“I’m learning how to listen to that subconscious voice of caution,” says Carmen Kuntz. “Where I used to feed on the feeling of adrenaline and risk, I now have to avoid risk completely. After a mild traumatic brain injury it’s simple: I’m not allowed to hit my head ever again.”

When an overexcited friend tackled Carmen at a bar and thwacked her head hard on the wooden floor, Carmen had just started to break into the world of competitive, freestyle whitewater kayaking. That moment changed everything. Rather than pointing her kayak into Class V whitewater, for the past four years, Carmen has had to confront a different kind of challenge: the balance between the risk of re-injuring her head and the risk of losing who she is.


You can find more of Carmen’s writing at her website: CarmeneKuntz.com

Direct download: Unlearning_Adventure_Sports.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:02am PDT

"For me, it was a way to stay connected--literally: tied to my free-range daughter by a length of 10-millimeter climbing rope, and connected to my own dream of being an adventurer," says David Altschul. "And that was how I found myself, a few days later, on a ledge, high above the Columbia River, in the dark."

For the past decade, David has told the story of the infamous "Escape from Beacon Rock"--a failed attempt to climb a basalt monolith with his daughter, our producer, Jen. At age 72, it dawned on him that, rather than continue to tell the story of the failed climb, he could connect with his daughter by actually climbing Beacon Rock, and doing it this time as a 'real' climber. 

Direct download: Escape_From_Beacon_Rock.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

"Here I was, a professional wilderness instructor with no food or water, a sopping wet tent and wetter sleeping bag, no way to banish the chills or signal that I needed help," says Emma Walker. "For the first time in my career, I began to think I might need a rescue."

Emma's husband Bix has also worked for years as an outdoor guide and educator. So, when the two of them set out on an overnight backpacking trip to a beach on Hawaii's big island, they were unconcerned--maybe a little too unconcerned.


You can find more of Emma's writing at myalaskanodyssey.com or listen to her other two Shorts, "I Poo: A Love Story" and "Exit Strategy"

Direct download: Aloha_Life.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:57am PDT

"The notion that there's one dream that we're all after and agreed upon ways in which you can verify that you are indeed living that dream drives me crazy," says Forest McBrian. "Everyone's dream is a little bit different. If there is a dream that we all lust after, then we're all just trying to do what's pushed by the media. So, yeah, this trip felt like an act of rebellion. Like, 'This is what we think is cool. We're going to do what we think is cool'."

In May of 2017, Forest and his friend and fellow ski-guide Trevor Kostanich spent a month traversing the North Cascades from Snoqualmie Pass to the Canadian Border (well, almost) in a style that broke all the rules of an epic mountain expedition--in the best way possible. 

Direct download: The_Punk_Rockers_of_Ski_Mountaineering.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

"It's like being caught in a spiderweb. You'll find yourself pushing with every part of your body, and no part of your body will be able to move. You're totally trapped by--held by plants," says Elsa Sebastian, describing what it's like to bushwhack through a 25-year old clear cut in Southeast Alaska. It's something the lady fisherman did a lot of this past summer in an effort to defend the remaining old growth on her home island, Prince of Wales. 

In January of 2017, Alaska Representative Don Young introduced a bill that would transfer up to two million acres of the Tongass National Forest to the State of Alaska for timber harvest. Much of that land would come from Prince of Wales. 

For the fourth installment of our Endangered Spaces series, we travel with Elsa and her companions, botanical illustrator Mara Menahan and biologist Natalie Dawson, as they trek through the areas on the island selected for transfer to see for themselves what's been lost and what remains to be saved. 


Learn more about the project at laststands.org

Find Mara's illustrations at maramenahan.com

Direct download: Prince_of_Wales.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:30pm PDT

"I think the jack of all trades gets a bum rap. The jack is the master of none, but I think the jack probably has a lot of fun," says Fitz Cahall. 

This year, we open our annual Year of Big Ideas with an ode to "mediocrity" from Fitz, then turn, as always, to our community for inspiration for the coming year. Happy 2018! 

Direct download: The_Year_of_Big_Ideas_2018.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:40pm PDT

"I've watched my friends and peers hopscotch across the world," says Fitz Cahall. "Some of them have reached the top of their craft, authored ridiculous lines up mountains, followed rivers into wrinkles of the deepest canyons, found the edge of human endurance.

"If I look back on the last ten years, I'm often surprised that I didn't end up on their trajectory. Something inside, quiet and steady, called me in a different direction--one that I struggled against, at first." 

How you grow varies for each person, and it can differ depending on your stage of life. Some people reach upward and outward; others root down. 


Please consider a donation to the Bears Ears Education Center Kickstarter.

Direct download: Growing_Down.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

"My dad started whistling. That was the first bad sign," Cordelia Zars remembers. "Then walking around the cabin and straightening things. The second. When he tromped up the ladder, rummaged around in the loft, and hollered down at me, 'Oh say, Cord...'? I knew it was over. some ridiculous idea had sprouted in his brain; negotiation was futile, all hope of rationality lost." 

In this particular instance, the idea involved strapping on cross country skis and dragging a ninety pound keyboard ten miles through the snow on a nine degree Colorado evening.

Now, Cordelia reflects on how much these hair-brained excursion--postholes, shivers, sweat, tears and all--shaped the people her and her siblings became, and left hem with a deep sense for what they're capable of. 


