Jack London said that achieving greatness sometimes means burning white hot, even if there's a price to be paid once the flame goes out. Josh Dean went to Alaska to hang with Lance Mackey, the toughest competitor in Iditarod history. He came away with a new understanding of resilience, bravery, and the iron bond between a musher and his dogs.
Each spring on Costa Rica’s desolate Caribbean coast, endangered leatherback sea turtles come ashore at night to lay and hide their eggs. Poachers steal them for cash, and as Matthew Power reports, they’re willing to kill anyone who gets in their way.
Every year, scores of Into the Wild fans tackle a dangerous river crossing to visit the last home of Alaska's most famous adventure casualty. Why are so many people willing to risk injury, and even death, to pay homage to a controversial ascetic who perished so young?
In a typical January, the fabled Japanese resort Niseko gets more snow—nearly 15 feet—than any other ski area in the world. But is there such a thing as too much?
No jungle or river is too remote for self-described medicine hunter Chris Kilham, who travels the globe looking for plants to boost our vitality, ease our pain, and turn us on.
The drowning of Avishek Sengupta at an obstacle challenge last April was ruled an accident, but his family and friends believe that the sport’s most prominent company did a terrible job of monitoring safety at a water obstacle called Walk the Plank. Elliott D. Woods looks at the life of a remarkable amateur athlete and explains why his tragic end may lead to a multimillion-dollar legal fight.
Bode Miller (skier) and Morgan Beck (volleyballer) have had a few rough moments as a couple, including a bitter child-custody battle with an ex-girlfriend and the death of his younger brother, Chelone. But as Bode plunges into the most ambitious ski season of his career, he’s already met his match—a woman who, like him, seems to thrive on a little craziness.
Determined that Russia will put on the most lavish Winter Games in history, Vladimir Putin has spent $51 billion, quashed environmental critics, and turned one of Europe’s most beautiful natural regions into a construction zone.
The rewards of risk are fueling a catastrophic increase in TBIs. How can we protect ourselves?
Motivated by adventure, science, and awe at the power of nature, stormchasers are risking it all to get closer to tornadoes than ever before. Last spring, during the deadly Oklahoma City outbreaks, they got more than they bargained for.
For years, Bob Shacochis was obsessed with a fish, South America's fighting golden dorado. But when he followed that dream to Argentina's Iberá Marsh, he found that he wasn't the only one with a vision that could pull him under.
Geologist Orrin Pilkey predicted exactly what a storm like Sandy would do to the mid-Atlantic coast and New York City. On a tour of destruction after the deluge, he and David Gessner ponder a troubling question: Why are people rebuilding, as if all this isn't going to happen again?
Les Stroud, the most trusted name in survival, has seen it all—and lived to tell about it. Next time you’re up a creek, you should probably do what he says.
On the morning of June 30, all 20 members of Prescott, Arizona's Granite Mountain Hotshots headed into the mountains to protect the small town of Yarnell from an advancing blaze. Later that day, every man but one was dead. Through interviews with family, colleagues, and the lone survivor, a former hotshot pieces together their final hours—and the fatal choices
What do you get when you combine six eye surgeons, thirteen runners, six educators, two nonprofits, 871 cataract patients, 63,000 students, two of the fastest men on the planet, and one trail race in the remote highlands of East Africa? Accelerate Ethiopia. Welcome to the brave new world of adventure philanthropy.
The Deschutes River fly-fishing guide called Stealhead Joe was an angling master with a long list of devoted clients. But as Ian Frazier, who fished with Joe last fall, learned, off the water, Joe’s life was a tangle of troubles that ultimately overwhelmed him.
The tortured life of a globe-traveling picky eater.
When the Great Recession hit, young people found a million different ways to cope with their battered job prospects. Alex and Nick Kleeman found the best way, scraping together enough cash to buy a 32-foot sailboat, then plunging into the Pacific for the adventure of their lives. So what if they didn’t know how to sail?
Tips to hack your body
Why is Europe dominating the United States in meteorological prognostication? Follow the money.
For more than a century, Western climbers have hired Nepal’s Sherpas to do the most dangerous work on Mount Everest. It’s a lucrative way of life in a poor region, but no service industry in the world so frequently kills and maims its workers for the benefit of paying clients. The dead are often forgotten, and their families left with nothing but ghosts.
