South Sister Mountain Summit Oregon

Five Outdoor Podcasts to Hold You Over Until You Can Get Back Outside

Mar 3, 2023

At its core, I have found the adventuresome spirit to be insatiable. This beast wants to be fed a steady meal plan of wandering which always leaves me craving more sources of wonder.

My daily diet requirements can be a mix of things to stave off the hunger- just as long as I’m ingesting something related to adventure.  If I’m not actively journeying or exploring, then I’m planning the next adventure. If I’m not planning, then I’m looking at and editing the pictures and video I took of a past adventure. If I’m not reliving it in some fashion, then I’m finding other ways to feed the ravenous soul that wants to always be questing for the next experience that will leave me feeling physically and mentally full. 

This constant hunger for all things outdoors can become ridiculously feral in the downtime and one of the ways I fend it off is with a regular feeding of podcasts. 

Here are the top five podcasts I’m most stoked to fuel up on: 


With the iconic photographer and professional storyteller Chris Burkard and ecologist Charles Post at the helm of this podcast, it’s no wonder they have managed to bring on a steady stream of epic guests. Each episode excavates the guest’s life as they dig into their “individual blueprints” to create conversations of which I can’t get enough.  The resulting podcast episodes are as arresting as they are endearing and I am always sad to hit the end…which is why I’ve listened to each one repeatedly.

New to Traverse?  I could refer you to a specific favorite episode but with guests like Conrad Anker, Cristina Mittermeier, Jocko Willink and Mike Rowe, starting at the beginning is just as good as jumping straight to your favorite of this considerable roster of who’s who.


Produced by Backpacker Magazine, also in the Outside+ family, Out Alive host Louisa Albanese seizes her listeners with gripping, top-notch storytelling and ups the ante by weaving interviews and first person accounts of horrific disasters into a wild and enthralling ride for each 30 to 60 minute episode. Nearing the end, you’ll find your heart rate jacking up as the ultimate human struggle crescendos to a grand finale (sometimes with a sad finality) but also impatiently waiting to hop on the next roller coaster ride of high adventure gone terribly wrong.

New to Out Alive?  The two-part episode on a disaster that unfolded on Mt. Rainer had me on the edge of my front-row seat as the podcast talks to the mountaineers involved and the search and rescue teams that risked everything to get them, well, out alive.


The NPAD ladies, Cassandra Yahnian and Danielle LaRock, have created a considerable collection of the best in captivating storytelling “for the morbid outdoor enthusiast.”  Don’t know what that means?  Take the best of true crime, natural history lessons, survival stories and notable names of the outdoor world and you have a winning and wildly popular podcast that thankfully sits ready and waiting with 126 episodes for your captivated listening pleasure. 

New to National Park After Dark?  The two-part episode 17 and 18 of “Night of the Grizzlies” was a wild historical look at Glacier National Park in the 1960s and the laissez-faire way in which bad practices led to habituated grizzly bears. The resulting catastrophic disasters (yes, there were multiple), and Yahnian and LaRock’s candid storytelling gives listeners whiplash from all the violent twists and heart-hammering turns until the very gruesome end.


When Alex Honnold reached the top of his solo climb of El Capitan and summed up how he felt about that truly epic moment as being “so delighted,” all of our collective wool socks were charmed right off.  Which is why when I heard about Climbing Gold, hosted by Honnold and Fitz Cahall, I ran to listen to these two leaders speak with a combination of raw candor and hard-won knowledge of the climbing industry and the greater outdoor world.

New to Climbing Gold?  This podcast is a slow build as the hosts gain momentum and really hit their stride in 2022 when they rolled out their Dope Lake series.  This deep dive covered Yosemite in the 1970s when a small plane landed in an alpine lake within the park and all the historic chaos that ensued as a result.  Honnold and Cahall dig beyond the surface of the original story and bring in renowned climbers from that era to speak firsthand of their involvement, revealing all the micro stories underneath. It is captivating climbing journalism gold at its finest.


As if host Sally McRae wasn’t busy enough, the ultra-runner created a podcast that has catapulted itself to the top of my most-listened to list.  A force of nature, McRae created a challenge for herself in which she ran SIX ultra-marathons in 81 days.  A feat that looked impossible with her final run being the summit of Mt. Whitney, not once but TWICE in a 24 hour period. Anything is possible, McRae promises and then she goes out and shows us exactly that.

What is most impressive is that during each of those logged 507 miles she ran, McRae managed to keep us all up to date with a vulnerable, all-access pass into the behind-the-scenes look at her experience with each race.   I could not get enough of these debriefs and her raucous delightful laugh, laced throughout each hard story she told, serving as a reminder of why she is such a thought leader in her chosen industry and so beloved by runners and non-runners alike.

New to Choose Strong?  I’d like to tell you to just start at the beginning but McRae’s ultra-race debriefs are just too good to not run all out to those episodes and dive right in.  Start with episode 8: The Choose Strong Project Announcement and don’t come back up for air until you’re done with Episode 13: Strength to Start Again- The Double Mount Whitney Summit.




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