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How I Crossed One of the World’s Roughest Seas

4 p.m. local time, March 11, 2016, Post #2  I woke this morning to the dizzy feeling of rocking—as if my bed were swinging from a hammock. The walls, ceiling, and floor creaked with each swing. The room was dark. I stumbled out of bed in search of the light switch. Our ship, the Ortelius,…

What Will Climate Change Mean for Whales? These Scientists Hope to Find Out.

2 p.m. local time, March 10, 2016, Post #1 On a blustery autumn day in Ushuaia, Argentina, 54 degrees south of the equator near the shredded, mountainous tip of South America, final preparations are under way on the M.V. Ortelius, a vessel strengthened for navigation in polar sea ice. This evening, tugboats will nudge her into…

Himalaya Scribe: ‘I Frighten a Lot of People’

The most intimidating person in Himalayan mountaineering is a 92-year-old American woman with a walker. Elizabeth Hawley (most often addressed as Miss Hawley) has lived in Kathmandu for nearly as long as Nepal has been open to foreigners. She was the first to keep good records of Himalayan expeditions and soon became the de facto…

Yurts, Yogis, and Cowboys: Skiing Away From the Modern World

It’s still dark, but I can hear him wrestling with the fire. I struggle, halfway between dreams and consciousness. It’s a late night, spent envisioning the wolf outside sniffing our yurt. We haven’t seen any wolves or any of their traces, but I can’t help my imagination—at night, it finds the wolf. In the morning…

What Was Tommy Caldwell’s Scariest Climbing Moment? Dodging Bullets in a Portaledge

You probably know Tommy Caldwell from when he and Kevin Jorgeson completed the first free climb of the Dawn Wall route in Yosemite—considered the hardest rock climb in the world. Or, you might know he was the first person to receive one of our Adventurer of the Year awards two years in a row. But did…

A Year in the Wilderness: What Cold Can Teach Us – Week 23, Post 10

Snow swirled across the lake with every frigid gust as we loaded our toboggans in the shelter of our campsite nestled in a thick stand of red pines. The dogs barked and lunged with excitement as we prepared to leave our protected campsite and head north into the biting wind. “Let’s go dogs, let’s go,”…

Opinion: Protecting the Colorado Watershed’s Last Wild River

The Colorado River Basin is the hardest working and most threatened river basin in America. From headwaters high in the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado supplies water to industry, agriculture, and more than 30 million people across the Western United States. Before running its course its flow is so tapped, diverted, and dammed that it no…

Exclusive: This Mountaineer’s Decision to Fail Likely Saved Her Partners

Barbara Moro, a high-school phys-ed teacher in Bergamo, Italy, came home from work one day and mentioned to her husband, Simone Moro, the renowned Himalayan alpinist, that one of her students showed quite a bit of promise and interest in becoming a high-altitude mountaineer. For one, the student had the gift of endurance, but she…

After Two Deadly Years, Everest Climbers Gear Up for a Strong Season

Nepal has had the worst year imaginable. But even after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, political unrest that resulted in a five-month blockade, and the two deadliest years in the history of climbing on Mount Everest, this spring’s expedition season is set to be as busy as ever. Ang Kami Sherpa, 63, just arrived at Everest Base…

Skiing Southern Colorado’s Powder Highway

The world is a swirling snow globe as I drive over Red Mountain Pass en route from Silverton to Telluride on day three of the Southern Colorado Powder Highway. Hands gripped to the steering wheel, I lean forward and squint, struggling to discern where the snow-coated hairpins blur to sheer drops. White-knuckled driving is a…