Video: Drone Captures Amazing Footage of Scotland

As we head into the long weekend here in the States, I thought we'd end a busy week with this fantastic video. It was shot using a DJI Phantom Vision 2+ drone and features some spectacular footage of Scotland. The music is the perfect accompaniment to the great images as well. Very beautiful and tranquil. I hope you enjoy.

The Phantom of Scotland from Sulaiman Sibai on Vimeo.

Video: Paddling Panther Creek Gorge in California

Panther Creek Gorge, located on the upper middle Kaweah River in Sequoia National Park is a tough place to get to, let alone paddle. In fact, until this summer, this section of the river had only been run twice before, and no one has been there since 2008. A team of kayakers made the descent earlier in the year however, and brought back some fantastic footage of the amazing whitewater that can be found there. This is a run that only truly experience paddlers can make, but it looks like quite a ride.

Video: Laird Hamilton Shoots The Malibu Pier Twice

Versions of this video have been going viral over the past couple of days, and while I don't cover surfing all that often, I thought it was worth sharing. The short one-minute clip features surfing legend Laird Hamilton as he uses a SUP board, and paddle, to catch some big waves, generated by the arrival of Hurricane Marrie. The amazing part is how he deftly navigates his board under the Malibu Pier, not once, but twice. Don't try this at home kids, as you'll probably end up wiping out badly. But for Hamilton, it's just another day on the water.

Laird Hamilton SUP surfing in Epic Malibu conditions!! He shoots the pier twice!!! from Dual Hemisphere Media on Vimeo.

Adventure Travel Articles From About.com

A few weeks back I mentioned that I'd just taken over the Adventure and Outdoor Travel page at About.com, a gig that I'm very excited to be doing. Since then, I've been populating that page with quite a few stories and articles, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share some links to those posts so you can can an idea of what I'm up to over there. So, here is a sample of what I've been writing.


Additionally, each Friday I post an article on Adventure Travel news with the latest updates and deals from around the industry. Those posts have links to great trips, interesting articles, and information that adventure travelers may want to know about. The latest adventure travel news article can be found here

I'm having a lot of fun contributing to About.com, and it doesn't hurt that it is a topic that I'm passionate about. On top of that, I have a lot of freedom to write about a variety of topics, and I'm looking forward to continuing to expand the site and audience there over time. I hope you find some things of interest there as well, and drop by from time-to-time to see what I'm up to there. 

ExWeb Previews 2014 Fall Himalayan Season

Summer is starting to slip away across the Northern Hemisphere, and in Nepal the summer monsoon is starting to weaken at last. That means it is nearly time for the start of another climbing season in the Himalaya, and ExWeb has posted a preview, giving us an idea of what to expect in the weeks ahead.

Typically, the fall climbing season focuses on a number of smaller mountains that are used to gain valuable experience for a spring attempt on Everest. That appears to once again be the case this year, although there are some expeditions that will be attempting some difficult climbs none the less. Take for example the Korean team heading to Lhotse to attempt the South Face. The group hoped to climb the same route last fall, but were thwarted by heavy snows. ExWeb reports that they are already in and out of Kathmandu, and should have started the trek to Base Camp yesterday. That should put them on the mountain sometime late next week, where they'll start their acclimatization process. You may recall that Lhotse is the neighbor of Everest, and shares much of the same route up the South Col.

Meanwhile, over on Makalu, a British military team, supported by a squad of Sherpas, is attempting to summit along the Southeast Ridge. This team is still putting the finishing touches on their preparation, and haven't quite left for Nepal yet. According to their website, they are expected to reach Base Camp around the 20th of September.

Spanish climber Carlos Soria is going for his 12th 8000-meter peak. He'll leave for Shishapangma next week. This past spring, Carlos became the oldest person to summit Kangchenjunga, and at the age of 75, he continues to be an inspiration to all of us. It doesn't appear that Carlos has any intention of slowing down either, as he aims to nab all 14 of the 8-thousanders.


He won't be alone on Shisha this fall. ExWeb says that he'll be joined by an Italian team that will attempt to speed climb both that mountain, and Cho Oyu, traveling between the two on mountain bikes and by trail running. That should be an impressive effort to follow. Danish mountaineer Bo Belvedere Christensen will also be going for the double-header on both Shishapangma and Cho Oyu as well.

Cho Oyu will be one of the mountains that receives a lot of traffic this fall, with a number of commercial teams, including IMG, Summit Climb, and Adventure Consultants leading the way. Those teams have already gathered in Nepal and Tibet, and will be departing for the mountain soon. Once there, they'll be joined by a few independent squads, including Polish climber Olek Ostrowski, who will be attempting to ski the mountain. He departs for the Himalaya tomorrow.

Finally, Manaslu is another mountain that is often used for preparation for Everest. The Altitude Junkies are leading a commercial squad to that mountain, and their Sherpas are already in BC. In their last update, the team was still waiting for the monsoon to abate before proceeding. The Amical Alpin team is also en route to the mountain for a fall summit attempt too.

As of now, there are no announced Everest expeditions for the fall, but that can change of course. We'll be hearing a lot of news in the days ahead about these climbs, and probably a few surprises that haven't appeared on the radar just yet. Stay tuned for more updates in the days ahead.

Growth of Housing Finance in India

In order to provide housing for all by 2022, the government needs to develop the housing finance sector. In its current avatar, the housing finance sector is able to provide loans to borrowers working in the formal sector with proof of income and banking transactions. However, about 99% of the total shortage of housing in urban areas belongs to the Economic Weaker Section and Low Income Groups of the society.  (Overall housing shortage in urban areas - 18.78 million units till 2012).

Video: Extreme Mountain Running in Italy

The Red Bull K3 is an incredibly tough mountain running race that was held in Italy recently. It challenges participants to cover a mere 3000 meters in as fast a time as possible. But those 3000 meters happen to run up the side of a mountain, at an almost vertical angle. The video below will give you an example of what that event is like, and it will probably make your legs hurt just watching it. This makes my daily runs, on hilly terrain no less, look like a walk in the park. English subtitles are available from the closed captioning option of YouTube. Enjoy!

Video: Remy Métailler Shreds the Whistler Bike Park

We all know that the Whistler Bike Park is a legendary place to ride, with fun, challenging trails and unmatched scenery. But local rider Remy Métailler makes it look easy in this video, that has him bombing down hill on a fast and furious run. Watching this definitely makes me want to get on my bike again soon, and see what my local trails have to offer. Great stuff.

Remy Metailler burns the Whistler Bike Park from chris ricci on Vimeo.

Adventure Tech: Jabra Announces Bluetooth Earbuds with Built-In Heart Rate Monitor

In one of my post-Outdoor Retailer articles I mentioned that wearable technology was a popular item at the show this year, with a number of great looking fitness, running, and mountaineering watches in the works. At the end of that article, I even hinted that there was a product coming that would put a heart rate monitor in your earbuds, freeing us from the cumbersome and uncomfortable strap forever. When I wrote that, I wasn't able to share who was making the product, or when it was coming. But yesterday, Jabra took the wraps off of this gadget, announcing pricing and availability for their new Sports Pulse Wireless earbuds.

These new earphones are obviously designed with the runner in mind. Lightweight, durable, and built to take on your daily workouts, they offer excellent sound quality with wireless Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone or mp3 player. Encased in carbon fiber, the Sport Pulse Wireless are sweat- and rain-proof, while remaining comfortable to wear, even on extended runs.

