The Cleanest Line
The Dirtbag Diaries

The Dirtbag Diaries

The campfire tale—it’s ubiquitous in mountain culture. As long as we’ve climbed, skied, boated or traveled, we’ve been telling stories. In March of 2007, Fitz Cahall launched The Dirtbag Diaries, a grassroots podcast dedicated to the sometimes serious, often humorous stories from wild places. What began as a solitary experiment has evolved into a collaboration between writers, photographers, artists and listeners to produce the types of stories that rarely find homes in the glossy pages of magazines.

Articles

Artwork: Walker Cahall

Escape from Beacon Rock

Mar 23, 2018 March 23, 2018

“For me, it was a way to stay connected, literally: tied to my free-range daughter by a length of 10-millimeter climbing rope, and connected to my own dream of being an adventurer,” says David Altschul. “And that was how I found myself, a few days later, on a ledge, high… Read More

Illustration: Walker Cahall

The Punk Rockers of Ski Mountaineering

Feb 12, 2018 February 12, 2018

“The notion that there’s one dream that we’re all after, and agreed upon ways in which you can verify that you are indeed living that dream drives me crazy,” says Forest McBrian. “Everyone’s dream is a little bit different. If there is a dream that we all lust after, then… Read More

Illustration: Walker Cahall

Endangered Spaces: Prince of Wales

Jan 26, 2018 January 26, 2018

“It’s like being caught in a spiderweb. You’ll find yourself pushing with every part of your body, and no part of your body will be able to move. You’re totally trapped by–held by plants,” says Elsa Sebastian, describing what it’s like to bushwhack through a 25-year old clear cut in… Read More

Illustration: Walker Cahall

The Year of Big Ideas 2018

Jan 17, 2018 January 17, 2018

“I think the jack of all trades gets a bum rap. The jack is the master of none, but I think the jack probably has a lot of fun,” says Fitz Cahall. This year, The Dirtbag Diaries opens their annual The Year of Big Ideas with an ode to “mediocrity”… Read More

Illustration: Walker Cahall

Growing Down

Jan 2, 2018 January 2, 2018

I’ve watched my friends and peers hopscotch across the world. Some of them have reached the top of their craft, authored ridiculous lines up mountains, followed rivers into wrinkles of the deepest canyons, found the edge of human endurance. If I look back on the last ten years, I’m often… Read More

Illustration: Walker Cahall

Over the Line

Nov 13, 2017 November 13, 2017

“It’s like the Iditarod with a chance of drowning,” says Jake Beatty, one of the organizers of a bizarre, crazy race called the Race to Alaska. The course traces 750 miles of Alaska’s Inside Passage through complicated currents and tides, busy shipping channels and bear-ridden coastlines from… Read More

Illustration: Walker Cahall

Tales of Terror Vol. 8

Oct 31, 2017 October 31, 2017

For our eighth annual Tales of Terror episode, we have not three, but five stories that span the range of things to fear—from angry men with shotguns, to bears and mountain lions, to things that really don’t have any explanation in the world of science. First, we visit an abandoned… Read More

Illustration: Walker Cahall

Endangered Spaces: Boundary Waters

Oct 2, 2017 October 2, 2017

Raising awareness. It seems like every day, someone embarks on a new project to ‘raise awareness’ about a particular issue, cause, disease, endangered species or threatened public land. But what separates the projects that cut through the noise and the ones that get drowned out in the static of issues… Read More

Illustration: Walker Cahall

Winnebago Warriors

Sep 5, 2017 September 5, 2017

“When we were living in a house, we were always compromising because we had the weight of a mortgage, of doing what we thought we should be doing,” remembers Kathy Holcombe. Until the day she, her husband Peter and their daughter Abby moved into a Winnebago to travel and work… Read More

Illustration: Walker Cahall

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Aug 7, 2017 August 7, 2017

“Picture walking through a parking lot with a ski mask rolled up on your head and a pistol in your pocket. You’re getting closer to the bank, your heart’s beating faster, adrenaline’s starting to rush through your head, and you can’t believe you’re about to do what you’re about to… Read More

Illustration: Walker Cahall

Endangered Spaces: Katahdin Woods and Waters

Jul 10, 2017 July 10, 2017

“The reason that I was able to do it is because I was incredibly naive,” says Lucas St. Clair. “I had no idea how much work it was gonna be when I started. Not a clue.” The thing Lucas did: work to establish Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in… Read More

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