Tag Archives: Edge Radio

The Power of a First Descent


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At the age of 13, Brad Ludden’s parents told him he could do anything he wanted with his life. He took it literally and did the thing he loved the most–whitewater kayaking. By 18 he was living his dream; he had signed on as Nike’s first sponsored whitewater kayaker, was on the cover of Outside Magazine, traveling the globe in search of first descents on remote rivers, and filming with the largest production companies in the outdoor industry.


Brad Ludden dropping in at Khao Yai

Despite all of his success, something was missing. Brad wanted to share the positive bounty of whitewater kayaking by giving the gift of outdoor adventure to others who needed it more.

After watching his Aunt fight cancer, he started First Descents, an organization that provides free outdoor adventure therapy to young adults with cancer. The organization has helped over 2,000 young adults live beyond their disease by providing them free multi-day adventure experiences.

Brad is an excellent example of someone spreading the love. Perhaps because of his early success, and the ultimate push to ever-increasing risk that comes with it, Brad saw beyond his own experiences. He turned his striving for excellence into a desire to share his experiences with others.

Brad could have simply brought his friends kayaking. Or he could have been happy with the first 15 clients that experienced the transformative power of moving water that first summer. But that wasn’t enough.


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Brad is still in the forefront at First Descents, opening new participants to outdoor adventures, and his work is truly making a difference.

Join me this Wednesday at 8 am Pacific on The Edge Radio when I talk to Brad Ludden about his own first descents, the First Descents organization and the power of getting out on the edge.

Kyle Miller Takes Splitboarding to a Whole New Level


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Extreme athletes often shout about their accomplishments. But Kyle Miller is a rare breed, a pioneering splitboarder who has quietly ticked off an impressive list of ascents and descents in the Cascades.

A local at Crystal Mountain, Kyle’s mission started in 2007 when he summited, then rode, the five tallest volcanoes in the Cascades. Kyle hit full stride the following year, becoming the first to climb the entire top 25 Northwest volcanoes.

After recovering from that exhaustive feat, Kyle set his sights higher and pushed deeper tackling a massive project to ride the ten North Cascade subranges followed b the 10 highest peaks in Washington.

Lately his focus has been on traversing the remote high country of the Cascades including The Picket Range and the American Alps Traverse. In the process Kyle has raised the splitboard bar, laying down more than 100 defining lines that speak for themselves.


Kyle Miller getting after it

Every season splitboarder Kyle  sets his sights high. In June of this year Kyle and his climbing partner Jason Hummel planned on traversing the as-yet-unclimbed American Alps Traverse.

And they succeeded.

What does it take to attempt such a grueling and formidable objective? How do you dig deep enough to traverse 120 miles and climb 60,000 feet in the heart of the most rugged range in the lower 48?


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Join me on The Edge Radio this Wednesday at 8 am as I talk to Kyle about his mission to raise the bar on exploration, splitboarding and getting out on the edge.

Extreme Mom: Barbara Peterson


Barbara competing at Xterra


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Getting out on the edge may seem challenging enough. But imagine competing in and winning numerous offroad triathlons every year while also writing books, coaching other athletes, giving motivational speeches, designing jewelry, running a business and raising two daughters. That’s Barbara Peterson. Her specialty, however, is Xterra, a series of offroad triathlons that include swimming, mountain biking and trail running. In a nutshell, Barbara is totally badass.

Barbara is an award-winning athlete, an author, a designer and a mother. She is the founder of the Power of Exercise, a multi-faceted approach to fitness and personal growth, and the designer at Foreste and Hils, making wearable art.


Beautiful and radiant Barbara

Graduating in 1984 with a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology, Barbara utilizes her degree to help people the world over find their inner strength and serenity, with a focus on the benefits of exercising. She practices sports psychology, acts as a motivational speaker, and is the author of multiple books relating to health and well-being.

With a first place title in the XTERRA World Championships for 2011 while in her fifties, Barbara continually proves that being fit and happy is achievable and accessible for anyone. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and two school-aged daughters.


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Join me this week on The Edge Radio when I talk to Barbara about what it takes to be an extreme mom. Show airs live Wednesday August 7th at 8am Pacific. Call in with questions for Barbara or comment here. This is one inspiring woman.

The Long Way: Ultra Marathoner Lizzy Hawker


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What makes some people want to run ultra marathons? For some, grinding out all those miles through dust and mud and huge gains in elevation is nothing short of transformational. Some people were just born to run.


