Outside Magazine, May 2017



In 1978, a historic expedition put the first women—and first Americans, period—on the summit of Annapurna, the world’s tenth-highest peak. Despite their triumph, the deaths of two climbers stirred controversy. In an oral history weaving together the perspectives of key team members, Sherpa high-altitude staff, admirers, and critics, Katie Ives discovers that debate still lingers—as does the expedition’s power to inspire.

A Q&A with Hannah McCaughey, our creative director

From 1926 to 2016, the expeditions—and the women behind them–that have rocked our world

High-performance kit to go faster and farther

High-performance kit for speed lovers

Here's what we learned about the state of the outdoorswoman in 2017 and the still-prevalent gender gap in the outdoor world

High-performance kit for the long way

High-performance kit for dropping in

High-performance kit for daily sun salutations

High-performance tools to land the big one

What happens when an African American woman decides to solo-hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine during a summer of bitter political upheaval? Everything you can imagine, from scary moments of racism to new friendships to soaring epiphanies about the timeless value of America’s most storied trekking route.

For more than a century, the Girl Scouts has been the most well-trod path for junior explorers to get into adventure. But what comes after the Thin Mints and craft badges is a troop for sisterhood, winter camping, and some serious archery.

At the outer edges of endurance sports, something interesting is happening: women are beating men

Spa treatments have gotten wild in recent years, especially in Southern California, where women pay big bucks for radical remedies like colonics, juice fasts, and a Gwyneth Paltrow fave—the life-changing V-steam. Taffy Brodesser-Akner dons a satin robe and asks: If this is the path to happiness, why am I so freaked out?

This May we've partnered with REI to celebrate the unapologetic, fierce women around the world—those who live bravely, chasing dreams and fighting to be heard. This Women's Issue is just the beginning.

Gert Boyle is going strong. After her husband’s death in 1970, she and her son Tim took over the company. In 1984, they launched the hugely successful One Tough Mother ad campaign, featuring the finger-wagging Ma Boyle. Three decades later, the German immigrant, who moved to Oregon during Hitler’s rise, is as opinionated as ever.

After bursting onto the scene as a teenage gym rat, Beth Rodden became one of the most accomplished climbers of all time. Here, for the first time, she opens up about the price of perfectionism, the kidnapping that almost grounded her, finding love again after her marriage to big-wall prodigy Tommy Caldwell, and balancing motherhood and rock.

Women's Issue Features

The Longer the Race, the Stronger We Get: In some of the owrld's most brutal endurance events, women are leading the pack, boosted by mental stamina and the grit to suffer hard.

We Tell It Like It Is: From the outside, Beth Rodden's life looked like a page from a climbing cataglog. But it took her years to come to terms with her perfectionism, her marriage, and a terrifying kidnapping in Central Asia.

We Go It Alone: The Appalachian Trail can be a lonely experience when you're solo, female, and black.

Our Place Is On Top: At a time when men still believed that the "weaker sex" were inferior climbers on 8,000-meter peaks, American Arlene Blum led a 1978 expedition up 26,545-foot Annapurna. The tragedy and triumph of the journey sparked a controversy that still lingers today.

We Are the Next Generation of Rippers: Today's Girl Scouts bring in $800 million from all those Tagalongs and Thin Mints. And thanks to a renewed emphasis on the outdoors, more and more of them are taking risks, having adventures, and building the self-confidence that comes from getting outside. 


Our Gear is Finally Catching Up: For decades, outdoor brands gave little attention to women's products. That's changing fast. Check out our favorite women's running, road biking, hiking, surfing, yoga, and fly-fishing gear.

We Have Found the Cure! (Sort Of): We're being sold detoxes, colonics, and weeklong fasts. But will the suffering actually make us feel new again?

Nevertheless, We Persist

Powerful, Strong, Accomplished, Compassionate, Badass: Here are ten women leading the way in sports, health, and activism—and to a better future for us all: Morgan Dixon, Vanessa Garrison, Abby Wambach, Emily Erickson, Lindsey Vonn, Erin Trieb, Tara Houska, Mira Rai, Diana Nyad, and Melissa Arnot Reid. 

Parting Shot

Between the Lines