Off Yonder – Adventure Travel Stories - Seeing the world for what it is

About Cameron Martindell

Cameron L. Martindell is a freelance adventure and expedition writer and photographer who is always “Off Yonder: Seeing the world for what it is.” In addition to writing his own popular blog, he has written for Snowshoeing Magazine, Mountainzone.com, UK Travel Mag, Trekker Magazine and others. He has been to all seven continents and lived on five of them, including a four-month stint at the South Pole. Cameron has more than 15 years of mountain search and rescue experience, is an Eagle Scout, has been an Australian bush firefighter, competes in sailing regattas, plans national and international youth programs, guides Oregon rafting trips and Australian bush backpacking trips, the list goes on . . . really.

GoPro Mtn Games 2014
Vail, Colorado, United States

I’ve been having a bunch of fun making Instagram videos of late. I would say “quick” Instagram videos, but I don’t always turn them around as fast as I’d like. After the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail I had a bunch of footage after competing in three different events. We started the day paddling down Gore Creek. I managed to get a video of that published shortly after the weekend, but not the videos of the Bad Ass Dash obstacle course or the XC Mountain Bike race. Finally, those are done and if you didn’t catch them on Instagram, I’ve compiled the three into a YouTube video here:

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On The Steep
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, United States

I’m far from being an expert skier, despite skiing expert runs at ski areas. I’m at that point in my skiing where it takes a lot of time on the snow to see much in the way of improvement. Fortunately, I got to see, rather, experience, the fruits of my efforts over the past few years since moving to Colorado. While I was still the weakest skier in the group of outdoor and primarily ski journalists on this trip to Jackson Hole I was able to keep up and even enjoy myself.

The trip was organized and sponsored by Marmot with some help with Polartec. Marmot was using Polartec’s new breathable insulation technology called Alpha. The idea is to be able to be working hard in the winter and dump the excess heat your body creates to avoid overheating and sweating which can be a problem once your body starts to cool off. On the other hand, as you do cool you want your layers to be right to keep you warm enough. Usually this involves stripping and adding layers as you change your activity on the mountain. I’ve been using an Eddy Bauer jacket with Polartec Alpha most of this season and it has been great. The Marmot kit did really well though it could have been colder out to optimize the feature of the technology.

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Feeling Chile
Magallanes, Los Lagos & Aysen, Chile

Chile is a land of many adventures from mountain biking to wine tours, from skiing to white water rafting, from hot springs to mountaineering. I joined a group of seasoned adventurers to explore the three southern most regions of Chile: Los Lagos, Aysen & Magallanes. Each of them host varying stages of tourism development, adrenaline rush, cultural interactions to cater to the interest of any traveler or explorer.

One of the most interesting lessons I learned about was where the name Patagonia came from. Magellen created the term for the indigenous inhabitants of the southern reaches of South America because they were larger in stature that his crew, indeed, than Europeans at the time. How does Patagonia, or rather Patagon as Magellan documented it, relate to large people? Well, like many such words the etymology is fuzzy, but one story refers to Magellan and his crew first seeing the footprints of these people (believed to have been the Tehuelches people). This may be a stretch, but Pata is phonetically close to “pede” from the Latin for foot (as in “pedestrian” or “pedal”) and “-gon” makes me think of giant or another word that refers to something large with a “-gon” ending, dragon. Anyway, Click through to the full story for more photos and the videos I produced from the adventure.

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Around here… it’s Rainier!
Mt. Rainier, Washington, United States

It was awesome to get back to the Great Pacific Northwest to climb Mt. Rainier again. This is my third summit of Rainier and it was a beautiful day on the top. My previous climbs have been as a private climber so this was my first time going with a guide outfit like RMI Expeditions. Since we had some first time climbers with us, our first day was Mountaineering School. We hiked up to a snowfield and practiced self arrest, walking in crampons and other mountaineering skills. The next day we hiked all our gear up to Camp Muir at 10,000 ft. After lying down for a stint from 6pm to 11pm we geared up and made a push for the summit.

