This past June Seth Waterfall made his third guiding trip to Russia to climb Mt. Elbrus. It’s an endlessly fascinating country to anyone who was raised during the Cold War and the climb is a little different than some of the other uphill walks that Seth has taken around the globe from Denali and Kilimanjaro to Everest. One of our all-time favorite guides checked in with us and gave us a glimpse into what was a mountain once shrouded behind the Iron Curtain.
Chris Coulter gets after it during snow season, migrating between Haines, Silverton, and Bariloche. But when the peaks melt out and he’s taking a break from guiding, Coulter likes to get up into the mountains with his local Utah crew. One of the places he gravitates to is Utah’s Lone Peak, which Coulter climbed with his crew again last summer. This is the report from the trip.
Wilderness, for all of us, is a refuge. In a world that constantly moves way too fast, it is the mountains, rivers and forests that provide us with the places we need to recharge. A slowly waking trout stream, a winding trail or a clean, undisturbed backcountry line—the moment we unplug and connect with those visceral experiences we find a consciousness of something very different from the swirl of the everyday. We don’t remember the meeting we had last Tuesday, but we live for the towering summit vista, the interaction in a foreign village or the weeklong trip immersed in the wilderness. We remember those moments like they were yesterday.
Words by Dan K, Images by Ben Marr and Lynsey Dyer
For active folks like us, who live for these places and endlessly plot our next adventure, we can never have enough of these moments. Our guides and athletes, well, they take it up a few levels in intensity. These are not only the places they work and train, but the locations that feed their souls—while showing others the way. They represent the pinnacle of what we would all do if we were a little more free, a little more fit and maybe a little more skilled. They are always at home in these places. Each time we publish one of their stories, it is with great respect and great admiration—but also with a hunger for the essence of their adventure.
For the past four-and-a-half years as the editor of the Live Your Adventure blog—and the past five as a writer and content editor for our brand—two quotes stared me at me each day from the wall of my desk as Mt. Rainier loomed out the back window. The first was from Eddie Bauer guide and UN ambassador Jake Norton, whose words reminded me to, “Focus on what is important in life, the fundamentals, for soon you’ll be back in the mountains.”
Ed Viesturs has climbed Washington’s Mt. Rainier 216 times since he first cut his guiding teeth on the mountain. Each summer he returns to his roots, offering two guided climbs to anyone wanting to sign up. But this year was different. A last-minute cancellation by one of his clients allowed him to take his son Gil along, introducing him to the toil of a peak that has meant so much to Ed personally for so long.
Northwest mountain icon Fred Beckey calls the Napeequa River Valley the most interesting valley of the Central Cascades. Flowing from the Butterfly Glacier in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, then exiting into the White River after crossing the White Mountains and Chiwawa Ridge, it is geologically unique, extremely remote, and accessed via passes that are collectively more than 6,000 feet high. It also is a river that had rarely, if ever, been run in a kayak—until Chris Korbulic got word of its existence. He originally had planned to run it with a partner, but when the plan became a much longer epic, Korbulic ran it solo—ticking a likely first descent of a legendary Northwest river. Not only did he accomplish the feat solo, but he also captured the images and the story to tell the tale. We’re running his images, context, and Ben Stookesberry’s report on the endeavor below.
Few of our guides or athletes get after it like expedition kayakers Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic. And that’s saying something with our roster of Everest alpinists, big wall first ascentsionists and big mountain skiers. But every story we get from the kayak crew is worthy of a long read and some serious headshaking—this one included. Taking advantage of a free trip to Eddie Bauer HQ, the pair skipped out early and made the absolute most of a free weekend in the Pacific Northwest—ticking off three serious Cascade Classics in a short 72 hours including the South Fork of the Snoqualmie, the top of the Tye and Icicle Creek.