The Outdoor Journal’s Biggest Stories of 2019

From Antarctica to the Arctic, from electric vehicles to barefoot running, from triumph to tragedy, we take a look back at some of the most important stories on The Outdoor Journal in 2019.

The Outdoor Journal’s Biggest Stories of 2019

Media, and especially independent journalism, is getting harder than ever before. However, at The Outdoor Journal we have endeavored to bring you high-quality journalism and editorial insight from around the world. We always do our best to take a step back, and publish considered content that always attempts to acknowledge both sides of a story.

The response to this approach is always strong and is reflected in the stories that we present below, as the biggest and often most read articles on in 2019.

Alone Across Antarctica

On December 26, 2018, American Colin O’Brady completed a 54-day expedition across Antarctica, covering over 930 miles while hauling a 400-pound sled packed with all of his food and survival gear. O’Brady faced an ungodly windchill, the threat of unseen crevasses and utter isolation. Mainstream outlets around the world reported on a world first.

No one can deny the mental and physical fortitude these men displayed over the course of two months in the most inhospitable environment on the planet. However, shortly after Colin O’Brady and Captain Rudd flew back to civilization, O’Brady’s “Impossible First” claim begun to fall apart - coming under scrutiny from other established polar explorers. Did O’Brady and Rudd complete an official polar traverse from coast to coast? Was their journey truly “unsupported,” or does their route along the South Pole Overland Traverse cheat the record?

In the aftermath, The Outdoor Journal decided to dig in deeper. We interviewed some of the greatest living polar explorers in the world as they weighed in on the head to head race across Antarctica that ended in controversy. This series included interviews with Colin O'Brady, Captain Louis Rudd, Børge Ousland and Mike Horn, and provided clear, unbiased space for each side to tell us their story and give us their opinions. Did we do a good job? Let our editors know what you think.

From left to right: Colin O'Brady, Louis Rudd, Borge Ousland, Mike Horn.

Healing after Howse

On April 21st, a Parks Canada rescue team located and recovered the bodies of climbers Jess Roskelley, Hansjörg Auer, and David Lama four days after they were reported overdue from an attempt at Banff’s Howse Peak via a new variant of the highly technical and dangerous route, M-16 . As always, the news of a tragedy of this magnitude in the climbing world was of course of huge interest to our readers, but so was the question we later posed: Healing after Howse: How does the climbing world cope with the triple tragedy?

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Earlier in 2019, we published an interview with Hansjörg Auer: 'No Turning Back'. The article took on much greater significance and meaning following Hansjörg Auer's death.

Link: Hansjörg Auer

Rivian's EVs and Tesla's CyberTruck: A New Breed of Electric Vehicles.

In November of 2018, The Outdoor Journal was invited to the official unveiling of the first Rivian electric vehicle. Since then, our readers have shown a huge amount of interest in Rivian as a brand and our subsequent stories.

In February of this year, The Outdoor Journal interviewed Alex Honnold with Rivian CEO and Founder RJ Scaringe in an article entitled "Imagine", where we asked you to think about the future of adventure if RJ's vision of electric travel could be realised. We subsequently took a deeper dive into the mind behind this new brand, in Meet RJ Scaringe - The Founder of Rivian, Changing the Way We View Transportation.

In the second half of 2019, The spotlight moved away from Rivian and electric adventure vehicles, as the company started to focus on delivering their new electric vehicles to the many people who had signed up to be the first owners of their R1T and R1S. However, that sure changed in November, with Elon Musk and the introduction of the Cyber Truck. This not only drove many of you to understand more about the Cybertruck, but to also revisit past stories about Rivian and compare the two vehicles. Elon's Cybertruck has driven a large number of pre-bookings already - and we're wondering if that includes our readers. Let our editors know!

Mike Horn & Børge Ousland - The Fighting On Exclusive.

Equipped with only the supplies in their sleds, and powered with nothing more than their own two legs and unwavering determination, legendary explorers Mike Horn and Børge Ousland completed their Pole2Pole expedition. A complete circumnavigation of the globe via both poles! One of the biggest adventure stories of 2019 - and second only to Alone Across Antarctica in terms of media interest, in which they also featured.

As they closed on in on the finish, having crossed the Arctic, The Outdoor Journal published an exclusive update, thanks to Mike Horn's daughter Jessica.


Tony Riddle: Introducing REWILD

In 2019, The Outdoor Journal first connected with Tony Riddle and we have since gone on to publish a series of articles. Tony seeks out ancient, yet socially extreme practices to reconnect us to our ancestral selves and unlock our natural human biology - We launched a series that documented Tony's approach to life, and it connected with many of you.

Tony Riddle: Introducing REWILDPart 2, REWILD with Tony Riddle: Children and EducationPart 3, REWILD with Tony Riddle: Transforming Your BodyPart 4, REWILD with Tony Riddle: Barefoot Running Across Great Britain

Later in 2019, Tony Riddle then put his rewilding practices to the test by running 874 miles across Great Britain entirely barefoot to support environmental sustainability.

Tony was then one of the first guests on our new The Outdoor Journal podcast episode, hosted by our very own David Braun. This podcast, along with many others can be found on your favorite podcast platform.

Subscribe to The Outdoor Journal Podcast for more stories like this.

Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google Podcasts

The New York Times Travel Show: Beware an Industry that's Astonishingly Out-of-Touch.

In January 2019, The Outdoor Journal attended The New York Times Travel Show and reported on an event that "left us infuriated at "expert" panels bereft of expertise, or possibly even honesty." Following the event, many other attendees, and even panel members at the event got in touch with our team to thank us for our honest reporting, having struggled to believe what they had been a part of on stage.

Overtourism Forces India’s Stok Kangri Peak to Close.

Local stakeholders decided to close trekking and mountaineering access to India's highest trekking peaks, Stok Kangri, from 2020 all the way until at least 2022. Everyone knew this was coming, especially given a notice that was distributed across the industry in July 2019 to all members of the Adventure Tourism Operators Association of India (ATOAI).

The Outdoor Journal published the Indian adventure industry's comments, including that of Akshay Kumar, ATOAI’s former President who explained that he had to “support this move because the local village had taken a call to protect the region, even with the prior knowledge that this move will hurt the local economy and its jobs."
When asked how long key industry players would support the move – Vaibhav Kala from Aquaterra Adventures gave us an answer that was candid and to the point “As long as it takes outfitters and regulating agencies to wake up!”.

The full article can be read here, as well as an exclusive statement from Deleks Namgyal, General Secretary of the All Ladakh Tour Operators Association (ALTOA).


Next year, we look forward to bringing you more true stories from adventurers and travelers all over the world, with news from unreported regions and stories not told; adventures and expeditions to places that still have room for first descents and ascents. We’re delighted to have you with us.

The World is your playground!