In 2014, child­hood friends Panos Karka­nias and Stavros Makris com­bined their pas­sion for sus­tain­able tourism, adven­ture trav­el, and their home coun­try of Greece to cre­ate Bear­ing True South, a com­pa­ny that con­nects adven­ture trav­el­ers with authen­tic expe­ri­ences. We sat down with Stavros to talk about Bear­ing True South, adven­ture tourism, and more.

What is your back­ground in adven­ture trav­el and the outdoors?
My mum is an avid trav­el­er and made sure we spent a ton of time explor­ing the great out­doors grow­ing up. After explor­ing most of Europe and North­ern Africa while study­ing, I got a job work­ing with pri­mates in Thai­land and then spent a cou­ple of years trav­el­ing around Asia as a doc­u­men­tary pho­tog­ra­ph­er. In between assign­ments I’d come back to Greece and explore the nation­al parks or go sail­ing with friends and in time this led to the cre­ation of Bear­ing True South.

How did Bear­ing True South get started?
Show­ing peo­ple around Greece is some­thing I’ve always done. It tru­ly brings joy to my life. When I’ve trav­eled, I’ve been lucky enough to have had peo­ple show me around and I’ve always felt like giv­ing back the favor.

Bear­ing True South is the prod­uct of my child­hood friend Panos’ aca­d­e­m­ic research in sus­tain­able tourism and my eager­ness to be a part of some­thing new. In a lot of ways we com­ple­ment each oth­er, so the whole project, from incep­tion to real­iza­tion, was pret­ty straightforward.

What were some of the chal­lenges you’ve faced in start­ing your own company?
Find­ing the right peo­ple to work with was the great­est chal­lenge we faced when we were start­ing out. It took us the bet­ter part of 3 years to per­son­al­ly vet every sup­pli­er we work with and run every itin­er­ary we designed mul­ti­ple times in order to get the prop­er feedback.

Why adven­ture tourism?
Most vis­i­tors to Greece tend to stay on the beat­en track, which means areas affect­ed by mass tourism. This isn’t a bad thing, but it makes hav­ing an immer­sive trav­el expe­ri­ence that much hard­er. Our phi­los­o­phy is to steer our guests away from the crowds by get­ting them in touch with locals, show­ing them beau­ti­ful sights, and cook­ing them authen­tic food. That’s what adven­ture trav­el is all about for us.

What is the best way to expe­ri­ence Greece?
Sail­ing in the Cyclades arch­i­pel­ago is a great way to spend time away from home, and no mat­ter how many times I’m out there it’s always spe­cial. The food, the peo­ple, the ever-chang­ing land­scapes, it doesn’t get much bet­ter than that.

You’re the co-founder of Bear­ing True South and still guide on a reg­u­lar basis. What draws you to guiding?
It’s always been impos­si­ble for me to stay put, so I try to get out of the office as much as pos­si­ble. Con­nect­ing with guests and ensur­ing they have a tru­ly mem­o­rable trip is why I do it. Plus, the oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet peo­ple from all over the world and show them our cul­ture, that’s why I do it.

What’s next for Bear­ing True South?
We’re in the process of adding a few new prod­ucts on our web­site. At the moment they’re in the research and test­ing phase, but I can say that they involve land­scape astropho­tog­ra­phy. We’re work­ing togeth­er with an accom­plished pho­tog­ra­ph­er and astro­physi­cist, in order to cre­ate astropho­tog­ra­phy work­shops in the nation­al parks of south­ern and north­ern Greece start­ing in the sum­mer of 2018.

Last­ly, what’s your dream adventure?
Hands down, explor­ing Alas­ka. I’ve been fas­ci­nat­ed with the state since I was a kid. I hope I can make it there in the next cou­ple years.


To take an adven­ture with Bear­ing True South, check out the Clymb Adven­tures page.

Bio
Born and raised in Indi­ana, Brooke is an adven­tur­er, endor­phin junkie, and lover of the out­doors who has trav­eled to five con­ti­nents. A free­lance mul­ti­me­dia jour­nal­ist, Brooke’s craft enables her the freedomto trav­el. Brooke is fas­ci­nat­ed with lan­guages and can order a cof­fee in Hin­di, sing Swahili lul­la­bies, and ask for direc­tions in Mandarin.

A Dream Come True
I hon­est­ly felt like The Clym­b’s Ecuador & Gala­pa­gos trip was cre­at­ed just for me. I loved hik­ing in the breath­tak­ing Cotopaxi Nation­al Park and sum­mit­ing Cotopaxi. One of the best days we had was moun­tain bik­ing through the East Andes in the morn­ing, hik­ing up and down a stun­ning water­fall, and zip-lin­ing in the evening. If I had to choose a favorite activ­i­ty from the entire trip, it would be snor­kel­ing in the Gala­pa­gos. I just kept repeat­ing, “este es mi sueno hecho real­i­dad,” mean­ing “this is my dream made a reality.”

Pack­ing List
My pack­ing list is always writ­ten in orange sharpie. I start mak­ing a list from my feet up. For this excur­sion I knew I’d need my run­ning shoes and Cha­cos. I brought active clothes suit­able for a warmer cli­mate. I could’ve used a few more warm clothes when stay­ing in the moun­tain region of Ecuador. How­ev­er, that gave me an excuse to buy an alpaca sweater. If I plan to shop for local or inter­est­ing clothes on a trip, I’ll pur­pose­ful­ly not pack the items I think I’ll buy to free up room in my bag for one-of-a-kind trea­sures. I also always bring my water bot­tle and pro­tein bars for flights. My favorite item to bring on my trav­els is my cam­era, and I nev­er for­get a set of earplugs.

Awe­some Guides
Gio­van­ni, Sebas­t­ian, and José are the best guides I have ever had the plea­sure of trav­el­ing with; Adven­ture Jour­neys spoiled us with these guys! Sebas­t­ian helped me with film­ing and being able to go ahead of the group to get the best pho­to van­tage points. Gio­van­ni is an ency­clo­pe­dia of infor­ma­tion about Ecuado­ri­an cul­ture and envi­ron­ment. He even met up with me in Quito weeks after the trip had end­ed to show me around his home­town. José was our dri­ver, but he was way more than that to all of us in the group. He is learn­ing Eng­lish, and is one of the most charis­mat­ic peo­ple you’ll ever meet. San­ti­a­go is an incred­i­ble free­d­iv­er in the Gala­pa­gos, so we had a lot of fun snor­kel­ing and div­ing around the archipelago.

Exot­ic Wildlife
The Gala­pa­gos arch­i­pel­ago has a stun­ning array of wildlife. Giant tor­tois­es are found only two places in the world, and see­ing these Juras­sic-look­ing crea­tures up close was a true dream of mine. I snorkeled with sea tur­tles, sea lions, sea hors­es, stingrays, pen­guins, and blue-foot­ed boo­bies. I gained a new­ly found love of lla­mas along the way too!

Trav­el Tips
When land­ing in Quito, keep in mind the air­port is about 45 min­utes to the city. If you’re on lay­over or have time to kill at the air­port, head to the inter­na­tion­al ter­mi­nal for a cof­fee from Juan Valdez Café (tell San­ti­a­go I said hel­lo!) and strong, free Wi-Fi. Also, lan­guages are a skill that con­tin­u­al­ly need to be used and per­fect­ed. I improved my Span­ish immense­ly on this trip. If you plan on doing some seri­ous pho­tog­ra­phy or video, pack a car­bon fiber tri­pod. They’re light­weight and sturdy!

