Video: The Landscapes of Iceland

If you're looking for inspiration to travel at the moment, than look no further than this video. It features some amazingly beautiful shots from Iceland, a country that is blessed with a riches of natural resources. I have yet to visit Iceland myself, but every time I see clip like this one I become more determined to go at some point. With scenery like this, who wouldn't want to have the country on their bucket list?

Iceland from Andrzej Fryda Studio F4 on Vimeo.

Video: Cyclist Does Amazing Things on a Road Bike

It's moving day at Adventure Blog headquarters so there will be limited updates today. But, I do have a few great videos to share, including this amazing clip that features cyclist Sam Pilgrim performing some amazing stunts on a bike. We've seen plenty of great mountain biking videos over the years with riders pulling off some great tricks, but what sets this one apart is that Sam is doing all of his riding on road bike. Prepare to be amazed!

Video: Timelapse Over the Aletsch Glacier

The Aletsch Glacier is the largest in the Alps, and it makes for an amazing backdrop to this beautiful timelapse video. The scenes shown in this short clip were taken over several years and are a compilation of the best shots from photographer Markus Eihenberger. I think you'll find them breathtakingly beautiful.

ALETSCH ARENA DAY & NIGHT from Markus Eichenberger Photography on Vimeo.

Video: Rock Climbing in Israel is Illegal, Meet the Man Trying to Change That

I wasn't aware that rock climbing was illegal in Israel, but thanks to this video from EpicTV we get to meet the man who is hoping to change that. His name is Ofer Blutrich and he is working to raise awareness within the climbing community of the prohibition of the sport in his country. He freely admits that he knows Israel has a lot of other problems that it is facing, but he is trying to convince authorities there that repealing the ban on climbing could be good for the tourist economy, particularly since there are some good spots to climb there. It is an interesting story, and there are plenty of great climbing shots in the video as well.

Video: Clouds Over the Grand Canyon

This video comes our way courtesy of the National Parks Service. It is a short timelapse shot of the Grand Canyon that was just posted yesterday. The clip condenses 30 minutes of realtime down to just a single minute of video that shows the amazing cloud cover that enveloped the Canyon. As you can see, the clouds formed below the rim, creating an eerie sight for anyone who came to catch a glimpse of the magnificent landscapes there.

Lance Armstrong Admits That He Would Dope Again

Lance Armstrong is back in the news once again this week thanks to an interview he gave to the BBC. In that interview Lance talks openly about life after his ban from professional cycling – or competing in any sports for that matter – saying that the fallout from his confession to doping throughout his career has been "heavy." But the part of the interview that continues to make headlines is when the former seven-time winner of the Tour de France admits that he would "probably do it again" in regards to using performance enhancing drugs while racing. This quote has of course let many shaking their heads, particularly if it is taken out of the context of the interview. But if you step back and take a look at what Lance is saying, his words really should come as much of a surprise.

During the interview Lance is asked if he had to do it over again, would he still use PEDs. His answer was "If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn't do it again because I don't think you have to," In that statement Armstrong is saying he'd ride clean if he were part of the peloton today, because the sport is cleaner in general But he goes on to follow up that sentence by saying "If you take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive, I would probably do it again."

The sport of cycling has come a long way since Armstrong dominated the Tour back in the late 90's and early 2000's. It is indeed cleaner, although it is far from perfect. But when Lance was winning races testing for EPO and other banned substances was either primitive or nonexistent altogether. Practically everyone who was riding at the time was using some kind PED to get ahead. When most of the peloton was taking part in the practice, riders had little choice but to either get with the program, or be completely left behind by the sport.

In the interview with the BBC, Lance is simply being very honest with his answer. Those who are shocked by what he said probably don't understand the era in which he competed. It was a time when performance enhancing drugs were common. So much so that since Tour de France officials vacated Armstrong's seven titles they have been unable to award the wins to anyone else because most of the other top riders have tested positive for banned substances along the way as well.

I have often contended that much like the "steroid era" of baseball, the results of that period in cycling should still stand as well. It was a different time when the use of PEDs were so predominant that it was more unusual to find a rider who competed clean than it was to find someone who juiced. That isn't to say that it was right, only that the riders were mostly on a level playing field because nearly all of them were using something. Much like baseball, it is a good idea to compartmentalize that time period, recognize it for what it was, and move on with cleaning up the sport. Fortunately, there have at least been significant gains made in that area, even if there is still work to be done.

As for Armstrong, he is hoping to get his lifetime ban from sports lifted to he can start competing in events once again. There is no denying that he is a true competitor, and he would like nothing more than to strap on a pair of running shoes, or get back on a bike, and show us what he can do once again. He feels that it is time that we forgive him for his use of PEDs. But what he doesn't understand is that for many of us it isn't the revelation of his doping that has shocked us. Rather, it was the tactics that he took to cover up the doping that is most troublesome. When he was at the height of his popularity he made ruthless, systematic efforts to ruin the careers and lives of anyone who dared say that he wasn't riding clean when he won the Tour de France. A number of people became pariahs in the cycling world, and the court of pubic opinion, thanks to Lance's efforts to discredit them. It is that shameful behavior that is most difficult to forgive, and it will take an awful lot to reshape his public image as a result.

Winter Climbs 2015: Summit Push Begins on Nanga Parbat

The last time we checked in on the teams on Nanga Parbat they were hunkered down in Base Camp waiting out poor weather. Reportedly high winds, heavy snow, and extremely cold temperatures had fallen on mountain, and there was nothing they could do but wait for a weather window. Apparently conditions have started to change, as the Russian squad on the Rupal Face has now launched a summit bid.

According to Russian climb the team of Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo, Serguey Kondrashkin and Victor Koval sent an SMS message sent earlier in the day indicating that they have started to go back up the mountain. The message was short, and to the point, simply saying "We begin to climb up." That text message follows one sent yesterday that indicated that the team had re-opened the route  the route from 3600 meters (11,811 ft) to 4600 meters (15,091 ft). That section of the climb was no doubt choked with snow from the recent storms.

Previously we knew that the Russians had established a series of camps up to 7100 meters (23,293 ft). That would put them within striking distance of the 8126 meter (26,660 ft) summit, although there is still a great deal of altitude to be gained in that push. If they hope to put up the first winter ascent of Nanga, it will still require a herculean effort on their part, no to mention a prolonged break in the weather.

You may recall that earlier in the season Polish climber Tomek Mankiewicz and his climbing partner Elisabeth Revol from France, were able to reach 7800 meters (25,590 ft) but were turned back du to high winds. We'll just have to wait to see if the Russians have more success.

Meanwhile, reports indicate that Spanish climber Alex Txikon has reached Base Camp on the Diamir side of the mountain. He arrived there a few days back, and like everyone else he is waiting for the weather to clear. He has established his campsite and is preparing to head up the mountain – along with climbing partners Muhammad Ali Sadpara and Muhammad Kahn. No word yet on when they'll begin their acclimatization rotations, but I'd expect that to start happening soon.

