Explorer Spotlight: Andy Earl

By: The Outbound Collective
March 31, 2015

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Name: Andy Earl | Age: 30 | Location: Utah

What’s your day job?
I work on the Goal Zero Brand Team and handle social media, in house photography, and creative writing.

What are your favorite things to do outside?
Anything and everything.

What first drew you to the outdoors?
My parents took us on trips all over the place growing up. I got to explore a lot that way. Somewhere along the way I picked up a kids story book about Daniel Boone. His exploration and exploits inspired me and got me reading about other "Mountain Men". I also grew up close to the mountains; the more time you spend in them the more they get into your blood.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure?
My favorite hometown adventure is different every day. There are some sacred spots that aren't to be shared, they are for those who really seek them out.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
I always have my camera unless it is a quick mission. The rest of the gear shuffles through the seasons.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Old cold pizza, snickers, and coke. I wish my favorite trail food was something healthier...but at some point it's just is about carbs and calories. I'd rather have it be delicious.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
Music has to fit the landscape. For example; long dirt roads in the desert go well with Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead whereas a drive up a snow covered road goes with something a little more mellow.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/or, the funniest?
Scariest: When I was first getting into backcountry travel, I was naive. I didn't know much about avalanche safety. I had my beacon and other equipment, but I didn't really understand the potential hazards. I was out splitboarding with a buddy and I climbed up to a summit and dropped in. I didn't have the experience or training to really know I was dropping in on top of a rather large wind slab. I cut loose a pretty decent sized avalanche and was luckily able to continue to cut my way across the slope amidst the moving snow. I made it out of the slide and watched it run its course. I have since witnessed what can happen when we make mistakes in the mountains. I have seen the fallout of losing loved ones to accidents in the mountains. No powder day is worth dying for. Awareness is key, I knew avalanches were dangerous, but my ignorance let me drop in. That experience taught me a lot.

Funniest: I was lucky enough to witness my buddy Dan's first experience with a wag bag...I won't go into too much detail on that one.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
I am lucky to live in a place where good friends get after it abound. There are so many that inspire me that it's hard to list! There are those photographers I admire for their art and skill, then there's the people that get after it just for the sake of getting after it. They do it for the pure love of it. I think I get really inspired watching my friends smile and laugh when things have turned into sufferfest.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
The list grows every day.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
There are a bunch of places here locally and abroad that I want to share with my wife. She doesn't always get to come on trips with me, but right now an adventure with her is at the top of the list.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
The most memorable photo is ever changing. Photography started out as being a way for me to catalog and share the things I was doing with family. It still serves that purpose for me. I think the most memorable and powerful photos capture a feeling or trigger a memory.

This shot (shown above) was taken a few weeks ago while flying in a small piper cub. The door was removed and I was able to cover and photograph more ground in the hour flight than I think I have in the past few years. It is of Mount Timpanogos, my home mountain. Seeing it from the air was an amazing opportunity that I will always remember.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
Sheesh a motto...don't take it all too seriously. It's all supposed to be fun.

Check out more of Andy's adventures here.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.