But what really sets these earbuds apart are the integrated heart rate monitor. Wearing these will allow runners to leave the bulky strap monitor and home, in favor of this incredibly lightweight solution. When paired with Jabra's app the provide feedback on performance throughout your run, and record improvements over time. They'll even allow you to set goals based on distance run, calories burned, and time out on the trail or road.

Having seen these earbuds in person, I can attest to how small they are, while providing good sound quality for your run. Additionally, I happen to love using Bluetooth earbuds, as they eliminate the wire running to your music player during a workout. Finding a pair that can stream music wireless, and serve as a heart rate monitor is simply incredible. Jabra says the Sports Pulse Wireless are good for five hours of battery life, which is an improvement on previous generations, even though they are smaller in size. That means that most of us can get a couple of workouts in before we need to recharge, while marathoners can be sure that they'll make it through a long run without worry.

The Sports Pulse Wireless will be available to purchase in late September, with MSRP of $199. That's a bit pricey, but if they deliver on their promise, they'll be worth it. Check out the video below for more.


Traveling to the South Pole in a Wheelchair

ExWeb has an inspiring story for us today, as they share a brief profile of Russian polar guide Dmitry Shparo, who has spent more than two decades helping disabled individuals achieve their dreams and goals in the arctic and antarctic. The explorer, whose resume includes being on the first team to reach the North Pole during the long polar night back in 2007-2008, feels that physical impairments should not be an impediment to experiencing true adventure, and he has specialized in helping the disabeled to do just that.

ExWeb says that this past spring, Dmitry – along with his youngest son Matvey – led two hearing-impaired teenagers to the North Pole. This is just one example of what Dmitry has helped his clients to achieve, with perhaps the most impressive occurring back in 2000, when he and fellow polar explorer Boris Smolin helped lead paraplegic Igor Kusnetsov across Greenland's icecap. Kusnetsov made that journey in a specially built wheelchair that was mounted on skies. The entire journey covered roughly 600 km (372 miles) along the Polar Circle between the towns of Ammassalik and Sondre Stromfjord.

Apparently that experience will come in handy for Dmitry's next big challenge. While ExWeb is light on the details, the story indicates that the Russian polar guide intends to lead an expedition to the South Pole in 2015 that will give a quadriplegic athlete by the name of Igor Ushakov a chance to travel across the antarctic in a wheelchair. The planned route will cover 934 km (580 miles). Shparo will once again be accompanied by his son Matvey on this journey, which will test their strength and endurance for sure.

While the 2014 antarctic season is still a few months off, I'm already looking forward to hearing more about Dmitry's plans for next year. It would be an incredibly inspiring story indeed to follow Igor on his monumental journey to the South Pole. And if he is able to achieve that goal, it would also serve a further testament to what a disabled person can overcome when they set challenges for themselves, and achieve them.

Must Read For Mountaineering Fans: Alan Arnette Shares K2 Summit Recap

If you still haven't gotten your fill of news from K2 this summer, I've got one more great story for you to read. Our friend, Alan Arnette, has posted a very personal account of his summit push on the Savage Mountain, sharing some incredible insights into the physical and mental challenges he had to overcome to reach the top of the toughest mountain on the planet. To do so, he had to battle back his own fears and insecurities, and overcome a case of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, a condition that can prove fatal if a climber doesn't descend in a timely fashion.

If you followed Allan's expedition, you probably read his dispatches about his travels to Pakistan, the journey to Skardu and Askole, before beginning the trek to Base Camp, and his acclimatization process on the mountain. You've probably even read his pre- and post-summit updates, which shared a bit about his preparation, conditioning, and mental state on the climb. Following his successful summit, Alan even touched on the challenges he faced on the way up, and back down. But those dispatches only hinted at the hurdles that he had to overcome along the way. This report takes us through the very long, and grueling, battle he had with K2 – and more importantly, himself – when he pressed toward the summit back on July 27.

Alan talks about the deep, and overwhelming, fatigue that set in as he climbed above Camp 4, approaching 25,500 feet (7772 meters). It was at that point that he was ready to just stop, sit down, and stay right where he was, not caring to move forward or back. It was a crucial moment of the climb. He felt like he was dying, and there wasn't any energy left to fight on.

But then he remembered why he was there. Climbing to raise funds and awareness for the fight against Alzheimer's, he drew strength from the thought of all the people who were supporting him, and those who suffered from that terrible disease. And at that moment, he found a new source of energy that helped to propel him forward. It wouldn't be easy, but he had to finish the ascent.

As I said, this is a very personal account of Alan's climb, and what I've written about in this post is just the beginning, and one small part of what he shares. It is a lengthy read, but also very inspiring. It is also a great account of high altitude mountaineering on a peak that remains incredibly demanding and dangerous, even when conditions are at there very best.

The title of this post says it all. If you're a mountaineer, either actual or armchair, you need to read this story. It will give you a new found respect for the climbers who topped out on K2 this summer, and the challenges that they faced along the way. Read it in its entirety here.

Video: New Zealand - Land of the Long White Cloud

If you're still unconvinced that New Zealand needs to be on your bucket list of places to visit, perhaps this video will push you over the edge. It is a wonderful timelapse film shot at a variety of locations around the country that is equal parts compelling and tranquil, at the same time.

New Zealand - Land of the Long White Cloud from Stephen Patience Photography on Vimeo.

Video: I Am #OMNITEN - An Adventure in Jordan

This video is a trailer for a long documentary created by Columbia Sportswear that follows a group of travelers visiting the country of Jordan. Not traditionally seen as an "adventure destination," Jordan never the less has a great deal to offer visitors. I was lucky enough to go there a few years back, and visit a lot of the same places seen in the video, and I can tell you that it was an amazing experience. From the deserts of Wadi Rum to the ancient ruins of Petra, and beyond, Jordan is a fantastic destination. The two-minute clip below will only whet your appetite, and make you want to go see all of these places for yourself.

Video: The Relentless River of Everest

Yesterday's story about Ben Stookesberry exploring the Dudh Kosi River in Nepal seemed to have captured the attention of quite a few readers. In that post, I mentioned a British expedition that made the first descent of the river back in 1976, creating a classic paddling documentary called Everest by Canoe, which would later be renamed the Relentless River of Everest. In that post, I shared a trailer for the film, which was enough to give us a taste of what that expedition was like. Today, I have the full film, which is 45-minutes of intense expedition kayaking action. The film is a wonderful throw-back to a different era, and truly generates a great sense of adventure about what the explorers were doing in the Himalaya. This is a classic BBC film, and if you have the time, I highly recommend you watch the entire thing.

A Kayaking Expedition Through Canada's Torngat Wilderness

Yesterday I posted a story from Canoe & Kayak magazine about Ben Stookesberry's attempt to paddle the legendary Dudh Kosi River in Nepal. That amazing expedition took place this past spring, but it isn't the only adventure that Stookesberry has been on this year. In July, he set out for Quebec, Canada to explore the remote Tomgat wilderness, a place that is largely unvisited and unexplored, even in the 21st century.

Calling his latest project Destination Tomgat, Stookesberry set out on the journey in early July on what promised to be a two-month long expedition. Along the way he has been joined at various times by an exceptional group of paddlers, including Pedro Olivia, Erik Boomer, Ben Marr, and Chris Korbulic. 

Olivia joined Ben on a 480-mile paddle along the George River, which leads into the ultimate prize, the Tomgat Mountas. They found some epic whitewater on the tributaries that lead to the George, including dropping some big waterfalls on the Nutillilk River, and making just the second descent of one 25-miles stretch on the Ford River as well. Along the way, they put their Jackson Karma UL kayaks through their paces, finding them to be surprisingly versatile for hauling gear, and handling more challenging water conditions.

