About an hour before midnight on Mother’s Day in 1986, a group of teenagers assembled at an Episcopal high school in Portland, Oregon, to embark on an expedition. Their goal was to summit Mount Hood, completing an adventure program that was required for all sophomores. What followed was a story of tragedy and loss that is commemorated annually at the institution it changed forever.
Casey Brown overcame poverty and the bizarre death of her brother to become a world-class mountain biker, doing jumps on a terrain with no margin for error. But is she good enough to be the first woman to compete in the sport's most dangerous event?
Athletes and adventurers use rituals to get ready for big moments—whether it's wearing a new pair of socks on summit day or bouncing the tennis ball exactly seven times before bashing a serve. Does it work? Steven Kotler explores the cutting edge of neuroscience, plus a little bit of black magic, to find out.
The 33 special agents assigned to the Investigative Services Branch handle the most complex crimes committed on NPS land. When a day hike in Rocky Mountain National Park ended in a grisly death, ISB veteran Beth Shott hit the trail, where she began unraveling a harrowing case.
As America wrestles with high rates of suicide among military personnel and veterans, outdoor programs have been offered up as a promising treatment. Dan Sidles seemed like the ideal candidate: an Iraq War vet who suffered from PTSD, he tried to find a renewed sense of purpose through climbing and mountaineering. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough. Brian Mockenhaupt explores the final years of a tortured friend.
As the minimalism trend enters a curious new phase that has clothing makers like Mac Bishop of Wool and Prince showing us how to get through a year with only a few pairs of underwear, one brave adventurer attempts to defend his gear closet
Thousands of people flock to the Alps each year to ski tour high-elevation routes, spending comfortable nights in a string of huts that serve wine and hot meals. This spring, a group of experienced skiers and their guide were trapped in a storm overnight on an exposed saddle. By morning, nearly all were dead or dying.
Filmmaker Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi doesn’t climb, but her determination to shine a light on what drives extreme mountaineers produced two of the best adventure documentaries of the past decade
In 2017, the suicide rate in Durango, Colorado, was three times the national average. After 32 deaths in two years, the town's leaders banded together and instituted a range of changes with the goal of stopping the contagion. Their efforts may help other mountain towns to put an end to the grim "suicide belt" moniker for good.
Bike Snob NYC spent three days scootering around Portland, Oregon, to determine, once and for all, whether the now infamous tiny wheeled contraptions are a scourge on our cities—or whether they’re damned convenient and laughably benign
For decades, women in the Forest Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture have been trying to bring justice to those who have discriminated against them. A new investigation reveals that the inaction is due to a much larger problem: a system set up to make their complaints go away.
Avery Shawler left her Idaho apartment one morning in 2016 to hike a prominent peak. But the day outing quickly took a turn for the worse, and Shawler would end up needing a lot of luck—and all her backcountry skills—to make it home alive.
As the U.S. battles over the fate of public lands, the Chilean government and Kristine Tompkins are doing something extraordinary down in Patagonia—setting aside millions of acres for stunning new national parks. And they aren't done yet.
Summit fever, a lack of mountaineering skills, and the allure of social media are leading to serious accidents on the lower 48's highest peak. Can anything be done to stop the injuries and deaths?
New York's Citi Bike, one of the largest bike-share programs in the world, relies on a volunteer army to help redistribute some 12,000 bicycles among 750 stations each day, ensuring that users can grab a ride when they need one. Most of these volunteers do a few out-of-the-way deliveries a month. Then there's Joe Miller, whose superhuman efforts seem to defy any plausible explanation.
What possesses an American cleric, a man of history and scholarship, to renounce his vows, move to a crumbling stone farmhouse in a small French village, and spend his days digging potatoes and translating Thucydides? Bill Donahue goes in search of his favorite unconventional uncle.
A glorious and ill-considered expedition to retrace the nearly 300-mile sufferfest endured by colonial badass (and not yet turncoat) Benedict Arnold and his 1,100 brave, starving men. Their aim: to take Quebec City from the British. Ours: to survive.
In 2015, in a secret medical procedure carried out in Bogota, Colombia, the 44-year-old woman got dozens of experimental gene-therapy injections. Why? Because Parrish, the creator of a longevity company called BioViva, believes that science is on the cusp of delivering radically longer lifespans—and she wants to help bring on the revolution.
