The Great Escape / Outdoor Fitness magazine

It doesn’t matter if you are a 1915 PoW or a reader of Outdoor Fitness magazine…nobody likes receiving orders.

This month for the mag I explained how to use a map and compass. But instead of just giving instructions, I weaved these nitty-gritty details into the story of how my great-grandfather constructed a compass from items he could steal from Kaiser Wilhelm’s PoW camp.

The article on pages 70-74 of the Nov-Dec issue are accompanied by my photography and tips from Mountain Guide Jamie Holding.


Running the “O” loop at the 8th Natural Wonder of the World

[:en]Last Wednesday at 2:06 am under a full moon James Donald and I set out on the 8day trek at Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia. Our plane was leaving in just 52 hours. We hoped to run it in one continuous push, carrying all our own equipment and be back at the Camping Torres in time for a beer before the store shut…

In the next few weeks and months there will be photos and words published about the trip.


Sneak Preview: Teetering over the suspension bridge above Glacier Grey at km60. At this point we had another 40km and 7 hours of running left to cover. We had only 6 remaining energy gels between us…

Thanks to the support from my friend Rene Castel at Cabra del Monte energy bars, and Andy Nuttall at Ultra Magazine

DSC02119 (1)cdm







Running the 100km Patagonia O loop in 17hours / Ultra


James and Me Idiots (1)On a miserable winter’s morning in Marshfield, England at around 10am in early 2014 our friendship was sealed.

We’d been running through driving rain and sodden trails since before dawn. Soaked to the skin, we’d been flexing our fingers back and forth to keep the circulation going since the first climb by moonlight onto Little Solsbury Hill. On reaching Marshfield High Street we were at the furthest outpost of our very long run.

Just then a delivery van came splashing down the deserted street, windscreen wipers raging, parking just in front of us. A small man lowered a misted window,  and with a wide grin spoke but one word:


Taken aback at first; we soon laughed it off. Over the next three hours back to Bath Spa we tossed the phrase between ourselves. We discovered it was a generous fit for many situations in times past or escapades planned when the logic seems absent, but the experience so fulfilling.

In six days’ time my friend James will arrive here in Chile from the UK.

We planned the trip in February over Skype. Back then the South American summer was in full rage and it was more than 34°C on the cactus studded trails near my home at foot of the Andes. James punched in his passport details online then waited for his winter to warm up, spring to come and go and summer run its course.

Here in South America it’s getting warmer again now: the clouds are lifting from the summits; the bean plants are pushing through the soil of our vegetable patch once more and it’s time to go on an adventure…


Photo © Graciela Zanitti |

At the very bottom of the South American continent – where the land draws thin, and the fiords wind two hundred mile tendrils into the mountains – that’s where they found Patagonia. There is no other land further south on the planet besides Antarctica. Adventurous travellers have long since travelled here – to the end of the world – to tackle the infamous Torres del Paine trek. There are swooping condors, glaciers the size of European countries and the black monolith towers after which the park is named. The 77mile hike is a full loop of the TDP massif and has over 6,000m of elevation gain. It usually takes 8-10 days. This November, James and I are going to give it a crack – hoping to run it all in one push.

Both now in our thirties, the trip can’t be filed away as a Gap Year adventure nor as a mid life crisis. It is just a frivolous trip where two friends have cleaved out some time from seemingly hectic lives to have a long run together in the mountains. And when we look back on it one day – we’ll hope we can we say we were idiots.


Challenge Complete – 31,000m Above The Smog in July / DESFAFIO COMPLETADO – 31,000m Subidos Arriba del Smog


Me on Mortal CombatI went into the mountains this month and climbed a vertical KM above the city everyday because I hoped to…

  •  Photograph the winter pollution epidemic in Santiago from above, that sends children and the elderly to hospital with chronic lung complications.
  • Show an enduring commitment to a difficult challenge; similar to the greater one of reducing our own carbon footprint and living more
    sustainable lifestyles.
  • Enjoy the mountains – The sunrises and sunsets, like this one on the last morning with my friend René Castel.



Today I am very tired.

I ran 432km (268miles) and climbed 31,471m (103,251.’) I have finished the month with two
very bruised feet, a recurring popping sensation in my ear from all that pressure change, a punctured bum from falling on a cactus but, more importantly, a wealth of experiences from running with over 15 different Chilean friends and supporters who have been interested in the project and who wanted to share some of the journey in the Andes.

