Video: The Last Darkness - Running the Owyhee Canyonlands of Oregon

In this video we join endurance athletes Jeff Browning and Jessie Haynes as they set off to complete the 170 mile trail through the Owyhee Canyonlands of Oregon in just four days time. That's 42.5 miles per day through some very remote and rugged wilderness for those keeping track at home. The short documentary takes us into the canyons with the two men, as they push themselves to the limit in this stunning landscape that look like quite an outdoor playground. The video is fantastic end-to-end, but it is worth it just to listen to Jeff and Jessie try to figure out their current pace at the very beginning of the film. It turns out, math is very hard when you're exhausted.

Video: Pro Surfer Skis Giant Waves in Hawaii

Yes, you read that headline right. This video takes us out to Hawaii where we find pro surfer Chuck Patterson taking on the notoriously large waves at Pe'ahi aka "Jaws." Rather than riding his surfboard, he instead chooses to ski Jaws instead, complete with boots, poles, and the works. Surprisingly, this goes fairly well, although I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone. Wild stuff for sure.

Himalaya Spring 2017: Ropes Fixed on Everest North Side, Nine Sherpas Reach Summit

More news from the Himalaya this morning, where we've learned that rope fixing efforts on the North Side of Everest are now complete. According to The Himalayan Times, nine Sherpas from Kathmandu-based Arun Treks recorded the first summits of the season at 4:30 PM local time today.

This news means that climbers on the Tibetan side of the mountain can now begin planning their summit window, as the weather is reportedly quite good there at the moment. Whether or not that forecast will hold long enough for teams to make their push to the top remains to be seen, but the route is now open and ready to go. Eager climbers will now wrap up their acclimatization efforts and starting looking for the proper timing, with the first commercial summits possibly coming as soon as early next week.

The Tale of Kayakers Held Hostage in Colombia

At the end of March a team of professional kayakers, led by Ben Stookesberry, set off to make the first descent of the Apaporis River in Colombia. The 700-mile long waterway is remote, wild, and largely unexplored, which is of course the allure of an expedition kayak team. But, 19 days into their journey, the team encountered a challenge they did not expect, a run-in with the rebel forces known as FARC, who eventually took them hostage.

70-Year Old Aleksander Doba Lunches Third Atlantic Crossing by Kayak

This past Sunday, 70-year old Polish adventurer Aleksander Doba set off on his third voyage to cross the Atlantic Ocean in Kayak. The attempt comes after a similar voyage was canceled last year just a short time after it started when prevailing winds pushed Doba's kayak – dubbed Olo – back onto the shore, damaging it in the process. This year however, he seems to have cleared those dangers and is now making his way out into open water.

Video: Outside Presents the Gear You Need for the Ultimate Car Camping Experience

We all like to go camping deep in the backcountry from time to time, but it is also nice to gather up some friends and head out somewhere more accessible too. A good car camping experience is always more comfortable and affords us some extra luxuries as well. To that end, Outside magazine has created this video that shares their picks for the best gear for the perfect car camping excursion. If you like to be out in nature, but don't always want to "rough it" completely, this is the equipment you need.

Video: Skier Falls into a Crevasse, Records it All on GoPro

Ever wonder what its like to fall into a crevasse? If so, this video will help quell that curiosity. It features skier Jamie Mullner, who fell into a big crevasse while skiing this past December. Fortunately for him he had his GoPro recording and everything turned out okay, but it is a bit of a scary situation, especially as his friends work to find him and get him out. Definitely a place that most of us want to avoid. Check it out below.

Climber Jonathan Griffith Remember Ueli Steck

As I've said previously on this blog, we're likely to see a number of touching tributes to Ueli Steck in the days ahead, especially as his friends return home from the Himalaya this spring. His loss is still incredibly shocking to many in the mountaineering community, who will be struggling to come to terms with it for weeks to come.

Himalaya Spring 2017: Rope Fixing Team Retreats on Everest, Kilian Speed Climbs Cho You

Just a quick update from Everest today, as it seems that the rope fixing team on the South Side was forced to retreat to Camp 2 yesterday before reaching the summit. Reportedly the weather there is quite good, and should remain so for the next several days, but heavy snow on the upper slopes of the mountain have made the process of installing the lines on the mountain more time consuming and exhausting than expected. As a result, the Sherpa team was able to add to the route yesterday, extending it up above the balcony, but after spending several days above 8000 meters (26,200 ft), the squad simply had to descend to regain their strength and get some much deserved rest.