After that exciting start to the journey, Stookesberry and crew had planned to catch a floatplane to the Torngat Mountains, but poor weather prevented that from happening. Instead, they the crossed 65 miles (104 km) by powerboat, then traveled overland to reach the Nachvek River. They spent the next portion of the expedition paddling that mostly unexplored waterway as well, making the first full-descent of the 18 falls that make up the Nachvek, and passing through the mountain range in the process. 

So just how remote is the Torngat wilderness? Consider this. The team has been operating more than 700 miles from the nearest road throughout much of the expedition. In fact, the region is the largest roadless area in the northeastern section of North America, which could have caused all kinds of problems if the team ran into any kind of serious trouble. Canoe & Kayak says that the wilderness will soon be made into a national park boasting a caribou herd made up of more than 200,000 animals. Many of the rivers found there have yet to be explored completely, and there is whitewater in abundance for those who actually have the means of getting there. In short, it is a pristine, almost untouched, wilderness for modern day explorers to wander.

The video below will give you even more of an idea of what this expedition is all about.  The team is expected to wrap up their journey within the next few days. 


Destination Torngat - A journey into the Labrador Wilderness from Ben Stookesberry on Vimeo.

Walking The Nile Update: End In Sight For Levison Wood

The end of the journey is now in sight for Levison Wood, the British explorer who has spent the past nine months walking the Nile River in Africa. A month ago I posted that he Lev had passed into Egypt, the final country on his grand walking tour. And now, just a few weeks later, he is approaching the Nile Delta at last. In fact, according to his most recent status updates on Facebook, he should reach the Mediterranean Sea by this Saturday.

It has been a long, strange journey for Wood, who started his walk last November, and will have covered more than 4000 miles (6430 km) by the time he reaches the Delta. The journey started in the highlands of Rwanda, which is where the furthest source of the Nile is located. From there, the expedition took him into Burundi, across Tanzania, and Uganda, before eventually arriving in South Sudan, the war ravaged nation that had been relatively quiet before he set out on his journey. Lev's walk along the Nile was disrupted at that point, when he ran into trouble and was forced to leave the country. He resumed his trek northward in Sudan, but ended up missing approximately 400 miles (645 km) along his intended route, and due to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, he won't be able to go back and complete those missing miles for sometime.

Wood reached Egypt back in late July, and told a reporter for The Guardian that it has been the most relaxed stretch of the expedition by far. He says it has been easy to find places to stay, the people are friendly, and the food is good, and plentiful. That hasn't been the case through parts of the trek however, as he has faced difficult terrain, suspicious locals, and grueling heat. The Guardian article says that at one point in Sudan temperatures rose above 62ºC, which equates to nearly 144ºF, which if true would exceed the highest temperature ever officially recorded. In addition to facing the civil war in South Sudan, there have been other set-backs as well. For instance, in March, a reporter traveling with Wood died of heatstroke in Uganda. That incident left the Brit shaken and uncertain of his plans.

But now, with the end in sight, Lev is eager to wrap things up. He has been traveling at an increased pace, and with little difficulty, since reaching Egypt, and while he has not personally witnessed any unrest, two police cars have shadowed him at all times to ensure his safety. By the weekend, that escort should see him safely to the Nile Delta, and the end of the expedition.

Video: Climbing Monte Rosa in Switzerland

At 4634 meters (15,203 ft) in height, Monte Rosa is the tallest mountain in Switzerland, and the second tallest in the Alps. It is a popular climbing peak for mountaineers, who routinely use it as a place to hone their skills for other climbs. The video below follows a group of friends as they make the climb, staying in a series of comfortable looking huts on the way up, and capturing some spectacular views of the landscape around them as they go. The final approach to the summit is a long a tricky-looking knife-edge, but the payoff seems to be worth the effort.

Climbing Monte Rosa from Sander Cruiming on Vimeo.

Video: Beautiful Highlining Short Film

Highlining is another one of those activities that I enjoy watching, but I'm not sure I'd ever want to try. Still, you have to admire the balance and control – not to mention nerves of steel – that these people exhibit while out on the rope. The video below captures some great shots of highliners doing their thing. It is brought to us by the talented team from The Bivy, a new group of adventure filmmakers who are just starting to share their work. It looks like we'll have another source for great adventure films in the future.

Video: Wingsuit Pilot Flies Along Avalanche Line in the Alps

If you're looking for a dose of adrenaline to get your day going, check out the video below. It was shot using a helmet cam by a wingsuit pilot in the Alps. We've seen plenty of these videos over the past few years, but this one stands out for just how close the pilot gets to trees below him. At some points, he seems to actually be lower than than the tree-tops too, as he buzzes along at breakneck speed. This is 44-seconds of pure terror.

Kayaking the Relentless River of Everest in Nepal

Canoe & Kayak magazine has posted a remarkable story on its website detailing an amazing paddling expedition that took place in Nepal earlier this year. This past spring, expedition kayaker Ben Stookesberry was joined by Nepalese paddler Surjan Tamang, on a journey to explore the Dudh Kosi River, a legendary stretch of water in traces its origins to Mt. Everest, but over the years has carved out an identity all its own.

Back in 1976, the river was originally explored by a team of British paddlers, who brought back an impressive amount of film that they shot while on their expedition. That footage eventually became the basis for the adventure film Dudh Kosi: Relentless River of Everest, which has gone on to become one of the more legendary kayaking movies of all time. The team of six Brits traveled to Nepal to take on the river, which at that point had been totally unexplored. They were pushed to their absolute limits, as the raging rapids, impenetrable gorges, and impassable rocks tested them at every turn. The team was forced to abandon their attempt to run the entire length of the Dudh Kosi in Lukla, the starting point for the trek to Everest Base Camp. There was far more river to run below that point, it simply was too dangerous to go any further.

But that is exactly where Stookesberry wanted to go, and he needed some help from Tamang to continue his exploration. The two men dropped into a 130-foot gorge on their first day, leaving behind their only climbing rope on their first rappel into the valley. Without a rope, they would have to trust that there would be other places to exit along the way, but that meant also braving a river that was raging well beyond Category V rapids in a canyon that didn't allow satellite phone reception, and would make a helicopter rescue impossible.


For five days, the two men made their way down river. They learned early on it was best to portage around the more dangerous sections – that is when they could find a place to portage at all. Tamang attempted to run a gnarly section of the river on the first day, and ended up flipping his boat, becoming lodged in a crack, and losing his paddle in the process. That taught them to respect the river very quickly, and caution became the better part of valor moving forward.

As they descended, Stookesberry and his companion discovered a river like none they had ever seen. In some points it dropped more than 800 feet over a mile, and passed through gorges with rock walls that towered high over head. Boulder, often the size of tall buildings, chocked their path, and the rushing waters were continually pushing their skills to the limits. Over the course of the five that they spent on the water, they managed to cover just 10 downriver miles.

Reading this story from C&K was incredibly interesting to me, as it was once again a reminder that not all of the blank spots on the map have been filled in just yet. There are still plenty of places that are prepared to test the resolve of any humans who dare explore their depths, but thankfully there are also explorers who are still ready to press ahead with that challenge. The article wraps up by saying that Stookesberry intends to return to the Dudh Kosi in the future, and hopes to explore it more fully. He is also hatching plans to paddle the Tsangpo in Tibet, which is the ultimate prize for an expedition kayaker for sure.  I'm looking forward to learning more about both of these expeditions in the future.

For an idea of what the Dudh Kosi is like, check out the video below. It is a teaser for the film that the British expedition made back in 1976, but conditions there remain mostly unchanged today.


