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Toni and Dick McGrath

We read your reports on June30th, with particular interest as we were in the same area at the same time. While you were traveling west to east, we were traveling south to north on the Utukok for 15 days. Our party of 4 floated in 16' Soar inflatable canoes and spent about 8 days hiking in the tundra and on the ridges. We heard of your trek in Kotzebue on our arrival and our companions tried to reach you there--you were the talk of the town. Ryan was picked up by Eric Sieh at the gravel bar where we had started 2 wks earlier. We shared your experiences of the flowers, of the weather, of the tussocks, of the bears and wolverines and carribou and of the rivers. While we didn't share the same level of exertion we share your thoughts of the spiritual connection of that land. This is our second river adventure on the North Slope--in 2004 we canoed the killik from Lake tulilik to Umiat on the Colville. Your narrative may help some of our friends understand what we were doing. As a couple approaching 60 we certainly have been asked the why question and yur answer both rang true and was eloquently stated. Good luck on the remainder of your Journey. We spent a day in Anaktuvik in 04 and liked the historical buildings in town.

Ryan Jordan

Toni, Dick: I met a couple in the airport, from Minnesota (originally I think he was from Scandinavia?) who were rafting the Utokok at the same time as us. Were they part of your party as well?

Larry Keeney

I would support many of our politicians to spend our tax money to educate themselves by making a similar spiritual connection with wild places. Instead of being a politician seeking to earn credits by funding the longest bridge or the widest highway they would do themselves and us better to gain a spiritual and humility attribute towards sustaining wilderness. Future generations will honor those that do. Take our taxes but use it to build a lasting planet in the manner of appreciation of the complexity of this creation that supports our life.


Wow, yet another captivating report from the wild! Lucid, revaling, and moving.

"A once in a lifetime achievement," for sure!

Also a "once in a lifetime website/blog:" In 19 days I've learned more about the what, where, how and why of wilderness trekking than in the last 19 years. Thanks, all three of you.

Ross Timm

I look forward to hearing about a successful, and speedy, completion of your journey. It truly sounds amazing!

I wonder about your choice of food however. Aren't Doritos a bulky item without that much gain for the bulk? It also seems you could have choosen foods that may have been a little, shall we say, easier on your insides. The products do make an intersting juxtapostion with the rest of your narrative though.


I hesitate to comment on this here and now, because I really respect your trip and effort and would love to have the balls (well, I *am* happy as a woman) and skills to do what you are doing, but just to protect the honor of us cross-country ski-adventure folks...

The ski (probably even my old-ass pair) has been around much longer than the satalite phone and the materials needed to make all that fancy gear you need to complete your journy.

I'm not trying to "dis" you, :) but just keep it in mind if you say something that might sound as if it is "dissing" us, and the thousands of explorers thoughout history that have done what you are doing using technologies far more "primitive" than those that you are using -such as the wheel. :)

Cheers, - And write more posts! I refresh several times each day in anticipation!



If the value of wilderness poses a 'spiritual connection' than I would encourage those that go into the wild for such reasons to start saving their pennies.

In accordance with Federal Law, religion in the US is a privately funded enterprise. If wilderness is indeed a 'spritiual retreat' than those that support it should be subject to the idea of seperation of church and state --- just as other spiritual avenues are --- and wilderness designation should be wholly ignored by the Federal Government.


Walking is not only the oldest form of travel, it was one of the criteria for this trek. This was the point that was being made. No one is looking down on any other form of travel, just looking respectively and respectfully as the most natural of independent means that God has given us and that we have neglected. This insite and discipline has brought them closer to nature and more in tune with themselves, there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with setting different criteria, goals, and disciplines for the next trek, maybe even using skis, or a raft. For now though, please read these posts more objectively; for we tend to forget the big picture when we think of ourselves.

I would like to hear more about you food choices you have made, as I tend to agree with one of the previous posts. I too believe that there are many other foods that provide higher, more nutritious calories without the expense of inhibiting you metabolic ballance. Partially hydrogenated oils, carbonation, and bad or excessive fatty or sugary calories are something I figured every serious backpacker/athelete avoids. Maybe this is all coming from the numerous nutritional classes, the military, the athletics, the research, or my mother; but taking olive oil, nut butters, and chips, sounds heavier, and more costly on the body, than their natural counterparts. Please enlighten.

Obviously you three have set a fabulous standard by which many can measure themselves, and others can strive to exceed. This is inherently part of what you have accomplished, whether it was a goal or not. Thank you for having the humility, or finding it, to respond with care and diligence. Thank you for helping to inspire me and others, and thank you for putting this into all of our lives. We look forward to seeing you home safe again. I hope that God truely touches each and every one of you and that we all realize that His creation is out there and deserves to be taken care of as He has ordained.

