The 25 Most Adventurous (and mostly white) Men of the Past 25 Years 

A celebration of the mountaineers, watermen, arctic explorers, activists, and artists who redefine the limits of what’s humanly possible.

The list:

Conrad Anker

Mike Horn

Eric Larsen

Alex Honnold

Jeremy Jones

Erik Weihenmayer

Colin Angus

Mike Libecki

Cory Richards

Doug Tompkins (1943–2015)

Werner Herzog

Siddartha Gurung

Shane McConkey (1969–2009)

Laird Hamilton

Sebastian Copeland

Dean Potter (1972–2015)

J. Michael Fay

Felix Baumgartner

Alex Lowe (1958–1999)

Jared Diamond

Tim Hetherington (1970–2011)

Ben Stookesberry

Richard Branson

Jimmy Chin


Source: The 25 Most Adventurous Men of the Past 25 Years | Men’s Journal

Access Fund Announces 2016 Sharp End Awards 

Access Fund, the national advocacy organization that protects America’s climbing, is honored to present its 2016 Sharp End Awards to an amazing group of volunteers and activists who stand out in their commitment to the American climbing community. Please join us in congratulating:

Greg Barnes

Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award
Access Fund is honored to present Greg Barnes with a Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award. Greg’s singular focus on fixed anchor education and replacement has made our climbing areas safer and more sustainable. Greg is the longtime director of the American Safe Climbing Association (ASCA), a national organization that has provided—at no cost—new bolts and hardware to hundreds of local climbing organizations and volunteers across the country. Greg developed some of the first and most enduring best practices for rebolting and fixed anchors and continues to be a leader in the field, presenting at Access Fund’s Future of Fixed Anchors conferences and serving on our Anchor Replacement Fund grant committee. Greg has personally replaced many thousands of bolts in California, Nevada, and beyond.

Ian Caldwell
Bebie Leadership Award
Access Fund is proud to present Ian Caldwell with a Bebie Leadership Award for his incredible dedication to Smith Rock, one of America’s most iconic climbing areas. Ian has played a central role in the Smith Rock Group since 2003, coordinating the annual Spring Thing climbing stewardship event, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Ian also replaces bolts and anchors at Smith and volunteers for the Deschutes County rescue team. Decades ago, Ian was an Access Fund Regional Coordinator and served as president of the Madrone Wall Preservation Committee. Ian has also worked to protect climbing areas across the Northwest and played a lead role in the 2016 Northwest Sustainable Climbing Conference. Congratulations, Ian, and thank you for your outstanding leadership.

Roger Briggs

Sharp End Award
Access Fund is pleased to present Roger Briggs with a Sharp End Award for his work to protect Colorado’s Front Range climbing areas. Roger founded the Boulder Climbing Community organization in 2012 and spearheaded the Front Range Climbing Stewards, a locally based climbing access trail crew, in partnership with Access Fund. A Boulder original, Roger has dedicated his life to climbing in the Front Range, working tirelessly to promote stewardship and responsible use.

The Keithley Family

Sharp End Award
Access Fund is excited to present the Keithley family with a Sharp End Award for their outstanding commitment to climbing area stewardship. Jimmy, Melissa, Zoe, and Noah bring a level of enthusiasm and commitment to climbing area stewardship that is impossible to overlook. As parents, Jimmy and Melissa strive to instill a strong stewardship ethic in their children, combining fun family climbing trips with stewardship work at the climbing areas they visit. Zoe and Noah now provide a positive example to their peers of what it means to be a climbing steward. Jimmy is also a board member of the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance and chair of the Wasatch Anchor Replacement Committee. Thank you, Keithley family, for making climbing stewardship a family value!

Eve Tallman

Sharp End Award
Access Fund is honored to present Eve Tallman with a Sharp End Award for her decades of work with Western Colorado Climbers’ Coalition (WCCC) and her instrumental role in protecting Unaweep Canyon. In 2008, Eve helped secure Upper Mother’s Buttress, and in 2014, she expanded climbing access by securing the threatened Lower Mother’s Buttress and Television Wall. Without her behind-the-scenes organizing, grant applications, and on-the-ground stewardship, WCCC and Access Fund would not be able to celebrate a long legacy of conservation and climbing access in Unaweep Canyon. Thank you, Eve, for your contributions to Western Colorado and beyond.

