The moment to lose a beard-shaving bet, it turns out, is not during an expedition to the top of the 10,300-foot Moose’s Tooth in the Central Alaska Range. Yet Chad Jukes, the Ridgway, Colorado, mountaineer, incorrectly guessed a new climbing buddy’s nationality as Slovakian rather than Slovenian and wound up bare-chinned in the frigid Ruth Gorge. “I was so glad I went home the next day,” recalls Jukes, 30, “because I spent the day with my hand over my chin, thinking, ‘How do people do this without a beard?'”
Like many hardcore climbers, Jukes believes a beard is better than a face mask, is a great substitute for sunscreen, can determine who’s the leader of the camp, and works for cycling, hunting, hockey, skiing, and other outdoor sports as well.