Video: From Base Camp to The Summit of Everest in 3D

In just a few days time, dozens of teams of climbers will launch their summit bids on Mt. Everest. If you've ever wondered what the path to the top looks like, this video will give you an idea of what they'll be climbing and hiking over in the days ahead. Made with Google Earth, it gives us a 3D view of the South Side of Everest in Nepal, taking us from Base Camp to the summit along the way.

Video: Mountain Bikers Have Close Encounter with a Bear

Mountain biking can be adrenaline inducing enough without adding wild animals to the mix. But that's exactly what these two riders got when they encountered a rather large bear along the route as they rode through the Malino Brdo bike park in Slovakia. The bear looks just as startled as they do, but it is definitely not the kind of encounter you want to have while out in the wild. Fortunately, no one was hurt and both riders and bear went along their way.

Expedition 1000: Dave's Off On Another Adventure - The Random Tandem

British adventurer Dave Cornthwaite is off on yet another adventure as he continues the pursuit of his Expedition 1000 goals. This time, he's back on the bike, riding across Europe, and he isn't alone, as somehow he managed to talk his girlfriend Emma into joining him. This is the 13th leg of Expedition 1000, which started as an idea that Dave had back in 2006 to skateboard across Australia. Yes, all of Australia. That launched a plan to undertake 25 individual journeys of 1000 miles or more, all under his own power. Since that time, he's also kayaked the Murray River in Australia, stand-up paddle boarded the length of the Mississippi, swam 1000 miles down the Missouri, and rode a push-scooter across Japan.

Himalaya Spring 2017: Teams Continue Acclimatization and Look Toward Summit Bids

The climbing teams on Mt. Everest continue to play the waiting game today, watching the weather, waiting for news on the completion of the route to the summit, and plotting their eventual summit bids. Reportedly, conditions are good and things are going according to plan, but it remains unclear as to when the first summits of the season will take place, or when the waves of commercial climbers will follow along. But over the next few days, we should learn a lot about the schedule ahead and have a clearer picture of what to expect later this week and next. 

The rope fixing team continues to make progress and could potentially complete their work today. Yesterday, the group of Sherpas charged with installing the lines on the South Side of Everest reached the Balcony and today they hope to go all the way up to the summit. They'll need to put in a full day's work to finish the task, but they seem poised to make that happen and record the first summits of the season at the same time. 

Once the ropes are in place they'll descend back to Base Camp for a much needed and deserved rest. At that point, the other teams will check the weather forecast and their own health and condition, to begin thinking about when they'll launch summit bids of their own. Right now, that looks like it could start as early as this coming weekend, although ultimately Mother Nature will decide when to grant access to the top of Everest. 

In the meantime, the teams are keeping busy in a variety of ways. For instance, the IMG squad is spread out between Camps 1 and 3, with climbers in each location wrapping up their acclimatization process. It is possible that they are moving into position to make a dash for the summit once the ropes are installed, or they could be finishing one last rotation before returning to BC for a rest before starting their summit bids next week. A number of the other teams are on track for the same schedule, making a mass ascent in the days ahead as has become the norm on Everest in recent years. 

So there you have it. The stage is nearly set, and teams are preparing to make their push. The weather forecasts look good heading into next week, which is pretty much exactly what is expected for mid-May. Now, it is only a matter of time. But first, the Sherpas must finish their work. Hopefully that will happen today, and the summit season will officially begin. 

Good luck to everyone!

Video: Remembering Ueli Steck

We're likely to see quite a few videos paying tribute to Ueli Steck in the days and weeks to come. The Swiss alpinist was much loved and admired, even outside the mountaineering community. This short video was put together by the team at Climbing Daily over at GrindTV, and it gives us a sense of what drove Steck to push himself to the limit and do things in the mountains that had never been done before.

Video: Take a Tour of Tommy Caldwell's Gear Shed

If there is anyone who knows a thing or two about gear, it's probably climber Tommy Caldwell. In this video, we go inside his new gear shed to take a look at his collection of equipment and how he keeps everything organized. For those of us who value our own gear, this place looks like heaven.

Gear Closet: Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX Boots Review

In need of a new pair of technical hiking boots for your upcoming adventures? If so, you'll want to add the new Mountain Trainer Mid GTX from Salewa to your list of potential options. This lightweight, yet sturdy and durable, boot offers excellent performance on a variety of terrains, and will keep your feet comfortable and dry no matter where the trail takes you.

Boasting a traditional suede upper, paired with a Gore-Tex lining, and a Vibram outsole, the Mountain Trainer has been built for alpine pursuits. The boot is perfect for scrambling over ice and snow, mud, rocks, and other surfaces you're bound to run into on your treks, offering good stability and support in both dry and wet conditions.

Men's Journal Picks the 25 Most Adventurous Men of the Past 25 Years too!