The helicopter ride to a luxury resort was undeniably sweet. But for Peter Heller, the greatest thing about New Zealand’s South Island was kayaking down a surly river with an old paddling buddy, in a country that’s still unbelievably pristine.
The world’s most accomplished blind adventurer has jumped out of airplanes, mountain-biked Leadville, and summited Everest. But nothing has proven to be as challenging as his current goal: to solo-kayak the Grand Canyon.
The Colorado skier puts out winter storm alerts that track the essentials: Where exactly the snow will fall, how much, and when. As fellow weather nerd Michael Behar finds out, it’s wonderful when it works.
When Hurricane Sandy closed in on New York City, the Weather Channel dispatched (who else?) Jim Cantore. Nick Heil tagged along for a wet, wild adventure that quickly became something else—a survival challenge in the darkest hours of a killer storm.
While scouting a Costa Rican jungle for the perfect location for the new Discovery show “Naked and Afraid,” 51-year-old executive producer Steve Rankin was bitten by one of the most dangerous vipers on earth, the fer-de-lance
Drought and climate change have turned western forests into firebombs that go off every summer. Even with new technology, the essential weapon in the fight against flame are the Hotshots, an elite group of wilderness first responders who head straight for the heat.
Every summer, 50 elite athletes endure a torture test of cold and wet at a tiny island off the south coast of Ireland, where they train to swim the English Channel. The only rules: No wetsuits. Or whining. Matt Bondurant goes deep.
Charlie Engle was a crack addict who saved himself through ultrarunning, becoming an adventure-film star known around the world. Then he was convicted of mortgage fraud and sent to prison. [Oops.] He's out now, with an audacious new goal: to rebuild his life and run 5,000 miles, from the Dead Sea to the top of Mount Everest.
How do you teach a boy to love the wilderness when you’re terrified of what might happen out there? Hiking with his ten-year-old son, William Broyles confronts his memories of Vietnam–and one very large grizzly. (And three other great essays on fatherhood, from Jack Hitt, W. Hodding Carter, and Anthony Doerr.)
Inspired by an infamous assassin's escape from prison, the Barkley Marathons just might be the toughest race on the planet: a 100-mile-long, unsupported slog through the Tennessee backcountry that only 14 people have ever finished. Madison Kahn spoke to three of the event's regulars to get the story behind the Barkley.
A brilliant American financier and his wife build a lavish mansion in the jungles of Costa Rica, set up a wildlife preserve, and appear to slowly, steadily lose their minds. A spiral of handguns, angry locals, armed guards, uncut diamonds, abduction plots, and a bedroom blazing with 550 Tiffany lamps ends with a body and a compelling mystery.
Carl Zimmer walks into the woods to find out why these tiny beasts are skyrocketing in number—and outsmarting scientists with every bite
The ponies that carried Genghis Khan’s warriors are small, tough, and skittish as hell, making the prospect of riding them for 1,000 kilometers seem downright insane. American cowboy Will Grant couldn’t resist, so he entered the Mongol Derby—the longest, hardest horse race in the world—determined not just to finish but to win.
The new country of South Sudan is blessed with oil, water, and a safari bonanza: one of the largest, most stunning animal migrations on earth. But without roads, laws, or infrastructure, can Africa’s youngest state turn potential into stabilizing profit? Patrick Symmes joins the adventure.
Three whitewater guides, one wooden dory, and the Colorado River, swollen by record snowmelt and raging with a fury that boatmen hadn't seen since the days of John Wesley Powell. From Kevin Fedarko's epic new book, The Emerald Mile, the incredible story of the fastest, wildest trip ever attempted through the Grand Canyon.
Christopher McDougall started it, throwing a brick at long-held theories about striding styles and shoe designs in Born to Run—and inspiring believers to wear minimalist shoes or no shoes at all. What followed was a war, pitting lightfoots against traditionalists and filling shoe stores with a mind-numbing array of choices. Who’s right? Andrew Tilin jogs
Elizabeth Gilbert says she’s never going back to Luang Prabang. Her memory of the place—and of one meal in particular—is too wonderful to risk a second glance.
Several near deaths on the world’s highest peaks have shed light on a dangerous trend in mountaineering: rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs, particularly the powerful steroid dexamethasone. Devon O’Neil reports on how dope is corrupting the game.