Thanks and may our nation, politicians and leaders be positively influenced by our good deeds and actions, not our empty words.

Looking forward to you three putting this into book form. Is there any hope of being able to find this on the shelf in the future?

Thanks and God Bless,


I thought all the above seemed a bit on the melodramatic side, I mean invoking Jesus and all, YIKES!, and the prose, purple mountains majesty, etc., etc. Also, I don't agree with a previous comment that they have set a fabulous standard by which we can measure ourselves. I have spent a lot of time backpacking arctic Alaska and I think it is for each of us to find what we enjoy and to establish our own standards. If I used their standard I suppose I would have to repeat the adventure, only do it naked during the height of mosquito season! To be sure, there are parts of the arctic like this that are still relatively pristine and should be kept that way. It was interesting though that there were river rafters not far from their trek. Perhaps there were more recreationists out there camping or river rafting, going about their business quietly, we just don't know about them. When I told an Alaskan backpacking friend of mine about this adventure and all the publicity he said it would make a good BarStool story. I tend to agree after reading most of the blogs.

Kevin Davidson

We were expecting off the cuff, high literature, maybe? Get over it, it's a blog. I'd be far more concerned about puple mtn. prose in a book written months or years after the fact. That I could pan.

Toni and Dick McGrath

We were indeed with them. Claudius, originally from Switzerland, and Beverly are both professors at U Mich at Ann Arbor. We are old friends and have made both of our trips to the arctic together. They have also traversed a good part of the Noatak. We agree with your response to your critics....although we ate better than you did--- but heah-- no one told us what to bring or how to get by up there in our boats. We did a 4 day backpack and carried almost as much weight as you did for the whole trip. We kept thinkiing about what you would think of us if our paths crossed. Ultra lite we are not. The critics should just enjoy the experience for what it is. You never said that you were hoping everyone would do the same thing in the same way. Among our friends a favorite question is "You don't have a guide?" We think the exploration is a great part of the fun. There was also a group of 18 Sierra Club hikers up there-- I think they Archimedes Ridge for 10 days. W've ready every word of your blog and loved it all.

Gil Aegerter

Richard: What are you so upset about? That they did it? If you don't like reading about it, don't read about it.

Jordan Hurder

Somewhere else, Ryan Jordan explained that the amount of calories necessary to keep you going on a trek like this one is more than you feel like eating... much more. and if you start in good health, you can eat junk food and it won't kill you. but, the point of the junk food is that it's not the nutritional content that matters as much as the calorie content to keep your body going during such an extreme effort. at the point that you're nauseous and exhausted, comfort food may be the only thing you can get into your mouth without having to see it again a few minutes later.


No self-aggrandization? Not a record attempt? Let's look at the first line of your PRESS RELEASE:

"Roman Dial, Ryan Jordan, and Jason Geck will begin an attempt of the first and longest ever unsupported trekking traverse of America’s most remote, roadless, uninhabited wilderness"

Comparing yourself to Jesus Christ? C'mon man.

You spent months bragging about something you hadn't done, then you tried to do it and had to be airlifted out. Your "unsupported" record attempt had a satellite linkup and a support crew on 24-hour standby, without which you or the men on your team could be dead now.

If you'd just done it and then talked about it after, you probably would have impressed a lot of people. But in that very American way you bragged about something you were only planning to do, exaggerated it, and then when the jig was up and you were sitting in an airplane seat (was it a non-"mechanized" airplane?) you decided you were just a humble man on a spiritual quest.


Mikey, you should perhaps check out what "unsupported" means in the context of this trip.

Having a rescue plan in effect is common sense - and recommended procedure in any endeavor. With loved ones, families, and children to support, doing anything less would be unconscionable.

Publicity and press releases are necessary where corporate sponsorship is part of an endeavor - and is neither unusual nor condemnable. In this instance, publicity also allowed anyone who wished to follow along real-time to do so and participate via this web site - including you.

Eric Noble

Mikey, you have now posted your view numerous times. It becomes increasing clear that you may have a axe to grind, with Ryan in particular. As I pointed out to you in the Day 9 thread, and as NAL just did here, you are able to vent because of the publicity that brought you here. Way to bite the hand that feeds you.

John Coyle

I get the impression that Mikey's axe to grind is lubricated with jealousy. Isn't it interesting that most of the time those with axes to grind on the internet don't use their full name. It's easy to hide behind the anonymity of the keyboard. As for myself, I strive to not say things on the internet that I wouldn't say to the person face to face.


These guys are absolutely athletes. I frankly expected the whole thing to end in abject disaster. What troubles me is the possibility that others who aren't at the peak of condition or as seasoned will try the same ultra-light expedition into the more remote parts of Alaska or northern Canada. That worries me greatly. The whole thing should come with a warning--NEVER TRY THIS YOURSELF!


