Chase Your GOAT
Our Greatest of All Time experiences happen outside, and we’re guessing that yours do too. They happen on mountain trails and in backcountry trout streams, on snowy peaks and beside bonfires on the beach. These #GOATworthy experiences are what we are chasing, and our goal is to help you chase them too. What GOAT are you chasing?
Tommy Caldwell’s experienced some extraordinary moments in his life: free-climbing El Capitan’s Dawn Wall, completing the legendary Fitz Roy Traverse, escaping from terrorists holding him hostage in Kyrgyzstan. Pain and fear were part of all of those things, but his father taught him from a young age how to shift seemingly miserable experiences into a positive light. He learned he can manage challenging situations by controlling his perspective and his attitude. He’s now embarking on yet another big adventure—raising a young family. He’s taking the lessons his father taught him, bringing that perspective to his own family, and continuing to chase down as many life experiences as possible.
The freedom of being able to travel anywhere, take on any adventure when the opportunity arises—that’s what attracted William Woodward to van life. He’s been living in his van for two and a half years now, traveling the continent. He hikes, he climbs, he kayaks for months at a time. But for William, it’s the people he meets along the way that make this lifestyle worthwhile: learning their stories, climbing with them, trusting them. William’s behind the wheel of his van, chasing down relationships with people he would have never met otherwise.
Doctors told Heather Laptalo she probably couldn’t run again. After all, she’d been wearing back braces since she was ten and had faced numerous surgeries to combat her severe cases of scoliosis and kyphosis. A simple walk to the restroom was exhausting. But that wasn’t a life she was ready to live. One painful experience at a time, she tested her limits–walking led to running, which led to a full-ride cross-country college scholarship, which led to qualifying for the Boston Marathon. For some reason, the more she pushed, the more the pain went away, and the more she was outside–whether she was running, or climbing 14ers, or trekking to Everest basecamp–the happier she became. Pushing the limits of her body and getting outdoors wasn’t the problem, it was the solution.
They say challenge and adversity build character. If that’s true, 5-foot-6 Jim Holland’s character is about the size of Andre the Giant. As an athlete, Jim was a six-time US national champion in ski jumping and competed in two Olympics. As an entrepreneur, he risked starting a fledgling online retail business before online retail was even a thing, which he grew against all odds into the Backcountry you know today. And now, he’s facing perhaps the biggest challenge and greatest adversity of his life as he battles early-onset Parkinson’s disease, dedicating his resources to empower doctors and scientists around the globe to find a cure. “Quit” has never been in Jim’s vocabulary and he won’t start now—he’s up to this challenge, too.
Discovering a new outdoor activity that you love typically doesn’t happen spontaneously. You grew up camping, or you have a good friend who takes you out climbing, or you marry a dedicated mountaineer. But what if you don’t have any experts in your life to blaze that trail? Enter the Outbound Collective. For Brian Heifferon, The Outbound’s co-founder and CEO, time spent in the outdoors is an absolute necessity, and he is dedicated to helping others find their way there. He’s creating a community of people who love the outdoors that is open to people of all skill levels, and is empowering them to have more fun outside. Helping everyone create those great moments in the outdoors, that’s what he’s chasing. #ChaseYourGOAT #GOATworthy
What is your Greatest of All Time experience? When you love the outdoors as much as we do, that can be a tough question to answer. For some, it’s the payoff for a lot of time, dedication, and yes, money spent trying to achieve a bucket-list goal. For others, it’s as simple as a sunset hike on a perfect evening or first tracks on a powder day with friends. But one thing is true across the board: our greatest moments happen outside. And we want to get you more of that … again and again. What GOAT are you chasing? Share an original photo or video on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook using #ChaseYourGOAT & #GOATworthy for a chance to win $1,500 toward your next Greatest of All Time experience.
Trying something new can take a leap of faith. Irene Yee wasn’t sure if climbing was for her, if she would fit in … but she took that leap, and the world opened up for her. She saw things in a different way. Obstacles aren’t meant to be barriers, they’re meant to be overcome. The more she climbed, the more confident she felt, and the more she discovered qualities in herself that she loved. As she puts it, “I became somebody I always wanted to be.” Now she loves capturing those same kinds of breakthrough moments in others from behind the lens. To her, nothing is more satisfying than that.
The world around us is full of magic. For children, this is easy to see, but us adults have to look harder sometimes. For Jennifer and Taylor Killian, nothing beats seeing the eyes of their children light up while they’re outside experiencing the magic of nature. This couple’s life’s work and passion is using the outdoors to empower women through their organization AndShesDopeToo. Their personal inspiration, though, comes from experiencing nature, the small things, with their young family. Lifelong memories for their children are what Jennifer and Taylor are chasing.
Steph Davis flies off cliffs nearly every day. For her, the sense of freedom that this life gives her is more important than the thrill of any one particular jump. Focusing on the bigger picture allows her to assess risk, manage fear, and walk away from a jump when it doesn’t feel right. She used to suppress fear, but now she lets it in. She’s learned to embrace it and use it to help her decision making. Welcoming fear has given her freedom, and that is what she’s chasing.
Math, life, and fishing have a lot in common. For Ruth Sims, they’re all about finding balance: balancing two sides of an equation, balancing the stresses of a 9-to-5 job and the passion to be standing in a river, and balancing all the factors that allow her to land a great fish. The Navajo phrase “hozho naasha” encapsulates this quest for balance. It means “walk in beauty,” and that is what Ruth is chasing.
After almost losing his life in the backcountry of the Uinta Mountains last winter, Salt Lake City’s Jeremy Jones says that he would do it all over again—not because he enjoyed breaking both his legs, getting airlifted out of a horrific avalanche situation, and being stranded on a broken-down cat for hours, but because of how he was able to witness the way his friends reacted to save his life in an impossible situation. It’s those kinds of all-time moments of friendship, the things that happen while pursuing a shared passion for the outdoors with people he loves, that Jeremy is chasing.
Les Morales’ greatest moments are the ones he can replay in his mind like a movie. Many of those moments happen in the water—when natural forces align to create the perfect wave, or when a glassy lake appears at the end of a long drive. It’s ironic that swim lessons terrified him when he was young, that he was the one kid in the pool who felt like he didn’t belong there. Now he lives for the water and the waves. “The happiest place in the world is in that tube,” he says. That next moment of perfection on a wave is what Les is chasing.
Mina Young Lee grew up an adventurer and instigator: she’d explore the drainage pipes of her neighborhood by prying up manhole covers, climb trees all the way to their tops, follow creeks to discover their sources, get her younger sisters to do the same. She’s still all of those things: a climber, hiker, canyoneer, photographer, and most importantly, a guide. She takes people to her favorite places—she pushes them, both physically and emotionally, to heights they’d never imagine they could get to. When others are looking at the beauty of nature, she’s looking at them. Enabling other people to have their Greatest Of All Time experiences is the GOAT she’s chasing.
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