Video: Traversing Iceland by Mountain Bike

We'll wrap up the year in fitting style with a fantastic video of a true adventure. This ten-minute clip takes us to Iceland, where we'll follow pro mountain bikers Hans Rey and Steve Peat as they traverse the country by bike north to south. Along the way, you'll get a chance to see some of the amazing landscapes that the country is so famous for, and since this is the last video of the year, let is serve as a good inspiration to get your 2016 off to an adventurous start too. Happy New Year!

Video: A Visit to the Amazing Galapagos Islands

Located 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are one of the most famous and intriguing destinations on the planet. It was there that Charles Darwin first formulated his ideas of natural selection and evolution as he observed unique wildlife, some of which exists no where else on Earth. This video takes us to the Galapagos and gives us a glimpse of those creatures, as well as some of the wonderful landscapes that exist there. If you've ever wanted to visit this place for yourself, this short film might finally convince you to make that happen.

GALAPAGOS from irenaVision on Vimeo.

Outside's Top 10 Adventures of 2015

Our end of the year review and wrap-up continues today, this time with a list from Outside magazine of the 10 most badass adventures of 2015. As you can tell from the title, the list is made up of some of the most daring and audacious expeditions from the past 12 months, some of which you may have forgotten about, or slipped under your radar altogether.

The first entry should come as no surprise to anyone. It is Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson's ascent of the Dawn Wall, which tops my list of the best adventures of 2015 for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it was an incredible climb up one of the hardest routes on the planet, but going beyond that it also managed to captivate an audience that went well beyond the normal climbing crowd. It will be difficult for anyone to match this climb in 2016, or for years to come.

Other expeditions that got the nod from Outside include an attempt at the first ski descent of Makalu, Lonnie Dupre's solo summit of Denali in January, and Will Gadd's climb of the frozen Niagara Falls, which was also a first.

I won't spoil the entire list, as obviously part of the fun is finding out what Outside deemed worthy of sharing, as well as being reminded of the interesting adventures from the year that has passed. But it is safe to say however, that each of the entries in the article are certainly deserving of the "badass" label, and will inspire you to think about some of your own adventures for 2016.

Start the slideshow by clicking here.

Video: Climbing Castles in the Sky

Rock climber Sonnie Trotter recently put up a stunning new route in the Canadian Rockies near Banff. Climbing on Castle Mountain, he completed a five-pitch, 5.14-rated climb that he named Castles in the Sky. In this fantastic video, we join Sonnie on the wall, as he goes up this tough, but beautiful route for the first time. And when you've finished watching the video, head on over to National Geographic Adventure to read a recent interview with Trotter about the climb as well.

Castles In The Sky from MOONHOUSE on Vimeo.

Nat Geo Picks the Best Adventure Films of 2015

2015 was a good year for adventure filmmakers. Over the course of the past 12 months we've seen some of the best outdoor and travel focused films ever, and thanks to a proliferation of excellent tools – such as low-cost, high-quality cameras and affordable drones – it looks like this trend of fantastic guerrilla filmmaking won't end anytime soon. With that in mind, National Geographic Adventure took a look back at the very best adventure films from the past year, and revealed their picks for the seven best.

The subjects of these films vary wildly, with some focusing on climbing and mountaineering, while others are all about exploration, skiing, dogsled racing, and even our complex relationships with our canine friends. Some of the short films that earned a spot on Nat Geo's list include A Line Across the Sky, which documented Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold's historic climb of the Fitz Traverse in Patagonia, as well as The Great Alone, which takes us into the Alaskan wilderness with Iditarod champ Lancey Makey, and Unbranded which features an epic journey across the U.S. with wild mustangs.

Of course, one of the most high profile adventure films of the year was Meru. This stunning mountaineering film follows Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk as they climb the Shark's Fin on Mt. Meru in India. This is one of the few movies of this type that actually had a theatrical run, which makes it stand out all the more. Check out the trailer below, and try to catch it on DVD or iTunes if you can.

I'm sure 2016 will bring even more interesting adventure films. I can't wait to see what is in store for us.