Embark on your own Ecuador & Gala­pa­goes adven­ture with The Clymb.

grand canyon hike

The Grand Canyon is one of the most pop­u­lar hik­ing spots in the US due to its long paths and stun­ning views. While some peo­ple choose to avoid the Grand Canyon dur­ing sum­mer because of the heat, most peo­ple pre­fer the warmth; in fact, the Grand Canyon sees more hik­ers in sum­mer than it does at any oth­er time of the year!

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After all, sum­mer has some perks going for it; the days are long, the weath­er is warm, and the ground is nor­mal­ly dri­er. How­ev­er hik­ing in the sun comes with its own dan­gers, espe­cial­ly if you are hik­ing the Grand Canyon.

Don’t let your sum­mer hike turn into a dan­ger­ous ordeal. Here are five tips for hik­ing in the Grand Canyon in summer.

1. Be Aware Of The Heat
At the risk of sound­ing like a bro­ken record: the most impor­tant thing you must remem­ber when hik­ing in the Grand Canyon is how hot it can get. Many hik­ers assume that the inside of the basin will be as warm as the rim, but it can actu­al­ly be around 50 degrees hotter.

If you only real­ize this when in the basin, you’ll be con­front­ed with a tough uphill hike in extreme tem­per­a­tures. This can be very dan­ger­ous, so make sure to keep the heat in mind at all times when you are hiking.

2. Set Off Early
It’s always impor­tant to set off ear­ly so that you can avoid the mid-after­noon heat, but this is extra impor­tant if you are hik­ing in the Grand Canyon. As the area is so open and exposed there is very lit­tle in the way of shel­ter, so a tough trek through the heat could leave you with sunstroke.

It’s also nor­mal­ly qui­eter in the morn­ings so your hike will be more peace­ful and relax­ing, and you will real­ly be able to take in the stun­ning views!

3. Take Breaks To Rest
Don’t for­get to take reg­u­lar rest breaks. Hik­ing is a stren­u­ous activ­i­ty at the best of times, and adding hot tem­per­a­tures into the mix can be a recipe for dis­as­ter. Make sure to look out for shad­ed areas when you are hik­ing, and if you see one take a break to sit down and drink some water.

4. Bring Water And Salty Snacks
Every­one should bring water with them on a hike, but you may want to pack twice as much if you are head­ing into the Grand Canyon. You should also pack some high-calo­rie salty snacks, such as ener­gy bars or trail mix. These snacks will help to replace your elec­trolytes as you hike, and they will give you the ener­gy that you need to hike back up the basin. Make sure that you alter­nate between water and snacks to avoid stom­ach cramps.

5. Wear A Bandana
A ban­dana will pro­tect your head, fore­head, and neck from the extreme heat, which is very use­ful as it can be hard to find shade and shel­tered areas. If you find your­self get­ting warm you can take the ban­dana off and wet it before putting it back on, as this will help cool you down.

The Grand Canyon is also sandy and it can get quite windy so you can use your ban­dana to pro­tect your mouth and nose. You can even use the ban­dana to blow your nose (might want extras if you do), wipe your hands, or dry the back of your neck; this small item has many dif­fer­ent benefits.

adventuring where you don't know the language

adventuring where you don't know the languageChances are, some of the most thrilling and beau­ti­ful places on the plan­et are locat­ed in coun­tries whose lan­guages you don’t speak. Are you going to let that dis­suade you from explor­ing every inch of the globe? Of course not. You’re just going to make some smart moves in advance to ensure a suc­cess­ful and enjoy­able excursion.

Sign on for a Tour
You can reduce the guess work immea­sur­ably by tak­ing up with an adven­ture tour. The lead­ers of your expe­di­tion won’t expect you to know the lin­go. They’ll do a lot of the speak­ing and arrang­ing for you. This is a require­ment, any­way, for many of the globe’s most icon­ic nat­ur­al wonders—lots of nation­al parks around the world frown on let­ting you just hike up the side of a moun­tain unaccompanied—so you can focus on the beau­ty of nature sur­round­ing you, not the con­fu­sion of feel­ing adrift.

Learn Some Basic Phrases
Wher­ev­er you go, it’s help­ful to know rough­ly how to express dis­tances, direc­tion­al words, and oth­er nav­i­ga­tion­al stuff in the most wide­ly spo­ken lan­guage of the area. You might not ever get sep­a­rat­ed from the group, but it will be immense­ly help­ful should you find your­self in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion demand­ing inter­ac­tion with res­cue author­i­ties. Your life will be a lot eas­i­er know­ing at least some of the right things to say.

Get Famil­iar with the Culture
A lot of things are com­mu­ni­cat­ed via words, but many things aren’t. Almost more impor­tant than know­ing the native tongue is know­ing how the locals “speak” with their body lan­guage, their tra­di­tions, and their oth­er demon­stra­tions. Friend­ship is uni­ver­sal, and it’s often pos­si­ble to under­stand each oth­er with­out even using words.

Be Will­ing to Try, Be Will­ing to Laugh (At Yourself)
Humil­i­ty goes a long way in these sit­u­a­tions. If you blus­ter in speak­ing loud, slow Eng­lish, you’re not going to win any friends. If you do your best, by way of pid­gin and cha­rades, and do it with a calm light­heart­ed atti­tude, you can more eas­i­ly endear your­self to every­one around you. The mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tions we all face in these sit­u­a­tions can become great, hilar­i­ous mem­o­ries if we check our ‘tude at the trail­head and let our­selves relax.

Ask How to Say Stuff
Every­one appre­ci­ates being treat­ed as an expert. Allow the local speak­ers to help you improve your knowl­edge. Espe­cial­ly take advan­tage if they are mul­ti­lin­gual and speak a bit of your own native lan­guage. If they want to learn a lit­tle them­selves, show that you’re excit­ed to help them improve their vocab­u­lary, too. Every­one gets a valu­able lin­guis­tic and cul­tur­al expe­ri­ence out of the deal. When your sin­cere goal is mutu­al under­stand­ing, you enrich your life in tons of ways and become kind of an ambas­sador for glob­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion in the process.

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We’ll admit it. Trav­el insur­ance isn’t a par­tic­u­lar­ly sat­is­fy­ing pur­chase. Most of us would love to cross our fin­gers and bank on the hope that our trav­els will go smooth­ly and as expect­ed. But life hap­pens. Whether it’s find­ing out you have to can­cel weeks before you go, or need­ing emer­gency med­ical atten­tion dur­ing a trip, it’s best to pur­sue peace of mind and know that you (and your bank account) will be cov­ered if and when the unan­tic­i­pat­ed hap­pens. Get an instant, no has­sle quote from our best in class part­ner, World Nomads.

Get Ahead of Your Pack­ing List
When you trav­el, some­times all that you’ve got con­trol over is what you’re phys­i­cal­ly car­ry­ing. While that can be a free­ing feel­ing, it also speaks to how much your pack­ing choic­es mat­ter. Feel­ing pre­pared with the right cloth­ing and gear choic­es mean you’ve got the best chance at being phys­i­cal­ly and cul­tur­al­ly com­fort­able. Pack breath­able lay­ers, espe­cial­ly for warmer cli­mates. Com­fort­able, prac­ti­cal shoes and gar­ments that can tran­si­tion from a day’s activ­i­ties to a night out on the town are ide­al. For itin­er­aries on the move, it will be hard to get laun­dry done. Con­sid­er quick­er dry­ing fab­rics in case you have to do some sink wash­ing and overnight air drying.