Family of Adventurers Will Spend 16-Months Walking the Length of Madagascar

Here at The Adventure Blog, I often write about individual, and teams, of adventurers who are setting off on some amazing journey that will take them to the ends of the Earth. It isn't all that often that I can write about an entire family going on a fantastic adventure together. That is exactly what is happening for one family however, as they are spending 16-months walking the length of Madagascar, covering approximately 2500 km (1553 miles) together.

Alexandre and Sonia Poussin are certainly no strangers to adventure. They once spent three years walking the length of Africa on a journey that covered more than 14,000 km (8700 miles). That adventure took place back in 2001, and a lot has changed since then. For instance, the couple has added too children to their lives, with Phylaé, age 6, and Ulysse, age 9, keeping them plenty busy. But now that the kids have grown some, the decision was made to begin yet another long trek.

The family is calling their expedition Madatrek, and they are undertaking the journey in part to explore a region of the world that they have never visited, and as a way to introduce the children to the importance of helping others. The Poussin family is assisting with several NGOs along their trek, and lending a hand to local villages where they can.

The journey actually began back in May, and the family has been making steady progress heading on their trek ever since. They launched the trip in the southern portion of Madagascar, and have been heading in a northerly direction for the past several month. The family is using a specially built cart to carry all of their gear and supplies while out on the road, and they are trying to remain as self-sufficient as possible on the journey. While they have managed to cover quite a bit of distance already, they aren't in any particular hurry to complete their walk. The children are continuing their studies along the way, while Alexandre and Sonia promote the efforts of the NGOs that they are working with.

You can follow the family's progress on the MadaTrek website and on their Facebook page. Expedition sponsor Hi-Tec footwear is also posting updates to their website as well, as all four members of the Poussin family are wearing hiking shoes made by the company on this 16-month long adventure.

Video: Beautiful, Spectacular Nepal

Here's a fantastic video that simply mixes the wonderful landscapes of Nepal, with a peaceful soundtrack, delivering a tranquil experience. It is 4+ minutes of some of the best scenery from the Himalayan country, including the lesser known low-lands, and the big mountains of course. For an amazing glimpse at the people, culture, and natural beauty of Nepal, this one should not be missed.

Nepal from Jamin Walsh on Vimeo.

Video: Winning Mountain Bike Run From Crankworx Race in Whistler Caught on GoPro

A few weeks back, Marcel Gutierrez won the Crankworx Garbanzo DH race in Whistler, Canada. His  winning run was captured by his helmet cam, and you can watch the entire thing below. It his a white-knuckle ride that goes on for more than 12 minutes, leaving you breathless and exhausted by the end. If you've ever wanted to know what a professional mountain bike course looks like, this is as a close as you'll get without riding it yourself.

Video: Rock Climbing South Africa with Alex Honnold and Hazel Findley

Recently, rock climbers Alex Honnold and Hazel Findely joined forces to take on some of the toughest climbing in southern Africa. The duo visited Namibia and South Africa in search of problems to solve. The video below is a trailer for an upcoming film entitled Africa Fusion that chronicles their adventures. At just over two minutes in length, it is barely a tease of what is to come, but it looks like it'll be worth the wait for the full film.

Africa Fusion Official Trailer from Fresh Rock Films on Vimeo.

Curious Animal Interviews Mountaineering Legend Reinhold Messner

On the eve of his 70th birthday, mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner sat down with adventure travel magazine Curious Animal for an eye-opening interview. As usual, Messner has strong opinions on life, death, and the mountains, and he isn't shy about sharing those thoughts with the world.

In the interview, Messner talks about the challenges he sought as a younger man, both in rock climbing and high altitude mountaineering. He also discusses how testing your own limits helps you to learn about yourself, and your own possibilities when faced with survival in extreme environments. The Italian climber, who many believe to be the greatest mountaineer of all time, emphasizes that danger is an essential element of mountaineering, and without the chance of death, it just doesn't hold the same appeal. He says that mountaineering is "...not a sport. It’s a play with nature, a serious play with nature."

Messner goes on to discuss his preference for climbing and traveling solo, as it allows him more freedom to do what he wants, on his own terms. He also touches on whether or not climbing is "worth it" considering the number of people who have died in the mountains over the years, and shares his approach to an expedition prior to setting out.

One of the more interesting aspects of the interview are when Messner gives a nod to several of the exceptional young climbers today. For instances, he mentions David Lama's free climb of the Cerro Torre in Patagonia as an amazing feat that he could never have accomplished, and he calls Ueli Steck's solo-summit of Annapurna one of the most impressive climbs in recent memory.  He also salutes Sandy Allan and Rick Allen for their impressive first ascent of the Mazeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat from a few years back, calling it one of the greatest, and most intelligent, ascents of the past few years.

Finally, Messner talks about his ongoing efforts in the mountains, which have slowed down in recent years, but his love for remote places keeps driving him to go back. He shares his thoughts on the Yeti, and mentions his efforts at setting up a charitable foundation, following in the footsteps of Edmund Hillary, who he says he respects "more for his social work than for his climbing." He wraps up the interview by discussing his time in office as a politician, which seemed to leave him a bit frustrated by the process.

All in all, a good interview from a man whose reputation and legacy are certainly secure. For me, Messner is indeed the greatest mountaineer of all time, and I always enjoy reading his take on climbing, adventure, and life in general. He remains a very interesting man, and I'm not sure there will ever be another one like him.

Popular French Adventurer in a Coma After Suffering a Fall

42-year old French adventurer Sylvain Tesson is in a coma after suffering a fall while attempting to climb a building last week. The popular writer was in Chamonix at the time of the accident, which occurred last Wednesday. He is said to have fallen about 10 meters, striking his head on the pavement, injuring his brain and several other internal organs in the process. He has been in a medically-induced coma ever since, and his condition is said to be very serious.

Tesson is known for his urban climbing, often scaling buildings without the use of any safety gear. In the past, he has climbed the likes of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. In this incident, he was testing his skills on the chateau that he was staying at in Chamonix when the fall occurred. It is unclear at this time how long he will remain in the coma, or what his chances of a full recovery will be.

A popular figure in his home country, Tesson has had a series of globe-spanning adventures throughout his life, often sharing those experiences with readers through his writings. For instance, he once spent the better part of two years riding around the world on a bicycle. He has also crossed the Himalaya on foot, traveling from Bhutan to Tajikistan. Later, he would cross the Asian steppe, from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan on horseback, and later would travel from Yakutsk, Siberia to Calcutta, India on foot, tracing the same route used by Sławomir Rawicz to escape a Russian gulag as described in the famous book The Long Walk. More recently, he lived in a cabin along Lake Baikal in Siberia for five months, recounting his adventure in the book The Consolidation of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga.

At the moment, doctor's say that their hopes for a recovery are guarded. Tesson suffered serious injuries in the fall, and it is too soon to know if he will recover fully, or at all. His family is said to be at his bedside, waiting for an indication of his condition. My thoughts are with them in this time of need, and I wish Sylvain a full recovery.

Thanks to Louis-Philippe Loncke for sharing this story with me.

Chai pe Charcha on Car Parking Issues in India

Ever since congress wallah [some people call ‘wallah’ as minister J] Mani Shankar Aiyar took jibe on now Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi about his Chai wallah background, the ‘Chai pe Charcha’ has almost attained a godly status. During the election campaign, Mr. Modi used ‘Chai pe Charcha’ as one of the most effective tool to reach out to people of India. So, how can we, mere mortals, lag behind in this race to have our own ‘Chai pe Charcha’?