Video: The Day Everest Shook

Without a doubt, one of the biggest events of 2015 was the earthquake in Nepal. That seismic event rattled the entire country, and continues to have an impact on that nation months after the tremors have died down. This video is a full-length documentary film that takes us to the Himalaya to show us what happened on the day of the quake, demonstrating the forces at work there. It also contains some sobering footage of the mountains, and the impact of this disaster, which will take years to fully recover from.

Video: Rare Footage of a Giant Squid Captured in Japan

One of the rarest creatures on the planet was spotted in Toyama Bay in Japan last week, where a diver captured this footage of a giant squid that was swimming close to shore, and in shallow waters, something that they seldom do. The squid is believed to be about 3.7 meters (12.1 ft) in length, which is impressive in size, but far from full grown. It is believed that the largest of these animals can grow to be over 13 meters (42.6 ft) in length, although those titans are generally only found at great depths. Still, it is impressive to see this animal up close.

Antarctica 2015: Worsley Approaching 89th Degree, Others Pushing Ahead

It continues to be a busy season at the bottom of the world, where the Antarctic teams are making their way slowly but surely towards the South Pole. Fresh snow and cold temperatures are testing their resolve at the moment, but most are in good spirits despite the tough conditions.

We'll start with an update on Henry Worsley, who has now been out on the ice for 46 days. As you probably recall, the British polar explorer is attempting the first solo and unsupported traverse of the continent, and despite a few weather set backs at the start of the journey, he seems to be steaming along nicely right now. At the moment, he is camped just one mile shy of the 89th degree, which means he is about 60 nautical miles from the Pole. He had initially hoped to reach 90ºS by New Years Day, and that might still be possible provided surface conditions and the weather cooperate. Right now, Henry says that things are going about as well as can be expected, and the skiing is a bit easier. If that continues over the course of the next four days, he may still reach the bottom of the world in time to celebrate the start of 2016.

Elsewhere, American solo-skier Doug Tumminello got a surprise supply drop a few days back. A Twin Otter aircraft operated by ALE flew overhead to and tossed out a package that contained a new teapot. The one he was carrying with him developed a crack, making it difficult to heat water and melt snow, and while the situation was manageable, it could have become serious if he found himself tent-bound due to poor weather with no way to create drinking water. The downside of receiving the package is that now Doug's expedition goes from solo and unsupported to supported, which is a minor distinction in the record books, but still an important one. Because he received outside assistance, he now has to give up the "unsupported" designation.

Italian kite-skier Michele Pontrandolfo continues to struggle with finding strong winds to pull his kites. He hasn't reported in since before Christmas, but at that time was hoping to reach the 75º so that he could hopefully get moving at a faster rate. He has already abandoned his attempt to reach the Pole of Inaccessibility, and is instead hoping to get to the Geographic South Pole instead, but it has been slow going for sure. At this point, he still has a lot of ground to cover before the season ends in a month.

Carl Alvey and Emma Kelty continue to push towards the Pole. A few days back they crossed their third degree, and picked up their first supply drop on Christmas Eve. Judging from the posted updates, it feels like the days are a real grind for Emma at the moment, although she continues to trudge ahead despite newly fallen snow making things difficult. The soft snow makes it much harder to glide on the skis, and most of explorers would prefer a harder surface so that they can go much further and faster on any given day.

Finally, the team of Devon McDiarmid, Stew Edge, Mostafa Salameh, Shahrom Abdullah remain on the trailing edge of the South Pole teams. They were the last squad to start, and have now been out on the ice for three weeks. Mostafa reports that over that time period he has already lost several kilos, as it is almost impossible to consume enough calories to maintain your weight when skiing to the South Pole. The group struggled with finding their rhythm early on, but they seem to be doing great now and working well with one another.

That's all for today. The next report isn't likely to come until after the New Year, but hopefully we'll have news of our first arrival at the South Pole by then.

Video: The New River Gorge in Timelapse

West Virginia's New River is considered to be one of the oldest river systems in the world, stretching back more than 300 million years. In this video, we travel to that place to explore it for ourselves, with timelapse imagery bringing us some amazing views of a place that remains on the wild side, even in the 21st century. The New River Gorge is even home to one of the largest bridges in North America, which features prominently in the film.