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Canyon of Lodore
Gates of Lodore, Green River, Colorado, United States

It’s been too long since I’ve run a river in a nice oar raft. I met up with this crew in the classic way of joining the trip via an invite from a friend here in Boulder. Then the friend in Boulder couldn’t make it. Undaunted, I stuck with the trip and ended up running a boat for one of the families. This crew came from Utah, Arizona and Colorado and they were a great bunch as most rafters are. Rafting is essentially car camping on the river. Granted there are a few more logistical and gear hurdles to overcome but for the most part the route finding is pretty easy.

The Green River is where John Westly Powell started his journey which resulted in the first running of the Grand Canyon in 1869. He ran this very stretch of water and had his first major disaster when the campfire got out of control due to the crazy winds that are known to blow along rivers. One of his boats caught fire along with the provisions stored in it. We made it through alright and had a blast doing it.

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Old Lift Line
Old Hidden Valley Ski Area, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, United States

HiddenValleyThumbHitting up the old Hidden Valley Ski area in Rocky Mountain National Park just outside of Estes Park, Colorado for some fresh tracks. Also, testing Eddie Bauer’s new Propellant jacket with Polartec’s new Alpha insulation which worked great. Click through to the full story for the video.

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Sudwest Afrika
Swakopmund, Windhoek & The Caprivi, Namibia

This trip to Namibia in Africa was pretty incredible. It’s a long haul to get down there but once there the long flights are quickly forgotten. Namibia has some diverse environments. We started our trip on the coast in Swakopmund and drove north to the controversial seal colony that stunk to high heaven, but was very interesting to see. From there we drove inland to the capital Windhoek to see a little more cosmopolitan version of the country for some meetings. Finally, for the bulk of the trip we flew north to the Caprivi region where we went on game tracking walks, learned about how the local community manages its own natural resources, went on safari drives and boat rides, dugout canoe trips, visited a local chief, crossed over to Botswana and saw lots of wildlife. And this isn’t even the high season to see wildlife. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to get back there when literally thousands of animals can be seen at once. Naturally, there are photos and videos. Click to the full story for the first video of the coastal visit. Stay tuned to my YouTube channel for more.

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Into The Sandstone
The Black Hole of White Canyon, Canyonlands, Utah, United States

I love spontaneous trips.

Doug, my editor at Elevation Outdoors Magazine, stopped by to borrow my LifeProof iPhone case because he was going canyoning in Utah for the next few days. He showed me some photos of where they were going: The Black Hole of White Canyon. My eyes opened wide. My jaw dropped. “That looks awesome.” I said.

“Do you want to come?”

And so, the next morning Doug and I were heading west to Utah.

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Swiss Adventure: Bungee Jump (fall)
Mount Titlis, Engelberg, Switzerland

It wasn’t possible for all of the 600 delegates attending the Adventure Travel World Summit to participate in one of the many Pre-Summit Adventures like the one I shared in my last post. So, the first day of the summit is actually a “Day of Adventure” before filling the halls of the conference center for all the various sessions.

I was assigned to document the Bungee Jump. Or, as I indicate in the title, it was more of fall, or teeter. At the base of Mt. Titlis near the town of Engelberg south of Lucerne in Switzerland, we boarded a large rectangular cable car or gondola with a hole in the middle. I found out in a little video clip that I did (see below) that I was with a bunch of rookies. Nobody on this trip had ever been bungee jumping before. And, to complete the rookie-ness, I had never been either. The closest thing I’ve done like bungee jumping was the Canyon Swing just the day before as seen in the last video. Since we were “jumping” from a gondola, they asked us to just teeter forward and pivot over our feet to fall, not to jump and push the gondola away causing it to swing.

Check out the full story for the video!

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Swiss Adventure: Canyoning and Hiking and Swinging, Oh My!
Jungfrau Region, Interlaken, Switzerland

Pre-Summit Adventure No. 1 – Four amazing days in and around Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland.

Day 1 – High ropes course with ziplines and other balancing elements high in the trees.

Day 2 – Canyoning where we followed a creek into a canyon and jumped off 35′ waterfalls, rappelled off higher ones and slid on the shallower descents.

Day 3 – An awesome 6 hour hike through the Bernese Oberland (highlands) to Grindelwald.

Day 4 – Canyon Swing: Attached to a rope 300 feet above a roaring river we jumped, we fell, we swung on the rope.

Awesome. Video.

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