Outside Magazine, Feb 2002



Whenever adventure goes wrong, more than 5,000 everyday heroes stand ready for wilderness search and rescue. Meet six of the best in the business: unsung pioneers, backcountry veterans, and saviors of last resort who will risk everything to bring you back alive.

Twenty-seven specks of coral, lost in the Indian Ocean, 1,620 miles from Perth. And you thought Australia's interior was remote.

Only a few badges—Lifesaving, Dog Care, and the impossible Seven-Minute Mile among them—stood between this lapsed Scout and his boyhood dream of earning Scouting's highest honor

Stay nimble with our foolproof, made-to-order regimen

Innovations in synthetic insulation and a glut of high-quality down are making bags lighter and warmer than ever. We burrow into six of the best.

The just-in-time, let's-party, fear-no-evil Winter Olympics get ready to rip in the country that needs 'em now more than ever

What's that smell? It's a teeming avian sanctuary—and a sump of troubled waters. It's a mess that we created—and a puzzle we can't solve. It's California's Salton Sea, a hypersaline lake that kills the very life it shelters.

The marines' mountain warfare training center is the ultimate test for some of the world's toughest troops: a make-it-or-leave regimen of backcountry ski combat, torturous night maneuvers, and deadly cold. Any volunteers?

Two decades ago in Sarajevo, Bill Johnson won America's first Olympic gold medal in the downhill with an astonishing kamikaze performance. Now, in the wake of a comeback attempt that almost killed him, skiing's crash-course survivor struggles with the consequences of a life lived too fast.


Masters of Disaster
Atop stormy mountains, on monster seas, in unmapped caves, wherever adventure goes wrong, a cadre of daring emergency rescuers stands ready to step in and save your butt—even if it means risking their own lives. Strap on your helmet and jump into the knife-edged world of America’s elite wilderness rescue squads: the perils they face, the risks they take, and the stories they tell.

The Ranger Rainier’s a deadly place, but it’s lot safer thanks to Mike Gauthier’s dirtbag climbers. By Bruce Barcott

The Caver If you’re ever trapped deep underground, you’d better hope that Buddy Lane is on the way. By Hampton Sides

The Tracker As Joel Hardin sees it, being an expert man-tracker is just a matter of reading dirt. By Bill Donahue

The Dog Canada’s premier avalanche-rescue specialist: He’s six years old, likes kibble, and answers to Keno. By Ki Bassett

The Pilot Flying Coast Guard choppers in Alaska is nasty work, but Melissa Rivera likes it that way. By Natasha Singer

The Volunteer Chuck Demarest and his Boulder neighbors are the busiest volunteer rescuers in the U.S. By Peter Heller

PLUS: Reporter Rob Story’s Lost and Found —hair-raising stories from SAR veterans; the logic behind publishing the annual Accidents in North American Mountaineering ; the biggest mistakes lost people make ; and how to volunteer or sign up for a career .

Where the Ghost Bird Sings By the Poison Springs
California’s Salton Sea is a beautiful, enigmatic, repulsive mess—a rich fishery, a crucial bird refuge, and (yecch!) a foul lagoon seething with industrial toxins, weird pathogens, and bad juju. In a quest that nobody else should ever attempt, the author inflates a discount dinghy and sets out to explore the dark shores of America’s most baffling inland sea. By William T. Vollmann

Winter to the Corps
The hardest, meanest, toughest U.S. Marines hail from the Corps’s Mountain Warfare Training Center, where extreme endurance skills are honed to lethal perfection. By Mark Jenkins

End of the Run
Bill Johnson, U.S. skiing’s unstoppable wildman, has traveled a rough road since he won the gold in 1984—and then, at 40, he almost died in an ill-starred comeback attempt. A tale of hubris, humility, and the redemptive powers of friendship beyond the Olympics’ hot glare. By Bill Donahue


Let the games begin: With a jittery public, security at a maximum, and U.S. athletes in pursuit of home-turf glory, Salt Lake gears up to try to deliver the global celebration America needs.

Gold rush: Will the U.S Ski and Snowboard Team make good on its promise to win an unprecedented ten medals in Utah?

Introducing Apolo Ohno, America’s first medal threat in short-track speed skating.

Bobsled heats up as women finally get a chance to weigh in.

It’s back: After a 54-year Olympic hiatus, skeleton (think headfirst luge) is the hottest ticket in town.

Choice tips on where to eat, drink, climb, paraglide, and ski between Olympic events—compliments of Conrad Anker and other Salt Lake aficionados.

PLUS: Our roundup of cutting edge gear—like carbon-fiber-soled ski boots—making its Olympic debut.

The Wild File
Do lost animals really travel long distances to get home? Why does campfire smoke follow you around? Do giraffes have vocal cords? If the head is the number-one route of heat loss, what’s number two? By Brad Wetzler

Field Notes
The tradition-lovin’ Boy Scouts are adamant about not granting Eagle Scout badges to lads over 18. That doesn’t stop our hard-charging writer, however, from going after his boyhood dream. By Bill Vaughn

Ocean Outback: Nearly 1,600 miles from the nearest point of land sits Australia’s best-kept secret: The kooky Cocos Islands, home to kayak-friendly seas, perfect surf, white-sand beaches, and an undiscovered South Seas paradise.
Plus: Club Med strips down to lure the young and the feckless, ski resorts get environmentally graded, and surfing Costa Rica for poquito dinero.

Pain Sucks: Our eight-step injury-prevention fitness plan strengthens your core muscles so you can handle life’s unexpected bumps—and stay off the sidelines.
Eight essential exercises that will keep you strong and ibuprofen-free.

Sleep Right: Getting good shut-eye is crucial, but not at the expense of a heavy load. Thanks to primo European goose down and innovative near-weightless synthetic bags, now you can sleep warm and travel light. We’ve found the best new sleeping bags and pads for your next adventure.
Plus: Slipperlike fins, collapsible fishing spears, and other must-have snorkel gear.

Books: The Future of Life, by E. O. Wilson; Servants of the Map, by Andrea Barrett; The Shell Collector, by Anthony Doerr; and The Dressing Station, by Jonathan Kaplan.

Between the Lines


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