What was your favorite mountain? The one I am on at the moment, if I am climbing! But of all that I have climbed before, I’d have to say McKinley. Why? It is a freestanding mountain, not tied to a chain, so from any vantage point, it is stunning to behold. You have to be entirely self-sufficient on expedition there, which means you have to carry your own gear from base to summit, and I find that attractive, too. And during the summer the days are very long, so climbers are not threatened with impending nightfall as they are at lower latitudes. Plus, my family has ties to Alaska, so I have some personal history entwined with the mountain.

Where do you go to the bathroom on Mt. Everest? In a pee bottle, which for me is an old-school wide-mouthed Nalgene. With practice, it is pretty easy to use in a tent. Full bottles are dumped in a spot designated for this, the main concern being contamination of snow that will be needed for drinking water. And in case you are wondering about solid waste, it goes into a Ziploc bag and gets carried off the mountain by a pack animal with all the rest of the garbage at the end of an expedition.

Where is your favorite place to travel? Mexico, because it is such a rich and varied place, with indigenous people, sophisticated cities, historic villages, mountains and beaches, and amazing food wherever you go.

Is there any kind of adventure sport you WON’T do? I make a distinction between adventure sports and extreme sports. Adventure, for me, is self-propelled and works in harmony with nature. Extreme sports are often working against nature and fueled by adrenaline. While there are occasional doses of adrenaline in what I do, getting big shots of it is not for me.


What’s the best way to lose weight? Everyone has a different response to different diets, so you have to find the one that works best for you.

I would like to start a workout program, but I don’t know which one. Can you suggest something? Start by doing anything at all, just more than you do now. Don’t commit to one thing until you have figured out what you like and don’t like.

Why CrossFit? It is about functional fitness, and it’s the only kind of exercise (besides tilling/harvesting fields or adventurous activity under your own power) that makes sense to me.

Aren’t you worried about getting bulked up by lifting weights? No.


Who designed your site?  Mel Blanchard —she is a creative genius IMHO, and a virtual one-woman band, who shoots and edits video, designs graphics, page layouts, and makes an amazing vegan sea salt pumpkin bread. She lives near me in Venice Beach, California.

What kind of camera do you use for your photos? I use four cameras: an iPhone 6, a Leica d-Lux 5 pocket sized camera, a Lumix DMC-GH2, and a GoPro4.

May I use the photos that appear on your site? All my photos are copyrighted, and should not be used without my explicit permission.


Rachel Johnson