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A high altitude mountaineer travels through sub-zero temperatures, scales treacherous terrain, and carries hundreds of pounds of supplies. Many of us have very little in common with this person. We don’t need to worry about the lack of oxygen in the air or the extent of frostbite in our toes.Yet, we are all human. There are certain ideas which apply to all of us, no matter if we are standing at 29,029 feet or sea level. Why is it important to step outside of our comfort zone? How do we weigh risk vs. reward? What psychological biases impact our behavior and decision making? On MtnMeister, we explore these ideas by talking with those who have found answers in the extremes.Ben Schenck, the host of MtnMeister (pronounced Mountain Meister), asks thought-provoking and sometimes uncomfortable questions that you won't hear in a typical interview. Notable guests include Alex Honnold, Sasha DiGiulian, Ueli Steck, Jeremy Jones, Lynn Hill, Conrad Anker, Aaron Gwin and other adventurers in climbing, skiing, hiking, biking, and everything else in the mountains.

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#74 Exploring mountain and mind with Melissa Arnot

Melissa has made her life about exploring the beautiful mountains of the world. Melissa has summited Mt. Rainer over 100 times and she has summited Mt. Everest not once, not twice, not three or four times but 5 times – the most out of any non-sherpa female in this universe. She is passionate about climbing and pushing her own limits, but her ultimate joy comes from taking that journey with others, helping them push their limits and get to their own summit.


16 Sep 2014

Rank #1

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#106 Everest Panel Discussion from 2015 AAC Benefit Dinner

The 2015 Annual Benefit Dinner is the American Alpine Club's biggest and most anticipated event of the year. Notable mountain guides and Sherpas discuss the current state of Mount Everest and how to solve some of issues seen of late. Panelists include Melissa Arnot, Garrett Madison, Dave Hahn, Greg Vernovage, Phunuru Sherpa, and Ngima Sherpa. The discussion is moderated by Alan Arnette.

1hr 18mins

5 Feb 2015

Rank #2

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#65 Discovering the American dream with Brendan Leonard

Brendan Leonard is the creator of Semi-Rad.com and a contributing editor at Climbing Magazine, The Adventure Journal, and other outdoors publications. In August of 2011, after a break-up and economic downturn, Brendan hit the road in the search for answers. He lived out of a van and worked out of coffee shops all around the country three years and now lives in Denver, CO. His book, The New American Road-trip MixTape, is about this journey. 


14 Aug 2014

Rank #3

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#122 The inner Sisyphus with Renan Ozturk

Renan Ozturk does a lot of different things. He’s an artist, cinematographer, professional athlete, high altitude mountaineer, explorer, entrepreneur, and probably many other things. If he was a podcast host, he’d have it all. Renan is the co-founder of Camp4Collective, an adventure film and commercial production company. He is a 2013 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and a 2015 MTNmeister.


9 Apr 2015

Rank #4

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#118 Analyzing the Swiss Machine with Ueli Steck

Ueli Steck is a Swiss mountaineer who is well known for his speed ascents in the alps and Himalaya. He climbs mountains that normally take skilled climbers days in a few hours, like the Eiger North Face, which he climbed in 2 hours and 47 minutes. "The Swiss Machine" has been awarded the Piolet d’Or, one of climbings highest honors, twice. 


19 Mar 2015

Rank #5

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#63 A marathon a day keeps the doctor away with Anton Krupicka

Anton is an American ultra-runner. He has won the Leadville 100 twice, the Rocky Raccoon 100 Miler, the Miwok 100K, and many other races. Anton is known for his long hair and beard and his minimalist approach, where he often runs with no shirt, short shorts, and with very lightweight running shoes. He ran his first marathon when he was twelve years old, and during college and his early 20s, he often ran upwards of 200 miles a week.


21 Jul 2014

Rank #6

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#168 Alex Honnold on the 100-year anniversary of America's National Parks

On August 25th America will be celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the National Parks. In good spirit, the American Alpine Club hosted its Annual Benefit Dinner in Washington DC and invited world-renowned rock climber Alex Honnold to be the keynote speaker. In this episode, I sit down with Alex to talk about his experiences in the National Parks and his opinions on protected lands. Sometimes a person who gets interviewed as much as Alex will resort to "canned answers". Not Alex. I really appreciated how he listened to each question and gave thoughtful, candid responses. Following the interview is Alex's keynote. This was recorded at the American Alpine Club's 2016 Annual Benefit Dinner presented by The North Face and REI. Special thanks National Geographic. Also, thanks to MtnMeister's sponsor for this episode, Mountain House. For 20% off of your purchase go to http://www.mountainhouse.com/meister


2 Mar 2016

Rank #7

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#204 Steve House | Ridge Merino

Of all of the guest requests that I receive from listeners, Steve House is the name that comes up most. Steve is one of the most respected alpine climbers of this generation. In a time when establishing a quantity of summits has a certain superficial appeal, Steve stays committed to quality. He moves through the mountains in light and fast style, and through his programs like Alpine Mentors and Uphill Athlete, he teaches other climbers to do the same. In this interview, we’ll profile his introduction to climbing, the importance of mentors, and his approach to training. He’ll also talk about an accident in 2010 that left him stranded on the wall. After Steve's interview, I’ll speak with Jeff and Susan Russell, the founders of Ridge Merino, in our Company Spotlight segment. Jeff Russell was heading up soft goods at Armada when he realized that all of the Armada athletes - when they weren’t at photoshoots - wore merino baselayers instead of the synthetic ones that Armada produced. Jeff and Susan set out to make youthful, cost effective merino base layers to fill the void. Get 20% off with the code "meister" at https://www.ridgemerino.com/ This episode is supported by Health IQ, an insurance company that uses science & data to secure lower rates on life insurance for health conscious people. healthiq.com/meister Links: Training for the New Alpinism - https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Mountain-Steve-House/dp/0980122775   Beyond the Mountain - https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Mountain-Steve-House/dp/0980122775   Uphill Athlete - https://www.uphillathlete.com/   Skyward Mountaineering - http://skywardmountaineering.com/   Alpine Mentors - https://www.alpinementors.org/

1hr 8mins

8 Mar 2018

Rank #8

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#100 Skiing the Seven Summits with Kit DesLauriers

Kit DesLauriers is the first person to climb and ski from the tops of the highest mountains on every continent. Her project took two years and she’s written a book about the entire thing called Higher Love: Skiing the Seven Summits. She was named a 2015 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, and perhaps more impressive, the 100th episode MTNmeister.  Check out Kit's Meister Profile page!


