A wooden sign near a cabin reads
A wooden sign near a cabin reads "rotten trail." (Photo: Kitty Kleyn/Stocksy)
Adventures in Audio

Bad Decisions, Good Stories

A wooden sign near a cabin reads

Presenting three delightful tales of adventures gone very, very wrong. Because when the weather turns, your gear breaks, you get lost, or you simply realize that your foolproof plan was actually foolish—well, that’s when you learn the most, right? Join us by the campfire for three stories of misadventure from Outside writers and editors who suffered through pain, shame, and humiliation but still came out the other side with smiles.


This episode was brought to you by Go RVing, which wants to help you make the most of your adventures. Learn how easy it is to work from the road or take your family and furry friends with you on your next trip at GoRVing.com.

Podcast Transcript

Editor’s Note: Transcriptions of episodes of the Outside Podcast are created with a mix of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain some grammatical errors or slight deviations from the audio.

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Maren Larsen: From Outside Magazine, this is the Outside Podcast.

So, Mike, are you ready for this?

Mike Roberts: Uh, what are we doing again?

Maren: We're sitting around a campfire, telling stories. 

Mike: Oh right! Yes, I am ready. 

Maren: And because, as you say all the time, Outside is dedicated to celebrating our misadventures, these are going to be stories about when things go very wrong.

Mike: Because those are the ones you remember, because they teach you the most.

Maren: I knew you were going to say that.

Mike: It's true. Did I ever tell you my Alaska sailing story?

Maren: Uh, I don't think so.

Mike: You'd remember. So, this was like 15 years ago, and I was with two friends on an old 30-foot sailboat for ten days in Southeast Alaska. One of them was this great sailor, and we were hopping between these remote islands, hiking into beautiful wilderness, fishing, we saw tons of grizzly bears. It was amazing. 

Until we had this one really windy afternoon, when we had just gotten back on the boat and were heading through this tight pass with some nasty rocks on both and -- BOOM!--the wooden tiller on the sailboat snaps right at the base.

Maren: No way!

Mike: I am freaked out. But my sailing buddy jumps into action and basically uses the sails to steer us out the pass as best he can. 

Then he heads below deck to dig through his tools and spare parts and leaves me in charge of the sailing. The conditions are getting nasty, right. And my other friend is starting to not look so good. Like, he's turning green and saying he's going to throw up. We end up having to tie him into a harness so he can puke over the side rails and not fall overboard. 

Maren: Rough.

Mike: Yeah, it was bad. I mean, where we were, there's no help. Anyway, eventually, my sailing pal rigs a new tiller out of plumbing parts. 

Maren: Woah.

Mike: And just before sunset we made it to a calm anchorage right next to hot springs.

Maren: Now that is the classic template for a misadventure tale. It started off smooth sailing, then things go horribly wrong, but it all turns out okay in the end. You might even look back at it and laugh. 

Mike: I do laugh! Everytime I see that friend who we tethered to the boat yaking into the ocean, I bring it up. It brings me never ending pleasure. 

Maren: Would you take another trip like that now?

Mike: Yeah I mean, absolutely. It was incredible. 

Maren: Even better! So, now I want to bring on our first storyteller. Gonna stoke the fire a bit here because I told her to bring s'mores.

Mike: Oooh!

Maren: You know Ariella Gintzler, Outside's associate gear director. Well, it turns out, she has her own epic misadventure story. You're going to like this one.

I only have one question for you, which is what is your greatest misadventure in the outdoors?

Ariella: Okay. Basically, I don't like mountain biking. And yet my boyfriend, now fiance, convinced me to buy a cheap mountain bike and then convinced me to go on. 13 mile mountain bike ride on this high mountain pass loop and where we were living in Colorado at the time on a rainy day in the middle of June. 

And we were like, ‘oh, it's a rainy day. It's like summer, like, let's go for a mountain bike ride. I was like, 'great.’ 

Of course we stupidly forgot that there's still snow. at 13,000 feet in June in Colorado. 