Finally, there has been no recent updates from Italian climber Daniele Nardi, who is probably in BC at the moment as well. He has completed his acclimatization rotations and should soon be ready for a summit bid of his own. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and he can launch his bold solo attempt.

That's all for now. I'll post more news as warranted.

Video: Timedrift - Alpine Settings Captured in Timelapse and 4K

You'll be hard pressed to find another timelapse video as beautiful as this one. Shot in and around the Italian and Swiss Alps, it features some beautiful alpine images that are simply breathtaking. This is two minutes and forty-five seconds of pure bliss for anyone who loves the mountains. And if you're fortunate enough to own a 4K monitor, the entire video is available here in that format as well. Enjoy!

TIMEDRIFT | ALPINE 4K TIMELAPSE from Martin Heck | Timestorm Films on Vimeo.

Video: Altai - The Road and the River

This past summer, expedition kayaker Chris Korbulic traveled to the Altai Mountains of Russia to explore the wilderness and paddle the rivers found there. This short film shares that adventure with us, delivering some amazing images from that remote place, mixed with some impressive paddling on rivers that are seldom seen by outsider. Chris and his team discovered some epic whitewater along the way, with massive waterfalls, narrow canyons, and some truly wild destinations. This is a truly great piece of filmmaking with some breathtaking shots on and off the water.

Altai - The Road and the River from chris korbulic on Vimeo.

Video: Mountain Biking Norway

This far too short video gives us an amazing glimpse of what it is like to mountain bike near the Fjords of Norway. The footage was shot in the incredible looking Romsdalen Valley, which looks to have some amazing trails for riders to explore. The clip appears to be a promo for Visit Norway that is meant to entice visitors to the region. I'd say it will be fairly successful judging from what I've seen here.

Antarctica 2014: Final Team Safely Back at Union Glacier

Yesterday I noted that the final Antarctic ski team had reached the finish line at Hercules Inlet after skiing for 74 days straight. Stéphanie and Jérémie Gicquel, along with guide Are Johnson, had set out from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf back in November and had managed to traverse the Antarctic continent via the South Pole. By the time they wrapped up their journey yesterday they had covered 2045 km (1270 miles), pushing through the last 45 km (28 miles) in a grueling 18 hour dash to the end. The trio had been racing against the clock to catch the last plane out, and fortunately they had made it just in time.

When they reached Hercules yesterday the trio of skiers were exhausted, weak, and hungry. Low on supplies, all they could do was crawl into their tent, rest, and wait for a plane to come pick them up. That happened earlier today when they were plucked from the ice and flown safely back to the camp and Union Glacier. According to their final dispatch they arrived just in time to enjoy a fine pancake breakfast. Something I'm sure was greatly appreciated.

Stéphanie, Jérémie, and Are now await a flight back to Punta Arenas, Chile, which will bring an end to their Antarctic adventure. That flight could come as early as today depending on weather conditions. Their departure from the frozen continent will bring an end to the current season there, as the weather will now take a turn for the worse, making travel impossible. But as I write this, other explorers and adventurers are already planning for the next Antarctic expedition season, which will get underway in November of this year.

The 2014 season was a relatively quiet one compared to recent years. But still, there were some terrific milestones achieved. In addition to the impressive traverse from this trio, we also saw Frédérick Dion kite-ski to the Pole of Inaccessibility before continuing on to the South Pole as well. Frédérick would eventually traverse the continent too, using the wind to pull him along. Equally impressive was Newall Hunter's efforts in the Antarctic. He managed to complete a solo-ski to the South Pole before heading over to Mt. Vinson to summit that peak while he was in the neighborhood. Not a bad effort on his part either.

Now, the curtain falls on the 2014 season and we'll turn our attention elsewhere. It is a bit of a quiet time in the world of outdoor adventure, but the spring Himalaya climbing season looms, and it should be a good one.

Sky Runner Kilian Jornet in The New Yorker

Kilian Jornet's amazing success in the mountains continues to earn him plenty of mainstream press. We've seen the Spanish sky runner garner attention from a number of unexpected sources as word of his exploits has spread to more traditional media outlets. The latest such outlet is The New Yorker, which recently published an excellent profile of the man who is setting new standards for speed on some of the world's most challenging peaks.

Video: Exploring Norway with a Wildlife Photographer

This video takes us on an incredible journey through Norway with wildlife photographer Michael Martinez has he goes in search of the perfect shots of animals in their natural habitat. He finds plenty of wildlife to shoot, but it is the stunning landscapes of Scandinavian country that will leave you breathless. The clip takes us to some truly wild places, with amazing images of those remote destinations. Beautiful.


Video: The First Ascent of Peixe Porco (9a)

For more than two years climber Leopoldo Faria attempted to complete a project that he calls Peixe Porco, a tough route located near Sagres, Portugal. The climb is rated a 9a in difficulty, which translates to a 5.14d on the Yosemite Decimal Scale. In other words, it is an incredibly hard route that challenged Leopoldo for months. But on March 2, 2013 he was able to overcome it at last. The beautiful video below shows that complete climb, and gives us a brief glimpse of exactly why this is such an tough climb.

Peixe Porco 9a – first ascent from Hands Up Creations on Vimeo.

The Best Gear of Winter Outdoor Retailer 2015

The 2015 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market gear show wrapped up this past weekend. The bi-annual event attracts the biggest gear companies in the world to show off their latest and greatest products, most of which won't arrive on store shelves until this coming fall. As usual, there were a host of interesting products on display, some of which were even truly groundbreaking. In fact, there was so much good stuff to see, that the Gear Junkie had to post his best of show selections in two different articles.

In Part 1 of his "Best of Show" round-up we get a look at a super-comfortable looking new hiking boot from Hoka, an avalanche air-bag system from The North Face, and a versatile new crampon developed by Black Diamond. There is also an ultra-light hammock from Eno, and a new moveable goggle lens design from Julbo, amongst other products.

Part 2 of the "Best of Show" round-up introduces us to a charger for our smartphones that provides power from a candle, as well as a new shoe from Under Armour that incorporates the tread from a fat tire mountain bike. There is also a cool device called the Fogo that incorporates a GPS device and two-way radio into a 1000-lumen flashlight. There is also a new battery pack for your GoPro courtesy of Brunton which not only provides a 400-lumen light, but promises to keep your camera running for 24 hours.

This is just a small taste of the gear that GJ highlighted from the show, and what he spotlights is just a tiny fraction of all of the items that were unveiled at Outdoor Retailer. Some of what was unveiled there will be arriving in your favorite gear shop soon, but much if it is slated for release in the Fall/Winter of 2015. This gives you plenty of time to start saving your pennies for that one item you need to complete your gear closet.

Winter Climbs 2015: No Progress on Nanga Parbat

Poor weather has arrived on Nanga Parbat, stalling out climbing efforts on that mountain, where no less than four teams will be trying to complete the first winter ascent. The notoriously difficult peak has already sent one team home this year, and now it is looking to repel all-comers once again. But there is a little less than two months to go in the season, and teams aren't ready to give up just yet.

