In the Out and Back Podcast presented by Gaia GPS, thru-hiker Andrew “Shanty” Baldwin, professional guide/outdoorswoman Mary "Hiker Midnight" Cochenour, and professional athlete Abby Levene dive deep into conversation with long-distance hikers, record-breaking athletes, offroad travelers who sold everything to live full-time on the dusty backroads, and other awesome guests who have mastered their backcountry craft.
In every show, Shanty, Mary, and Abby tap into each backcountry expert’s superpower so you can take their experience and knowledge with you on your next adventure.
29. Vasu Sojitra
Vasu Sojitra is one of the most accomplished adaptive athletes on Earth. He’s notched first independent adaptive ascents and descents on everything from the Grand Teton in Grand Teton National Park to Tuckerman's Ravine on Mount Washington in New Hampshire. This past winter, he summited Wyoming's formidable Mount Moran and skied its infamous Skillet Glacier.
He’s done all of this with one leg.
Reducing Vasu to his leg difference, though, doesn’t do him justice. Rather, Vasu has leveraged his disability to cultivate courage, resiliency, and compassion. In this episode of Out and Back, Vasu recounts going from feeling like an outsider as a kid growing up in Glastonbury, CT and Gujarat, India, to finding belonging on the ski slopes. Vasu’s accomplishments on the trails are extraordinary, but his story is really one of finding strength within yourself. He’s on a mission to make the outdoors accessible to all, so everyone can experience the liberation of moving their bodies through the landscape.
28. Backcountry Fitness
The days are getting longer and warmer — hiking season is well on its way! But for many of us, nearby trails are still covered in ice and snow. And for many more, we are cooped up in the city or live in geographical regions as flat as a pancake. How can we gear up for summer adventures?
Well...personal trainer Billy Gawron of Backcountry Fitness is here with answers. This week on Out and Back, Shanty and Abby chat with Billy about training for hiking, backpacking, and thru-hiking season.
The trio talk about key fitness issues, including...
-the number one thing we should all start working on right now
-the key to balancing strength work with endurance training
-pervasive myths about training
-how to train your feet and ankles to withstand long days with a heavy pack
-how to prevent pesky and debilitating knee pain
-how to prepare for altitude while at sea level
If you’re dreaming up some big plans for the summer, you won’t want to miss this show!
27. Adrian Ballinger
Alpinist Adrian Ballinger has made a career of climbing the Himalaya’s 8,000-meter giants. Since 2008, he’s summited Mount Everest eight times, including once without supplemental oxygen. He has also climbed other lofty and daring peaks in the region like K2, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, and Manaslu.
In this fun and lighthearted chat, Ballinger speaks openly with Shanty and Mary about overcoming family and societal pressure in order to live a life that's true to yourself, and he also talks about the challenges/realities of guiding clients up the world’s highest mountains.
But it's not all just earthquakes, avalanches, mountain politics, and global warming. Ballinger also takes us to a fateful encounter on the side of Mount Everest, where he met the love of his life, professional climber Emily Harrington. The couple got engaged last year, and are looking at a December 2021 wedding. Ballinger gives us a peak of what “normal” life is like for these two climbing celebrities.
26. Matt Segal - Alpine Start
Professional rock climber Matt Segal knew that climbing would never be enough for him. Plus, he was fed up with drinking bad coffee on climbing expeditions. As a result, Segal founded Alpine Start, an artisan instant coffee company, while continuing to raise the bar in climbing.
In this episode of the Out and Back podcast, Abby and Shanty catch up with Segal to learn how he redefines what’s possible in climbing and how he juggles sports with running a business.
25. Sonya and Necota Staples - Valentine's Day Special
After 10 years of marriage, Sonya and Necota Staples reached the brink of divorce. They had gotten so caught up in the business of living that they drifted apart. That’s when these city dwellers tried something new: camping. That one trip changed the trajectory of their lives.
In this special Valentine’s Day episode of the Out and Back podcast, Abby and Shanty bring you the story of Sonya and Necota Staples. Tune in to learn how camping and overlanding rejuvenated the Staples’ marriage. The Staples share their story openly and honestly, with humor and insight along the way. They talk about what inspired them to start the YouTube channel and social media presence "StaplesInTents". And they get into why they swapped out their BMWs for a Land Cruiser and some of the fun adventures they've had off road.
24. Luke Smithwick - The Himalaya 500
Shanty and Mary catch up with Luke Smithwick, one of the most prolific ski mountaineers and guides in the world. Smithwick is 200 lines deep into his Himalaya 500 skiing project — a mission to highlight 500 of the most unique and beautiful backcountry runs in the world’s tallest mountains. With more than 75 Himalayan mountain expeditions to his name, Smithwick unravels the mystery of skiing in places like Tibet, India, and Nepal.
Smithwick tells us why the Himalayas could become the next, all-time backcountry ski destination. Tune in to find out what it takes to get on one of Smithwick’s guided Himalayan ski mountaineering trips, learn about his mission to ski 500 classic Himalayan descents, and get his take on the best zones in this colossal mountain range.
Lots of granular info
Not just individual experiences but also info from the various agencies that keep hikers safe. I learn a lot. Shanty is a really good interviewer. The apparently great editing keeps the interview quick and crisp
Stop the Politics
Please stop including political issues (ie. climate change) in your podcasts...just focus on questions specific to the skill of the guest...none of these guests are experts on the climate...and furthermore the fact they pay China (the worlds worst climate killer) to climb mt Everest is a joke. You ruin the podcasts the moment questions get political. I’ll consider canceling my Gaia subscription/and podcast if this keeps up. You ruin a perfectly good podcast...just like the NBA has ruined its product.
Winter backcountry travel
Awesome instruction and advice on Winter backcountry travel!