Afghan Women Fight Corruption for the Right to Ride

They’ve been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and featured in films and books. They were 2016 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year. They broke barriers with their sport. But for the Afghan women’s national cycling team the biggest barriers are ironically the same institutions that are in place to allow them to compete. Now…

As Surfing Goes Mainstream, Old School and Newbie Surfers Clash

There’s a battle afoot in Southern California. It’s being fought with insults, vandalism, sexual harassment, and outright violence. And the winners get to surf near a posh Los Angeles suburb. A “gang” of local surfers, dubbed the Bay Boys, have been driving interlopers—fellow surfers, the general public, even the media—from their beach on Lunada Bay…

After Two Years of Deadly Everest Avalanches, Nepal Introduces New Safety Measures

On the morning of April 23, a helicopter hovered over Everest Base Camp then ripped northward through the air, flying over the great Khumbu Icefall, which creaked and groaned under the warming sunshine. As the dust settled and the helicopter engine din grew faint, many Nepali mountain workers back at Base Camp breathed a sigh of…

What’s the Big Deal About Climbing Everest Without Oxygen?

When Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler trekked to Everest Base Camp in 1978, they were the only two people on Earth who believed they weren’t marching toward their own graves. Their goal was to reach the summit of Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen canisters, a feat that remains rare today but was, in…

21-Year-Old Champion Snowboarder Dies in Avalanche

One of the best young snowboarders in the world died in an early-morning avalanche in the Swiss Alps yesterday. Twenty-one-year-old Estelle Balet was snowboarding on Le Portalet, a steep mountain in the Mont Blanc Massif above the village of Orsières in southwestern Switzerland, her home country, when she was caught by the avalanche and carried…

This Is What Whale Breath Smells Like

He kneels at the front of the Zodiac, aiming his crossbow at a humpback whale lazing at the water surface’s 20 feet away. He squeezes the trigger and the dart flies—just over the whale’s back. “Sh**,” Ari Friedlaender says, “I shouldn’t have tried to do a skip shot.” He had hoped to bounce the dart…

Can Two Climbers Improve Everest’s Bad Reputation?

The reputation of the world’s highest mountain has never been lower. Like today’s most heated political debates, there seems to be no middle ground when it comes to discussions about Everest. People are divided at polar extremes over whether Everest and all its aspirants represent everything great about humanity—or all that is wrong with it.…

Two Climbers Discover What It Takes to Fly Off an 18,000-Foot Peak

Things have gotten surreal. It’s 5 a.m. and I’m drunkenly stumbling in the snow with my old friend Matt Segal and my paragliding instructor, Matt Henzi. “I’zz reewy windy,” Segal slurs with the linguistic acumen of someone who’s had two or three drinks too many. But, to be clear, we’re stone frigidly cold sober. “It…

Bears Really Do Chase Skiers, But Is the Video Fake?

A young woman clips into her snowboard. She doesn’t notice the animal looming on the slope behind her. Singing along to the music in her headphones, she begins gliding down the mountain, unaware that she’s being followed. As she films herself singing merrily and making turns, a grunting bear charges after her from behind. She’s…

In Cuba, the Climbing Is Irresistible—and Illegal

One of the world’s top female rock climbers explores Cuba’s complex climbing potential. When we first start hiking to the cave all we can see is flat terrain with a perimeter of limestone cliffs in the distance. It isn’t until we veer down a discreet dirt path to an unanticipated opening that we realize that…