The MJ5: Ice Climber Will Gadd on His Essential Adventure Gear and Favorite Travel Spots

Will Gadd exploring the Greenland Ice Sheet
Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool


Pro ice climber and paraglider Will Gadd loves a good adventure. Over the years, his love for climbing has taken him to places far and wide, including the Greenland ice sheet, where he explored some of the largest—and most dangerous—glaciers in the world for his Red Bull TV film Beneath the Ice.

From traveling around the world, Gadd has learned a thing or two about what gear helps him the most when he’s on an expedition, to what training keeps him in the best shape to make sure he gets home safely. Gadd put all that knowledge together for his trip to Greenland, which combined Gadd’s love for the sport of ice climbing with researching what’s going on beneath the ice sheet.

“For this project, we wanted to see what’s actually happening under these glaciers,” Gadd told Men’s Journal. “The Greenland ice cap has around 10 percent of the fresh water in the world. There aren’t many people who have been down under the ice out there, and we wanted to see what was really happening and if the models were correct.”

Will Gadd exploring the Greenland Ice Sheet
Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool

(Gadd’s new film, Beneath the Ice, is a Red Bull Media House Production and you can watch the film here at this link.)

Gadd took some time to speak with Men’s Journal about his favorite travel spots, the essential gear he takes on his adventures, why having hot sauce is key, and more for the MJ5.

On his favorite adventure gear: “The Garmin inReach Mini has been a game changer for me. Being able to have satellite communications and weather forecasts are great [and it’s important or] you can’t get a rescue going. Music is also key, so having headphones and something to listen to is great since there’s so much wind and snow. It’s nice to blast some Black Keys in the tent. The whole world goes away and you can detune and chill out, I have a nice pair of Harman Kardon earbuds I like.”

On his favorite travel and climbing spots—and where he wants to go next: “My favorite is the Rocky Mountains, both in Canada and the United States. It’s perfect for accessibility and remoteness, I just love the Rockies. As for places I want to explore, the list is long [laughs]. Thought it would slow down as I got older, but it keeps getting longer. I just did sea cliff diving in Ireland, and it was a fantastic place. I’m working on a film project in Africa coming up, it has a little bit of a climate change angle to it, and also a paragliding trip in Central Africa and another in East Africa. I’d also love to explore Tazmania.”

On his favorite workouts for climbing: “For climbing, it’s about developing your shoulders and applying strength there so you can climb better. There are a solid four or five exercises I do regularly that are critical for being functional. They’re not really meant to be for strength, but more to maintain my functionality. My main exercises are some kind of squat or squat variation, pullups are big for climbing and they help a lot, and also some version of a push movement, whether that’s pushups or doing the bench press. Deadlifts are also very important for me. I spend a lot of my life wrestling around duffel bags. Doing variations of the snatch is also one I like to do. Those basic moves are critical for me. You can do them almost anywhere.”

On his favorite drink: “I’m a Red Bull athlete so this sounds obvious, but I’ve actually been drinking Red Bull every day for about 20 years. I’ll usually have some before I train. In the evenings I like cheap beer—hops is vastly overrated—I enjoy a good pilsner or something like that. I also like a solid glass of bourbon, too.”

On his favorite meal to cook: “I love Mexican food, I think the whole world should go on a strict diet of Mexican food. And if you’re going on an expedition, remember to bring hot sauce. It can really flavor up a meal when all you have is canned food.”

Check out the full MJ5 archives for more interviews with Tony Hawk, Chris Evans, Joel Kinnaman, John Legend, Kyle Chandler and more.

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