MELANCHOLY GORGE from Harun Mehmedinovic on Vimeo.

Video: The Year in Review with GoPro

It was another good year for GoPro. Not only did the company release a series of excellent new cameras, the footage that was captured on those devices continued to improve and become more refined. This video takes us on a 4+ minute look review of the year as seen through the lens of a GoPro camera, with some fantastic shots of some amazing places to remind us of all that took place in 2015.

7 Important Archeological Discoveries Made in 2015

We continue are look back at 2015 today with an interesting article from National Geographic that takes a look at the seven most important archeological discoveries of the year, some of which were quite important in expanding what we know about our own history, and the world around us.

Tops on the list is an item that I've mentioned a couple of times on The Adventure Blog, which is the potential discovery of hidden chambers inside King Tut's tomb in Egypt. It is believed that those chambers could actually lead to the burial site of Queen Nefertiti, who was an influential figure in Egyptian history, but whose final resting place has remained a mystery. Ground penetrating radar has uncovered what could be passages that lead to unopened chambers, which could hold treasures to rival the boy-king himself.

Other major archeological discoveries made in the past year include a lost civilization that was uncovered in the Honduran rainforest, the un-looted grave of a wealthy Greek warrior, and a vast treasure hidden inside a sunken Spanish galleon. Each of these discoveries have given us a look into our past, revealing a bit about our history and culture that helps us to learn more about where we came from a civilization, and how our ancestors lived.

I always enjoy these types of year-end wrap ups, as they are a good reminder of all of the things we are still discovering in various part of the world. It makes you wonder what else is still out there, waiting to be found, and what pieces of the puzzle they can provide in help us to better understand man's journey across our planet. 2015 was a good year for archeologists, and something tells me 2016 could be just as important.

Video: A Slice of Autumn in Colorado

Winter may be finally upon us, but that doesn't mean we can't look back at the autumn that has just past and enjoy some of the season's lovely colors. In this video we take a tour of Colorado in the fall, where the golden hues of the aspen trees spread out across the alpine landscapes in spectacular fashion, while snowcapped peaks loom high overhead. Colorado is a place that is beautiful all year long, but in the fall it is particularly special. Sit back and enjoy this one. These colors won't be back for another year.

A Slice of Colorado's Autumn from Toby Harriman on Vimeo.

Video: Slacklining Over Kanangra Falls in Australia

Slacklining a few feet above the ground seems challenging enough, but what about 100 meters up, and over a massive waterfall no less? That's exactly what the team of adventurers in this video did when they made the first slackline crossing over Kanangra Falls in Australia's Blue Mountains. Along the way, they also made a beautiful video that captures not only the landscapes around them exceptionally well, but spirit of their challenge too. Attempting something like this is a bit too far out of my comfort zone, but watching them do it is an amazing sight to behold.

SLACK from The Runaways Production House on Vimeo.

Happy Holidays From The Adventure Blog

I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish all of the readers of The Adventure Blog a Happy Holiday Season! It has been another great year, and I couldn't continue to write this humble little blog without you dropping by on a regular basis. I appreciate everyone who spends some time keeping up with all of the things I write about. I hope 2015 was great for all of you, and 2016 is even more adventurous.

With Christmas now upon us, and the end of the year in sight, the posting schedule will probably be a bit erratic over the next week or so. I'm sure there will be a few updates during that time period, but just like the rest of you, I'll be enjoying some time with friends and family. Things will get back to normal early in 2016, as we resume our coverage of the world of exploration and outdoor adventure. Until then, have a safe holiday season, and I'll be back soon.

Japan - Kyoto : My first kimono experience in Kyoto

Japan : Kyoto - May 2015

Day 4 continue from Fushimi-Inari Shrine

We went back to Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka again as bf wanted to realise my dream of wearing a kimono before we leave Kyoto with regret. We saw couple of rental shops when we were there the other day so we wanted to try if we could rent it in short notice.

We were very grateful that today was a sunny day

Yays! I managed to rent the cheapest one at 30k yen for the whole day with handbag and clogs. If rent at the start of the day then more worth it lah but I do not think can wear the whole day because it was so so so suffocating with so many layers.

