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Out and Back
39 minutes | 5 days ago
29. Vasu Sojitra
As a community organizer and diversity, equity, and inclusion strategist, Vasu is also not afraid to correct and dismantle our preconceptions and biases. But he’s just as willing to learn along with his audience — follow him on Instagram. Read first-hand accounts of Vasu’s adventures on his website, and watch his film Out on the Limb.Finally, make sure to check out the Out and Back Instagram Page.Remember, podcast listeners get a Discount on a Gaia GPS Membership.Episode Highlights: 3:25: What is ninja sticking?5:10: Vasu gets diagnosed with life-threatening blood infection. His parents are faced with the decision to amputate his right leg or let him die.10:30: Vasu finds belonging on the ski slope.14:30: Vasu learns how to use outriggers the hard way.17:30: Vasu tries out for his high school ski team.18:15: Vasu goes backcountry skiing for the first time, in the Chic-Chocs Mountains of Québec.20:00: Vasu uses his engineering degree to develop a backcountry outrigger setup.22:40: Vasu volunteers with Vermont Adaptive, which changes the trajectory of his life.26:47: Vasu skis “The Ruler” in Montana's Northern Bridger Range.28:50: How being a person with a disability and being a person of Indian descent interact and compound in unique ways.30:40: Vasu lands a 720 degree spin on one ski.32:00: Vasu gets into ultra running. 34:20: Vasu climbs Montana’s Granite Peak in less than 24 hours.
66 minutes | a month ago
28. Backcountry Fitness
Check out Backcountry Fitness on the web, where you can find free training plans and can hire Billy as a coach!Also make sure to follow Backcountry on Instagram for daily training tips.Finally, make sure to check out the Out and Back Instagram Page!Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights:4:25: Meet Billy Gawron, personal trainer and founder of Backcountry Fitness.5:50: Billy shares the story of the client who inspired him to specialize in getting people ready for backcountry adventures.8:30: Billy and his fiancée have hiked and backpacked all around the world together.10:20: Shanty tells the most ridiculous story that has been told on this podcast to date.12:00: Billy resolves some of the biggest myths in hiking, backpacking, and thru-hiking.20:00: How you can start preparing for hiking/backpacking season from right at home, right now. (Hint: we’re starting with the core.)22:20: Do you sit all day? If so, you are a basket of injuries waiting to happen. Billy is here to help.29:00: Shanty is eager to hit the gym with the heavy weights. Billy weighs in....31:05: How many days do you have to train? How do you balance strength and cardio?32:35: What kind of cardio is best to get ready for hiking season, especially if you’re confined to the city or somewhere flat? How hard should you work?36:19: Billy explains why doing a bunch of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is not necessarily going to help you for your summer adventures.37:35: What’s the minimum amount of time you need to devote to a workout?40:50: When it comes to strength training, more reps at lower weight is going to help you out more than single max reps.42:40: Billy explains why he loves SPT (Sustained Push Training). It combines cardio endurance and strength work all into one.46:30: Knee pain? The problem most likely is not your knee.49:20: Billy, who used to work at a running speciality store, advises on the best shoes for training, running, and hiking.52:00: Learn how to become comfortable being uncomfortable now, so you’re mentally ready for your adventures later.56:30: Can you prep for your altitude adventures from sea level?1:01:45: Want more tips from Billy? Check out his app.1:03:00: Billy is training for his honey moon — hiking Kilimanjaro with his fiancée!
73 minutes | a month ago
27. Adrian Ballinger
Learn more about how you can explore in the mountains with Ballinger’s company Alpenglow Expeditions. Follow Ballinger on his Instagram page and watch his and Emily's YouTube channel DangerstikTV for some real-life Adrian/Emily entertainment. Watch Breathtaking, a documentary about Ballinger’s climb on K2 without supplemental oxygen. Finally, make sure to check out the Out and Back Instagram Page!Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights: 4:05: Adrian was born in England and grew up in Massachusetts. 5:15: Adrian credits luck, mentors, and his cool mom for getting him into climbing. 7:00: His parents taught him and his sister to be willing to try anything, but they weren’t too excited about Ballinger taking up rock climbing at a young age. Even still, Ballinger’s mom bought him his first rack.9:45: Adrian graduated from Georgetown University and was poised to go to medical school, when he put the breaks on and took a gap year, to get the “mountains out of his system.” 13:10: He never went back to school, picked up some sponsors, and kept climbing mountains.15:15: Mount Everest caught Adrian’s attention when he was a teenager, and he read everything about it and was totally obsessed.17:10: Guiding was the only way Adrian could afford to summit Everest, and he has now summited Mount Everest eight times — once without oxygen supplementation.21:00: Many challenges can interrupt an Everest expedition, including icefall, earthquakes, politics, and even the Olympics. 23:45: It costs $85,000 to go to Everest with Adrian Ballinger and his qualified guides with Alpenglow Expeditions.25:15: Cheaper trips skimp on experienced guides, safety equipment, and extra oxygen.28:20: The crux of Everest lies in the sustained effort it takes to climb the mountain over 30 days.31:30: Adrian wasn’t sure if he could summit Everest without supplemental oxygen, and that unknown drew him to try. 33:45: The first attempt without oxygen didn’t go well and Adrian had to retreat just 600 feet from the summit.37:40: Adrian went back and summited without oxygen, but doesn’t remember it because he was blacked out from the lack of oxygen.38:22: Adrian went on to summit K2 without supplemental oxygen, and just being 600 feet lower made all the difference. 41:30: K2 is a more remote, technical, and dangerous climb than its taller sister, Everest. The team ran into all kinds of troubles, but pushed through and summited in perfect conditions.51:20: Adrian describes the effects of climate change on the world’s tallest mountains, and here’s what we can do to make a difference. 57:15: Adrian Ballinger is engaged to professional climber Emily Harrington. 57:45: Last fall, Emily became the first woman to climb El Capitan’s Golden Gate route in a 24-hour period. She joins the very short list of climbers -- Tommy Caldwell, the late Brad Golight, and Alex Honnold — who have accomplished this feat. 59:00: Adrian had the honor to belay Emily on a portion of the route, and he describes a big fall she took and how she got through that and pushed on. 1:04:30: Emily and Adrian manage the risks of being professional climbers by talking through their objectives very carefully. 1:06:20: When Adrian and Emily are home in Tahoe City, Calif., life is filled with laundry and chores, and they cherish the “normal” times because they rarely get them. 1:07:15: Adrian tells the story about how he first met Emily at 21,000 feet on Mount Everest. He offered her a coffee. 1:10:05: What’s next? Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington are planning a wedding in December.