Check Visa Require­ments and Vac­ci­na­tion Recommendations
There’s no ques­tion you’ll need a pass­port if your trav­els will be tak­ing you out of the U.S., but visa require­ments will vary from coun­try to coun­try. Some will grant you an auto­mat­ic tourist visa upon entry, oth­ers will require that you pay a fee in cus­toms, and for some coun­tries, you’ll have to apply for and secure a tourist visa before you go. As for vac­ci­na­tions, some are high­ly rec­om­mend­ed in cer­tain high­er risk regions of the world. Bet­ter safe than sor­ry here, as noth­ing will bum you out more than get­ting typhoid on vaca­tion. Your tour oper­a­tor will be a great resource for this kind of infor­ma­tion, but always be sure to dou­ble-check with the U.S. State Depart­ment on Trav­el: https://www.state.gov/travel/ as well as the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol (CDC): https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/.

Learn Basic For­eign Lan­guage Phrases
For­tu­nate­ly for the Eng­lish speak­er, you can get by with­out know­ing the local lan­guage in many coun­tries around the world. But if you’re trav­el­ing to a des­ti­na­tion where Eng­lish is not a native or pre­dom­i­nant lan­guage, it’s best prac­tice to bring a trav­el­er’s phrase book — no need to bring a full dic­tio­nary unless you’re plan­ning to attend lan­guage school or stay abroad for months on end. Though you prob­a­bly won’t be able to car­ry on any pro­found con­ver­sa­tions, you’ll be stoked for the abil­i­ty to com­mu­ni­cate about the basics. And most impor­tant­ly, your hum­ble attempts will most like­ly be appre­ci­at­ed by the locals.

Bud­get for Fun Extras
Many tour pack­ages include at least accom­mo­da­tions, and some guid­ing, meals, and activ­i­ties. But you don’t want to have to turn down scu­ba div­ing in Cuba sole­ly because you failed to bring $50 of extra cash. Always plan for more. While trav­el­ing, you’re often some­where you may nev­er again be in your life, which is not the time to deny your­self the right to that spon­ta­neous splurge.

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In hon­or of Inter­na­tion­al Wom­en’s Day we’re hon­or­ing one of The Clym­b’s tour oper­a­tors, Crys­tal Robert­son, who with her hus­band Jeff, found­ed Le Grand Adven­ture Tours, an action sports trip provider that offers adven­ture trav­el expe­ri­ences all over the globe.

Over the course of the last decade Crys­tal has har­nessed her love for adven­ture into a full-time job, trav­el­ing from Japan to Croa­t­ia and more, in the pur­suit of adven­ture. Crys­tal grew up a trav­el and out­doors enthu­si­ast, scu­ba div­ing around the Caribbean, snow­board­ing around the West Coast, and raft­ing through­out Cal­i­for­nia. This pas­sion grew as she began explor­ing the world, always in search of  the best moun­tains to snow­board, the high­est cols to ped­al her bike up, and the most beau­ti­ful islands to surf.

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Tell us a bit about your back­ground in the outdoors.
My back­ground in the out­doors start­ed with my father who intro­duced me to the world of scu­ba div­ing. He is an instruc­tor who helped me get cer­ti­fied and helped me train to become a res­cue div­er. I trav­eled the world div­ing with my fam­i­ly in exot­ic des­ti­na­tions such as Cozumel, Hawaii, and the Bahamas. Over the last 17 years, I’ve tak­en strong­ly to snow­board­ing, which has become my favorite activ­i­ty and I’m now on the con­tin­u­ous hunt to ride all around the world. When I met my hus­band Jeff, we start­ed trav­el­ing togeth­er, in con­stant pur­suit of new places to find adven­ture. My pas­sions have also inspired me to take a wide range of cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in the dis­ci­plines of Yoga, SUP, SUP Yoga, Snow Safe­ty, First Aid and CPR, which I get to share with guests on our tours.

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What com­pelled you to start a guid­ing com­pa­ny with your husband?
Start­ing an adven­ture com­pa­ny was my dream busi­ness to start. In my ear­ly twen­ties I began research­ing the indus­try and vol­un­teered at an action sports trav­el com­pa­ny super­vis­ing trips. When I met my hus­band we had a dis­cus­sion about our first dream job to pur­sue. He said, “start an adven­ture tour com­pa­ny.” In that con­ver­sa­tion we laughed and could­n’t believe we both had the same dream. It was­n’t until years lat­er that we final­ly had a seri­ous talk and decid­ed to give it a go. You tru­ly don’t know the out­come of any­thing until you try. So we did, and we are hav­ing a blast every step of the way.

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What has been your expe­ri­ence as a woman in the out­door industry?
I love it! This is an indus­try flood­ed with men and it is empow­er­ing to know you are push­ing bound­aries and open­ing the doors for more and more women to fuel their own adven­ture. When you meet oth­er out­door women that are real­ly push­ing their boundaries–you feel as if you’ve found new best friends. We all share a sim­i­lar trait that ulti­mate­ly unites us. It’s a won­der­ful time to be involved in the outdoors…even if I’m the only girl out with a group of guys, I’m still stoked! So come on ladies, let’s get out there!

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What is Le Grand Wom­en’s Adven­tures and how is it dif­fer­ent from Le Grand Adventures?
When we start­ed Le Grand Wom­en’s we real­ly want­ed to pro­vide women a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to explore new places. On our wom­en’s trips you can prac­tice new skills with pro­fes­sion­al guides/coaches and cre­ate bonds with oth­er like-mind­ed indi­vid­u­als that expand to friend­ships of a life­time. When you’re sur­round­ed by a tribe of sup­port­ive women that are crav­ing and seek­ing as much adven­ture as you are…you can feel the empow­er­ment from women that love to play hard and have fun. We feel that adven­ture trav­el should be offered to women in a man­ner that they see fit, after all every­one moves at a dif­fer­ent pace. It’s all about women set­ting the tone for the trip that they want to have, for in the end, this is your adven­ture to recharge, pow­er up, and feel stronger than ever. 

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What kind of advice do you have for women, or any­one, look­ing to get into an out­door sport they might not oth­er­wise try?
Any step in the direc­tion towards your dream is one step clos­er than you were yes­ter­day. Thoughts turn into con­ver­sa­tion, con­ver­sa­tion turns into actions, con­tin­u­ous actions cre­ates refine­ment.

I always sug­gest going out and find­ing a guide and/or an intro course to the sport that you want to try. I can’t even begin to tell you how impor­tant it is to learn the basics from an expert as those skills will stick with you for the rest of your life. Learn­ing how to do it prop­er­ly and safe is the most impor­tant aspect for suc­cess and fun. 

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Are there any orga­ni­za­tions out there that you see help­ing women get involved in the outdoors?
My favorite orga­ni­za­tions out there right now are She­Jumps–whose sole mis­sion is to increase the par­tic­i­pa­tion of women and girls in out­door activ­i­ties. SAFE AS Clin­ics are tai­lored to women, with begin­ner to expe­ri­enced avalanche aware­ness and safe­ty clin­ics. Then us! We offer so many sports for women to try and many des­ti­na­tions to explore!

You’ve obvi­ous­ly trav­elled all over the globe, is there any­where you haven’t been that you’re dying to see?
While there are many places I have yet to trav­el to, the one I’m most excit­ed for is a South Amer­i­can tour. Par­tic­u­lar­ly, because my moth­er and fam­i­ly are from Peru. I have always dreamed of trav­el­ing to the coun­try I was “almost born and raised in!” I now real­ize what a mec­ca Peru is for surf­ing and moun­tain bik­ing and I can hard­ly wait, it is going to be very special.