There has been a lot of interest in the issue
the challenge has raised as well. Via Green Bean Trails social media I developed ideas about the problem:

  • The constituents of air pollution
  • Where it comes from
  • Live data to assess how we are affected (amazing resource)
  • Long term health effects

but also tried to suggest how we as individuals are empowered to make changes and model a powerful commitment to the climate and our environment we inhabit by:photo (3) (1)

  • Highlighting local initiatives in Chile to reduce contamination of air and water
  • Reducing dietary carbon emissions by 50% when choosing a plant based diet
  • Promoting recycling and and green transport

There is certainly a detailed GreenBeanTrails investigative article on the way. For now though, whilst I catch my breath, I’ll just sign off with this quote borrowed from AliceWalker by the conservationist and North Face Founder Doug Tompkins to describe his work:

“Each of us (should) aim to pay our rent for living on the planet, and somehow leave the planet better for our efforts.”

(If you have enjoyed following the challenge, or feel encouraged by its intentions, or just want more adventurous stuff similar to this please Like the page on Facebook and share a link to the 31,000m challenge.)


Fui a las montañas este mes y subí un KM Vertical cada díaMe on Mortal Combat.
Hice eso para…

1) Documentar la contaminación de arriba con fotos y videos.

2) Mostrar el tipo de compromiso necesario para enfrentar el desafío mas importante: Bajar nuestra propia contaminación y vivir una vida mas sustentable.

3) Disfrutar las montañas,  los amaneceres y atardeceres y presentar que podríamos perder si no nos cuidamos nuestro proprio etorno….

Hoy día estoy muy cansado. 

Corrí 432km y subí 31,471m en total. Cerré el mes con dos pies moretoneados, un sensación rara en mis oídos destapandose por los cambios de presión, y un poto perforado por un cactus…pero lo mas importante es que terminé con un cofre lleno de experiencias compartidas con lo 15 o mas Chilenos que vinieron a compartir este desafío en la cordillera. Gracias por toda su ayuda y motivación.    Ha habido bastante gente interesada en los temas planteados en el desafio. A través de GreenBeanTrails en Facebook desarrollé temas de:

  • Las partículas de la contaminación
  • De dónde viene
  • Información en tiempo real para estar informado cada día del riesgo que se presenta
  • Los efectos para la salud a largo plazo

Sin embargo, también sugerí como nosotros tenemos el poder hacer cambios, y mostrar un compromiso poderoso con nuestro medioambiente a través de:

  • Las iniciativas Chilenas para reducir contaminación del aire y agua
  • La reducción del 50% de nuestra huella carbono nutricional, cuando elegimos una dieta vegetariana
  • Reciclar lo que compramos, usar transporte publico y crear un sociedad que valora un estilo de vida sustentable.

Pronto viene un artículo de Green Bean Trails en la prensa internacional sobre el desfio, pero, por ahora – mientras recupero mi aliento – firmo con esta cita de Alice Walker y desarrollada por el medioambientalista Doug Tompkins para describir su trabajo en Patagonia:

“Cada uno de nosotros deberíamos pagar nuestro arriendo por vivir en este planeta, y, de alguna forma, dejar el planeta en un estado mejor por el esfuerzo.” (Si has disfrutado este desafio, o te sientes motivado por las intenciones, o simplemente quieres mas “Adventure Media” – por favor haz click en Like en Facebook y comparte un link al desafio 31,000m.)

Gracias a Sofia por todo su paciencia este mes con mis problemas comunicando en español!


Climbing for the Climate / A Commitment to Clean Air

[:en] This week I started I challenge that I’m not sure I’ll be able to complete…

Smog Rising over Santiago

The Background

I’ve been running for 8months now in the mountains surrounding my home in Santiago, Chile. It’s mid winter here and it’s rained only twice since I arrived. The ski fields are dry and my lips are cracking in the thin air up at 1,000m where we live.

Day 4 – Sunrise on the “Cow Loin” Ridge

photo (1)

Day 6 – A lone carancho framed in snow clouds

Santiago suffers badly from air pollution and is one of the worst capital cities in South America on this index. The colder temperatures of winter presses this contaminated air down into the lowest altitude reaches of the city, where the poorest people live: Their babies, small children and elderly being admitted to hospital each June and July with respiratory related conditions.

The Andes mountains which sweep around the city, blocking the free flow of air, are part of the reason for the contamination. Other problems include the industry allowed in the heart of the city, the insufficient provision of quality public transport, the lack of bike lanes and poor recycling infrastructure.