And so we got like probably five miles into this 13 mile ride, like just far enough that we were like, whoa, like, let's just see what's around the next corner, And then you know, another mile and the snow is just kind of like getting a little deeper, a little deeper. It's like patchy, but it's like getting deeper. And by this point we're like easily halfway through and we're like, ‘okay, well, this is clearly going to be like snowy the rest of the way, but we're also halfway through the ride. So it's just as long to keep going as it is to turn around. So let's just keep going.’

And this loop, kind of goes like down through a valley and then you kind of go up one side of a really exposed ridgeland that tops out at like 12,000 ish feet and then go down the other side. And so we get to the basin, to the bottom of this Ridge line and we're just looking up and it is just like a complete snowfield.

It's like a two track, like Jeep road and you can't even really see where the jeep road is in cut because the snow is so deep. And so at this point. We're just completely pushing our bikes up the side of this 12,000 foot pass, through deep snow, it starts snowing and also thundering at the same time.

And I should also mention that because we thought that we were going to go for like a leisurely, like Midsummer bike ride. We were both wearing shorts, mesh running shoes, short sleeve shirts. And then the only layer that I had was like a really thin, long sleeve and like a rain shell. 

So at this point, my feet are numb. My legs are bright red because I've been punching through like crusty snow for two hours. My fingers are numb cause I don't have gloves. I am crying. I am declaring my hatred for mountain biking multiple times. I put my, not put, I hurl my mountain bike to the side of the non-existent trail that I can’t see, I hurl it to the side and like dramatically declare that I want to just leave my mountain bike here.

I'm never going to touch it again anyway. And it'll just be faster if we can just run out of here instead of pushing our fricking bikes and like very patiently, my boyfriend is like, ‘okay, pick your bike up.’ And I'm like, dragging it behind me. I'm just like making a stink, I'm convinced that we’re going to have to spend the night out here, because at this point we've been out like four hours longer than we thought we would. And there was at the bottom of this mountain pass before we had started going up. We saw this abandoned old, like basically log mining cabin with like, so creepy, like a bullet riddled refrigerator in the yard and like, no glass in the windows. Just like, curtains like flapping in the wind, like the thundery wind, you know? And I'm like, oh my God, we're going to have to spend the night in this like creepy mining cabin. I'm going to lose my feet to frostbite. Like I'm gonna die out here. I was really convinced I was going to die. 

Then we see mountain lion tracks in the snow.

And I basically just completely lose it.

And there was this like one lone tree halfway up the side of this ridgeline that we're going up.

And so Hayden's like, let's just, my boyfriend is like, ‘let's just get to that tree.’ And so I'm like, crying, like looking all around for this mountain lion that is really nowhere to be found, but I'm convinced that it's stalking us. I'm convinced that we're going to be left out in the dark. I'm going to lose my feet and I'm just, we get to this tree and he makes me sit down.

He like wraps my feet in his like one dry layer. And I'm like sitting there. He like is like, force-feeding me our like only food, which was like M&Ms and like cashews. 

I had left my bike, like a hundred feet down the trail in one of my like dramatic declarations of hatred for the sport, sat under this tree with my feet, wrapped in a shirt, eating M&Ms and cashews while Hayden goes back to retrieve my bike for me, sets it down. And then we just like, sit there while it's like thunder booming all around us and snow is falling. 

And I have no idea like how, how much farther we have. At this point I'm convinced that we've entered Narnia and this loop is going to last forever and we're never going to get home. And the Mount lion's going to eat us. 

And basically long story short, like the misery continued for like another hour. He finally convinced me to like, get up, put my like wet socks and shoes back on, like get back out into the snow, like keep pushing my bike up to the top of this Ridgeline.

We get up to the top of the ridgeline and then we realized the top of the original is actually the halfway point of the ridgeline. and we have to go all the way around, like this big contour around this like big, kind of like cliff face. 

But we like eventually like find our way to the actual top of this ridgeline.