Check out Le Grand’s Swiss Moun­tain Bik­ing Adven­ture on The Clymb

John Huston at –50°F on the way to the North Pole. ©johnhuston.com
John Hus­ton at –50°F on the way to the North Pole. ©johnhuston.com

Hav­ing made a career out of polar explo­rations, John Hus­ton has many oth­er­world­ly expe­di­tions under his belt. With adven­tures rang­ing from the South Pole to Ellesmere Island, Hus­ton is also a vet­er­an of the first Amer­i­can self-sup­port­ed expe­di­tion to the North Pole in 2009, which required nav­i­gat­ing over ice while tot­ing along 55 days of food.

While Hus­ton is quick to acknowl­edge the many highs he expe­ri­enced on these trav­els, he is also open to speak­ing about the moments that occur after a big adven­ture, the re-entry into civ­i­liza­tion and deal­ing with the come down back into soci­ety. While it might not res­onate with every­one who ven­tures out into the nat­ur­al world, if you’ve ever felt the rush of excite­ment van­ish the sec­ond you get home, then Hus­ton has a few wise words for deal­ing with the post-adven­ture blues.


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The Clymb: For your 55-day, self-sup­port­ed expe­di­tion to the North Pole, were there any moments you remem­ber as the peak of your experience? 

John Hus­ton: There is no sin­gle moment that I point to as the big high, instead it’s small things like my team and I com­ing to the end of a ski day, with a real soft alpine glow on the hori­zon, and we just have this full feel­ing that we put in a sol­id, hard-work­ing 12-hour day cov­er­ing some real dis­tance, know­ing that we are going to have a hot meal real soon and we’re in this incred­i­bly beau­ti­ful place on earth. It’s those lit­tle moments that com­bine hard work, scenic set­tings, and the peo­ple you are with; that cre­ates the high for me. That can hap­pen sev­er­al times a week if the vibe is right.


The Clymb: After expe­ri­enc­ing things like that, remote sun­sets in arc­tic regions, and 55 days of ski­ing across glac­i­ers, how long did it take you to get read­just­ed back to your ordi­nary life?

JH: After the North Pole it took a cou­ple of months, oth­er expe­di­tions have been short­er. I was so focused on the North Pole trip, and I knew it was so dif­fi­cult going in. I was so focused on the trip itself that I couldn’t imag­ine life after­wards. So I think for that trip in par­tic­u­lar I didn’t have a big plan of what I was going to be doing with myself after­wards. I didn’t know what to do next. I’m a guy who likes to be doing stuff, and while some days of R&R can be good, it was almost too much.

John Huston on the First American Unsupported Expedition to the North Pole. ©johnhuston.com
John Hus­ton on the First Amer­i­can Unsup­port­ed Expe­di­tion to the North Pole. ©johnhuston.com

The Clymb: Besides the obvi­ous phys­i­cal chal­lenges of the expe­di­tion, what do you think caus­es this almost lethar­gic aftermath?

JH: On expe­di­tions I feel like I’m tied into a very sim­ple life and have a sin­gu­lar focus that is very engag­ing. When I come home and that all goes away, you can almost relate it back to some­thing like col­lege, when you work real­ly hard to study for a test or write a paper for sev­er­al days, and then it’s gone.

There’s some­thing like a vac­u­um left in the mind, and it takes time to read­just and feel sat­is­fied with what I’m doing everyday. 

All the slight com­pli­ca­tions of day to day life that are always part of life, whether that is choos­ing what to eat every­day, or deal­ing with traf­fic or emails com­ing in, all that noise doesn’t exist on the ice and all of our meals are cho­sen for us, we are just focused on mov­ing for­ward and stay­ing safe and work­ing as a team. So, to come home and have that go away and not real­ly be able to relate the expe­di­tion life to a vast amount of oth­er peo­ple, it can feel a bit lone­ly in that depart­ment when I come home.


The Clymb: How have you learned to deal with the noise and poten­tial come down after a big expedition?

JH: I felt the post-adven­ture blues more keen­ly ear­ly in my career, and I think that I’ve learned to expect them, or to be able to head them off at the pass bet­ter as I’ve got­ten old­er. Hav­ing a fam­i­ly and wife helps in that depart­ment quite a bit. To ward them off though, I’ve learned to just plan what I’m going to do next before I come home from the expe­di­tion, so I have some­thing I’m look­ing for­ward to. 

Espe­cial­ly when I’m on the ice, I am always mak­ing lists of what I want to do, where I want to trav­el or where I want to eat when I get home. If I’m able to make good on some of that, it feels real­ly nice for my moti­va­tion. I had this han­ker­ing for a par­tic­u­lar kind of ice cream when I was trav­el­ing my way to the North Pole, and so I went and ate some of that ice cream a cou­ple of times when I got back home, each time I was like, “yeah, this is what I want­ed.” It sounds so sim­ple but mak­ing good on that stuff, and not let­ting that noise dom­i­nate you or tell you what to do, is impor­tant for readjustment. 

Some­times when I come back from an expe­di­tion, I’ll have to talk to the media or cer­tain peo­ple even­tu­al­ly, but I don’t like to let the world know I’m back for a lit­tle bit. I just want that time to focus on what I want to focus on after I get back, like my fam­i­ly and read­just­ment. The world is always mov­ing fast, and as soon as you jump back in, it’s going to sweep you along. It’s those tran­si­tion times that I try to manage.

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The Clymb: Did exer­cise have any role in the read­just­ment process? If so, how quick­ly did you put your body back into the phys­i­cal demands of a strict exer­cise regimen? 

JH: Any­time I’m feel­ing a lit­tle bit off my game men­tal­ly, exer­cise is huge for me, and most cer­tain­ly fol­low­ing any big trip. After the North Pole I took up swim­ming, and that helped get me going again. The Rus­sians have used sim­ple exer­cise to treat men­tal ill­ness for a long time, and while I’ve nev­er expe­ri­enced men­tal ill­ness in my own life, I’m the kind of per­son who gets a lit­tle grumpy if I’m not work­ing out sev­er­al times a week. So I think exer­cise is a big part of my post-adven­ture routine.

For the North Pole I took a month off. Oth­er expe­di­tions that weren’t as phys­i­cal­ly intense, where my body wasn’t as wast­ed, I was able to resume run­ning and bik­ing right away, and felt like I was in real­ly good shape, and that’s kind of fun to take advan­tage of. I’d be used to ski­ing 10–12 hours a day and sleep­ing out­doors, so when I go do a sim­ple six mile run it men­tal­ly felt like ½ of a ski ses­sion I had been doing six times a week. It’s a great feel­ing and a dif­fer­ent men­tal­i­ty. My mind is geared for the long run when I’m out on an expe­di­tion, so it’s rel­a­tive­ly sim­ple to do short­er work­outs back home.

John Huston. ©Glenn Fellman
John Hus­ton. ©Glenn Fellman

The Clymb: Tak­ing advan­tage of your phys­i­cal abil­i­ties after a big trip is one thing, but how about the men­tal aspect? How do you process all your thoughts about a big trip after it happens?

JH: After my trips I want to talk to my expe­di­tion bud­dies who live in Nor­way and Min­neso­ta, because I know they under­stand the expe­di­tion expe­ri­ence. That can be real­ly nice to solid­i­fy some of the mem­o­ries of what hap­pened on the trip. Also, we wrote a book about the North Pole, and even though we didn’t start writ­ing the book until a year lat­er, that was a great expe­ri­ence for putting the trip away and putting clo­sure on things. I don’t rec­om­mend peo­ple go write a book necessarily—that’s a big pain in the ass—but jour­nal­ing and just get­ting some of those thoughts on paper, even just going through pho­tos, that can be a big help as well. I like to have a lit­tle sep­a­ra­tion before I do any of that stuff though, but it jogs my mem­o­ries and puts the trip to bed in a nice way.


The Clymb: What caus­es the feel­ing of want­i­ng to have that separation?

