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The freediving world championships occur at the outer limits of competitive risk. ­During the 2011 event, held off the coast of Greece, more than 130 athletes assembled to swim hundreds of feet straight down on a single breath—without (they hoped) ­passing out, freaking out, or drowning. Meet the amazingly fit, unquestionably brave, and possibly crazy people who line up for the ultimate plunge.

Professional daredevils Rex and Melissa Pemberton were drawn together by a mutual passion for risk and adrenaline. Now they have a marriage based on love, trust, and the strange, stoic acceptance that their life partner could die at any moment.

Aksel Svindal has three Olympic medals, two World Cup titles, and the affections of fellow ski racer Julia Mancuso. But can he transcend the sport and become the next Hermann Maier? HAMPTON SIDES tracks down the Norwegian beast slopeside to talk about the 2007 crash that nearly ended his career and his chances of dominating the 2012 World Cup.

Australia’s Northern Territory is our kind of place—a vast expanse of desert playgrounds, tropical rainforests, and supersize wildlife. Buckle up with Matthew Power as he bounces through the most extreme landscapes on the planet.

Hurdler Lolo Jones was the feel-good story of the Beijing Olympics, until a tiny mistake cost her a medal—and made her tale even more compelling

When thieves stole his beloved ­commuter bike on a busy street in broad daylight, PATRICK SYMMES snapped—and set out on a cross-­country plunge into the heart of ­America’s bike-crime underbelly. What he saw will ­rattle your frame.

If Lance Armstrong went to jail and Livestrong went away, that would be a huge setback in our war against cancer, right? Not exactly, because the ­famous nonprofit donates almost ­nothing to scientific research. BILL GIFFORD looks at where the money goes and finds a mix of fine ideas, millions of dollars aimed at “awareness,” and a few very blurry lines.

Triathlon is booming, with hundreds of events being added to the calendar each year and thousands of goggle-eyed newbies lining up to swim, bike, and run for the first time. But only one race still really matters. Greetings from the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, ground zero of America's multisport madness

A crew of Bosnian snowboarders want to restore their capital's war-ravaged Olympic resorts to international glory, and a burgeoning adventure-travel scene just might make it possible. Dimiter Kenarov boot-packs to the world's gnarliest lift line.

Does stretching prior to a run prevent injuries and improve performance? Does guzzling water prevent cramps? Here's the truth about the top 10 fitness myths.

Starting with a single Alaskan Husky named Derby, Kenth Fjellborg built a dogsled-touring empire that attracts 5,000 would-be mushers a year to a frozen patch of tundra 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle. And he's not afraid to yell at you in bad words.

No GPS or weather reports—just a sailboat, the wild open ocean, and the constellations. Think you could find your way across the South ­Pacific? James Campbell rides along with a master navigator in the ­Caroline Islands, where they’ve been sailing this way for thousands of years.

How does a visionary marine biologist convince brain researchers to help him revolutionize ocean conservation? With lots of hugs, a million blue marbles, and one very unorthodox conference.

You're ready to act on those good intentions, but how do you know the organizations you're backing deserve your trust? Here are the 30 best—smartly managed groups with transparent financials, efficient spending, and track records of on-the-ground success.

Before the Tar Sands protests and before Occupy Wall Street, a young activist named Tim DeChristopher disrupted a federal oil- and gas-lease auction. The act made him a martyr for a newly radicalized environmental movement—and landed him in prison. This is his story.

More than a decade ago, Mike Fay’s epic Megatransect walk across Africa spurred the creation of a string of national parks and made him a conservation superstar. So why, after a lifetime of fighting to protect wild places, is he questioning the very foundations of his work? And why is he looking for answers in a cabin in Alaska?

And if the South African track sensation makes it to the start line for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, we may never look at disabilities—or competitive sports—the same way again.

Norway's forbidding Hardangervidda Plateau nearly killed Roald Amundsen when he attempted a ski traverse in the winter of 1896. But the failure set him on a path of training, study, and exploration that led to his historic conquest of the South Pole. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of that feat, Mark Jenkins and his brother Steve skied the route, an epic challenge that even now can prove deadly.

After 34 books, endless Hemingway comparisons, and too many battles with gout, legendary author Jim Harrison is unsurpassed at chronicling man's relationship with wilderness. His secret? Ample wine, cigarettes, fly-fishing—and an inability to give a damn about what anyone else thinks. Our author takes a literary pilgrimage to Montana.