We'll start with an update on the team that has departed Base Camp. Polish climber Tomek Mankiewicz is now in the town of Gilgit where he is receiving treatment for an injured leg and broken ribs that he suffered as a result of a fall down a crevasse while making his descent following a summit push. He also has severe frostbite in his toes, which may need to be amputated. He will likely spend a few more days there before he starts his journey home. 

Meanwhile, Tomek's climbing part Elisabeth Revol is already back home in France. There was a bit of confusion in the report about her departure last week, as it wasn't clear if she had left BC for home or had gone back up the mountain to try another summit push. It is now more than clear that she has returned home, doing so without even saying goodbye to the other teams in Base Camp. In a post-climb interview with ExWeb Elisabeth says that she now believes that the mountain is unclimbable for the winter, as poor wether has set in. She and Tomek spent 10 days trying to reach the top and were turned back. With that weather window now closed, she feels that there won't be another one for this winter, which is why she decided to leave.  

Italian climber Danielle Nardi remains in Base Camp on the Diamir Face and is waiting for the weather to clear so he can go back up the mountain. With his acclimatization now complete, he is also ready to stock his high camp with supplies and potentially press on towards the summit. But it has been snowing for several days now, and hurricane-force winds have arrived on the mountain, making it impossible for anyone to climb at the moment. Everyone is stuck in BC and waiting for a weather window to open. 

Over on the Rupal Face, the Russian team of Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo, Serguey Kondrashkin and Victor Koval have not updated their progress for a few days. The last we heard, they had climbed up to 7100 meters (23,293 ft) as they established camps up the side of the mountain. Presumably they are back in BC as well and waiting for their opportunity too. 

Finally, two new teams are set to arrive on the Diamir side soon. Alex Txikon, along with two local climbers – Muhammad Ali Sadpara and Muhammad Kahn – should reach Base Camp within the next few days, while the Iranian squad of Reza Bahadorani, Iraj Maani and Mahmood Hashemi are a few days further back. They'll arrive on a mountain that is now displaying the full challenges of climbing during the winter season, and it won't be a warm greeting. 

Antarctica 2014: Final Team Reaches the Coast

The 2014 Antarctic season is nearly over, and the last plane is scheduled to fly out of Union Glacier tomorrow, weather permitting. The final few weeks have not been easy for the last team out on the ice, as they have raced against the clock to get back to Hercules Inlet in time for departure. Their struggle was compounded by poor weather, deep snow, and harsh winds, but today they have completed their journey, and are now ready to head home at last.

The trio of Stéphanie and Jérémie Gicquel, and guide Are Johnson, have completed a 2045 km (1270 mile) round trip journey from the coast to the South Pole, and back again. Their expedition took them 74 days to complete, and has left them exhausted, but extremely proud and satisfied with their efforts.  The final dispatch announcing their arrival at Hercules was posted earlier today and it reads as follows:
74 days, 2045km. A lot of new records set. 45km in 18hrs the last day... 
A lot more on the blog in the days to come. (Text-pics) just have to sleep a little first.. 
Thanks to all of you who have followed the blog. 
Cheers from Are

As you can see, they had an extremely tough final day skiing 45 km (28 miles) over an 18 hour stretch just to get to the finish line. They are reportedly very low on food and extremely weary, and are now in their tent resting while they wait for a plane to come pick them up. That aircraft will shuttle the team, and their gear, back to Union Glacier where they'll catch another flight out to Punta Arenas, Chile before they head home.

Congratulations to Stéphanie, Jérémie, and Are for an amazing adventure. Their efforts in harsh conditions on the frozen continent are an inspiration to all. Hopefully they'll soon get plenty of good food and have a warm bed to sleep in before returning home.

Video: The Illusion of Light

We've seen a lot of amazing timelapse videos in recent months, but the ones that often stick with me the longest are those that capture the night sky in impressive fashion. This video does that incredibly well, showing us countless stars and the glow of the Milky Way over some stunning landscapes from across our planet. This is a beautiful way to end the day, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Illusion of Lights: A Journey into the Unseen from Goldpaint Photography on Vimeo.

Video: Winter Climbing on Nanga Parbat

As I write this, there are no less than four teams on Nanga Parbat who are attempting to complete the first winter ascent of that mountain. If you've been following their progress over the past few weeks, and have wondered what life is like in the Karakoram in the winter, then have a look at this video. It was shot on 2012-2013 winter expedition tot he mountain, and it will give you a good idea of hat conditions are like there, as well as what it is like to live in Base Camp for days at a time. The music in this clip is a bit much for my tastes, but the images are amazing.

Video: Chasing the Inca on Mountain Bikes in Peru

A few weeks back I shared the trailer for a mountain biking documentary entitled Chasing the Inca. At the time, the full video was available online, but it couldn't be embedded on other websites. That has now changed, and you can watch the full 18+ minute film below. It follows riders Darren Berrecloth, Garrett Buehler, and Chris Van Dine as they explore remote regions of Peru in search of a lost Incan road through the Andes that was once used to escape invading Spaniards. This is a film of that combines both exploration and adventure on the back of a mountain bike, and it is definitely intriguing to watch.

Antarctica 2014: A Race Against Time at the Bottom of the World

The 2014 Antarctic season is scheduled to come to a close this Wednesday, January 28. That's the day that the last plane is scheduled to fly out of Union Glacier on its way back to Punta Arenas, Chile, carrying the remaining climbers, explorers, and South Pole skiers – as well as the support team for their efforts – home at last. While most of those teams are comfortably waiting in camp, another remains in a desperate race against time to get back to Hercules Inlet in time for their flight. And while it looks like they are going to make it, it is going to be close. 

Stéphanie and Jérémie Gicquel, along with guide Are Johnson, have now been out on the ice for 73 days. They started their journey way back in November, and were able to ski to the South Pole in time for the holidays. Since then, they've been attempting to complete the return trip to Hercules Inlet, where they'll end their epic excursion at long last. The journey back to the coast has not been an easy one however, as they have had to maintain a steady pace the entire time, even as poor weather has hindered their progress, particularly in these final days. 

After spending much of the end of last week in complete whiteout conditions, the trio had better visibility over the weekend, although high winds still made it challenging to proceed. They were able to catch a glimpse of some mountains on the horizon however, which broke up the endless plane of white that they have been staring at for days on end. Deep snow has made it difficult to pick up any speed however, but they still struggled forwards, as they really don't have any choice at this point. 

Yesterday the managed to knock of an impressive 44.8 km (27.8 miles), which leaves them with just 43.9 km (27.3 miles) to go tomorrow. That is a sizable distance to cover on the final day, particularly when the team is reportedly very tired, weak, and hungry. They are starting to run low on supplies, and have been conserving rations for a few days now, which has taken its toll some on their spirits too. 