Video: Timelapse Video of the Heavens over Observatories

We'll wrap things up this week with this beautiful video, shot near a number of observatories in Australia and New Zealand. It is a timelapse clip with some breathtaking views of the night skies over the Southern Hemisphere. Enjoy these amazing images, and don't forget to look up at the skies over your head this weekend.

The Observatories from Alex Cherney on Vimeo.

11-Year Old to Become Youngest to Run a Marathon on All Seven Continents

An 11-year old boy is about to make us all feel like complete slackers.

On September 7, Nikolas Toocheck will take part in the  Chenaii Trail Marathon, held each year in India. If he completes the run, he will set a record for the youngest person to ever run a marathon on all seven continents. He has already finished marathons in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica.

Nikolas launched his efforts to achieve this goal back in 2012, running his first marathon in the Delaware. From there, he simply continued checking off the other continents, until he had just Asia left. In a couple of weeks, he hopes to add that continent to his list as well.

This young runner isn't tackling this challenge just so he can set records however. He is also running to raise funds for a nonprofit called Operation Warm that he has been instrumental in as well. The organization provides warm winter coats to underprivileged children who come from families who can't afford to buy coats themselves. So far, Nikolas has raised more than $40,000 for Operation Warm, which has purchased coasts for 2000 children. But he has his sights set much higher than that, hoping to reach his target goal of $1 million, which would benefit 50,000 kids.

Nikolas has dubbed this endeavor as Running the World for Children, as he has been using this platform to spread the word about Operation Warm as often as he can. As he nears the end of his challenge, he'll concentrate his efforts on raising more money for the cause.

According to Nikolas' website, he started running with his dad at a very young age, and competed in his first 5k at the age of 5. In that race, he mostly covered the distance on his dad's shoulders, but a year later he completed the same distance completely on his own. Since then, father and son have continued to run together, completing several marathons together. An avid trail and road runner, Nik doesn't seem to have any plans to quit running anytime soon.

Pretty inspirational stuff. Think about this young man when you head out for a run this weekend.

Video: Inspiration on a Mountain Bike

This short film shares the story of Nick Geddes, a mountain biker who didn't feel well prior to a competitions a few years back. While riding the course, he ended up crashing, and the next thing he knew he was being rushed to the hospital, where it was discovered that he had Leukemia, which is cancer in the blood cells. For a time, it looked like his life would be over, literally and figuratively. But Nick survived chemo therapy, and got back on his bike, and started to ride again. His story is an inspiring one, beautifully told by filmmaker Leo Zuckerman. It is definitely worth the seven-minutes it'll take you to watch.

ELIXIR from Leo Zuckerman on Vimeo.

Casting Call: BBC and Discovery Channel Seeking Participants For New Survival Show

BBC Worldwide Productions and the Discovery Channel have put out a casting call for a new survival series, and they've asked me to share it with readers at The Adventure Blog. According to the email I received from Safford Productions,  the show, which remains untitled at this time, will be a true test of survival, and not for the faint of hear. Here is the notice that was sent my way in its entirety.


NOW CASTING
HARD CORE, TRUE SURVIVALISTS!

BBC Worldwide Productions and the network that brought you ‘Naked and Afraid’, ‘Dual Survival’, and ‘Deadliest Catch’ are casting a unique, exciting, never before imagined survivalist series.

We are going big and looking for the best of the best — we are interested only in those who have the proven skills to last hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and week-to-week in an unforgiving, unpredictable, and untamed environment in one of the most remote parts of the world.

We are looking for a cast of individuals with varied backgrounds, from Boy Scouts to preppers, botanists to ex-military, medics, scientists, engineers, hunters and gatherers, and everything in between. You must be strong in character, quick thinking, highly competitive, methodical, resourceful and strategic.

This is not survival light! The mental strength and physical ability to persevere in the remote wilds of an unfamiliar territory WILL BE REQUIRED. You will be tested in a 24/7 live and interactive TV format, where viewers will be able to track your progress—and your failures. We are only interested in the real deal—casual weekend campers and reality show wannabes need not apply.

We challenge you to survive 42 days in the wild, relying on nothing but your skills, your smarts, and your will to survive.

CAN YOU HANDLE IT?


For more information, call


There you have it folks. If you think you fit the bill, then contact the production company at the email or telephone number above. Good luck! Perhaps we'll all be watching you on TV soon. 

Esquire Interviews 5-Time Everest Summiteer Melissa Arnot

Esquire magazine has posted an interview with Melissa Arnot, one of the most accomplished and respected mountain guides on the planet. For those who aren't familiar with Arnot's resume, she has summited Everest five times, and has topped out on Rainer more than 100 times. She has had multiple expeditions to Aconcagua, Cotopaxi, and Kilimanjaro, and she's even been up Denali once. In short, she's incredibly accomplished in the mountains, and it is great to see her get some mainstream publicity.

Calling her "the most badass woman in mountain climbing," Esquire talks to Melissa about how she prepares to climb Everest. Arnot says that her workout routine involves 4-5 strength and endurance training, mixed with Yoga, several times a week. This year, she even added training for a marathon to the mix, which she ran right before she left for Nepal. She also discusses how she dealt with the disappointment of the season being can called, saying she returned home, and went on a long bike ride from Yellowstone to Glacier National Park, and back again, covering some 700 miles in the process. Arnot says it still didn't feel like it was enough to get her over not being able to climb.

Speaking on the tragic accident that claimed the lives of 16 Sherpas on Everest this past spring, Melissa says that she thinks continuing the expeditions would have helped a lot of people to heal. She says she understands the plight of the Sherpas, and their demands for better pay/insurance, but she also feels they were "shooting themselves in the foot" by closing down the mountain. She emphasizes that the season didn't end because the mountain was too dangerous, but because of a political fight between the Sherpas and the Nepali government.

Melissa also notes that she is returning to Nepal this fall with the Juniper Fund, a nonprofit that she started. She has been raising money to help the families of some of the Sherpas who lost their lives on Everest, and other Himalayan peaks, and will be visiting them to start delivering those funds.


As I mentioned above, it is always great to see someone that we follow on a regular basis here on The Adventure Blog to get some mainstream recognition. This interview is mostly a collection of quotes from Melissa, but they do help to convey her story, and her feelings for life in the mountains, and the tragic set of events that took place in Nepal this season. But, since this is the mainstream press, there are a few inaccuracies in the story. For instance, the writer says that Arnot holds the record for the most summits of Everest by a female climber. Melissa herself would tell you that that is not true. Yes, she has climbed the mountain more times than any other western woman, but Lakpa Sherpa is believed to have six summits, one more than Arnot. If things had gone according to plan, Melissa would have tried to summit twice this past spring, earning her the distinction of holding the record. As it stands, she'll go back next year to add to her total.

The writer also describes a climb up Everest as "trek" at one point, which is hardly the case. True, you can trek to Everest Base Camp, but I don't know that I've ever heard of the climb to the top referred that way. She also mistakenly referred to Glacier National Park as "Glacial," which may sound like I'm nitpicking, but I would expect the writer to at least get that correct.

Still, Melissa does most of the heavy lifting, and it is good to get her read on the situation in Nepal, and her approach to high altitude mountaineering. The article is worth a read for that alone.

Cyclical nature of commercial real estate

This post deals with commercial real estate in India. For the last 2 years, one would have noticed that most real estate developers and private equity funds have focused their energies on development of residential real estate across India. Why did this happen? Why did real estate developers in last 2 years solely focus on residential real estate? Well, the answer lies in global economic slowdown. Due to global economic slowdown, companies started to lay off employees and there was freeze on investment in new projects. And all of this resulted in lack of demand for commercial office space by companies. Due to lack of demand of office space, developers ignored the commercial real estate and that has resulted in tight supply of office space.

