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Stories from the Field: Mental Health and the Outdoors

May 10, 2023

In this episode, we are joined by Michael Wejchert, author of "Hidden Mountains: Survival and Reckoning After a Climb Gone Wrong." Michael's writing about adventure has been featured in various publications, including the New York Times, Adventure Journal, Climbing, Ascent, Alpinist, and more. He shares the fascinating story behind "Hidden Mountains," which recounts a harrowing climbing expedition in a remote Alaskan mountain range that took a dangerous turn, leading to a difficult rescue attempt and the high cost of survival. Our conversation includes a deep dive into several topics, including the impact of high-risk adventure on mental health, the challenges of writing about traumatic experiences, and the writing mentorship Michael received from the late Dave Roberts, a famous author and climber. We also explore the early days of Outward Bound in the United States and Michael's time with New Hampshire's Mountain Rescue Service. Don't miss this gripping and enlightening discussion with Michael Wejchert.

Season 16 is focused on how high-risk adventure impacts mental health and is underwritten by

Michael's bio from his website

Michael Wejchert has lived in New Hampshire for ten years. He will never leave. He’s guided off and on since 2012, in between trips to Newfoundland, Alaska, Patagonia, Peru, and the Canadian Rockies, often with fellow CMG guides, including his fiancée Alexa Siegel.

He loves all forms of climbing, from sport clipping to multi-day suffer fests in the mountains. His favorite guiding days usually involve goggles, whiteouts, and cursing over a whisperlite stove. (It’s all about that bivouac). He has guided 5.10, WI5, and many successful Presidential Traverses.

Michael is a certified SPI, an AMGA Apprentice Rock Guide, a Wilderness First Responder, has his AIARE Level II Avalanche certification, and is a board member of New Hampshire’s Mountain Rescue Service.

He is an award-winning essayist who wrote for Alpinist, AppalachiaAscent, Rock & Ice, Gripped, and The New York Times. He and Alexa live in a small off-the-grid cabin surrounded by piles of climbing gear and Alexa’s filthy, mismatched socks.