Despite these challenges, it seems that Stéphanie, Jérémie, and Are should arrive at the finish line tomorrow on schedule. It will be a long day, but considering their current pace, they should be able to wrap things up provided unexpectedly bad weather doesn't arrive on the scene. The forecast does indicate that conditions could take a turn for the worse, but at this point that is likely to hinder their return flight more than their final push to the coast. 

I'll keep an eye on the team's progress over the next few days and post updates. Hopefully they'll reach Hercules tomorrow and will be able to get picked-up for a flight to Union Glacier where they can enjoy some good food and warm accommodations. From there, it is just a matter of time before they head back to Chile, and eventually home. 

Polish Explorer Planning Trans-South American Expedition via The Amazon

Polish explorer Marcin Gienieczko has announced a bold new expedition that will get underway on May 1 of this year. The adventurous photographer and journalist intends to cross South America by bike, canoe, and on foot, with his route that will take him to the very heart of the Amazon Rainforest and along the mightiest river on the planet.

Video: Breathtaking Landscapes in 4K

There isn't much to be said about this video other than that it is a collection of incredibly breathtaking landscapes captured in timelapse at stunning resolutions. Shot over a two-year period, it is a compilation of amazing shots from beautiful places. This is one you're going to want to sit back and enjoy, preferably at full-screen resolutions. And if you're lucky enough to have a 4K monitor, clips are available from the filmmaker in that format too. This seems like a great way to end the week and send everyone off on their weekend adventures. Enjoy!

Landscapes: Volume 4K from Dustin Farrell on Vimeo.

Video: North America's Fifty Classic Climbs Episode 2 - Ancient Art

The second episode of the new climbing series from EpicTV entitled North America's Fifty Classic Climbs is now available, and this time we're following Mark and Janelle Smiley as they go up Ancient Art, 4-pitch climb that is rated a 5.1 difficulty. Located near Moab, Utah, this climb has an amazing finish, which you'll see in the video. The view from the top looks amazing, and the path to get there is not for the faint of heart.

Video: A Long Hike Through Western Mongolia

In terms of remote and untamed places, they don't come any more wild than parts of Mongolia. In this video we get a good look of the landscapes there as we follow a solitary hiker on his walk across the western region of the Central Asian country. It is a remarkable place for an adventure, and a truly amazing destination.

Moving On - A Hike in Western Mongolia from Just Greg on Vimeo.

Adventure Tech: The North Face's New Virtual Reality Experience

It's no secret that fewer people are heading outdoors these days, with a particularly sharp decline amongst young people. Researchers believe that the rise of technology, including smartphones, tablets, and video games, has helped to erode interest in outdoor pursuits, as many now prefer to stay inside with their gadgets rather than go for a hike or on a camping trip. But The North Face has come up with an interesting new way to possibly spur interest in the outdoors once again, and with an ironic twist, they're using technology to do so.

At the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market convention,  currently taking place in Salt Lake City, the gear company introduced the Virtual Outdoor Project, which uses virtual reality video footage – specifically created for the Oculus Rift – that was shot by the wizards at Camp 4 Collective. Reportedly, the result is an immersive experience designed to create a sense of being outdoors in some incredibly wild and remote area.

For those not familiar with the Oculus Rift, it is a virtual reality headset that has become the talk of the tech world over the past year or so. With high resolution video screens and head-tracking technology, it creates an incredibly immersive experience that allows users to experience an environment that exists 360º around the viewer. In other words, tilt your head to the left and you'll see what is happening in that direction. Turn around completely and you'll see things that are taking place behind you.

According to the Stephen Regenold of the Gear Junkie, the video experience that The North Face was sharing at Outdoor Retailer transported viewers to Yosemite National Park to experience a difficult rock climb up a route called "Separate Reality" from the eyes of the climber himself. The VR film included amazing views of the surrounding landscape, and captured the experience of what it was like to be scaling a big wall. At one point, the climber even loses his grip, falling down the rock face momentarily until his protection arrested the drop. The experience for Stephen made his stomach drop however, as the virtual reality environment simulated the plunge a little too closely. Later, the video even followed some BASE jumpers as they plunged off a cliff, capturing their fall in in "360 and 3D" as well.

North Face intends to roll out this VR project to its retail stores sometime this year. That means if you have a store in your area (Mine just opened!), you'll be able to drop by and give it a go yourself. The hope is that by bringing a virtual outdoor experience to customers, they may inspire more people to actually get outside themselves. Int his case, virtual reality may spur interaction with actual reality.

Call me a pessimist in this regard, but my guess is that it will probably spur consumers to actually want to buy an Oculus Rift or similar product, rather than actually go spend some time int he wild, but we'll see.

Antarctica 2014: Tough Going for Final Antarctic Team

As mentioned earlier in the week, the 2014 Antarctic season is swiftly drawing to an end. One team remains out on the ice, struggling to reach the finish line before the last plane prepares to fly out. Their deadline is now January 26, which is Monday, and covering the final miles over the next three days isn't going to be easy.

The team of Are Johnson and Stéphanie and Jérémie Gicquel have been out on the ice for 70 days now, and have long since reached the South Pole and began their return trip to Hercules Inlet along the coast. At this point, fatigue has set in and they are doing their best to cover the remaining distance as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the weather isn't being all that cooperative however, and yesterday they skied in white out conditions. In fact, in their most recent update, it was revealed that they couldn't see more than 3 metes in any direction at all. As a result, they struggled to cover their required distance, reaching 35 km (21.7 miles) over 11.5 hours, while battling sastrugi along the way too. 

Today doesn't look like it will be much better either. The trio expects to be skiing in a whiteout once again, and have prepared themselves for another tough go. Conditions are expected to improve however, so there is a literal light at the end of the tunnel.

Still, even with better weather, the last stretch is going to be a tough one. As of now, they have to average 43.5 km (27 miles) over the next four days to arrive back at Hercules in time. That isn't impossible, but it is going to be very difficult. To make matters worse, they are also starting to get low on food too, which will have an impact on the final stage of the journey as well. 

By the time they are finished, the team will have covered approximately 2300 km (1430 miles) and will have become one of only a handful of squad to make the journey to the South Pole and back under their own power. With any luck, the next time I post an update on their progress, they'll have finished. 

Video: Official Trailer for Meru - Climbing the Shark Fin

If you only watch one video today, make it this one. It is the official trailer for the film Meru, the film that documents the 2008 ascent of Meru Peak along the Shark's Fin that was completed by Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk. The trio spent days moving up the 6660 meter (21,850 ft) peak located in Himalaya of India. Their expedition has become the stuff of legends, and now the full story will be told. The trailer looks fantastic, with some images that are both incredibly beautiful and tension-inducing all at the same time. This was one of the most difficult climbs attempted, and the film will bring us all of the details directly from the men who did it themselves. I can't wait to see this.

MERU Official Trailer from Jimmy Chin on Vimeo.

