Surviving Afghanistan

Realising that cultural understanding was his ticket to staying alive, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Worsley looks back to his precarious time leading 15 soldiers through Helmand in the lead up to the war.

Return to K2

Avaunt meets one of the greatest living mountaineers, Jake Meyer, to discuss what motivated his return to K2, the infamous mountain that defeated him seven years ago.

OuLiPo: Radical Poetry Meets Mathematics

Jolyon Webber turns an eye to 1960s France and puts Queneau and le Lionnais’ ‘workshop of potential literature’ – the radical literary movement marrying poetry and mathematics – into action.

Reading List: Armchair Adventuring

From groundbreaking scientific discovery, swashbuckling on the high seas to the man who inspired James Bond, we handpick six books for armchair adventuring.

Werner Bischof’s Diary

An extract from the Swiss photographer’s diary describes a dawn ascent of the Alps and highlight his lyrical relationship with the landscape, and his existential and humanist interests.

To the Congo

Children play on abandoned planes at Goma Airport during a rare time when no security forces, or the UN, were stationed there, in this series by Magnum photojournalist Michael Christopher Brown.

North: Svalbard

A short film about how an archipelago high within the Arctic Circle became increasingly linked to developments in climate science, and climate change.

Up Close: The Floating Tongue

Scientists are explorers too, especially those that rely on remote fieldwork to bring back the data necessary to advance their research.

The Airship Revolution

It’s the longest aircraft in the world, ready to set more records than Concorde yet its presence is bashful, modest, perhaps embarrassed by its own simplicity. Avaunt discovers the future of aeronautics.

Archive Letter: ‘Three Sporty Girls’

In early 1914 Sir Ernest Shackleton’s office posted an advertisement worded: Men wanted for hazardous journey. The overwhelming response was not limited to men, but the reply to Shackleton’s office to these ‘three sporty girls’ was one of regret.

Exploring the Hidden Caves of Mexico

Photographer Klaus Thymann recalls diving the perilous underwater cave systems of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

The Rocket People of Black Rock Desert

Every year aerospace enthusiasts trek out to the Nevada desert to launch homemade rockets at more than twice the speed of sound.

Truly Madly Deeply

Iridescent scales, exotic patterns, fluorescent fins: the jewels of the ocean. Ali bin Thalith’s passion for marine photography, kindled by his wish to capture a shot of the rare crystal octopus, has lasted for over 10 years 

Peter Freuchen

Shot here by Irving Penn in 1947, we commemorate the life of the Danish explorer, author, journalist and anthropologist who discovered Inuit culture, resisted the Nazis and won 'The $64,000 Question'.

Castro, Cousteau and I

In 1985 Jacques Cousteau visited Cuba. He stepped off his legendary ship, Calypso, and into the welcoming arms of Fidel Castro. From the Plaza de la Revolución to the bottom of the sea, Paula DiPerna looks back on the months she spent with the unlikely pair.

Virgo Interferometer

In practice, picking up gravitational waves is an almost hopeless task; fortunately, physicists love a hopeless task. Avaunt explores the science behind the search.

Valentina Tereshkova: Factory Worker to Outer Space

At the age of 26, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to have flown in space. Avaunt considers her meteoric rise from textile factory worker to hero of the Soviet Union.

The Worst Journey

Let us consider the companionship and hardiness of three men who, trekking through the pitch-black Antarctic winter, survived temperatures of -60°C, crevasse falls and frostbite.

Up Close: Street Boxing in Ghana

No glitz, no glamour; just pain and passion. Street fighting in Bukom, Ghana – a small, poor fishing village renowned for its remarkable ability to produce world champion boxers.

Graf Zeppelin

Remembering the last blast of the Jazz Age: an epic round-the-world journey for the German airship, Graf Zeppelin, packed with adventurers, an actress, caviar, booze, jazz and even a cat.

