Video: Woman Climbs Seven Summits, Films Journey on an iPhone

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Wasfia Nazarene recently became the first woman from Bangladesh to climb each of the Seven Summits. That alone is a remarkable achievement. But, along the way she also filmed her adventure using an iPhone, and the video below is a result of that project. It is a 13 minute long short documentary of her journey, with some fantastic video footage from each mountain. The fact that she was able to make the film using just a smartphone is remarkable, and a good indication of the power of technology that most of us now carry in our pockets. Amazing and inspiring stuff.

Video: A Stunning Base Jumping Video in Norway

This video is equal parts stunning landscapes from Norway and adrenaline rush with base jumping footage as well. It starts off showing us some great images from a country that we already know is beautiful, and ends with a group of jumpers leaping into the air. It is a nice mix of breathtaking shots crammed into just three minutes. Definitely worth a watch.

Gear Closet: ECOXGEAR EcoCarbon Rugged Bluetooth Speaker

The ruggedized Bluetooth speaker market continues to become an increasingly crowded one. A few years ago there were only a few options available for shoppers, but today there are literally dozens of speakers to choose from. Deciding which one is right for you can be tough, as manufacturers continue to add new features in an attempt to stand out from the crowd. One of the best options that I've had the chance to use personally is the new EcoCarbon from ECOXGEAR, which allows you to not only take your favorite tunes with you just about anywhere, but it packs in some nice extras that you're sure to appreciate as well.

As with similar speakers, the EcoCarbon can be paired with a smartphone or tablet to wirelessly stream audio via a Bluetooth connection. That process is simple and easy, and within a matter of seconds you'll be listening to music, audiobooks, podcasts, or just about any other audio source you can think of. 

Sound quality is excellent, with nice performance across the entire spectrum, including bass. Sometimes these portable speakers are lacking in that department, but the EcoCarbon delivers nicely. On top of that, it is capable of pumping out the jams at a high volume, which can often come in handy when using it in an outdoor environment. 

In terms of rugged construction, the EcoCarbon is rated as an IP68 in terms of water and dust proof rating. That means that it can be immersed in up to a meter of water without fear of the speaker breaking, and it is completely impervious to dust, dirt, and sand. That means we can take it with us on a camping trip, kayak excursion, or just for use in around the house or in the backyard, without fear of it not surviving. In fact, the speaker even floats when dropped in the water, making it easier to retrieve should that occur. 

ECOXGEAR has a history of making good Bluetooth speakers, and over time they've continued to refine the over quality of their products. At this point, their speakers are amongst the best out there, which is why they have continued to up their game by adding new features as well. For instance, the EcoCarbon comes equipped with a built-in LED light that can be used as a flashlight in a pinch. This comes in handy when stumbling around the campsite at night. The speaker also comes with a standard USB port that allows you to charge your mobile devices while on the go. That is a handy feature to have for sure, particularly if you're going to be away from an power outlet for an extended period of time. 

One of the ways that newer Bluetooth speakers continue to improve is in the area of battery life. The EcoCarbon can play music for up to 12 hours at a time, depending on volume and the use of the flashlight or charging options. That's a pretty solid number for a speaker that isn't overly large and can produce such great sound quality and levels of volume. Generally that should be enough to get you through a weekend excursion, but that depends on how much you use it too. And since it can be recharged using a micro USB cable, the speaker can be attached to a solar panel or other battery pack when in the wild as well. 

At 1.9 pounds (.86 kg)  and a little over 9 inches (22 cm) in length, this isn't a massive speaker by any means. That said however, its weight makes it a luxury item for anyone traveling into the backcountry. Some of us won't think twice about dropping it into a backpack for such an excursion, but for others that will be seen a lot of ounces that could be used for other things. If you're someone who likes to go ultralight on the trail, this won't be the speaker for you. But then again, you're probably not taking a speaker with you at all anyway. 

The other great thing about the continued advancement and competition in the Bluetooth speaker market is that it is helping to bring prices down dramatically. The EcoCarbon costs $129.99, which is a very good price for all of the features and functionality you get from this speaker. If you're in the market for a good outdoor audio source for the summer ahead, this is definitely one to have on your radar. 

Melissa Arnot Becomes First American Woman to Summit Everest Without Oxygen

Amongst the very busy Everest climbing season that just wrapped up there were a number of impressive individual accomplishments. For instance, on May 23 alpinist Melissa Arnot reached the summit of the world's highest peak for the sixth time in her illustrious career. But what set this particular summit apart from the others, is that it was accomplished without the use of supplemental oxygen, giving Arnot the distinction of being the first American woman to successfully accomplish that feat.

One of the most accomplished female mountaineers in the world, Melissa has been climbing and guiding on Everest for years. She had hoped to summit without oxygen last year, but that attempt was brought to an abrupt end due to the massive earthquake that occurred on April 25. She has been training and planning for a second attempt ever since.

When asked about her accomplishment, Arnot said “Climbing Everest without supplemental oxygen has been a goal of mine for a long time. When you succeed at reaching your goal, it makes you reflect on the hard days, the work, and lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’m incredibly fortunate to have this experience.”

Her sixth summit of the world's tallest mountain breaks her own record for the most by a non-Sherpa female climber as well. And since she is just 32 years old, it seems likely that she'll at least attempt to climb the mountain a few more times before she's done. But her next project will be an attempt at reaching the highest points in all 50 U.S. states in just 50 days, which will get underway later this summer.

There is some question about whether or not Arnot is actually the first American woman to climb Everest without the use of oxygen however. As National Geographic Adventure points out, Hawaiian born climber Francys Assentive accomplished the same feat back in 1998, but she – along with her husband Sergei – both died on the descent. For many, a successful climb requires the mountaineer to safely get up and down the mountain. Arnot is definitely the first American woman to do that.

Congrats to Melissa on this amazing accomplishment. We're looking forward to following her on that 50 in 50 adventure, which gets underway in just a few weeks.

Japanese Polar Explorer Yasu Ogita Completes Canada to Greenland Expedition

Way back in March I told you about Japanese polar explorer Yasunaga Ogita's plans to ski from northern Canada to Greenland across the frozen sea ice of the Arctic Ocean. At the time, he was just preparing to set out, but now, two months later, he's finished the journey at long last, covering more than 830 km (515 miles) in the process.

Yasu initially set out from Grise Fjord on Ellesmere Island back on March 30. He then spent the next 48 days skiing to Greenland, crossing the frozen expanse of the Arctic Ocean along the way. He told ExWeb that his biggest challenge while en route was the fast moving arctic ice that was pushed along by a strong current. Crossing those moving floes can be difficult unless you're traveling at high speed, which isn't possible on foot when dragging a heavy sled behind.

Along the way, the Japanese polar veteran also encountered plenty of polar bears and even an arctic wolf who took an interest in his travels. He also saw seals, musk ox, caribou, and other creatures as well, proving that this part of the world isn't quite so empty as some would think.