And it is sunny. And like the snow has started melting and we like ride our bikes down the other side and get home and like eat a gross amount of Chinese food. And it was all fine and now I can laugh about it, but at the time I really thought it was going to die. 

Maren: I have you mountain biked since? 

Ariella: Yes, but not in snow.

Maren: And what did, what did you learn from this experience? 

Ariella: that there there's still snow at 13,000 feet in June, in the Alpine. which I already knew, but I just had to learn it again the hard way, and to always bring, long pants and dry socks, going into the Alpine, 

Maren: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Ariella: And that Chinese food solves everything. 

Maren: I could really go for some Chinese food right now. 

Mike: You should just eat some of these s'mores, I'm telling you. 

Maren: Mike, you need to slow down, seriously. It's getting... Wait, do you have three marshmallows in your mouth right now?

Mike: ... Maybe... 

Maren: Our next story comes from Outside contributing editor Gloria Liu. It's another tale involving mountain biking and unpredictable mountain weather, but this time, the stakes are even higher.

Mike: Sounds delicious!

Gloria Liu: So my greatest misadventure, well, one of them at least was about eight years ago. I was traveling through Europe and I got it in my mind that I wanted to ride my mountain bike. Montblanc, which is the highest peak in Europe. And, I was going to follow this route called the Tour de Montblanc, which of course is a really famous through hike that takes you through three countries, France, Italy, and Switzerland. Crosses multiple mountain passes. And it's really gorgeous. It takes most hikers seven to nine days to finish it.

And not a lot of people ride it, but I somehow got it in my mind that I wanted to do that. The funny thing is that I had never even done an overnight bike tour before, so I didn’t have any experience with bike touring or bike packing at all?

But I was not to be deterred.

I was on a specialized rockhopper, which was a really entry-level aluminum hardtail mountain bike, and I had just a backpack. And I just had, you know, pretty run of the mill old bike clothes.

I had a really thin rain jacket, which I'm telling you now, because it will come into play later. So, my plan was that it would take me about five. To do most of the tour. I set off and I almost immediately get lost.

And the thing about the tournament block is that it's really not made for bikes. And, there are just some route traces you can make along the way that can either make your life as a cyclist, easier or harder. And I almost immediately made a route choice that had me hiking my bike for hours.

And, I remember at the end of that first day, I was just so demoralized by how little progress I'd made that I like at one point sat by the side of a road and just cried. But nonetheless I persisted. 

And, I was spending the night at huts along the way. So, I didn't have to carry a tent or a sleeping bag or anything. And, so I got to the first hut it was, you know, warm and cozy and comforting, and the food was amazing as, as it is in the European huts. And so the second day started out way better. I was riding through some really beautiful scenery.

I rode up and over this pass, from Switzerland into Italy. And it was really cool because. Like on one side of the past, everybody was saying hello in French. And on the other side of the past, everybody was saying hello in Italian. And I was riding through just some of the most amazing views I've ever seen in my life.

Unfortunately on the third day, my fortune turned, a big rainstorm started. And remember how I didn't have a real rain jacket.

Well, what I had was basically this really, really packable. Rain jacket for road cyclists. And it was like paper thin. and I was soon drenched. I had nothing to like protect my lower body. I was just like in mountain bike shorts. I remember there was so much water in my shoes. It was like sloshing around and squishing around my feet. And like at one point there was so much water on the road I was on that I was going downhill and the water was like spraying up and blinding me. It was spraying against my face. And like, I couldn't even keep my eyes open at points because it was like, there was so much water in my eyes, and I'm freezing.

And, and yeah, so I was in a pretty bad situation.

I think I'd made it to a hut that night and dried everything off. And then unfortunately the next day, the storm continued and I was drenching wet. I remember just thinking, like, I really need to get, like, my hands were freezing, cause my gloves were soaked. And I was like, ‘I really need to get some kind of like water protection.’ So somehow like on one of the huts along the way, if I got a hold of some rubber kitchen gloves and some plastic bags and I like put these rubber kitchen gloves over my, my bike gloves and. Cut up the plastic bags with the help of some of the people at the hut and stuffed them into my shoes and tried to create a water barrier. And this is how I made it through.

