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In Loving Memory

Stay Wild

Words by Jamie Swick // @jamieswick

Photo by Randy P. Martin // @randypmartin

You’re standing at the crest of a vista. You peer left and every shade of blue is churning before you—cerulean, slate, abyssal blue—alive, intimidating, demanding your attention with a graceful roar that tempts you to take a few steps, just a few, closer to the edge. From your right comes a muggy sweet smell, a twisted patch of juniper trees perfuming your skin that’s standing up from an offshore breeze. And in front of you is a hunched, fragile old woman. With tired eyes she is peering out to sea, just like you, watching patiently. While weathered, she is stoic, as if she has been there for a million years waiting for someone to return.

Her million years are actually 18 million years. That’s a long time to stand tall against nature’s throes. Last year a group of people pushed this frail old woman over, killing her immediately, a shattered lump left in her wake. They destroyed eons of nature’s miraculous work in a dangerous-to-reach yet marvelous icon that many of us have found solace in for decades. 

In her absence, let us remember the wonder of our time spent in nature, the radiating humility of this delicate earth, and all the joy it nourishes our spirits with. Let’s share love for this old woman through stories. Tell them to strangers and loved ones alike. Tell them to the stars and sea and birds above. We are all in this together. 

Megastorm

Stay Wild

Story by Maxwell Carl Scott // @springbreaksnowboarding

Photos by Kealan Shilling // kealanshilling.com // @kealanshilling

We decided to cruise down to Tahoe from Portland, where a beautiful spring storm was brewing. The news dubbed it the “Megastorm.” We figured we couldn’t pass up such an outstanding chance to test out some of the new experimental shapes we had spent the better half of our free time constructing. 

If the Megastorm couldn’t provide a shitstorm of good times, the crew would. Corey Smith, Brendan Gerard, Ben Rice, Kealan Shilling, Robbie Sell, Stephen Duke, Mark Dangler, Charlie Deptula, Alex “the Ozman” Scott, and I brought our own Megastorm.

We battled some extreme whiteout conditions for the first few days, but we made the most of it and snowshoed all over the Lake Tahoe backcountry. We checked out a few classic backcountry zones, including the infamous Terry Kidwell hip at Donner Pass. Brendan’s brother Red Gerard attempted and landed the first ever double backflip in the face of gale force winds and total whiteout visibility. We checked out a few new spots as well, and tested out some of our latest handmade prototype shapes while taking some keen mental notes on their overall shredability. I got to test my own very special shape, the eight foot long “Powder Dildo,” modeled after some of the old surfing longboard shapes and of course...a penis. 


Vermont Swimmin Club

Stay Wild

West Coast & East Coast Cliff Jumping Together

Story By Jeff Edwards // @la_swim

Photos by Zachary Liptak // @zaplipzach

 

The water was the perfect shade of turquoise, an invite we couldn’t refuse. There was a rumor that this quarry called Little Bahamas had leeches. We don’t get to see many leeches in California, so I didn’t even know what to look for. As I was getting out I saw one, then another. They were monstrous, something out of a horror movie. That’s when we decided to move on.

We rolled up to the second spot on our list. Everyone calls this place The Grotto. The last quarry was pretty small compared to this one. In fact, this place was so huge we would spend the next two days exploring all of its crevices. As we arrived, a few people were already jumping the huge cliff everyone calls The Slab. It is a large slab of dark granite that slopes outward at a very slight angle, 67 feet before it reaches the water. This means you need a running start if you want to clear out far enough to hit the water. After about 15 minutes of jumping, the cops showed up and told us we had to leave. Apparently we were loud as fuck and one of the people that lives near the quarry called the cops and complained. I’m sorry that this lady was bothered by our presence, but that’s like living next to Disneyland and complaining that there are crowds walking by your house all hours of the day. If you don’t want to be bothered, then I suggest you don’t live right next to a famous cliff jumping quarry. 