To prepare for the crossing Yasu spoke to other explorers who had traveled in the region before, as well as locals in both Canada and Greenland. But much of the path was completely unknown, with very few people ever crossing through this part of the world. The crossing isn't completely unknown, but it is a very rare occurrence to say the least.

Yeas wrapped up his journey on May 16 and just recently traveled home to Japan. He is no doubt already thinking about his next adventure.

Video: The First Men to Climb Everest

Yesterday marked the 63rd anniversary of the first summit of Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. To celebrate, National Geographic has put together this fantastic short video that introduces us to these two men, and their very humble beginnings. It seems fitting to salute the two climbers in whose footsteps everyone else follows, and this short clip is a good tribute to their legacy.

Video: Mountain Biking and Packrafting Across Mongolia

What happens when three friends travel to Mongolia to mountain bike and packraft through the remote western region of that country? Why, they discover more adventure than they first thought of course! This video takes us along for the ride as these three travelers attempt to traverse the Altai region. Along the way, they discover stunning scenery, unique challenges, and amazing people. Check it out below.

Flashes of the Altai from Joey Schusler on Vimeo.

Video: A World Record for the Longest Slackline Ever!

Last month, slackliners Nathan Paulin and Danny Menšík traveled to Aiglun, France to attempt a new world record for the longest slackline ever. In this case, that means walking more than 1 km (.6 miles) over a massive canyon below. You can check out their attempt in the video below, which gives us a great look at this impressive feat.

Mountain Biking to the Summit of Kilimanjaro

In February of this year, mountain bikers Rebecca Rusch and Patrick Sweeney set off on an epic ride to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. They spent six days riding up – and down – the mountain, which is the tallest in Africa at 19,341 feet (5895 meters) in height. They rode that challenging route to raise funds for World Cycling Relief, a nonprofit that seeks to provide bicycles for people living in developing countries. The Kilimanjaro ride managed to raise nearly $20,000 for the cause, which allowed the organization to purchase 131 new bikes.

Now, several months after cycling to the roof of Africa, Rusch was interviewed about the experience by the team at Gear Junkie. In the article she talks about how they got organized for the expedition, why they chose Kilimanjaro, and what it was like on the trail. Rebecca, who is an experienced endurance and adventure sport athlete, called it the hardest ride she has ever done, which should give you an indication of how challenging this undertaking was for her and Patrick. She also shares some insight into what the trail was like, and the gear that she used along the way too.

For an even better look at this amazing mountain bike ride, check out the video below. It is a 7-minute short documentary on the endeavor that will provide even more insights into the ride. Having climbed this mountain myself, I can tell you that it wouldn't be easy to go up or down it on a bike.

Himalaya Spring 2016: Highs and Lows on Everest

I'm back from Alaska, and have stories to share from that journey, but as we start to get things back to normal around here, I thought it was fitting to do a quick recap of the climbing season in the Himalaya, which came to an end while I was away. To say 2016 was a successful season would be an understatement, but yet there were still some serious challenges as well. At this point, it is clear that Everest in particular is a mountain that is in transition with a future that remains potentially turbulent.

It was a historic year on the world's highest peak, where a long weather window allowed hundreds of climbers to successfully summit. In fact, over the course of about a week, there were numerous teams heading to the top from both the North and South Sides of the mountain, with a steady stream of climbers topping out, ending a summit drought that had gone on for two years.

Considering the challenges of the past three or four seasons – and the last two in particular – it is hard to see the current Everest season as anything but a major success. The spring season came off without a major hitch, with most guide services welcoming a return to some sense of normalcy on the mountain. Many in the mountaineering world, not to mention the Nepali government, breathed a sigh of relief with how smoothly everything proceeded. Yes, there are concerns moving forward over stability in the Khumbu Icefall and safety concerns with an increasing number of low-budget operators, but for now, things are good. On a mountain that has seen fist fights, cancellations, and major tragedy in recent years, the stability of 2016 is encouraging to say the least.

That isn't to say there aren't some concerns moving forwarded. There were at least four deaths on the mountain this year for instance, and while that is a small number in the greater scheme of things, the loss of any lives on Everest is still disturbing. The inherent risks that come along with climbing the mountain mean that we'll likely never see a season without a few fatalities, but we should at least aspire to achieving that goal. But as long as we see hundreds of people willing to take up the challenge of an Everest climb each year, we'll probably continue to also see a few climbers perish in the attempt.

Elsewhere, the season unfolded as you would expect. There were some ups and downs, with successes on Annapurna, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, and others. But those expeditions mostly went off as expected, with weather dictating the chances for success or failure. Those peaks also haven't seen the turbulent seasons that Everest has in recent years, although last year's earthquake had an impact on each of them too. These successes are a good reminder that there are plenty of other major mountains to climb in Nepal, and many of them offer an experience that is very different than the crowded route on Everest.

So what does the future hold? That is the question right now. While it appears that Everest is starting to get back to normal, and we're likely to see evermore climbers on her slopes next year, climate change, Sherpa dissatisfaction, and changing business tactics will all have an impact on how things unfold in the years to come. Just how big of an impact those variables will have remains to be seen, but it is clear that those things will shape the future of mountaineering in the Himalaya.

So, while we mourn the loss of those who died on Everest – and other big peaks this year – we also salute the hard work of the Sherpas, guides, and support staff that made spring 2016 such a successful year, and an impressive return to what we expect on the tallest mountain on the planet. Hopefully this will continue to be a trend moving forward, and 2017, 2018, and beyond will continue to be safe and successful as well.

Japan - Tokyo : Akibahara + Odaiba

Japan : Tokyo - May 2015. Akibahara 秋葉原. Akibahara is the heaven for otaku where it fills with anime and manga among the electronic stores in the district. Heard that the local people come here to destress but I not sure how they destress with this kind of noise level. Here we are at the Final Fantasy - Eorzea Cafe. Be sure to buy reservation tickets or else come early to queue. It filled with people at 11am already before it opens.

How Do You Get Car Insurance

How Do You Get Car Insurance - If you have just bought a car, about to rent a car or borrow someone’s car for a few days then you may not be acquainted with auto insurance policies. It is natural for you to thus wonder how do you get car insurance. Non owner car insurance and owner’s car insurance have similar methods of application but there are some differences as well.

Before you find out how do you get car insurance, you have to get accustomed with the prerequisites of owner or non owner car insurance.

You must know that car owners with a good credit history are always the most desirable clients of car insurance companies. The companies get an assurance that you wouldn’t lapse on your premium payments. If you are looking at applying for car insurance a few weeks or months down the line, now may be a good time to take a look at your credit score.

It is necessary to note here that in cases of prepaid non owner car insurance policies, especially those that are only valid for a month or less and has only one premium involved, credit histories do not matter at all.

The other factors that determine the approvability of your application for non owner car insurance are how good a driver you are, exemptions in cases of incidents and deductibles among others. You can take a safety driving test after pursuing the safety driving course. Many car insurance companies would be happy to offer you a discount if you have passed such a test.