In the quest to make—and sell—the perfect drink, no one is going further than Scott Lindquist of Alaska Distillery. To concoct his premium vodkas, he hunts down 300-pound icebergs on Prince William Sound, then taps their ancient waters to power mysterious blends that keep winning awards. David Kushner heads north to sail and sip with the intrepid craftsman.
Artisanal and organic are wildly overrated when you have a bag of freeze-dried food to cook up after a bitterly cold backcountry day. So says Steven Rinella, who reveals his love affair with mummified grub.
Chef Blaine Wetzel has one rule for his 18-course dinners at Washington's remote Willows Inn. Whether it's geoduck or fried moss, everything is foraged, fished, or farmed on a nine-square-mile patch of rocky coast.
Body fat is just an inert layer of blubber, right? If only. New research shows that it's more like a toxic parasite that doesn't want to let go. The good news: if you exercise and eat right, you can force it to.
From paleo to gluten-free, fueling an active day is more confusing than ever. Until now. Simplify your options with long-time food columnist and bestselling author Mark Bittman’s delicious new plan.
A decade before his death, Sun Myung Moon—multimillionaire founder of the controversial Unification Church—sent a band of followers deep into the wilds of Paraguay, with orders to build the ultimate utopian community and eco-resort. So how’s that working out? Monte Reel machetes his way toward heaven on Earth.
To fulfill a longtime dream and honor the memory of a fallen hero, a Turkish-American software engineer decides to circle the earth by bike and rowboat, powered solely by his own muscle, lungs, and heart. A little obsessive? Maybe, but look closely at the journey of Erden Eruc and you’ll see something else: one of the most incredible adventure stories of our ti
When the Bounty went down during Hurricane Sandy, millions watched on TV as the Coast Guard rescued 14 survivors—but couldn’t save the captain and one of his crew. A huge question lingered in the aftermath: what was this vessel—a leaking replica built in 1960 for the film Mutiny on the Bounty—doing in the eye of the storm?
With more than 57 World Cup wins and four overall titles, Lindsey Vonn has already established herself as the greatest women’s ski racer in history. Too bad they won’t let her take on the boys.
When elite athletes like three-time Olympic volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh and daredevil spaceman Felix Baumgartner are in a slump, they go see Los Angeles sports psychologist Michael Gervais. Sometimes boosting your performance requires sitting on a couch.
The mastermind behind CrossFit Endurance says the best way to train for a marathon is to run less and torture yourself more in the gym. Christopher Solomon laces up for a whole new level of pain.
No country on earth is more geographically blessed than Colombia, with its high-altitude peaks, lush jungles, pristine beaches, wildlife-rich rainforest, and strong coffee. Now that the guerrillas of the FARC are moving toward a peace accord, the land of cocaine and kidnappings may become the best unexplored adventure haven in South America.
A new social-media app for cycling has more than a million riders racing, cheating, and even dying for virtual supremacy over the world’s roads and trails. A recent convert to the cult explains how Strava is changing the way we ride.
Which is a serious problem when you’re the most famous stunt rider on the Internet. But as Nick Heil finds out, the oft-injured Scot is roaring out of rehab to dazzle the world once again.
14 simple habits that will change your life.
James Balog has spent his career pushing the artistic and adventure boundaries of nature photography. For the past five years, he's been capturing the impact of climate change on glaciers, culminating in the powerful film Chasing Ice. What he documented was catastrophic—and should be required viewing for every policymaker on earth.
When it comes to holiday giving, you should never have to choose. This year, our editors have pulled together 68 perfect ideas—priced from $4 to $50,000—guaranteed to make anyone on your list feel like a million bucks.
Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Home to the best unexplored ski terrain on the planet, occasional town-crushing avalanches, and only a hint of Taliban presence. Saddle up for an intrepid boot-packing expedition deep into the Hindu Kush.
These days, screen-addicted Americans are more stressed out and distracted than ever. And there’s no app for that. But there is a radically simple remedy: get outside. Florence Williams travels to the deep woods of Japan, where researchers are backing up the theory that nature can lower your blood pressure, fight off depression—and even prevent cancer.
What started as a glorious powder day ended in a desperate fight for survival after three skiers were buried by a killer avalanche in the backcountry of Stevens Pass, in Washington's Cascades. Megan Michelson lived to tell about it, but she can't shake off a haunting question: How did a group of expert skiers make such a deadly mistake?
Shaun Martin, a Navajo cross-country coach from Chinle, Arizona, uses running as a powerful motivator for high school students who yearn for opportunities beyond the reservation. But make no mistake: these kids race to win, and they usually do.