In California, there are always some rocks below that we have to jump clear of, the take-off spots are rarely bigger than a foot wide, and we always have to jump in a tiny sweet spot maybe 10 feet in diameter. East coast quarries are all very deep, with sheer cliff faces and huge run-ups. The only issue with quarries is the still water. You need to throw rocks down to break the surface tension just to see where to land and so it doesn’t hurt as much when you hit the still water. 

After jumping the slab most of the day we headed over to the other side of the quarry the locals call The Rat Shack, named after the dilapidated building atop the black and white marbled cliffs in the area. The cliff measures 83 feet. About 30 yards away, another massive cliff measuring 110 feet looms over the water. Not many people have jumped this cliff, which is probably a good thing. After sending a few people to swim over and lifeguard the area, Jon Faye launched a massive double half. Shortly after, the safety coordinator for the quarry came up and yelled at us to get out. After 30 minutes of hesitation, Aaron Fleenor knew he had to do it now cuz we were all getting kicked out. Aaron peeked over the edge one last time, walked a few steps back and ran as fast as he could to rip a monster gainer. The safety guy was screaming his head off and was literally on the verge of an aneurysm. I’ve never seen someone so angry at kids having a good time. His life must be hell. 

After getting the boot, we drove to Bingham Falls to jump for a bit while we still had some light out. We planned on camping here, so everyone set up their tents and we jumped till it got dark. Then a couple stragglers from the group came in and warned us that the police showed up to the parking lot and threatened to tow out all 20+ of our vehicles if we were still here in an hour. Half the group was ready to call his bluff—we had all our tents and hammocks set up and had started drinking, and no one was in the mood to tear down and set up somewhere else. Also, we had nowhere else to go. Peter Henry called his family up and asked if it was okay if our fat crew could come crash in his yard for the night, and they gave us the thumbs up. We showed up around 9pm, set up all our tents and hammocks, and began raging as violently as possible. Peter’s dad must be friends with the local law enforcement, cuz I’m sure every neighbor on the block had called the police on us. 

At some point during the night someone set up a giant trampoline, and instead of everyone taking turns, the whole party smashed on it all at once. Springs were flying everywhere, people were getting hurt left and right. Then the Royal Rumble idea came up: 30+ people wrestling on the trampoline with only one man standing wins. It was a disaster of epic proportions. The campfire kept burning and the only reason the party died down was cuz a giant storm blew in around 5am. It dumped hard and lightning was striking a few hundred yards away from us. Some people had passed out drunk on the grass and woke up to the rain, then went back in their tents to find out they were flooded inside cuz they forgot to put on the rain fly. A few lucky people got to crash inside the house and didn’t have to deal with any of the noise or weather.

The next day, one by one, everyone zombied out of their tents and wondered what the hell happened that night. Peter’s mom bought ten thousand bagels and 50 gallons of coffee for everyone, which helped immensely. While a couple people warmed up on the trampoline, the Henry family busted out buckets full of water balloons and the craziest war erupted. As much as we enjoy swimming in water all day, something about getting smacked in the chest with a water balloon is enraging. 

After drying off, we hopped in the cars and drove to a secret quarry about 15 minutes away from the Henry House. We snuck in like ninjas and spent the entire day here. The jumps ranged from 20–90 feet. No one had actually jumped the 90-footer. That changed quickly. I would love to admit that we got kicked out of every spot on this trip, but this was the one spot we didn’t. 


Adventure Storytelling

Stay Wild

Adventure Storytelling: A Travel Writing & Outdoor Photography Workshop

With a little practice, your snapshots, postcards, tweets, and scribbled notes can be crafted into a unique narrative — and in this one-of-a-kind workshop, you'll learn the secrets that outdoor storytellers swear by to turn those creative sparks into polished stories and published photos. Whether you're a climber, skier, hiker, alpinist, surfer, or weekend warrior, these pros have been there — and they're stoked to share what they've learned.

Learn more and get tickets here >>>