The Adventure Podcast
Episode 159: Jon Gupta, No Such Thing As Too Much Experience
Episode 159 of The Adventure Podcast features climber, alpinist and high altitude mountain guide, Jon Gupta. Jon's made a name for himself as a Himalayan high altitude expert, and is responsible for organising and guiding multiple records and world firsts. He's spent most of his adult life in the greater ranges. In this episode, Matt and Jon chat about the world of high altitude, and how the niche of guided mountaineering has changed due to recent media hype. Jon was extremely open and was happy to be challenged, and challenged back. They also discuss the 'post-expedition comedown'.
View all episodes
9. Explore 009: Health & Safety01:07:45Episode nine of our specialist series, Explore: How To Plan An Expedition, focuses on Health and Safety. In this episode, Matt speaks with Megan Hine, Waldo Etherington and Aldo Kane. They demystify the 'risk assessment' process, and go through in detail how to research and write one. They also discuss how to manage risk effectively in the field, medical preparation, emergency evacuation plans, and comms. It's not only an informative episode, but a pretty exciting one too.Megan Hine is a survival consultant, wilderness guide and expedition leader. She has been a health and safety advisor on some of the biggest adventure and survival shows on TV, and has led multiple adventures to remote wilderness environments. She has lived and learned from indigenous communities across the world.Waldo Etherington is a remote location climbing specialist. He has over 15 years of experience in remote-location rigging, and has been a health and safety advisor for countless expeditions and field-research projects. He also features in our Camp Life, Jungles episode. Aldo Kane is a former Royal Marines Commando and TV adventurer. He has been, both on and off screen, in some of the most extreme, high-risk environments on earth. His company, Vertical Planet, provides safety, security medical and risk management services to the film industry.You can find out more about the Royal Geographical Society and access advice and support for field research and scientific expeditions by visiting www.rgs.org/in-the-field or follow them on @rgs_ibg on socials.
1. The Far Reaches: Matt James, De-extinction01:04:55After a lot of thought and taking note of audience feedback, we've decided to categorise some of our features a little differently. Most of our episodes will be unchanged, but occasionally we feature guests who are definitely relevant to the worlds of adventure and exploration, but don't necessarily have rip-roaring tales of adventure and aren't adventurers in the truest sense of the word. Intro, The Far Reaches. In this new long-term series we'll speak to guests about subjects related to our planet and our place on it. These episodes will dig a little deeper, perhaps enter the realm of armchair philosophy, and will tackle some more existential questions surrounding adventure and exploration.In the first episode of The Far Reaches, our guest is Matt James. Matt is the Chief Animal Officer at Colossal, a start-up focused on de-extinction. Their goal is to use cutting-edge science to bring back lost species, and secure the health and biodiversity of our planet's future. Matt's job is, in part, to work out what to do with these species once they're back in the world. In this episode, they discuss in detail the meaning and realities of 'conservation', and what de-extinction actually means; the practicalities, methods, reasons, issues, ethics and controversies. It's a fully transparent conversation, and Matt doesn't shy away from the hard questions one bit. No doubt you'll hit play feeling a little skeptical, but hopefully this conversation will teach you about the potential positive impacts these initiatives could have on planet earth. As Matt James puts it, it's not if we can do this, but when.
173. Episode 173: Alex Honnold, The Next Pitch01:17:36Episode 173 of The Adventure Podcast features climbing legend, Alex Honnold. Alex needs little introduction. He's arguably one of the best rock climbers in history, and is known for his solo ascent of El Capitan, documented in the Oscar-winning film 'Free Solo'. Matt has worked with Alex on two National Geographic documentaries, and has spent endless hours chatting with him at basecamps and on the mountains. In this episode, they briefly speak about Alex's background, but gloss over the more obvious questions that have been asked numerous times in podcasts and movies before. Instead they focus on Alex's transition to fatherhood, redefining adventure, and his partnership with Tommy Caldwell. They also discuss the Honnold Foundation, how he became an environmentalist, and his thoughts on the term 'activist'. They also tackle the question...is Alex Honnold turning soft?
8. Explore 008: Camp Life, Jungles01:00:24Episode eight of our specialist series, Explore: How To Plan An Expedition, continues our Camp Life mini series, where we speak to a single individual about a specific type of expedition environment. In this Jungles episode, our guest is Waldo Etherington. We talk about the challenges of undertaking rainforest expeditions, and how to up-skill. Waldo goes into detail on navigational limitations, water, wet dry systems, recommendations for camping under the canopy, wildlife considerations, and jungle-specific prevention and emergency medical planning. Waldo is a remote location climbing specialist. He has over 15 years experience in remote-location rigging for TV and film. The main focus of his career has been in tropical rainforests, where he started as a tree climber supporting research conservation projects. You can find out more about the Royal Geographical Society and access advice and support for field research and scientific expeditions by visiting www.rgs.org/in-the-field or follow them on @rgs_ibg on socials.
