Tackling the most outrageous objectives in the world’s most extreme locales lends professional athletes an air of larger-than-life grandeur. Think of Conrad Anker and you likely conjure up images of the iconic mountaineer perched on crampons, ice tool slung overhead, halfway up a massive glacier.
But the 60-year-old icon also enjoys a simple, brisk hike with views everyday folks can enjoy. And YETI can prove it (with a little help from Google). The Austin cooler and drinkware brand tapped its roster of high-profile athletes, stuck a fancy camera on a stick, and tagged along with Anker and a dozen other YETI-sponsored athletes to show off a roster of beautiful, yet totally accessible, hikes all across the United States (and one Down Under!).
“Maps are something I use on a regular basis, and people are naturally tool users,” Anker said in a press release. “Maps are like a library, it’s there if you want it, people can come and check it out. Having this tool can make the outdoors more accessible.”
So, you can either follow in their footsteps yourself, or just sit back and enjoy the virtual ride!
YETI ‘Map the Gaps’ Virtual Hikes
The “Map the Gaps” campaign is one part entertainment, one part informational resource, and another part marketing. Head over to the landing page and pick from one of 15 pins dropped around the globe (14 in North America and one in Australia).
Each location marks a single hike, led by one of YETI’s athletes. Click on it, and you’ll see the trail name (Narin Falls Trail, for example), the athlete you’re hiking with (like Tatum Monod), difficulty rating, distance, elevation gain, and a note on something to bring along — anything from antivenom to burritos.
Once you find a hike that piques your interest, click in and watch as you embark from the trailhead, hot on the heels of your celebrity guide. The whole hike is captured with a 360-degree camera and powered by Google Street View technology, so you can drag your mouse and look in every direction along the route.
There’s no sound, but the views more than make up for it. Of course, there’s some not-so-subtle product placement, with every guide hiking with YETI M12 Backpack Soft Coolers, but when else are you going to hike with a famous athlete?
Here’s a rundown of the Map the Gap hikes and the YETI ambassador guides.
- Narin Falls Trail, British Columbia: Tatum Monod (freeskier)
- Nuu-Chah-Nulth Trail & Florence Bay, British Columbia: Robyn Van Gyn (backcountry snowboarder)
- College M Steep Trail, Montana: Conrad Anker (alpinist, explorer)
- Beehive Basin Trail, Montana: Conrad Anker
- Hinman Creek Trail, Colorado: Maddie Brenneman (angler)
- Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail, Utah: Steph Davis (climber)
- Sun Mountain Trail, New Mexico: Averie Swanson (brewer)
- Manchester Preserve Hiking Trail, California: Conway Bowman (angler)
- Point Sal Trail, California: Stephanie Mutz (angler)
- Orcutt Trail, California: Stephanie Mutz
- Topsail Trail Circuit, Florida: David Mangum (angler)
- Little Grand Canyon, Arkansas: Darryle Moore (hunter)
- Cumberland Trail, Tennessee: Kristine Fischer (angler)
- Tinker Creek Greenway, Virginia: Blane Chocklett (angler)
- Phantom Falls and Canyon Walk, Australia: Jo Barrett (chef)
Learn more about each of these hikes and what the ambassadors brought along at Map the Gaps. What are you waiting for? Go take a hike!