Few events excite Manhattan’s top chefs more than the arrival of a care package from Evan Strusinski, a foraging ­savant who stalks the ­remote woods and coastlines of the Northeast for nature’s most exotic ­ingredients. Forgive him his trespasses.

What does India’s lush Kaziranga National Park have that the rest of the country’s decimated reserves do not? Plenty of tigers, for starters. (The world’s highest ­density.) Fleets of endangered one-horned rhinos. (More than two-thirds of the remaining population.) And, since last year, a take-no-prisoners antipoaching policy that allows rangers to shoot on sig

Monster earthquakes are going off all around the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire. Is the West Coast of North America next?* And can you surf a tsunami?** Join us on a footnoted foray into the terrifying world of megaquakes, tidal waves, and the fine art of being your own Jesus. *YES **NO

Bouldering climbs are short, but they demand as much strength, agility, and puzzle solving as anything done on rock. Here are the fine points of a classic challenge—Paul Robinson’s V16 route Lucid Dreaming—to show how the game is played.

Superstar chef Jamie Oliver became a hero in England by convincing his countrymen to eat better. Now he's on the case in the U.S. with Food Revolution, an ABC series in which he exposes the evils of processed fare, sends Americans back into the kitchen, and learns firsthand just how much we hate to change our recipes.

Each fall, in the heart of the Chihuahuan Desert in West Texas, a little-known miracle transforms one of America's most iconic—and tragically dammed—waterways. Revived by diamond-clear spring-fed creeks, the mighty Pecos River is reborn, creating a 60-mile stretch of wild and secret Class III whitewater. And did I mention we had it all to ourselves?

Apply Liberally: At Outside’s 50 Best Places to Work, you can’t go wrong

On December 24, 2009, a 6,600-pound orca killed trainer Alexis Martínez at a marine park in the Canary Islands. Two months later, trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by an orca at SeaWorld Orlando. With the OSHA trial on trainer safety at SeaWorld Orlando starting September 19, Tim Zimmermann asks: Should Martínez’s death have served as a warning about the lethal potential of killer whales being trained for our entertainment?

It takes a particular kind of crazy to ride a 75-foot mountain of water—unless you’re Greg Long, a calm, well-adjusted dude who geeks out on his laptop and approaches surfing like he’s playing chess. Meet the oddly normal champion of big waves.

With shark attacks up 25 percent, 2010 was a terrifying year to be in the water. Scientists say the spike was an anomaly. But there are questions afloat about the practice of chumming, in which cage-diving skippers use a stew of blood and guts to lure the predators in close. JOSHUA HAMMER plunges in at South Africa’s False Bay, epicenter of an industry some cri

Living through a disaster is just the start of a survival story. The rarely discussed psychological recovery is often the hardest part.

During the Great Flood of 2011, the Mississippi was an unleashed monster, with deadly currents and a flow rate that could fill the Superdome in less than a minute. Defying government orders, Delta native W. Hodding Carter and two wet-ass pals canoed 300 miles from Memphis to Vicksburg—surfing the crest, watching wildlife cope with the rising tide and assessing 75 years of levee building.

Satellite-linked emergency devices give backpackers, skiers, and boaters fingertip power to cry for help. Alas, people often cry wolf.

How to survive 10 deadly scenarios.

Gap Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip

Tim Hetherington's last interview

Lorie Karnath, president of the Explorers Club

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

Testostereality producer Thom Beers

Our panel runs down the challenges, including the unwaveringly white face of adventure media

Outside sat down with Dos Equis spokesman Jonathan Goldsmith

Clif Bar Founder Gary Erickson and co-CEO Kit Crawford

Werner Herzog

The bestselling author power-hikes, powerlifts, and receives a megadose of vitamin C intravenously—all while lucidly explaining his plans to hack everything from fitness and humanitarian aid to surfing and medical research

They say that becoming a dad means your days of big trips and serious adventure are over. They are so wrong.

The plan was to check out Yemen, a little-visited Arab nation that offers glowing deserts, forbidding mountains, and lonely Socotra Island—a naturalist's paradise as imagined by Dr. Suess. But instead all hell broke loose, and a tourist romp became a front-row seat to the bloody upheavals sweeping the Middle East.

This is the American West--when you're hanging out of a tiny plane with the doors pulled off, holding a 20-pound camera and looking for the truth.

You'd be amazed at how far scientists have progressed in their ability to turn humans into unstoppable athletic machines. Here's a peek at a future that's coming fast.

A Texas-based company is marketing a brand of bottled H20, called Evolv, that supposedly can ward off disease and boost your aerobic capacity. It’s fascinating case study of a notable trend—nutritional products that are being sold with a mix of miracle health claims and complex financial structures that promise easy riches. Our advice? Investor beware.