Once you have noted down the essential details that best describe your profile and needs, you should look for car insurance companies and their quotes. You can easily do an online search and get as many quotes as possible. When you conduct this search, be sure of what you want. You may want owner car insurance that would be valid of a year subject to renewal for another year. You may want temporary non owner car insurance that is valid for only a day or a month. You may want non owner car insurance for as long as a year also. The quotes that you get have to be specific to your requirement. When you fill up the search criteria or ask for quotes from non owner car insurance companies, you should mention your requisites. This is the ideal solution to not only how do you get car insurance but how you can get the most appropriate car insurance.

Following your search, you must assess the different quotes, select the best one and go by its application procedure to get owner or non owner car insurance.

Easing Up The Process Of Filing An Insurance Claim

Easing Up The Process Of Filing An Insurance Claim - Insurance is a safeguard against a financial loss to a family. If the breadwinner is taken away suddenly and there is no other who can provide for the family's daily needs, such a loss becomes more brutal. Even if the policyholder did not die and simply met with an accident, there arises some issues on whether the policyholder should make a claim on the family health insurance or not, to cover the expenses. To help you decide on the proper course of action, here are some steps for reference purposes. It may not cover all but at least it may clear up some of the misunderstood perceptions in an insurance claim.

Claim Insurance

First is an evaluation of the need for the claim. If you are the insurance holder and you have met with an accident, find out if you can support yourself and your family financially, while you are still in sick bed. If you can, do not claim on your insurance. Claims are recorded by insurance companies, which tarnish your insurance records. So if you can avoid it, it is better not to claim. Next, do not forget to fill out the necessary forms. Insurance companies require even the smallest details of an accident. Ensuring that all the necessary forms are filled up and filed will hasten the processing of your insurance claim. Do not neglect to include your eyewitnesses also. These people will back up your story, which the insurance company is sure to investigate. Having the necessary back up to your version of the story will avoid prolonging the claim process.

Next on the list, make the claim on your car insurance the soonest you can do it. This will ease up the claim process and prevent pertinent details from being forgotten. After this, expect other insurance companies to call on you. This happens when there is a misunderstanding between the two parties that are involved in an accident. They also are covered by insurance and his company will have to inquire on your part of the story. These questions are meant to validate the other party's story so if ever you are involved in such disputes; it is wise if you can document everything including the identification of the other insurer's agent. As for insurance coverage that covers property damage as well, they will generally ask you to bring your vehicle to an accredited service center. This is where you will have it fixed.

Many a story has been told of the way insurance companies treat an insurance claim. But perhaps it can be lessened if you will do your part of the process. A lot of people are ignorant of it and this adds up to the confusion. This is also a ground for unscrupulous insurance companies to take advantage of their unsuspecting clients, and cheat on the benefits that should be given. Coming to their office armed with the necessary knowledge will ensure that you get what as rightfully yours.

I Am Alaska Bound!

Just a quick note to regular readers to wrap up the day today. Tomorrow I am heading out to Juneau, Alaska for a little adventure. Over the next week or so, I'll be taking part in an Un-Cruise on the famed Inside Passage. While there, I'll be sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, and whale watching, amongst other activities. Internet access will be limited over that time period, so there won't be any updates to The Adventure Blog until Monday, May 30. Hopefully I'll have some great stories and photos to share upon my return.

This trip kicks off what will be a busy few months for me in terms of travel. I will be updating the site as often as I can in the weeks ahead, but there will be some extended periods from time to time when I'll be off the grid and unable to post. But stay patient and I'll share all the new from the world of outdoor adventure and exploration as much as I can.

While I'm away, I hope you get outside and enjoy some adventures of your own. Now is a great time to be riding, running, hiking, camping, and exploring. Have a great time, and I'll be back before you know it.

Video: Surfing the Arctic Ocean in Siberia

I don't cover surfing often here on The Adventure Blog, but I couldn't resist sharing this video, which takes us to Siberia where a group of adventurous surfers attempt to catch a wave in the frigid Arctic Ocean. The clip was shot over the course of a year near Murmansk, Russia, with the ocean showing the different sides of its character throughout the season. The dedication and commitment to this endeavor is admirable to say the least. The images captured here are astounding as well. I hope you enjoy.

SURF IN SIBERIA ARCTIC OCEAN 5 from Kokorev Konstantin on Vimeo.

Video: When We Were Knights - A Story of Friendship, Love, and Wingsuits

Last summer, Base Jumper and wingsuit pilot Ian Flanders died while jumping in Turkey. When he passed, he left behind a letter to his friend Matt Blank expressing his love for the life they lived and the adventure they had together. This video is a visual translation of that letter that includes some incredible footage of the two men jumping and flying together. It is a reminder to do the things we love and pursue our passions, but also let those around us know just how much they mean to us too.

Men's Journal Has 25 Gifts for the Adventurous Dad

It's nearly June, which means Father's Day is just around the corner. If you're looking for the perfect gift for dad this year, Men's Journal is here to help. They've created a list of 25 gifts for the adventurous dad in your life with some great suggestions that even those of us who aren't dad's can appreciate.

Some of the items that make MJ's list include the Timex Expedition Scout watch, which blends classic good looks with modern sensibilities, and the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 II, which is widely considered to be the best point and shoot camera on the market today. You'll also find a drone, an inflatable stand-up paddleboard, and an awesome camp stove from BioLite.

There really is something for just about every kind of dad on this list. Whether they're a hardcore outdoor nut, gadget enthusiast, or aspiring athlete, you'll find some cool suggestions for gifts for your father too. Best of all, most of the items are fairly affordably too, so you won't have to break the bank to find the right gift either.

Father's Day is still a few weeks off, but it's a good time to start planning. Check out the entire list here.

Himalaya Spring 2016: 200 Climbers Head For Everest Summit

While we've seen a steady string of summits on Everest over the past week, today looks like it will be the busies day of the season by far. According to reports, more than 200 climbers are now on the move with the intention of topping out today. That means we can expect long lines and traffic jams at key points of the mountain, but with the weather reported very good, it should be an incredibly successful day on the world's highest peak. 

The Himalayan Times reports in the link above that more than 150 climbers have already been successful in their bids to top out on Everest, with a number of others still pushing to the summit. Their number indicate that 41 foreign climbers and 58 Nepali guides had gone up yesterday, with another 87 foreigners and 110 Nepalis setting their sites on the summit today. After two years of no summits on the mountain, it is safe to say that Everest is back open for business.

No matter how many people summit today, it won't bring an end to the steady stream of climbers that are on the move. More teams have now moving up to Camp 3 and Camp 4 as they get ready to make their final summit push over the next couple of days. 

Meanwhile, on the North Side of the mountain the teams are moving up to take advantage of the current weather window as well. They are still waiting for the ropes to be fixed to the summit, which hopefully will be done today, allowing teams to go to the top at long last.