Video: Downhill Urban Mountain Biking in Colombia

I always love a good mountain biking video, especially ones that show a rider zipping through some unbelievable setting. But I also have a soft spot for videos like this one, where some of the world's top riders take on an urban course lined with fans as they ride down stairs, across cobblestone streets, in and around buildings, and other unusual obstacles. In this case, we follow World Cup rider Marcelo Gutierrez as he bombs his way through the streets of his hometown of Manizales, Colombia. As you'll see, the ride is a wild one, even though it goes directly through the heart of the city.

Video: GoPro Captures Cyclist's Collision with Kangaroo

For every jaw-dropping video that we see captured on an action camera, we also get others like this one, which are simply downright painful. A cyclist in Australia was wearing her GoPro when she ran head-on into a kangaroo. The animal comes out of nowhere at about the 20-second mark of the clip, sending the rider down hard. Apparently she suffered nothing more than a few scrapes and bruises, although one cut required eight stitches to close. The "roo" wasn't so lucky. After surviving the accident with the cyclist, it apparently was hit by a car on another nearby road. They really are like deer in Australia.

Gear Junkie Takes A First-Look At The Gear of Winter Outdoor Retailer

Right now, the world's top gear companies have all descended on Salt Lake City where they are showing off their latest creations. The 2015 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market got underway a few days back, and as usual there will is a dizzying array of new products being unveiled. Unfortunately some personal commitments have kept me from attending in person, but thankfully the Gear Junkie is on hand, and he has given us a "first-look" at some of the best new gear on display.
Amongst the items that have caught the eye of the Gear Junkie crew is the new Longhor jacket from Ternua. The product is setting new standards in terms of creating sustainable gear in the fact that is uses recycled down as its insulation. The down is apparently re-claimed from the "bedding products" industry, and is cleaned and sanitized before being reused in these jackets. This is an interesting trend that I'm sure will gain traction with other manufacturers as well.

Also earning a spot on the GJ list is a new ice axe design from Black Diamond that incorporates adjustable grips, who also have a new crampon built to quickly and easily transition across a variety of terrains. Columbia gets a nod for their new Heatzone 1000 TurboDown Jacket, which is described as possibly the "world's warmest jacket," while Vasque received kudos for a redesign of their classic Sundowner GTX boot. Other gear of interest include a protective vest that could save you from an avalanche, as well as a new lightweight running vest that incorporates a 150-lumen lamp right into the chest strap.

It should be noted that most of what is shown off at Outdoor Retailer won't hit the store shelves until next fall. So while you may see something on the list that catches your eye, start saving your pennies now. Meanwhile, all of the gear that debuted at last summer's OR show will be arriving in your favorite gear shop sometime this spring.

There is plenty more to check out in the Gear Junkie story, so take a peek at what's coming by clicking here.

Winter Climbs 2014-2015: ExWeb Has Details on Nanga Parbat Summit Push

Last week, climbed Tomek Mankiewicz and Elisabeth Revol caused a bit of a stir on Nanga Parbat when they went up the mountain and were out of contact for ten days. There was concern for their safety, since they were only carrying a satellite phone and hadn't bothered to call in to update anyone on their progress. Now, we know that both of them returned safely to Base Camp, although Tomek suffered a fall on the descent that has ended his expedition early. The duo have also shared information about their time up high on the mountain, including some details about their aborted summit attempt that were shared at ExWeb.

Tomek and Elisabeth were able to climb up to 7000 meters (22,965 ft) with little difficulty. It was there that they established Camp 4, and prepared to make a final push towards the top. At the time, they were feeling very strong, and the weather conditions were good. So, they set off with a high degree of optimism thinking that they could be the first team to climb Nanga Parbet in winter. Unfortunately, they underestimated the distance to the summit, and were forced to turn back to C4 to rest, eat, and rehydrate.

Still feeling strong, they elected to have another go at the summit on the following day. They left their tent at 3:00 AM local time and started heading up. By 11:00 AM they had reached 7800 meters (25,590 ft), but the weather conditions had taken a turn for the worse. By that point, high winds were buffeting the summit, making it impossible to go any higher. With the weather deteriorating rapidly, they decided to turn back and head down to Base Camp. It was then that the accent occurred.

As mentioned previously, the climbers had to cross a snow bridge on their descent. Elisabeth, being the lighter of the two, managed to cross without problems, but Tomek's heavier weight caused the bridge to collapse, sending him 40 meters (131 ft) down into a crevasse. His partner was able to help pull him out, but he suffered broken ribs and hurt his leg in the fall, bringing an end to his expedition. The duo were able to slowly ascend back to BC, but it was a painful experience for the Polish climber, who now reports that he also has six frozen toes that he hopes won't need to be amputated.

As of yesterday, Tomek was on his way from Base Camp to the town of Gilgit where he can receive medical attention. According to Daniele Nardi, he is in a lot of pain, but in good spirits. Daniele also reports that Elisabeth has already left BC without saying goodbye, but it is unclear whether or not he means that she is going back up the mountain for another summit attempt, or if she is heading for home. We'll have to watch for further updates to on her status.

Daniele is back in Base Camp at the moment and is resting for his next push up the mountain. With his acclimatization efforts wrapped up, he is now ready for a summit push of his own. He is simply waiting for a good weather window before moving up.

Elsewhere, the Russian squad on the Rupal Face has made progress. The team is currently back in BC resting after establishing their high camp at 7150 meters (23,458 ft). They report that all is well, and they are preparing for a summit push of their own as soon as the weather permits.

Finally, the last two teams for Nanga Parbat should be arriving in BC on the Diamir Face sometime in the next few days. Alex Txikon and his local climbing mates Muhammad Ali Sadpara and Muhammad Kahn are expected there tomorrow or Saturday, while the Iranian team of Reza Bahadorani, Iraj Maani and Mahmood Hashemi should finally get to Islamabad today, and hit the trail for Base Camp. These two teams are apparently sharing a permit and logistical duties while on the mountain.

Video: Archival Footage From the 1970 Ascent of the Dawn Wall

Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson's ascent of the Dawn Wall is by far the biggest climbing story in years, captivating audiences across the globe and garnering attention from the mainstream media. But the first ascent of that massive rock face took place back in 1970, when Warren Harding and Dean Caldwell climbed it for the first time. The video below features some amazing archival footage from that expedition, which was incredibly difficult in its own right.

How did the two climbs differ? Tommy and Kevin free climbed the Wall, which means they went up using just their own physical skills and considerable climbing talents. The ropes and other protection were in place to prevent them from falling, but didn't aid their ascent in any way. This is a much more difficult way to climb, and many thought it was simply impossible to go up the Dawn Wall in that fashion.

For a look back on the climbing scene from 45 years ago, check out this amazing clip. And big thanks to the Adventure Journal for sharing it with us.

