept. We were in Rat Baw, a village in the far north of...

The Respect of the Men

As leader of the expedition, I have come to realize that there is one thing more important than any other—and that is the respect of the men. It is more valuable than your gun, or your...

Where the Ghost Bird Sings by the Poison Springs

THE WATER'S EDGE at the south end of North Shore—a shuttered, graffiti'd, ruined resort town which, as you might have guessed, lies near the north shore of California's Salton...

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