The Baby, the Bear and the Mountaineer

How a helpless infant and a fierce animal changed the life of adventurer Mike Libecki.
If it's there, Libecki will climb it.
By Steve Root

How do you climb the world’s most remote peaks — and help your kid with homework? How do you tackle solo expeditions to the ends of the earth — and get your daughter to soccer practice on time?

That’s the challenge for Mike Libecki, one of the most adventuresome (some might say crazy) adventurers alive today with more than 45 expeditions under his harness, countless first ascents to his name and a Nat Geo Adventurer of the Year title on his wall. Watching him strike a balance between fatherhood and his "job" in the latest episode of “Reel Rock,” it’s hard to decide which is tougher: Bivouacking on a rock wall throughout a 72-hour arctic blizzard or bidding your baby adieu for months at a time.

That may sound facetious, but watching "The Man Behind the Mask" shows lives in the balance — in more ways than one. The confluence of Libecki's voracious pursuit of his passion, an emotional encounter with a polar bear and his concern for the well-being of his own child is explored in this gripping episode of "Reel Rock." 

With or without a mask, Libecki is one nutty dude.

But did we mention he was crazy — in a good way, of course? Libecki's known for his ever-cheery catchphrases and his trademark victory dances at each new summit. In a mask. Go figure.

Tiger on top: Libecki celebrates another summit.




Hey, I can see my lair from up here!




A slip and a foal? Celebrating an ascent in a horse mask, Libecki nearly has an unplanned descent.



A sudden storm pummels Libecki and leaves him stranded cliffside for days.



On a roll ... of sorts:


Now that you've seen some of the nuttiness, click in to watch the whole story

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