And that night, unfortunately, I remember I spent the night up at a hut that was really high. and the rain turned into snow. So now I was in like a full on snowstorm, And I was kind of like stranded up at this hunt and I really needed to decide what to do. And I remember sort of debating that night with some really nice folks who were up at the hut, including this one, man, who's Dutch. But, the next morning I remember getting up. I just dressed in all the clothes I had and I was standing at the front door, looking out the door at all the snow. Just like all geared up, ready to go, not wanting to go. I remember he asked me like, ‘why are you doing this? Why are you going out there?’

I said to him, ‘because I don't want to quit.’

 And he said, ‘well, that's just like the dumbest thing I've ever heard.’ 

And, that really stuck with me and kind of caught me because I think to that point, I had never,  the concept of setting some big goal and then not finishing it or quitting was really foreign to me.

And, I was like, ‘wow like, I don't have to finish this, like all this time.’ I felt like it was so important to finish things because it proves that you're strong and you don't give up.

But like, sometimes it is more important to be smart than it is to be strong.

And I made the decision to go down and, and, you know, bail on my, my tour. And, that ride down was one of the cold. Like the sense I've ever had. Like it was pouring rain. As soon as I left the hut, it was probably in the 30s or 40 degrees. but I was so cold on that descent.

So wet. I remember I just, my abs were like convulsing from how cold it was. 

Like I think maybe it took me 45 minutes, but in my mind it was interminable.

I think there was a lot of lessons learned from that misadventure. You know, I learned about how important it is to prepare for the worst, especially in the mountains.

I learned that you need to have a really good rain jacket. 

Maren: Thank God for that one Dutch guy.

Gloria: Yeah, funny enough. Years later, I remember reading a report of a guy who tried to be, I can't remember if he tried to be the first person to fat bike that route, or he just tried to fat bike it. And he actually slid into a crevasse with his bike. And I can't remember if he was rescued or not. But yeah, I'm really glad that didn't happen to me.

And I, I think I remember looking and seeing that it was on that section that I ended up bailing on. So, 

Maren: Oh, my God.

Gloria: You know, I think I made the right choice. 

I still like, there's still a part of me that wants to go back sometimes and do the whole thing if only because I feel like, ‘oh my gosh, what an awesome experience it would be to do this on like a nice bike with real rain clothes.’ 

Mike: I dunno Maren, shouldn't our colleagues know better? I mean, that's two in a row heading into the mountains totally unprepared. 

Maren: If only they'd had smores.

Mike: Yes! I'm telling you!

Maren: But our next story is a different kind of misadventure. Your old friend Nick Heil is going to talk about the time he almost died while hanging out with a presidential candidate

Mike: Oh! I like the sound of that.

Maren: But first we need to take a short break.

Mike: I'll be right here waiting.

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Mike: Hey Maren, check this out. I figured out how to toast eight marshmallows at once.

Maren: Be careful there, that's a lot of sugar to burn in one spot.

Mike: It's fine. Look, they are so perfectly golden brown and – MY MARSHMALLOWS! AHHHH! 

Maren: Outside magazine contributing editor Nick Heil, you have a misadventure story for us, yes?

Nick Heil: Okay. Yeah. I have thought about it.

There's peril. There's some sort of like sideways activity. It involves a presidential candidate for the United States. So that's probably good. 

Maren: All right. I can't wait to hear it. I'm ready 

Nick: So this, this particular incident. adventure misadventure took place back in 2012, and it involved a story assignment with Outside.

Outside reached out to me and they wanted to write a story about a guy named Gary Johnson. And Gary, for those who aren't familiar with that name, is the former two-term governor of New Mexico. He lives here in Santa Fe and I kind of knew him. You know, he's a big adventure athlete. He climbed Everest and competed in Ironman triathlons. He was a super serious cyclist. and he, he really, really loved to ski. 