Find Cordelia's music here.


Donate to our Bears Ears Education Center Kickstarter Campaign here!

Direct download: Zarsian_Adventures.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

There's a light-hearted joy in orphan holidays. Thanksgiving in Indian Creek or slaying powder for Christmas may sound like more fun than going 'home' for holidays fraught with family dynamics. At least it felt that way for Katie Wallace. 

"Thanksgiving had always been a tough holiday for me," says Katie. "It meant days of pre-cleaning, followed by a day of wearing scratchy sweaters and enduring endless hour adultness. Hemmed in by tradition, social convention, and trying hard to be nice, we endured Thanksgivings with extended networks of acquaintances that none of us particularly enjoyed spending time with." 

But, over the past years, Katie has come to see family holidays as a privilege, not an obligation. 


You can find more of Katie's writing here

Direct download: T-Day.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

"It's like the Iditarod with a chance of drowning," says Jake Beatty, one of the organizers of a bizarre, crazy race called the Race to Alaska. The course traces 750-miles of Alaska's Inside Passage through complicated currents and tides, busy shipping channels and bear-ridden coastlines from Port Townsend, WA to Ketchikan, AK. In June. The most unpredictable month of the year for weather. There are two rules: no support and no motors. First place wins $10,000. Second place gets a set of decent steak knives. 

What's crazier than trying to race from Washington to Alaska on a boat without a motor? Karl Kruger's decision to enter the race on a stand up paddle board. 

We've got one for you today about a ridiculous goal, about stepping over 'the line' and the unexpected places you can wind up physically and mentally. 


Want to learn more about the Race to Alaska? Visit R2AK.com

Want to sail with Karl? Check out krugerescapes.com

Direct download: Over_the_Line.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:42pm PDT

For our eighth annual Tales of Terror episode, we have not three, but five stories that span the range of things to fear--from angry men with shotguns, to bears and mountain lions, to things that really don't have any explanation in the world of science. 

First, we visit an abandoned Pennsylvania town with Joe Shearer. Then, we'll wander the overgrown Forest Service roads of the Sierras with Drew Villeneuve, join Maria DeBari on a spooky descent from Washington state's Mt. Stuart, jumpstart a dead car battery at a trailhead on the edge of Colorado's Weminuche Wilderness with Same Whitley, and finally, travel off the map in Iceland with Sal Zullo. 

Happy Halloween!

Direct download: Tales_of_Terror_Vol._8.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:23pm PDT

"On a typical day, I taught farmers how to snowplow and chased foreign exchange students through the parking lot as they careened toward diesel pickup trucks," Tyler Neese remembers from his winters in college at an Iowa ski hill. "While skiing is never a bad way to earn a back, at the the end of the day, I found myself dreaming of powder days and places where Carhartt overalls were not standard ski attire."

So when Tyler and four friends loaded up the truck for a spring break ski vacation in Colorado, the stoke was high. Until, just minutes form the base of Keystone, black ice and a distracted driver flipped their trip--literally--upside down. But, sometimes, it's not about what happens to you, it's about how you react. 

Direct download: Yard_Sale.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:13pm PDT

Raising awareness. It seems like every day, someone embarks on a new project to 'raise awareness' about a particular issue, cause, disease, endangered species or threatened public land. But what separates the projects that cut through the noise and the ones that get drowned out in the static of issues competing for our attention? 

For our third Endangered Spaces episode, we travel to Northern Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to follow Dave and Amy Freeman on "Paddle to D.C." and "A Year in the Wilderness," two adventures that had a real impact in advocating for the protection of the place they love most. 


To learn more, visit SavetheBoundaryWaters.org,

get a copy of Dave and Amy's new book, A Year in the Wilderness,

watch Duct Tape Then Beer's film, "Bear Witness" about the Freeman's year in the Boundary Waters, 

and watch Nate Ptacek's film on "Paddle to D.C."

Direct download: Boundary_Waters.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

"If you're thirsty, you're probably already dehydrated. That's what they say. Those perfect people who always have a clean, happily-colored, reusable adult sippy bottle on hand," says Anya Miller. "Most often, I only realize that I'm thirty when someone offers me a drink. My friend Jesse Bushey brought up climbing El Cap. I didn't even know I wanted to--until he suggested it."

Duct Tape Then Beer's Director of Brand and Creative Strategy extraordinaire shares the story of her first big wall attempt, selective memory and different kinds of thirst. 


Want more? Listen to Anya's other Short, "Sleeping Bag Metamorphosis" or follow her on Instagram.

Direct download: Thirst.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:56pm PDT

"When we were living in a house, we were always compromising because we had the weight of a mortgage, of doing what we thought we should be doing," remembers Kathy Holcombe. Until, the day she, her husband, Peter, and their daughter Abby moved into a Winnebago to travel and work from the road. "I want her to see that she can do that too: whatever her wildest dreams are, to chase them and not stop until they come true," says Kathy. 

Abby's dream? To kayak the 280-miles of the classic Grand Canyon run. But how does a 12-year old arrive at a place where this goal is even conceivable? First, lots of kayaking. But, as in any sport, Abby must learn to walk up to her fears and pick them apart before deciding whether to go or not go. 

Follow the Holcombe's adventures at famagogo.com

Direct download: Winnebago_Warriors.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:24pm PDT