Video: Table Mountain Timelapse

South Africa's Table Mountain, located in Cape Town, is one of the most iconic places on the entire continent. Each year, thousands of people hike, or take the tram, to the summit, for spectacular views of the surrounding area. The timelapse video below captures scenes from Table Mountain, demonstrating to us all why it is such a fantastic place.


on Top - Cape Town, SA from Bassem Hamadeh on Vimeo.

Video: Trials on Trails - Mountain Biking Corsica

To put their mountain biking skills to the test, riders Hans Rey and Kenny Belaey traveled to the island of Corsica, where they found plenty of great places to ride. The video below documents their trip, which includes the first mountain bike descent of Capu D'Orto, a local hill that looks like it was not meant to be ridden. Mixed in with some impressive trails, the boys get to show off their trials skills as well. Some of the shots in this clip will actually leave you wondering just exactly where the trail is.

Trials on Trails : Hans Rey et Kenny Belaey from Éditions VTOPO on Vimeo.

Video: To Yosemite, With Love!

Yosemite has been the subject of a number of posts here on The Adventure Blog lately, and deservingly so. After all, we are talking about a national park that has a rich history of outdoor adventure. Today, I have a great video to share with you. It comes our way from the folks at Mountain Hardwear, and it features climber Cheyne Lempe, who lives full-time in the valley, and climbs some of the biggest, and best, rock walls that the park has to offer.

To Yosemite, With Love from Mountain Hardwear on Vimeo.

Shackleton 100 Celebrates The Greatest Survival Story of All Time

100 hundred years ago this month, Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 27 men, set out from Plymouth in the U.K. aboard their ship, the Endurance. Their destination was Antarctica, where Shackleton and his team hoped to become the first men to make a land crossing of the frozen continent. But fate had other plans for the veteran polar explorer and his men. That crossing would never take place, and they would soon find themselves in a fight for survival that seems hard to believe, even a century after it took place.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Endurance Expedition, an organization called Shackleton 100 is organizing a series of events that will commemorate the historic journey. Over the next two years, the group will recognize some of the major milestones that occurred on the expedition. The first of those events was a re-enactment of the launch of the Endurance a century earlier.

It would take weeks for the Endurance to reach the Southern Ocean, with the ship and her crew reaching South Georgia Island, where they resupplied and sent back word of their progress, before proceeding onward. They left the island on December 5, 1914, and approached the Antarctic continent soon there after. Heavy ice slowed progress for a time, but they pressed forward. Shackleton was eager to begin the traverse, as it was summer in the Southern Hemisphere. But on January 19, 1915, the ship became stuck in the ice, completely surrounded, and unable to move in any direction. Disaster had struck.

Shackleton and his crew stayed aboard the Endurance, for a few weeks before he realized that the only way the ship would break free would be to wait for the spring thaw. That was still months away, so in February, the crew disembarked from the ship, and set up a temporary base on the ice flows. There they stayed through the long Antarctic winter, waiting for someone to come rescue them, or for their own ship to break free from the ice at last.

It would be September before the thaw would begin, but the pressure that the shifting ice placed on the Endurance was too much. On October 24, her hull was breached, and it soon became clear that the ship was lost. All of the supplies for the expedition were offloaded onto the ice, and on November 21, the vessel sunk beneath the surface. The men truly were stranded, hundreds of miles from the closest human settlement.



The crew of the Endurance stayed on the ice for nearly two months, hoping that it would flow close enough to Paulet Island that they could retrieve a supply cache that they had left there. But the Southern Ocean wasn't cooperating, and thick ice continued to block their way. Forced to move their base of operations to another ice flow, and set up a camp called "Patience," the men continued to wait, but in April of 1916 that ice flow began to break apart, and Shackleton ordered his men into lifeboats. They survived five long, and very difficult, days at sea, crossing nearly 350 miles (560 km) of open ocean, before landing on the remote Elephant Island, exhausted and without hope.

Knowing that their supplies were running low, and that Elephant Island was far from the shipping lanes, Shackleton made a bold move to try to find help. Taking just five men, he took one of the lifeboats, and set off on an open-water crossing of the Southern Ocean in an attempt to reach South Georgia, where a whaling station was maintained year round. It took 15 days to cover the 800 nautical miles (1480 km) to reach the island, and when they did, the men were on the wrong side. Rather than risk returning to the sea, Shackleton, along with two of his men, force marched for 36 hours, covering 32 miles over very rough terrain to reach the whaling station, and the help they were desperately searching for. That was on May 20, 1916.

Fearing for the safety of his men still on Elephant Island, Shackleton immediately went to work organizing a rescue. But, just like everything else on this expedition, it didn't go as planned. Heavy ice blocked the approach to the island, and it took three tries before a ship was able to locate the crew of the Endurance. They were rescued on August 30, more than two years after they had set sail from Plymouth.

Through this entire ordeal, Shackleton remained steadfast in his leadership, and always looked out for the safety of his men. After all they had been through – the loss of they their, ship, living for months on the ice, the long ocean crossings, the lack of supplies, etc. – not a single member of the crew was lost. That is a fact that continues to amaze me to this day.

Shackleton and his men returned to a world that they could barely recognize. When they had set out on their expedition in August of 1914, a war was on the verge of breaking out in Europe. The predominant feeling at the time was that it wouldn't last long, and that life would return to normal in a matter of months. That conflict escalated into the first World War, and in 1916 a stalemate of sorts was underway. By that point, millions of lives and been lost, as new weapons of mass destruction, including poison gas, flame throwers, and machine guns, were introduced on the battlefield for the first time. Europe was in chaos, and madness had gripped a world of sanity that Shackleton and his crew had left behind.

Many of the men would recover from their ordeal, only to be pressed into service in the war. Some of them would not survive. Shackleton himself volunteered for duty, and requested an assignment in France. He was denied that request, and was instead sent to South America in an attempt to rally other countries to help fight the war. It was a job he was ill suited for.

After the war, he went on the lecture circuit, and later organized one last expedition to the Antarctic. During that final voyage, Shackleton suffered a fatal heart attack and died. He is buried on South Georgia Island today.

The Shackleton 100 group plans to commemorate all of these milestones, and more, in the weeks and months ahead. You can find a full calendar of events on the organization's website, with a schedule that runs through October of 2016.

As I've said before, Shackleton's story is perhaps the greatest survival story of all time, and I definitely feel it is one that should be retold for a generation that probably knows little about this famously doomed expedition. Hopefully, the efforts of the Shackleton 100 will help share that story.

Alastair Humphreys Talks "Microadventures" with Adventure Journal

A couple of months back I reviewed Alastair Humphrey's new book Microadventures: Local Discoveries, Great Escapes, and found it to be a great read for anyone looking to add a regular dose of adventure to their daily lives. Over the past few years, Alastair, who has quite a few big adventures under his belt, has been championing the idea of microadventures, which are short, cheap, and easy to accomplish adventures that are close to home. The idea is that there are plenty of great things to do right in our backyard for those times when we can't be off on some globe-spanning expedition. With a little creativity, and an open mind, we'll find that there are adventures all around us.