JH: Every­one is dif­fer­ent, but I’ve always need­ed that sep­a­ra­tion, so I can feel detached a bit from the expe­ri­ence emo­tion­al­ly. I think what it comes down to is your pho­tos and videos and what­ev­er you wrote dur­ing the trip cre­ate your mem­o­ries, and I like to give myself some time to breathe before I relive the trip. I think I’m more relaxed and have that detach­ment so I might pick up things that I wouldn’t have nec­es­sar­i­ly if I looked at them right after the trip.

John and Elle on Baumann Fiord, Day 12 of 65, New Land 2013 Expedition, Ellesmere Island. ©Kyle O'Donoghue
John and Elle on Bau­mann Fjord, Day 12 of 65, New Land 2013 Expe­di­tion, Ellesmere Island. ©Kyle O’Donoghue

The Clymb: You have a 10-day expe­di­tion that you are guid­ing to Baf­fin Island in the Spring of 2018, have you already start­ed mak­ing any plans for what you want to do after return­ing from that expedition?

JH: I am already plan­ning to take my wife out to din­ner when I get back from the trip, part­ly because she will be tak­ing care of the kids while I’m gone. For small trips like that, and big trips too, some of the best times are at the end when you have a delib­er­ate cel­e­bra­tion of the trip. After the North Pole we had this huge par­ty in Nor­way, and it was a big high­light that every­one who attend­ed will nev­er for­get. For small­er trips too, espe­cial­ly ones with a team, it’s nice to have some clo­sure where you cel­e­brate the end of the trip and talk about what hap­pened, laugh about it, and put it to bed. I think it’s impor­tant for any­one who goes on a trip to carve out a lit­tle time to put the trip to bed and not just let it run loose and flow back into the rest of life to be for­got­ten about.


The Clymb: What val­ue do you per­son­al­ly find in big expe­di­tions, and what dri­ves you to keep going back to explor­ing the ice?

JH: There is def­i­nite­ly an after­glow fol­low­ing a big expe­di­tion, it’s a fun expe­ri­ence. Every trip I learn a lit­tle about myself and what I want to be doing with my life, so it kind of re-cen­ters my pri­or­i­ties. Expe­di­tions are damn fun, chal­leng­ing, emo­tion­al and dif­fi­cult, but they involve a sin­gle­ness of pur­pose and often take you to very beau­ti­ful, remote part of the world, and it’s fun to make those dreams happen.


To learn more about Hus­ton and his big expe­di­tions over the ice, you can check out his web­site at www.JohnHuston.com, which also includes infor­ma­tion on his speak­ing tour, his book, For­ward, that recounts his self-sup­port­ed North Pole expe­di­tion and details about his 2018 Baf­fin Island trip, of which you can join Hus­ton and fel­low guide Sarah McNair-Landry for two weeks of explor­ing this polar paradise.

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Root­ed in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, among aged sequoia trees and the tow­er­ing cliffs of El Cap­i­tan, Last­ing Adven­tures is born and bred in the wilder­ness of Yosemite. This non-prof­it is on a mis­sion to serve youth in the out­doors, pro­vid­ing back­pack­ing trips, day hikes, and out­door sum­mer camps.

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Founder Scott Gehrman devel­oped an appre­ci­a­tion for Yosemite Nation­al Park at a young age when his bond with the park helped him recov­er after los­ing his moth­er to can­cer. This pas­sion grew into an inevitable call­ing to com­bine both his love for the out­doors and for youth devel­op­ment in order to estab­lish Last­ing Adven­tures in 1997.

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Yosemite is much more than a Nation­al Park to Last­ing Adven­tures. It is an emblem of love, edu­ca­tion, and per­se­ver­ance. It is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to show youth and the gen­er­al pub­lic the pos­i­tive impact the nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment and back­coun­try wilder­ness can have on humans.

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With an excep­tion­al staff, devot­ed exec­u­tive team, and strong mis­sion, Last­ing Adven­tures has served over 5,000 kids and pro­vid­ed 1,500 schol­ar­ships to dis­ad­van­taged youth, allow­ing them to gain valu­able skills and real life experiences.

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Last­ing Adven­tures’ mis­sion is to pro­vide pos­i­tive youth devel­op­ment and edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties to the gen­er­al pub­lic while also pro­vid­ing char­i­ta­ble assis­tance to oth­er­wise dis­ad­van­taged youth. The Clymb is proud to part­ner with such a force for good in the out­door space.

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Sup­port your adven­ture habit while sup­port­ing local providers.


For more infor­ma­tion about book­ing a trip with Last­ing Adven­tures, check out our Adven­tures page here.

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Bio
Lau­ra Ather­ton- Senior Pro­gram Coor­di­na­tor Adventures
Kari­na Sal­ga­do – Brand Design Manager
Both gen­uine Ore­go­ni­ans, Kari­na was born and raised in Med­ford and Lau­ra in Port­land. They both enjoy snow­board­ing, back­pack­ing, and of course, long treks in the Himalayas.
Pho­tog­ra­phy & Sto­ry by Lau­ra Ather­ton and Kari­na Salgado

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Why Ever­est?
Lau­ra- The moun­tains have always fas­ci­nat­ed me. The ways in which peo­ple climb them, the endurance & train­ing it takes to get there, and the feel­ing of stand­ing at the sum­mit is incom­pa­ra­ble to any oth­er goal I’ve attained. In the past sev­er­al years, I’ve checked off sev­er­al North­west peaks, how­ev­er, noth­ing com­pares to the mag­ni­tude of hik­ing in the Himalayas. Beyond the sheer size of the moun­tains, there is an intrigu­ing his­to­ry and cul­ture around climb­ing Ever­est that has always drawn me in.

Kari­na- The love for trav­el and new expe­ri­ences- it’s always spe­cial to learn and expe­ri­ence new coun­tries and cul­tures, from the peo­ple, to their tra­di­tions and cus­toms, to their food. The extra part for me was that I was enter­ing into the unknown phys­i­cal­ly and men­tal­ly. Putting aside day hikes, apart from a cou­ple short and easy back­pack­ing trips and a stint up Rainier that def­i­nite­ly pushed me to my lim­its, I had nev­er done any­thing like this, and while I was fair­ly con­fi­dent that I could do this trip, I still wasn’t sure how I’d han­dle every­thing- the chal­lenge was a big draw, and the poten­tial to suc­ceed and grow.

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Pack­ing List
The weath­er var­ied dras­ti­cal­ly as we hiked from Luk­la at 9,383′ to Ever­est Base Camp at 17,600′. It was crit­i­cal to always pack in lay­ers and be ready for any temperature.Gear we could not live with­out includ­ed a spa­cious and well-fit­ted day­pack with many eas­i­ly acces­si­ble pock­ets to hold the essen­tials like snacks, water bot­tles, sun­glass­es, sun­screen, and extra layers.

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In order to reduce our impact on the trail and save mon­ey, we opt­ed to fil­ter our water. Steri-pens and Sawyer back­pack­ing water fil­ters were our best fiends as we aimed to drink a min­i­mum of 96 oz. per day.

A water bot­tle is not only your friend dur­ing the day, but at night I’d fill it up with hot water and hold it in my sleep­ing bag with me for extra warmth. (Thanks Michelle for teach­ing me that one!)

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Trip High­lights
The pin­na­cle of the trip was reach­ing Ever­est Base Camp and Kala Patthar. Start­ing out in low-lying forest­ed vil­lages, we saw the land­scape dra­mat­i­cal­ly change the high­er we trekked. Upon reach­ing EBC, we were sur­round­ed by a des­o­late land­scape of rock and ice.We were proud of how far we had trekked to be gaz­ing up at Ever­est from the bot­tom of the mountain.