Chris Irwin

Sharp End Award
Access Fund is honored to present Chris Irwin with a Sharp End Award for his deep commitment to stewarding and protecting Mid-Atlantic climbing areas. Longtime board member and current president of Mid-Atlantic Climbers (MAC), Chris has been instrumental to MAC’s stewardship projects at areas like Great Falls, Carderock, Shenendoah, Coopersrock, Northwest Branch, and many more. More recently, Chris worked with Access Fund and other MAC board directors to officially open Mount Catoctin to bouldering.

Ben Bruestle

Sharp End Award
Access Fund is proud to present Ben Bruestle with a Sharp End Award for his leadership of Southern Colorado Climbing Resource and Advocacy Group (SoCo CRAG) and his work to preserve and protect climbing areas in Southern Colorado. Ben has been instrumental in orchestrating Adopt a Crag stewardship events and climbing days at multiple sites, making strong inroads with a host of local land managers. Ben also dedicates countless hours to replacing worn, aging anchors and bolts in the Wet Mountains.

Roger Van Damme

Sharp End Award
Access Fund is proud to present Roger Van Damme with a Sharp End Award for his outstanding leadership as Chairman of the Friends of Muir Valley. Roger has carried on Rick and Liz Weber’s vision for stewardship and conservation of the Muir Valley climbing area in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky. Roger grew and strengthened the Friends of Muir Valley organization so significantly that the Webers decided to transfer Muir Valley to the organization in March 2015. This was a milestone in Red River Gorge climbing conservation. Roger improved day-to-day management at Muir, hiring support staff and instituting a successful parking donation system. With sincerity, humor, and an incredible work ethic, Roger inspires hundreds of Muir Valley stewards and volunteers.

Gus Fontenot

Sharp End Award

Access Fund is honored to present Gus Fontenot with a Sharp End Award for his decades of service to Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC). An Alabama attorney, Gus has provided hundreds of hours of legal service to support SCC’s work in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. He has played a critical role in all of SCC’s climbing area acquisition projects, and he organized the SCC Land Trust. Climbers can enjoy areas like Boat Rock, Steele, King’s Bluff, Hospital Boulders, Castle Rock, Jamestown, Denny Cove, and more thanks to Gus’ generous contributions.

Jack Santo

Sharp End Award
Access Fund is proud to present Jack Santo with a Sharp End Award for his leadership of Ohio Climbers Coalition (OCC). Jack founded OCC and immediately set in motion advocacy and stewardship campaigns for Ohio climbing areas like Cleveland Metro Parks and Cuyahoga. Over the past year, he has spearheaded a partnership with county parks to open Mad River Gorge, Ohio’s largest climbing area. Jack is planning a large-scale Adopt a Crag event this May in preparation for the Gorge’s grand opening. Jack recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest but is staying deeply involved with OCC.

Outdoor Research

Sharp End Award
We are proud to present Outdoor Research (OR) with a Sharp End Award for its long-standing support and dedication to the protection of America’s climbing areas. OR’s leadership in helping launch the Climbing Conservation Loan Program in 2009 was a pivotal moment in the history of climbing conservation, making possible the purchase of 24 climbing areas. Outdoor Research also collects pro-purchase donations to support the protection of America’s climbing resources and has recently stepped up to defend our public lands.

About Access Fund

Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, Access Fund supports and represents millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing management policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and education. For more information, visit

Source: Access Fund Announces 2016 Sharp End Awards – Outdoor Industry Association

On the Road to the Leadville 100 – Approaching Risk and Deflecting Doubt

Life is often lived in hindsight. In the moment of a big decision, it is often hard to fully understand all the factors that go into what you are thinking at the time. And it is nearly impossible to know what the impacts of any given decision will be until it plays out. You can research, plan, and try your best to predict all the possible outcomes. This is what one should do when taking risks. These risks are calculated, and not reckless. But with any big decision, there will be uncertainty and doubt.

