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I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote

- Herman Melville

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Athletes & Explorers

Mar 08, 2019

International Women’s Day: You Do Not Need Facial Hair to be “Outdoorsy”

When you think of an "outdoorsy" person, what comes to mind? There is still a necessity to challenge stereotypes.

WRITTEN BY

Brooke Hess

Last week, I had a conversation with a stranger that completely caught me off-guard. I was sitting in a cafe, typing on my laptop, when the middle-aged man seated next to me started up a conversation. It went like this…

Stranger: What are you studying there?

Me: Oh I am not studying, I am working.

Stranger: What kind of work do you do?

Me: I am a staff writer for The Outdoor Journal. I write articles about outdoor adventure sports.

Stranger: An outdoor adventure sports writer… shouldn’t you be an outdoorsy person to do that job?

Me: I am an outdoorsy person.

Stranger: You don’t look like an outdoorsy person.

Me: Well, what does an outdoorsy person look like?

Stranger: I don’t know… bushy mustache, sideburns, beard… you look more like a ballerina!

Me: You don’t have to be a man to be outdoorsy.

The conversation ended there and I went back to work. 

The man was clearly not an outdoorsy person himself. Prior to this conversation, he had told me all about his life in Chicago, where he had lived for the past 40-something years. He did not know anything about the outdoor industry, except that, apparently, one must have facial hair and a penis in order to enjoy the outdoors.

Being that I was on skis before I could walk, in a climbing harness before I could read, and in a kayak before I could drive, I know one thing – this man was extremely misinformed.

“One must have facial hair and a penis in order to enjoy the outdoors.”

It was my mom who put me on skis as soon as I was able to stand by myself. It was my older sister who taught me to be tough and keep hiking even when my legs felt so tired that I wished they would fall off. It was watching Alley Fontenot and Cheyenne Rogers kayaking at the local whitewater park and making it look easy, that inspired me to hop in a boat and try it out. It was Erin Clancey who gave me my first ever surf lesson and taught me how to catch a wave in my kayak. It was Hannah Kertesz, the only other high school-aged girl I had ever seen in a kayak, who taught me how to throw my first freestyle trick, then convinced me to enter my first ever competition. It was also Hannah who became one of my best friends and is still one of my favorite paddling and skiing partners 10 years later. It was Natalie Anderson who encouraged me to paddle onto the biggest wave of my life, then taught me how to use the edges of the boat to throw tricks, rather than simply trying to muscle my way through it. It was the girls at The Climbing Academy who taught me how to try hard on the rock, how to accept failure, and how to stay motivated even when you don’t succeed. It was Claire O’Hara who taught me how to be happy for the women who beat you in competition, even if you are unhappy with your own paddling that day. It was Sydney Nixon who taught me that there is no point in going kayaking unless you are smiling and laughing the entire time. It was Crista Wiles and Nicole Mansfield who taught me how to appreciate every day and every moment you get to spend outside, no matter what else is going on in your life at the time.

All of these women have had a significant impact on me becoming an “outdoorsy” person. All of them are outdoorsy. None of them have mustaches, sideburns, or a beard.

Cover Photo: U.S. Freestyle Kayak Team members, Brooke Hess and Anna Bruno, driving to the river for a training session before the 2017 Freestyle Kayak World Championships

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Athletes & Explorers

Apr 21, 2019

Jess Roskelley, David Lama and Hansjörg Auer: How the World Reacted.

On Friday, the world was forced to come to terms with the passing of three climbing pioneers. Perhaps the biggest loss to the outdoor community in decades, respects were paid from around the world.

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WRITTEN BY

The Outdoor Journal

On Friday, news outlets from around the world reported that three world-class mountaineers who were climbing Alberta’s Howse Peak on Tuesday, April 16th were caught up in a large avalanche, that carried them to their likely deaths. Those mountaineers were 28-year-old Austrian David Lama, 36-year-old American Jess Rosskelley, and 35-year-old Hansjörg Auer.

Loved and admired by many, people from all walks of life have paid their respect. A few of those messages that have been shared on social platforms can be found below.

