This episode is supported by Sidetracked Magazine
Luc Mehl is a lover of Alaskan wilderness and nature, with an incredible ‘adventure CV’ under his belt. Born, raised, and residing in Alaska, he has traversed the three highest mountains in North America, headed out to remote and wild regions of Alaska, and completed extreme, multi-day endurance events. For education and vacation he has also travelled and explored places like Norway, Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard, Nepal. All of this while expanding his self-powered method to include hiking, biking, ice-skating, packrafting, and skiing.
In the episode, we discuss traversing the three biggest mountains in North America, discovering – and staying well away from – the line of acceptable risk, adventures in Alaska and the Alaskan Wilderness Classics, experiencing ‘gifts’ of nature, ‘good fear’ and ‘bad fear’, the 60% rule, and so much more such as mindset and even mental health in the outdoors. Luc really delivers on insight, wisdom, and inspiration, so check out the podcast using the links below.
Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and all other platforms; just search “Between The Mountains” or Ask Alexa! (“Alexa, play Between The Mountains Adventure Podcast!”).
“I gotta go way out of my way to make a loop, even if it has a load of unpleasant travel, because I feel like I see twice as much that way”
Traversing is Top of the List
Chatting with Luc we dive quickly into the ‘whys’ behind his adventures. What becomes immediately transparent is Luc’s passion for landscapes driving what he does. But, what sneaks up on him during the episode, Luc does in fact adventure for the learning.
This motivation descends into his logistics too; Luc isn’t an ‘out and back’ kind of guy. Even if it means going heavily out of his way, he always tries to do a traverse or loop. This way, he gets to see twice the landscape!
Discovering The Line Of Acceptable Risk
In his peak on the Mount Logan traverse, Luc had some pretty drastic things happen, including being mostly-buried by an avalanche. It was here that he decided he was on the line of what was acceptable to him, and time to step back. Since then, he’s not gone anywhere near it.
This transpired into their big-mountain traverses too. After their experience on Pico de Orizaba (5636m), they looked up the 4th: Mount Saint Elias (5489m). But, with no-fall zones and a high proportion of fatalities, they decided to call it and not move on.
Self-awareness is really important in the outdoors. People have different skill levels, passions, and views too which should not be compared. Luc describes and states that by going outdoors and mitigating what risk you can, you must discover where you draw the line, and keep a safe distance from it in expeditions plans and designs to allow for any unplanned wiggle room – much like the 60% rule we talk about in the podcast.
“Mount Logan is a different beast. I mean, Denali is in the middle of nowhere, right? Mount Logan is in a different universe. There’s nothing near it, very hard logistics, very expensive.”
Luc Mehl is an incredibly accomplished outdoorsman and adventurer. With such a huge ‘adventure CV’ even just for Alaska, it was a complete pleasure to have him on the show.
With the background he has, it’s no wonder that he has gone on to write his first book: The Packrafting Handbook; the definitive instructional resource for packrafting—everything you need to know to begin, improve, or assist others.
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“I’ve never been interviewed by someone who had done so much preparation! Chris kept catching me off-guard by already knowing my experience and preferences, and it allowed us to dive deeper into the conversation. Somebody give this guy a sponsorship! Keep up the good work Chris.” Luc Mehl, Adventurer and Packrafting Author, Episode 98