63 minutes | 2 months ago
26. Matt Segal - Alpine Start
Get yourself some instant coffee at Alpine Start! Keep up with Segal on Instagram. And check out Alpine Start’s Kickstarter campaign while it’s still live throughout February.Finally, make sure to check out the Out and Back Instagram Page!Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights:2:55: Segal has been climbing for over 20 years.3:20: Segal got his start climbing in the unlikely place of Miami, Florida. 5:50: Segal moves to Boulder, Colorado, to pursue his competition climbing career and to go to college.6:30: The allure of the rock proves too great in Boulder. Segal shifts from indoor competition climbing to outdoor sport and trad climbing.11:00: You might assume that going to college in Boulder means Segal went to CU Boulder...wrong! Segal talks about his unique education.15:30: Segal discusses his mindfulness practice in climbing.17:15: Segal discusses his two National Geographic expeditions to the Mustang region of Nepal, where he helped archeologists access otherwise unattainable sites.29:00: Segal talks about how he went about sending the first ascent on Iron Monkey, one of the hardest trad climbs in Colorado at the time. How do you go about attempting something that’s never been done before? Segal shares.34:00: Segal shares his epiphany that led him to found Alpine Start, an artisanal instant coffee company.37:31: Segal starts paragliding...why?! 38:35: Segal breaks numerous bones in a paragliding accident. His ice axe goes through his calf. He’s on the mountain for eight hours before he can be airlifted to the hospital. 41:10: The best alpinists have the worst memories.42:20: Segal’s broken, goes through a really hard breakup, and a friend dies. How do you heal from all of that?43:45: Throwing himself into Alpine Start helped Segal heal and catapulted the company.47:20: Segal tried a lot of really bad coffee in his quest to find and make instant coffee that actually tastes good.49:00: Segal started experimenting with functional ingredients as he was recovering from his accident. Now, Alpine Start is making coffee and matcha with these beneficial ingredients in them.55:30: Segal discusses how he got into environmental activism with Protect Our Winters and 1% for the Planet.59:00: Segal runs through a typical week and how he juggles training as a professional athlete with working on Alpine Start.
46 minutes | 2 months ago
25. Sonya and Necota Staples - Valentine's Day Special
Check out Sonya and Necota’s blog, StaplesInTents, as well as their YouTube channel and Instagram. And connect with their other Instagram handle, BlackPeopleOffroad.Special thanks to Scott Turner for his contributions to this episode. Make sure to also catch Episode 14 when we chatted with Scott!Finally, make sure to check out the Out and Back Instagram Page!Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights:2:30: Meet Sonya and Necota Staples.3:25: Sonya and Necota met as physics major at North Carolina A&T State University, a historically black college in Greensboro. It wasn’t love at first sight.5:20: Sonya and Necota started studying together outside. Eventually their friendship leads to more.8:40: Sonya and Necota strengthened their relationship hiking the gorges in upstate New York.10:00: Sonya and Necota tell their crazy engagement story. It did not go according to plan.14:45: Sonya and Necota move to Atlanta, and they settle into city life.15:30: Sometimes, Sonya went camping with her best friend Teressa. Necota never went.17:00: Sonya and Necota’s marriage starts to unravel. 18:30: The Staples start marriage counseling. Things don’t improve, until their marriage counselor gives them one key piece of advice.19:40: The marriage counselor’s advice came at the perfect time. The Staples go camping for the first time together.20:30: The camping trip starts off very poorly.21:50: Sonya says something to Necota that flips a switch in his head. He makes the choice to be happy.23:00: Necota shares why a campfire is so important to him.23:45: The Staples go all-in on camping.25:00: How camping and connecting with nature healed the Staples’ marriage.30:00: The Staples start their blog, YouTube channel and social media account StaplesInTents. Tune in to find out why.32:33: How the Staples’ love for shopping intersections with their passions for camping and overlanding.34:00: Sonya and Necota purchase their first offroad vehicle, Frank the Tank, and go on their first overlanding trip to Tray Mountain. A few things go wrong.35:50: The Staples become seasoned overlanders, overlanding across the US and in South America.37:00: The Staples start their second social media account, BlackPeopleOffroad.40:00: 2020 got off to a rough start for the Staples, even before the pandemic made its way to the US. They turn to camping and overlanding, and realize how far they’ve come.