Day 7 – Smog in Las Condes, Santiago

Day 7 – Smog in Las Condes, Santiago

The government, the President; Michelle Bachelet and the Environmental Minister; Pablo Badenier Martínez have a lot to answer for.

But it doesn’t stop there….There’s an even bigger culprit really.

bird prov 3

Day 9 – Cerro Provincia 2,700m

Day 12 – A volcanic cauldron effect from rising cloud / Se pareció un volcan en el filo de Pochocon (Manquehue atras)

The Individual

The singular acts of individuals, will be the main reason for the reduction in contamination in this city. The energy, effort and commitment involved in my climbing challenge, won’t do anything to change the air quality in Santiago. It does, however, show a parallel to the strength of mind needed to take seriously our commitments and responsibilities with the environment.

Choosing a smaller car, to share a lift to work, to eat just vegetables once a week, to recycle all the shit we buy, to take life slower and arrive by bike – these are the changes that are needed – regardless of whether we believe the man on the other side of the fence is making the same effort. Such proactively is what draws the line between negligible and nothing. You can’t build on nothing but a lot of negligible eventually makes a difference.

photo 5

Day 12 – Above the Flats of Javier trying to get a decent shot of the smog

The Challenge

This month I will try to climb 31,000m above the city – 1,000m of elevation gain each day – to draw awareness to the tragic irony in Santiago that we breathe better when we escape into the thin air, and to show the level of effort needed to try and combat such a problem.

So I’m going into the mountains this month: to breathe some better air; to take pictures of the contamination and have a personal stab at making a difference.

Day 18 - Back on top Provincia 2,700m - this time in the snow.

Day 18 – Back on top Provincia 2,700m – this time in the snow.

photo (3) (1)

Carbon footprint 0 recycling


Follow my progress from the Twitter feed on the home screen or the Facebookpage. Find smog pictures, facts, and info. about we can make changes on a personal level to reducing our waste, cutting our emissions and doing our bit. Share with #nosmog.

Happy Trails. Matt Maynard.[:es]

Hoy dia empezé un desafío para el mes de julio.

Smog subiendo sobre Santiago

Normalmente salgo a correr todos los días en las montañas de Chile – mi pais adoptado. Disfruto la sensación de dejar mi trabajo y mis preocupaciones “reales” por un rato y salir hacia las cumbres y el cielo.

Este invierno, sin embargo, entiendo que el smog esta peor que nunca. Hoy es la décima pre emergencia por maa calidad del aire. El gobierno Chileno impidió a 1,350 industrias funcionar y hay restricciones de auto y de estufas a leña…

photo (1)

Un carancho solo abajo nubes de nieve

El amanecer en el filo de Loma de la Vaca

…Hasta cuando? Esta media es para una ciudad en plena crisis – no hace nada para mejorar la raiz del problema. El Ministro del medio ambiente; Pablo Badenier Martínez, y la presidenta de la República de Chile; Michelle Bachelet, necesitan tomar la responsabilidad y hacer los cambios necesarios para mejorar la causa del problema con las industrias, el reciclaje y formas de transportare sustentable.

Pero también esta en nuestras manos. Es demasiado fácil quejarse del smog. Pero somos la causa también….

El Smog En Las Condes

El Smog En Las Condes

El desafio

Este mes, voy a subir un KM Vertical cada día por los senderos en las faldas de Santiago. Mi intención esescapar del smog y llamar la atención a la tristeza y grande ironía que respiramos mejor en nuestra ciudad a mas altura – donde hay menos aire.

bird prov 3

Día 9 – Cerro Provincia 2,700m

photo (3) (1)Tu participación

Subir una montaña no es una opción para todos, pero
igual yo espero que este desafío muestre un poco ladeterminación y convicción que necesitamos para realizar cambios duraderos y significativos para combatireste problema que hemos creado. Ojalá te inspire usar un auto más chico, compartir un auto a la pega, dejar de comer carne una ves a la semana, andar en bici, reciclar o salir a pie a buscar tus propias aventuras.


Seria buenísimo si compartes tus propios intentos de bajar la contaminación en nuestra ciudad. Anda a Home page (esquina izquierda) para updates sobre el desafío. Ahi también puedes encontrar un link para subir tus comentarios a Facebook!

photo 5

Día 13- Arriba los Llanos de Javier intentando tomar una buena foto del smog

Matt Maynard – GreenBeanTrails