Showing posts with label Bhutan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bhutan. Show all posts

Pursuing a Speed Record on the Hardest Mountain Trek in the World

A few months back, a team of endurance athletes set out to Bhutan to attempt to set a new speed record for trail running along the Snowman Trek, largely considered to be one of the toughest trekking routes in the entire world. The goal was to complete the entire route in less than 14 days – fave days faster than the previously best known time. Along the way they faced tough trails, lots of altitude gain and lost, the thin air of the mountains, altitude sickness, brutal weather conditions, and more. Now, a few months after the expedition wrapped up, National Geographic Adventure has the story of this daring adventure in the High Himalaya.

The team that set out to run the length of the Snowman Trek consisted of endurance athletes Ben Clark, Anna Frost, Tim Olson, and Chris Ord. They had a support team with them as well to help carry gear and supplies, but even getting a group of locals to help with the logistics was a challenge. No one wanted to join the team, as all of the experienced guides in Bhutan thought that their plan was impossible to complete in the time that they had set for themselves. The original trek leaders and support crew quit right before the team was preparing to embark on their quest, leaving them scrambling to find others who were at least willing to try.

But the finally did get underway, and the details of their story are fascinating and at times harrowing. I don't want to spoil too many of the details, as the Nat Geo story – written by veteran endurance athlete Mat Hart – is incredibly well done. I will say this however, the group did manage to set a new speed record on the Snowman, and in the process redefined what can be done on that intensely demanding route.

Read the entire story here. It is a good one, and well worth a look. I'll be thinking about this group of runners when I set out for my own nightly run later today.

Team of British Explorers Heading to Bhutan in Search of the Yeti

The existence of a strange ape like creature living in the Himalaya is one of the more enduring (and endearing) myths of the past century. The animal, which is commonly known as the yeti or the abominable snowman, has been a part of the local lore for centuries, but managed to capture the imagination of westerners as explorers from other parts of the world delved deep into the mountains looking to climb peaks like Everest and Annapurna. Over the years, men like Sir Edmund Hillary and Reinhold Messner have gone looking for this mountain ape, but other than uncovering a few stories and legends, everyone who has searched for it has come up empty. That hasn't stopped others from trying of course, including a new team of yeti hunters that is heading to Bhutan to find mythological beast.

According to this article in the Daily Mail, the team will be led by British adventurer Alastair Humphreys, who will take the group into Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary on a trekking expedition with the hopes of spotting the elusive creature. The remote setting, which is situated at 3530 metres (11,581 feet), is believed to be one of the yeti's habitats amongst the Bhutanese people. The rugged mountains there would be the perfect place for a rare animal to remain hard to spot.

For his part, Humphreys tells the Daily Mail that while he would love to find the yeti, he is a realist when it comes to these kinds of expeditions. He compares the Himalaya creature to Britain's own Loch Ness monster, which has continued to spark interest for decades as well. For him, this is just another chance to head out on an adventure, and to visit a place that is difficult for independent travelers to visit on their own. From the interview in the article linked to above, it seems that experienced traveler and adventurer is looking forward to the local cuisine as much as he is the thought of finding an animal that most believe doesn't exist. As far as excuses for launching an adventure, I've certainly heard of worse.

The expedition is being sponsored by the car manufacturer Škoda, with updates being posted to @ŠKODAUK or with the hashtag #YetiBhutan. I'm sure Alastair will also post updates to his website  and Twitter as well.


World's Tiger Population on the Rise for First Time in 100 Years

Last week we shared the sad news that a rare sumatran rhino that was discovered in the wild last month died of complications from an infection just days after it was captured. That was a sad blow to conservation efforts for the species, which is considered critically endangered, with only a few of the creatures still known to exist. But, those same wildlife conservationists got good news this past weekend when it was revealed that the world's tiger population has started to rebound for the first time in a century.

According to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund, there are now 3890 tigers worldwide, up from 3200 in 2010. Most of those gains are due to improved census processes and better protected areas in Russia, India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Further efforts are also underway in Malaysia, China, Indonesia, and Myanmar as well, but it is more difficult to estimate the number of tigers in those countries due to no formal conservation programs existing there.

The report goes on to say that two-thirds of the world's tigers live in India, where the numbers have gone up from 1706 to 2226 over the past five years. Those gains have come in the form of anti-poaching efforts as well as offering compensation to farmers and villagers who have suffered loss due to tiger attacks.

This is all good news for the big cat population, and it is encouraging for conservation efforts all over the world. There was a time when it seemed that the tiger might vanish from the wild on our planet, and while the species isn't completely out of the woods yet, these numbers are very encouraging. If this trend continues – and there is no reason to suspect it won't – we may be able to pull the tiger back from the threat of extinction. That is great news indeed.

Video: Official Trailer for Crossing Bhutan - Ultrarunning in the Himalaya

A few years back, four endurance athletes set out on a month long journey through the heart of Bhutan, a tiny kingdom in the Himalaya that is as rugged and stunning beautiful as any place on Earth. Their journey would cover more than 485 miles on foot, going border to border in a place that is unlike any other. This video gives us a glimpse of that journey and serves as a trailer for a full-length documentary about the project. Check it out below, and you'll be eager to see the entire film.

 
CROSSING BHUTAN Trailer from Crossing Bhutan on Vimeo.

Video: Traveling through Bhutan and Nepal

This video certainly speaks to the hearts and souls of travelers. It takes us on a colorful journey through Bhutan and Nepal, two places where the people that live there are in touch with their spiritual side. Throughout the clip you'll see some impressive scenes of the people and places that make both of these countries so special and unique. From the snowcapped Himalaya to the lowland jungles, with just about everything in-between, you'll get a great sense of these truly amazing destinations.

And when you're ready to go to those places for yourself, Mountain Travel Sobek can make that dream a reality.

for that moment in Bhutan and Nepal. from Marko Roth on Vimeo.

Video: The Himalaya in Timelapse

Shot at various places in the Himalaya, this video takes us into the mountains, giving us a glimpse of the snowcapped peaks that the region is so well know for. Along the way, you'll also see Buddhist temples, stupas, villages, and a wide variety of other interesting features. This is a three-minute trip through one of the most spectacularly beautiful parts of the world, and a perfect way to round out our week.

And when you're ready to visit the Himalaya for yourself, check out all of the options that Mountain Travel Sobek has to offer. The company not only offers trips to Nepal and Tibet, but Bhutan and India as well. No matter which part of the Himalaya that you'd like to visit, chances are MTS can take you there.

Revisiting Himalayas from Anurag Jetly on Vimeo.

Video: Riding the Tour of the Dragon in Bhutan

Bhutan is home to many things, including towering mountains, impossibly deep canyons, and amazing Buddhist temples. It is also home to the Tour of the Dragon, a one-day mountain biking race that covers 268 km (166.5 miles) between Bumthang and the capital city of Thimphu, crossing over four mountain passes in the process. The video below gives us a taste of what that race is all about, with stunning footage of landscapes of Bhutan serving as a backdrop. If there are any riders out there looking for a new challenge for 2015, this could well be it. The next Tour of the Dragon is scheduled for September 5, so get training.

Video: Amazing Bhutan

The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is remote, secluded, and often forgotten. But it is an amazing destination for adventure travelers seeking breathtaking landscapes, unparalleled cultural immersion, and spiritual enlightenment. The video below gives us a two-minute glimpse of this spectacular place, which you'll surely want to visit when you've finished watching.

Thanks to the Adventure Journal for sharing.

BHUTAN from Clemens Purner on Vimeo.