Category archives for California

Suffering for the Fun of It

This summer, The North Face climbers Cedar Wright and Alex Honnold decided to enchain all of California’s 14,000-foot peaks, which wouldn’t be that notable, except for the fact that they were going to try to do it without cars. Over the course of three epic weeks of pain and suffering, the quirky duo who—had never done…

“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” ~ John Muir Drawing wild-eyed wanderers and scruffy-haired men from around the world, the 211-mile John Muir Trail has a reputation of immeasurable proportions. Making its way onto the proverbial bucket…

You don’t normally think of Mammoth Lakes, California, as a climbing mecca. I’d never been to Mammoth, in fact, before last September, when the Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) invited me to be their “keynote speaker,” where I held forth about the joys and woes of 33 years of freelance writing. During those few…

There’s a moment in Sender Films’s new documentary Honnold 3.0 that is utterly terrifying to watch. At age 27, Alex Honnold has emerged as the world’s premier free-solo rock climber. In the film, he’s in the first leg of his “Yosemite Triple”—an attempt to climb the three biggest faces in the Valley, Mount Watkins, El…

Last June, Alex Honnold made headlines, again, when he soloed three of the highest walls in Yosemite (Mt. Watkins, El Capitan, and Half Dome) in just under 19 hours, which included driving time in between the formations. Honnold’s feat totalled 7,000 vertical feet of climbing, with 95 percent of it was free soloing (in a…

Dangling on the side of a big wall, perched up on a small ledge, or reaching high to grasp a good hold, adrenaline runs through your veins. A black raven swoops down past your head, giving a sharp sensation of the exposure below. Layers of deep connection to the environment are built through the survival…

Donning brightly colored spandex. Slogging up and over mountains. Getting plastered by mud. Not exactly most high schoolers’ idea of fun. However, hundreds of kids in the NorCal High School Cycling League couldn’t imagine a better way to spend their weekends. For Eliel, high school bike racing is a competitive outlet at the highest level.…

Aspiring yogis, Lululemon yoga moms, and a transient hippie subculture caught somewhere between the last Dead Tour and the next Burning Man all mingle in a four-day celebration of, well, whatever you want it to be at Wanderlust, a four-city yoga festival that hit Stratton Mountain, Vermont; Copper Mountain, Colorado; Squaw Valley, California; and Whistler,…

Ease Your Kids Into the Outdoors

For parents, few joys compare to sharing a favorite activity with their kids—of rediscovering a thrill through a child’s eye. This especially rings true with outdoor experiences, where a budding adventurer might need a little nurturing to bloom. Take backpacking, for example. I think it is one of the most sublime activities. I love the…

See our Best Trails guide, including World’s Best Hikes: 20 Epic Trails. Situated at 6,225 feet (1,897 meters) above sea level, California’s Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. While Lake Tahoe has always provided boundless recreation opportunities, only recently has it been possible to circumnavigate the crest of the lake on…

Many kids in America stop riding bikes in high school. When splashing through puddles and racing around the park is no longer cool, two wheels get traded in for four. But for hundreds kids in northern California, the ride never stops—it gets faster. These are the student-athletes of the NorCal High School Cycling League. They…

With more than 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) of trails, Yosemite National Park offers visitors an almost endless array of hiking options that can both challenge you and take your breath away at the same time. But there is one option that stands tall amongst all the trails in the park—the Mist Trail. (See more options…

See more photos like these in our Extreme Photo of the Week gallery. “Wow, I’m surprisingly tired,” thought rock climber Alex Honnold, 26, at this point while speed climbing the Nose on El Capitan with Hans Florine, now 48, to set a new record on June 17, 2012. “This was actually the hardest move on…

Earlier this year, we asked 20 of the world’s best athletes and explorers to advise us on the top adventure trips within their sports for our Ultimate Adventure Bucket List. Each gave us two recommendations—one “dream trip” they hoped to do someday and one “must-do trip,” a true classic, that the rest of us should…

“On the highline my thoughts are simple and clear,” says pioneering rock climber, BASE jumper, and wing suit flyer Dean Potter. “Fundamental needs shine through the mental clutter. I focus completely on my breath, my connection with the line, and making it safely to the other side.” This highline was set up on the summit…

By Kate Siber Sandstone Peak Hollywood’s star power easily mesmerizes most of Los Angeles’s visitors, which is good news for hikers. For a big city, trails can be relatively unfrequented, and with a dramatic seaside locale, several mountain ranges, and canyons, L.A. has a surprising menu of scenic hikes, like those in the Santa Monica…

By Kate Siber Mount Tamalpais State ParkPerhaps it’s the mild climate, the scenery, or something in the drinking water that makes San Francisco such a hub for urban kayakers, sailors, mountain bikers, climbers, and hikers. Or maybe it’s areas like Mount Tamalpais State Park, 6,300 acres of wild grasslands, chaparral, redwoods, and wildflowers only 20…

Photograph by Michael Maloney, San Francisco Chronicle/Corbis Celebrating Great Outdoors Month With 35 Great Hikes Half Dome Hike When to Go: April to OctoberRound-Trip: 17.2 Miles Level: Challenging Day Hike See the Trail Map This is the hike you’ll talk about as all the others fade into pleasant memories. Not only do you climb 4,800…

For our annual Adventure Travel issue, we scoured the globe to find the 25 Best New Trips in the World for 2010, complete with a Best Trips photo gallery. Today, we present California. The world’s far corners are now well within reach. CALIFORNIA: Thru-Hike the Sierra “What makes the Sierra High Route so unique,” says Ian Elman, owner…

Need a Halloween costume? Try a snowsuit. With as-predicted El Niño weather patterns already bringing in the powder, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe is slated to open as early as October 31. Two storms have covered Lake Tahoe with almost two feet of snow in the past week, and forecasts for the rest of the season…

Text by Christian Camerota If you're barking up this tree, it's probably a story it's heard before. That's because Methuselah, an ancient bristlecone pine, is 4,768 years old. You could make the argument that Inyo National Forest, the home of Methuselah and its relatives, belongs on any wonders of the world list, and certainly merits…

Text by Christian Camerota Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger has a plan to help remedy California's budget debacle: terminate state parks. With the state in dire financial straits–partially as a result of private and commercial property values run amok and a slew of bad mortgages–it seems only fair to focus on shutting down what little public land…

A roundup of the latest adventure news, by Mindy Zacharjasz Father-son bonding, Adventure style: John and Ryan Dahlem added Himalaya’s Cho Oyu to their résumé after their latest summit of the world’s sixth highest peak. It’s just another notch on the father-son team’s climbing belt, which already includes the highest peak on five of seven…

Text by Contributing Editor James Vlahos The first time I looked for Steve Fossett, in September 2007, search and rescue crews were despondent—the desert was large, Fossett was small, and how could he ever be found? The second time, however, nearly a year later, the searchers I met were seriously pumped. As documented in “Zeroing…

Headliners: Adventure in 60 Seconds

A roundup of the latest adventure news, by Mindy Zacharjasz Talk about a killer paint job: Kayaker Wave Vidmar sets off on a 45-day expedition down the rugged California coastline where he plans to create a visual record of the state–-and kayak every recurrent great white shark attack spot in California. His secret weapon? A…