Sad news from Lhotse as well today, where it was revealed that a Sherpa guide has fallen to his death. Reportedly he was part of the team that was working to fix ropes to the summit on that mountain, and slipped and fell above Camp 2. The guide was helping to take a seven-member commercial squad to the summit at the time. Our condolences to the Sherpa's friends and family. 

Over on Dhaulagiri, Chris Jensen Burke checked in with the news that her expedition to that mountain is now over. After successfully summiting Annapurna a few weeks back, the Aussie climber had hoped to pull off a Himalayan double-header this season, but alas it wasn't meant to be. After making a summit bid earlier in the week, climbers there were turned back by high winds and deep snow near the top. She'll now head home, even as other teams move into place for possible summits over the next few days. 

Elsewhere in the Himalaya other teams are on the move too. With good weather conditions across the region, it now looks like the current summit window is one that numerous teams will take advantage of. The monsoon is looming near the end of May, but for now, things are calm and safe. Hopefully they'll stay that way as all of the teams get up and down their respective mountains successfully. 

Video: A Visit to Magical Iceland

Iceland is a magical place. There is no getting around that. But we're reminded of just how beautiful and special that country is in this video, which takes us on a whirlwind tour of the Icelandic countryside. Sit back and enjoy this one. It is three minutes of pure beauty. And if you still haven't been to Iceland, perhaps now is the time to go.

ICELANDIC MAGIC from Rod Gotfried on Vimeo.

Video: Take a Tour of a Himalayan Base Camp

Ever wonder what it is like to live in Base Camp on a Himalayan climb? Than you'll definitely want to watch this video. It takes us to 15,000 feet (4572 meters) on Ama Dablam, where Adrian Ballinger of Alpenglow Expeditions takes us on a tour of BC. While obviously located in a remote – and very scenic – location, you might be surprised at how comfortable and accommodating Base Camp life can be.

Actor Jared Leto Joins Alex Honnold on El Cap in Yosemite

Academy Award winning actor Jared Leto seems to have added yet another skill to his resume that already includes musician, songwriter, director and author. It seems the celeb is also an accomplished rock climber, as was evidenced last weekend when he went climbing in Yosemite with Alex Honnold.

On Friday Leto and Honnold scaled the East Buttress of Middle Cathedral, which is ranked amongst the 50 classic climbs of North America. Then on Saturday, the two men climbed three shorter, easier routes on the 600-foot Manure Pile Buttress, before moving onto the East Buttress of El Capitan on Sunday.

Later, Leto posted a photo of The Nose on El Cap – perhaps the most iconic climb in the world – hinting that he might like to try that at some point. Later, he shared the photo below on his Instagram account of he and Honnold. They're joined by Jimmy Chin, who dropped by for a photo bomb apparently.

A photo posted by JARED LETO (@jaredleto) on

Ultarunner Attempting to Set Speed Record for U.S. Crossing on Foot

One of the toughest running challenges imaginable is currently underway, as British ultrarunner Robert Young (aka "The Marathon Man U.K.") is attempting to set a speed record for crossing the U.S. on foot. To do so, he'll have to run more than 60 miles per day – every day – for a month and a half.

Young set out from Huntington Beach, California last Saturday, and he hopes to wrap up the run in Times Square in New York City, sometime in June. Along the way, his route will take him through California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, covering approximately 3000 miles (4828 km) along the way. To reach his eventual destination he'll have run across deserts, over two mountain ranges (Rockies and Appalachian), the Great Plains, and various other environments.

As mentioned, Robert will need to cover about 60 miles per day if he hopes to establish a new record. The previous mark was set 36 years ago and stands at 46 days, 8 hours, and 36 minutes. That won't be easy of course, but the British runner has a reputation of being a phenom. Since he started running marathons in 2014, he has run more than 500 races of marathon length or longer, while setting two world records – one for most marathons run in a year and another for the longest distance run without sleeping.

You can track Robert's progress on his website, and as of now he is still in California but nearing the border with Arizona. Obviously he has a long way to go before he's done, but he's already making good progress and since it is early in the run, we can follow Young all the way across the U.S.

Of course, Robert is hoping to get the record, but he's also running to raise funds for three charities. Those include Dreams Come True, the Tyler Robinson Foundation, and the 100 Mile Club.The run is also being supported by SKINS, a company that makes compression apparel for athletes.

Good luck to Robert on this endeavor. It will be interesting to see if he can catch break the record that has stood for more than three and a half decades.

Himalaya Spring 2016: Next Round of Summits Ready on Everest South Side, North Side Waits

After six straight days of summits from the South Side of Everest, high winds prevented anyone from going to the top yesterday. But now, those winds have quieted once again, and it looks like things could be very busy over the next few days once again. In fact, it is now believed that more than 200 climbers from the commercial teams, along with 250 Sherpas, are now expected to go to the summit over the next few days from the South Side alone. That will be in addition to the 88 climbers who have already topped out this season.

If things stay on course, and there are no major issues over the next few days, 2016 is shaping up to be one of the most successful seasons in recent memory. Things seem to be running like clockwork on the Nepali side of the mountain, with no major traffic jams or other issues reported. There does continue to be instability in the Khumbu Icefall, where Alan Arnette reports another collapse occurred yesterday, but the Icefall Doctors seem to be on top of those issues, and are fixing them quickly. But other than that, things are proceeding about as smoothly as possible.

Meanwhile, on the North Side of Everest in Tibet, there have been no summits as of yet. The rope fixing team has not completed the route to the top, and as a result the teams are in a holding pattern. Some have gone up to the higher camps in anticipation of the route being completed today or tomorrow, and as the weather improves there should be a dash to the summit from the North as well. We'll just have to wait to see when that will happen, but with the arrival of the monsoon already looming, the best weather window will probably occur over the next four or five days.

Over on Manaslu, after completing a successful summit last week along the standard route, ExWeb is reporting that Peter Hámor and Horia Colibasanu have moved to the North Side of the mountain to begin work on an entirely new route. On Makalu, a weather window seems to be opening for the end of the week, with possible summits on Friday, while the teams on Dhaulagiri high winds are keeping teams in place in Camp 3 as they prepare to go for the summit on that mountain as well.

Finally, yesterday Ueli Steck and David Göttler came up just short on Shishapangma. According to their dispatch today they reached 7800 meters (25,590 ft) but were forced back by the winds too. The descent was a bit harrowing thanks to thick fog, but they made it back to BC where they are resting and preparing for another go. To put things in perspective, their round trip was just 21 hours, so you know that these two are looking forward to having another go at the mountain.

Stay tuned for more soon.

Video: Scenes From Patagonia

We all know that Patagonia is one of the most spectacularly beautiful places in the entire world. But, this video remind us of that by taking us back to that iconic destination to share some wonderful scenes of life and landscapes of southern Chile and Argentina. Truly one of the great wilderness destinations on the planet.

Moments from Patagonia from Ivana Varesko on Vimeo.

