The Outdoor Journal’s Biggest Stories of 2021

We take a look at some of the most widely read stories on over the past 12 months. From exclusive reporting and travel writing to investigating age-old controversies.

The Outdoor Journal’s Biggest Stories of 2021

Media, and especially independent journalism, is getting harder than ever before. However, at The Outdoor Journal, we have endeavoured 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. Wherever possible taking authentic first-hand accounts from those who were there or understand the topic best.

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 2021.

When We Unite, Nothing is Impossible: My Story on K2

"Nepalese Sherpa are regarded as the backbone for climbs above 8000 meters and when I realized that there were no Nepalese on the list of 8000-meter Winter First Ascents, I felt ashamed. There are 14 different 8000-meter peaks on the planet with K2 as the last one remaining to be climbed in winter. I knew that if our team didn’t summit K2 on this attempt, then we would definitely lose the last one too."

"It didn’t matter which one of us got their first, we did it for the pride of our country."

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa has been climbing since 2006 with his first expedition to Mt. Manaslu. Since that date, he has submitted Mt. Everest five times, twice from North Ridge and thrice from South Ridge. Mingma G had also twice submitted K2 during summertime, this story was about an attempt to be the first to do so in the wintertime and an account that spread around the world in 2021.

Read the full article here.

Hiking Through Minefields and a Pandemic in Uncharted Lands

"What was meant to be a straightforward trek along the Via Adriatica during a sleepy Croatian Summer instead revealed itself to be full of unforeseen events". Thomas Bouïssaguet takes on his journey, along the Via Adriatic - A challenging 1,100 KM-Long train that spans the full length of the country.

Mine Field
"…where wild Cantarion flowers and the red skull with crossbones signs “Attention Mines” bloom"

However, thirty years ago, the Balkan War left behind an unknown number of mines that have yet to be cleared. A "straightforward" trek turned out to be a journey of huge risk and danger. "Did they indicate a live mine or a possible mine? A safe zone or a very dangerous zone? Were flags on the ground there on purpose or had they fallen on their own?"

Read the full article here.

Unknowingly Breaking an Everest Record?

Pasang Dawa Sherpa is a man who knows Himalaya like his 5 fingers. Without intention, or even knowing it, he may break a world record, but it will not be recorded anywhere.

A heartfelt story, written by Lesia Povkh a colleague at Swotah Travel. Inside the industry, Pasang Dawa Sherpa is a highly respected mountaineer, but it's his virtue and character that really comes through in Lesia's words.

"No sponsors, No fancy house. But a huge heart, tough character, unbelievable experiences, and the power to lead people to the highest peak on our planet. There is no one who can beat his achievements. A rock, a machine, a hero, a father, a Nepali, a person proud of the Himalaya."

Read the full article here.

Rolex vs. Smiths: Which Watch Summited Everest in 1953? Putting a Controversy to Rest

A story that The Outdoor Journal first published in 2020, this article that was written by Matthew Knight, has continued to attract a growing number of readers and further commentary.

It is commonly accepted knowledge that there was a Rolex on the summit of Everest in 1953. In reality, it was the swansong of a now-defunct English brand called Smiths. Both companies wanted to see their watches on the summit and it is undeniable that the 1953 Everest expedition was equipped with around two dozen watches from Rolex and Smiths. These were distributed unevenly across the team, with some members ending up with multiple watches and others ending up with a single watch.


“Smiths claim that every member of the British Mount Everest Expedition was equipped with one of their watches. We also are aware that the Rolex Watch Co. claims that Colonel Hunt, Mr. Hillary, and Sherpa Tensing wore Rolex Perpetual Oysters. Are we to presume that at least three members of the expedition wore one watch on each wrist?”

Read the full article here.

Triumph and Tragedy on K2

"This mission will remain engraved forever in my mind and heart. It was a mission of triumph and tragedy – as five true climbers and wonderful people were lost but will never be forgotten." As Antonis Sykaris puts it, "fatal falls, frostbite, and friends who have gone missing on the mountain - I was one of the lucky ones on K2."

“To go for the summit meant losing my fingers.”

We are familiar with stories of success, but in Triumph and Tragedy on K2 Antonis gives us a sobering and important account of what can be the reality of mountaineering, especially so on a mountain that has claimed many lives.

Read the full article here.

Coyote Peterson Kills the Murder Hornet Myth

Another older story from 2020, but continues to be read by many. The Outdoor Journal first spoke to Coyote Peterson amidst mainstream media’s hyperbolical warnings about a new and fatal threat to the United States. Coyote Peterson willingly volunteered to experience the “Murder Hornet” sting first-hand.

A consensus of mainstream media outlets – from The New York Times to Scientific American – reported that the so-called “Murder Hornet” had reached American shores and that its fatal stings would wreak havoc on us this summer. This widespread fear-mongering called for a fact-finding mission.

Animal Expert Coyote Peterson explains why we need not fear our own “slaughter and occupation” by the not-so mythical Murder Hornet.

Read the full article here.