What Scares the World’s Most Fearless Instagrammers?

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Explorers, extreme sports professionals and other career daredevils race down mountains, hang out with some of the world’s most dangerous animals and risk their lives daily, so you’d think they’d be pretty hard to scare. Surely mundane stuff like spiders and clowns are nothing compared to a triple spin off a mountain on a snowboard?

To test this theory, we asked four of the most adventurous people on the planet (whose Instagram feeds will also give you serious wanderlust) if anything actually scares them. And guess what - it turns out they’re human after all.

Sean Conway (@conway_sean)

Endurance athlete named 2014’s Adventurer of the Year by the Scottish Adventure Awards

Sean Conway/Instagram

You’d think a man who’d completed a triathlon the length of Britain would be completely unflappable, but you’ll see a different side to Sean Conway if you pop a balloon in front of him. “Balloons on their own are fine, but any risk of popping, and I run,” he says.

While he isn’t afraid of heights, he also battles vertigo, and says he often feels dizzy – even while watching TV. And that beard serves a practical purpose: to stave off any jellyfish that might get too near his face.


Catherine Capon (@catherinecapon)

The woman who completed 12 adventures in 12 months

Catherine Capon/Instagram

“My job involves me swimming with great white sharks and anacondas and coming face to face with Komodo dragons, grizzly bears and silverback gorillas,” says Catherine. “Although I have a healthy respect for these animals, they don't scare me.  Humans are far scarier!" 

She’s philosophical about the things that really put the frighteners on her: pessimism, forgetting to be thankful and conforming are all on the list. “For me, living on the edge is what makes me feel most alive,” she says. “The thought of losing my imagination and ability to be creative is terrifying.”


The Turner Twins (@theturnertwiins)

Self-described adventure guinea pigs

The Turner Twins/Instagram

While others may simple climb the highest mountain in Europe, Russia’s 5,642m Mount Elbrus, Ross and Hugo Turner actually scaled the peak in the name of research. One twin wore modern mountaineering gear, while the other donned Victorian garb to help King’s College London’s Department of Twin Research understand the effects of altitude on the human body.

Impressive. Just don’t, whatever you do, make Ross cycle anywhere near a bus, because they terrify him when he’s on his bike. You won’t catch Hugo stumbling home late from a night out either, because he’s scared of walking home in the dark.


Jamie Nicholls (@jamienichollsuk)

British slopestyle snowboarder and Olympic finalist

Jamie Nicholls/Instagram

At just 22, Jamie has already competed in an Olympic final at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014. But while he might be able to tackle near-vertical slopes and disorienting white-outs, he probably won’t come to your rescue if there’s a spider in the room.

“Spiders – I can’t stand them,” he says. “It’s not the little ones that bother me, it’s the big house spiders. Everything else in life, like a new trick, I can mentally overcome, but spiders? No!”

Catch Jamie in action at the Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Show from 30th October-1st November in Manchester, and 5th-8th November in London.