Video: Mountain Biking South Africa

South Africa is one of the absolute best destinations on the continent, offering great hiking, scuba diving, surfing, wildlife viewing, and so much more. It also happens to be a great place to go mountain biking, as you'll see in this video from Specialized bikes. We'll travel to SA with Hannah Barnes and Miranda Miller as they explore the wilderness of Stellenbosch, which was largely destroyed by a major fire last year, but its network of trails is now returning to life.

Gear Closet: SOL Traverse Survival Kit

Need a handy little survival kit to carry with you on your outdoor adventures, but don't want to spend a lot of money putting a custom kit together? Then you'll definitely be interested in the new Traverse kit from Survive Outdoors Longer. It has just about everything you could possibly need for your backcountry excursions, and a price tag that makes it one of those products that you can't afford to not have with you. 

Packed in its own tin case, the Traverse covers the most important elements of survival including water, shelter, fire, and signaling. Items found inside the kit take care of all of those needs, allowing you to survive for an extended time should an emergency situation arise. 

So just what does the kit include? Here's a complete list of what you'll find side the tin container:

1 60” x 84” Heatsheets Emergency Blanket
1 Liter, Sterile Water Bag
2 Micropur Purification Tablets
1 Spark-Lite Firestarter
4 Tinder Quik Firestarters
1 Mini Rescue Howler Whislte
1 26” x 2” Mini Roll of Duct Tape
1 Safety Pin
1 Instruction and Tip Manual

As you can see, there are water purification tablets as well a bag to carry water in. There is also an emergency blanket for warmth, a firestarter and tinder, as well as a rescue whistle. SOL has also conveniently thrown in some duct tape and a few other items that can come in handy as well, including an instruction manual with tops for staying alive in challenging circumstances. 

If you're familiar with SOL's products, you know that they are always high in quality and well made. The Traverse is no different, as it is a product that is designed for the outdoors and is built to survive in those environments. It is also lightweight, weighing in at a mere 6.1 ounces (173 grams). The entire package is very compact, and is made to slide right into your pack and stay there until you need it. 

So how much does this little kit cost? As I said earlier, this is a piece of gear that you almost can't afford to be without when you set out on your travels. The SOL Traverse survival kit is just $20, which makes it almost a no brainer when you consider everything that is inside. It also makes a great gift for other outdoor enthusiasts as well, as its attractive tin case gives it a classic good look that most will appreciate. 

If you want to add one of these great little survival kits to your gear, you can find out more at

Yellowstone Bison Calf Euthanized Following Tourist Abduction

One of the top stories on social media over the past few days has been the news that a father and son duo traveling through Yellowstone National Park put a bison calf into their car because they worried that it was too cold and might die. They took the calf to a ranger station at Lamar Buffalo Ranch, where the animal was taken back into custody and returned to its herd. Unfortunately, the news came yesterday that the young bison had to be euthanized, as the herd wouldn't accept it back into the group.

It should be noted that the man and his son who took the calf were foreign visitors, and it was their first time in Yellowstone. But they ignored Park Service warnings to stay away from the animals, and they obviously had little knowledge of how the creatures in the park survive in much harsher conditions than what are currently found in the park. They were cited for transporting the animal, and park rangers are once again reminding visitors to leave the animals alone. Usually that warning is to keep the humans safe more than the animals, as in recent years there have been some high profile wildlife encounters that have turned tragic. Most of those incidences have occurred between humans and bisons.

Apparently, the calf had been returned to its herd, but the other animals wouldn't accept it back. But having been exposed to humans, the calf was then approaching other visitors to the park and wandering up to cars. That is once again a very dangerous situation for everyone involved, so rangers made the tough decision to put the calf down.

If you're reading this blog, you probably don't need the reminder, but when you're in the wild, leave the animals alone people. That is advice that might just save your life. This story is also a good reminder that not everyone has the same experience and knowledge that most of us take for granted. It's just incredibly sad that this newborn bison had to suffer for that.

Himalaya Spring 2016: Hillary Step Intact After All? A Game of Chess on Annapurna Summit?

There isn't a lot of new news to report from the Himalaya today, where a lot of teams are moving up on Everest to get in position to take advantage of a looming weather window. It has already been a busy season on the world's highest peak, with more to come in the days ahead. But, one of the stories that has been coming off the mountain may not be true after all, despite widespread reports.

Yesterday, I posted the news that the iconic Hillary Step on the South Side of Everest had collapsed during last year's earthquake, making it easier to approach the summit from the Nepali side of the mountain. But, late last night Alan Arnette posted a comment on that story saying that it isn't a foregone conclusion that the Hillary Step has indeed been altered.

Alan indicated that he spoke with Sherpas on the mountain – as well as Himex boss  Russell Brice – and the feeling is that the Step may just look very different thanks to a meter of snow that has accumulated on it. It won't be clear if the route has indeed been changed until that snow is cleared away and climbers can get a good look at the terrain.

The Hillary Step is so named because it was the final piece of the puzzle that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgayhad to overcome on their way to the first successful summit back in 1953. The route has been used by hundreds of other climbers ever since, and it has been a cause of some traffic jams in the past because it requires some actual technical climbing to overcome. If the Step has been altered and made easier, it could eliminate those jams and make approaching the summit safer. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Stefan Nestler reports on what has to be the highest chess game ever played. Apparently, climbers Jost Kobusch and Nadav Ben-Yehudi had played at least two games a chess each day in Base Camp on Annapurna while they waited for the summit push. When they finally were able to go to the top a few weeks back, they decided to play a spontaneous game at the 8091 meter (26,545 ft). Actually, they dropped 20 meters below the summit, and played a quick game on Jost's smartphone. The entire game took just seven minutes to complete, and the winner has not been revealed. As you can imagine, they were in a bit of a hurry to finish up and head back down.

That's all for today. More news soon as the season continues to move ahead.

Video: Don't Go to Iran (But Really, You Should!)

This video is here to smash stereotypes. The title tells us not to go to Iran, but the words don't match the visuals you'll see on screen. The 3.5 minute clip shows us all of the great things there are to see and do there, and gives us a glimpse at the people that live in this historically and culturally rich nation. Don't believe everything you hear about Iran. Go and see it for yourself.

Don't go to Iran from Tolt on Vimeo.

Video: Yellowstone as You've Never Seen it Before

As I've mentioned before, National Geographic has dedicated its entire May issue to Yellowstone National Park, the first national park in the entire world. Nat Geo has also been releasing a series of great videos centered around the park, with one of the latest posted below. It takes us into Yellowstone with six NG photographers who give us a look at this breathtaking place that we've never seen before. Their photos are simply incredible, and remind us of why this is such a special place.

Video: Wingsuit Pilot Flies Through a Ring of Fire

The title for this one pretty much says it all. Wingsuit pilot Uli Emanuele proves his skill by flying through a ring of fire at high speed. As you can imagine, this looks as crazy in motion as it sounds. Definitely don't try this at home folks.

