Call it a hero embargo. There was a time, not long ago, when this photo wouldn’t have run in these pages. It wasn’t because Doug Coombs was somehow not worthy. It was because he, and pros like him, were too worthy, too notable, too high profile. And backcountry was, for many of us, a place where we slipped away from all the growing extreme-hype that surrounded the sport in the ’90s.....
At this summer’s Outdoor Retailer trade show Backcountry Magazine had the chance to sit down the ski mountaineer Hilaree O’Neill. We talked about skiing, women’s sports and the lure of Everest with this world class athlete.
Mountains are dangerous, especially the popular ones. All too often we read about unfortunate skiers killed in avalanches, tree wells, and crevasses. Mt. Elbrus (5642m) is a dangerous peak—every year between 15 and 30 people die on its slopes. Crevasses, cliffs and avalanches are the usual cause of death but one incident in the region is particularly noteworthy. On February 18, 2011, two unidentified men stopped a van carrying five Moscow tourists near the base of Elbrus—after claiming to be plainclothes policemen, the men opened fire on the passengers. Three of the tourists died; two were hospitalized. Later that day, a bomb damaged a support tower for a cable car that travels up the side of Mount Elbrus.
In “Conflict Powder” (October, 2012) Sven Brunso explores the backcountry potential of the Republic of Georgia. While you’ll have to see the issue for the full story, Brunso was kind enough to prepare the basic travels tips that any non-Russian-speaking skier will need to visit the Caucasus Mountains.
The October edition of Backcountry—the Deep Issue—contains everything from you’d expect from a magazine with such a name: powder, emotion, even deep ecology. But what is Deep? This question led to a lot of office jokes, random facts, and a Google treasure hunt. We’ve compiled deep facts and figures, from the random to the ludicrous, into a list of the “50 Deepest.”