The first Golden Globe Race, a solo, nonstop, around-the-world sailing event held in 1968, was a mixture of triumph, tragedy, and madness—all chronicled in a classic bestselling book and recent BBC movie. Fifty years later, 17 sailors are once again setting out for the most ambitious—and loneliest—regatta on the planet.
The e-commerce behemoth is on its way to becoming the biggest marketplace for outdoor-recreation products and its influence over the industry grows every day. Is this the apocalypse for the shops and brands that have fueled our love of adventure? Or can they learn to fight back without destroying one another?
Now that the mines have closed, the small towns of Emery County, Utah, are dreaming up an ambitious plan: A veritable outdoor playground with a new monument and more than half a million acres of designated wilderness. Can this scheme convince other towns to transition from extraction to recreation?
It was just another beautiful day in the mountains for the author and his one-year-old Australian shepherd, Merle, when their lives changed in an instant
From miles out in the storm-ravaged Chesapeake Bay, the Tangier Island crab boat radioed a mayday, then fell silent. Fellow skippers from this lonely and legendary speck of land rallied to save the two-man crew. God willing, they'd get there in time.
When Kyle Dickman set out on a month-long road trip with his wife and infant son last spring, he was fueled by a carefree sense of adventure that had defined his entire life. Then he got bit by a venomous snake in a remote area of Yosemite National Park, and the harrowing event changed everything.
He was the best alpinist of his generation, a quiet, unassuming Canadian known for bold ascents of some of the world’s most iconic peaks. At the age of 25, he traveled to Alaska to join climber Ryan Johnson for a first ascent outside Juneau. They never came back, and a frantic nine-day search left more questions than answers.
Spitfire excels at the curious sport of dock diving, or, in other words, jumping really, really far. That skill has landed him and his owner, 13-year-old Sydney Mackey, five world records—and counting.
During the 2018 California L'Eroica, Bike Snob NYC braved saddle sores and a single pizza-size gear on a century-old Mead Ranger—all in an attempt to prove that bike technology hasn't gotten that much better. Or to prove that, well, maybe it has.
The Democratic candidate and son of the Burt's Bees founder is seeking a win in Maine's rural 2nd District with a simple message: The recreation economy can bring back jobs
The 29-year-old CEO of Outdoor Voices is taking on Nike, one color block at a time
Jason Nez studies something that's too often forgotten amid the awe-inspiring views and canyon walls: those who live there
The world’s best bike racer is a woman: Vos, a 31-year-old Dutch superstar with more than 300 podium finishes. She’s also an activist, taking on the fight against gender inequality in a sport whose future has to involve knocking down a few doors.
There’s a common misconception that black people don’t love wild places. Latria Graham, a southerner with deep connections to farms, rivers, and forests, says the problem isn’t desire but access—and a long history of laws and customs that have whitewashed our finest public lands.
When you take former sex-trafficking victims into the wilderness for a few days of roughing it, know this: they’ve seen worse. Florence Williams goes on a trip organized by Atlanta-based She Is Able and learns that one size of adventure therapy does not fit all.
Last December, when the Trump administration announced its decision to shrink Bears Ears National Monument, a crack team of Native American attorneys armed themselves with a lawsuit that ensured tribal voices will lead the legal battle to overturn it. Abe Streep reports on a historic case that will reverberate for generations.
An energized group of explorers are bringing the spirit of wilderness through hiking to American cities. Record-breaking distance trekker Liz Thomas and others are altering how we see urban spaces and inviting folks new to the outdoors along for the fun.
When two climbers were stranded near the summit of Nanga Parbat last winter, they sent out a desperate call on their satellite device. A hundred miles away, a Polish team of extraordinary climbers answered the call, prompting one of the most daring rescues in mountaineering history.
The entrepreneur believes that biohacking can rocket your body and mind to peak performance. His Bulletproof diet zoomed into the mainstream, his Bullet-proof coffee has everyone quaffing butter, and his Bulletproof books fly off the shelves. Now Bulletproof Labs is out to hack, well, everything.
Until recently, the Nike track star seemed destined for burnout. But last year in Boston, after a wave of disappointing races and a personal tragedy, she ran a record-shattering debut marathon. Will the new distance of 26.2 miles save her career?
Former pro Jon Rose was chasing the biggest swells in Sumatra when the 2009 earthquake hit, and he spent the next decade providing clean water in remote disaster zones. Last fall his Waves for Water crew was in Saint Croix when Hurricane Maria struck, so the team did what came naturally: got to work.