56 minutes | 2 months ago
24. Luke Smithwick - The Himalaya 500
Learn more about Smithwick by visiting his website, his personal Instagram page, or his Himalaya 500 page. Check out all the 2021 skiing and climbing expeditions that Smithwick plans to offer through his company Himalaya Alpine Guides. Learn more about avalanche safety at avalanche.org. Find and sign up for an avalanche education class with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education.Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights: A Ski Tour of the Himalayas with Luke Smithwick 3:00: Smithwick tells us how he uses Gaia GPS to navigate in the Himalayas.5:50: Learn why you might not have heard about Smithwick before. Hint: he’s been too busy skiing and climbing.7:50: Smithwick has racked up 70 to 80 expeditions in the Himalaya over the last 8:30: Luke climbed Everest in 2011, but find out why he’s not focused on the classics.9:40: The Himalaya 500 highlights beautiful skiing with hopes to bring more people to the range in winter. The 500 lines are everything from steep couloirs to glades, and the snow can be light and deep.15:00: The Himalaya could become the next backcountry ski destination — it really is that good. 17:50: There are only a handful of ski areas with lifts in this giant mountain range.20:00: The experiences with the different cultures along the way really become the best part of the trip to the Himalaya.22:10: Hear how Smithwick got hooked on the these massive mountains. 25:00: Smithwick explains local customs and how to be a respectful traveller through these Himalayan mountain communities. 33:00: COVID brought Smithwick back to the United States, and he’s settled down in Idaho, near Jackson Hole — and he even got a dog!39:00: The hearty people draw Smithwick back to the Himalaya.41:00: Smithwick says the effects of climate change have taken hold of these smaller communities.47:00: Take a ski tour in the Himalaya with Luke Smithwick, all you have to do is sign up.
70 minutes | 3 months ago
23. Sophia Schwartz and Sean McCoy (GearJunkie) - Backcountry Skiing Gear
Check out GearJunkie to learn more about McCoy. Also, make sure to check out and also their review of backcountry ski bindings. Watch Sophia Schwartz’s new movie, Jack of All Trades to see her master a double backflip, take on Jackson Hole’s super steep “Trifecta,” and shred the Grand Teton. You can also follow Schwartz on Instagram to get a sense of what’s going down in the backcountry around her hometown of Jackson, Wyoming.Learn more about avalanche safety at avalanche.org. Find and sign up for an avalanche education class with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights: Best Backcountry Gear 5:30: Sophia describes what drew her out of the mogul course to backcountry skiing. The two disciplines are so different, yet the same. 7:00: Even though she is an expert skier who can pull off backflips, Sophia’s first big trip to the backcountry was a total disaster, and the gear was a big part of the problem. But it was still worth it though and here’s why.8:30: Sophia talks about how she executed the transition to backcountry skiing and big mountain skiing, and how it made her “heart flutter.“13:00: Sophia talks about her movie Jack of All Trades.14:20: Sophia’s bought her first backcountry setup off the classified ads for just $250, showing us that even the pros start with a basic set up.18:10: Sophia describes the difference in fitness between resort skiing and backcountry skiing.20:15: GearJunkie’s Editorial Director, Sean McCoy, joins the conversation. GearJunkie is a web-based publication that is an authority on outdoor and adventure news, gear, and culture.25:00: McCoy advises to invest in avalanche education and how to build your first backcountry kit, given the fact that the gear goes in many different directions. 26:45. Sophia rattles off what she carries into the backcountry.28:45: How to select the proper avalanche beacon.30:35: Sophia and Sean discuss avalanche air bags, how much they cost, and when they might use one.36:00: Alpine touring boots versus alpine boots. Find out which boot Sophia and Sean use both in the resort and in the backcountry. 44:00: Backcountry ski bindings are a good place to shave weight from your set up. 52:00: Glopping of skins can be frustrating; here are Sophia’s tips to avoid “glop.”55:30: Find out what’s in Sophia’s repair kit.59:00: How to manage carrying your cell phone and your avalanche beacon, so the two devices don’t interfere with each other.1:05: Sean and Sophia impart their final tips on getting out in the backcountry for the first time.
56 minutes | 3 months ago
22. Bluebird Backcountry (w/ Erik Lambert)
Learn more about Bluebird Backcountry and book tickets by visiting Bluebird's website. Remember, you get a free Gaia GPS premium membership when you buy a pass to Bluebird Backcountry!Also make sure to check out Bluebird on Instagram, and while you're there, make sure to check out the Out and Back page, too!Learn more about avalanche safety at avalanche.org. Find and sign up for an avalanche education class with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights3:45: What even is Bluebird Backcountry Ski Area? Erik Lambert says it’s a small ski area with zero chairlifts — a first of its kind.5:30: The idea to create this educational, risk-controlled backcountry ski environment emerged when one of Bluebird’s partners took a family member on his first ski tour. 6:20: Bluebird Backcountry aims to tear down the barriers that can make learning to backcountry ski and snowboard feel insurmountable.8:50: You only need to be an intermediate skier/snowboarder to enjoy all that Bluebird has to offer. But all levels of backcountry experience are welcome, from never-evers to experts looking for a chill social backcountry setting.10:30: Bluebird is located on private property on the Continental Divide and about 30 minutes outside Steamboat Springs, near Kremmling, Colorado.16:50: Bluebird’s mountain is mostly aspen glades plus a mix of steeper terrain and even some couloirs in mostly north and east facing terrain, which will hold snow.19:00: You can hire a guide to take you outside of the ski area boundary.20:00: There will be seven skin tracks leading the way up — you don’t have to break trail! The whole mountain is un-groomed so you can learn how to ski in variable conditions, like what is found in the backcountry. 21:15: Get the breakdown on the percentage of types of terrain: green, blue, black, and, yes, even double black zones.23:00: Bluebird backcountry offers educational courses in both backcountry skiing instruction and avalanche safety. Check out the introductory three-step courses, plus a women-specific Avalanche I course. 26:00: Get daily clinics and ski with a mentor to get you started in the backcountry. 28:20: Learn how Bluebird Backcountry mitigates risks of avalanches inside the resort boundaries by managing terrain. Ski patrol also monitors the area for medical emergencies. 37:00: Get a free Gaia GPS premium membership when you buy a pass to Bluebird Backcountry, because “maps are an essential part of the kit“ to your backcountry gear. Erik has been using Gaia GPS for his backcountry adventures for 10 years. 42:00: Bluebird limits visitor counts to 200 guests a day, and is naturally conducive to social distancing. 43:50: What does a day pass cost? And what do you get for that? Listen to find out! 45:00: “Part of our goal is to make sure people have a big friendly face on the mountain.“