Soviet Bus Stops

Photographer Christopher Herwig recounts the epic Central Asian road trips he took over 12 years, covering 30,000km, to document the unique and architecturally experimental Soviet bus stops.

Alaskan Bush Pilots

Avaunt heads to Talkeetna, situated some 115 miles north of Anchorage on the southern edge of the Denali National Park, to discover the essential role of aircraft in everyday Alaskan life.

Anabasis

Anabasis, from the Greek word ana, meaning to step or march, is an expedition from a coastline up into the interior of a country. Tobias Harvey explores the Maunsell Forts and surrounding coast with various autumn/winter collections.

Up Close: Ergol #6

Photographer Vincent Fournier’s ‘Space Project’ series displays a fascination with space through an archive of the most significant hubs in the world.

What a $100,000 Canoe Looks Like

‘I love that it takes so long to make canoes,’ declares Trent Preszler. The artisan boat maker took up his craft after his father died, using the tools he inherited to create a canoe over the course of fourteen months.

Archive Letter: Going All Gonzo

Hunter S. Thompson dedicated his life to pushing things to the limit. In this letter to an editor at Playboy, he reflects on the style of an epic biographical feature he was working on.

Reading List: Maritime Adventures

From a Victorian circumnavigation of the globe to the tragedy of the Titanic, six tales of epic and sometimes tragic maritime adventure from the briny depths.

Palm Wine Collectors

Namibian-born photographer Kyle Weeks considers how his most recent work – documenting the palm wine collectors of the Kunene River – confronts the challenging legacy of African photography.

Hunting Eagles in Mongolia

Against the backdrop of an unforgiving landscape, the Kazakh tradition of eagle hunting endures. Photographer Frédéric Lagrange documents the culture he first fell in love with seventeen years ago.

The Man Who Talks to Sperm Whales

James Nestor reports on the astounding qualities of the sperm whale. Working with a highly qualified free diving crew he discovers how we are getting ever closer to communicating with the world's largest predator.

Up Close: The William Gordon Telescope

Based in Puerto Rico, this is the world's largest single-aperture radio telescope. People come here to view the planets of the solar system passing through the northern half of their orbit.

Up Close: Geothermal

A bird's-eye view reveals the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field, Mexicali, Mexico - one of the biggest geothermal plants in the world - as it has never been seen before.

Pluto’s Horizon

Two-thirds the size of the moon, the distant dwarf planet Pluto is easily overlooked, and yet recent discoveries could make it the most exciting body in our solar system.

Up Close: Astra 3B

Simon Norfolk is the first artist to have been invited to watch the production and launch of a satellite from start to finish. He presents his unique perspective from the viewing station for the Astra 3B.

Art in the Wilderness

Wildlife artists Olly and Suzi have travelled to the high Arctic, desert and jungle to push themselves and their art to the limit. The difficulties they have encountered have become intrinsic to their work.

The Kombai

Oliver Steeds describes the fast-changing world of the tree-dwelling Kombai tribe in Papua New Guinea, whose members are as fond of wisecracks as they are of the Sago grub.

A Hundred Hills

A styled journey exploring the hills of Yr Wyddfa, Snowdon, Snowdonia.

Up Close: Pools

Photographer Stephan Zirwes’ ‘Pool’ series illustrates the incredible waste of potential drinking water – not only in private pools but also in the privatisation of a public asset for commercial reasons.

Archive Letter: One Small Step

In this 1968 letter – a daring directive from Apollo programme leader George Mueller to Thomas Paine – a historic decision was made. Exactly one month after the launch of the Apollo 7 test flight, “NASA should undertake a lunar orbit mission as its next step.”

The Big Blue

Three-time world record-breaking freediver Guillaume Néry ranks Neil Armstrong among his heroes. He talks about the joys of defying gravity and his quest for the perfect dive.

A Shot in the Dark

It makes up 80 per cent of all the matter in the universe, yet no one has been able to find it. Could the XENON1T project be about to solve the mystery of dark matter?

