At the start of his freshman year at St. Lawrence University, New York, United States, Mike Chambers was with his roommate when the dorm door flew open without warning and the five-foot-ten, 265-pound football team captain burst in. Chambers’ roommate was a new recruit, and that stern end of the defense made him behave. As soon as he walked in, he was gone again.
“Who was that?” asked Chambers, who was sandy-haired and, by contrast, slim. “There’s no way he’s a student.”
This was the first time Chambers had met Jason Antin.
Almost two decades later, Chambers (35) and Antin (38) are an adventure power duo that inspires nine-to-five people to make better use of their free time. When the two men aren’t working full-time or raising young children, they travel around the globe in the 64-hour window between 5:00 p.m. Friday and 9:00 a.m. Monday. They turned their epic weekend missions into a TV series called Beat Monday, the second season of which premieres on Outside TV on May 20th. (Outside TV and Outside Online were recently acquired by the same company, now called Outside Inc.) The show is designed to stimulate viewers to reimagine how to incorporate adventure into their lives, whether through daily exercise or an ambitious one international travel. “We want to try to dispel the idea that we don’t have enough time,” says Chambers.
Beat Monday unveiled no-hassle weekend endeavors like Burro Days in Leadville, Colorado, a 22-mile stretch of up to 13,186 feet in elevation while attached to a donkey, just a two-hour drive from their homes. (Chambers and Antin last ended dead.) Extreme targets are also recorded, such as an attempt by the Ecuadorian volcano Cotopaxi. Guiding companies typically book customers for nine-day trips to tackle the heavily glaciated 19,348-foot summit. Chambers and Antin, meanwhile, had less than three days to spend on their shortened expedition – not to mention taking trips to and from South America into account. (Because of the weather, they didn’t get to a summit, but it’s “totally doable in a weekend,” says Antin.) Season two will see big wall climbing, winter bikepacking in the Utah desert, and one in Zion National Park Walk to give mountain bike-to-SUP adventure in Maui.
How did you come to work together to achieve great goals like this? While in college, when Chambers was working toward a government degree and Antin majored in Sociology and Psychology, the two continued to meet at parties and kept in touch after Antin graduated in New England in 2010; Both Antin and Chambers grew up in Boston and lived there again. Antin had lost his soccer personality to a natural since graduating and invited Chambers to a run. Finished with the party scene and fascinated by the Antin’s new activities, Chambers accepted. The route was the 30-mile Pemigewasset Loop in New Hampshire, which marks the peaks of four 4,000-foot peaks. “We read an article – it was like ‘The Five Hardest Day Hikes’ – and we said, okay, we can do it,” says Antin.
Halfway through the run, during a break in a cabin, Chambers sat in a toilet almost tearful. They finished the run, but it pushed them to their limits and turned out to be an experience that opened their eyes. “It was so hard. I never thought I would be able to, ”says Chambers. “After that, I was so excited to explore this world.” It was a stepping stone for both of them.
(Photo: Outside the TV)
Later that year, Antin quit his finance job and moved to Colorado to be closer to the wild places he loved. Chambers stayed in Massachusetts, where he worked for a nonprofit educational institution, but the two stayed in touch. They’d all gone all-in outdoors since the toilet cracked. They got caught up in ultra running – both have completed 200 mile races since then – and looked for equipment and training. Chambers was obsessed with high-altitude mountaineering, climbing peaks like Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and Denali. Working part-time as a guide, Antin ticked off his personal goals, including the 2018 Rainier Infinity Loop, where he made two trips over Mount Rainier in Washington and then the entire Wonderland Trail.
But over the next few years the work increased. It had been a while until 2016 since they had tackled something ambitious together. “That was kind of a meal for me,” says Chambers. He called Antin and they began making a list of dream destinations, focusing on the first: climbing and skiing 14,411-foot-high Mount Rainier, the crown jewel of the Northwest, in one weekend. At the time, none of them had climbed it before. It would be a first try to get the kind of Steroid Injection Weekend Warrior Missions they are now known for.
After work on a Friday in early June 2016, they flew to Seattle – Antin from Colorado and Chambers from Massachusetts – and drove to the trailhead. The next morning it took an hour to convince the rangers to give them permission. They were skeptical of these “Colorado cowboys” who had never been on the mountain.
On Saturday at 9 p.m. they started the split slopes of the Emmons Glacier. The creaky sounds of ice calving and moving in the dark drove the seriousness of their endeavors home. After a 10,000-foot climb to the summit, they were rewarded with a rare bluebird day and perfect spring corn for the Sunday ski-down. Chambers brought the red eyes back to Boston and arrived on time for a 9:30 am meeting. He hadn’t had time to shower.
Squeezing an epic adventure into a single weekend had worked and Beat Monday was born. Men’s Journal wrote about their trip, and a production company signed up to work with Chambers and Antin to turn it into a show. The first episode aired in September 2018: She followed Chambers and Antin as they climb and ski Oregon’s Mount Hood and then run the 41-mile Timberline Trail that circles the mountain.
That same year, Chambers, who was now married and had one child, moved his family to Colorado. He and Antin started increasing the stakes with consecutive weekends. “It was completely untenable,” says Chambers. They climbed Denali, Alaska, on a weekend, drove on Mount Whitney, California, and Mount Shasta the next day, and flew to Ecuador the following weekend. The show drew a loyal following. You have now shot 11 episodes in two countries and seven states. Another three episodes round off the second season.
(Photo: Outside the TV)
Each show feels like a mini-documentary detailing exactly how they completed the mission that weekend and providing viewers with a rough blueprint for how to do it. (In fact, many fans have repeated their exact goals after watching an episode.) There’s no need to produce a drama as the tension is burned in: will they achieve what they set out to do in the allotted time?
The cinematography is easy on the eyes – think soaring drone footage over wild landscapes – but the show isn’t overproduced. It oscillates between factual narration and recordings of the playful, fraternal dynamism of the men, as if Antin spilled a liter of coffee on Chambers’ front seat and pretended it was water. It’s clear that over the years they’ve built a strong bond as mountain partners and settled into their role in the relationship: Antin is the spreadsheet guy, Chambers is the dreamer. “Mike has enthusiasm and ideas, and I try to use them and put them into perspective,” says Antin.
Both men have heard from dozens of people who were motivated to pursue a goal after watching the show. And while not everyone has the resources to go on excursions on the order of Antin and Chambers, they indicate that most of us go for a 30-minute walk or hike or have a fun adventure in the city during the work day Near their home. “We get into these routines and habits in which we don’t necessarily use the time we have. I’ve been there and I think Jason did too, ”says Chambers, who is now the CEO of a tech startup.
While it may seem like the two of them are constantly removed from their families (they receive comments on this), this is not really the case. Most of the weekends they are at home with their wives and young children. Chambers now has a one year old daughter, three year old son, and a baby on the way, while Antin has two daughters aged four and one. The two families joined forces to climb together at Eldorado Canyon near Boulder, Colorado shortly after they finished their interview with Outside.
Antin currently works as a guide for the Colorado Mountain School and trains at the Alpine Training Center in Boulder. The big novel chases are exciting, but he says it’s about more than just the goal for him. “When we did Shasta and Whitney, we literally had a lot of our best friends. And then in the end my family met me, ”he says. “It’s the partnership of the people I’m with. I remember that first. “
Watch new episodes of Beat Monday from 5/20 onwards on outsidetv.com and in the free Outside TV app. It will also be streamed on Outside TV + (available on the Outside TV app), the Roku Channel, Samsung TVPlus, Vizio, Xumo, and more on Thursdays at 10 p.m. EST.