15 Jan 2015

Rank #9

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#158 Live Interview with Alex Honnold

For his daring free solo ascents, Alex Honnold has received worldwide recognition both within and beyond the climbing community. Yet, the free solo tick list is only a fraction of his accomplishments. In his new book Alone on the Wall, Honnold recounts some of his more memorable climbs, and co-author David Roberts fills in with the meaning of those ascents. We sat down with Alex in NYC to talk about the book, free soloing, the media, and more. In the second half of the discussion, we take questions from the audience. This was supposed to be a live-streamed discussion, but unfortunately there was an issue. Apologies to those who tuned in and didn't see it!


13 Nov 2015

Rank #10

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#97 When (not) to jump with Steph Davis

Steph Davis is a professional rock climber, base jumper, wing suit flier, and a passionate chef. She has an impressive list of accomplishments which include many first ascents some of which are free solo. She also owns and runs MOAB Base adventures which provides classes, guiding, and stunt and production work for climbing and base jumping. http://mtnmeister.com/meister/steph-davis


18 Dec 2014

Rank #11

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#80 It's a risky business with Adrian Ballinger

Adrian Ballinger is the founder of Alpenglow Expeditions, a guiding service dedicated to getting clients to the summit…fast. While a typical Everest expedition takes 2.5 months, Alpenglow averages around one month. Alpenglow has guided over 100 clients to the summit of Everest and other mountains around the world. Adrian has both AMGA/IFMGA certifications, has summited Everest six times, and skied two 8,000 meter peaks.


14 Oct 2014

Rank #12

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#198 Why We Climb with Chris Noble

Today's guest is Chris Noble, author/photographer/climber. He’s the author of Women Who Dare: North America’s Most Inspiring Female Climbers, and his newest book, Why We Climb, which explores the various answers to that question - "Why do we climb?". The book includes interviews and stunning pictures of some the world’s elite climbers including Conrad Anker, Angie Payne, Alex Honnold, Raphael Slawinski, and many more. Buy the book here - http://bit.ly/WhyWeClimbBook


9 May 2017

Rank #13

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#3 Free falling 100 feet and living to climb again with Craig DeMartino

Disabled rock climber Craig DeMartino tells the chilling story of his climbing accident and his improbable return to the sport.


28 Apr 2014

Rank #14

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#99 Climbing with a purpose with Alan Arnette

Alan Arnette is an alpinist, speaker, and Alzheimer's advocate. In 2011, he summited Mount Everest on his way to completing the 7 summits in less than 11 months to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimers research. Alan is also the oldest American to summit K2 which he did on his 58th birthday.  Outside Magazine cited Alan as the "most respected voice on Everest", which is almost as impressive as being selected as a MTNmeister. Click here to view Alan's Meister Profile


13 Jan 2015

Rank #15

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#75 Honey, olive oil, and beer: fuel up with Bernd Heinrich

Burnd Heinrich is a professor, author, and long-distance runner. Burnd has made major contributions to the study of insect physiology and behavior, and has written 18 books, the majority of which examine the physiological and behavioral adaptations of animals to their physical environment. Some of his other writings pertain more to Burnd’s running career, including Why We Run, which was formally known as Racing the Antelope. Burnd has set numerous records in American ultra-running including a 24 hour run where he covered 156 miles and a 100 mile run that he covered in 12 hours and 27 minutes. 


18 Sep 2014

Rank #16

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#7 Climbing Everest before the crowds with Rick Wilcox

Rick's career has been focused on serious climbing and guiding in the highest mountains. Most noteworthy is Rick's leadership of the successful New England Everest Expedition in the spring of 1991.


2 May 2014

Rank #17

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#134 A different daily grind with Andrew Skurka

The average person walks 110,000 miles in a lifetime. Andrew Skurka has probably covered that in a 10-year span. He is the only person in the world to have done the Great Western Loop, which is a series of trails that total 6,875 miles. He has also completed the 7,778-mile Sea to Sea Route, which connects the Atlantic to the Pacific through Canada and the northern part of the US. He is the author of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Tips to Hit the Trail, a National Geographic adventurer of the year, and now, a MTNmeister.


4 Jun 2015

Rank #18

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#91 Couples therapy: climbers edition with Mark and Janelle Smiley

For the past five years, Mark and Janelle Smiley have been working on a demanding project: completing the 50 classic climbs in North America. If they complete it Mark and Janelle will be the first people to have done all of the climbs. The climbs are based off of a legendary book called Fifty Classic Climbs of North America written by Allen Steck and Steve Roper.


20 Nov 2014

Rank #19

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#120 Defining what's possible with Lynn Hill

Lynn Hill is a legendary American rock climber. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, she was widely regarded as one of the best sport climbers in the world, and in 1993 she became the first person ever to free-climb The Nose on El Cap. The following year, she did it again in less than 24 hours. She is the author of Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World.


26 Mar 2015

Rank #20