Japan - Kyoto : Nishiki market + Pontocho area

Japan : Kyoto - May 2015

Second part of day 2, we took JR train to Shijo station to cover 2 places: Nishiki Market and Pontocho.

Sources: Japan guide

Nishiki Market 錦市場

Nishiki market is a five block long narrow shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants.This is definitely a place where you can stuff yourself with fresh cheap food.

omg~ look at these prices!

lol fresh from fruits itself

Then we saw this warabi mochi which we have been searching since we first tried at Isetan Japanese food fare years ago! 

We went back to buy a few packets thinking to bring back to Singapore. We finished it within two days. =x

look at the gigantic omurice lol

super cute donuts from Floresta

After dinner, we strolled to Pontocho area which was just a few streets away.

Pontocho area 先斗町

In front of us was a long stretch of small restaurants offering a wide range of dining options from inexpensive yakitori to expensive traditional and modern Kyoto cuisine. We did not have a chance to try one of the restaurants because they all looked very expensive.

So we took a stroll to experience the atmosphere. *cheapskate*

Pretty view at dusk when the lighting was on. 

Video: A Journey Through Southeast Asia

This beautiful video is a fitting way to end the week. It was shot over four months on a motorcycle journey through Southeast Asia, with stops in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and China. The clip features beautiful images from all of those places, as the filmmaker takes us on a 6000 km journey through that colorful and alluring part of the world.

After watching this clip, you'll more than likely want to make plans to visit Asia yourself. When you're ready, check out all the opportunities that Mountain Travel Sobek offers to do just that.

The Emerald Triangle from Garret Suhrie on Vimeo.

Video: Mountain Biking in Iceland with Yeti Cycles

We've seen some spectacular videos from Iceland over the years, but few can compare with this one. It is five minutes of pure bliss as we travel to that country to explore some of its great single track that is available there. Yeti Cycles shot this clip while testing their new bikes in this rugged, strikingly beautiful place. This isn't a commercial for their products however. It is instead an ode to the joy of riding in a trail in a setting that is so wild and special that it takes your breath away. Enjoy.

ICELAND. PROVEN HERE. from Yeti Cycles on Vimeo.

Video: Tommy Caldwell Talks Climbing, Adversity, and Overcoming Challenges

Think you know Tommy Caldwell because you followed his ascent of the Dawn Wall earlier this year? If that's all you know about this man, than you don't really know him at all. But his TED Talk gives us more insights into what drives him, both as a climber and as a person. Today, he is known as one of the greatest rock climbers in the world, but to get to this point he had to overcome a great deal of adversity – including being taken hostage in Kyrgyzstan, losing a finger in an accident, and training hard for the toughest climb on Earth. This video discusses all of that and more. It is an inspiring and enlightening 17-minute talk that everyone should watch. I hope you do too.

Antarctica 2015: Weather Conditions Improve as First Flights Near

With the 2015-2016 Antarctic season about to begin, there is a lot of work being done to prepare for the arrival of the first South Pole skiers of the season. Not the least of which is the completion of the temporary runway that is built each year on the ice to accommodate the big Russian Ilyushin aircraft that ferry gear, supplies, and personnel too and from the ice. Earlier in the week, that work was being stymied by bad weather, but now conditions have improved and progress is being made, potentially opening the way for the first flight of the year to the Union Glacier camp.

Most of the logistics for the adventurers and explorers heading to Antarctica are handled by Adventure Network International, which operates the flights to and from the frozen continent, as well as maintaining Union Glacier, which is where most skiers and climbers start their expeditions. An advance team is already in place there, but due to high winds and whiteout conditions they have had a hard time finishing up the landing strip. But over the past few days, that weather has improved, allowing them to make solid progress. That means that the first flight out, which was delayed on Wednesday, could happen as early as tomorrow, although early next week is looking more likely.

One explorer who is eagerly awaiting word of his departure is Henry Worsley, who has been in Punta Arenas preparing for the journey ahead for more than a week. Henry has sorted and organized his gear, and has had it weighed, so he is now all set to go. Unfortunately, he has to play the waiting game until Union Glacier is ready to begin accepting visitors. He had originally been scheduled to fly out on Wednesday, but is now on stand-by to find out when he can begin.

Worsley is preparing to undertake one of the most difficult polar journeys imaginable as he sets out on an 1100 mile (1770 km) solo traverse of the Antarctic continent starting at Gould Bay and finishing on the Ross Ice Shelf, while first stopping by the South Pole. He'll make this crossing – which is expected to take 80 days to finish – completely alone and completely unassisted.

Other explorers have now begun to arrive in Punta Arenas as well. Most will spend some time their getting prepared before they leave for frozen continent. There is a lot of work to be done before they ever board that flight to Union Glacier, including sorting their gear and organizing their food and fuel. The majority of them will be making ski crossings to the South Pole along the Hercules Inlet route. That journey is about 700 miles (1126 km) in length, and is the most frequently used path to 90ºS. By all accounts, it will be a busy year at the bottom of the world, with numerous expeditions heading out on the ice.

Expect to hear a lot more about these teams and expeditions in the days ahead. Things are just getting started.

Himalaya Fall 2015: Summit on Kyajo Ri and Kuriki Shares Details on Everest

The fall climbing season may be winding down in the Himalaya, but there are is still news to share. Weather remains dicey across the region, but teams have continued to press forward with their climbs on peaks lower than 8000 meters. It has been an up and down season to say the least, but it has not been without its success stories, and the trend of traveling to remote, unclimbed peaks is a promising one to say the least. 

One such expedition has been led by polar explorer and mountaineer Lonnie Dupre. His team has been in Nepal for several weeks now, but spent much of their time assisting in the rebuilding process that continues post-earthquake. Those efforts also allowed them to acclimatize to the altitude however, as they couldn't leave the county without first completing a climb. 

Earlier in the week, Lonnie updated his blog with the news that the squad and successfully summited Kyajo Ri, a 6186 meter (20,295 ft) peak located to the west of Everest and Lhotse. The team topped out at 11:04 AM local time on Tuesday, but details of their climb didn't come until a dispatch was released today. As you would expect, it wasn't an easy climb, with team using double ice axes to make progress on a slope that averaged an age of about 55 degrees. 

