Outside Magazine, October 2018



Most accomplished athletes, from Alex Honnold to Mikaela Shiffrin, have rituals they perform before a big day

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.

From virtual-reality meditation to infrared saunas, these are the latest innovations and insights for improving your well-being

Ben Greenfield has some extreme ideas for living healthy. The thing is, most of them work.

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.


Exploring the ocean floor with an urchin hunter. Words by Emily Reed.


The Inner Lives of the Obsessed: Director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi is shaking up the world of climbing films with stories that reveal the fellowship among elite alpinists—­including her husband and collaborator, Jimmy Chin. With their latest project—Free Solo, about Alex Honnold’s ascent of El Capitan—the power couple may be on their way to the Oscars. —Lisa Chase

Who Do That Voodoo: Many of the world’s greatest athletes follow bizarre pre-competition routines that they insist are critical to their success. Are they tapping into the ancient power of rituals, or are they just nuts? Steven Kotler gets scientific. PLUS: Deconstructing the winning habits of Olympians and adventure icons.

Dan in Real Life: Before he died by suicide, Iraq War veteran Dan Sidles seemed to be thriving, thanks to outdoor programs designed to help manage PTSD. His life and death spurred his friend Brian Mockenhaupt to ask tough questions about the limits of nature-based remedies for our suffering soldiers.

The Soul of a New Pole: More than five decades after a phenomenal totem pole was removed from his First Nations outpost in British Columbia, Native artist Roy Vickers decided it was his destiny to carve a replica. What followed was the creative journey of a lifetime. —Chuck Thompson  


Big Idea

To Post or Not to Post: Female athletes using racy selfies on social media to gain attention has always been controversial. But as Megan Michelson sees it, women need to be allowed to tell their stories however they want.


Portfolio: River Jordan shows us the incredible—and dangerous—life of a California sea urchin hunter.


Science as Art: Illustrator Jane Kim’s remarkable public murals and new book are waking people up to the challenges faced by migratory species.  


Adventure Lodges: From Montana to Tanzania, these stunning retreats offer unparalleled access to nature’s best playgrounds.

24 Hours: Fun times in the nation’s capital.


Design + Tech: The gear of the future is everything we dreamed of. A jacket that will quench your thirst, a pint-size satellite communicator for backcountry nomads, running shoes made from plastic cleaned off beaches, and other genius inventions whose time has finally come.

The New Rules of Healthy Living


Our guide to a better you, with a step-by-step plan anyone can follow. Take a happiness lesson. Use tech to set your mind free. Stop with the supplements already.  

The Outsider

Ben Greenfield: The radical—but proven!—wellness methods of a notorious self-experimenting guru.