Beards: So hot right now, but so classic.
You think John Muir’s thinking new ways to describe Sierra light? No, he’s thinking how awesome his beard is.
Let’s face it, when mustaches finish out their tenure as the cool/ironic/maybe-not-so-ironic thing to wear on your face, beards will live on in the wilderness. Here are some of our favorites throughout beard history.
Mountaineering: Reinhold Messner
First ascent of Everest without supplemental oxygen; first ascent of all 14 8,000-meter peaks, arguably greatest all-around climber in history.
Sir Chris Bonington
Climbing: Royal Robbins
Pioneering big-wall climbing in Yosemite in the 1950s and 1960s; first ascent of the Direct NW Face of Half Dome, Salathe Wall, The Prow on Washington Column.
Jim Bridwell’s mustache (not a beard)
Outdoor writing: Ernest Hemingway
“There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games,” skiing, fishing, Old Man and the Sea
, Snows of Kilimanjaro.
Hiking: Colin Fletcher
Writing The Complete Walker
; called “the godfather of backpacking,” often credited with starting the backpacking industry; walked the length of Grand Canyon National Park in 1963.
Surfing: Keith Malloy
Appearing in 1 gazillion surf magazine and surf films; 180 South
; ditching competition surfing to free surf and big wave riding.
Dan Malloy, Chris Del Moro
Paddling: John Wesley Powell
Leading the expedition team on the first descent of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in a wooden boat in 1869; having Lake Powell named after him.
Bicycling: Sheldon Brown
Famous for: www.sheldonbrown.com
; encyclopedic knowledge of every component in the history of bicycles and mastery of how to maintain and repair those components.
Honorable Mention: The Wizard
Photography: Ansel Adams
Most of the incredible black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West you’ve ever seen and said “Wow, I need to go wherever that is”; also the 230,000-acre wilderness in California that bears his name.
General Outdoors: John Muir
Activism, founding of Sierra Club, having the John Muir Trail named after him; exaltation of wilderness in his voluminous body of writing.
Exploration: Marco Polo
Traveling throughout Asia; introducing Europeans to central Asia through his writing; inspiring Christopher Columbus; contemporary game played by children in swimming pools
Piracy: Edward “Blackbeard” Teach
17th- and 18th-century plundering in Europe and the eastern United States; fearsome appearance once described as “such a figure that imagination cannot form an idea of a fury from hell to look more frightful”; black beard
Hayreddin “Redbeard” Barbarossa
Goating: Mountain Goat
Climbing skills on steep rock and ice at high altitude; penchant for salt in human urine
Space exploration: Chewbacca
Ballsy co-command (along with Han Solo) of spaceship Millennium Falcon; stoic, almost non-communicative presence; heroic transformation from smuggler to upstanding member of Rebel Alliance
William Riker, Star Trek: The Next Generation