Anyways, I thought this sounded like a great potential story. And, sure, enough signed on and agreed to go with Gary to Manchester, New Hampshire, where he was going to announce his candidacy. 

So the other component to this trip was that Gary, in addition to, you know, being a new presidential candidate, you know, announcing his candidacy in a coat and tie in the city square, was also going to go to Mount Washington and ski Tuckerman's ravine. And Tuckerman's is, you know, it's, a classic area for backcountry skiers. It's on the north face of Mount Washington, it's this big, broad ravine and it's a serious, ski run. For the most part pretty much anywhere in this basin is a very very steep headwall. And you know, if conditions are good, lots of people go up there. It's a very popular destination. It's certainly, a, you know, a ski run that warrants bragging rights. 

And I'm not sure if Gary had actually ever skied it before. But, he definitely wanted to ski it on this trip and kind of, you know, make sure people realize that not only was he a serious presidential candidate, but he was also a very serious outdoor athlete. 

So, Off I go with Gary, and, I'm, I'm hanging out with him, you know, watching him, watching him talk at the town square. Announced his presidency, lots of applause, big crowd, et cetera, et cetera. And I'm not really thinking much at all about skiing Tuckerman's. 

Now I'm, you know, I love to ski. I consider myself a fairly accomplished skier. And, you know, I really kind of dismissed Tuckerman's as being sort of a novelty outing and something that obviously wasn't going to be overly dangerous because this guy is a presidential candidate. He has lots, you know, he has lots of things that he has to do in the weeks ahead.

So, you know, I'm just very relaxed and very casual about this whole thing. You probably know where this is going. 

And it's like fall, like early fall. it's, you know, it's a gray day. It's not like intimidating weather, but it's, it's definitely a little gray, and blustery and it's cold. And, and when we first take off on the trail head, you know, there's probably like a couple miles where you, you hike in to get, just to get to the bottom of the basin. There's this big entourage. And like, it's, you know, Gary's friends and some handlers and you know, some fans of his and 30 people that are, that are just kind of doing the hike. 

And as we start to get into the trail and hiking up the trail, people start to fall off. And by the time we finally get all the way up to the ravine, It's dwindled down to 4 of us. It's me. It's Gary. It's a young guy who is the son of one of Gary's advisors who lives in Salt Lake City and who is a professional skier. And then a fourth guy who is really what amounts to like kind of a random fan of Gary Johnson's from New York. And he's on a snowboard. We're all on skis. 

And I'm still not, it's not even really clicking with me that what we're doing is a fairly serious mountaineering objective. Because nobody had really, nobody really talked about it in that frame at all. Even Gary was very casual and laissez laissez-faire about it.

I knew it could be serious, you know, people die there. You know, you can have a very good time Googling Tuckerman's and seeing all of the carnage of people falling and sliding down that face.

But we get up to Tuckerman's and it's a beautiful environment. You know, it's a, it's a big, broad basin, you know, very scenic. And you kind of, you kind of pop out near or above the treeline and then you have a very steep ascent. It's substantial. It's going to take a couple hours to get up there. 

And we're looking at this big bowl and I'm like, ‘okay, you know, that looks alright.’ 

The one thing that's striking me is that there are very few people up there. And everything I knew about Tuckerman's is that it's a very popular place. And we kind of get to the bottom where we're going to start the steep ascent up the head wall and there's a few people gathered around and there's some, you know, general banter and, and most of the people are sort of like, ‘Hmm. You know, it doesn't really look like a great day to be up there.’

And I, and I'm, I'm looking at it and I'm like, ‘huh, it does look a little shiny.’

Then when you're, when you're a skier and you're looking at a very, very steep mountain face and it's shiny. That's an indication that it's potentially very icy and very potentially dangerous. 

it doesn't take much to catch an edge or lose an edge. And once you slip onto your side, if you're on a steep, icy face, you can start sliding very quickly and you can slide out of control and who knows where you're going to stop.