In order to reach the summit, the squad made a single push from their high camp at 5700 meters (18,700 ft). That came after establishing Base Camp at 4528 meters (14,858 ft) and an intermediate camp at 5268 meters (17,285 ft). Because they had acclimatized before their arrival on the mountain however, they were able to launch their summit push immediately, and complete the climb in a single go. 

Congrats to Lonnie and his entire team on a job well done. 

Meanwhile, Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki is back home in Tokyo, and has now shared more details about his recent attempt on Everest. Posting to Facebook a few days back, Kuriki gave a longer account of his second summit push on the mountain, which ended with him turning back after reaching 8000 meters (26,246 ft). 

In his report, he talks about the challenges he faced along the way, not the least of which were his own doubts and fears. The route was relatively clear and easy up to 6400 meters (20,997 ft), but above that point the snow started to get deeper and the winds began to howl So much so that even at 7000 meters (22,965 ft) the winds felt like he was above 8000 meters. That took a toll on his body, which was still exhausted from a previous attempt to summit just a few days earlier. 

At one point Kuriki could see the path to the top, which was still very far away, and began to worry about whether or not he would have strength to descend. It as at that moment that he told his team that he had had enough, and was turning back. Considering his previous experience on the mountain, that makes perfect sense. Back in 2012, he had to be rescued from Camp 4 after a failed summit attempt. He had suffered frostbite in his fingers and toes, and couldn't make his way down on his own. A team of Sherpas came to get him, but he ended up losing 9 of his fingers in the process. That experience had to weigh on him as he returned to that spot on the mountain.

If you followed Kuriki's climb this fall, you'll find his account of the summit push enlightening. It provides us with some real details on what he was thinking and feeling as he went up Everest, completely alone and on his own. That has to be a difficult thing from both a physical and psychological stand point. Read the whole report here

Finally, there has been no word from Ueli Steck or Colin Haley following their aborted attempt to climb Nuptse earlier this week. Their last dispatch seemed to hint that they were calling off the expedition, but there has been no confirmation of that just yet. They could still be in Base Camp, waiting for another weather window to arrive. But considering how unpredictable the conditions have been this year, that window might not ever come. 

That's all for today. More news as it is warranted. 

Video: Trailer for Mountaineering Film Citadel Mountain

Earlier this year, British climbers Matt Helliker and Jon Bracey traveled to Alaska to attempt the first ascent of a peak called The Citadel. This 1988 meter (6522 ft) mountain isn't large by Himalayan – or even Alaskan – standards, but it is in a very remote location where weather conditions are completely unpredictable and the climbing is highly technical.  Acclaimed filmmaker Alastair Lee went along with them to make a film about the expedition, which will be released on December 1. We'll have to wait until the full version is screened to know if they succeeded in their attempt, but judging from the trailer below it looks like it was one hell of a climb. The film looks absolutely stunning, and is reportedly the first mountaineer movie to be shot completely in 4K. After watching this clip, I definitely can't wait to see the final product.

Citadel Mountain Film Trailer from Posing Productions on Vimeo.

Video: GoPro Shares Test Footage Shot With New Drone

Earlier this year GoPro announced that it was working on building its own drone that would be released in the first half of 2016. While the action camera company isn't quite ready to take the wraps off of that project just yet, it has shared some test footage captured with their new quadcopter. As you'll see in the video below, that footage is not only beautiful, but incredibly stable too. According to GoPro, the images shot here were not stabilized in post-production, but were instead captured this way using the new stabilization system on the prototype drone they were testing. Needless to say, it looks like their drone is going to be a real contender if this footage is any indication.

Lonely Planet Announces Best in Travel for 2016

The calendar may say there are still two months to go before the start of a new year, but it is never too early to start making travel plans for the year ahead. To that end, the team at Lonely Planet have announced their picks for the Best in Travel for 2016, spotlighting the top destinations that should be on our list for potential places to visit.

The list is broken down into several categories, including the Top 10 countries overall, the Best Value Destinations for 2016, and the Most Accessible Destinations to go as well. Top budget locations include places like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam, as well as East Africa, which is still struggling to rebound following a downturn in the number of visitors due to the Ebola breakout in West Africa. Meanwhile, places like Barcelona, Spain and the Galapagos Island and Amazon region of Ecuador get a not for their accessibility to travelers.

Much of the attention from these lists will be given to Lonely Planet's choice for the top ten countries to visit, and rightly so. The list is made up of some amazing places, a number of which will be very alluring for adventure travelers in particular. Places like Greenland, Australia, and Uruguay all have plenty to offer, but the top spot – Botswana – is the one that personally calls to me the most.

One of the Lonely Planet lists that will be especially interesting to Adventure Blog readers is the destinations that are the Best Places to Test Your Survival Skills. Unique when compared to the other places that LP spotlights, this list consists of opportunities to truly get out into the wild in places that are incredibly demanding. Some of the experiences that earn a spot on this particular line-up include Bear Grylls Survival Academy in Zimbabwe and Bob Cooper's Outback Survival Course in Australia. Also making the list is Expedition Alaska, the adventure race that I spent a couple of weeks helping to organize and run this past summer. I can tell you that the team behind the race is excited to get this recognition, as we tried to truly put on an event that was tough, but fair for racers. We're hoping to do it again in 2017.

So, if you're looking for a bit of direction on where you should go in 2016, Lonely Planet should be able to help. There are definitely no shortage of options here.

Men's Journal Talks Everest with Conrad Anker

No matter what season we're in, Everest is never too far from the public eye. Case in point, Men's Journal has posted an interview with Conrad Anker, discussing his personal experiences on the mountain, the current climate there, and his thoughts on whether or not we should climb the Big Hill at all. (Spoiler alert: He thinks we should!)

In the interview, Conrad says that after three successful summits of Everest, he himself is done with the mountain. He says that the amount of time, money, and resources required it too much for his approach to mountaineering these days. On the other hand, he says that anyone who has a desire to climb it, should definitely go and do so. For him, there is nothing more pure than a person challenging themselves against nature. It is a very different activity than the much more controlled and measured sports that we typically take part in.

Anker shares his thoughts on a number of other topics as well, including the role of Sherpas in climbing expeditions, ways of making the business of climbing more equitable for them, and how the government of Nepal can improve safety in the mountains. He's in favor of a more controlled permit system that limits the number of people on Everest, and he would require anyone attempting it to have at least two other expeditions to climb peaks in Nepal under their belt first.