Recently, Alastair sat down with the Adventure Journal to talk about adventure in all of its forms, including the microadventure. In a 10-question interview, Humphrey's talks about how adventure has evolved over the past 200 years, and how it has changed for him personally over the past decade. He also talks about how the concept of the microadventure has taken on a life of its own, particularly as it grew into a hashtag on social media. Alastair goes on to to reveal his toughest adventure yet, the gear he can't live without, and what its like to turn adventure into a job.

I have been saying for some time now that I really like Alastair's idea of promoting microadventures. We all get caught up in the routine of our daily lives, and it is easy to get stuck in a rut. But just by changing up your schedule a bit, and finding new ways to get outside and enjoy the world around us, you can add a dose of adventure to your life. That can have a major impact on how you live, and open your eyes to all the possibilities that exist around us.

Of course, we all enjoy those big adventures that send us off to some remote corner of the globe. Those are fantastic escapes from regular life as well. But we don't always have the time, or the money, to take those kinds of trips. A microadventure sprinkled into the routine on a regular basis won't necessarily replace that kind of escape, but it will at least provide a dose of excitement that can continue to fuel your passions while you wait for the next big adventure to come along.

Here at The Adventure Blog I tend to cover the really big expeditions that are taking place all over the world. But, I also feel that adventure is where we find it, and anything we can do to promote others to pursue their passions, whatever they may be, is a good thing. That's what microadventrues are all about, and that's why they can play a much larger role in our lives than their "micro" name implies.

Go find your adventure, big or small.

Video: Meet The Red Bull Air Force

Over the years, Red Bull has become synonymous with adventure and action sports. The company sponsors some major mountain biking, paddling, and running events, and has a seemingly ever-growing stable of athletes. In the video below, we meet the members of the Red Bull Air Force, a group of BASE jumpers and wingsuit pilots who are pushing the limits on what humans are capable of in the air. The video is filled with amazing shots of these guys doing what they do best, flying through the air at breakneck speeds, and pulling off some unbelievable stunts in the process. Warning: May induce adrenaline overload.

Video: Pro Kayakers Make 800 Meter Descent of a Drainage Ditch

This is the wildest video I've seen in some time. It features pro kayakers Rush Sturges and Ben Marr flying down a draining ditch at Lion's Bay, in British Columbia, Canada. In total, the two men drop approximately 800 meters (2265 feet), while achieving speeds in excess of 72 km/hr (45 mph). All of the action is caught on their trusty GoPro cameras of course. Hold on tight for this one.

Video: Paddling the Stikine River in British Columbia

The Stikine River, located in northern British Columbia in Canada, is one of the top paddling destination in North America during the fall. Each year, kayakers from all over the world descend on the Stikine to test their skills on the wild whitewater found there. This short film follows one such team, which visited the Stikine for the first time in the fall of 2013. The footage they captured is excellent, and it seems that the river lived up to its reputation.

Stikine Season from Adrian Kiernan on Vimeo.

CNN Interviews Lance Armstrong

Former seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong continues to be a polarizing figure, both amongst cycling fans and the general public, with whom his story took on a larger-than-life aspect that transcended the sport that made him famous. Since admitting to using performance enhancing drugs more than a year-and-a-half ago, Armstrong has tried to get on with his life as best he can. Over that period, he has lost all of his sponsors, been dismissed from Livestrong, the organization that he founded, and publicly vilified on a number of occasions. In a new interview with CNN, Armstrong talks about life in the aftermath, and where he hopes to be headed in the future.

The interview with Armstrong is just the first of a two part series that takes a look at whether or not redemption is an option for Lance. In it, Armstrong says that he never encounters vitriol from the general public in his day-to-day life. He maintains that not a single person has ever said anything to him directly about the scandal, even though he has sensed that some have wanted to from time to time. He also notes that the characteristics that made him a great cyclist – the drive to win, the intensity, etc. – have also been part of his undoing in the wake of the revelation that he used PED's while riding in the Tour. That combative attitude served him well as a professional athlete, but not so much when he has tried to reconstruct his public image.

Over the months since he admitted to doping, Lance has attempted to apologize, both to the general public and to those that he hurt along the way. That includes the likes of Greg LeMond, the former Tour de France winner who doggedly accused Armstrong of using PED's, even when the rest of the world was willing to believe he was clean. LeMond has not accepted Armstrong's calls. On the other hand, Frankie and Betsy Andreu, former friends of Armstrong who spoke out about his use of performance enhancing drugs, did accept his call. Lance says that his first apology was to Betsy, and she accepted, but now he feels that she has revoked that acceptance, and continues to carry a grade. While combatting all those accusations over the years, Armstrong was vicious and unrelenting in his counter attacks on those who questioned his story. That is something I'm sure is almost impossible to forgive.



Armstrong goes on to say that he won't pass the blame on to anyone else. He is responsible for his actions, and is owning up to the decisions that he made. He also says that he's ready to re-emerge in the public eye, although in a more understated fashion. He wants to relaunch the Lance Armstrong Foundation, his original cancer-fighting organization, and he is planning to write a book to tell more of his side of the story. Whether or not anyone wants to read it remains to be seen.

The interview is a long, and comprehensive one, and a good read for cycling fans, or those who have ever had an interest in Lance's story. He is still a complicated figure, and it is often hard to reconcile feeling for what he has done. But, Armstrong recognizes this, and seems like a man who just wants to set the record straight, try to make some amends, and get back to doing the the things he loves.

The second part of CNN's Armstrong story takes a look at the people that he stepped on as he was on his way to the top, and again when he came tumbling down. People like the Andreus, who say Armstrong still isn't coming completely clean with his story. Betsy says that she and Lance had arranged to meet, so he could not only apologize in person, but he could look them in the eyes, and hash out some of the things he did and said. But she claims Armstrong cancelled that meeting at the last minute, and has spun the story to make it seem like she was the one who rebuffed him.

Greg LeMond talks a bit about his side of the story as well. When he first spoke out against Armstrong, he was helping to design bikes at Trek – a major sponsor of Lance. Trek would abruptly end their teal with LeMond which would put the former Tour champ – the only American to be recognized with that title – in serious jeopardy. With his business in ruins, and Armstrong's lawyers coming after him with a full-court press, LeMond faced dramatic financial problems. That has all changed now, and he is weighing his options for suing Armstrong as well.

The gist of this second article is whether or not Lance can be forgiven for his bullying tactics. For years he went after those who spoke out against him, only for us to find out later that what they said was true. I've often said that while I was not surprised by the doping – it was part of the culture of cycling during Lance's era – it was his behavior of attacking those who spoke up that disturbed me the most. He was heartless in his attacks, often running careers, and those are the actions that are most unforgivable.

Where the Lance Armstrong story goes from here remains to be seen. I applaud him for his efforts to get his life back on track, and continue to do good things to combat cancer. But I'm not sure he'll ever be able to redeem himself completely. Lance Armstrong is a determined guy however, and I would never count him out of anything.

It should be noted, that the Livestrong Foundation has also donated $50 million to the University of Texas to help fund a new cancer research unit there. It is the organization's biggest donation since Armstrong left, and it is a sign of his continued legacy as well. Something that should offer at least a little hope for forgiveness.

Dare to Adventure

#INTERVIEW


I am very honored to have a short interview with HT Holidays and to be a part of their Dare to Adventure community!

For everybody's benefit, HT Holidays is Niseko-Hirafu's premier accommodation provider. Niseko is becoming the most popular destination for skiers and boarders during winter.





#FoodHoppingSG - 1942 Alfresco @ Changi & War Museum

1942 Alfresco @ Changi #ThePastBackToLife. I am always very psyched about going to a themed restaurant. The exterior of a restaurant definitely is a big point of attraction to earn my money. I came across this restaurant on facebook (someone reposted and appeared on my feed) and I am quite surprised that Singapore actually has such an interesting restaurant with history themed. I believe the owner of this restaurant survived the World War II.