The 50 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time

One of the true traditions of going on an outdoor adventure is crawling into your sleeping bag at night and curing up with a good book to ready by the light of your headlamp. If you're looking for some new additions to your library for the next time you're in need of something to read, you're in luck. Men's Journal has published its list of the 50 greatest adventure books of all time, and as you'd expect, there are some great options.

As you would expect, the books on this list are incredibly diverse. Some are biographies, others are first-hand account memoirs, and some are complete works of fiction. The stories span the globe, taking us to just about every corner of the planet, from the frozen expanses of Poles, to tropical destinations closer to the equator. These books introduce us to some of the most interesting people to ever walk the Earth, and some that are completely made-up but are incredibly interesting none the less.

With such a long list, it would be impossible for me to ruin it completely. But some of the famous books that earned a nod include Melville's Moby Dick, Alfred Lansing's Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, and The Mountain: My Time on Everest by Ed Viesturs. This is just a small taste of the great books that made this list, but no matter what your definition of adventure is, I think it is safe to say that there is something here for everyone.

On top of that, unless you're an incredibly fast reader, this list will take some time to get through completely. That would be an adventure in and of itself.

Japan - Tokyo : Roppongi + Tokyo Tower

Japan : Tokyo - May 2015

Back to Tokyo..

Roppongi 六本木

Our main motive to come to Roppongi is to see the big spider located at  Mori Tower.

While I was taking photo of this spider, some foreigners were looking at me in a weird way -.-

Mori Tower
Nearest subway: Roppongi Station

We can oversee Tokyo Tower from Mori Tower too.

Tokyo Tower
The closest subway stations to Tokyo Tower are 
- Onarimon Station on the Mita Subway Line
- Akabanebashi Station on the Oedo Subway Line
- Kamiyacho on the Hibiya Subway Line
which are all about a 5-10 minute walk from the tower.

Opening hours: 9:00 to 23:00 (entry until 22:30) 
Entrance fee: 900 yen (main observation deck only), 1600 yen (both observation decks)

Himalaya Spring 2016: More Summits on Everest, Earthquake Alters Hillary Step

It is summit season on Everest, where the weather has been cooperative over the past few days, leading to successful ascents to top of the mountain over the weekend. Meanwhile, as the first climbers go to the summit for the first time in two years, were learn that an iconic point on along the route has been altered by last year's earthquake, making the climb just a bit easier.

Last week we told you that Sherpas had fixed ropes to the summit, and that the first foreign climbers had followed not long afterwards. That cleared the way for the first two waves of commercial teams to make their summit pushes, with as many as 23 people topping out last Friday, and another large group summiting yesterday as well. Amongst those groups was the Himalayan Experience team as well as several of the other larger operators on the mountain. It is unclear at this point how many climbers were on the summit push yesterday, but it seems like it was a large number.

Other teams are waiting for a new, more stable weather window to open this week so we should see yet another large group of summiteers in the days ahead. The route is clear now and it appears that conditions will be great throughout this week. More teams are standing by to take advantage of that opportunity as soon as they can.

On the the North Side of the mountain, it is unclear exactly where everyone is at right now. There have been a few summits, but the major push doesn't seem to have begun just yet. Look for the to change this week too, with lots of teams now on the move.

One of the more interesting stories to come out of the early Everest summits on the South Side is that last year's earthquake has altered the route dramatically. Apparently, the quake caused the iconic Hillary Step to collapse, and from most accounts it is now easier to get over that section of the climb than it was in the past. This portion of the route was where a lot of the bottlenecks occurred in the past, and at what point there was even talk about putting a ladder on the step to help speed things along. That never happened, and from the sound of things it won't be necessary now either.

Video: More Than Just Parks Takes Us to the Badlands

The filmmaking brothers of Will and Jim Pattiz have returned with the latest edition in their More Than Just Parks series. This time, the subject of their lenses is Badlands National Park in South Dakota, which is home to some of the most dramatic landscapes you could ever hope to see. As usual, this video lives up to the high level of quality that this video series has set for itself, almost transporting us to this fantastic designation. If you're ever in western South Dakota, this is a must see destination for sure.

BADLANDS 8K from More Than Just Parks on Vimeo.

Video: Fat Biking Through the Iconic Landscapes of Utah

There is no question that fat biking is changing our perception of where you can go on a bike. Case in point, this fantastic video takes us deep into the deserts of Utah with pro rider Steve Fassbinder and a friend as they explore those iconic landscapes from the seat of a fatty. This will make you want to break out the big wheels and go on an adventure of your own.

Gear Closet: Solavore Sport Solar Powered Oven

I'm a huge fan of using solar power for keeping mobile devices charged while traveling through remote locations. This has become easier that it was in the past thanks to improvements to the efficiency of solar panels and the plethora of options available to consumers these days. But, the sun can actually be used to do more things than just keep our gadgets powered up, as I learned recently when I put the Sport Solar Oven from Solavore to the test.

Perfect for use in your own backyard or a campsite, the Sport Solar Oven does exactly what you would expect – turn the power of the sun into heat for cooking a meal. In fact, it is so efficient that you don't even need to have direct sunlight for it to automatically start collecting the rays and generating enough warmth to cook a surprising number of types of foods. The oven comes with its own thermometer, and while testing it consistently kept a temperature above 220ºF (104ºC), which is hot enough to boil water, and while it might take a little longer, cook just about anything else too.

Set up for the Sport couldn't be easier. Simply find a good spot to place it in the sun, and you're pretty much done. Solavore does sell an optional reflector that can be added to the stove to help focus the sunlight further, which takes just seconds to install. It adds some extra speed and efficiency to the oven, but it works just fine without it as well.

The oven does ship with two graniteware pots, complete with lids, which are perfect for cooking in the Sport. Both are three quarts (2.8 liters) in size, which means they have plenty of capacity, and since the oven has enough space to hold both of the pots at the same time, you can actually cook two dishes at the same time.

The Sport Solar Oven is fairly large in size, but isn't particularly heavy. It weighs about 9 pounds (4 kg), which makes it not the best choice for carrying into the backcountry, but a great option for car camping or cooking without the use of gas or power at home too. There is just something really fun about using the oven and watching your meals come together using just the sun to cook them.

Because it uses the sun, and takes some time to cook a meal, a bit of planning and timing needs to go into food preparation using the Sport Solar Oven. I cooked several different things in my test model, and it usually took several hours for things to come together. That's a lot slower than a camp stove that uses gas of course and while getting the feel for the oven you'll want to keep an eye on things so that they don't get over done, but with some forethought and patience, you can eat some incredibly delicious meals anywhere that you can catch some rays from the sun.

To help you get started with the solar oven, Solavore offers some really great recipes on their website. I actually recommend starting with one or two of those options while learning how to use the Sport, as they'll give you exact instructions for preparing the food, as well as estimated cooking times. This will help you to get a feel for the product while you get some experience using it.