Perhaps most interesting for those of us who follow mountaineering closely are Conrad's plans for the future. He says that he is hoping to climb Thalay Sager in the very near future, perhaps as early as next spring. The 6904 meter (22,651 ft) peak located in the Garhwal Himalaya of India was on his schedule for this fall, but promotional commitments for the film Meru kept him from actually pursuing that goal. He says that while he hasn't officially scheduled the expedition just yet, he is eager to go. His climbing partners for that trip? None other than Jimmy Chin and Alex Honnold.

Now that will be a fun expedition to follow.

Adventure Journal Shares 23 Tips for Crossing Antarctica

So you want to ski across Antarctica? That isn't an uncommon goal amongst outdoor adventurers and explorers. In fact, people do it every year, and as I've mentioned several times in the past week, the 2015-2016 Antarctic season is just about to begin. Ahead of the start of that 2+ month long window to travel across the frozen continent comes this article from the Adventure Journal, which shares 23 tips for undertaking such an ambitious expedition.

Written by British climber and explorer Andy Kirkpatrick, the article is filled with bits of wisdom for anyone who is actually considering the attempt to ski across Antarctica. But beyond, that these tips are also helpful for those of us who are following along with those who are making the crossing. They give us just a bit of a glimpse into what it is like to spend upwards of 40 days out on the ice, traveling across a frozen expanse, just to reach a spot on the Earth that very few actually get to see. A place visited by such historic figures as Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott.

Obviously I won't list all 23 of the tips that Andy provides, and most of them are not simple buzz phrases that are easy to distill down to a small summary. But some of the things he advises include having a clear perspective on your place in that wild, inhospitable environment, as it will help you to stay focused and grounded. He also tells Antarctic travelers to study how Shackleton, Mawson, and Scott ran their expeditions, as there are lessons to be learned from the mistakes they made, and how two of them made it back alive, while one remains there forever. Andy goes on to say that the most important thing is that you continue to move forward, no matter the obstacles, and don't let the distances you cover deter your spirits. You'll have good days and bad, but as long as you're making progress, you'll eventually reach your goal.

This is just a very small part of the wisdom that he imparts, much of which can be applied to difficult expeditions to other parts of the planet too. There is a lot to take away from this article, and it is well worth a read – whether you intend to ever step food on the southern continent or not.

Video: Drones Over Patagonia

We all know that Patagonia is one of the most breathtaking destinations in the world, but that sentiment is only reinforced by this video. Shot with the use of a drone near the Argentine village of El Chalten, the landscapes shown here are nothing short of spectacular. This is 4+ minutes of pure mountain bliss.

And when you're ready to go to Patagonia yourself, my friends at Mountain Travel Sobek can help. They offer multiple trips to South America, including one that explores Patagonia on foot.


Video: Longboarding Through the Mountains of Norway

Skateboarding isn't a topic I touch upon very often here at The Adventure Blog, but when you come across a video this beautiful, it is hard not to want to share it. The clip takes us into the mountains of Norway, where longboarder Ishtar Bäcklund and her friends take to the pavement to slalom down impossibly steep roads. While their exploits are indeed impressive, it is the landscapes of Norway that once again take center stage. I'm not sure this is the way that I'd most like to tour those landscapes, but it is hard not to be impressed.

Gear Closet: Outdoor Research Furio Jacket

Outdoor Research is one of my absolute favorite brands. For me, their gear never fails to impress and always delivers top notch performance. I have OR clothing and other gear that I've owned for years in my own gear closet, and those items remain some of my "go to" pieces of equipment when I'm heading out on an adventure. So, when they offered to let me test out the new Furio jacket, I was excited to say the least. And, true to form for Outdoor Research,  it performed exceptionally well. So much so that I can't wait to use it in more extreme environments in the future.

In terms of features, the Furio pretty much ticks all of the boxes that you would expect out of a shell jacket. Thanks to its Gore-Tex fabrics it is waterproof, windproof, breathable, and durable. It comes with an adjustable hood that not only fits over a helmet, but can be stowed away when you don't want to use it. The jacket has fully taped seams to help keep moisture at bay, and its zippers, velcro cuffs, drawcords are all extremely high quality.

The Furio is all filled with numerous design choices that only come from years of experience building clothing for use in the outdoors. For instance, the zippered hand pockets are smartly placed above where the hipbelt of your backpack will sit, allowing you access to their contents without having to remove your bag. There are also plenty of venting options as well, as the front of the jacket features a double separating zipper, and their are additional zippers that run along the entire hem, up to the arms. This allows the wearer to stay warm and dry when the weather turns cold, but have the ability to vent out heat and moisture when things warm up.

Other storage options include two zippered chest pockets, both of which are great for keeping snacks, a smartphone, or other small items close at hand. One of those compartments comes equipped with an access port for running headphones into the interior of the jacket, while a dedicated media pocket located on the inside of the Furio shares that feature as well.

In terms of fit, the jacket is built for use in the outdoors, and as such it designed to hug the body, but not impede motion in any way. Its adjustable cuffs and hem allow it to be worn comfortably on its own, or as part of a layering system. Adding a base layer and mid-layer increases warmth and versatility in extreme environments, but the jacket performs so well on its own that it can be used on just about any outing.

As you would expect, the Gore-Tex fabrics used in the Furio perform very well. The jacket shrugs off moisture with ease, and protects the wearer from biting winds. While it is breathable to a degree however, I did find myself getting overheated from time to time. But that is a common issue with any garment that is designed to be both waterproof and windproof, as breathability in extreme conditions becomes somewhat subjective. That is when the jacket's excellent venting properties – already mentioned above – come in handy. When you start to warm up, just open some of the zippers and you'll begin to cool off quickly.

No matter what your favorite outdoor activities are, you'll more than likely love this jacket. Whether you like to hike in cooler temperatures, backpack in all kinds of conditions, or climb at altitude, the Furio will provide the protection and performance you need. I was not only impressed with how well it handled the elements, but how easy it is to move in this jacket. This is one of the finest shells that I have ever used, and since it is incredibly durable, I know it will be accompanying me on many adventures yet to come.

I started this article by saying how much I already liked products from Outdoor Research. But with the Furio, they have outdone themselves. This jacket has everything you could ask for in a storm shell, and so much more. At $375 it isn't a jacket for just anyone however. But if you are the kind of person who demand high performance out of all of your gear, and frequently find yourself out in all kinds of weather conditions, this is a jacket you'll definitely want in your wardrobe. For those kinds of people, the Furio is worth every penny.