28 minutes | 4 months ago
21. Caught in an Avalanche - Bruce Tremper
To reap more of Tremper’s wisdom, check out his books, Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, Avalanche Essentials, and Avalanche Pocket Guide (Mountaineers Books). Listen to episode 20 to hear Tremper explain how to use each book in your progression about avalanche safety and snow science. Learn more about avalanche safety at avalanche.org. Find and sign up for an avalanche education class with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. Make sure to go to your local avalanche center for area forecasts. And finally, don't forget to check out Tremper’s “Know Before you Go” video on YouTube!Make sure to check out the Out and Back Podcast page on Instagram!Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights 4:10: Tremper was almost literally born with skis on his feet. 5:15: Skiing is a religious experience for Tremper.7:20: Tremper got a job in 1978 installing and building the Pierre’s Knob lift at Bridger Bowl, Montana.9:15: Before the lift opened to the public, Bruce had to ski the line by himself and it was a stormy, snowy day.10:20: This is the story of how “Tremper’s Run” at Bridger Bowl got its name. 11:00: Tremper made a terrible mistake: “oops, I forgot." 12:10: Tremper decided to cut across an avalanche chute. He thought he could outsmart the avalanche.13:00: He put his skis on and went zooming across the top of the starting zone. 14:00: The snow fractured 40 feet above Tremper. 15:45: Tremper grabbed onto a tree as he was getting pounded by the avalanche, but lost his grip and went rocketing down the slope.16:35: He went more than 1,000 feet and snow was everywhere. Tremper couldn’t breathe.17:35: “I’m going to die.”18:00: Bruce started swimming for the surface. He started slowing down.19:20: It felt like concrete. 20:00: Both skis were completely broken. 20:30: This was a huge wake up call to Tremper. 21:44: Tremper was a cocky young kid and green with avalanches — a typical avalanche victim. 22:50: He wanted to know everything about avalanches and he spent his life studying them. 23:45: Tremper is blown away by the overwhelming power of avalanches.25:00: Avalanches have grabbed ahold of Tremper, and have never let him go.
74 minutes | 4 months ago
20. Bruce Tremper - Avalanche Science and Safety
To reap more of Tremper’s wisdom, check out his books, Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, Avalanche Essentials, and Avalanche Pocket Guide (Mountaineers Books). Listen to the podcast to hear Tremper explain how to use each book in your progression about avalanche safety and snow science. Learn more about avalanche safety at avalanche.org. Find and sign up for an avalanche education class with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights 5:30: Tremper grew up skiing and got his first lesson in avalanches at the age of 10 from his ski patrol father.9:50: Tremper got his start in the ski industry as a lifty at Bridger Bowl, Montana, and worked his way up to ski patrol and avalanche forecasting.19:40: Tremper has been caught in two avalanches.20:30: Tremper talks about avalanche fatality rates, and the demographics point to the “new kids on the block.”23:20: Avalanche risk broken down by region...Colorado, Utah, Montana, Washington, California...and why it’s so tricky in the cold regions far away from the ocean. 26:20: The backcountry is shaping up to be busy and Tremper is worried about people in the backcountry who don’t know the basics of avalanches. Here’s what you can do even if you can’t get into an avalanche class. Watch the “Know Before You Go” video. 30:00: You need a backcountry system to stay safe. Copy Tremper’s system to create your own. 30:40: Tremper talks about how he uses Gaia GPS as part of his system. 34:10: Avalanche risk varies greatly with slope angle. North facing slopes can be dangerous in early season conditions.35:20: Pick your backcountry ski and snowboarding partners wisely and don’t bring too many! 45:10: Systematic and confirmation biases plays into poor decision making in the backcountry; don’t trust your beliefs because it can lead you astray. Rely on the data and observations. 50:00: Tremper busts common avalanche myths: skied slopes are not always safe, avalanches can happen in the trees, and lower angle slopes are generally safer but no guarantee.55:30: Tremper runs through his “low risk travel ritual.” A list of safety protocols he learned from ski patrol over the years. 1:00:35: Here’s what you should do if you’re caught in an avalanche.1:04:15: The avalanche risk scales used in the United States are not linear ratings; each level doubles the risk of avalanches.1:07:20: Here’s what Tremper says first-timers should do to stay safer in the backcountry this year.1:11:30: Tremper continues his snow safety work with creating more books and videos on the avalanches.
57 minutes | 5 months ago
19. Charles Pitman - Summit County Search & Rescue
Learn more about avalanche safety at avalanche.org. Find an avalanche education class with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. Learn more about Summit Country Search and Rescue and donate to your local search and rescue organization.Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights4:30: The pandemic made the backcountry around Denver busy this year and many skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers were ill-equipped for safety.8:15: This year has been a record setting rescue season in Summit County, Colorado.12:00: Search and Rescue is preparing for a busy winter season.13:15: Here’s how COVID-19 has changed search-and-rescue missions in Summit County.17:00: Practice your avalanche transceiver skills at a beacon park.18:15: More people are taking avalanche classes, but these classes are limited and filling up quickly this year.19:00: Get search-and-rescue’s tips to avoid avalanches: get the avalanche forecast, check the weather, and stick to low-angle slopes if you aren’t sure about the danger. 25:25: Avalanche forecasting is not an exact science and sometimes you can do all the right things and still get into trouble.26:15: A case study about five people who died in an avalanche: what went wrong?27:00: Is technology giving people a false sense of security and too much confidence?32:00: Colorado typically has a weaker snow pack and experiences more avalanches than other areas of the country.36:00: A GPS mapping app on your phone, like Gaia GPS, would reduce the number of rescue calls because people could see exactly where they are on the map and easily find the trail if they get lost. 39:00: Two-way satellite communication devices helps search-and-rescue crews to understand the help you need, plus Pitman tells us what happens when you press the SOS button. 42:00: Pitman says call for help sooner rather than later; it could save a life. 48:40: Make a plan for your backcountry adventure, but don’t succumb to summit fever; be flexible and willing to adjust plans when you get out on the mountain because conditions may change rapidly. 53:00: Most search-and-rescue crews are volunteer and they do it for the heart warming stories with happy endings.