The trek in gen­er­al was a tru­ly amaz­ing expe­ri­ence. The morn­ing we ascend­ed to EBC in par­tic­u­lar — we start­ed our day ear­ly, it was that time in the morn­ing that holds unpar­al­leled peace, one of the few times when it felt real­ly remote.

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What Made This Trip So Special?
We got to con­nect with some many peo­ple from all over the world, and the over­all sense of accom­plish­ment we had at the end. We hiked most days but still had the after­noons and evenings free. Every­one would hud­dle around the com­mon area of the guest­hous­es to share meals, read, play games, and pass time togeth­er. We quick­ly picked up the card game, Dum­b­al, a fast-paced game that every­one knew from porters, guides, cooks, and guest­house staff. It was an amaz­ing way to be able to con­nect with every­one, even if we did not speak the same language.

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Where do you want to go next?
Lau­ra- I’m always schem­ing and dream­ing my next adven­ture. I’m plan­ning on going to Ice­land in the spring to cir­cum­nav­i­gate the island, some moun­tain bik­ing and sum­mer climb­ing in the Pacif­ic North­west, and hope­ful­ly Kil­i­man­jaro in the fall.

Kari­na- I might join Lau­ra in Ice­land or Kil­i­man­jaro, but I have also been dream­ing of a warm beach and some smooth waves to surf. Until then, its most­ly snow­board­ing in my near future.


For more infor­ma­tion on book­ing a trip, check out our Clymb Adven­tures page here. 

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For out­door thrill seek­ers, Aus­tralia is a won­der­land of rugged ter­rain and dra­mat­ic topog­ra­phy. Time to grab your boots and plan your next trek.

Larapinta TrailLara­p­in­ta Trail
Total­ing 138.5 miles, this rang­ing trail spans 12 sec­tions which can be com­plet­ed in a sin­gle hike or bro­ken into day hikes—each sec­tion is vehi­cle acces­si­ble, so hop on and off as suits you.

The trail reach­es from Alice Springs in the east to Mount Son­der in the west. The diverse geog­ra­phy it takes in its path makes it one of the most pop­u­lar treks in the region. From sharply ascend­ing bluffs with views for miles too long, flat, mean­der­ing sec­tions past shady water­holes, there’s a stretch to suit every preference.

The Overland TrackOver­land Track
You’ll need seri­ous out­doors and fit­ness skills to tack­le this one. The rough­ly 40-mile track takes you through Cra­dle Moun­tain-Lake St. Clair Nation­al Park in Tas­ma­nia. You’ll need to pay a reg­is­tra­tion fee to com­plete the hike dur­ing the busy months (October–June). And whichev­er sea­son you choose, you’ll need to plan for expo­sure to the ele­ments and long, stren­u­ous days.

Con­di­tions are gru­el­ing on the six-day jour­ney. But every­thing you see along the way—from dra­mat­ic glacial­ly formed val­leys to dizzy­ing moun­tain panoramas—puts the splen­dor of the park in full display.

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, AustraliaThree Sis­ters, Blue Moun­tains Nation­al Park
The work of mil­len­nia, these aston­ish­ing sand­stone pil­lars were once, accord­ing to Abo­rig­i­nal leg­end, three beau­ti­ful women for­bid­den from inter-trib­al mar­riages to the men they loved. A trib­al elder turned them into stone to pro­tect them but, after dying in bat­tle him­self, was unable to restore them to human form. Here they stand to this day, their geol­o­gy so mag­nif­i­cent­ly full of life that the ori­gin of the myth is eas­i­ly understandable.

The trail to the sis­ters leads you through the for­est as old as the dinosaurs and past some of the most stun­ning for­ma­tions you’ll ever see.

Noosa National ParkCoastal Track, Noosa Nation­al Park
Because a stun­ning ocean view is always wel­come, this pret­ty stretch of trail is a must for area vis­i­tors. It’s one among sev­er­al routes in the park, which hosts just over nine miles of prime hik­ing paths. What makes the coastal track spe­cial, of course, is its access to some of the most gor­geous beach­es in Queens­land. This means that once you’ve done your mileage for the day, you can relax on the shore­line and enjoy the beau­ty of the sparkling sea.

Wilson’s PromontoryGreat Ocean Walk, Wilson’s Promontory
This mean­der­ing 60-mile trail lets you tra­verse every­thing from breath­tak­ing cliffs and rocky shores to wood­lands and estu­ar­ies, all through one of Australia’s most stun­ning nation­al parks. The park includes access to the south­ern-most light­house in oper­a­tion on Australia’s mainland.

Suit­able for mul­ti­day back­pack­ing adven­tures or hop-on, hop-off day hikes, much of the trail is acces­si­ble for wheel­chairs and strollers. But if you’ll be mak­ing the trip with a mixed-abil­i­ty group, check with park rangers to make sure your path is appro­pri­ate for the whole party.

Kosciuszko National ParkMain Range Walk, Kosciuszko Nation­al Park
The 13.6‑mile loop cov­ers some of Australia’s alpine high coun­try. Expect spare, rugged beau­ty and steep climbs. Observe the glacial­ly sculpt­ed geog­ra­phy and cross the Snowy River.

If you vis­it in sum­mer, you’ll rev­el in the fiery wild­flow­ers on dis­play through­out much of the jour­ney. But dur­ing the win­ter, expect a white-blan­ket­ed land­scape best crossed on snowshoes.

What­ev­er the sea­son, when you reach the trail’s sum­mit, you’ll be at one of Australia’s high­est points, sur­vey­ing moun­tains in all directions.

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Old Town Out­fit­ters start­ed as a dream while founder Matt Hartell and his broth­er were rid­ing moun­tain bikes in Guatemala in 1995. This rur­al and vibrant coun­try, full of mys­tery and cul­ture, was the per­fect place for an adven­ture trav­el company.

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Incred­i­ble access to the out­doors and a seem­ing­ly lim­it­less net­work of trails were all with­in reach of the beau­ti­ful and con­ve­nient­ly locat­ed Antigua. Thus, in the fall of 1998, Old Town Out­fit­ters was offi­cial­ly founded.

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Near­ly 20 years lat­er, the adven­ture is still going strong. Full-time guide staff has an aver­age of 10+ years with the com­pa­ny, oper­at­ing world-class, tai­lor-made itin­er­aries, while going out of their way to ensure that every vis­it is unforgettable.

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Along with the integri­ty of their adven­tures, OTO is ded­i­cat­ed to sup­port­ing local NGOs that ben­e­fit sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties. Hartell and his team help run reg­u­lar vol­un­teer and fundrais­ing events for Niños de Guatemala, The Phoenix Projects, EcoFil­tro, and oth­ers. In Jan­u­ary of 2015, OTO spon­sored three of their guides and one oth­er hik­er to com­plete a fundrais­ing expe­di­tion called “37in27”, in which they sum­mit­ed all of Guatemala’s 37 vol­ca­noes in just 27 days. The team was able to raise near­ly $20,000 for local NGOs.

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With its rugged land­scapes, rich Mayan (or Maya?) cul­ture, and his­tor­i­cal colo­nial charm, Guatemala is an intox­i­cat­ing adven­ture des­ti­na­tion for all types of trav­el­ers. Climb soar­ing vol­ca­noes, kayak mag­nif­i­cent Lake Ati­t­lan, moun­tain bike in the jun­gle, explore mar­kets burst­ing with life, and more.

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Sup­port your adven­ture habit while sup­port­ing Guatemalan communities.