The New York Times Looks at the Impact of Climate Change on Greenland

Inexplicably the topic of climate change remains a controversial one, even in the face of overwhelming data that indicates that it is indeed a very real threat to our planet. But despite all the evidence to the contrary, there are still those who refuse to believe that it is happening all around us. I would direct those people to a new article from the The New York Times, which explores the direct impact of global warming on the ice sheets of Greenland.

A team of reporters traveled to that country to explore this topic in-depth, and returned with some sobering findings. In Greenland the impact of climate change isn't just something that is recorded with fine scientific instruments. It can be observed with the naked eye, as water from the melting ice caps flow across the landscape like rushing rivers, somethings that is seen in this interactive piece by the Times in the very first image found at the top of the website.

To more directly take stock of the changing environment in Greenland, a team of scientists went there this summer, and got a first hand look at how things are shifting. The discovered that not only are the ice sheets melting, their disappearance is accelerating at an alarming rate. The lakes and rivers that form from that melt off are slicing through the glaciers like a knife, warming the surrounding ice faster than expected. Those rivers than drill through the ice, creating vast and deep sinkholes that eventually deposit the water into the ocean. As time goes by, this will cause the ocean levels to rise, directly impacting places that fall along our current shorelines.

These large holes are called "moulins" and while scientists were aware of their existence, they didn't know just how prevalent they were until this year. As one research explained it, the ice cap in Greenland is "porous like Swiss Cheese" and that is allowing the water to run off at a faster rate, and melt more ice in the process.

The article from the Times is a fascinating one that deftly melds interactive elements with engaging writing, and excellent research and reporting from the field. It is a long story to read, but the photos and other media that are included with help convey just how important this story truly is. If you love the outdoors, and have any concerns whatsoever about how climate change will change the face of the Earth, this is definitely one story you won't want to miss. Kudos to the "Newspaper of Record" for  a job well done here. This is sobering stuff to say the least.

Nat Geo Presents Gear of the Year for Fall and Winter 2015

Hot on the heals of Outside magazine's 2016 winter buyer's guide comes National Geographic Adventure's picks for the absolute best outdoor gear for fall and winter 2015. As usual, the selection is filled with some amazing products that you'll want to have in your gear closet for the season ahead.

Some of the items that earned a spot on Nat Geo's list include new high-loft merino wool base layers from Patagonia, a pair of ski pants from Black Diamond that include a built-in avalanche transceiver, and a new pair of hiking boots from Hoka One One that have been getting a lot of attention since they were first revealed. Other gear that may be of interest for your favorite fall and winter outdoor activities include the new Jetboil Genesis Basecamp stove, an amazing water purifier from MSR, and Sierra Design's new four-season tent, the Convert 2.

This is just the tip of the iceberg however, as you'll also find Nat Geo's picks for the best fat tire bike, an ultra-bright trail light, skis, boots, cameras, travel bags, watches - both smart and traditional – and a whole lot more. All of the new gear is available now, and would obviously make good holiday gifts for yourself or your favorite outdoor enthusiast. Check out the entire list here.

Video: GoPro Awards - Aurora Borealis

A couple of weeks back I told you about a new program from GoPro called the GoPro Awards, in which the company would actually pay up to $5 million per year for content that we capture using their cameras. The first videos that are part of the GoPro Awards series have begun to trickle out online, and this two-minute clip is one of them. While the exact location isn't mentioned, it appears as if it is in Iceland or perhaps Scandinavia, where the Aurora Borealis – aka the Northern Lights – are on full display. It is a beautiful video to say the least, and certainly deserving of some attention from GoPro. If this is what we can expect from the award winners, we're all going to be in for a treat.

Want to have an opportunity to see the Northern Lights for yourself? Mountain Travel Sobek's Best of Norway trip will allow you to do just that. The 11-day itinerary gives you taste of everything the country has to offer, including hiking in the mountains, cruising on fjords, and yes, the Aurora Borealis. It is definitely a great way to explore this setting for yourself.

Video: The Stunning Landscapes of Utah Captured by Drone

Utah is legendary for its breathtaking landscapes, which can look almost otherworldly at times. This video takes us to some of the amazing places that can found within that state, and gives us a bird's eye view thanks to some fantastic footage captured by drone. This is two minutes of visual splendor that will leave you longing to visit these places yourself.

Thanks to the Adventure Journal for sharing this one.

Utah, Sun In Your Eyes 4K from CAVORT on Vimeo.

Video: Wingsuit Pilots Compete in Slalom Race 8000 Feet in the Sky

Leave it up to the mad scientists at Red Bull to come up with an event that takes place 8000 feet (2438 meters) up in the sky. In this video, you'll see wingsuit pilots take to the air to race one another through a slalom course to find out who exactly is the fastest person in the air. The event is called the Red Bull Aces, and it requires participants to navigate through four flying gates before reaching the finish line. It is not unlike a ski slalom race, except it takes place a mile and a half up in the air, where there is plenty of bumping and jostling for position on the way down.

This is one of those events that I'd much rather watch than ever participate in myself. This is totally wild.

100 Years Ago Today Shackleton Lost the Endurance

Today is a particularly auspicious date in Antarctic history. It was exactly 100 years ago to the day that Ernest Shackleton's ship, the Endurance, succumbed to the crushing ice that had trapped it off the coast of the frozen continent, eventually sinking into the depths at long last. The vessel was suppose carry Shackleton and his team to Antarctica, where they would attempt to become the first men to traverse the continent. They never made it to their destination however, as the Endurance became surrounded by thick ice, thus starting one of the greatest survival stories of all time.

The expedition began back in August of 1914, just as the first World War was getting underway. Shackleton and his crew sailed to South America, before eventually setting out across the Southern Ocean for the frozen continent itself. On December 5 of that year, the Endurance left South Georgia Island to cross the Weddell Sea. The ship encountered thicker than expected ice during that crossing, and by January 19, 1915 it had become completely frozen in place.

Shackleton soon realized that his vessel was stranded, and would remain stuck in the ice until spring arrived. So he ordered the crew to create a camp around the Endurance on the ice floe that they had become stuck in. But as the entire platform drifted north, the warmer temperatures began to put pressure on the sides of the ship. Its wooden hull began to buckle under the strain, and started to take on water. On October 27, 1915 Shackleton wrote in his journal that all was lost, and the Endurance was beyond repair. He and his men abandoned the vessel altogether, and on November 21 it slipped into the icy waters of the ocean for good.

