« Day 7: Kokolik River | Main | Day 10: Welcome to the Colville »



I'm really glad you guys are alive. Looking forward to some imagry.

What a bummer, but you dare not keep going deeper into that kind of wilderness with an injured hiker. The truly experienced outdoorsman has the good sense to know when it's time to quit and the strength of character to accept the unpleasant reality of same.

Never let your ego write checks your body can't cash.


Amen to the previous comment. The mark of experience is knowing when to quit. There's always another day.

Kevin Davidson

So sorry, Ryan. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Is there a chance that if there is a rapid healing that you can rejoin your compatriots later in the journey?


This is why us old fashioned "slow and heavy" hikers up here like big leather Danners with lots of support and protection from rocks. I've learned not to challenge Alaska, because she will smack you down. A better bet is to stay humble, move slow and always be ready to run away!

Gil Aegerter

Whew! Glad to hear everything is relatively OK, but sorry that Ryan can't continue. It'll be interesting to hear the post-mortem on how Ryan's injury affected the mood of the hike and whether a different shoe could have prevented the injury.


Cosmoline, no need for the negative comments at this time. In other words...stfu!

Carrie Dixon

Ryan-Thinking about you and wishing you a speedy recovery, both emotionally and physically. Sorry things haven't worked out as you hoped. Best wishes to the rest of your team for the remaining trek.


Enough with the boot endorsements.


If Ryan was modest or humble in any way about gear choices or hiking style, I'd be the first to tell cosmoline to keep it to himself.

But for a guy with hundreds of thousands of published words of condescension and disdain towards all aspects of conventional backpacking, this has got to be a bitter pill. After all, he was out to prove a point about lightweight making you more capable and he has proven the inverse: refusing to equip yourself for the unexpected can be disastrous. And just because you've gotten away with it on previous trips doesn't make it safe.

After all, it's not the action that kills you; it's the habit. Good thing he had a sat phone and they're close to civilization, or it could have been life-threatening too.

I'm not glad that his endlessly-researched expedition has come to an unfortunate end. I'm not glad his dream remains unrealized. But I am glad he's shown his fans that no amount of pseudo-academic pontification and internet-forum blowhardery can save you from the moment when you actually need equipment that you didn't bring.


Bummer Ryan!
I was chearing for you and your comrades. Sorry to hear and hope you heal quickly.
Good luck to Roman and Jason!

Miguel Arboleda

The negative comments about Ryan are uncalled for. In my experience Ryan has never been condescending towards anyone. He has always just recommended trying light gear and I have never read anywhere and never been directly subjected to any words by him of him showing disdain towards how anyone decides to hike. All he has ever done is attempted to take his ideas to new levels, to see what can be done. And he has always insisted that newcomers be careful about how they choose to adopt his ideas. In the forums he has always been humble and willing to listen to others. Not once have I encountered him as being rude or arrogant.

To say that his lightweight ideas did not work on this expedition is to ignore that his companions are continuing on, using the light gear they all carried. As he planned for, the taking of two shelters allowed the group to split when an emergency came up.

It is silly to solely blame Ryan's footwear as the cause of his trip's ending (though, since none of us really know the details, Ryan himself might be reconsidering the footwear he chose. After all, he did spend a lot of time considering what footwear to bring throughout the spring). His companions seem to be fine wearing their own lightweight footwear, so it does seem to work. Any number of things could have happened to anyone, including people wearing heavyweight boots and carrying loads of medical supplies. A sprain is a sprain whatever you are wearing. Wearing boots will not guarantee not getting injured. Not only that, this trip would have been totally impossible without the lightest gear possible.

I feel saddened that Ryan could not realize a lifelong dream and that people would look for reasons to jump on him for trying something outrageous, and which they would never try themselves. I really looked forward to seeing him complete his journey, in part because his journey fed my own dreams, however more modest. That he tried, and actually got out there is an inspiration to all of us, that mere mortals can do such things.


i have had an identical experience to Ryan.

i WAS wearing heavy/supportive leather boots and managed to tear ankle ligaments.


