Armchair Explorer

If I Live Until Morning: Cheating Death on the John Muir Trail with Jean Muenchrath

Listen on

Episode notes

What happens when adventuring goes suddenly, horribly wrong?

For Jean Muenchrath, what began as a pleasant cross-country ski trip up the John Muir trail quickly spiralled into disaster - and what happened changed her life forever. Journey back in time with us to hear one of the most gripping survival stories that occurred over three decades ago in the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Jean’s story stands as a testament to the power of the mind, the importance of dreams, and the sheer force of will.

Jean and her skiing partner, Ken, spent weeks on the John Muir trail in the middle of winter immersing themselves with nature. They trekked through snow-laden meadows and climbed up towering granite cliffs slicked with ice, enjoying the labour and the peace of nature’s rhythm. But as they neared the end of their journey and prepared to ascend Mount Whitney - the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States - Jean began to fear, intuitively, that something was about to go horribly wrong. And, as we’ll find out, she should have listened to that voice.

This is a story of survival against the odds. But it’s also a story about the power of the mind to overcome even the most difficult and desperate situations that life can throw at us. Jean used her accident as fuel to transform her life in positive ways, and her story will inspire you to face life’s hardships with courage, grace and determination too. Get ready for a near-death encounter at the top of the world.


- Follow the nail-biting story of Jean Muenchrath’s near-death encounter at Mount Whitney

- Ski the 211-mile long John Muir Trail in winter, from its start in Yosemite Valley to its conclusion at the top of Mount Whitney, the tallest point in the Lower 48 states

- Hear what it’s like to survive one of the worst accidents in Mount Whitney’s history

- Hike the Himalayas and watch the sunset over Everest

- Learn what Jean found in the snow when she returned to the scene of her accident, 31 years after it happened

- Be inspired to use the power of your mind, just like Jean did, to follow your dreams and transform your life in positive ways

If you find this story meaningful, please connect with Jean – she’s passionate about getting in touch with her audience and sharing her story. | Email: [email protected]

Her book is called If I Live Until Morning: A True Story of Adventure, Tragedy, and Transformation and you can find it on Amazon here ... You’ll get to hear details of her story that we didn’t have time for in this podcast, so we highly recommend grabbing a copy.

THANK YOU to Juggernaut Wines for sponsoring this episode! We’ve got a special deal for

listeners of this show. You can get four bottles – two Cabernet Sauvignons and two Pinot Noirs – delivered to your home for only 1 cent in shipping costs. One cent! Just head over to and type in the code ARMCHAIR21. Their wine is absolutely delicious and it’s a great way to support the show…that’s what we call a win win!

Follow @armchairexplorerpodcast across Instagram and Facebook, and check out Armchair Explorer ( for background videos, photos and more on each episode. And please hit that follow button to support the show!