Of course, the story was far from over for Shackleton and his men, who continued to live on the ice floe for months to come as it continued to drift north. In March of 1916, their frozen home began to crumble, so the crew piled into life boats left behind from the Endurance, and spent five harrowing days out on the open water before reaching Elephant Island. It was the first time any of them had set foot on land in 497 days, and they were now 336 miles (557 km) from where their ship had gone down.

Elephant Island was no place for the crew to stay however, as few ships passed by and the weather was inhospitable to say the least. So, on April 24, 1916 Shackleton and a few men boarded one of the life boats and set off for South Georgia island in the hopes of finding help. They had to cross 720 nautical miles of frigid open ocean to reach that point, finally arriving at their destination on May 8. But the journey wasn't over yet, as they had to then traverse South Georgia on foot in order to reach a whaling station on the other side of the island.

Eventually, Shackleton was able to mount a rescue operation to retrieve his stranded crew. The entire team had to live on Elephant Island for more than four months before being picked up by a pair of British ships on August 30, 1916.

Most impressive of all, is that not a single man perished during the long months that they had spent surviving in the Antarctic. That is a testament to the strength of the crew, and the man who led them.

Shackleton and his men finally returned to England in May of 1917. World War I was in full swing, and the brutality of that conflict was staggering to the crew of the Endurance, many of whom were pressed into service upon arrival back home. They had survived the challenges of the Antarctic, only to go into the meat grinder that was the most devastating war that the world has ever seen. It must have been a horrific experience for all of them, who were likely just looking forward to being home with their families.

In the coming months, you're likely to hear a lot more about Shackleton's story as we reach similar milestones to the one like today. It is still an inspiring tale 100 years on, and I think there is a lot that can still be learned from the explorer's leadership abilities. The Endurance expedition was one for the  history books, even if it didn't accomplish the task that it had originally set out for.

Antarctica 2015: Delay Confirmed for Henry Worsley

Yesterday I posted the news that weather was threatening the start of the 2015 Antarctic season, and today we have confirmation of that delay. The first flight to the Union Glacier camp on the ice was expected to take place today, but there is now word that the flight has been scrubbed, and it could be a few days before the next window of opportunity opens.

For the most part, the South Pole skiers and Antarctic explorers are only now just gathering in Punta Arenas, Chile to prepare for their journey across the frozen continent. This delay will have very little impact on their expeditions, as this first flight was mainly meant to deliver fuel, supplies, and personnel to the Union Glacier. Most of the travelers won't be arriving on the ice for a week or two yet, so no one is feeling particularly bothered by this not-unexpected turn of events.

But Henry Worsley is already watching the clock, and is hoping to fly out soon. He is attempting to become the first person to ski solo and unassisted across Antarctica, which will require up to 80 days to complete. For him, every day matters and it was his intention to be on this first flight out. He isn't panicking just yet however, as his schedule had accounted for potential delays at the start of the expedition, and by his own accounts, as long as he is underway by November 10, he'll have the time he needs to finish his traverse.

The next flight out to Union Glacier is now scheduled to take place on Saturday of this week, weather pending of course. That gives the team at the camp a bit of extra time to finish their prep work, which includes finishing up the temporary runway that allows aircraft to come and go. ANI, the company that maintains the camp and shuttles travelers to and from Antarctica, uses big Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft to carry explorers and all of their gear. Those planes need a bit of space to land, so having a good airstrip in place is important.

Right now, the weather remains on the dicey side through the end of the week. But hopefully it won't be so bad as to prevent flights out. I'm sure Henry in particular is anxious to get going, and soon others will be in line to follow.

The Antarctic season is just on the edge of truly ramping up. In the weeks ahead, you'll hear a lot more about the efforts of men and women who will be skiing across that challenging environment. But for now, it is the calm before the storm. Stay tuned for more to come.

Video: A U.S. Army Vet Finds Healing in Yellowstone

A few weeks back I posted about a five-part series that National Geographic Adventure was sharing with readers about a U.S. Army vet named Ray Knell who had undertaken a 1000-mile (1600 km) journey on horseback across the Continental Divide. Ray suffers from PTSD, and he found solace and healing as he rode through Yellowstone National Park. This video takes us with him along that ride, giving us more of this former soldier's story, and immersing us in the Yellowstone ecosphere along with him as he not only discovers plenty of adventure along the way, but begins to heal some very deep wounds. This is incredibly powerful stuff, and a good reminder of the healing power of nature.

Video: Free Solo Climbing in British Columbia with Will Stanhope

Want to know what it is like to climb a big wall without the use of ropes? Pro climber Will Stanhope conveys that feeling extremely well in this video, while we get shots of him plying his trade in the amazing settings of British Columbia, Canada. In this case, he's taking on The Chief, a 1000-foot (300 meter) rock wall that offers some of the most challenging climbing imaginable. For Will, this isn't about pushing yourself to the limit, but it is instead about having the chance to climb more freely, and interact directly with the rock. Obviously, this type of climbing isn't for everyone, but it is amazing to watch for sure.

Free Solo Rock Climbing - Will Stanhope in Squamish, BC, Canada from Blaise Sack on Vimeo.

Antarctica 2015: Weather Could Delay Start of the Season

The 2015-2016 Antarctic season is about to begin, but that nemesis of adventurers and explorers everywhere is already rearing its ugly head. The first flight out to the frozen continent is scheduled to take place tomorrow, but there is already talk about weather delays that could prevent the first Antarctic skiers from getting underway as scheduled. In fact, it may end up causing problems with fully establishing the Union Glacier camp, which is the launching point of many expeditions to the South Pole and other regions in the Antarctic. 

Built, supplied, and maintained by the team at Adventure Network International, the Union Glacier camp already has a dedicated crew in place that is working hard to prepare for the arrival of the explorers. That includes preparing the mess hall, ensuring all of the tents are in stable, and in place, and organizing supplies for the long season ahead. 

One of the other important jobs that this advance crew is responsible for is building a runway for the big Ilyushin aircraft to land upon. Those massive planes bring supplies, fuel, and visitors to Antarctica, and the season can't truly get underway until those big birds can take off and land safely. Unfortunately, the weather at Union Glacier isn't great right now, which is preventing the team from completing that runway. There is still hope that they'll be able to have it ready for tomorrow's first flight, but at the moment it doesn't look promising. The final decision on whether or not to fly will come tomorrow. 