Lizzy on the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc

Inspired by mountains and wilderness Lizzy Hawker ‘fell’ into the world of ultra-distance and endurance running more by chance than by design. She entered the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc on a whim in 2005, a race that gains 31,168 feet in 103 miles through the Alps. Lizzy surprised herself, and the ultra-running world, by winning that race, and then went on to win five more times.

She is a previous world record holder for 24hrs, and was the 2006 100km World Champion. She recently returned from Nepal where she competed in the Mustang Trail Race, an eight-stage race covering 200 kilometers, all done at an elevation of 3-4,000 meters, then, for good measure, added on the Everest


Lizzy Hawker in Kathmandu

Marathon, called the “most adventurous trail run in the world,” setting the new world record running from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu.

Lizzy’s enduring passion for the mountains and nature has shaped both her life as an endurance athlete, and her professional career as a writer and as a scientist. A Natural Scientist by training, with a PhD in polar oceanography, she has been on many research cruises to the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean. These experiences and studies gave her an even deeper commitment to our responsibility of working towards both social and environmental sustainability in every part of our lives.


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Recently awarded the Nat. Geographic Adventurer of the Year Award in ultra running, Lizzy joins me this week on The Edge Radio where she’ll share what pushes her to run, what she loves about the mountains and why she gave up an elite job as a research scientist in the Antarctic to become a world-class endurance runner. You don’t want to miss this show.

Finding Flow in Action Sports


Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


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Action Sports should adopt Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. They should claim him as one of their own, putting his face on bumper stickers and splashing his book covers on websites, blogs and twitter hashtags. Because Csikszentmihalyi, pronounced CHEEK-sent-me-HY-ee, a professor at Claremont Graduate University, invented the idea of flow.

What does flow have to do with action sports, you might ask?


Csikszentmihalyi studies happiness. Flow provides our most optimal experiences. And almost everything about action sports is about getting into flow. According to Csikszentmihalyi, certain things have to happen for us to be in a flow state:

  • flow-theory-what-makes-a-good-game-77ai10fSkills must match the challenge: too easy and you get bored, too hard and you feel overwhelmed
  • Action and awareness merge: you become “one” with the wave/snow/single-track/wing
  • Feedback is immediate and unambiguous: you fall, you die (or else you get really, really hurt)
  • Concentration is essential: see feedback above
  • Sense of control: oddly you gain a sense of control even in the midst of what might appear a chaotic situation
  • Time either slows down or speeds up
  • Loss of self-consciousness: you focus solely on the moment and forget about your ego, your bills, your life outside the moment
  • The experience is autotelic: you are skiing, riding, flying, etc not for an external reward but solely for the experience itself

Csikszentmihalyi’s bestselling book FLOW

Have you ever lost yourself in the moment? If you’ve ever felt flow you know what I’m talking about. Skiing a hard line or mountain biking down a tight single-track requires intense concentration and skill. Time slows down, consequences are high, and we completely lose ourselves in the activity. We are in flow. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wants you to feel flow more often.

Flow=happiness. And I bet that flow is the biggest motivation for pushing ourselves in our sports. I know that’s true for me. I’m not out there for the glory or to gather sponsorships (not that sponsors are kicking down my door to sign me). I’m out there for the experience itself. I’m out there for flow.


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Join me this week on The Edge Radio as I talk to the father of flow theory, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi about  flow, creativity and getting out on the edge. The show airs live Wednesday 8am pacific and will be available as a podcast a few hours after it airs. You don’t want to miss this one. Seriously.

Adventure with Richard Bangs: The Search for the Sublime


Adventure travel pioneer Richard Bangs


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Richard Bangs has been called the “father of modern adventure travel.” Having spent decades as an explorer, leading first descents of 35 rivers around the world, including the Yangtze in China and the Zambezi in Southern Africa, this man has lead an exciting life.

Richard Bangs is Indiana Jones, if Indy could string together long and flowery prose about his travels.

Bangs defines adventure as the search for the sublime. This perspective on travel might seem almost quaint in the light of quick YouTube uploads and Facebook status updates.

Until Richard starts telling stories, that is.