85 minutes | 5 months ago
18. Courtney Dauwalter (w/ co-host Abby Levene)
Follow Courtney on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with her physical, psychological, and gustatory adventures. Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights 3:55: How Courtney went from being an elite cross country skier to an ultramarathon runner.6:52: Courtney’s first 100-mile race did not go according to plan.9:00: That first 100-mile race flipped a switch in Courtney’s brain. 10:07: Courtney thinks of her brain as a filing cabinet filled with experiences to draw out and use as needed.13:35: How Courtney made the leap to quit her job as a high school science teacher to pursue running full time.18:00: What drove Courtney to jump from racing 100 miles to 240 miles at the Moab 240.22:35: Things unravel at the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in 2019.26:35: How Courtney bounced back mentally and physically from Western States leading up to UTMB.35:30: Courtney’s legs were not prepared to win UTMB. How she managed to do so, anyway.39:10: The role Courtney’s husband Kevin plays in Courtney’s success.41:05: Why Courtney thought running the 500-mile Colorado Trail sounded like a good idea.44:00: The sleep game of ultra-long distance events.50:15: Unbeknownst to Courtney, things go horribly wrong on the Colorado Trail.54:35: The inside-scoop on Courtney’s most recent win at Big’s Backyard Ultra.1:13:35: Why Courtney exclusively runs in basketball style shorts.1:15:35: Courtney’s life-saving food on the trail.1:16:50: The one endurance event Courtney would love to spectate.
88 minutes | 5 months ago
17. Buzz Burrell - "Father of the FKT"
Learn more about Buzz Burrell and FKT records at fastestknowntime.com. Listen every Friday to the Fastest Known Time podcast, featuring the rising stars in speed records around the globe. You can also follow the FKT community on Instagram.Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights 4:15: Buzz defines “fastest known time“ and how that term became popular over time. 6:40: Buzz talks about some of his own FKTs on the John Muir Trail and the Colorado Trail. 13:00: Fastest known time action is off the hook this year, filling a hole for cancelled races due to COVID. 15:00: FKT doesn’t have a leader board; only the winners of the FKT gets a mention on the website.16:15: FKTs of the season, including Jeff “Legend” Garmire’s unsupported FKT of the Colorado Trail. 31:00: The Wind River High Route created by Buzz and Andrew Skurka has been a popular FKT objective in the last couple of years for both men and women. 34:00: FKTs have gender categories and recently added a non-binary category. But there are no age categories for FKT and a 20-year-old competes against a 60-year-old. 37:10: You have to submit a GPX file to verify a fastest known time.39:30: Top athletes pursue an FKT to push themselves beyond organized races and to put their backcountry skills to the test.45:15: FKTs are not just about mountains; fastest known time routes exist in the deserts, across states, and on paved roads. 50:10: Nobody has tried to lay down a speed record on the Continental Divide Trial, and Buzz explains why. 55:05: All the FKTs that got away from Buzz over the years. 1:01:00: Buzz’s favorite route crosses the three districts of Canyonlands National Park: Maze, Needles, Island in the Sky. 1:03:00 You can do Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim (R2R2R) like most people on the Kaibab Trail, or you can take the more obscure Bass Trail and swim across the river (like Buzz did when he was 65 years old). 1:06:10: Don’t try using your Therm-a-Rest Neo Air as a packraft — it doesn’t work. 1:09:25: Buzz has the engine at age 69, but the parts have worn out. 1:11:05: Buzz is mad about aging and is going down kicking and screaming. 1:11:15: Learn Buzz’s 4-step program for dealing with the effects of aging. 1:15:00: Buzz is a multi-sport athlete; he competes in ballroom dancing and likes swing dancing — it’s athletic. “The body is born to move!”1:25:00: The FKT is a community. What’s on tap for Buzz, the FKT podcast, and the FKT website.