A few weeks back I shared a story from Men's Journal that listed the 25 Most Adventurous Women of the Past 25 Years, giving us an impressive list of female explorers, climbers, skiers, and all-around bad-asses. But the magazine has also put together its picks for the 25 Most Adventurous Men as well, and as you would expect its filled with a lot of names that should be familiar to regular readers of The Adventure Blog.

Each entry onto the list provides a bit of context for why this person made the cut, including a look at some of his most impressive accomplishments. For instance, Conrad Anker is first up, and the article mentions his discovery of the body of George Mallory as well as his obsessive focus to climb the Shark Fin on Mt. Meru in India, which was documented in the amazing film Meru. Of course, that's just the tip of the iceberg, but it is a good indicator of what Conrad has accomplished over the course of his illustrious career.

Himalaya Spring 2017: Summit Rope Fixing Stalls on Everest and Another Climber Perishes

It is now crunch-time in the Himalaya. We're now a week into May and more than a few teams on Everest are eyeing the weather to determine the best time to launch their summit bids. Those should come very soon now, but thanks to high winds on both sides of the mountain, things have been delayed slightly.

Last week I wrote that the plan was to install the ropes to the summit by this past weekend, clearing the way for teams to begin their final push to the top. Unfortunately, high winds have kept that from happening, forcing the Sherpas in charge of that job to retreat to Camp 4 and wait for better conditions. Reportedly they will make another attempt at reaching the summit today and tomorrow, with the hopes of getting the lines in place before descending back to Base Camp for a much needed and deserved rest.

Video: A Whirlwind Tour of Chile

If you're looking for an escape from normal life today, than check out this beautiful video. It takes us across the varied landscapes of Chile, from the Atacama Desert in the north, to Patagonia in the south, and beyond to remote Easter Island. In between, we're treated to spectacular shots of some of the most amazing landscapes found anywhere on the planet.

Chile from Guarida de Secretos on Vimeo.

Video: REI Explores the Place of Women in the Outdoors

Outdoor gear retailer REI has stepped up its game dramatically in terms of encouraging and assisting more women in getting outdoors and enjoying just as many adventures as us men. To that end, the company has recently launched its Forces of Nature campaign and continues to offer women-only adventure weekends through the Outessa program. In this video, we explore the challenges that women face in the outdoor environment, which is not always as welcoming as it should be. We also join a team of female climbers as the head out into the backcountry to show us that they are as tough and talented as any man.

REI Presents: Within Reach from REI on Vimeo.

Argentine Climber Rescued From Mt. Logan in Canada

An Argentine climber by the name of Natalia Martinez got more than she bargained for when she set out on a solo expedition to Canada's highest peak. Martinez began her trek on April 22, but two large earthquakes earlier this week caused avalanches that left her stranded on the mountain.

Martinez was climbing the 5959 meter (19,551 ft) peak on Monday when a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit the Yukon less than 150 miles away from her campsite. This caused snow, rock, and lots of ice to come crashing down the slopes of Logan, creating an impassable barrier for either going up to the summit, or descending back down to the trail head. Natalia spent fours days trapped there until she was finally rescued yesterday. She has now reportedly been taken to Kluane Lake in southwest Yukon.

While the Argentine adventurer was stranded on the mountain, it is important to point out that she was uninjured and had plenty of food and fuel to stay safe for an extended period of time. Martinez is an experienced climber and was well prepared for her solo climb of the peak, which sees just 25 climbers on average each year.

The remote nature of the mountain, mixed with poor weather conditions, prevented a rescue from happening earlier in the week. Thankfully conditions improved yesterday however, and a SAR team was able to extract Natalia without incident. She's now enjoying some creature comforts in Kluane Lake before deciding her next move.

Martinez's story is a good reminder as to why we should always travel with plenty of gear and supplies when heading into the backcountry. From the sounds of things, she could have stayed safely on the mountain for awhile yet, thanks to the fact that she brought plenty of food and fuel along with her. Fortunately, that didn't have to happen and she's now safely off Mt. Logan.

Himalaya Spring 2017: First Summits of the Season, Fixing Ropes on Everest, and Ueli Laid to Rest

It continues to be a busy time in the Himalaya, where teams are now squarely focused on finishing up their acclimatization efforts and planning summit bids. While it will likely be another week or so before the push gets underway on Everest, elsewhere in Nepal the first 8000 meter summits of the year have been recorded, even as plans are in place to finish fixing ropes on the highest mountain on the planet.