The cheapest kind only have the plains one or this stripe kind rather than those very fanciful with big flowers.

Tada~ I tied the braids myself. Hahaha I very budget~ I started to realise that I look those the slaves because too plain already lol

Bf didnt rent his samurai outfit because even more plain than girls - only dark navy colour. lol

"A day trip with my friends and I" lol I totally could blend in right~

We walked around the vicinity to take "I am here" pictures. 

 We were so lucky to saw this couple taking wedding photo in their traditional kimono.

I spent like 30min to wear this kimono after layers and layers so must make my money worth lol


We walked for quite a distance from the rental shop and we only left like 1 hour before it closes. We ended up flagging for a cab knowing that it will be costly - initial price already S$8. To our surprise, the cab door was opened by the driver with just a button and it is very unrespectful if we open the door ourselves. On the way back to the rental shop, the driver still tried to explain the street names and the famous tourist places with his very minimal english. We were very impressed by their services! 

Last shot before I got changed out of kimono.

We continued to stroll around Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka where it filled with people wearing kimono like a norm.

Our favourite warabi mochi again

Our last day in Kyoto. =(

We headed to Gion where we were hoping to see geisha there but instead we saw this lol.

This lake is said to be famous and best to see during sakura period.

*emo because we did not manage to see any geisha there.

This ended our first city in Japan. I got to say my favourite city in Japan is Kyoto where the pace is so much slower and more peaceful than Tokyo. The people there are all very nice and polite that they made us feel at home.

Video: Nat Geo Looks Back at Science and Exploration in 2015

Men's Journal isn't the only outlet that is reviewing the events of 2015. In this video, National Geographic takes a look back at the year that has passed, sharing some of the big stories from science and exploration. As you would expect with a video from Nat Geo, the visuals are spectacular with some great scenery from all over our amazing planet. It was indeed a busy and exciting year.

Video: Climbing in Angola with Alex Honnold

This video comes our way courtesy of Vice Sports. It is a 27-minute short documentary that follows the amazing Alex Honnold as he travels to the African country of Angola in search of new climbing challenges. As usual, Alex can find things to climb just about anywhere, including in the middle of a busy city. As usual, it is impressive to watch Alex go to work, particularly in an environment where climbing is not a common activity.

Video: Falling Drone Nearly Hits Skier

We all know that drones can be great tools for filmmakers, and that their potential is fantastic. But what about when they malfunction? Yesterday, Austrian skier Marcel Hirscher was taking part in the Alpine Skiing World Cup in Italy when he was nearly struck by a drone that was filming the competition. As you'll see in the video below, the small, unmanned aircraft plummets to the ground a split second behind Hirscher, who narrowly escapes disaster. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Well, except for the drone owner, who probably wasn't too happy with the crash.

Video: Ueli Steck Climbs 82 Peaks in 62 Days

One of the other most impressive accomplishments of 2015 was Ueli Steck's project to climb all 82 peaks in the Alps that are taller than 4000 meters (13,123 feet). The Swiss Machine managed to knock off all of those mountains in a mere 62 days, showing us once again why he is amongst the most talented alpinists of his generation.

In the video below, you'll get a chance to watch Ueli go to work in the Alps, while discussing the project, and what drives him to press forward with his expeditions to the mountains.

What will Ueli have in store for us in 2016? We'll just have to wait to find out. But I'm sure it'll be something unique and impressive.

Men's Journal Looks at the 24 Greatest Feats of 2015

As the final days of the year slip off the calendar, it is a good time to look back and reflect on some of the things that happened in 2015. As usual, it was a busy year, filled with great stories of exploration and adventure. So many in fact, that you sometimes forget everything that happened. Fortunately for us, Men's Journal has put together a great little slideshow highlighting the 24 Greatest Feats of the past year.

Some of the amazing accomplishments that earned a spot on this list include the first winter crossing of the PCT, the longest time spent in space by an American, and Freya Hoffmeister's circumnavigation of South America in a kayak. Scott Jurek's speed record on the Appalachian Trail gets a nod as well, as does Dani Arnold's new speed record on the Matterhorn.

