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Tough Outdoor Jobs

Every backpacker dreams of a glory job in the outdoors. Here's what it takes to make the grade for 8 of the toughest ones out there.


Job description Scare the bejesus out of your enemies. The original Gurkha regiment was established in 1815 by the British, after they’d declared war on Nepal but couldn’t defeat a band of fierce holdouts in Gorkha. Lesson: If you can’t beat ’em, recruit ’em. The Nepalese soldiers quickly developed a reputation for unmatched bravery and ruthlessness, fighting by the motto “Better to die than be a coward” while wielding an 18-inch curved blade, called a kukri, that “once drawn must taste blood.” During the Great Indian Mutiny of 1857, a mere rumor that the Gurkhas had joined the revolution in the Indian town of Simla sent enemy soldiers fleeing. In September of last year, a single Gurkha on leave in India took on a band of 40 train robbers—and won.

Entrance exam
­+ Half-mile run in 2:45  or less and a 1.5-mile run in less than 9:40
­+ 12 pull-ups (palms-toward-you grasp)
­­+ As many sit-ups as you can do in 2 minutes (70 minimum)
­+ Hike a 3-mile course gaining 1,500 feet, while carrying 55 pounds of stone in a doko (a woven basket with a strap, or tump line, that rests on the forehead) in 48 minutes or less.

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