David Sharp's lonely death on Mount Everest revived the old, raging debates about personal ethics and the wisdom of commercially guided climbing. But whatever went right and wrong in 2006, the bottom line remains: You challenge this peak at your own risk, because its punishments are swift, terrible, and blind.

Is it possible to guide safely on Everest? Or will the mountain always demand its pound of flesh? MARK JENKINS talks to a dream team of veterans—between them, they've reached the summit 17 times—in a frank look at the risks, rewards, and nightmares of taking clients to the top.

North Korea opens its doors to American tourists

Befuddled and heartbroken after watching the New York Yankees end their beloved Boston Red Sox’s 2003 playoff run, Jeff Neumann and Ray LeMoine needed to get away. Far away. So, using the money they’d earned from selling “Yankees Suck” T-shirts in Boston, they hopped a plane to Jordan and bussed…

Strap in for a road trip through the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan with Robert Thurman—Uma's dad and one of the planet's most magnetic Buddha boosters—and get set for stunning scenery, harrowing S-curves, and face time with the wild side of your soul

Refugee rockers JJI Exile Brothers give Tibetan youth a new attitude

SCOTT LINDGREN, whose first descent of Tibet’s deadly Tsangpo was chronicled in our July 2002 issue, continues to paddle and film the world’s most dangerous whitewater. His upcoming DVD, Burning Time II (out in May), features first descents in China and Turkey. And during a recent trip to Zambia,…

Get steeped in Sri Lanka's tea country at four new lodges in the southern highlands

A virtual tour of South Asia's pearl-shaped island.

Surrounded by the beauty of the world's highest range, thousands of people live without sight. The Himalayan Cataract Project is curing blindness—literally overnight—in the most remote villages of Nepal and India. And, hey, as long as you're performing mass miracles, why not run up a 21,000-foot peak?

Some two to three million people have been left homeless by the 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck South Asia, according to a press release issued by the North Face and GlobalGiving. Here, find out where you can donate gear to the help in the relief effort. Donated gear will be collected…

A veteran documentary photographer, Teru Kuwayama frequently finds himself on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan—the latter of which he calls his “hands-down favorite country on earth.” This despite the fact that he and Outside Reconnaissance Agent and Hard Way columnist Mark Jenkins were arrested after traversing Afghanistan’s northeastern…

HARDY IF NOT HEFTY, the 125cc, two-stroke, Soviet-era Minsk motorcycle is the vehicle of choice on the intermittently paved roads between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Put one to the test on this 18-day Easy Rider–meets–The Motorcycle Diaries tour, which parallels the route of the historic 1,500-mile…

The catastrophic Christmas tsunami hit Thailand's climbing meccas hard. Railae Beach resident SAM LIGHTNER JR. reports on the nightmares and miracles of the aftermath—and on the Thais and expats rebuilding their slice of paradise.

Read “The Light of Seven Mountain Suns,” about the Himalayan Cataract Project and Sight-to-Summit Expedition, by senior editor Nick Heil in the December issue of Outside, now on stands, then see more of photographer Ace Kvale’s shots here. Sight-to-Summit Gallery To view an exclusive gallery of the expedition, click…

They say the Himalayan hideaway of Malana is Lotusland, home to the world's highest high. But here's what they don't tell you: Getting there can mean surviving a late-winter forced march over an avalanche-choked mountain pass, and dealing with locals who treat you like a loathsome alien. Wow. Sometimes Shangri-La can really suck.

Eat, drink, hike, bike: four seasons of exploratory feasting

With a swell of rebel violence this past summer and a fresh attack in early November, climbers and trekkers are weighing the risks of travel to Nepal. How real is the danger?

Leave it to Bhutan—the Switzerland-size Buddhist kingdom wedged between Tibet and India that’s become the pinnacle of exclusive adventure travel—to be the new home of two ultra-indulgent lodges. Opening this month, Uma Paro, owned by Como Hotels and Resorts, is a 20-room, nine-villa mountain getaway set on 38 forested acres…

Inside the boldest expedition of the 21st Century

An epic adventure sponsored by Chevy Avalanche

Skip the well-trodden tourist routes and join this trek through a pristine mountainous area virtually unknown to Westerners.

It's climbing season again on Everest. And as hundreds of summit hopefuls converge at Base Camp, the great debate persists: Has the Big E become the Big Easy? Alpinists Greg Child and Dave Hahn take sides.

Mountaineering's greatest debate—who reached the top of Everest first?—rages on

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.

This spring, a quarter of a million Americans took a trip. It was noisy, hot, and violent. Accommodations were poor. Some of them didn't come back.

One family's 100-mile journey across the Mongolian steppe

Outside Editorial Director Alex Heard is auctioning off two pieces of Everest history on eBay this week. Both items were carried to the mountain’s summit by writer Jon Krakauer during the disastrous 1996 climbing season that inspired his bestseller, Into Thin Air. Proceeds from the sale of these items will…

Three Generations of Great Climbing Sherpas

On assignment in the Himalayas

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Hillary and Tenzing's historic first Everest summit, we're opening the vaults to bring you the best stories ever written about the planet's tallest mountain. From Jon Krakauer's groundbreaking article, "Into Thin Air," to Brad Wetzler's account of sex, death and bad behavior at Base Camp, a collection of Outside's

Four travel outfitters that are doing it right

In the sixties and seventies it was the hippie trail that brought foreigners to Afghanistan. Two decades of war and terror later, Kabul is a nonstop rave of C-130s, NGOs, soldiers, and spooky nation-builders. The freaks are back on Chicken Street—where everything old is new again.

Mount Everest becomes a prize on TV's Global Extremes. Is this a Good Thing?

Mount Everest becomes a prize on TV's Global Extremes. Is this a Good Thing?

Set loose in the land that invented terrorism ten centuries ago, Tim Cahill finds crumbling castles, legends of hash-smoking hit men, and Iranians who won't stop being nice. You call this the axis of evil?

After a decade of failed attempts and fatal rebuffs, an Outside-sponsored expedition runs Tibet's Upper Tsanpgo Gorge—and lives to tell about it.

In the fall of 2001, big-wall climber Mike Libecki went from the vertical to the horizontal, ditching his ropes and portaledge for trekking poles and a sun hat to complete a grueling 600-plus-mile crossing of the Taklimakan Desert in northwest China. Beginning in late September some 3,000 miles west of…

For a preview of the Taklimakan Desert Traverse, click here Uighur people in the ancient market town of Kashgar, China October 23, 2001 The plan was relatively simple. Every few weeks during his 60-day, 870-mile walk across China’s formidable Taklimakan desert, 28-year-old Mike Libecki was supposed fire-up…

Irish photographer Seamus Murphy’s work accompanies Patrick Symmes’s story of the Nepalese guerrillas who revere Mao and seek to take over the country. To bring his incredible photographs even more to life, Murphy answered some of our questions about the trip and about his work. Related Articles Photo…

What: An 870-mile, end-to-end walk across the 125, 000-square-mile Taklimakan Desert Where: Northwest China, travelling from west to east. When: September 16 to November 17, 2001 Who: Climber-turned-walker Mike Libecki, teammate Don Bowie, as few Chinese officials as possible, and two…

Can negotiations nip Civil War in the bud?

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