Other than the time it takes to actually makes the meal, the Sport Solar Oven is easy to use and works great. It really does open up the options for cooking around the campsite, and the fact that it doesn't need power or gas is a huge plus. The oven sells for $229 and comes with everything you need to make great meals just about anywhere. Just give yourself plenty of time for it to work its magic, and you'll be rewarded with some excellent meals.

Adventure Tech: Land Cruisers Used as Wireless Network in the Outback

Staying in communication with the rest of the world while traveling through a remote landscape can be difficult and expensive. But a new project sponsored by Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia,  automaker Toyota, and a communications and advertising agency called Saatchi & Saatchi shows off a new concept that uses a fleet of Land Cruisers as mobile WiFi network that can keep travelers in contact, even when miles away from an Internet connection or cell network.

The Land Cruiser is one of the most popular expedition and adventure travel vehicles on the planet, often found in remote places where few other motorized vehicles can go. That's true in the Outback of Australia too, with travelers using them to wander far from civilization. Recently, Toyota equipped some of those SUV's with a new device that creates a network between other vehicles in the area, with data being shared between these mobile hotspots until it can be handed off to a unit that is also within range of a permanent Internet connection.

These high-tech communications devices have a range of 25 km (15.5 miles) and can handle both voice and data. That makes them useful for making emergency calls from a remote place, or sharing social media updates while in the field. It uses standard WiFi, UHF signals, and Delay Tolerant Networks (DTN) to help pass along the data. The information can hop from Land Cruiser to Land Cruiser until it finds one with an Internet connection, at which point it is send out to the rest of the world.

The video below gives you an idea of how the whole thing works. It seems like it has a lot of promise for communications in remote places. 

Nefertiti's Tomb Not Found in King Tut's Tomb After All

One of the more fascinating stories that we've been following over the past year was the possibility of hidden chambers inside King Tut's tomb in Egypt. The story first broke when an archeologist by the name of Nicholas Reeves proposed the theory that such hidden rooms might exist after making laser scans of Tut's burial chambers. He then postulated that those hidden areas could belong to the lost queen of Nefertiti, who was Tut's step mother and may have ruled Egypt before him.

Fuel was added to the fire last fall when it was announced that ground penetrating radar has been used at the ancient site, and those scans had revealed that there indeed blank spaces hidden behind Tut's walls. This seemed to show that Reeve's theories were proving accurate, and that archaeologists were on the verge of making a major discovery.

But now it has been revealed that those scans may not have been accurate at all, and that there really isn't anything hidden in Tut's tomb as first thought. A second scan of the tomb, funded by National Geographic earlier this year, reportedly found no evidence of hidden chambers. Furthermore, there are Egyptologists who are claiming that the Egyptian government is suppressing the news as long as they can in order to maintain the illusion that a discovery may be imminent for as long as possible. The idea of finding Nefertiti's remains was seen as a major find, and could potentially be a boost to the country's flagging tourism sector.

Apparently, Nat Geo's second scanning operation is wrapped up in non-disclosure agreement, which means no one can officially confirm the story at this time. We'll have to wait for the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities to make a statement before we know for sure, but those close to the story say that Egyptian officials are in a bit of a panic over the lack of a new discovery and are looking for alternate opinions and evidence before proceeding.

This story made headlines just a few months ago, but now seems to be completely without merit. That's a bit depressing considering how much hype surrounded the potential discovery. Hopefully we'll get the real story soon so we can either move ahead with learning more about what's in Tut's tomb, or put in behind us altogether.

Video: To The Summit of Everest

Over the past few days we've seen the first successful summits of Everest in two years, and if everything goes according to plan, we should see many more over the weekend and next week. If you have ever wondered what those climbers are facing on the way to the top of the world, this video will give you a brief glimpse of that challenge. This 2+ minute clip takes us from Base Camp to the summit, passing through the Khumbu Icefall, up the South Col and on to the very summit itself. Over the next few days, dozens of climbers will be making this same journey. Hopefully everyone gets up and down safely.

Video: Nat Geo Takes Us Inside the World's Longest Sea Caves

Journey to New Zealand with National Geographic to explore the longest sea caves in the world. Geologist Nicolas Barth was studying active faults on the South Island when he decided to climb down some cliffs and go for a swim. What he discovered there was truly astounding.

Explorers Club to Honor Julian Monroe Fisher at Presidential Dinner

Going to be in New York City on June 2? Want to attend what is sure to be a fantastic event at the Explorers Club headquarters? Than you're in luck, because that evening they'll be honoring my friend Julian Monroe Fisher at the organization's Presidential Dinner, and best of all you don't have to be a member to attend.

Julian's list of accomplishments is long and impressive. He is not only a Fellow with the Explorers Club, but the Royal Geographical Society as well. He has spent more than 30 years spanning the globe, exploring the seldom visited corners of the planet. As a trained anthropologists, his recent wanderings have taken him across Africa as he continues his Great African Expedition. He has also been instrumental in opening the Sir Samuel and Lady Florence Baker Historical Trail, a long-distance hiking route that stretches for 500 miles (804 km) through South Sudan and Uganda, and is currently working on a project to that is charting and preserving the Carolina Rivers. Both of those last two endeavors are sponsored by Costa Del Mar.

If you would like to join the Explorers Club in honoring Julian here is all of the important information:

Date: June 2nd, 2016
Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Dinner, 8:00 pm Presentation
Location: Club Headquarters, 46 East 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021
Member Ticket price: $70
Guest Ticket Price: $80
Reservation Notes:
Reservations must be procured in advance for a catered dinner, and payment must accompany reservation. There will be no cancellations allowed after Friday, May 27th, 2016. Non-members are welcome to reserve a seat as the nominal guest of Daryl Hawk MR ’98, organizer of the Presidential Dinner.

To secure a reservation, you may also call us at 212.628.8383, or email us at [email protected].

Congratulations to Julian on this much deserved honor. 

Did Canadian Teen Really Discover a Lost Mayan City?

We have an update today on that fascinating story that I posted yesterday about a 15-year old Canadian boy who claimed to have discovered a lost Mayan city in the Yucatan Peninsula. It seems that experts are poking holes in the young man's theories, saying that he didn't find a missing city at all, but instead spotted an overgrown agricultural field instead.

The original story was that school boy William Gadoury noticed that Mayan cities were located on a map in the same shape as several constellations in the sky. Looking at old star maps, the then overlaid the constellations on terrestrial maps and noticed that there were locations where cities should have lined up with the stars, but there were no known settlements there. So, William broke out Google Earth and started pouring over the images in search of manmade structures, discovering what looked like the remnants of a prior civilization.

Naturally, the story has struck a chord with the public, many of whom have been fascinated by this narrative, while also wondering why no one else had noticed this placement of Mayan cities in the past. Well, it turns out that there may be some basic issues with the teenager's general premise, as National Geographic explains, and the structures that he spotted in the satellite images may not be as old as he suspects or possibly not even man-made at all.