I presume Ryan, being of the rationale mind that he is will ultimately look back at this and realize statistically there was a high probability of this. May you live vicariously through the others, Ryan.

- Mule

Kim Coupounas

Ry, so sorry to hear about your injury.
We're sending good vibes for a safe journey out and a successful completion for Roman and Jason. You are a pioneer. While your team's undoubtedly disappointed, nothing ventured nothing gained, eh? And you've undoubtedly learned even more to serve the backpacking community. Can't wait for the full report.

Kim Coupounas

p.s. go Roman and Jason!


"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." Teddy Roosevelt

Good luck, God speed, may your next grand adventure be sooner than later and very successful.

e short

as long time skiier, I am aware of the dreaded "boot top" fracture. It is doubtful hi tops would have prevented this accident.

Elliot Lockwood

It's hard to cut any trip short, much less an ambitious one, but much has been gained by the attempt, and it was the right thing.

I am not convinced that it was the lightweight gear that brought troubles as much as it was the 55lbs on your back, regardless of shoes!

Cheers to a speedy recovery and many future journeys!

John Vonhof

You did well and have every right to be proud of how far you got. I would have made a similar choice in footwear, and based on your experience and fitness level, your choice was good. I know you studied how to manage your feet and footwear in depth. Stuff happens--as it did here. Take time and heal and you'll be back. I wish Roman and Jason the best and look forward to a full report on how the gear and food choices worked--or didn't.

John Vonhof

Stuart Johnson

Seems to me that we all ought to be happy that Ryan's injury was not life-threatening. Moreover, ankle injuries are certainly not a rarity among hikers. Admittedly, the stakes are higher when you're way out in the boonies. Nevertheless, it appears that meticulous trip planning and the collective skills and experience of Ryan, Roman and Jason paid off in that the team handled this situation extremely well and that Roman and Jason will be able to continue the trip. I look forward to further updates.


We know success often stands of the shoulders of unsuccessful attempts. Ryan, your day will come. Roman, Jason, onward!

Ben Robinson

I'm just glad to see an update from the field again. Sorry your ankle's giving you grief, Ryan, but there will be more hikes and more adventures. I imagine you got plenty of adventure out of this one hike already, with the grizzlies, the caribou, the woverine, etc. Congratulations on getting as far as you did, as fast as you did, and with all that weight on your back. Take care.


IMHO if the faulty step caused a mild sprain in running shoes, it's likely that a proper boot would have supported his already-strong ankle enough to avoid injury in the same situation.

I find Ryan to be highly critical: just read one of his rants about what he feels the outdoor industry "owes" him. His interview with Big Agnes (one of the few mainstream companies with the balls to sell top bags and nontraditional sleep systems) that terminates in condescension about they basically sell lightweight car camping equipment. How incremental improvements in their products is simply not enough. His utter condemnation of entire outdoor retailer shows as not being up to his standards for innovation.

So now a bunch of people who weren't there and don't know the whole story are sitting back and criticizing his attempt to do something great? I guess that's how it feels to work at Big Agnes some days too...


Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, you'll be a mile from them, and you'll have their shoes.
--Jack Handey Deep Thoughts

No criticism from me. Relief to hear all are relatively well and to know a sensible plan is in place to get Ryan out to the front country.

I worry now about Roman and Jason proceeding. I love to solo hike, but only do so where I'm likely to be stumbled on by someone if I get injured or "temporarily disoriented". My rule of thumb is a minimum of 3 for the wilder trips. One to stay and help, one to go for help if necessary. Seems like the twosome is traveling with a very small margin of error.

My kudos to Ryan for being smart enough to get out. Positive vibes to Jason and Roman as they trek East. May your karma be good.

The comments to this entry are closed.

What is Arctic 1000?

    In June 2006, adventurers Roman Dial, Ryan Jordan, and Jason Geck will attempt the first unsupported trekking traverse of America's most remote wilderness - Alaska's western North Slope and Brooks Range - a distance of 1,000 km (600 miles).
About ::  Objectives ::  People
Route ::  Map ::  Gear
Photos ::  Sponsors