Outdoor Research founder Ron Gregg was a nuclear physicist who spent as much time as possible exploring the edges of the map. He referred to the outdoors as The Big Office, taking his work and research into the backcountry as often as possible. In 1980, Ron watched his frostbitten partner get airlifted off a glacier on Denali. He’d spent months planning a new route in the purest style, skiing 100 miles from the road to the base of the climb.
Halfway to the summit, their trip ended with the failure of a simple pair of gaiters. Stubborn to the end, Ron refused a seat on the helicopter and descended alone for two weeks, pondering what had happened.
Somewhere along the way he realized he could fix the gear problem and devote his life to pursuing his passion for adventure. By the end, he knew one thing for sure: He wasn’t going back to his old job.