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Jim Gallien had driven four miles out of Fairbanks when he spotted the hitchhiker standing in the snow beside the road, thumb raised high, shivering in the gray Alaska dawn. He didn’t appear to be very old: 18, maybe 19 at most. A rifle protruded from the young man’s backpack, but he looked friendly enough; a hitchhiker with a Remington semiautomatic isn’t the sort of thing that gives motorists pause in the forty-ninth state. Gallien steered his truck onto the shoulder and told the kid to climb in.

The hitchhiker swung his pack into the bed of the Ford and introduced himself as Alex. “Alex?” Gallien responded, fishing for a last name.

“Just Alex,” the young man replied, pointedly rejecting the bait. Five feet seven or eight with a wiry build, he claimed to be 24 years old and said he was from South Dakota. He explained that he wanted a ride as far as the edge of Denali National Park, where he intended to walk deep into the bush and “live off the land for a few months.”

(Excerpt from “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer)

Video Format

I saw this film at the Banff Film Festival World Tour in Austin last year. One of my favorite bicycle films ever:

YouTube and Vimeo urls can just be pasted into the WordPress editor and automatically display.

Quote format

I went to college in Santa Cruz, California. There were a number of climbers I knew and we’d occasionally make the trek out to Skyline or Pinnacles. A few of them decided to start a campus “club” and at the first meeting I showed up late to see Chris Sharma give a slideshow about bouldering at local beaches. I had no idea he was then the top rated climber in the world.

As climbers, we’re always looking for something that’s just past our level. Sometimes we get frustrated because it’s too hard, but our goal is to try to do something that is beyond our limits. If it feels easy then we’re not actually at our limit.

Chris Sharma