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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…

Take Better Adventure Photos: Shooting in Low Light in the Mountains

Like many “pros” out there, I’m a self-taught photographer—after all photography itself is not that complicated. Over the years I’ve become a lot more efficient at capturing the outdoors, but my style has never changed. Everyone has his or her own style, and that’s not something that should be force fed. But underneath every personal taste there…

A Year in the Wilderness: Winter and Spring Play Tug of War – Week 27, Post 12

The dogs trotted down Knife Lake pulling us silently across the last patches of snow lining the southern shore. In the spring, dawn is usually the coolest time of the day and offers the best traveling conditions. In a couple hours the sun’s powerful rays would cause the dogs to pant, the snow and ice…

For More and More Runners, Ski Mountaineering Is Closing the Winter Fitness Gap

Why trail- and ultrarunners are spending their winters in ski boots. Just after sunset on March 20, 2016, endurance athletes Jason Schlarb, Scott Simmons, Paul Hamilton, and Noah Howell skinned to the edge of Cement Creek on the outskirts of Silverton, Colorado. They had completed all but the last two miles of their planned four-day…

Calving Ice Sets Off Mini-Tsunamis Daily in Antarctica

The placid demeanor of an Antarctic fjord often conceals a more dangerous reality that lurks just below the surface. Even as Ari Friedlaender led us on a quiet search for minke whales in Andvord Bay on March 15, the fjord was showing a very different face several miles away at Neko Harbor, a low, ice-free…

Hunting ‘Gators’ in Antarctica

3 p.m. local time, March 15, 2016, Post #4 Our Zodiac glides past chunks of floating ice, through water as smooth and still as glass. Ari Friedlaender stands in back, steering the boat with one hand, his crossbow stowed conveniently at his feet. We’re cruising through Andvord Bay, a fjord on the west side of…