Outside Explores Yosemite's Rebel Culture

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Yosemite National Park is one of the best outdoor playgrounds on the planet. It offers visitors spectacular hiking, amazing backcountry backpacking, and perhaps the best rock climbing in the entire world. Over the years, it has been a gathering point for some of the most influential personalities in the outdoor community, and it remains a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts from across the globe.

For decades, Yosemite has also been the epicenter of an adventure-fueled counter-culture revolution in the U.S.. In the 60's it was led by men such as Royal Robbins and Yvon Chouinard, and their spirit can still be felt in the valley today. Those men adopted a simple life, living out of their tents and vans, while climbing everything the park had to offer, gaining a deep seated love and respect for the environment in the process. That spirit still exists in Yosemite today, although it is taking on forms that those outdoor legends may not even recognize.

That's the basis of a new story from Outside magazine that was posted on Outside Online a few days ago. Spurred on by the new documentary, Valley Uprising by Sender Films (due out this fall), the article takes a look at the "rebel" culture that developed in and around Yosemite over the past 50 years. In the 60's that culture involved "hippy" climbers invading Yosemite Valley to climb its iconic walls. That eventually led to clashes with the park rangers, and resentments that lasted for years.

Today, the spirit of rebellion is still alive and well in Yosemite, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary since being granted protected status (it wouldn't actually become a national park until 1890).  Many of the men and women who climb in the park cast large shadows over the culture that is evolving there now. Guys like Alex Honnold, who has a huge following amongst the community there. But BASE jumpers and wingsuit pilots are also carving their own niche, and they have brought a rebellious nature that is both shared, and different from that which was born in the valley in the past.

Outside's article serves as a nice primer for the arrival of Valley Uprising, and it will probably make you want to see the film even more. The story closes by sharing brief bios of some of the important figures from Yosemite's past, helping readers to understand their importance on the culture that has grown up there.

It's a fun read and definitely worth a look. Check out the trailer for Valley Uprising below.


Video: Beautiful Scenes From Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is amongst the most spectacular natural settings on the planet, and this short, but oh-so-sweet, video is a good reminder of that. Barely a minute in length, it manages to capture some of the best scenes from Yosemite Valley, not to mention some excellent wildlife shots as well. Beautifully shot, and creatively put together, this is a fun video to end the day. I hope you enjoy.

RESERVE from Philipp Girke on Vimeo.

Video: Rebuilt For Mountain Biking

Last year, professional mountain bike rider Mark Matthews crashed during a competition, breaking his femur in the process. Doctors told him it would take months for him to heal, and that he shouldn't even consider riding again for at least year. That wasn't good enough for Mark, who set out to prove the doctors wrong. As a result of training hard, rehabbing diligently, and watching his diet, he was back on the bike well ahead of schedule. The video below shares a bit of that story, but mostly it is a celebration of returning to the trails after being away for too long.

Mark Matthews - Rebuilt from iXS Sports Division on Vimeo.

Pakistan 2014: Final Thoughts on K2

The climbing season in the Karakoram of Pakistan has come and gone, and by now we should be starting to look ahead to the fall climbing season in the Himalaya. But this year's historic performance on K2 is one that is worth reflecting on, and there is still much that can be learned from the climbers who spent weeks on the mountain. With that in mind, here are some thoughts on climbing the "Savage Mountain" directly from some of the climbers who were there.

ExWeb has posted an interview with Adrian Hayes in which he shares his thoughts on his successful summit of K2. Adrian was a part of the first summit push, which topped out on July 26. He notes that that round of summiteers were fortunate that the weather was so good, because they often had to wait for extended periods of time for the fixed ropes to be installed. Adrian remarks that if the temperature were a few degrees colder, or the winds were a bit stronger, that not all of the 32 people who summited that day would have been successful.

When asked if K2 has been "tamed," Adrian has a direct and pointed answer. He says that "K2 will never be tamed," and he points to the lack of summit success from the Pakistan side of the mountain from 2009 - 2011, and again in 2013, as an example. This year was an aberration. It had the best weather that has possibly ever been seen on K2, and as a result, the level of success was also unprecedented.

Adrian goes on to discuss how he managed his fear while climbing such a difficult mountain, his thoughts on approaching Camp 3, where friends Marty and Denali Schmidt passed away in 2013, his thoughts on strategies for climbing the mountain (hint: get there early, bring strong Sherpas), and much more. Since he was on K2 in 2013, when no one was able to summit, Adrian has some good thoughts on comparing the two very different seasons.

He wasn't the only one sharing his insights on the 2014 K2 season. Alan Arnette has also posted an article to his website that includes some broad thoughts on his climb as well. He touches on some of the logistics of the climb, discussing the organization of his team, which was led by Garret Madison of Madison Mountaineering. Alan indicated that while it may have appeared that the team was using the usual "siege" tactics that are common in the Himalaya, they were actually a small, focused squad that almost went in alpine style instead. The Sherpas led the way of course, doing much of the shuttling of gear to high camp, but the rest of the team was well prepared, and climbed well together too.


Alan also touches on the almost unbelievably good weather, his own preparation for the climb, and the incredible Sherpa support the team had. He also mentions that while he was more than physically prepared for the challenges of K2, it was the mental challenges that he truly had to prepare for. Since summiting Everest a few years back, Alan has worked on improving his mental toughness, and it paid off for him in the Karakoram this summer. When he needed to dig deep, and push on to the top, he found reserves that he didn't even know he had. As a result, he was able to summit the toughest mountain on the planet.

Alan's post contains a lot of insights on his personal experience on K2, but the comments section has become an ongoing Q&A session as well. Readers have been posting their questions about the climb, and Alan has been personally answering each of them. Those questions have been far reaching, and they will help anyone to further understand what goes into a climb of this type. The article, and the comments that follow, are a great resource of information on climbing K2 specifically, and 8000 meter peaks in general.

Finally, Chris Jansen Burke became the first Australian woman to summit K2 when she topped out on July 26 as well. She shared her personal story in a two part recap of the season as well. Part 1 can be found here, while the second part is here. Initially, Chris traveled to Pakistan to attempt Broad Peak, which was to serve as an acclimatization climb before heading over to the real prize – K2. She did indeed acclimatize on BP, but the summit remained elusive, so after spending several weeks on that mountain, she jumped over to K2 Base Camp to take advantage of the weather window that was predicted to open there. Her lengthy, detailed account of the climb is a good read, with lots of personal insights as well. Chris is a strong climber, with lots of experience on 8000 meter peaks, so her thoughts are always interesting to read.

In addition to her personal account of the climb, she has also posted a brief Q&A blog post in which she answers some of the more common questions that have come her way post-climb. She talks about how having more teams on the mountain helped to make it a more successful season, who was responsible for fixing the ropes at each phase of the climb, whether or not she ever thought about turning back on summit day, and much, much more. Again, it is a very insightful post, with great information on K2, and Chris' personal experience on the mountain.

That about wraps it up for the K2 coverage this season. I'm not sure how much more there is to say about. It has been several weeks since the successful summit push, and most of the climbers have shared their thoughts on what a great year it was on the mountain. Soon, the mountaineering world will turn its attention on the fall Himalayan climbing season, and our focus will shift elsewhere. But 2014 will be seen as a historic year on K2, when conditions were just right for success. Whether or not that same level of success can be replicated in the future remains to be seen. But for this one year, K2 was very welcoming indeed.