For more infor­ma­tion about book­ing a trip with Old Town Out­fit­ters, check out our Adven­tures page here.

southern hemisphere sports

southern hemisphere sportsEvery sea­son offers its share of out­door oppor­tu­ni­ties, but vari­ety is the spice of life. So if you’re pas­sion­ate about warm weath­er adven­tures and want to keep your end­less sum­mer flow­ing, check out some of these great south­ern hemi­sphere destinations.

Flo­ri­anópo­lis, South­ern Brazil
Boast­ing 42 gor­geous beach­es, Flo­ri­anópo­lis offers a mix of sandy spots that accom­mo­date a range of inter­ests. For fam­i­ly-friend­ly calm and pro­tect­ed waters, vis­it the peninsula’s west side. But if you’re look­ing to shred waves, make for the east­ern shore, where pow­er­ful Atlantic swells gen­er­ate excel­lent con­di­tions. Pra­ia Mole and Gal­heta, in par­tic­u­lar, are note­wor­thy surf spots. When you’re through sun­ning your­self, check out the fash­ion­able Beira-Mar Norte dis­trict, locat­ed on an island linked to the main­land by a bridge.

La Ser­e­na, Chile 
Stargaz­ing on a sum­mery Decem­ber night is an expe­ri­ence you’ll cher­ish for­ev­er. And there’s good rea­son con­stel­la­tion hunters flock to North­ern Chile’s La Ser­e­na. Thanks to the clar­i­ty of these south­ern skies, La Ser­e­na hosts the largest col­lec­tion of astro­nom­i­cal obser­va­to­ries in the world. About a third of the sky you’ll see here isn’t ever view­able from the hemi­sphere. Vis­it Cer­ro Tolo­lo Inter-Amer­i­can Obser­va­to­ry on a tour.

Abel Tas­man Nation­al Park, New Zealand
If hik­ing along a pris­tine and high­ly vari­able coastal route is your idea of par­adise, New Zealand has you cov­ered. Abel Tasman’s coast track is your per­fect escape. This 32-mile stretch will take you through lush veg­e­ta­tion, past waters that sparkle in trans­par­ent blues and greens, along some of the most beau­ti­ful views in the world. In the park, you’ll also find access to camp­ing, boat­ing, hunt­ing, and biking.

Byron Bay, Australia
Come surf, stroll, and loll in this gor­geous beach ham­let where San­ta Claus is more apt to appear on water skis than in a snow-dust­ed sleigh.

There’s plen­ty of activ­i­ty for all, whether you seek water sports, hik­ing, bal­loon­ing adven­tures, or fam­i­ly-friend­ly fun. Byron Bay is famous for its nat­ur­al beau­ty as well as for its awe­some hotels.

Syd­ney, Australia
Syd­ney is an unsur­passed site for urban explo­ration. From the icon­ic Opera House with its stun­ning har­bor view to up-and-com­ing cui­sine, you can indulge in cul­ture and sophis­ti­ca­tion with an Aussie accent. And when you want to shed your city chic to hit the waves, vis­it world-famous Bon­di Beach and get some tan lines in that warm Jan­u­ary sunshine.

Table Moun­tain Nation­al Park, South Africa
The stun­ning com­po­si­tion of moun­tains that rise from a sparkling stretch of coast would make Table Moun­tain an ide­al loca­tion any time of year. To enjoy the full scope of the view, take a ride on the Moun­tain Cableway.

From climb­ing and hik­ing to seclud­ed for­est pic­nics, there is no short­age of mem­o­ries to be made. Per­haps best of all among the park’s most vis­it­ed loca­tions? A world-famous pen­guin colony where you can observe African pen­guins up close in their nat­ur­al environment.

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Why Peru, and Why the Salka­n­tay Trek in Particular?
Valen­cia Trav­el Cuz­co via The Clym­b’s Adven­ture appealed to me because the Salka­n­tay Trek, a 5‑day trek through the Andes, is regard­ed as one of the best treks in the world. Cap­ping at 15,253 feet, this ancient and seclud­ed trail is locat­ed in the same region as the Inca Trail that leads to Machu Pic­chu. Explor­ing this region had long since been on my buck­et list so when the oppor­tu­ni­ty came up I quick­ly jumped on it.

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Pack­ing Essentials?

Beyond the hik­ing essen­tials (sun­block, hik­ing poles, cam­era), I couldn’t do with­out bug repel­lant. Trav­el­ing through an array of micro­cli­mates, I wore warm clothes to pro­tect me from the cold con­di­tions. After trekking along­side glac­i­ers in the morn­ing I had to quick­ly delay­er when we reached the jun­gle, expos­ing myself to bugs that were in search of dinner.

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Trip High­lights?
The goal had been to reach Machu Pic­chu, but in hind­sight the most mem­o­rable part of the trip took place on day 2 of the trek. That morn­ing, my guide Fabi gave me a pep talk about the chal­leng­ing route that entailed gain­ing 3000 ft of ele­va­tion with­in 3 miles to reach the Salka­n­tay Pass. Mak­ing it to the pass, which is set­tled between mas­sive moun­tains and glac­i­ers, was tru­ly epic. To the left stood Tucarhuay and to the right Salka­n­tay. I felt the crisp air of the moun­tains and was grate­ful to stand at the top admir­ing the beau­ty of the Andes.

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What Made this Trip so Special?
Along the Salka­n­tay trail I had the priv­i­lege to be greet­ed by the many locals of the coun­try­side. I was enam­ored by their kind­ness and gen­eros­i­ty. It was a real hon­or to jour­ney along this ancient and sacred path.

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Where Do You Want to Go Next?
There are so many amaz­ing places to see, but South Amer­i­ca keeps lur­ing me in. I would love to climb Aconcagua, which stands in the heart of the Andes wedged between Chile and Argenti­na and peaks at 22,841 ft. Aconcagua is the high­est moun­tain in both the West­ern and South­ern Hemispheres.

Want to share your Clymb Adven­ture sto­ry? Email stories@theclymb.comwith trip high­lights and 3–5 images for a chance to be featured.


For more infor­ma­tion on book­ing a trip, check out our Clymb Adven­tures page here.

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©istockphoto/Kenneth WiedemannSum­mer means sev­er­al things in Alas­ka: almost 24-hour sun­light, rainy weath­er, and of course, tourists. As a local Alaskan, I’ve host­ed many out-of-town­ers and wit­nessed many more in typ­i­cal tourist haunts. So, if you’re plan­ning a sum­mer excur­sion to Alas­ka, here are 10 things you’ll need to get the most out of your trip.

1. Rain Jacket
If there’s one thing you can count on from an Alaskan sum­mer, it’s rain. Usu­al­ly, in the form of a light driz­zle, it can increase to a full-on mon­soon. Keep your­self warm and dry with a light, breath­able, and water-resis­tant jacket.

2. Cool Weath­er Wear
It’s no secret that Alas­ka boasts cool­er tem­per­a­tures than most places. So, depend­ing on your cli­mate of ori­gin, you may want to bun­dle up a lit­tle more than you would else­where. Don’t break out your snow­suit, but pre­pare with long pants and long sleeves. The best lay­ers are ones you can shed if the tem­per­a­ture creeps up.

3. Warm Weath­er Wear
Many vis­i­tors are so pre­oc­cu­pied with dress­ing for cold weath­er, that they com­plete­ly for­get the poten­tial for hot sum­mer tem­per­a­tures. Espe­cial­ly for peo­ple plan­ning to vis­it dif­fer­ent areas of the state, keep in mind temps can reach the 90’s in var­i­ous areas. Pre­pare by bring­ing shorts and t‑shirts, know­ing a quick change in weath­er may require adding a layer.