I signed up for the Leadville 100 trail run.  Yes, I did this!  I was able to secure a spot in this race by signing up for one of the limited training packages, which also means I am working with a running coach for the first time in my life.  For those who may be unfamiliar, the Leadville 100 trail race entails 100 miles of beautiful, extreme trails in the mountains of Colorado, from elevations of 9,200 to 12,600 feet and a total of more than 18,000 feet of climbing – all in a 30-hour time frame or less. It is one of the absolute classic races of ultra-running. It is hands-down one of the biggest challenges I will be taking on in my running life, if not my life in general, so far. Did I agonize over this decision for days on end before I did this? No, I did not. Did I fail to think this through before I did this? No, I did not.  What I did do was make a conscious decision to approach risk, as opposed to deflect risk. So much of truly living, to me, is exactly that, approaching risk versus deflecting risk.

To me, approaching risk often looks like this: I get an idea. I get really excited about this idea (probably over-excited) and convince myself it is a good idea. I set a plan in action of how to implement or set on the road to making the idea actually happen.

Basically, when approaching risk, I decide to live my ideas.

Part of approaching risk is deflecting doubt. When the doubts are internal, I tend to try to talk to someone who can provide me with real-life experience on the matter. I often seek out someone I know who trusts my decisions and thinks positively.  And someone who really knows me and supports my BIG ideas. When the doubts are external, I recognize that it might be easier for some to deflect risk.  In most of the “unconventional” challenges I have taken on in my life, the majority of the responses have gone something like, “I would never do that ….How are you going to make that work?” In the case of the Leadville 100, typical reactions also include “You’re nuts” and “That sounds awful.”

These responses surprise me because challenges are exciting! And I can think of less responsible things than taking on challenges and following a passion through. In any event, anyone can do anything for a day or two! Remember, these risks are calculated, and not reckless. I clearly see the value in encouraging those taking calculated risks in our world…just the other day my friend said to me, “If anyone can conquer the unconquerable it is you!”  The outcome will remain unknown until the race, but I certainly appreciate such encouragement over the alternative.

The one thing you can never predict when approaching risk is the reality of how you are going to feel. This risk, the unpredictability of how you are going to feel, is the true risk… yet the one that holds the most potential for growth and rewards. All of the other risks are just doubts that can be resolved one way or the other.

I am sure the road to the Leadville 100 will be a true range of experience, both positive and not so positive.  The perfect opportunity to…

Approach risk.  Deflect doubt.  Live my ideas.

Ilene Bloom is an evolving ultra-runner, mother and lawyer who lives in Denver. In conjunction with training for the Leadville 100, she is raising money for the American Cancer Society at this link:  If you have any questions or thoughts about this article, Ilene can be reached at

Gratitude – Joe Grant ponders the concept of gratitude during a morning run

I found it particularly challenging to take my focus off of what I could not do, instead of being thankful for what my body actually could do. I could run, and really that should be enough. Yet, because of the season, I wanted to ski and climb to take a break from all the pounding. My focus was more on the activities rather than contentment with just being in the mountains.

by Joe Grant, special to

We have had a long mild stretch of unseasonably warm weather in Gold Hill, Colorado, allowing me to run much more than I typically would at this time of year. Most of the roads around town and the trails down in Boulder have been clear of snow and ice. I have been grateful for the clement conditions as some persistent nerve damage in my wrist has limited my physical activity primarily to running.

I sustained the injury during the Arizona Trail Race last April, a 750-mile mountain-bike race across Arizona. The severity of the pain has fluctuated from manageable, to nearly non-existent, to feeling as if my wrist was completely broken.

About a month ago, I severely re-tweaked it for the nth time, which triggered a negative psychological response far greater than the physical discomfort. The issue, I felt, was close to being resolved, but then due to a silly mishap, I was back to square one.

For some reason, I found it particularly challenging to take my focus off of what I could not do, instead of being thankful for what my body actually could do. I could run, and really that should be enough. Yet, because of the season, I wanted to ski and climb to take a break from all the pounding. My focus was more on the activities rather than contentment with just being in the mountains.

When healthy, as fitness and ability improve, there is a tendency to become too goal-oriented and perhaps overlook some of the more essential reasons of why it is worth being outside in the first place. Nature is part of us and we are fully part of nature.

Beyond stating the obvious, on a deeper level, this realization brings forth a sense of contentment, grounding, and humility–all of which are important ingredients to the healing process.

As I set off on my run today, I go by the school where the kids are piling into the classroom. There is yelling and laughter, a mix of the excitement and innocence that comes to life every morning in the playground This is a good way to set the tone as I enter my own world of play.