Whether dodging crocodiles in Ethiopian rivers or saving an unmanned raft full of camera equipment from going over a waterfall by getting an airdrop from a helicopter and swimming it to shore, Richard Bangs is the real deal. This man truly knows the difference between true adventure and the more sanitized and packaged trips sometimes offered today.

The man also has a way with words.

Richard has published more than 1000 magazine articles, 19 books, a score of documentaries, several CD-ROMs, and all manner of digital media. He has lectured at the Smithsonian, the National Geographic Society, the Explorers Club and many other notable venues. He writes a semi-regular feature for HuffingtonPost.com, occasionally freelances for other print and online publications, and produces and hosts “Richard Bangs’ Adventures with Purpose,” as seen on national public television.


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What, exactly, is adventure and why is it so necessary to the human spirit? This week on The Edge Radio, I interview adventure travel pioneer Richard Bangs as he talks about first descents, dodging crocodiles in Africa, and whether heading out into the “unknown” can provide a deeper sense of what it means to be human. You won’t want to miss this one.

Share the word. Please let your friends know about this upcoming interview with this very special guest.

Freedom in a Vertical World


Andres Marin takes a stab at it


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Many climbers find freedom in the mountains. From scaling vertical walls of impenetrable ice and exploring high alpine glaciers to climbing granite walls, the vertical world offers environments found nowhere else on earth. But for Andres Marin, who grew up amidst a war torn Columbia, where local peaks were often closed to tourists, the mountains offer a different kind of freedom.

Climbing and exploring peaks around the world has allowed 29 year-old Marin to see beyond human conflict into a world of beauty and grandeur. Andres grew up in Ibaque Columbia and started climbing mountains at 16 years of age in the Andes.


Andres Marin, doing what he does best. Smiling.

It wasn’t until he moved to Colorado ten years ago, that he realized true freedom in the mountains. Andres works as a mountain guide and a professional climber. He has competed in five ice climbing world cups and two world championships. When not competing, Andres spends his time searching for new places to explore around the world, spending over 200 days a year in the mountains.


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Join me this Wednesday on The Edge Radio when I interview Andres about his life in the vertical world. His enthusiasm is a beacon-light for others to follow, and once you hear Andres talk, you’ll want to rush out and try ice climbing. Guaranteed.

Extreme Sports are Good for Your Health


Dr. Eric Brymer


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According to psychologist Eric Brymer, extreme sports are good for you. Far from the realm of the “adrenaline junkie”, true extreme sports require intense focus and offer an opportunity for optimal experiences and even transcendence. Brymer narrowly defines “extreme sports” as one in which the most likely outcome of a mismanaged mistake is death. (While many athletes eschew the term “extreme” when referring to their sport, psychologists such as Brymer use the term to define a certain type of action sport.)

Brymer’s recent study showed that extreme athletes are actually better off than the rest of us. They have lower anxiety, are more independent and self-assertive and have a higher sense of reality. Anyone who takes part in risky action sports will most likely nod their heads in agreement. They will tell you, jumping/climbing/skiing/fill in the blank makes them a better person. My biggest fear is that I will get injured and sick and not be able to ski. Because a non-skiing Kim is an unpleasant beast, I assure you. But maybe it’s more than that. Perhaps, access to mountains and rivers and places to test our boundaries is an essential part of what it means to be human.

Brymer’s findings fly in the face of past research. Most psychologists have lumped sky-diving with gambling, reckless driving, and drug abuse, labeling anyone who participates in these activities as “sensation-seekers.” In essence, extreme athletes are on the same spectrum as heroine addicts, but their fix comes from a different “drug.” These folks need more thrill in part because their dopamine receptors vary in a way that requires a higher dose of fun in order to get the same kick.


Do we NEED fear?

Brymer disagrees with this premise. He claims that extreme athletes are not looking for sensation, but other rewards such as a connection to nature and a better understanding of the self. This is big news in the very small world of extreme sport research.

Instead of the NO FEAR mentality so often associated with action sports media, Brymer claims that not only do his subjects feel fear, but that fear is a good thing to have. Fear, claims Brymer, is a clear reminder. It tells you to pay attention. It reminds you that this is important here. You can’t be on autopilot or making status updates on your phone. Not while you’re packing your parachute before jumping off a cliff, and not before kayaking off a thirty-foot waterfall.


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This week, I’m interviewing Dr. Brymer on The Edge Radio in hopes to learn more about his fascinating research. Join me on Wednesday at 8am pacific time.