An exclusive look inside the cutting-edge Army lab that's pinching, prodding, dunking, bruising, and building the soldiers of tomorrow—and revolutionizing adventure fitness along the way.

At 25, climber Alex Honnold is already the undisputed master of the most dangerous sport around; scaling iconic rock walls without any ropes. Is he the next great thing in modern climbing? Or a suicide mission in sticky shoes?

For God's sake, pump out your head! And that's just the first thing I learned on my wild ride into the Bermuda Triangle.

South America contains the Amazon, the Andes, 19,000 miles of coastline, and arguably more adventure than any other continent. So where to start? These ten perfect trips, from exploratory rafting in Peru to skiing in Chile to beach-hopping Brazil.

A brash new company is revolutionizing crisis response by sending ex-military to rescue adventurers. So why all the enemies?

The annals of adventure are filled with people who didn't come back alive. Here, those closest to six departed luminaries share their memories and the keepsakes that have helped them move forward.

The U.S. military has always excelled at training soldiers, but they've had a tougher time helping them adjust to peace. The author joins 11 combat veterans in Nepal as they test the most promising new postwar therapy: adventure.

With so many novice adventurers filing suit when something goes wrong, outfitters are shielding themselves behind increasingly dense liability forms. What does the mumbo jumbo really mean? We asked a crack team of lawyers.

They met in Alaska and became the ultimate adventure couple, biking and hiking and skiing their way to lifelong commitment. Then the kids and careers arrived, and the passion started leaking like oil from his bro truck. (Don't get her started on that.) Can a hardcore backpacking trip stand in for couples therapy? The author drags her husband into the Colorado wilderness to find out.

In the age of DIY filmmaking and featherweight satellite modems, capturing the action—and uploading it ASAP—is just as important as nailing the summit. Nobody does it better than Jimmy Chin and the climber-producers of Camp 4 Collective. Last November, the author recruited them for an assault on the sandstone spires of Chad's Ennedi desert.

What is it about cyclists that can turn sane, law-abiding drivers into shrieking maniacs? The author ponders the eternal conflict with help from bike supercommuter Joe Simonetti, who each week survives the hostile, traffic-clogged rat race between the New York exurbs and Midtown Manhattan.

Decades after the Soviet-era meltdown drove 60,000 people from their homes in the Ukraine, a rebirth is taking place inside the exclusion zone. With Geiger counter in hand, the author explores Europe's strangest wildlife refuge, an enchanted post-apocalyptic forest from which entirely new species may soon emerge.

Greg Mortenson did it. So Shannon Galpin, a single mom and former Pilates instructor with no humanitarian experience, figured she could, too. She sold her house, started a nonprofit, and flew to Kabul to set up women’s educational and health programs, from scratch, in the world’s most troubled country. The author joined her on her most audacious fundraiser yet.

The most creative and affordable array of trips we’ve seen in years. Time to pack your bag.

Whitewater kayaker Hendrik Coetzee had decided to call it a career after a decade of first descents on the wildest rivers in Africa. The river’s most feared predator had a different ending in store.

Every winter, the Pacific stirs up massive ocean swells that descend on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. For 50 years, the surf world has followed suit, coming together to crown their champions, celebrate a sport many consider a religion, and ride some of the biggest waves on the planet. Welcome to the North Shore.

Your Challenge: Choosing the right adventure in New Zealand, a place that offers the best of everything. Your Solution: Our heavily researched, carefully formulated, and totally brilliant ten-step plan.

Sixteen years ago, the man who helped raise Megan Michelson was shot to death at a remote kayaking lodge in Northern California. Michelson embarks on a painful search to find out what happened, and why.

After Marine Corps Veteran Ronnie Simpson survived an explosion in Iraq in 2004, he threw himself at an audacious goal: to sail around the world. It almost killed him.

Aspen’s Michael Ferrara is bringing attention to a little-known problem: post-traumatic stress disorder among the people who save our lives

Soccer's hardest-working man has spent a lifetime developing the endurance, speed, and smarts needed to close the deal when it counts.

Will caveman calisthenics be the next big thing for adventure athletes?

The caffeine-free, fully cleansed, take-a-nap, buff-as-hell guide to a new you.

Ride along as an international group of up-for-anything clients gets schooled on tourism's wildest frontier: Afghanistan.

What’s it like to watch a Hollywood director turn your life-threatening ordeal into entertainment?

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