The neighbor on the corner is smoking a pipe on his porch, easing into the day. I do not smoke, but enjoy the aroma of tobacco. There is also a real sense of tranquility in his process that I can appreciate. A couple of fox dart across the road, playfully teasing my dog. Bella is not sure what to do, to chase or flee? She stands frozen in place, the hair on her back raised. Before she has time to engage, they have vanished into the woods.

I love the fox–their whimsical character, that twinkle in their eye, always with an air of mischief. Much like the kids, their whole demeanor reminds me to stay lighthearted, to not take myself too seriously.

I plummet down the steep trail, opening up my stride, feeling loose, relaxed.

I can hear dog’s bell, but lose sight of her. She takes a shortcut, appears out of the trees ahead, charging. We hop the creek in unison and begin to climb. She buries me with ease up the hill with her four little legs. Pausing, she looks back at the heavy-breathing ape, tail wagging. She is smiling, I swear.

It is easy to get caught up in our own little worlds, to feel defeated by an injury or an obstacle and lose sight of the bigger picture. Instead of feeling bogged down by my limitations, I am deeply grateful for what I can do. With the right perspective there are no dead ends, only possibilities.

As I reach the top of the climb, I stop at the overlook above town. The Indian Peaks line the horizon, with the broad, flat summit of Longs Peak capping the range to the northwest.

The mountains speak to a deeper place in my heart, rather than just feed my physical needs. We have so much to be thankful for.

Source: Gratitude

Trails for All: Opening Up Trail Races to Visually Impaired Runners

Impaired sight isn’t stopping a growing number of runners from hitting the trails.

by Amanda Loudin,

There are some runners who make trail ultras look easy. Folks like Killian Jornett or Devon Yanko, for example. But even those at the top of their game will tell you running 50 or 100 miles is never an easy undertaking.

Imagine, then, adding an extra element of difficulty to the game. Say, running those same ultras without the benefit of sight. That’s just the challenge a growing number of ultra runners are proving doable. These visually impaired runners have decided their disability won’t get in their way of doing what they love. They’ve run 50Ks, 50-milers and even some of the most legendary monster runs, such as Leadville and Badwater, all within the same stringent cutoff times as their sighted counterparts.

Each will tell you, however, they couldn’t do it without their wingmen (or woman), skilled guides who offer up their vision to get visually impaired runners across the finish line. Together, the sighted and sight-challenged runners make up a determined, fierce team that can navigate the gnarliest of trails for miles on end.

Finding a way around
When 41-year old Kyle Robidoux was growing up he was an active kid and played an assortment of sports. As the genetic condition retinitis pigmentosa (RP) led to progressively limited vision in his 20s, however, he became less active and more convinced that he couldn’t run.

In his early 30s, overweight and a new father, Robidoux started walking in a nearby park to drop some pounds. “One day, in my work clothes and shoes, I just started running,” he says. “I tried again the next day for a little longer and then just started increasing my runs.”

It wasn’t long before Robidoux started running marathons, and after mastering the art of guided road running, the next step was getting onto trails. “I wanted to change up my training and I love being outdoors in nature,” Robidoux explains. “I started with shorter trail runs and progressed from there.”

Now he has an impressive number of ultras under his belt, all with the help of skilled guides by his side. “I have tunnel vision, so I like to run two steps behind my guides,” he says. “I can mostly follow his or her back but I can’t see anything of the terrain we’re covering.”

This is where a guide’s ability to call out all obstacles—from logs to roots to rocks and steps—becomes essential. Robidoux has a regular pool of guides from which to draw in New England, where he is based. “When you know your guide and run with him or her regularly, you can relax and trust that they will get you through it,” he says. “My favorite call out is ‘smooth sailing.’” That’s when the team hits a patch of smooth, buffed trail without anything technical to face.

In the course of a typical ultra, Robidoux will use several guides, usually in 15-mile increments. The job of guiding is not only physically taxing, but also mentally tiring, thanks to the laser focus it requires. He has found about half of his guides via United in Sight, a visually impaired and sighted runner matching service, which has been around since 2015.

One of Robidoux’s guides last year was Amy Rusiecki, a 37-year old ultra runner and race director of the Vermont 100. “Kyle first contacted me asking about qualifying for my race,” she says. “We got to talking and I offered to help guide him at a 60-mile qualifier.”