172. Episode 172: Jason Pickles, The Climber's Climber01:01:46Episode 172 of The Adventure Podcast features climber, route setter, and 'Britain's Manliest Man', Jason Pickles. Jason is a proper underdog and a climber’s climber. He's proudly northern, and grew up climbing in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria before the climbing scene really exploded and turned into what it is now. In this episode, Jason explores his life as a climber, and how we went from young weekend warrior to full time, talented dirt bagger. He speaks to Matt in detail about first major expedition to climb Mount Agsard on Baffin Island, and his partnership with his best mate, Leo Houlding. They speak about ego and imposter syndrome, and how he’s more than comfortable being surrounded by people who are better at their sport than him. They also look closely at the transition from full time lifer climber to stay at home dad, and the realities of this new life Jason has built for himself. It’s an open conversation with a man who knows exactly who he is, who he isn’t and what he wants from life.Photographer: Adam Long
7. Explore 007: Ethical Fieldwork33:46Episode seven of our specialist series, Explore: How To Plan An Expedition, focuses on Ethical Fieldwork. In this episode, Matt speaks with Dr Alasdair Harris about getting started in field research and expeditions, the moral dilemma around travelling for fieldwork, and the critical need to forge meaningful partnerships with host communities and countries. Al also speaks passionately and thoughtfully about the impacts of environmental conservation on communities who depend on nature.Alasdair is a marine conservationist working at the interface of ocean protection and social justice. His organisation Blue Ventures grew out of his first RGS-funded expeditions in 2001, and focuses on developing locally led approaches to marine conservation that benefit people and nature. Blue Ventures is now helping many hundreds of thousands of people address overfishing and safeguard ocean life in fourteen countries across southeast Asia, Africa and the Indian Ocean. Alasdair holds a PhD in marine ecology and an honorary doctorate of science from the University of Edinburgh. He has spent more than two decades working with coastal communities to rebuild small-scale fisheries across the tropical Indo-Pacific.You can find out more about the Royal Geographical Society and access advice and support for field research and scientific expeditions by visiting www.rgs.org/in-the-field or follow them on @rgs_ibg on socials.
171. Episode 171: Andrew Bisharat, We Need A Voice01:05:24Episode 171 of The Adventure Podcast features journalist, writer and climber, Andrew Bisharat. Much of Andrew's career has been focussed on writing about climbing, mountains and adventure. He is a leader in adventure journalism. Andrew is of Palestinian heritage, and was the subject of the film 'Resistance Climbing', which documented his first visit to Palestine in 2020 and a local climbing programme there. The focus of this episode is Palestine, and it's not a bright and breezy episode. It's raw, it's real and it's personal. This conversation purposefully does not shy away from the reality of things. We hope you can enjoy it in some way, that it teaches you something, and that it gives you a personal insight into the conflict, the people, and the place.At the time this episode is released, 'Resistance Climbing' is free to watch on Reel Rock's website: https://watch.reelrocktour.com/videos/rr17-resistanceclimbing.
170. Episode 170: Lee Craigie, Other Ways To Win58:10Episode 170 of The Adventure Podcast features a legend of the mountain biking world, Lee Craigie. Lee is a bike adventurer, director of The Adventure Syndicate, outdoor therapist and storyteller. In this episode, Lee talks to Matt about her champion-winning mountain biking career, competing in the Commonwealth Games, and the pro's and con's of winning. She goes into detail on her role as Scotland's Active Nation Commissioner, and the challenges she faced in this position. She also covers what happiness means to her now, community, and finding balance by changing her motivations. It's an honest and thought-provoking conversation which gives a gentle reminder on the importance of perspective and not trying too hard.
6. Explore 006: Camp Life, Polar46:37The sixth episode of our specialist series, Explore: How To Plan An Expedition, continues our Camp Life mini series, where we speak to a single individual about a specific type of expedition terrain. In this Polar episode, our guest is Felicity Aston. You may recognise her from our Five P's episode. In this episode, Matt talks to Felicity about polar accessibility, navigation, managing water, avoiding injuries, and her tips and tricks for dealing with extreme temperatures. Felicity is a British polar explorer, author, speaker and student research scientist. In 2012 she became the first woman to ski alone across Antarctica. Starting out as a Meteorologist with the British Antarctic Survey, her expeditions have included the first British Women’s crossing of Greenland, a 6000km drive to the South Pole, a 36,000km drive to the Pole of Cold, and leading international teams of women on ski expeditions to both the North and South Poles. In 2015 she was awarded The Queen’s Polar Medal and was appointed an MBE for services to polar exploration.You can find out more about the Royal Geographical Society and access advice and support for field research and scientific expeditions by visiting www.rgs.org/in-the-field or follow them on @rgs_ibg.