45 minutes | 6 months ago
16. Grizzly 399
Learn more about Griz 399 by visiting her Instagram page. Read her Wikipedia page and Mangelsen and Wilkinson’s glossy-paged book: The Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek. See Mangelsen’s photography by visiting his gallery in Jackson, Wyoming or follow him on Instagram. Read Wilkinson’s non-profit Mountain Journal to discover public interest issues facing the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem and for a greater understanding of the inter-relationships between people and nature in the American West. You can also see Maureen Matsen's photography by following her on Instagram.Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights 4:00: Wildlife watcher and amateur photographer Maureen Matsen grew up looking for wildlife when she would take long roadtrips with her family to Grand Teton National Park. To keep them entertained, Maureen’s dad would pay her and her siblings cash if they spotted an animal. This helped Maureen develop a keen eye for animal spotting. 5:15: Maureen seeks out wildlife as a way to process the stress of her job as an ICU nurse. 5:45: Maureen seeks out all kinds of wildlife in the park but bears, because they are not an everyday sighting, are the piece de resistance. 6:10: Grizzly Bear 399 has very distinct markings: a heart-shaped face with blonde coloring down her snout.7:05: Grizzly Bear 399 lives along the roadside in the Pilgrim Creek area of Grand Teton National Park. 7:20: Hundreds of people line the roads just to get a glimpse of 399. But on Maureen’s first outing this year — she missed the chance to see her and her cubs.8:30: The pandemic has been heavy and these animals have brought so much hope and joy in such heavy times. 9:20: Maureen went back a few weeks later and Grizzly Bear 399 popped out of the sagebrush trailing four little cubs behind her. And the crowd goes wild. 11:28: This bear is being stalked by hundreds of tourists and professional photographers just trying to get a glimpse of 399’s glory. The joy when she appears is palpable. 12:50: Professional Wildlife Photographer Tom Mangelsen describes the return of Grizzly Bears to Grand Teton National Park. A grizzly bear showed up on his back porch in 2006. That was his introduction to Grizzly Bear 399.14:30: Tom recalls that last year, Grizzly Bear 399 was fatter than ever before. He speculated she would have triplets.14:45: Grizz 399 surprised everyone when she came out of hibernation with four tiny cubs. 16:50: Todd Wilkinson has written about Grizzly Bear 399 for National Geographic magazine and then collaborated with Tom Mangelsen to publish a book: the Grizzly Bears of Pilgrim Creek. 17:25: Grizzly Bear 399’s life has been more dramatic to watch as the years go on. 18:00: Bears are not these fearsome creatures, they only want to protect their young. 18:50: Lives along the road because it’s safer for her babies, and she does all of her bear business with a grandstand of people around her. 20:20: The front country has turned out to be the perfect habitat for Grizz 399, who has raised 7 litters along the roadside over the years.21:43: Grizz 399 has exuded amazing tolerance for human beings; she can navigate cars and hundreds of people without “losing her cool.” Tom says Grizzly Bear 399 has become a master at navigating the crowds.23:45: But not so fast. Grizzly Bears are dangerous and wildlife officials advise to keep your distance, stay in your car, and never feed a bear.25:00: Dennis Van Denbos was at the wrong place at the wrong time in 2007. He was mauled by Grizzly Bear 399 and her then-yearling triplets. He lived to tell us about it. 28:21: Grizz 399 jumped out of the bushes about 20 feet away and charged at Dennis. Three “teddy bear shapes” stood in the background. 29:25: Dennis saw this striking image with the sun shining on her — a sight Dennis will never forget. Dennis started to back away but stumbled off the road. 31:10: Dennis is face-to-face, eye level with Grizz 399. And she charges. 31:50: Dennis hits the deck and Grizz 399 and her three cubs bite him in the back and backside. 32:50: “They’re just going to eat me.” Dennis contemplates the end of his life. 33:00: People intervened and Dennis survived. Dennis understood why she attacked, she was feeding on a carcass and was stressed. He would have been very disappointed if the park had decided to kill Grizz 399 because of the attack. 37:30: The decision to let Grizzly Bear 399 live after the mauling of Dennis turns out to be a pivotal moment in grizzly bear recovery in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Grizz 399 went on to have multiple sets of cubs.38:40: Grizzly Bear 399 displays emotions humans can relate to. 40:00: After the death of her cub “Snowy,” Grizzly Bear 399 “bawled” and grieved her baby’s death. Tom describes how distraught the bear was. 41:00: Grizzly Bear 399 is 24 years old, and that makes her a grandmother bear who isn’t expected to live much longer. 41:50: Todd explains how Grizzly bears face many dangers in the world: human encounters and traffic.42:00: We have this homegrown nature safari in the Yellowstone ecosystem.42:15: Todd describes how the story of Griz 399 brings us all together.
90 minutes | 6 months ago
15. Zach "Badger" Davis and The Trek (w/ co-host Real Hiking Viking)
Go to TheTrek.co for all the resources you can imagine for long-distance backpacking as well as learn more about Badger. Follow his adventures on Instagram, and tune into his podcast, Backpacker Radio. You can also hear more hilarity from Viking on his first Out and Back appearance. Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights0:45: Zach “Badger” Davis is one of Shanty’s favorite people in the outdoor community.1:30: Shanty explains how backpacking with the Real Hiking Viking led to getting Badger (and Viking once again) on the show.5:20: Zach did not grow up super “outdoorsy.”6:50: Thru-hiking the AT was Badger’s first backpacking trip.7:20: Badger did everything wrong on the AT—including setting his socks on fire.8:30: Badger explains why relying on free gear isn’t always the best move for a thru-hike.9:30: The trio discusses how social media has impacted thru-hiking.12:00: How thru-hiking has changed over the past decade.15:45: Badger accidentally fell into backpacking because he was miserable working 70 to 80 hours a week.17:30: Norovirus on the AT.18:50: Badger’s AT thru-hike was deliberately solitary and introspective.19:30: Badger recounts his most cathartic moment on the AT.21:00: The person who went into the AT and the person who came out were two entirely different people.26:30: Badger explains how repeating the mantra “Why are you here?” on the AT helped inspire him to write a book.27:30: Writing Appalachian Trails was a reprieve from the post-trail blues.29:30: Badger gives his explanation of the “Virginia Blues” — it’s not what you may think!33:00: How making sense of the Virginia Blues led to Badger starting a blog, which led to writing a book.34:00: The origin story of The Trek.37:40: Badger and Viking tell the hilarious story of how they met.41:00: Badger and Viking hike the PCT together. 42:00: Different challenges of the AT and PCT.45:30: Why Badger changed the name of Appalachian Trials to The Trek.48:40: Why you should mentally break your thru-hike down into a series of section hikes.52:30: How Viking decided to attempt a last minute winter thru-hike of the AT.55:00: How sleeping in an outhouse saved Viking and Badger’s lives.1:05:15: Badger’s vision for the future of The Trek.1:13:00: Badger’s next goals.1:15:00: Badger’s favorite off-the-beaten-path trail.1:16:40: Badger recounts watching Viking eat an enormous mid-hike meal.1:19:15: Badger and Viking hitch a ride with a bachelorette party bus.