Archaeologist Ivan Šprajc says that the square shape spotted on the map is really an abandoned field that probably isn't any more than 20 or 30 years old. He also says that other potential structures are most likely natural shapes, and include a clearing in the jungle, which probably doesn't have anything to do with a lost Mayan city. 

As I mentioned in my original story yesterday, the only real way to confirm the existence of a lost city is to send a team of archaeologists out to examine the site. Considering the skepticism that is being raised from others in the field, it seems unlikely that that will happen soon. Of course, there are some who believe that trained archaeologists have also been caught with egg on their face by being upstaged by a teenager, so they have reason to cast doubt on his findings. Only time will tell at this point. 

Himalaya Spring 2016: More Summits on Everest, Commercial Teams Lining Up

More news from the Himalaya this morning, where teams are now preparing to make the first major summit push of the season after Sherpas completed the installation of the ropes to top of the mountain yesterday. For the first time in two years, the South Side is open, and eager climbers are preparing to take advantage of what looks like a solid weather window.

Hot on the heels of the Sherpa team reaching the summit yesterday, we have news of the first successful summits by foreign climbers in 2016. British climber Kenton Cool and teammate Robert Lucas reached the top of Everest this morning at 8:15 AM local time. They were joined by two Sherpas who helped with the ascent. For Cool, this is his 12th summit of the mountain, the most by any British climber in history.

It didn't take long for the next climbers to reach the summit either. Mexican alpinist David Liano Gonzalez along with his guide Pasang Rita Sherpa, topped out at 8:28 AM as well. Clearly some of the more experienced climbers on the mountain are making a move to touch the summit before the crowds start forming.

Speaking of which, several commercial teams are also on the move with the hope of making a summit push too. According to Alan Arnette, Himex, Jagged Globe, Madison Mountaineering, and others are hoping to take advantage of what could be a narrow weather window. Alan says it could be as short as 18 hours, which is risky, but doable provided that the teams are quick and adhere to there schedule. Traffic jams could be an issue in that case, but the teams are ready to take advantage of any opportunity they get. It now looks like May 14 and 15 could be a busy time on the mountain before a brief break, followed by a second wave of climbers.

Alan also reports that there have been two significant incidences in the Khumbu Icefall over the past 24 hours that have halted climbing operations. There have been several collapses in that crucial part of the route which have taken down ropes and ladders, forcing the Ice Doctors to work hard to repair the damage. Instability has been an issue in the icefall all season long, and it looks like that will continue to be the case right up until the end.

Stay tuned. It's obviously a very busy time right now and we'll be watching the outcome closely.

Video: Exploring Utah with Ace and His Desert Dog

Last year, Ace Kvale turned 60 and to celebrate, he planned a 60 day journey through Utah's wonderful canyon country with his dog, a ten-year old Australian Blue Heeler named Genghis Kahn. Other friends came and went throughout the hike, but Genghis stayed with him the entire way. Their story is told brilliantly in this video, which reminds us why our favorite adventure dogs are definitely man's best friend.

Video: Meet the Hippos of Colombia

In 1980, drug lord Pablo Escobar brought several hippos from Africa to his compound in Colombia. It turns out that the environment there was very similar to their natural habitat, and the creatures adapted quite well to their new home. But later, when Escobar was finally brought down and taken in for justice, the animals were left to their own devices. Now, they are cared for by a local conservation organization, and they continue to thrive in the South American jungle. This video tells their story.

Gear to Upgrade Your Car Camping Experience

Not everyone likes to load up their backpack with all of their gear and hike into the backcountry. In fact, many love to stay in a more accessible campsite and enjoy some amenities while they enjoy their time outdoors. For those folks, National Geographic has posted some suggestions on gear that can up your next car camping escape, bringing more comfort to the campfire.

Amongst the gear that Nat Geo recommends is a Yellow Jacket 4 mtnGLO tent from Big Agnes, which has enough room to sleep four and is even tall enough for many people to stand up inside. Mountain Hardwear's Lamina Z 22 is the sleeping bag of choice, with Klymit's Insulated Static V sleeping pad providing extra comfort.

Additional gear that earns a nod include a warm blanket, a hammock, a comfortable camp chair, and a portable battery pack to keep your mobile devices charged up while away from home. All of the gear is easy to pack up and carry with you when you hit the road, which makes it perfect for summer trips or just family camping outings close to home, or even in the backyard.

Check out all of the gear on Nat Geo's list by clicking here.

Himalaya Spring 2016: Rescue and Summits on Everest, Deaths on Makalu, and Turned Back on Shishapangma

There is lots of news to report from the Himalaya today, where the season is unfolding at a rapid clip. The end isn't quite in sight just yet, but the stage is certainly being set, with summit bids underway throughout the region and weather forecasts predicting good opportunities to come. But there is still a lot of work to do before we're through, and the hard work is yet to come.

Our first story from the Himalaya today is an update on the two Slovak climbers who were stranded above Camp 2. Vladimír Štrba and Zoltán Pál were caught in an avalanche yesterday, with Pál suffering an injury to his eye that prevented them from being able to descend safely. Yesterday we reported that rescue operations were underway, but a team of Sherpas that had been sent to lend aid were stalled out in C2, while evac helicopters failed to be able to reach the two men either. But today we get good news that both men have been rescued, as a team of four Sherpas – Mingma Gabu, Lakpa Thinduk, Ngima Dorchi and Nima Wangdi – reached them earlier today and helped them to safely descend.

Details of what exactly happened are still coming out, but it seems that the two Slovak climbers were hit by an avalanche at 7200 meters (23,622 ft) on the Southwest Face. The two men reportedly clung to a safety screw and a couple of carabiners for several hours before they were able to get themselves to safety. Now, they are headed back to BC to recover.

In other news from Everest, rope fixing efforts are now complete on the South Side of the mountain, with 11 Sherpas from various teams reaching the summit earlier today. Those are the first summits on the mountain in the past two years, an unprecedented streak for the world's highest peak. This now clears the way for the commercial teams to follow, with the first squads hoping to top out tomorrow or Friday. Meanwhile, back in Base Camp, other teams are now preparing to set out for the summit as well, with the weather dictating when they'll be able to move up.

The good news of the rescue on Everest was tempered reports of two Sherpa guides perishing on Makalu, apparently of altitude sickness. Da Tenji Sherpa and Lakpa Wangel Sherpa died in Camp 2 on that mountain after both complained of symptoms of HACE and HAPE. They were part of an 11-person Amical Alpin team. According to The Himalayan Times, the two men join two other Sherpas who have died of altitude sickness on Shishapangma, as well as two foreign trekkers in the Khumbu region near Everest.

In other news, Ueli Steck and David Göttler have returned to Base Camp on Shishapangma after being turned back due to poor weather conditions. Forecasts had called for a good weather window, but conditions changed quickly, forcing them back down. The two men are attempting a new route on the mountain, and say that they are far from done yet. They'll rest in BC and wait for better weather before attempting the summit once again.