And there are parts of Tuckerman's that are 50 degrees, maybe even a little bit more. And 50 degrees is, for those who don't ski and don't ski on steep terrain is, it seems like a sheer, it's like the face of a building. 

So here we are, the four of us at the bottom, looking up at the face hearing sort of the banter around the base area and, kind of thinking like, huh. You know, not entirely sure if this is a great idea. 

But, we're also thinking we can go up and take a look and sort of assess as we go. 

And at this point. you know, we're, we're putting on crampons onto our ski boots. We have ice axes with us, so we start going up this one.

Part of the ravine, which is the typical route that people use to ascend it. And it's steep. It's so steep that I'm looking up at the guy in front of me And I can see the bottoms of his ski boots. Like, he's putting the toes of his boots in these steps. And I can see the bottoms of his, of his boot. And this is the easy part.

And the thing I'm noticing as we're going up is that the conditions are extremely firm, like to the point where, you know, I'm having trouble kicking my crampons into the, into the snow. It just felt like concrete. 

So now I'm I'm, I'm starting to feel a little bit legitimately nervous, you know, I'm kind of like, ‘I don't know what this group is going to want to do.’

And I, and I'm thinking like, ‘oh, we're, we're definitely going to turn around. We're definitely just going to like carefully walk back down this route that we came up.’

And sure enough, the group wants to keep going. 

And I'm starting to think like, you know, I've, I've done some pretty burly adventures. You know, I'd been to Everest, had climbed up, you know, to the north Cole at 23,000 feet. I'd mountain biked through Afghanistan. I'd skied all around the world. I'd, I'd been in some very like you know, steep skiing situations.

And this felt. like something I had not encountered before. It just felt, it felt dangerous. 

But, but I'm like, I'm in, you know, I'm, I'm committed to be with this group and I'm just like, oh, you know, like I get to see that the headline, you know, like president presidential candidates, skis Tuckerman's while adventure journalist backs away and goes home with his, with his tail between his legs.

So I'm feeling like I really need to like, hang with the group. 

Well, we get up. to the top of the head wall and you know, now things are real. Like we are, we are committed.

And it is like, it's like a horizon line. I mean, we might as well have been in boats, looking at a waterfall because it just falls off into no-man's land. And it feels like the snow is even firmer. Like it is, it is boiler plate ice. I am, you know, I'm like, I'm like trying to punch my ski pole into it. And it's like, ‘tink, tink, tink, tink.’ You know, it is, It is scary hard conditions. 

And you were getting closer and closer to the steepest part of the run and I'm, and I'm thinking  this is like a, for real, no fall zone. If anybody slips right there, they are just going to rocket to the bottom of this thing.

And it's, you know, I think it might be a thousand feet down that face. It's it's big. And at the bottom are all these rocks. I mean, it just looks like the gaping mouth of a great white shark is waiting at the bottom to swallow you. 

And I'm like, oh God, you know, this is bad. 

And, and, and now. now I'm at the point of being nervous and flat out scared that I'm like, I don't care if these guys ski it. There's no way I'm going down this. Like, I'm going to, I'm just going to put my crampons back on and, and hike outta here. 

But the first guy to go is Gary's friend, the pro skier from Salt Lake. And he very elegantly like makes his first turn into it and kind of makes these big sweeping turns down the face and makes it look kind of easy, you know. Like, like he's such a good skier that he's Able to manage this. And I think is so used to extreme terrain that it doesn't really phase him. 

And now Gary's kind of quiet and he's looking at it. And the guy from New York on a snowboard is looking back at me like, like, ‘bro, what are you gonna do? Are you going to go?’You know. 

And I'm like, ‘ah, God, I don't know.’ And we're both kind of looking at Gary and and wondering if he's going to do it.

Because now it's like, now it's decision time. You know, now it's like, you're, you're going to plunge into this thing and go for it or you're not. And I, and I'm still not sure if Gary's going to do it. 