It was during their 15 miles together that Robidoux proposed an idea to Rusieck: Offering up a disabilities division at this year’s Vermont 100, the first of its kind at an ultra race.

“We talked about how to do this and what the advantages were on both of our ends,” she explains. “This is a group we want out there, and by having a division with a different set of regulations, it opens the race up to runners who otherwise might not be able to do it.”

Decorated ultra runner Maggie Guterl will be among Robidoux’s guides at the VT100 and looks forward to the job. “I’ve been guiding runners for three years with the Achilles team,” she says. “And when I heard he needed guides for Vermont, I volunteered.”

The day of the race may be Robidoux’s and Guterl’s first time running together, but that doesn’t concern either party. “What he’s doing is brave and cool, and having a chance to pace him will be fantastic,” Guterl says.

The Master

While he missed the cutoff for the Vermont 100 this year, Jason Romero, 46, from Denver, is perhaps trail running’s most well-known visually impaired runner. He can count Leadville 100, Badwater, Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim, and even a run across America in his list of accomplishments. He’s excited by the new division at Vermont this year: “Creating a challenged athlete’s division is a monumental step in acknowledging and inviting people with disabilities to challenge themselves at the highest levels,” he says. “We need more champions like Amy in all areas of life.”

Like Robidoux, Romero is impacted by RP, and hasn’t allowed it to take away from his enjoyment of trail running. “I have about 15 percent of my sight,” he explains. “It’s like looking through two toilet paper rolls.”

When logging his miles at night, Romero likes to use handheld flashlights and headlamps, along with reflectors on his guides’ ankles. He also likes running with experienced trail runners. “They’re going to take the path of least resistance and for a blind runner, that’s essential,” he says. “They also have to have a certain personality type.”

Romero wants a guide who isn’t going to be frightened of the task or pity him. “I almost want a drill sergeant,” he says. “My guide’s job is to get me from point A to point B before the cutoff. I want to compete.”

Since getting started on trails around 2010, Romero has seen the numbers of guided runners increase exponentially. “I’m amazed at how many more are hitting trails now,” he says, “but I want to see more. People with visual impairment can do so much more than they realize.”

Source: Trails for All: Opening Up Trail Races to Visually Impaired Runners

‘Making It Happen’ – from our friends at Trail Sisters


If you want to run a sub 20 minute 5k, win your next 50k, get a promotion at work, or start a website called …whatever it may be…you can only make it happen by taking action and dedicating yourself to the goal.

by Gina Lucrezi,

I was driving home from the post office after shipping a Trail Sisters package to North Bend, Oregon when the song Jump (For My Love) by The Pointer Sisters came on the radio. This familiar beat triggered me to think about the scene from The Holiday when Hugh Grant dances around his house because he realizes he is in love. Immediately, I started bopping around in my driver seat. Let’s be honest, it’s a catchy little tune.

Paired with this film flash back came the motivation and prompt to write this post; which really has nothing to do with falling in love, well, at least with a person. Ha.

People love to want. We want all kinds of things, and we want them all the time. We love daydreaming about all the things we wish we could have.  What we’d do if we had them, how life could change, and what it would look like.


Ironically, the majority of people who want don’t actually go out and make moves to obtain what it is that they lust for.  They will plan and even manifest how it looks/feels until they can “taste it,” but none of that matters unless they take action.

Besides want, people also love opportunity…or at least waiting for it. How many times have your heard, “I’ll do it when the time is right,” or “I’ll do it when I’m ready.” Days, weeks, months go by, and still that person isn’t ready. They keep waiting because they know, one day, they will catch their “big break.”

Well…I’m sorry to crush the dreams of the wishers and wanters, but the only way to get what you want is the make it happen. The only way to take advantage of a great opportunity, is by creating it!

People don’t generally get to where they’re at by wishing themselves to those places. They’ve worked to earn those goals. When you work hard and dedicate yourself (to whatever it is) the doors start to open for you, and opportunity presents itself.

If you want to run a sub 20 minute 5k, win your next 50k, get a promotion at work, or start a website called …whatever it may be…you can only make it happen by taking action and dedicating yourself to the goal.

One of the most satisfying things I’ve done in my life thus far, was quitting my full time office gig to follow my dreams and create the life I wanted. I love running, traveling, and having the ability to approach each day with the freedom to do what I want, when I want. Shouldn’t we all have those liberties…? We only live once, that we know of.