4. Cam­era
Try not to spend so much time behind the lens that you miss out on your actu­al expe­ri­ence, but of course, you’ll want to snap that per­fect pro­file pic. Big or small, bring your pre­ferred camera—just remem­ber to be aware of your sur­round­ings. While the view might be beau­ti­ful, stop­ping on the side of a two-lane high­way while locals rush to the riv­er, may not be the best course of action. When you’re dri­ving use spe­cif­ic pull­outs to stop and take pictures.

5. Shoes with Tread
While many places you’ll trav­el in Alas­ka have paved roads and side­walks, you’ll prob­a­bly want to ven­ture off the beat­en path at some point. Depend­ing on your antic­i­pat­ed activ­i­ty, opt to bring a shoe with con­sid­er­able tread. A trail run­ning shoe or hik­ing boot is a good option for most out­door activities.

©istockphoto/Marcopolo94426. Sleep­ing Mask
It’s not called the “Land of the Mid­night Sun” for noth­ing. With sun­sets occur­ring in the ear­ly morn­ing hours (if at all), most Alaskans fash­ion room dark­en­ing shades or place tin foil on their win­dows to get prop­er shut­eye. As a vis­i­tor, a sleep­ing mask should do the trick.

7. Casu­al Wear
Even Alaskans like to enjoy a nice night on the town. Should you ven­ture to a nicer venue, you don’t want to show up to a fan­cy din­ner in your zip-off adven­ture pants. Plan a cou­ple of com­fort­able, casu­al out­fits and don’t feel the need to get to gussied up. Alaskans may not be the best-dressed folks in the nation, but you’ll get some side­ways glances if you show up to din­ner look­ing ready to hike.

8. Mon­ey
Ok, so this prob­a­bly goes for any trip you take but do bear in mind things are lit­tle prici­er in Alas­ka. Pri­mar­i­ly due to the costs of import­ing goods, high costs trick­le down to locals and vis­i­tors alike. If your bud­get is less padded, opt for as many free activ­i­ties as pos­si­ble. Most sight­see­ing can be done from a car win­dow or atop a local hik­ing trail.

9. Sense of Direction
Locals are big into using car­di­nal direc­tions to send you to a des­ti­na­tion. If you find your­self con­fused at where to go fear not—just remem­ber in South­cen­tral Alas­ka, East is toward the moun­tains. Always ask for clar­i­fi­ca­tion, and car­ry a map.

10. Flex­i­bil­i­ty
No, we’re not refer­ring to your down­ward dog, but rather to your emo­tion­al flex­i­bil­i­ty. Plans change as fre­quent­ly as the weath­er in the Last Fron­tier. Sum­mer road con­struc­tion, inclement weath­er, or a griz­zly post­ing up in your camp­ing spot can put a stick in the spokes of the best-laid plans. When trav­el­ing in Alas­ka, it’s best to keep a sense of humor and see obsta­cles as an adventure.

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Why did you choose this adventure?
Cuba has a mys­tique unlike any­where else on the plan­et. I’d always read and been told that going to Cuba was like step­ping back in time to a place where peo­ple still rode by horse and bug­gy or drove clas­sic 60-year-old cars, and social­ist pro­pa­gan­da bill­boards stood in place of com­mer­cial ads. With the impli­ca­tions of a thaw­ing U.S.-Cuba rela­tion­ship, I want­ed to see it before it start­ed catch­ing up to the 21st century.

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Pack­ing Essen­tials: What did you use most?
Light­weight, breath­able cloth­ing. Light wool tanks, a syn­thet­ic long-sleeve shirt, and board­shorts are great mul­ti-pur­pose sta­ples. If you pick the right colors/patterns, they’ll also help con­ceal sweat.
A good day­pack. Suit­able for any dai­ly adven­ture to house the essen­tials. Don’t for­get sunscreen.
Reusable water bot­tle and SteriPEN. I’m a big fan of being able to make any water safe to drink. It’s con­ve­nient, cost-effec­tive, and good for the planet.

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What were your trip highlights?
Hik­ing to pris­tine water­falls and pools in the lush hills out­side of Trinidad. Horse­back rid­ing through yuc­ca, tobac­co, and sug­ar­cane farms along the strik­ing lime­stone mono­liths of Viñales. Wan­der­ing the vibrant streets of mag­i­cal Havana, with its crum­bling ele­gance and steady pour of live music. Scu­ba div­ing near the Bay of Pigs, with its warm water, amaz­ing clar­i­ty, and pris­tine reef teem­ing with col­or­ful sea life. Plus, it’s uncan­ni­ly afford­able, with a 2‑hour ses­sion only run­ning you $40 per person.

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What makes this place special?
What makes Cuba spe­cial is its time­less antiq­ui­ty, the diverse beau­ty of its ter­rain, the fas­ci­nat­ing mix of Latin and African cul­ture with for­mer Sovi­et influ­ence, and the indomitable strength and spir­it of the Cuban peo­ple. To say they’ve endured a lot is an under­state­ment, and they’re still incred­i­bly warm, gen­er­ous, and always look­ing to crack a joke.

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What was the cra­zi­est thing that you saw?
On the dri­ve from Trinidad back to Havana, I saw an old man rid­ing a bicy­cle while hold­ing the reigns of a trot­ting horse, all on the side of a six-lane highway.

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Where do you want to go next?
Tanzania.


For more infor­ma­tion on book­ing a trip, check out our Clymb Adven­tures page here. 

You’re read­ing our first ever Clymb Adven­tures Part­ner Spot­light. We’ll be giv­ing you an inside look at the peo­ple who pow­er Clymb Adven­tures, what makes them so spe­cial, and why they are such an inte­gral part of what we do.

Hori­zons framed by soar­ing snowy peaks, ancient Bud­dhist monas­ter­ies, and wind torn, flut­ter­ing prayer flags are but a few rea­sons the Himalayas are pure alpine mag­ic. The topog­ra­phy of this sacred land begs for explo­ration and dis­cov­ery. It’s not just the land but the peo­ple that make an expe­ri­ence here unforgettable.

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Ace the Himalaya, a 100% Nepalese-owned ground oper­a­tor, makes adven­ture hap­pen here. And The Clymb is proud to say they were our very first trav­el part­ner. Today, they con­tin­ue to embody the spir­it of human-pow­ered adven­ture, offer­ing authen­tic­i­ty, val­ue, and a mod­el which takes care of its own and the sur­round­ing communities.

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Found­ed in 2006 by a for­mer trekking Sher­pa named Prem Kha­try, the inspi­ra­tion was born out of a life lived to hon­or moun­tains. Raised in the remote Himalayan vil­lage of Gorkha, Prem devel­oped a love for nature which led him to the Nepalese tourism indus­try at age 15. After 8 years as a guide, Prem was ready to bring his own vision to life, and Ace the Himalaya was born.

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Oper­at­ing in Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet, from trekking, to moun­taineer­ing, raft­ing, moun­tain bik­ing, cul­tur­al tours, to vol­un­tourism, Ace con­nects explor­ers with their cho­sen paths. With an aver­age group size of eight clients to two guides, these expe­ri­ences are inti­mate and authen­tic. All guides are local and trained to strict standards.

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To cel­e­brate Ace the Himalaya, we’re high­light­ing four of their adven­ture offer­ings. Hike the clas­sic route to Ever­est Base Camp, trek the spec­tac­u­lar Anna­pur­na Cir­cuit, heli-tour the Himalayas, or raft, moun­tain bike, and paraglide your way through Nepal. Expe­ri­ence a beau­ti­ful cor­ner of the world while sup­port­ing a grass­roots orga­ni­za­tion. There’s no bet­ter time to go than now.

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For more infor­ma­tion on Clymb Adven­tures, check out our page here.