I won't spoil all of the entires on the list, but I will say paging through the MJ slideshow is a bit like taking a walk down memory lane. It reminded me of so many great things that happened this year, a lot off which we covered right here on The Adventure Blog.

For my money, the greatest feat of 2015 occurred all the way back in January. That's when Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson completed the first free climb of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite. For a brief time, the world was transfixed by a pair of rock climbers taking on the hardest big wall on the planet, and they did not disappoint. It was an amazing way to start the year, and it still stands as one of the most impressive climbing accomplishments ever.

With 2015 quickly fading away, now is a good time to look back on these great adventures, before e start looking ahead to those that will come in 2016. It was a great year. Here's to many more!

Video: Norway in Timelapse and 8K

The utterly captivating landscapes of Norway are captured oh-so beautifully in this clip, which features three-and-a-half minutes of timelapse images of some of the best locations found in that country. From snowcapped peaks to mist-filled valleys, this short film will leave you losing to visit Norway for yourself. My friends from Mountain Travel Sobek can make that happen, if you let them.

NORWAY 8K from Martin Heck | Timestorm Films on Vimeo.

Video: Mountain Biking Down a Volcano in Japan

This video takes us to Japan along with pro mountain biker Stevie Smith, where he sets off to ride down the slopes of a massive volcano. Stevie's ride beings right at the rim of the crater, and only gets more intense from there. It looks like quite a run, along a route that is both technical and fun. This makes me want to break out my bike today, even though there isn't a volcano anywhere close to where I am.

Skydiver to Jump From Stratosphere Without a Parachute, Spacesuit, or Oxygen

I had a curious email arrive in my inbox this morning. It announced an insane event that is scheduled to take place on March 25, 2016 at an as yet undisclosed location. That is when an unknown skydiver will reportedly leap from an airplane at 50,300 feet (15,331 meters) without wearing a spacesuit, oxygen mask, pressure suit, or parachute. They'll then plummet from more than nine miles up, into the ocean, in a place that is said to be teeming with great white sharks. The entire thing will be aired online as a pay-per-view event that will be sold for $15, with VIP tickets available for purchase for those who want to witness this strange occurrence live. Oh, and did I mention that the team behind this also claims to being doing it to raise awareness of water-related diseases which claim the lives of a child somewhere in the world every 60-90 seconds?

The even is being billed as the Death Challenge since the person making the jump seems to have very little chance of survival. After all, how is it possible that someone could fall from more than 50,000 feet up without a parachute and hope to survive? I suppose the organizers of the event are using that as selling point to get as many people to tune in as possible – at $15 a pop – with the morbidly curious hoping to see someone actually perish.

As if that wasn't enough, there will apparently be several "lifelines" that people watching on the Internet will be able to vote for or against. Those lifelines will reportedly offer the skydiver some things that could save his or her life, although ultimately it will be the audience that decides whether or not they receive them. Just what those things are has yet to be revealed.

The information I was sent about this event doesn't share the name of he person who is actually making the skydive. They only refer to him or her as "The Challenger." Why the shroud of mystery? That isn't clear, but I suspect it's because they don't actually have someone who is willing to commit to making the leap just yet, so their hedging their bets without sharing a name.

I have to admit, I was very hesitant about writing about the "Death Challenge" at all. On the one hand, this seems like a dangerous and stupid event that must surely result in someone either dying or getting severely injured. On the other, it is being billed as a way to raise awareness of an important issue, so I'm not really sure what to believe. All I know is that this "challenge" is marketing being pushed to the extreme, with the hopes of pulling in cash from those that can't wait to see someone else get injured or killed.

I've got to believe that there is something that the marketing for this event is not revealing just yet. Some way that the person who is jumping out of the aircraft will actually survive the fall. Perhaps they'll have a jetpack or special wingsuit to help with the descent. We all know that it is nearly impossible to survive a fall from that height without some kind of aid, even if you are landing in the water. After that, any sharks that are swimming nearby are least of the person's worries, as they're unlikely to attack a person anyway.

So, is this a marketing ploy taken to the extreme? A real event that is incredibly crazy? Something in-between? I guess we'll have to wait to learn more, but it certainly sounds very dubious to me.