Off the Grid
The brainchild of serious athletes, EpicQuest leads active trips from skiing untouched terrain in Alaska to fishing off the Kenyan coast.
T+L Trip Pick: South American Ski Adventure Head to the Chilean Andes to tackle some of the world’s longest heli-skiing runs. July–Sept. departures; eight days from $12,500.
This adventure-minded offshoot of tour operator Black Tomato creates extreme custom journeys such as 10-day treks in the Borneo jungle in search of the Penan tribe and horseback crossings of the Bolivian salt flats. Many guides have military and Special Forces backgrounds. 44-20/7426-9899.
T+L Trip Pick: For a readers-only jungle expedition in Malaysia, see “The Thrill Seeker.”
Its small-group, nature-based trips aboard expedition ships equipped with kayaks and Zodiacs go to such far-flung destinations as Alaska, Antarctica, and the upper Amazon.
T+L Trip Pick: Norway's Fjords & Arctic Svalbard The 148-passenger National Geographic Explorer travels from travels from Oslo to the polar-bear-filled Arctic Svalbard and the fjords of central Norway. May 24, 2013, departure; 13 days from $13,820. [Editors' Note: The Impressions of Northern Norway itinerary is not available in 2013.]
Created in 2008 by mountain climber Matthew Robertson, the U.K.-based group leads daring multisport forays (capped at six travelers each), including pioneering ski trips in Lebanon and Kashmir and canoe trips in the Yukon. 44/1892-784-646.
T+L Trip Pick: The Last Degree A combination of flights and serious trekking from Chile to the South Pole. Nov.–Jan. departures; 21 days from $80,000.
Quark’s ice-class vessels—equipped with not only helicopters but also biologists, historians, and ornithologists—ply remote polar waters in comfort. This year, Quark launched hot-air balloons on select North Pole trips.
T+L Trip Pick: Antarctic Express Fly over the Drake Passage, on the southern tip of South America, then board the 61-cabin Clipper Adventurer to spot glaciers, penguins, and whales (polar camping is optional). Feb. 2013 departures; eight days from $7,995.
British journalist Jonny Bealby founded the London-based Wild Frontiers, which has multisport trips (rafting; trekking; horseback riding) in 40 countries.
T+L Trip Pick: Trekking in the Hindu Kush Cross glaciers, rivers, and pastures as you journey from the Yarkhun River region to the glacier- and river-filled Ishkoman Valley in northern Pakistan. May 11, 2013, departure; 17 days from $3,713.
Keeps his souvenirs where he can see them. That scar on his forehead? From a hang-gliding mishap in Rio. The mark on his knee? Cave diving in Borneo. Likes to start the day with a nice bowl of fear. That’s right: he eats fear for breakfast.
Role Model: Bear Grylls
Gear: North Face’s Powder Guide ABS vest: inflatable nitrogen airbag pouches protect the wearer in the event of an avalanche or rock and tree collisions. ($1,300).
Accessory: Revo’s Waterway Titanium sunglasses ($249).
T+L Exclusive Trip: T+L Borneo Trip with Epic Tomato. Fly a Twin Otter aircraft into Borneo’s interior, where you’ll drive an ATV along the Selungo River and visit Gunung Mulu National Park, which has the world’s largest cave chambers. March–Oct. departures; 15 days from $10,275.