Breaking Trail (2005) is not your “average” climbing book – cold and full of technical details. Blum’s first book, Annapurna (1980), certainly communicated humanity while detailing the specifics of the climb. But Breaking Trail is Blum’s true memoir. Each chapter begins with a glimpse into Blum’s dysfunctional childhood in a Jewish family in Chicago. Forbidden …

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When I first smell the smoke, it registers only superficially. Unlike the tight gild of the eucalyptus trunks or the mammalian noises of the kookaburras, which shock my perception with their newness, this smell is a familiar detail from hikes back home in Virginia. It isn’t until I see the concern on a fellow backpacker’s …

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Jessie Tuckman, our surf correspondent, UK ambassador, and general surf inspiration has sent us some updates on the winter swells in her part of the world:  “The winter swells have started pumping waves in the UK. In fact, yesterday the big wave spot “the Cribbar” was breaking around 20ft and local big wave surfers have …

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As the last of the blazing purple streams of fireweed lining Alaska’s Denali National Park turn to cotton, the first white powder falls on each surrounding mountain peak. Seasonal employees here refer to the snow as “termination dust,” referring to the end of summer jobs as the tourists that fuel the economy here for four …

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Bethann Garramon Merkle is not your average scientist. She’s also not your average artist. She agreed to talk with me about her business CommNatural and how she integrates science fields with art and the great outdoors. Can’t even draw a stick figure? No worries. Keep reading. [divider]The Interview[/divider] Hello, Bethann. Can you describe the meaning …

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The first trailer in my life wasn’t the traveling kind—at least, it never meant to travel. Grandma’s single-wide guest trailer stayed tucked beneath the same sprawling Oak on North Carolina’s Intracoastal Waterway for decades, till Hurricane Fran blew it straight up Easy Street, along with the Oak itself. My parents drove two hours from my …

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I’ve always sought authentic travel experiences. The idea of flying halfway across the world just to spend all my time at the most photographed locations on the planet has never made any sense to me, not when unique stories and unexpected turns of events were out there to be discovered. My earliest travel experiences come from …

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When I was very young, my mother walked through the woods with my younger brother and me most afternoons. We shared a stroller, where I, at six years old, stuck my legs out on either side of my brother’s shoulders and reached for twigs, leaves, and daffodils as we briskly strolled beneath and among oaks, …

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Annapurna: A Woman’s Place journals the 1978 women’s climb to Annapurna I in the Nepal Himalayas. Annapurna I stands at 8,091 meters (or 26, 545 feet) and is considered the deadliest mountain over 8,000 meters, with 53 fatalities. The introduction discusses past and present challenges for women alpine climbers–not only the general challenges of a massive …

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It was near the end of my first year teaching English as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin that I started to feel confident enough that I could complete a secondary project, that is, a project related to, but not in the first paragraph of my job description as a volunteer. These secondary projects had …

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I knew it was a bad sign when our taxi slowed to a crawl, the driver asking us again for our address. I sighed as my boyfriend Greg fumbled to look it up on his smartphone. We were just outside of Quito, Ecuador, where Greg had booked us a stay during an overnight layover. In the morning, we’d …

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