Category Archives: International Adventures

Stories and photos from classic international adventure trips, from Patagonia to New Zealand, Iceland to Norway, and more.

February 17, 2019 A hiker descending from the Fenetre d'Arpette on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Photo Gallery: Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps

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By Michael Lanza

Look at any list of the world’s greatest hiking trails, and the Tour du Mont Blanc almost invariably occupies a spot at or near the top of the list. There are many good reasons for that. But first and foremost comes the sheer majesty of this roughly 105-mile (170k) walking path around the “Monarch of the Alps.” Passing through three nations—France, Italy, and Switzerland—and over several mountain passes reaching nearly 9,000 feet, it delivers almost constant views of glaciers, pointy peaks and “augilles,” and when it’s not engulfed in clouds, the snowy dome of Mont Blanc.

In July 2017, I took a wonderful, nine-day trek on the Tour du Mont Blanc with my family and eight other friends and relatives—including my 80-year-old mom—and we were blown away by the scenery and the cultural and gastronomical experience. Scroll through my photos below for a window into the awesome character of this trail. Continue reading →

January 27, 2019 A hiker trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc toward Courmayeur, Italy.

The Best Plan for Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc

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By Michael Lanza

You want to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc, but you’re not sure how hard it is, whether you can do it all, or even whether to hire a guide? One of the world’s great treks, the TMB is easy to do self-supported—but it’s not necessarily easy to figure out how to do that. When I hiked it with 12 family and friends of varying abilities—including my 80-year-old mother—I spent many pre-trip hours mapping out a flexible daily itinerary that allowed some in our group to use local transportation to avoid hard sections or bad weather, and everyone had a wonderful experience. This guide will show you how to duplicate that trip or customize your own. Continue reading →

January 15, 2019 Michael Lanza of The Big Outside in the Monolith Valley, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Planning Your Next Trip? I Can Help You Do It Right

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Do you have a classic national park backpacking trip or other outdoor adventure in your sights for this year? The Teton Crest Trail? The John Muir Trail? Anywhere in Yosemite, Glacier, the Grand Canyon, Olympic, Mount Rainier, Zion, Sequoia, Canyonlands, North Cascades, or another park or wilderness area?

Now is the time to be planning it, and The Big Outside can show you exactly how to make your dream trip happen. Here’s how. Continue reading →

January 13, 2019 At Kaweah Gap, Sequoia National Park, California.

Why I Endanger My Kids in the Wilderness (Even Though It Scares the Sh!t Out of Me)

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By Michael Lanza

A glacial wind pours through a snowy pass in the remote mountains of Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park. Virtually devoid of vegetation, the terrain offers no refuge from the relentless current of frigid air. Some of the troops are hungry, a little tired, and grumpy; mutiny doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility, so I don’t want to add “cold” to their growing list of grievances. I coax everyone to push on just a little farther, down out of the wind to a sun-splashed, snow-free area of dirt and rocks for lunch.

But I don’t like the looks of the steep slope we have to descend. Blanketed in snow made firm by freezing overnight temperatures, and littered with protruding boulders, it runs hundreds of feet down to a lake choked with icebergs—in mid-July. A trench stomped into the snow by other trekkers diagonals down to our lunch spot. It’s well traveled, but someone slipping in that track could rocket downhill at the speed of a car on a highway. I turn to our little party—which ranges in age from my nine-year-old daughter to my 75-year-old mother—and emphasize that we have to proceed extremely carefully. Continue reading →

January 7, 2019

New Year Inspiration: My Top 10 Adventure Trips

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By Michael Lanza

I often get asked the question, “What’s your favorite trip?” And I don’t have an answer. To pick just one from all the amazing adventures I’ve had the good fortune to take over the past two-plus decades feels like an impossible task. Instead, I’ve just updated this list of my 10 all-time favorites (so far). It includes some of America’s best backpacking trips, from the Teton Crest Trail and John Muir Trail to Glacier National Park; hiking across the Grand Canyon; trekking in Iceland, Patagonia, Norway, and Italy’s Dolomite Mountains (photo above); and some places that might surprise you. Continue reading →

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