Well, sure enough, Gary does it.

And he slides into this thing and is kinda side slipping and his, and is, you know, obviously like being very, very cautious and making kind of like safety turns for lack of a better term. And he manages to kind of combat ski his way down this thing. 

Unlike the other guy, the pro skier, it doesn't look easy. It looks scary and it looks hard and I'm like, ‘oh man.’

Well the guy from New York, the next thing I know, he's going. And I'm like, ‘okay, well I'm the only guy standing up there and what am I going to do?’

You know, like, I'm going to have to ski this face and I'm terrified, you know, like to the point where I've got Elvis' leg. you know, the knees, like shaking back and forth and thinking like, oh man, like you cannot blow it here. You cannot blow it here. Like, this is just absolute. Has to be 100% on. 

So there I am sitting at the top of the run and I start sliding out over the lip of this ravine. 

And I feel my edges start to give out. I'm still on my feet, but I'm, I'm sliding down this slope sideways, it's called a side slip and people use this technique intentionally. Except for me, it was not intentional. I was, I was actually not able to get my edges into the surface. 

And I'm like, oh, this is it. Like, this is, this is the end. And I slide on my skis in what must have been the ugliest performance on a ski slope in the history of skiers. I don't, I don't to this day, I don't know how I was able to not just fall into my side and slide down, except that, you know, maybe there was some like magical force keeping me upright.

But I side-slipped down this thing for, I don't know. I mean, it felt like a hundred feet, 200 feet. It felt like a ways. 

And then maybe the slope started to just change ever so slightly. Or maybe the surface just got a little bit less firm, but I felt my edges start to bite in and I'm able to just kind of navigate my skis to this point where I could get enough purchase on that icy slope to bring myself to a complete stop. 

You know, if I were a slightly older man, I'm sure I would've just had a heart attack right then and died instead of actually sliding all the way down to the bottom and dying.

Because it was just one of those moments where I'm like, ‘wow, I just made it through something that I probably should not have made it through.’

And I just had to sort of like sit there and take deep breaths and be like, all right, you know, finagle your way over to this, this area that just seemed a little bit less terrifying and, and make one, you know, just do this one turn at a time.

And that's what I did. would be like, all right, make this turn, make that turn. Make this next turn, make this, made the next turn and, and pick my way down. I don't know how long it was till I got down to those guys, but it was a while.

I was so humbled and kind of humiliated because they had kind of done it, you know, and I had survived it, but barely. My respect for presidential candidate Gary Johnson at the time was elevated considerably after that experience. I just had to kind of like sit there when I finally made it down to them and lay on my side and kind of regroup and realize that like, ‘oh man, like I just made it through this thing that was very, very dicey and dangerous. And okay, It'll be good for the story.’

Maren: Wow, it's getting late. I guess we should turn in. Got that big group hike tomorrow. You know, I probably should have checked the forecast.

Mike, do you want to do the credits?

... Mike? 

Mike: Wha???

Maren: Oh my god, you had a sugar crash, didn't you? 

This episode was written and produced by me, Maren Larsen, and edited by the inventor of the SmoreStick8000, Michael Roberts. 

If you have a misadventure story you'd like to tell on this show, we want to hear it. Send us an email at podcast@outsideinc.com 

This episode was brought to you by GO-RV-ING, which wants to help you make the most of your adventures. Learn how easy it is to work from the road or take your family and furry friends with you on your next trip at gorving.com

The Outside Podcast is made possible by our Outside+ members. Learn more about all the benefits of membership at outsideonline.com/podplus. We're offering new members a 25% discount: just enter the code pod25 at checkout. 

... Mike. Mike. 

Mike: I'm up, I'm up. 

Maren: You gotta get in the tent dude. The bears are gonna eat you. You're like a walking smore. 

Follow the Outside Podcast

Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since expanded our show and now offer a range of story formats, including interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, as well as reports from our correspondents in the field.