Should women go into the backcountry alone? Should men? In the last month or so, we’ve run two stories that have kicked off major debate about whether it’s okay for women to leave the trailhead solo. Krista Langlois’s piece, Stop Telling Women Not to Go Into the Backcountry Alone, is the most popular story on AJ this year. Last week, we ran a similar argument with a different perspective by Liz Thomas. Both of these essays cracked open the door to look at our messy, complicated attitudes and feelings toward gender and risk, and through reader comments they also touched on the role of personal responsibility in going alone regardless of gender. And that’s what we’re going to tackle today.

For the purposes of this debate, let’s define backcountry as any place off the grid of society-it can be hiking, backpacking, trail running, and even ocean sailing or paddling. The idea is that you’re going someplace with objective dangers and no or little safety net. And rather than just one question, let’s come at it from a number of angles.

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WIN SMITH SUNGLASSES JUST BY VOTING
This week, one poll participant will receive Smith Optic’s Rockford sunglasses. We’ll pick the winner via random number generator (and announce it here) – all you have to do to enter is vote and leave a comment so we have your email to contact you. Must have a U.S. or Canadian address. Contest ends Sunday, May 22, at midnight PST.
Congratulations to Adam Potrzebowski who wins the Smiths this week!

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Photo by Miguel Vieira

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