Video: Twenty-14 in Review

This short film is a highlight reel from last year that was shot by adventure film company Twelve Productions. It includes numerous impressive shots of some amazing outdoor adventures that were filmed in drop dead locations. While there isn't a single driving narrative to these clips, the images that are shown will certainly evoke a sense of adventure that can carry you into 2015 as you go seeking a few adventures of your own. This is beautiful and powerful stuff.

Twenty 14 from Twelve Productions on Vimeo.

Video: Pull - A Short Dogsledding Documentary

This video seems appropriate for this time of year, especially since we're just a few weeks away from the start of the Yukon Quest and a month and a half until the Iditarod, both of which are epic 1000-mile (1600 km) long sled dog races. In this two and a half minute video you'll get to see these dogs doing what they do best, running through the snow and pulling a sled. The scenery is incredibly beautiful, and these amazing dogs love to explore as much as the many who is guiding them.

PULL. from GOH on Vimeo.

Gear Review: Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiters

For many outdoor enthusiasts, the arrival of winter doesn't bring an end to our favorite activities, it just alters them a bit. Winter hiking can still be incredibly rewarding, as often times you'll have trails completely to yourself. But snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and other seasonal pursuits can be a great deal of fun too. But if you're going to play in the snow, a good set of gaiters will make your life a lot easier and enjoyable, as they help to keep snow, ice, mud, and rocks off your boots, which can become a serious issue at anytime of the year, but especially in the winter.

Gaiters are one of those pieces of gear that you don't really realize you really need until after you have tried them. For those who aren't familiar with how they work, gaiters are like a sleeve that pulls over the top of your boot, and is fixed securely into place there. They provide protection from the vulnerable parts of your shoes, keeping moisture, dirt, rocks, and other debris out of the interior, and way from the laces too.

Recently I've had the good fortunate of testing the Armadillo LT gaiters from Hillsound, a company that specializes in making products for protecting your legs and feet. Searching their website, you'll see that they also make a line of outstanding crampons, as well as waders for fishing. The Armadillo LT is the first product of theirs that I have test however, and I came away suitably impressed.

On paper, gaiters are a simple product that serve a very focused purpose. But modern fabrics and design have allowed these pieces of gear to perform at a much higher level. For instance, Hillsound makes their gaiters out of a stretchy waterproof – yet highly breathable – fabric that repels moisture, and yet is easy to get on and off, even while wearing heavy boots. Those fabrics are soft and have a lot of give, which makes them comfortable to wear too. Easy to adjust foot-straps make it a breeze to dial in a snug fit, even in poor conditions, and while it took a bit of practice to learn how to work the up-side down zipper, I soon was able to pull the Armadillo gaiters on and off with relative ease.

Everything about this product screams quality. The fabrics are durable and slash resistant, preventing accidental cuts from crampons for instance, and the user-replaceable foot-straps are rugged as well. Zippers can be a source of contention on gaiters, as they can sometimes be a place where snow and dirt can collect, but on the Armadillo LT there was no such problem. In fact, the zipper continued to function smoothly and easily no matter the conditions.

Hillsound has created a lightweight, high performance gaiter that will appeal to hikers, backpackers, and alpinists alike. Durable and comfortable, the Armadillo LT provides surprising performance, particularly for the price. At just $49, these gaiters are a bargain. In fact, they're so good that I am planning on taking them with me to Kilimanjaro next month, leaving my older, heavier gaiters behind.

If you've been looking to add a set of gaiters to your gear closet, than I highly recommend the Hillsound Armadillo LT model. They will provide plenty of protection on the trail, and won't break the bank in the process.

Antarctica 2014: End in Sight for Final South Pole Team

The end of the 2014 Antarctic season is now just a week away, and the last plane is scheduled to depart the frozen continent – weather permitting – on January 28. That means the last of the explorers must be back at Union Glacier by then, which shouldn't be a problem for most of the remaining climbers and skiers. But for one team, the clock is ticking, and there is still a considerable amount of ground to cover before they are done.

The trio of Are Johnson and Stéphanie and Jérémie Gicquel continue their race against time as they speed back to Hercules Inlet from the South Pole. They are now on day 68 of their round-trip journey, which will cover 2300+ km (1430 miles) before they are through. As of today, they still have 253 km (157 miles) to go until they reach the finish line, which means they must average roughly 36 km (22 miles) per day to catch the final plane. That's a tall order, but since they've been covering 46.5 km (29 miles) in recent days, they should arrive back at the coast sometime next Tuesday.

These final legs of the journey won't be easy though. Poor weather has set in once again, it has made for tough going in recent days. Are, Stéphanie, and Jérémie are exhausted from their efforts too, which makes each day a struggle. But now that they are finally finished, they seem like they have girded themselves up for the final push.

Elsewhere, after skiing solo to the South Pole, Newall Hunter traveled to Mt. Vinson to climb the highest peak in Antarctica as well. He reached the summit on that 4892 meter (16,050 ft) peak last Friday, and is now back in Union Glacier waiting for a flight out to Punta Arenas. Bad weather has stranded him there for the past couple of days, as winds of 112 km/h (70 mph) have been howling through the camp. But Newall says he is taking advantage of this extra time on the continent to learn how to kite-ski, which he says will come in handy next year. This season isn't even over yet, and some of the explorers are already planning their next expeditions.

Thats all from Antarctica for today. I'll be watching the final ski expedition closely as they near the finish. They should wrap things up early next week and be back at Union Glacier in time for the flight out. By then, they'll be more than ready for a much deserved rest.

Video: Two Weeks in Iceland Captured in Timelapse

Captivating and mesmerizing would be two words I'd use to describe this video. It was shot over a two week period in Iceland, with the filmmaker capturing some amazing imagery from the beautiful landscapes there. The timelapse scenes allow we the viewers to watch as the land and sky shift in amazing ways, both subtly and dramatically.

Two Weeks in Iceland / Timelapse from Casey Kiernan on Vimeo.

Video: Free Soloing Table Mountain in South Africa with Matt Bush

This video takes us to South Africa to follow free soloist Matt Bush as he climbs some of the iconic rock faces of Table Mountain in Cape Town. EpicTV calls Matt the "Alex Honnold of South Africa," and it's hard to argue with that moniker. Over the past few years, Matt has been free-soloing some of the toughest routes in his home country, and he is now working on a film project to document the amazing climbing opportunities that exist there.

This video will on reaffirm South Africa's reputation for being one of the best destinations for adventure on the entire planet.

Video: GoPro Camera Accidentally Captures Great Underwater Images of Sea Life

We've seen a lot of great video captured by GoPro cameras over the years, some of it on purpose and a lot of it accidentally. You can put this clip squarely in the latter category, although the results are pretty great. The person who captured the footage was flying a radio controlled airplane over Cape Range National Park in Australia. A few minutes into the flight, he became disoriented by the sun, and lost his little aircraft.

A Visit to the Red Centre of Australia

One of the most interesting and adventure-packed places I've ever visited is the famous Red Centre of Australia. Perhaps best known for being the home of Ayer's Rock – aka Uluru – the Red Centre is a fascinating mix of culture, history, and exploration. This is the true Outback, rugged, untamed, and with miles upon miles of open space. It is a place that every traveler should see, with landscapes that are humbling and awe inspiring at the same time.