Last Sunday, five climbers managed to top out on Dhaulagiri, the seventh highest mountain in the world at 8167 meters (26,794 ft.). That team consisted of Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Nga Tashi Sherpa, Lhakpa Nuru Sherpa, Liu Yong Zhong and Dong Hong Juan, all of whom stood on top at 12:20 PM local time on April 30. The weather was reportedly good, and other teams on that mountain are now preparing to follow suit, including Spaniard Carlos Soria, who is looking to bag his 13th 8000-meter peak.

On Everest, the rope fixing team has headed back up the mountain and now plans to complete its work tomorrow, May 6. That means that the route will be complete all the way to the summit, allowing the commercial teams to finally launch their summit bids. Ultimately, it will be the weather that decides when that happens, with the earliest window looking like it could come sometime next week. Meanwhile, another rope fixing team is looking to complete its work on Lhotse on May 8 or 9 as well, clearing the way for teams heading up that mountain too. Once this job is done, we'll definitely be in the calm before the storm, as once the weather clears for a long enough period, the rush to the top will truly be under way.

Finally, The Himalayan Times is reporting that Ueli Steck was laid to rest in the Khumbu Region of Nepal yesterday. The remains of the climber, who perished in a tragic accident earlier in the week, were taken to Tengboche monastery where they were cremated. At least nine Buddhist monks oversaw the proceedings, which included a sermon that lasted for three hours prior to completing the ceremony.

In addition to the monks, Ueli's wife Nicole was present, as were his parents, and several close friends. Only those who were part of this close circle were allowed to participate and visit the scene where he was finally laid to rest. A second ceremony will be held in Switzerland for friends and family, as well as the general public, as well.

That's all for today. Next week should be an interesting one for the teams. It looks like the summit season should be upon us at long last.

Video: Climbing the Eiger with Ueli Steck

There has been a lot written about Swiss climber Ueli Steck this week, and one thing is certain, the mountaineering world will miss him. While we all mourn his loss in a variety of ways, I choose to honor his memory with this video that was shot while he climbed the Eiger in the Alps. It perfectly encapsulates what Ueli brought to mountaineering – going fast and light, with athleticism this was practically unmatched by anyone else in the mountains. He was certainly one of a kind, the likes of which we may not see again for awhile. RIP Swiss Machine.

Video: BASE Jumping From The Lost City of Petra in Jordan

The Lost City of Petra is truly one of the great marvels of the world. It is an amazing destination in Jordan that simply has to be seen to be believed. In this video, we get a completely new look at the place however, as BASE jumper Miles Daisher jumps from the top of "The Treasury," the most iconic building in the entire site. As you'll see, it is quite a drop zone.

Himalaya Spring 2017: Sherpas Hold Protest in Everest BC to Demand Summit Certificates

While the mountaineering world continues to mourn the loss of Ueli Steck on Nuptse, life continues on the big mountains in the Himalaya. Over the past few days, teams have continued their acclimatization rotations on Everest, with most now returning to BC to rest up, most likely for one more rotation before summit bids begin sometime around the middle of May. Despite this calm before the storm however, it appears that things are not business as usual on Everest.

On Tuesday of this week, the Sherpas working on the mountain staged a protest demanding that they receive summit certificates for successfully reaching the top of the peaks they climb in the Himalaya, including Everest and the other 8000 meter mountains. According to The Himalayan Times, the lead Sherpas sent a five-page memorandum to the Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, as well as the Nepal Mountaineering Association and the Expedition Operators’ Association in Nepal, laying out their requirements and the reasons why this is important to them. Apparently, local climbers in Nepal have not been receiving those certificates since last year, and possibly even earlier.

For the Sherpas, the certificates are a badge of honor, and one that they feel that they have earned as part of a climbing expedition that they have taken part in. But, the Nepali government points to a rule in the 2002 regulations governing mountaineering that states that only paying members of an expedition team will receive such certificates.

For its part, the Department of Tourism has said that it will attempt to amend the 2002 resolution as quickly as possible so that certificates could be issued. The new regulations will reportedly recognize the Sherpas as part of an expedition – and rightly so – allowing them to collect their certificates along with the rest of their team. Last year, there were 256 Sherpas that topped out on Everest alone, none of which have received the documents as yet.

This protest isn't just about the certificates however. It is also a symbol of the growing unrest, resentment, and dissatisfaction that many of the Sherpa climbers are feeling these days. They continue to feel disrespected, both by their own government and many of the foreign climbers that come to Nepal. This could lead to further protests, strikes, and clashes in the future as the Sherpa operators continue to grow more prominent on Everest and elsewhere.

Fortunately, it seems that things have returned to normal, and the Sherpas continue to support their clients. Hopefully this won't interfere with summit bids in the days ahead, but I suspect we'll continue to see more of these types of actions in the future.