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David lebte für die Berge und seine Leidenschaft für das Klettern und Bergsteigen hat uns als Familie geprägt und begleitet. Er folgte stets seinem Weg und lebte seinen Traum. Das nun Geschehene werden wir als Teil davon akzeptieren.⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Wir bedanken uns für die zahlreichen positiven Worte und Gedanken von nah und fern, und bitten um Verständnis, dass es keine weitere Stellungnahme von uns geben wird. Vielmehr bitten wir David mit seiner Lebensfreude, seiner Tatkräftigkeit und mit Blick Richtung seiner geliebten Berge in Erinnerung zu behalten. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Die Familien von Hansjörg und Jess schließen wir in unsere Gedanken ein⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Claudia & Rinzi Lama⁣⠀ ____________________________________⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ David dedicated his life to the mountains and his passion for climbing and alpinism shaped and accompanied our family. He always followed his own path and lived his dream. We will accept what now happened as a part of that.⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ We appreciate the numerous positive words and thoughts from near and far. Please understand that there will be no further comments from our side. We ask you to remember David for his zest for life, his enthusiasm and with a view towards his beloved mountains. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Our thoughts are with Hansjörg’s and Jess‘ family⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Claudia & Rinzi Lama

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I will walk by your side forever.

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We all go to the mountains because there is some innate part of being human that seeks challenge and there is endless challenge to be found in our wild places. I’ve always seen mountains as a blank canvas that lets me be an artist by choosing my unique path when amongst them. It’s freedom in its purest and most simple form. But, like many things in life, what you originally set out to do isn’t always where you end up. It’s the unexpected adventures along the way that create the true magic. There’s so much more to this passion than just the climb or the ski, there are the human connections created along this journey that have been some of the deepest and most profound friendships of my life. There is also tragedy. The mountains are both majestic and fierce. They give so much and they take so much. It is with profound sadness, frustration and even anger that this week we have lost so much passion, kindness, ingenuity and unadulterted talent with the passing of these three human beings. *** My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of David Lama, Hansjörg Auer and Jess Roskelley. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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It hurts to feel the crushing magnitude of losing people you not only really care about, but also that are such iconic figureheads of our community. My heart breaks and I am praying for the direct family members and loved ones involved. Jess was one of the most driven, positive, humble, goofy, and kind friends. He accomplished daunting mountains with a smile and inspiring ability to encourage you to see no limits, too. Despite the magnitude of his accomplishments, he wasn’t “above” anyone. He was a genuine, radical guy and husband to an equally inspiring, kickass woman, @alliroskelley David Lama- who in our direct community doesn’t have a story…? Soft spoken, genuine BADASS. Footsy (@magmidt 😭) It’s been some time since the three of us hung out together but I will never forget how you have always been the number one climber I have looked up to’s career…the childhood prodigy turned all-rounded mountain climbing technician. He was the guy that could probably come back from a long expedition and still fire 5.14’s like he never left the gym. Hansjorg; an Austrian legend, I didn’t know you as personally so well but man, your accomplishments were so damn legendary. It’s so hard for me to wrap my mind around this except for the fact that the mountains are at once beautiful and merciless. These guys knew what they were doing in the mountains. They were straight legends. That’s what is terrifying to me. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your resume is: extremely unlucky circumstances can still happen. 💔.

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🖤💫🙏🏻 no words.

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No sabemos ni como empezar este texto, son momentos tan duros que no nos salen ni las palabras. La pérdida de Hansjorg Auer, David Lama y Jess Roskelly es tan grande que nos hemos quedado vacíos. Son tantos los amigos perdidos en la montaña qué se nos encoge el corazón. Muchos ánimos a las familias y amigos. Conocíamos a Hans desde hace mucho tiempo. Le queríamos y admirabamos mucho, era una gran persona , muy entrañable y fuente de inspiración para muchos de nosotros, con el cual tuvimos la suerte de haber compartido mucho tiempo y aventuras. ¡Siempre estarás con nosotros! Tus latín brothers Eneko & iker. We do not know how to start this text, they are such hard moments that we do not even get the words. The loss of Hansjorg Auer, David Lama and Jess Roskelly is so hard that we are left empty. There are so many lost friends in the mountains that our hearts shrink. Many encouragement to families and friends. We had known Hans for a long time. We loved and admired him very much, he was a great person, very fond and a source of inspiration for many of us, with whom we were fortunate to have shared a lot of time and adventures. ¡You will always be with us! Your latin brothers. Eneko & iker

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Read Next: Hansjörg Auer: No Turning Back

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