So, how did I make this happen? I took a long hard look at my strengths, the things I enjoyed, and the things I was good at. From there, I created jobs that allowed me the liberties I wanted, and also enabled me to make money to pay the bills.

It definitely isn’t always easy, but achieving the outcome that I wanted so badly is worth all the work in making it happen.

Source: Making It Happen – Trail Sisters

A Female Saudi Arabian Alpinist on Breaking Molds and Smashing Stigmas


Raha Moharrak is a force of nature. When she’s not climbing, she’s encouraging other Saudi women to follow their dreams and paving the way by following her own.

by Cory Buhay, Adventure Journal

Many nations plant their flags on top of Mount Everest every season, but few have climbed through greater odds than Raha Moharrak. The first Saudi Arabian woman to summit Everest, 30-year-old Moharrak, comes from a desert country that tops out at roughly 9,000 feet in elevation, where carabiners aren’t sold, women aren’t allowed to drive, and 25 is considered the upper limit of unmarried life.
Raha descends after a successful summit of Mount Everest | Photo: AFP

“When I was 25, my mother was in a corner wailing that I was not married, and when I told my father I wanted to climb a mountain, he said no, flat out,” said Moharrak. She said sending him an email to argue her point, opposing him for the first time in her life, was the biggest obstacle of her climbing career, harder than getting hypothermia on Kilimanjaro, her first climb. Harder than the nine comically miserable days she spent trapped in a tent with a Russian man and an American man in a storm on Denali. Harder than the summit ridge of Everest.

Even with her parents finally on her side, Moharrak faced other hurdles. Acquaintances told her a woman couldn’t possibly climb mountains and looked down upon her parents for supporting her. She wasn’t allowed to train in public. In Antarctica, one of the members of her all-male team stood up at the first meeting and asked the guide, “What the hell is Barbie doing here?” Moharrak snapped, “Don’t be fooled by the Disney princess hair.” (In the end, she was the one who ended up helping him on the descent.)


Source: A Female Saudi Arabian Alpinist on Breaking Molds and Smashing Stigmas

Record-breaking Irishman rows Atlantic after beating alcohol and heroin addiction 

He burnt around 8,000 calories a day and lost approximately 20% of his body weight over the duration of the race

by ANITA MCSORLEY, Irish Mirror

An Irish former heroin addict and alcoholic who tried to kill himself became a superfit endurance athlete and rowing across the Atlantic – sponsored by a whiskey company.

He lived in a squat for 15 years and tried to commit suicide because he couldn’t accept the fact that he was gay.

He bravely held off the challenge of a three man American team, to finish the race in third place. 30 minutes was all that separated the two boats after 49 days of relentless ocean rowing, in what was an historically close finish.

Upon arrival at Antigua, he raised the Irish Tricolour to salute the large crowd gathered to watch him complete the race.

Source: Record-breaking Irishman rows Atlantic after beating alcohol and heroin addiction – Irish Mirror Online

Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor Will Marry the Firefighter Who Saved Her Life

On the day of the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, long-distance runner Roseann Sdoia was hanging out on the sidelines as a spectator when the bombs went off. Mike Materia, a firefighter on the scene, came to her aid and stuck by her side as she was rushed to the hospital. While looking at her blown-up leg, Sdoia asked Materia if she was going to die.

Source: Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor Will Marry the Firefighter Who Saved Her Life | Runner’s World

How World-class Snowboarder John Leslie Fought Cancer 

by Morgan Tilton, Teton Gravity Research

At just 10 years old, professional para-snowboarder John Leslie found a lump behind his knee. The tumor was osteogenic sarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Timing of the biopsy was impeccable. He started chemotherapy immediately, and three months later—as an 11-year-old—had to decide between three surgery options.

After reflecting a full amputation, Leslie chose an alternative Van Ness rotationplasty with the hopes of pursuing upright sports (his childhood dream was to be a NHL hockey player), and to continue his life as an athlete.

Ultimately, his health decision aligned.

Within one year, he was skating non-body contact hockey, and he learned how to snowboard—which ultimately stole his passion and focus. Now the 23-year-old Paralympic snowboarder—who won 7th place in Sochi—is a full time athlete and has trained to become one of the world’s top riders.

Source: How World-class Snowboarder John Leslie Fought Cancer | Teton Gravity Research