Life on the Edge cover
© Tyler Roemer
Exploration
Life On the Edge
Many of us just spent a year or more in lockdown, but the time for full-throated adventure may finally be upon us.
By Peter Flax
Published on
Whether you’re ready to plan or still in the dreaming phase, here are some wild images, all taken by top adventure photographers in wilderness locations throughout the U.S., to stoke your imagination. Flip through the portfolio and picture yourself getting out there in a big way.

Higher Power

Location: Forbidden Peak
Experienced climbers say that the adventure isn't over at the summit.
Experienced climbers say that the adventure isn't over at the summit.
Climber Zak Krenzer approaches the summit of Forbidden Peak, located in the heart of North Cascades National Park in Washington. The route up the mountain’s west ridge is celebrated in the iconic guidebook Fifty Classic Climbs of North America. Experienced climbers say that there’s no easy way off the majestically rocky, 8,815-foot peak—that the adventure is only half over after you tag the summit.

Drop Back

Location: Oh Be Joyful Creek
Locals like to call this Class V screamer Oh Be Careful Creek for a reason.
Locals like to call this Class V screamer Oh Be Careful Creek for a reason.
Kayaker Tim Kelton paddles over a waterfall, backwards, on Oh Be Joyful Creek, a Class V thrill ride near Crested Butte, Colorado. In less than a mile, the creek drops 600 feet, meaning super-competent paddlers can bomb the whole stretch in less than 10 minutes. This is not a spot for intermediate paddlers to learn new skills; locals like to call it Oh Be Careful Creek for a reason.

Strong Pull

Location: American Fork Canyon
This limestone playground is just an hour from Salt Lake City.
This limestone playground is just an hour from Salt Lake City.
Climber Lizzy Ellison muscles her way up Teardrop, a 5.13a route in American Fork Canyon. Located in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, less than an hour from downtown Salt Lake City, American Fork is a wonderland for sport climbers, with hundreds of routes—from 5.7 to 5.14c—on the steep, pocket-filled limestone walls.

Playing the Slots

Location: Dunham Slot Canyon
The visual payoff is worth the effort inside Dunham Canyon.
The visual payoff is worth the effort inside Dunham Canyon.
Canyoneer Emily West rappels into the depths of Dunham Canyon, a slot canyon located near Kodachrome Basin State Park in southern Utah. The technical part of the canyon is not long—maybe 300 meters—but delivers a lot of photogenic payoff for those with the right skills.

Line Art

Location: Yosemite Valley
The “Long Rostrum” line sits nearly 2,000 feet high.
The “Long Rostrum” line sits nearly 2,000 feet high.
Climber Brian Mosbaugh hits out on the “Long Rostrum” line, which is 120 feet long and hangs almost 2,000 feet above the floor of Yosemite Valley. This area is where highlining truly took off in the 1990s, as Dean Potter was the first to walk the Rostrum line untethered.

Footloose

Location: Virgin, Utah
You can ride where Rampage was originally held.
You can ride where Rampage was originally held.
Freestyle mountain bike pro Rémy Métailler—who originally is from France and now calls Whistler in British Columbia home—hucks with real artistry on the legendary hills near Virgin, Utah. The terrain shown was home to an earlier iteration of Red Bull Rampage.

Joe Cool

Location: The Berkshires
A sunrise coffee in the Berkshire Mountains.
A sunrise coffee in the Berkshire Mountains.
Sometimes you can taste the sharp edge of adventure without any technical wizardry or physical suffering. Here photographer Matt Baldelli captured his girlfriend, Megan—now his wife—as she sips sunrise coffee after a frigid fall night in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts.

Jump Scare

Location: Twin Falls, Idaho
A BASE jumper leaps from the Perrine Bridge.
The deck of the Perrine Bridge sits a whopping 486ft above the Snake River.
With the sun rising, a participant in an educational program at the Snake River BASE Academy jumps off the Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho—the eighth-highest bridge in the U.S., soaring 486 feet over the Snake River. Sometimes the most important step in any meaningful adventure is taking the leap.