Outside Magazine, Apr 2009
We ask the pros what drives them
Having constructed the greatest flotation device mankind has ever known, our fearless writer embarks on an ill-conceived, possibly insane crossing of alligator-infested North Florida via a string of seriously imperiled and incredibly beautiful rivers. (Yeah, it's a tube.)
India's Shark's Fin is a 6,500-foot rock route that's twice as long and just as steep as anything on El Capitan, and once left me defeated. When I took it on for the second time, at 45, a blizzard promptly pinned our team to the wall like insects. Which made me wonder: was the mountain telling me something?
WHY AM I HERE AGAIN?
So asks elite alpinist Conrad Anker when a blizzard stomps on his second attempt to knock off a treacherous 6,500-foot Himalayan route called the Shark’s Fin. The answer? Duh, because he lives for this kind of thing.
We provided an irresistible challenge for our nomadic wordsmith: Seek out the abundant natural treasures of Chávez’s Venezuela (and check out those legendary oil fields) as a plainclothes Yankee devil. And, you know, come back alive.
By Patrick Symmes
Wells Tower—of his own volition, mind you—attempts to transect Florida by way of its ridiculously gorgeous, much endangered spring-fed rivers. In a rubber tube. With very large alligators about. And one highly antagonistic “assistant” in tow.
THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON ADVENTURE
All that talk of action-sports “junkies” and their “highs”? It’s more than metaphor. In an effort to understand why we do the crazy things we do, Florence Williams observes aggro (and accident-prone) BASE jumper Ted Davenport as he falls off cliffs and lets neurologists map his noodle.
Find Out Your Adventure Personality Score. (LINK CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE)
ME, MYSELF, AND RIBEYE
Way down in Argentina, they use the whole damn cow. And, sure, our man will eat that. Join Steven Rinella on a gluttonous quest for the world’s tastiest beef.
OUR KIND OF CRAZY
We asked 15 of the boldest people we know why they huck cliffs, build rockets, swim among icebergs, and otherwise risk it all. Here’s what they said.
2009 Travel Awards
GO FARTHER, SPEND LESS
You told us your travel dreams; let’s make them reality. Behold, the best trips and deals on the planet, from a multisport journey in New Zealand to budget-friendlier treks in your own backyard.
Special Foldout Section
THE EVOLUTION OF ADVENTURE
A highly scientific, utterly comprehensive history, from Kon-Tiki to Tang, sat phones to . . . Romancing the Stone?
Old guys rule. They’ve got the wisdom, authority, and insomnia to pull off any epic. Gather ’round ol’ Ian Frazier.
OUT OF BOUNDS
Is barren, cloudy Iceland, with its economy on life support, still home to the world’s happiest people? Eric Hansen hitchhikes the Ring Road to find out.
Gear to Go
» COVET: A carbon-fiber kayak that’s almost half the weight of a plastic boat and reinforced with Kevlar.
» NAVIGATION: The world is a confusing place; these GPS tools will fix that.
» OUTFITTED: All the travel gear you need to get off the beaten path, from Rio de Janeiro to Kathmandu.
MAN VS. WILD
Intimidated? Don’t be. We’ve evened the playing field by assembling all you need to plan and execute your own expedition. Gear? Check. Food? Check. Five incredibly cool itineraries and great advice from expert explorers? Check, check, check …