Recently, my friend Richard Bangs visited the Red Centre and shared his experiences in a wonderful article published at the Huffington Post. Richard went to this remote region of Australia to take in all of the amazing sites for himself, and to go on a few adventures along the way as well. His travels took him on a camel trek into the Outback, hiking along some of the local trails, and into Alice Springs, the main outpost in this very wild part of the world.

Of course, many people come to the Red Centre simply to visit Uluru and climb to its summit. When the lands surrounding that iconic rock were returned to the Anangu Aboriginal tribe back in 1985, it was a stipulation in that they continue to allow visitors to climb to the top. But for the Anangu, Uluru is scared ground, and while they don't prohibit anyone from climbing it, they do go to great lengths to discourage it. On his visit, Richard – who has just returned from a climb up Cotopaxi in Ecuador – decided to respect the wishes of the Aboriginal and stay off the Rock.

In his article, and the video below, he shares a wealth of things to do while you are there that don't involve climbing Uluru. Trust me, there are plenty of other activities to keep you occupied. For instance, I'd recommend hiking the Larapinta Trail, a 223 km (138.5 mile) long path that passes through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the region. While you're there, also take a dip in the Finke River, widely considered the oldest in the world at 350-400 million years. Spend a few nights camping under the stars as well, as you'll rarely find a better night sky than in the Outback.

Winter Climbs 2014-2015: Nanga Parbet Expedition Over for Tomek Mackiewicz

Sad news from Nanga Parbet today, where it has been revealed that Tomek Mankiewicz has suffered a serious injury, and must now abandon his attempt to complete the first ascent of that mountain in winter. But as he prepares to depart, two other teams will now arrive as the busy season on that mountain continues.

When last we checked in, Tomek and his climbing partner Elisabeth Revol were descending after spending ten days at altitude on the mountain. The duo had gone as high as 7800 meters (25,590 ft), and had established several high camps. For a time, they had even flirted with launching a summit bid, but exhaustion set in, so they made the wise choice to descend back to Base Camp to regain some strength.

They were expected to arrive back in BC yesterday, but along the way an accident occurred. The two climbers encountered a snow bridge on the way down, and while Elisabeth was able to cross over without incident, the bridge collapsed under Tomek, dropping him into a crevasse. He reportedly fell 50 meters (164 ft), braking some ribs, and fracturing his leg, in the process. Elisabeth was able to help get him out of the crevasse and make his way down, but the expedition is now over for the Polish climber who is luck to be alive. It is unclear at this time whether or not Elisabeth will join another team or return home as well.

Daniele Nardi is also back in BC after making a brief climb up the Mummery Rib. He is wrapping up his acclimatization efforts and is now preparing to go higher up the mountain as well. There is no time table yet on when he'll push up the Diamir Face, but it is possible that he and Elisabeth will now join forces, as the two have climbed together in the past and know each other well.

Meanwhile, ExWeb is reporting that the Iranian team of Reza Bahadorani, Iraj Maani and Mahmoud Hashemi has sorted out their issues with Pakistani immigration and will finally receive their entry visas into that country. That will allow them to make their way to the mountain at long last, where they'll begin their attempt from the Diamir Face as well. They are expected to reach Base Camp by the end of the week.

Finally, Alex Txikon, along with climbing partners Muhammad Ali "Sadpara" and Muhammad Khan are now enrollee to Nanga Parbet Base Camp as well. They are also expected to arrive on the mountain before week's end. You may recall that Alex was scheduled to climb K2 this winter, but was forced to cancel when the Chinese revoked the team's climbing permit at the last moment. He has now decided to switch focus, and is hoping for a winter ascent on this 8000-meter peak instead.

That's it for now. More soon!

Video: The Amazing Wildlife of Africa

One of the reasons I love Africa so much is the amazing array of wildlife found there. That continent has a staggering number of large creatures, and some of the largest concentrations of mammals found anywhere on the planet. This two-and-a-half-minute video captures some fantastic shots of those creatures, with the stunning landscapes they call home as a backdrop. If you haven't been to Africa before, this video will give him a tiny peek at what makes it such a special place.

Africa from Andrew_Cut on Vimeo.

Video: The Legend of Chris Davenport

Professional skier Chris Davenport has been setting the bar high for other big mountain skiers for years. He is, without a doubt, one of the icons of ski mountaineering, having skied all 53 of Colorado's fourteeners, and even down the Lhotse Face on Everest. This video takes a great look at his career, with other skiers and adventurers weighing in on what Davenport has accomplished. If you're not familiar with Chris' work, some of the footage will astound you and give you an indication of why he is considered a legend.

Video: Last Mountain Bike Ride of the Season

Back in November, when the first signs of winter were first setting in, mountain biker Alex McAndrew headed out to one of his favorite trails near Stowe, Vermont to get in one last ride for the season. The result is this two-minute video, which shows Alex tearing up the trail in a beautiful wooded setting. For many of us, the next chance to ride won't come until the warm weather of spring returns, but this is a little reminder of what will be waiting.

Alex McAndrew - November from Skyline Studios // Henry Miles on Vimeo.

Adventure Tech: Planning for the Next Generation of Satellite Communications

For explorers and adventurers wandering into remote regions of the planet, satellite phones and data transmitters are the lifeline that allows them to stay in contact with the rest of the world, while also sharing updates on the progress of their expeditions. But today's satellite networks are aging rapidly, and are quickly becoming outdated. While they still handle voice calls fairly well, they lag far behind in data speeds. But two forward-thinking billionaires are in the planning stages for their own independent projects which will bring faster, more reliable voice and data coverage to the entire planet, and considering the track records of both of these gentleman, I wouldn't bet against either of them.

The first new satellite communications venture is being spearheaded by Elon Musk and his SpaceX program. Musk, who also runs electric car company Tesla Motors, and his researching building a high-speed train called HyperLoop, has announced plans to build a network consisting of hundreds of satellites in low-Earth orbit that would provide high speed data connections to the entire planet. The project is expected to take about 5 years to complete, and cost around $10 billion, but because the communications satellites will be at a relatively low altitude (750 miles up), they'll be able to exchange data at a far faster rate than current systems, which are as high as 22,000 miles.

Musk says that this project won't just benefit people on Earth however. He sees it as a stepping stone for what he eventually envisions as a permanent colony on Mars as well. That may seem far fetched at the moment, but considering the leaps that SpaceX has made in recent years (the company is one of the contractors that delivers supplies to the International Space Station), and their ambitious plans for the future, it doesn't seem completely out of the realm of possibility down the line.

Meanwhile, another rich visionary who has designs on the commercial space travel market is Richard Branson, who also has revealed similar plans for his own satellite communications network. The Virgin Galactic founder says he would also like to use his fledgling company to launch a network of low-orbit satellites as well, with the same aim of bringing improved communications and high speed data to the planet.