Polar explorer Henry Worsley is scheduled to be on that flight, and hopes to arrive in the Antarctic tomorrow. As you probably recall, Henry is about to embark on an ambitious expedition that will seem him attempt to become the first person to ski solo and unassisted across the continent. He'll cover approximately 2735 km (1700 miles) over the course of about 80 days to accomplish that task. While he obviously hopes to stay on schedule with his flight tomorrow, Henry has built in some extra days into the schedule that will help him to set off on time. In fact, he has said previously that his hope is to be underway by November 10, which means there is no reason to panic just yet. There will be some work that needs to be accomplished once he reaches Union Glacier of course, but at the moment there is still plenty of time. 

Speaking of Worsley, ExWeb has posted a brief interview with the British Army vet, who is currently in Punta Arenas, Chile awaiting that flight tomorrow. As part of that interview, Henry shares his preparation schedule, the sections of the route that are most concerning, and the gear that will help him traverse the Antarctic continent. Definitely an interesting read for those of us who follow these kinds of expeditions. 

For the most part, the South Pole skiers are only just now starting to arrive in Punta Arenas, so there isn't a lot to report just yet. November is the traditional start of the season, so things are running on schedule for now. Expect more teams to start arriving later this week and next, as they prepare for one of the biggest challenges of their life – skiing hundreds of miles across a frozen expanse while pulling  a sled filled with their gear and supplies behind them at all times. While not nearly as difficult as skiing to the North Pole, an Antarctic expedition is never the less a difficult undertaking. 

More to come soon.

Outside Shares 6 Pieces of Retro Gear They Love

If you're lucky enough to attend Outdoor Retailer – or just happen to watch outdoor gear trends closely – you've probably noticed a retro movement has been afoot in the industry over the past year or two. A number of big (and small!) gear manufacturers have created throwback products that incorporate modern fabrics and design elements into items that look like something right out of the 1970's or 80's. Sales of these products have been mixed, but there are a lot of old school outdoor enthusiasts who seem to love them.

Now, Outside magazine has listed their favorite pieces of retro gear that are currently available to purchase. The title of the article indicates that the list is six of the mag's all-time favorite pieces of gear, but in reality there are seven items shared with readers. Each product has a distinct look that is all of its own. Most look like something from a by-gone era, although Outside indicates that performance is more on par with modern standards.

Some of the items that earn a spot on the Outside list include the Hatcher external frame backpack from Alite, which will certainly bring back fond memories of backpacking trips from years gone by, and the Mountain Pass Horween Rio boot from Danner, which bares a strong resemblance to boots the company made more than three decades ago. I'm also kind of partial to the Yo Eddy mountain bike from Fat Chance, which looks like it just rolled off the assembly line in the 1990's. The bike has a steel frame and colors from that era, but has been updated to include modern disc brakes and now comes in 27.5" and 29" models.

Personally, I enjoy seeing this retro gear, but don't really use much of it myself. I think the designs for these products definitely induce a sense of nostalgia, but I tend to prefer the more modern looking products instead. Still, there does seem to be a market for these throw-back items, so don't be surprised when you see more of them on the trail in the days ahead.

Himalaya Fall 2015: Ueli and Company Turned Back on Nuptse

There isn't a lot of new news to report from the Himalaya as we start a new week, but I did want to take the opportunity to post an update on the expedition to Nuptse, which launched a summit bid over the weekend, only to see the weather turn back all attempts to climb the mountain.

We have been following Ueli Steck and Colin Haley's expedition to Nuptse for several weeks now. The pair joined forces in Nepal to attempt to repeat the very difficult Banavov route, which hasn't been repeated since it was first opened back in 2003. When the duo first arrived in the mountains, the weather was actually quite good, but it took them some time to acclimatize, as Colin battle illness early on. By the time they were ready to go, the conditions took a turn for the worse and the weather deteriorated, dumping a lot of snow on the mountain. So, they have been waiting for an opportunity to make an alpine style ascent ever since.

Last week, they were joined in Base Camp by Ben Guigonnet and Helias Millerioux (and Kilian Jornet!), two French climbers who had also come to Nepal to attempt Nuptse this fall. The teams immediately joined forces and started scouting the route, and when the forecast for this past weekend indicated that they had a small weather window, they decide to go for it.

On Friday, the four climbers set off from BC to get themselves into position to possibly summit on Saturday or Sunday. They climbed 2200 meters (7217 ft) to establish a camp at 6900 meters (22,637 ft). That would have put them in good position to go to the 7861 m (25,791 ft) summit. But, as they climbed the snow started to fall, and by the time they woke up the next morning to start their push, it was already clear that it was not safe to proceed. They have already descended back to BC, and from the tone of their dispatches, it seems they are preparing to go home. That hasn't been confirmed yet, but it seems that once again conditions are poor enough on the mountain that they'll call off the expedition.

To get an idea of what the route looks like, take a good look at the image above. It was shot by Ueli on the Nupste's Southface during the climb on Friday.

Elsewhere in the Himalaya, another expedition is about to get underway. Polar explorer/mountaineer, Lonnie Dupre has been in Nepal helping with rebuilding and relief efforts from the spring earthquake. But yesterday he posted that his team had established Base Camp on a peak called Kyoja Ri, a 6186 meter (20,295 ft) peak near Namche Bazaar in the Khumu Valley. They'll be attempting that mountain over the next few days, before eventually moving on to Ama Dablam. At the moment, all is well, conditions are reportedly good, and everyone is feeling strong. If all goes as planned, a summit bid could come later in the week.

I'll keep you posted of any developments. The climbing season is starting to rapidly wind down now, but there are still a few interesting ongoing expeditions. Success has been fleeting in the Himalaya this fall however, so the odds seem stacked against these climbers. Hopefully there will be some good news to come however.

Video: The Italian Dolomites in Timelapse

Located in northeast Italy, the Dolomites are some of the most rugged, and beautiful, mountains in all of Europe. Over the years, they have served as the proving grounds for many great climbers, who visit this section of the country to hone their skills on challenging big walls and snowcapped summits. This video takes us into those mountains, and gives us a stunning look at their beauty using timelapse techniques. The results are nothing short of breathtaking.

