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Rock climbing, skiing and outdoors writer Fitz Cahall delivers stories and thoughts from the mountain world in this biweekly podcast. Whether you're a weekend warrior or currently living out of the back of your truck you'll enjoy these sordid, unfiltered tales of bigwall free climbing, monoboarding landlords and monkey-wrenching idealists.

Rock climbing, skiing and outdoors writer Fitz Cahall delivers stories and thoughts from the mountain world in this biweekly podcast. Whether you're a weekend warrior or currently living out of the back of your truck you'll enjoy these sordid, unfiltered tales of bigwall free climbing, monoboarding landlords and monkey-wrenching idealists.
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Seattle, WA


Rock climbing, skiing and outdoors writer Fitz Cahall delivers stories and thoughts from the mountain world in this biweekly podcast. Whether you're a weekend warrior or currently living out of the back of your truck you'll enjoy these sordid, unfiltered tales of bigwall free climbing, monoboarding landlords and monkey-wrenching idealists.




Escape From Beacon Rock

"For me, it was a way to stay connected--literally: tied to my free-range daughter by a length of 10-millimeter climbing rope, and connected to my own dream of being an adventurer," says David Altschul. "And that was how I found myself, a few days later, on a ledge, high above the Columbia River, in the dark." For the past decade, David has told the story of the infamous "Escape from Beacon Rock"--a failed attempt to climb a basalt monolith with his daughter, our producer, Jen. At age 72,...


The Shorts--Aloha Life

"Here I was, a professional wilderness instructor with no food or water, a sopping wet tent and wetter sleeping bag, no way to banish the chills or signal that I needed help," says Emma Walker. "For the first time in my career, I began to think I might need a rescue." Emma's husband Bix has also worked for years as an outdoor guide and educator. So, when the two of them set out on an overnight backpacking trip to a beach on Hawaii's big island, they were unconcerned--maybe a little too...


The Punk Rockers of Ski Mountaineering

"The notion that there's one dream that we're all after and agreed upon ways in which you can verify that you are indeed living that dream drives me crazy," says Forest McBrian. "Everyone's dream is a little bit different. If there is a dream that we all lust after, then we're all just trying to do what's pushed by the media. So, yeah, this trip felt like an act of rebellion. Like, 'This is what we think is cool. We're going to do what we think is cool'." In May of 2017, Forest and his...


Endangered Spaces--Prince of Wales

"It's like being caught in a spiderweb. You'll find yourself pushing with every part of your body, and no part of your body will be able to move. You're totally trapped by--held by plants," says Elsa Sebastian, describing what it's like to bushwhack through a 25-year old clear cut in Southeast Alaska. It's something the lady fisherman did a lot of this past summer in an effort to defend the remaining old growth on her home island, Prince of Wales. In January of 2017, Alaska Representative...


The Year of Big Ideas 2018

"I think the jack of all trades gets a bum rap. The jack is the master of none, but I think the jack probably has a lot of fun," says Fitz Cahall. This year, we open our annual Year of Big Ideas with an ode to "mediocrity" from Fitz, then turn, as always, to our community for inspiration for the coming year. Happy 2018!


Growing Down

"I've watched my friends and peers hopscotch across the world," says Fitz Cahall. "Some of them have reached the top of their craft, authored ridiculous lines up mountains, followed rivers into wrinkles of the deepest canyons, found the edge of human endurance. "If I look back on the last ten years, I'm often surprised that I didn't end up on their trajectory. Something inside, quiet and steady, called me in a different direction--one that I struggled against, at first." How you grow...


The Shorts--Zarsian Adventures

"My dad started whistling. That was the first bad sign," Cordelia Zars remembers. "Then walking around the cabin and straightening things. The second. When he tromped up the ladder, rummaged around in the loft, and hollered down at me, 'Oh say, Cord...'? I knew it was over. some ridiculous idea had sprouted in his brain; negotiation was futile, all hope of rationality lost." In this particular instance, the idea involved strapping on cross country skis and dragging a ninety pound keyboard...


The Shorts--T-Day

There's a light-hearted joy in orphan holidays. Thanksgiving in Indian Creek or slaying powder for Christmas may sound like more fun than going 'home' for holidays fraught with family dynamics. At least it felt that way for Katie Wallace. "Thanksgiving had always been a tough holiday for me," says Katie. "It meant days of pre-cleaning, followed by a day of wearing scratchy sweaters and enduring endless hour adultness. Hemmed in by tradition, social convention, and trying hard to be nice,...


Over the Line

"It's like the Iditarod with a chance of drowning," says Jake Beatty, one of the organizers of a bizarre, crazy race called the Race to Alaska. The course traces 750-miles of Alaska's Inside Passage through complicated currents and tides, busy shipping channels and bear-ridden coastlines from Port Townsend, WA to Ketchikan, AK. In June. The most unpredictable month of the year for weather. There are two rules: no support and no motors. First place wins $10,000. Second place gets a set of...