The concept would be to use Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo aircraft to launch small payloads carrying satellites that way about 500 pounds into orbit. This would be a far more efficient and cost effective way of getting those devices into space, and would speed up the time table dramatically. The problem is that the project took a step backwards with the recent crash of SpaceShipTwo, which claimed the life of a test pilot. Branson says he is committed to the concept none the less, and he hopes to begin deploying the first of these satellites in the next few years.

While both of these programs will obviously take some time to come to fruition, the payoff could be huge for our ability to say in contact while in remote areas. The fact that they'll include high speed data means that voice and video communications will improve dramatically, and likely drop in price when compared to current satellite offerings. But the traditional satcom companies like Iridium aren't exactly resting on their laurels either. Several have announced plans for their own next generation satellite systems which will hopefully deliver on the promise of faster performance as well.

Winter Climbs 2014-2015: Alex Txikon Heads to Nanga Parbat Too!

As if there weren't already enough teams attempting Nanga Parbat this winter, you can throw another name into the hat for those who could potentially achieve the first winter ascent of that 8126 meter (26,660 ft) mountain. After being denied a permit to climb K2 from the Chinese side of the mountain a few weeks back, Spanish climber Alex Txikon will now travel to Pakistan to give Nanga Parbat a try as well.

According to reports, Alex set out for Pakistan yesterday, and provided he clears customs without any problems, and gets his logistics sorted out quickly, he should be on his way to Base Camp within a day or two. He will not be joined by his K2 teammates however, as both Denis Urubko and Adam Bielecki have moved on to other projects. Instead, he'll climb with two old friends who are local climbers. Txikon will be joined by Muhammad Ali, who has already climbed Nanga twice in the past, and has topped out on all but one of the 8000-meter peaks. He lacks only K2 to complete that line-up. The other climber is Muhammad Kahn, who has also climbed Nanga Parbat in the past, and has reached the top of Gasherbrum I and II, as well as K2. Their experience on the mountain should prove invaluable in the days ahead.

The team will attempt the Diamir Face, but which route they'll take to the top remains to be seen. Alex says he'll wait until he is in BC where he can scout the route before deciding which way he wants to go up. He expect to be in Base Camp by Friday, and has dedicated two months to this expedition.

Meanwhile, after not hearing anything out of climbing partners Tomek Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol for ten days, Daniele Nardi finally reports that they are safe and descending the mountain. The word of their whereabouts came via Elisabeth's husband Jean Christophe, who received a text message from her back home in France. The duo will return to BC for rest while they ponder their next move. The weather is reportedly quite good on the mountain at the moment, but they simply didn't have the energy or oxygen to push towards the summit. Tomek has now gone as high as 7200 meters (23,622 ft), and he and Elisabeth have established all of their camps up to C4. If the weather continues to cooperate, they may be ready to attempt a summit push in the near future.

After discovering his climbing mates were safe, and on their way back down, Daniele has decided to move back up the mountain too. He went up to Camp 2 over the weekend while he continues to acclimatize and prepare for his own summit bid in the days ahead.

There has been no update on the Russian team that is attempt to summit from the Rupal Face. The last reheard, that team was on its way up to continue fixing ropes and carrying equipment to their high camps. They will undoubtedly stay at altitude to acclimatize and get as much work done as they can while the weather remains favorable.

That's all for now. More updates from Nanga Parbat soon.

Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur : Food trip to Kuala Lumpur (Part 1)

#FoodHoppingKL - May 2014 

Yays to food trip to Kuala Lumpur!

We totally let ourselves relax for as we did not have an itinerary for this trip.

We finally reached KL after a long 5 hours coach from Singapore. We booked our stay at Le Apple boutique hotel which is walking distance to Pavillion, Sungei Wang, Fahrenheit 88, Lot 10 and Time Square.

I have to admit that my last trip was 4 years ago and the changes in KL really impressed me. There was no hip cafes or minimal international brands.

Here's start my 4D3N food hopping in Kuala Lumpur!

When we were exploring around Bukit Bintang area, we strolled into a food street where there was never ending food stalls along two sides of the street. It is a very noisy street that filled with not only people ordering food noises and even cars honking sound. People totally ignored the existence of the cars even though they were walking on the road itself.

We settled down for a loklok dinner! My impression of loklok was sticking all the ingredient into a large bowl with boiling soup like the satay loklok I had in Malacca.

Like this!

However, the food came all fried and ready for eating. Frankly speaking, all fried stuff tasted the same. When I saw the same at next table, I believe loklok in KL is this kind of style.

Then we went opposite stall that has big sign projecting "CHAR KUEY TEOW" and very crowded.

Penang style char kuey teow. Ok this is very nice! 

We also ordered oyster omelette. I have forgotten the prices but they were all not expensive.

 Coffee Stain by Joseph

I found this cafe when I was googling on interesting cafe on the bed the night before. This is the nearest cafe I could find that sells 3D latte art. 

Earl grey latte RM8.50

Hot chocolate RM15

They only do 3D latte art on this beverage only but with additional charge of RM5. ~.~" Their drinks were only so-so.

Crossaint egg mayo RM13.90. The bread was crispy and matched very well with nacho cheese and mayonnaise. The appearance was already very appealing. 

Waffles banana walnut RM5.90 

Coffee Stain by Joseph 
@ Fahrenheit 88 Lot 0T-02, Level 3 Parkamaya 179 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur.
Opening hours: 10 am to 10 pm
Tel: 603-2110 2428

 That's me with Mr Brown at Pavilion ~

Lot 10's Hu Tong 十号胡同

This food court is one of the best five food court in KL. This gourmet heritage village was set up few years ago to gather more than 30 of the country's best eateries that have survived the 2nd and 3rd generations. It is also designed like an old Beijing village theme.

We had many lunch over here. You must include this eating place in your itinerary when you come to KL!


Soong Kee Beef noodles RM9.45
This is my bf's favourite! He has been having this since he was young. 

Ho Weng Kee Roasted duck rice RM13

Penang style zu chang RM8.60

Black vinegar pork knuckle RM14

 Kim Lian Kee Fried loh shu fen RM11.50

Indeed are national food treasures in KL except slightly oily. 

Lot 10 Hu Tong 十号胡同
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:00 Location: Lot 10 Shopping Mall LG floor

Bangsar Village

Bangsar village is similar to our Holland village concept that located more on affluent residential suburb. There are many restaurants and quirky cafes. 

Instead of going indoor, we had much more fun strolling outdoor! Roadside hawkers always the best food in the world. They usually opened in the late afternoon till late night. The only bad thing is no nearest train station. The local mostly drive due to cheaper cars and less advanced public transport.

Popiah 2 pieces for RM4.60

Fried char kuey teow RM5

Our dessert of the day - Ai yu ice jelly RM2

Bangsar Village
2 Jalan Telawi 1 Bangsar Kuala Lumpur 59100