And when you're ready to visit the Dolomites for yourself, Mountain Travel Sobek can help. The adventure travel company offers a week of adventure in those iconic mountains that will take you trekking through charming villages, through lush meadows, and into the very heart of this Italian wilderness.

Dolomites | 4K time lapse from Michele Colombo on Vimeo.

Video: Take a 90-Second Road Trip Through Scenic Montana

Want to take a road trip through Montana? Have 90 seconds to kill? Than this video is perfect for you. It comes our way courtesy of National Geographic Traveler, and gives us an all-too-short glimpse of one of my favorite places on Earth. From mountain landscapes, to raging rivers, to pristine forests, Montana has it all. And we get a brief look at it in this clip. It definitely makes me want to hit the road!

Video: Blind Ultra-Runner Completes Inca Trail

A few days back I told you about Dan Berlin, a blind athlete who had just become the first person without sight to run the entire 26 mile (41 km) length of Peru's Inca trail. Now, we have video of his run, showing he and his support team making their way along the tough route that features more than 5000 feet (1524 meters) of vertical gain. If you're looking for a bit of extra inspiration today, or if Dan's story captured your attention earlier in the week, you'll definitely enjoy this clip.

Himalaya Fall 2015: Ueli Steck and Kilian Jornet Share Nuptse Base Camp

Just a quick update today from the Himalaya to shed a little more light on the amazing scene we caught a glimpse of in yesterday's post on the ongoing climbing operations in Nepal at the moment. It may have slipped under the radar for some readers who skimmed by that story, but two of the best alpine athletes in the world were actually sharing Base Camp on Nuptse over the past few days.

Swiss mountaineer Ueli Steck and Spanish mountain runner Kilian Jornet met up in the Himalaya and had the opportunity to spend a bit of time together. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, these two men could compose quite the "Dream Team" of climbing if they were ever to team up on a project. Ueli is probably the better climber of the two, but Kilian is probably the faster man in the mountains. Both are known for their speed however, and have accomplished amazing things in the Alps, Himalaya, and beyond.

Ueli commented on the back that both men were in BC on Nuptse in a Facebook post. He said:
"We had a great day today. Colin and Ben went have a look at Nuptse on the lower part. Helias Kilian and myself did a little tour climbing. Its just great to hang out with this Guys. Very inspiring to me. And the hope for Nuptse is still alive!"
The other people that is speaking of include Colin Haley, his climbing partner on Nuptse, Ben Guiguonnet, and Hélias Millerioux, two young French mountain guides who staged a dramatic first ascent on Siula Chico, and are now hoping to find a new route up Nuptse as well.

As for Kilian, he appears to be back in the Himalaya simply to enjoy some time in the mountains. He has not announced any major plans for while he is there, and does't appear to have any intentions of climbing any big peaks. He is perhaps doing a bit of training to prepare for the spring 2016 season, where he will most likely attempt a speed record once again on Everest. This year that attempt was cut short when the April 25 earthquake brought an end to all climbing expeditions on the mountain.

Is there a chance we could see Ueli and Kilian team up in the future? Anything seems possible, and I believe there is a great deal of mutual respect between these two athletes. As I said above, this would be quite a team, and I'm sure fans of both men would like to see it happen. Only time will tell.

In other climbing news, 76 year old Spanish climber Carlos Soria is back in the Himalaya this fall, although he isn't there to take on an 8000 meter peak this time out. Instead, he hopes to climb Ama Dablam, the striking peak that is viewed so prominently throughout the Khumbu Valley. The mountain is 6812 meters (22,349 ft) in height, and is often used as a warm-up for other big climbs in the region, something Carlos doesn't really need.

That's all from the Himalaya today. More new soon I'm sure.

Forbes Interviews Blind Adventurer Erik Weihenmayer

It is always a good thing when someone from the world of outdoor adventure gets a bit of mainstream press. It is even better when that someone is as inspiring at Erik Weihenmayer, the blind adventurer who has competed in endurance racing events, gone mountain biking, paddled the length of the Grand Canyon, and reached the summit of Mt. Everest. To say that Erik is a great source of motivation and inspiration would be an understatement.

Recently, Forbes magazine sat down with the mountaineer to talk shop, and they discussed everything from his previous life as a middle school teacher and wrestling coach, to how he prepares mentally and physically for his adventures. Erik also touches on the technologies that have helped him to achieve his goals, how he "sees" the world around him, and how he mitigates risk in the backcountry.

Weihenmayer also talks about his next adventure, which will take him climbing again with his No Barriers organization. The foundation works with injured U.S. servicemen, and helps them to regain confidence and strength by organizing an expedition to the mountains. The team will train in Colorado throughout the summer of 2016, before heading to Gannet Peak (13,809 ft/4208 m) in Wyoming.

If you'd like to know more about Erik, check out his personal website and be sure to read his book, Touch the Top of the World, which chronicles his attempt to become the first blind person to summit Everest. I'm sure you'll find both very inspirational.

Video: Crossing the French Alps on a Fixie

I think it is safe to say that the French take their cycling very seriously. That is evident in this video, which follows 57-year old Thierry Saint-Léger as he becomes the first person to cross the French Alps non-stop on a fixie. That is to say, a bike that only has one gear. There is no downshifting on this bike when the hills start to get tough. Instead, the rider just has to grit it out. Beautifully shot, and wonderful to watch, this is a short film that any cycling fan will love. Enjoy!

Evian Nice, 2015 from Mavic on Vimeo.

Video: Have You Ever Seen a Yak Polo Game?

I've seen polo played on horses and even elephants before, but never on yaks. Those are the steeds used by four teams that play in a remote corner of Pakistan however, and they even hold an annual tournament to see which of them is the best. Villagers in the beautiful Broghil Valley region – situated at about 3962 meters (13,000 ft) – ride their favorite yaks while knocking a tiny ball around a picturesque alpine meadow. It is definitely a site to behold. Check it out in the video below, and start sharpening up your yak riding skills if you want to take part in this event.

Gear Closet: Dare 2b Provision Jacket

Now that fall is fully upon us, and winter is closer than we think, it is time to start thinking about the layers we'll be using to keep us warm during the colder months ahead. After all, our outdoor activities don't stop just because the weather gets a bit chillier and the snow starts to fly.

A good jacket is essential to enjoying the winter weather, allowing us to stay warm and dry even when the conditions around us are deteriorating. That is exactly what the Provision Jacket from a company called Dare 2b has been designed to do, but it also delivers some nice features, while managing to look good too.