Tales of Terror Vol. 8

For our eighth annual Tales of Terror episode, we have not three, but five stories that span the range of things to fear--from angry men with shotguns, to bears and mountain lions, to things that really don't have any explanation in the world of science. First, we visit an abandoned Pennsylvania town with Joe Shearer. Then, we'll wander the overgrown Forest Service roads of the Sierras with Drew Villeneuve, join Maria DeBari on a spooky descent from Washington state's Mt. Stuart,...


The Shorts--Yard Sale

"On a typical day, I taught farmers how to snowplow and chased foreign exchange students through the parking lot as they careened toward diesel pickup trucks," Tyler Neese remembers from his winters in college at an Iowa ski hill. "While skiing is never a bad way to earn a back, at the the end of the day, I found myself dreaming of powder days and places where Carhartt overalls were not standard ski attire." So when Tyler and four friends loaded up the truck for a spring break ski...


Endangered Spaces--Boundary Waters

Raising awareness. It seems like every day, someone embarks on a new project to 'raise awareness' about a particular issue, cause, disease, endangered species or threatened public land. But what separates the projects that cut through the noise and the ones that get drowned out in the static of issues competing for our attention? For our third Endangered Spaces episode, we travel to Northern Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to follow Dave and Amy Freeman on "Paddle to...


The Shorts--Thirst

"If you're thirsty, you're probably already dehydrated. That's what they say. Those perfect people who always have a clean, happily-colored, reusable adult sippy bottle on hand," says Anya Miller. "Most often, I only realize that I'm thirty when someone offers me a drink. My friend Jesse Bushey brought up climbing El Cap. I didn't even know I wanted to--until he suggested it." Duct Tape Then Beer's Director of Brand and Creative Strategy extraordinaire shares the story of her first big...


Winnebago Warriors

"When we were living in a house, we were always compromising because we had the weight of a mortgage, of doing what we thought we should be doing," remembers Kathy Holcombe. Until, the day she, her husband, Peter, and their daughter Abby moved into a Winnebago to travel and work from the road. "I want her to see that she can do that too: whatever her wildest dreams are, to chase them and not stop until they come true," says Kathy. Abby's dream? To kayak the 280-miles of the classic Grand...


The Shorts--Double Vision

"I looked like some mountain man's girlfriend, and sometimes, that's all I felt like," remembers Andrea Ross. "It was easy to hide in Darren's shadow--to let the world knock on his door first." But after an accident on Mt. Humphreys forced Andrea to draw on her EMT training and courage to coordinate a rescue, she reached a turning point in her relationship and the way she imagined her life. You can find more of Andrea's writing on her blog.



"Picture walking through a parking lot with a ski mask rolled up on your head and a pistol in your pocket. You're getting closer to the bank, your heart's beating faster, adrenaline's starting to rush through your head, and you can't believe you're about to do what you're about to do," says Roland Thompson. "When you're climbing a route you've never done before, it's a grade or two above what you're comfortable with, you're a few feet above that bolt you've got a dynamic move coming...


Endangered Spaces--Katahdin Woods and Waters

"The reason that I was able to do it is because I was incredibly naive," says Lucas St. Clair. "I had no idea how much work it was going to be, when I started. Not a clue." The thing Lucas did: work to establish Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in the North Woods of Maine. We started this "Endangered Spaces" series for two reasons. First, we want to take a deeper look at a handful of important, active land battles. Second, and every bit as important, we want to follow the...


The Shorts--Exit Strategy

"Three days from the end of the trip, I started to panic," writes Emma Walker. "I still didn't know what to do with my summer, let alone the rest of my life. Inspiration, as I'd imagined it, hadn't struck. Now, I had to face the realization that I didn't have an exit strategy. This had been it, and it would inevitably end." The summer after her first year of graduate school, Emma enrolled in an Alaska Pacific University Expedition Mountaineering course. She told her family she signed up...


Pedal Strokes and Perspective

"As a brown woman, I stand out," says Mary Ann Thomas. "People came up to me just because they were curious, just because they were like, 'There aren't a lot of strangers here, we're just interested in who you are as a person-- as a whole person.'" Mary Ann is the daughter of Indian immigrants, she's queer and she had always lived in the liberal bubble of big cities on the East Coast. When she embarked on a six-month, 6600-mile bike tour across the country, she worried most about the...



When a bad breakup sent him spiraling into a deep depression, Tom Ireson fixated on an unconventional way to get his head straight: "I really needed something to focus my mind on to pull me out of that," Tom says, "and about the biggest thing I could think of was to try and do a new route on a big wall." Not just any big wall, a big wall on the other side of the world in the remote and wild valley of Cochamo, Chile. When he latched on to the idea, Tom had never been to Cochamo and never...


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