59 minutes | 7 months ago
14. Scott Turner: National Parks and Day Hikes
You can learn more about Turner and find his guidebooks on his website. Follow Turner’s adventures on Instagram, and connect with him on Facebook.Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights3:20: Scott has written hundreds of trail descriptions.3:45: Scott’s upbringing planted the seeds for his hiking and writing passions.5:50: How a book sitting on his girlfriend’s shelf inspired him to learn how to hike safely.8:00: Scott starts exploring the diverse landscapes of San Diego county.12:00: Scott starts writing for LA-based Modern Hiker in 2014. He’s written 300 articles since.13:30: Scott revises Afoot and Afield, which entailed hiking all 250 hikes, plus another 250 hikes.15:30: How to write a trail description.19:00: Scott works with Mountaineers Books to write pocket-sized guidebooks to national parks.20:40: Scott’s guidebooks contain itineraries for people visiting national parks for one to several days.21:25: How to get the most out of your one-day visit to a national park. (Prep and planning are key!)22:10: Why to get to the park early.22:50: Pick an area within the park, and hike to the best spots in that area.23:15: Scott’s one-day itinerary for Sequoia National Park.24:30: Scott’s one-day itinerary for Kings Canyon National Park.27:00: The benefits of an interpretive hike, and why stopping in the visitor’s center is worthwhile.28:00: Scott’s favorite hike in Zion National Park.30:00: Scott’s tips on how to enjoy Joshua Tree National Park.33:25: Why Scott starts hiking really early. 35:00: Scott’s books contain the deep cuts, less busy trails that you may have never heard of.36:35: Scott shakes down his pack, laying out everything he brings on a day hike.38:30: Why Scott avoids wearing cotton.39:25: Scott’s favorite snack to take hiking.40:15: Why Scott almost always prefers trail running shoes to hiking boots.41:25: The “10 essentials” you need to survive an unplanned night outside.42:45: Scott’s books also contain activities for people who don’t hike.43:53: Scott shares an insider secret about where to hike in the fall.45:00: Scott is enduring a record fire season in California. 46:25: Scott divulges his next guidebook.48:10: How hiking helps Scott at his day job as a marriage and family therapist. 50:30: Scott’s favorite national park.51:10: Scott’s favorite place to go hiking that isn’t a national park.53:00: Scott and Shanty break down the best Pop-Tarts flavor for hiking.
113 minutes | 7 months ago
13. Her Odyssey: An Adventure Across the Americas
Learn more about Fidgit, Neon, and Her Odyssey on their website. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook. You can support their mission, or just simply buy them a meal, by visiting their Patreon. Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights1:00: Fidgit and Neon started their journey over 5 years ago.5:25: Fidgit and Neon met on the PCT in 2010.8:25: The idea for Her Odyssey came to Fidgit on a drive home from work in Kansas City.10:50: Fidgit’s belief system led to her reach out to Neon to be her travel partner.14:30: Fidgit and Neon pull each other toward’s the center of emotion and logic. 19:50: Fidgit spent three years planning this trip. 22:30: Accepting that they didn’t know what they were doing was essential.23:30: Neon uses her power of observation to help them navigate.25:00: Fidgit and Neon tell an illuminating story about getting lost. 27:00: How sharing knowledge about routes and trails differs in Latin America and the US.30:00: Learning some of the local language is an important display of good will and respect.34:00: Fidgit and Neon share pointers for interacting with locals and being respectful of local culture.41:40: Gaging threats and avoiding dangerous situations internationally. 45:35: Self-defense strategy for staying safe overseas.52:00: Women’s bodies were found cut up in bags while they were in South America.59:50: How Fidgit and Neon dealt with water in South America. (Their strategy didn’t always work!)1:05:50: Fidgit and Neon go separate ways for part of their journey.1:12:00: When a region got too “murdery,” they moved on.1:21:10: How COVID has impacted their travels. 1:29:30: Fidgit and Neon are focusing on the storytelling and community building components of their journey.1:30:20: The ultimate goal of their trip is to reach the Arctic Ocean within the next two years.1:33:00: Balancing structure and letting the journey unfold.1:33:30: Advice to those looking to go on their own odyssey. 1:36:30: The grossest things Fidgit and Neon have eaten on their trip.1:43:00: The one luxury item Fidgit and Neon can’t travel without. (You will never guess!)1:49:00: How Neon and Fidgit got their trail names.
46 minutes | 7 months ago
12. Solo Backpacking with a Stalker
Mary is a former journalist and trial lawyer, both experiences she drew upon in order to give you a narrative account of this unnerving event. Today, she is the executive producer of the Out and Back podcast as well as a writer and editor at Gaia GPS. When she is not in the office, Mary works as a guide for Andrew Skurka Adventures in wild places around the west, like Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite, and Alaska. Learn more about Mary by following her on Instagram. Read Mary’s bio on the Gaia GPS’s team page and view her hiking credentials on Andrew Skurka’s guide roster. Read her tips on how to plan your first solo backpacking trip. Episode Highlights 3:00: Mary did not grow up in an outdoor family. She grew up in the Detroit area. 4:25: Even in the suburbs, Mary was drawn to the outdoors. 7:30: Mary’s sister dropped her off at Lake Tahoe when she was 17 so she could pursue outdoor jobs. 9:40: Mary lands her dream job as a wilderness ranger in the Desolation Wilderness on the western crest of the Lake Tahoe Basin. 11:00: There was one major problem: solo backpacking!12:20: Mary’s first night out in the wilderness alone. 15:50: Mary became the resident expert in Desolation Wilderness and finally got comfortable solo backpacking. 17:15: Mary meets Carl at the 90-foot wall, a popular climbing crag in Emerald Bay.19:20: Mary runs into Carl in the backcountry. 21:00: Carl shows up at Mary’s house.23:45: Underwear goes missing. 26:10: Mary is camping at her favorite backcountry campsite and Carl shows up right as the sun is going down. 27:15: Mary freezes. 32:26: Mary is constantly looking over her shoulder for Carl.32:50: Mary sees Carl again on the trail. 34:00: Mary was mad at Carl for interrupting her dream job in the wilderness. She decided to stay in Desolation Wilderness and was ready mentally and physically to confront Carl if she ever saw him again. 39:00: Mary understood victims of violent crime and how they could freeze in the middle of an assault. 43:10: Solo backpacking is magic and a cathartic way to sort out issues for Mary.