Michael Christopher Brown

Michael Christopher Brown cut his teeth as a war photographer in Libya. Here he tells how he uses the camera to make sense of a confusing and complex world.

Up Close: Blue Room

The science behind absorbing radio waves in a Radio Anechoic Chamber dates back to World War II when it first helped planes absorb or scatter radar signals. Now the technology is used by the European Space Agency among others.

Change in the Valley

Photographer Matilda Temperley has been documenting the lives of tribal peoples in the Omo Valley, Ethiopia, since 2007. She reflects on how modernisation here often comes at the expense of the inhabitants.

Seaweed Farmers

Avaunt travelled to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, north-west Scotland, to discover the process behind harvesting seaweed and to find out what kind of workwear is needed to cope in the Hebridean climate.

Budapest Fencers

The striking Honved Fencing Club in Budapest has been converted from a synagogue. Its impressive legacy includes producing a string of female fencing champions.

Erling Kagge

The Norwegian polar explorer, author, publisher and father of three talks to Avaunt about the motives behind his expeditions and the value of silence and solitude in the modern age.

Tokyo Flooding

Photographer Christoffer Rudquist explores the temples and tunnels of Tokyo’s vast network of storm drains. Built between 1996 and 2003, this $3 billion structure is an ingenious defence against catastrophic flooding.

The Navy Without a Sea

Bolivia lost its only coastal territory 130 years ago. Yet it still has a fleet which is important both practically and symbolically. Laurence Blair reports on daily life in Bolivia’s landlocked navy.

Up Close: Boneyard

Photographer Greg White visits an airplane graveyard in Tucson, Arizona, and finds pathos in once-powerful birds of the sky now grounded from duty.

Up Close: Wall of Death

The stuntmen of Allahabad, north India, risk their lives daily by riding motorbikes around vertical walls made from salvaged wood. Defying gravity through sheer momentum, they create a vertiginous, noisy whirl of action to enthrall the crowds.

Paradiso

Following the first visit by a US Secretary of State in 70 years, this photo feature reflects on the changing face of Cuban society. Magnum photographer Michael Christopher Brown travelled across the country to separate myth from reality.

Pulp Comics: A Thing of the Past

Once a regular feature on US newsstands, we delve into the kitschy macho pulp of men’s adventure magazines and catch a glimpse of American Cold War psyche.

The Frontiers of First Aid

Combat medic LCpl Hangam Rai - who has himself narrowly escaped death in Afghanistan - takes Avaunt through the essential kit for survival on the battlefield.

Tree Life

Robert Macfarlane reflects on a wistful archetype of childhood adventure and backyard wilderness: the humble tree house.

Joss Naylor, Fell Runner

Avaunt travels to England’s picturesque Lake District to meet shepherd and legendary fell runner Joss Naylor. We ask the man who has become an integral part of Lakeland culture what keeps him running at the age of 80.

Up Close: The Pygmies of the Ituri Rainforest

Magnum photographer Michael Christopher Brown spends time with one of the most ancient tribes in Central Africa, as they adapt to the challenges of being forced off their land.

Living Free

When Devi Asmadiredja arrived off the bus in Georgia’s Pankisi valley, she had never travelled, spoke no Georgian or Chechen, and knew no one. Living among the locals, she soon began spending weeks walking alone in the mountains.

Will Self: Adventures in Writing

Inspired by the premature efforts of medieval Norsemen, author Will Self sets out on an adventure to recolonise literary modernism for the digital age.

Up Close: The Jump

The Holmenkollen ski jump was first opened in 1892, and quickly became one of Norway's iconic landmarks. David Ryle follows some of the skiers taking on the challenge.

The Politics of Map Projections

Most journeys start with a map. Yet creating a map is far from an exact science. Here we look at both the historic and modern calculations made by cartographers trying to render the world flat.

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