Travel companies are creating a generation of digital nomads, flying gig workers and tech nerds to exotic locales where they can pursue dream jobs. These brands make it their business to solve the significant logistical problems that come up when trying to get work done while abroad—but can they solve the problem of other people?
Students in the Extreme Polar Training course, a two-week freeze-fest held near the Arctic Circle on Canada's Baffin Island, learn how to live in Earth's coldest conditions. Still, nothing really prepares you for 72 hours of a sled-pulling, pathfinding ordeal on a skinny pair of skis.
An Outside investigation of sexual harassment in outdoor workplaces, where unwanted advances, discrimination, and assault are a frequent and destructive occurrence for far too many women
Matt Thomas was a world-class kayaker who got paralyzed in a mountain-bike accident. His friend Joe Jackson moved in for a demanding stint as a caregiver. Outdoor sports were off the table, of course—until Thomas heard about paragliding.
In a world where our time and attention are fractured into smaller and smaller bits, legendary biologist and runner Bernd Heinrich is a throwback, a man who has carved a deep groove in his patch of Maine woods
At the planet's biggest ice-fishing tournament, held every January in Brainerd, Minnesota, 10,000 contestants battle 20-below temperatures for a $150,000 purse. Ian Frazier slips and slides among wily fish, cheese curds, and some of the greatest nearly frozen anglers he's ever seen.
Finland shares an 833-mile border with an aggressive and unpredictable neighbor. That proximity led to a major conflict during World War II—the horrific Winter War—and even now it keeps Finns nervous about Russia’s intentions. David Wolman suited up to train with the elite soldiers who will be on the front lines if this cold feud ever gets hot.
Last winter, the author ventured to the tundra with an extreme tour company promising the ultimate digital renewal—ten days living with nomadic reindeer herders in one of the planet’s last remaining off-the-grid dark spots. Is it really possible to totally unplug?
Early in his political career, the interior secretary irked fellow Republicans with his willingness to stand up for conservation. Things have changed, and whether you love or hate his ideas, know this: he’s one of the few Trump-era cabinet secretaries with the juice to make things happen, and he’s got the boss’s back.
When she was in college, Jack Kerouac’s book The Dharma Bums helped the author find her place in wilderness and in life. She hoped it would do the same for her 16-year-old son as they embarked on a mother-son California road trip retracing Kerouac’s adventures.
In buzkashi, Afghanistan’s violent and ancient national pastime, riders battle for control of an animal corpse that they carry toward a goal. Sixteen years after the U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban, the sport is dominated by rival warlords who will do anything to maintain power in a turbulent country that once again is up for grabs.
He was the alpha male of the first pack to live in Oregon since 1947. For years, a state biologist tracked him, collared him, counted his pups, weighed him, photographed him, and protected him. But then the animal known as OR4 broke one too many rules.
For more than two decades, Jeff Caldwell has lured in hikers, couchsurfers, and other women (and they're almost always women), enthralling them with his tales of adventure. Then he manufactures personal crises and exploits their sympathy to rip them off. Our writer corresponded with Caldwell while he was still on the run, and came away with an intimate look at the life of a serial scammer who's found his easy marks in the outdoor community.
To travel the Pony Express, riders had to brave apocalyptic storms, raging rivers, snow-choked mountain passes, and some of the most desolate, beautiful country on earth. To honor the sun-dried memory of those foolhardy horsemen, we dispatched Will Grant and a 16-year-old cowboy prodigy to ride 350 miles in a hurry.
No one knew if it could be done. But when Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler climbed Mount Everest without oxygen in 1978, they smashed one of the last barriers of human performance. Almost 40 years later, both legends talk about their first ascent by “fair means”—and the long-running feud that followed.
Change comes for everybody, including a group of adventurous friends who’ve convened for years to climb, swap stories, and hoist a few. These days, their founder is grappling with incurable cancer. On a happier note, their decision to open the doors a little wider has given the gathering a fresh, life-affirming spirit.
Memorable lives combine tough choices, an adventurous spirit, hard work, and luck—and who knows where any of it comes from? For our writer, the wellspring was a Colorado spread that she was barely able to buy in 1993. It became her escape from a violent childhood and the magical ground that changed her life.
There were many stories that were more fun to cook up and publish, but nothing quite compares with the force and moral clarity of Jon Krakauer’s account of the 1996 tragedies on Mount Everest