47 minutes | 7 months ago
11. Backcountry Foodie - Aaron Owens Mayhew
Check out Backcountry Foodie’s website and Instagram for backcountry cooking tips and inspiration.Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights:2:40: Backcountry Foodie is an online meal planning service for backpackers — a go-to science-based resource for ultralight backpacking food. 3:45: Aaron’s first backpacking meals were MREs! 4:30: Aaron fell in love with the outdoors and backpacking. 5:10: Backcountry Foodie started with a PCT thru-hike and a mid-life crisis.7:10: Meal planning for a 5-month hike was overwhelming and her initial meal planning became the inception of Backcountry Foodie.8:00: Shanty comes clean with his thru-hiker menu plan: Pop-Tarts, summer sausage, a block of cheese, and ramen. 8:15: Aaron talks about what she ate on the PCT: quinoa, beans, hummus. 8:45: She brings her home diet into the backcountry because it makes her body feel better.9:15: Two pounds of food per day can be a myth; you can go lighter with more calories!10:08: Aaron often packs a pound and a half food per day. 12:05: You don’t have to eat processed food while backpacking, here’s how.12:20: Aaron definitely packs Snickers in her backpack though! 13:15: You need a balance of protein, carbs, and fat to keep that engine running all day! 14:30: Aaron is a “nerdy dietitian” who loves to crunch numbers for proper calorie densities and weight. 15:27: Eating healthy is more expensive, no getting around the fact that processed foods are cheaper, but good health is worth the money. 16:20: A popular meal that is not too expensive is Aaron's spruced-up ramen recipe.19:40: You don’t have to buy a dehydrator, you can just use all dry ingredients from the store. 22:00: Here are some foods that Aaron doesn’t think you should dehydrate.25:00: Check out the ultimate ratios for carbs, fat, and protein on a backpacking trip. 33:00: Sugar will make you crash.36:50: There's something for everyone in Backcountry Foodie meal planning: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free.40:15: Aaron loves getting emails from clients saying that her meals have made them feel better and hike better.41:00: Backcountry Foodie Phase 2 includes packaged meals but they are having trouble finding a kitchen to work in during COVID. 42:00: Van-life is Backcountry Foodie’s lifestyle with no desire to go back to a standard lifestyle.43:00: Aaron has almost a full kitchen inside her home on wheels.
77 minutes | 8 months ago
10. Rue McKenrick and the American Perimeter Trail
Check out the American Perimeter Trail website and follow McKenrick’s journey with real time updates on his Instagram and Facebook pages.Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights 0:50: What is the American Perimeter Trail?3:50: How Rue got into backpacking. 4:50: Rue grew up near the AT in PA and enjoyed spending time alone.5:20: Rue got lost at summer camp.7:10: Rue talks about his first long-distance hike: the AT.8:00: Rue’s motivation to get into long-distance hiking.9:30: What Rue learned about himself while pursuing the Triple Crown.10:30: Hiking the AT redeemed Rue’s faith in humanity.11:15: Hiking deepened Rue’s empathy towards others.12:45: Aligning personal and professional values.13:20: Rue lives a leave no trace life, even in the front country. He hasn’t driven a car in 10 years!14:30: Rue hiked the PCT in 2005.14:50: Rue hiked the CDT in 2007.15:30: Rue felt like his life was taking a more domestic turn, but it never happened.16:30: Existential introspection led Rue to create the APT.17:40: Rue’s desire to explore the US before he goes back abroad. 18:30: The now-or-never reckoning moment that led Rue to start hiking the APT.20:00: Goal of the APT is conservation through recreation.22:30: Backpacking is like sandpaper. It’s smoothed out a lot of Rue’s edges. 24:00: The APT is not a finished product. 26:00: No long-distance trail is ever complete.28:30: How Rue started building the APT.30:00: A lot of Rue’s route decisions are day-to-day on the trail.31:00: Rue doesn’t like to plan, but he prepares.35:40: How Rue got through the waterless stretches of Death Valley.39:00: How Rue is navigating the route.40:20: Importance of staying found.40:50: How Rue sees a 3D world when he looks at a map.42:30 More of the APT is off-trail than on.43:30: How Rue got through Texas, a state where only 4.2% of the land is public.46:30: Challenge of thru-hiking through terrain without long-distance trail communities.46:50: Someone shot at Rue.47:00: How Rue navigated having guns pulled on him in a store.52:20: The most discouraging thing Rue has encountered multiple times on the trail.56:50: How Rue picks up essential items while on the trail.57:00: Social isolating: Rue’s COVID-19 coping strategy while out on the trail. 58:30: The challenges of thru-hiking during a pandemic that you may not have considered. 59:45: Thru-hiking requires both soft and hard skills. The APT takes both to the max.1:00:25: Funding the trip while on the trip.1:00:30: How many times Rue will re-up gear on this project.1:05:30: The one luxury item Rue can’t hike without: an open heart.1:06:40: The best trail magic Rue has ever received. 1:08:10: The people who inspire Rue.1:11:00 How people can support the APT.
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