“When I pop out into the open air and get that first look at how far away the ground is, time stops, it gets really quiet, I hear birds chirping, I drift around in my own thoughts—all in a nanosecond,” says professional skier Julian Carr of front flipping off a 60-foot cliff at Utah’s Alta ski resort. Carr loves launching himself off cliffs on skis so much that he holds two world records in the sport. And with more than 500 inches of annual snowfall, Alta is his favorite place on Earth for cliff jumping. “Light powder with a great base—Utah snow is the best! But don’t tell anyone.”
“Climbing, and life in general, in Brazil was totally mind-blowing—the relaxed culture, varied climbing objectives, and an inspiring landscape that combines jungle, mountain, and ocean,” says climber-artist Renan Ozturk of this trip to film a documentary about Brazilian friend who died—and to capture the adventures of her homeland. Here, Ozturk carefully makes his way across a highline at Gavea Stone, overlooking the glittering lights of Rio di Janeiro. ”This was a scary moment to capture on film because I had to mount the line in the dark over the void and then keep my balance in the strong wind as my good friend Tim popped a huge flash in my face. It was a great adventure.”
Traveling for more than 10,000 miles over four days, a team of all-star climbers became the first to scale the arid sandstone stacks and sheer walls of the Ennedi desert in Chad. Tackling 1,000-foot-high virgin ascents, Jimmy Chin, Alex Honnold, Renan Ozturk, James Pearson, and a cast of intrepid adventurers made climbing history on this trip. Here Pearson ascends the more than 180-foot Arch of Bishekele.
“The leading rank was at stake, so I was putting every ounce of focus I had on that move,” recalls competitive Brazilian kiteboarder Guilly Brandão of the final heat in the Volkswagen Kite Tour 2010 in Cumbuco, Brazil last November. “I was thinking about nothing, just feeling the board, the kite, and starting to aim for the next move on the wave.” Located in northern Brazil, Cumbuco is a kiteboarder’s paradise with strong winds blowing the entire season, from June to November. Brandão won his fifth wave title during this competition.
“I had surfed and tow surfed here before,” says big-wave surfer Chuck Patterson about Teahupo’o, a renowned surf spot Tahiti. “But I always wondered what it would feel like to get tubed on my stand up paddle surf board—this is what I came for.” The water is sucked off a shallow, razor sharp reef, making the barrel break below sea level. “This wave is incredibly challenging to paddle into, let alone surf,” notes Patterson. “Any mistakes could be costly.” The photograph was taken by a camera mounted to his board.
“Riding on top of Table Mountain was something I had to do,” says professional mountain biker Kenny Belaey. “The landscape is just perfect for trials—but I had to be really careful.” Belaey pulled out every daredevil trick imaginable, from wheelies to bunny hops, to explore the famous 3,558-foot slab of granite overlooking Cape Town. To reach the top at sunrise, he hiked through the night, carrying his 20-pound bike on his back.
“Nepal’s Upper Seti Canyon is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been,” says kayaker-filmmaker Josh Neilson of this exploratory expedition to run a rarely accessed steep section high up on Seti River. “You’d think your heart would be racing at the lip of a drop like this, but it’s just the opposite,” says Neilson. “The rushing water is silenced by concentration, and time almost stands still.”