Outside Magazine, October 2015

The Wired Athlete



After decades spent wandering the globe, the veteran travel writer takes a domestic detour

With Airbnb and Yelp already operating in Cuba's capital, will hordes of American tourists sipping McDaiquiris ruin the very authenticity that draws us to the rebel island nation? Allow us to explain why you should go now—before Cuba changes, while it changes, and because you will change it yourself.

Take them from the kitchen to the backcountry

There's a reason all our favorite toys are now made out West

Numbers-obsessed fans are reinventing fantasy sports for the skiing, surfing, and fly-fishing set

The artificial holds and lines devised for gyms and climbing competitions don't just happen—they're created and placed by devious people who want to force you to stretch, contort, curse, fail, and fall. We go behind the scenes with the masterminds who make this booming sport a serious challenge.

Going places is going to get a lot more fun (and easy) thanks to these people, companies, and apps

We used all the watches, heart rate monitors, clips, smart glasses, and apps we could get our hands on, so you don't have to

There are countless watches, bracelets, headbands, and foot pods on the market promising to record every little thing you do. But can any of it make you a better athlete? The author wades through the muck and the mire to data-mine his best self.

The quest for ever bigger and more dangerous televised wingsuit stunts is going to boost the sport's already high body count

Take on whatever Mother Nature throws your way

There's no quick fix for post-traumatic stress disorder, but research has shown that surfing's physicality and flow can give victims some relief and a way forward. The author hit the water with his close friend Brian, a former Navy SEAL whose service in Afghanistan beat up his body, tortured his mind, and pushed him into a zone where violence—against himself or others—seemed inevitable.

Use these tips to avoid the crowds and take in all this magical place has to offer.

One of the best climbers of her generation points her skis down 27,766-foot Makalu

A stately machine that’s fit for a king—or a conniving president

Spring in South America means snow, whitewater, and adventure everywhere you look

As each week brings fresh reports of African and Middle Eastern migrants and refugees dying on the Mediterranean in overcrowded boats, a self-made Louisiana millionaire and his Italian wife have taken to the sea to save them.

The Mediterranean crossing from Libya to Italy is the most dangerous migrant route on earth. That hasn't deterred thousands of refugees from launching their boats—and it hasn't stopped Christopher Catrambone, a Louisiana entrepreneur who's out to save them. By Joshua Hammer

The Path of Beta Flash Resistance
The route setters who put up the bouldering problems at climbing gyms and competitions are an elite tribe of fiendishly clever puzzle-masters who delight in the contortions that their crimps and jugs force climbers to make. By Brendan Borrell

Peak Havana
The best time to visit Cuba has always been yesterday, back when you could still find good music and a great mojito down a cobble street, before Americans like us came and ruined it. Or at least that's the legend. Patrick Symmes makes the case that Havana's golden age is happening right now.

Trim Toward the Light
Afghanistan bruised his body, messed up his mind, and left this Navy SEAL with a case of PTSD that seemed incurable. Then he found a program that uses surfing to give veterans some relief. Matt Skenazy joins a close friend for their most important session yet.

First Look
: Hilaree O'Neill, one of the best climbers of her generation, points her skis down 27,766-foot Makalu.
Business: The coolest new gear is made in Montana.
Games: The dream of action-sports fantasy leagues is becoming a reality.
Media: Paul Theroux turns his traveler's eye on Dixie. Plus: Ed Caesar on marathons, and what we're reading now.
Stunts: Jeb Corliss's crazy-ass Great Wall jump will be televised. But should it be?

: From an Airbnb for adventurous car rentals to pain-free new ways to board planes, these are the innovations that are changing how we get out and see the world.
Plan of Attack: Off-season in the Grand Canyon, three ways.
Base Camp: A sprawling lodge in Chile's adventure capital.

The Wired Athlete: The explosion in wearable technology was supposed to change our lives. Instead, it's consumed them. Our guinea pig wades through the data to tell you how best to plug in—and when to leave the gizmos at home.

Boots: Rugged footwear for office and trail.

: A positively presidential rowing machine.
Spectrum: Workhorse jackets for fall's fickle weather.
Stress Tested: Gravel grinders and other adventure bikes that power over anything. Plus: the best accessories for rough riders.
Tools: Cutting-edge knives.


Parting Shot