For those not familiar with Dare 2b, it is a U.K. based company that has been making outdoor apparel for more than 15 years. The company prides itself on creating products that are not just highly functional, but fashionable as well. They use an array of high tech fabrics in their line of clothing, providing apparel that performs at a very high level whether your cycling, running, hiking, climbing, skiing, or just traipsing around town.

The Provision Jacket falls into Dare 2b's mountain line of products. Both waterproof and breathable, the jacket has all the features you would expect from a shell that you would take into an alpine setting. Its outer fabrics are adept at repelling moisture, and the inside of the jacket is lined with a warm, soft fleece that feels great against the skin.

The cuffs, hem, and hood can all be adjusted to dial in the exact fit you're looking for, which comes in handy when wearing this with additional layers, on in the case of the hood, a helmet. The hood is also fully removable in case you find you don't want or need it at all times.

Dare 2b has also incorporated a number of pockets into the Provision jacket. There are two very large zippered hand pockets, each with a soft lining s well. There is also a zippered pocket on the left wrist which is great for keeping small items close at hand, such as energy gels or a small flashlight. Additional pockets are stitched into the interior of the jacket as well, two of which are large enough to carry a water bottle.

Other nice touches include taped seams that help to repel moisture and pit zips that aid in venting when you work up a sweat in the mountains. The jacket is also made from four-way stretch fabrics that allow you to move well on active excursions too.

This jacket is a bit bulkier than similar products that I've used in the past, but part of the additional thickness comes from the inner fleece lining. This isn't just a waterproof, breathable shell that fits over your other layers. It actually has some substance to it, which allows it to be warmer on its own, without the need for a mid-layer for instance. Of course, you can always add another layer if you need to, but in all but the most extreme cases, you probably won't feel the need.

I wasn't all that familiar with the Dare 2b line before meeting with them at Outdoor Retailer this past August. What I saw was outdoor apparel that was designed well, looked good, and offered solid performance at affordable prices. The company is still trying to break into the North American market, and the Provision Jacket is a nice entry point for them. And since it sells for just $112 it will certainly be an attractive option for outdoor enthusiasts on a budget.

I am impressed with the build quality, design, and overall performance of the Provision. It is warm, performs well in foul weather, and won't crush your wallet. It also happens to look good, making it a great option for both the backcountry and around town. If you're in the market for a new jacket, and want performance at a great price, take a look at what Dare 2b has created here. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

Explore Yosemite National Park with Google Street View

Google continues to expand its Street View program, taking us back into Yosemite National Park to capture even more of that beautiful place. The Street View team returned to Yosemite recently to collect more images, this time stitching together a 360º view of some of the parks famous landmarks and trails.

Amongst the highlights of the new Street View collection are views from the El Capitan Meadow and the base of that iconic mountain. You'll also be able to get a full view of the Cook's Meadow Loop, the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail, Four Mile Trail, and Bridelveil Trail, amongst others. There are even some sections of the spectacular John Muir Trail as well.

This isn't the first time that Google Street View has been in Yosemite. Earlier in the summer the team captured impressive images on El Capitan itself, following climbers Lynn Hill, Tommy Caldwell, and Alex Honnold as they went up some of the climbing routes on the giant rock face. Nor is Yosemite the only national park Google has visited either. In fact, there is a whole section of the Street View website dedicated just to U.S. parks, trails, and beaches.

Outside magazine says that the latest images from Yosemite were captured in conjunction with the team from Sender Films, who donned the Google Trekker to walk through the park. That high-tech backpack is able to shoot photos in all directions every 2.5 seconds. Those images are than stitched together using special software that creates the illusion of being able to look in any direction.

Better yet, Outside says that the Street View team hopes to continue mapping various part of the national parks as the U.S. park service prepares to celebrate its centennial year in 2016.

Himalaya Fall 2015: Ueli and Colin Scout Nuptse Route

There is a bit of progress to report in the Himalaya, where a few teams are forging ahead with their expeditions, despite the fact that weather conditions have not been favorable all season long. But the fall climbing season is far from over, and there is still time for these expeditions to achieve their goals, even if it appears that they'll face some serious obstacles along the way.

Ueli Steck and Colin Haley are back on Nuptse and still hoping they can summit along the very difficult Babanov route. Yesterday, the team did some scouting of that route to check out conditions on the mountain, and Ueli reports on Facebook that "the hope for Nuptse is still alive!" That indicates that the boys are far from wrapping things up, and are still planning to at least have a go at the mountain, despite some difficult setbacks. Colin struggled early with illness, but is ready to climb now, but the weather has dumped fresh, wet snow on the mountain, making it more dangerous to go up. Hopefully those conditions will settle down, allowing the duo to proceed.

Steck and Haley were not alone in Base Camp yesterday. They were joined by a trio of visitors that includes none other than Kilian Jornet. It's not clear what Kilian was doing on Nuptse. It could be that he is just in the Himalaya on a training/scouting expedition, and dropped by to see Ueli, but none the less, they are hanging out on the mountain right now. For many, that would be the Dream Team of climbing, Kilian and Ueli working together on a project. Perhaps we'll see that happen at some point.

Meanwhile, Bill Burke has arrived in Kathamdnu is preparing for a very special climbing expedition of his own. Bill is back in Nepal to have a crack and an unclimbed peak that just happens to be named after him. The 73 year old climber will be attempting to summit Burke-Khang, a 6742 meter (22,775 foot) mountain that has only just recently been opened to climbing. He departs from Kathmandu today for Lukla, and will spend a few days trekking in the Khumbu Valley before arriving in BC on the mountain.

There have been no new updates from Luke Smithwick or Brian Beatty just yet. The duo set out on Sunday to begin their expedition of the unclimbed Saldim Ri (6343 m/20,810 ft) in the Makalu region of Nepal. They should be trekking to the mountain now however, and will arriving in the next few days. Hopefully we'll get another update on their progress than.

Finally, there has also been no word on the progress of the South Korean team on Lhotse. When last they checked in, the conditions on the mountain were unsafe for climbing and the weather was very poor. At the time, they were waiting for a shift in fortunes, but it doesn't seem that that has come there way just yet.

While it has certainly gotten a little quieter in the Himalaya, these expeditions are definitely still worth following. More to come soon.