Re the Never Try This Yourself (or "do not try this at home" warning as seen on TV) - the presence of this warning seems to be for protection against litigation by those who have no concept of personal responsibility, and the remote chance of dissuading people too inexperienced and/or unintelligent who WOULD try it.

Time out of mind, there have always been "extreme" adventurers/explorers/athletes. Some who were less capable no doubt followed their examples, with mixed results. Whatever the results, the responsibilty falls to those who chose to follow - certainly not to the ones who blazed the trail.

It comes down to Personal Responsibility - owning and accepting the results of any action one decides to take - an increasingly endangered concept.


It was an expedition that couldn't take care of its' own if the SMALLEST thing went wrong. A small thing did go wrong and without a satellite linkup to a helper and a pilot there could easily have been a death. That's not rescue: that's a support crew. An unsupported expedition would have been able to take care of its' own in the face of adversity and the unexpected.

For me, wilderness travel should be done prudently and respectfully. As many have posted, these men were not safe or respectful of the danger posed by the place they were passing through. As posted, I feel that an endeavor such as this will inspire less-educated and less-capable imitators who will be at even greater risk without realizing it. All for wont of having a record of human endurance to write about in a book. For me, that's a bad apple spoiling the image of outdoorspeople for everyone.

Press releases, endless bragging about something a person hasn't even tried yet, and a public comment forum invites others to post their opinions. This is mine.

Sorry buddy; welcome to the internet. This is how it works.


You can always tell when you're getting too close to an uncomfortable truth when people start attacking you instead of your opinion.

FWIW, you're not the only person feeling that way Mikey.

Kevin Davidson

Don't feed the Trolls.

Congratulations, Roman, on a journey well done. I look forward to the debriefing.

Eric Noble

> FWIW, you're not the only person feeling that way Mikey.

Feeling which way? Have you read all of Mikey's posts? Mikey's posts tend to have two parts. One, is a personal attack on Ryan. The other, is somewhat constructive criticism. I can respect the constructive criticism.

My post above was an effort to head off what happened in the Day 9 thread. I apparently failed. I inadvertently got us of topic. So lets talk about "Asking Why?"


What if people get the idea that this is what backpacking is? A brash, underequipped satellite-supported suicide run across the top of the world leaving fire scars and broken limbs in its' wake. I'd hate for my family to read stuff like this and think that this is what good outdoorsmanship is.

I have no doubt that SAR-Techs and experienced woodsmen (and Alaskans) read this story and shake their heads with sadness. Just look at other comments on this blog. There isn't one person I've told about this story who hasn't replied "What?"

To the fanboys, there's no reason to be surprised and hostile when someone is critical of such a carnival or of the public attitude of those involved. Jordan chose to make himself into a cult figure in the lightweight backpacking realm; like Jardine I am sure he feels no surprise at being resisted and criticized.

Every public figure is subject to criticism.

Eric Noble

Mikey, that's the constructive criticism I was talking about. Thanks. Why do you backpack, and how is your approach different than the approach taken here? I tend to go light in every way possible, both in weight and impact. My adventures are certainly on a much smaller scale. Nothing to write about really. I do it simply because I love the outdoors and the challenge it affords me. I like to meet that challenge as efficiently as I can. I have a lot to learn. Travel accounts like this and experience will help me learn.

I would use the word gutsy rather than brash, and I thought they were equipped quite well given the constraints. What equipment would you have taken that they did not? You've made frequent mention of the satellite phone. Would you have taken one as well, just in case?

I don't recall them leaving any fire scars. They were using wood stoves which I think is pretty low impact. They were using found fuel which does have an impact. I might have taken Esbit tablets. It sounds like they were burning detritus they found on the ground. Any limbs broken were already dead. Is the manufacturing of Esbit a higher overall impact? If so is that okay because the impact is shifted out of a virgin ecosystem?

I would guess that SAR was probably happy they weren't having to rescue some day hiker lost without a compass or having one and not knowing how to use it. Accidents happen no matter how well prepared we are. I am grateful their are people who choose to do SAR. How would you have prevented the accident that happened? Do you have the information you need to make that assessment? What other accidents do you think were narrowly avoided and how would you have prepared?

I've never been called a fanboy before, and I am not surprised or hostile. I don't know Ryan, though I have been reading his forum postings for over a year now. We've exchanged a few posts. I personally do not believe he chose to be a cult figure or is one. I feel he is an expert who is kind enough to share. That can be viewed in different ways by different people. I am sure you are right about Ryan and Ray Jardine not being surprised about how they are criticized. I agree that every public figure is subject to criticism, but it should be done civilly and constructively.

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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).
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