Explorer Spotlight: Eric Harris

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Name: Eric Harris | Age: 28 | Location: Salt Lake City, UT.

What’s your day job? 

I just quit my day job! Well, I quit my 9-5 and now I'm working full-time as a freelance filmmaker and adventure photographer. I create visual content for inspiring brands. I am also an author on Lynda.com, and pull in some cash from adventure videos on my Youtube channel.

What are your favorite things to do outside?

I started skiing when I was three-years-old and that has always been a big part of my life.  More recently I've spent less time at resorts and more time in Utah's backcountry.  Nothing beats those quiet days with first tracks and good company. 

What first drew you to the outdoors?

My father is an avid skier, backpacker, and adventurer.  From a very young age he made sure the outdoors were a fundamental part of my life.  He also bought me my first camera which allowed me to see and appreciate the outdoors in a whole new way.  Capturing and sharing my adventures became an irresistible passion, and that passion ultimately grew into the coolest career ever.  Thanks, Dad!  Seriously.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?

My favorite hometown adventure has to be Bald Mountain.  I've seen some of the best sunrises of my life there.  The hike itself is epic, but pizza and beer complete the adventure.  On the way home I always stop at Davanza's in Park City for a slice and a cold one.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?

My camera is my number one adventure essential.  In a survival situation I can live for 21 days without food, but if I don't have my camera the FOMO would kill me.  

What’s your favorite trail snack?

My favorite trail snack is peppered beef jerky.  I bought it on a whim once, and it has been a staple ever since.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?

Quinn XCII and Griz have been getting a lot of plays lately. I also listen to way more Kesha than I'd like to admit.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/ or funniest? 

I almost died last March at Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland.  Big waves were crashing into the basalt columns during a nasty storm that scared away most tourists.  I wanted a picture standing on the columns with waves crashing below me.  As soon as I climbed onto the rocks a massive set of waves rolled in that crashed twice as high as where I stood and poured back onto me.  I had to bear hug one of the columns to avoid being swept off, and catch my breath between each wave.  I later learned how dangerous Reynisfjara Beach really is with its sneaker waves and strong undertow.  I feel lucky to have survived that one.  

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?

Kim Baker is without a doubt my biggest adventure inspiration. Her craving for adventure is unbounded, and she pushes me to go farther, dream bigger, and explore more than I ever have before. She has a very genuine admiration of the outdoors, and an innate ability to see and capture its beauty. We went on our first adventure together in February, and haven't stopped exploring since.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?

My top destination for adventure travel is definitely Iceland.  The variety and uniqueness of Iceland's landscape is unrivaled.  I visited for the time in March and I've been eager to return ever since.

What's on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?

Right now I'm in the middle of a 30-day road trip through Yosemite and Big Sur; they have both been on my must-do list for a while. Between now and next spring I'm hoping to make my way through the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Alberta. My ultimate must-do adventure is a trip to The Faroe Islands; I just need to find a client that wants to pay my way!

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!

This moment was one of several on our trip to Iceland where I was entirely humbled by landscape.  We spent the previous hours driving through a horrific blizzard and stumbled upon this location just as the clouds were breaking.  The storm left an inch of rain on top of the frozen lake, creating flawless reflections and allowing us to literally walk on water. There were no other people for miles, no animals, no sounds; there was only the absolute honesty of nature. This location wasn't on our agenda, nor was it on our map, and we later found out that the lake doesn't even have a name.  This landscape and this extraordinary moment belonged to us alone, and I will never forget it.  

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?

"Adventure First" has been a mantra for Kim and I during all of our adventures.  We live in such a noisy world, and "Adventure First" reminds us to focus on what matters most.  It's what makes us push ourselves when we're running on empty; it's how we justify tortuous amounts of sleep deprivation.  It's how we avoid taking ourselves too seriously, and a constant reminder that adventure is what fuels our souls.  "Adventure First" represents our respect for the journey, and utmost gratitude for the beautiful lives we get to live.  

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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