The leader of the Free Burma Rangers keeps his identity secret. But he’s real, and he’s definitely hardcore. A former U.S. Special Forces operative—and an ordained minister, climber, and triathlete—he trains rebels and refugees in the fine art of outwitting one of the world’s most oppressive regimes to deliver humanitarian aid. Adam Skolnick hits the trail with a soldier on a mission from God.
Obstacle courses are the biggest thing in adventure sports, with millions of amped-up Americans charging into the slop—and a cadre of cutthroat entrepreneurs cashing in. No one is profiting more than Tough Mudder creator Will Dean, a polished Englishman and Harvard Business School grad who will stop at nothing to sell you his brand of suffering.
Bikini Atoll, a tiny ring of islands halfway between Hawaii and Australia, is a world-class diving destination and home to one of the Pacific's last great fishing grounds. So where are all the tourists? Welcome to heaven on earth, where the vestiges of hell lie just below the surface.
The difference between hitting the summit and hitting the wall comes down to the fuel in your belly.
In Argentina, rival soccer fans don’t just hate, they kill, and the violent partisans of top clubs fuel crime syndicates that influence the sport at its highest levels. Patrick Symmes braves the bottle rockets, howling mobs, urine bombs, and drunken grannies on a wild ride through the scariest fútbol underworld on earth.
An Italian chef, a pro snowboarder, and five other Sun Valley, Idaho, locals tell you the best way to play in one of America's most pristine mountain towns
Dolphins communicate with each other, but can they communicate with us? Marine biologist Denise Herzing is drawing on decades of research, a vast digital library of whistles and clicks, and new computer wizardry designed to bridge the species gap. Tim Zimmermann goes deep with one of history's grandest experiments.
After years of sounding the climate-change alarm, writer Bill McKibben realized that gentle persuasion wasn’t cutting it. So he got mad. Then he got busy: tweeting, organizing, protesting, getting arrested, and becoming Big Oil’s biggest threat.
It started as a bluebird New Year's Day in Mount Rainier National Park. But when a gunman murdered a ranger and then fled back into the park's frozen backcountry, every climber, skier, and camper became a suspect—and a potential victim.
In the 16 years since Into Thin Air, Mount Everest has become safer in many ways, with better storm forecasting and amazing high-altitude rescue helicopters. So why did 10 people die in 2012?
Readers voted Richmond, Virginia, the nation's most livable river town. (No joke!) To find out why, Jon Billman paddles, runs, and snorkels for crabs in the former Confederate capital. Plus: the lowdown on nine other great river towns.
Burning Man, the annual super-rave in Nevada, has become Independence Week for a worldwide tribe of inventors, artists, and desert freaks. Brad Wieners talks to founders and fans about how the party got started—and the death, mayhem, and power struggles that almost shut it down.
Last spring, Bear Grylls walked away from one of the sweetest gigs in the adventure world. Was it career suicide? Or a savvy move by a born survivor?
Enlightened companies seek ambitious individuals who work hard, think big, and crave life-affirming careers, lunchtime bike rides, and soul-expanding travel
Project Angel Thunder is the largest search-and-rescue exercise in the world, involving 1,700 pilots, commandos, and recovery specialists training in the wilds of Arizona and New Mexico to save your ass in some impossibly bad situations. Embed Brian Mockenhaupt discovers that while the scenarios are pure fiction, the game is deadly serious.
Maybe you've never heard of Lucky Chance—born Toby Benham—but the Australian climber, circus act, and all-around stunt monkey was testing the limits of BASE jumping in 2011 when he survived a horrible mountainside crash in France. What happens when a highflier falls to earth? He starts over—no matter how daunting the prospect.
When Robert Wood Jr. disappeared in a densely forested Virginia park, searchers faced the challenge of a lifetime. The eight-year-old boy was autistic and nonverbal, and from his perspective the largest manhunt in state history probably looked like something else: the ultimate game of hide-and-seek.
Meet the preppers, a rattled, robust survivalist movement whose members just hate being called survivalists. Emily Matchar investigates the 21st century's wildest new apocalyptic scene.
A titanium bike with swooping lines and parallel triangles for added flex and greater shock absorption.
Robert Young Pelton has traveled to war zones, been kidnapped by rebels, and tracked pirates in Somalia. Why does he keep going back?