Showing posts with label Climbing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Climbing. Show all posts

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.

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.

Video: Alex Megos Completes First 5.15 Climb in Canada

Rising rock start Alex Megos has just completed an epic and historic first ascent in Canada. The German rock climber has completed a route that he calls Fight Club, which is rated as a 5.15b on the Yosemite Decimal System. For those that don't know, that's hard. Really, really, hard. In the video below, you'll learn more about this climb and what it took for Alex to complete it. It was quite an impressive accomplishment as you can probably imagine.

Alex Honnold and Renan Ozturk To Attempt One of the Toughest Free-Climbs in North America

While we're obviously still gearing up for a very busy Himalayan climbing season in the days ahead, there are other interesting expeditions in the planning stages as well. Take for example the new project from Alex Honnold and Renan Ozturk, which will send them to Alaska to take on one of the toughest free-climbs in all of North America.

According to Men's Journal, the two climbers will attempt the first free ascent of Wine Bottle Tower on the East Face of Mt. Dickey in June. In terms of altitude, Dickey is a modest climb at best, topping out at a mere 2909 meters (9545 ft). But, its East Face is a spectacular big wall built to test the skills of any climber, including ones as talented as Honnold and Ozturk.

The route they'll take up Wine Bottle Tower is extremely technical, requiring plenty of skill and talent to even consider undertaking. It also happens to be 1600 meters (5250 ft) of sheer vertical granite, which makes it about 609 meters (2000 ft) taller than El Capitan in Yosemite.

The first – and only – ascent of this route was done back in 1988 by Austrians Thomas Bonapace and Andreas Orgler. But those two men made the climb using aid to help them up the incredibly difficult rock face. Honnold and Ozturk will try to free the wall instead, something they attempted back in 2013 with Freddie Wilkinson, only to turn back less than 15% of the way up the route.

Men's Journal says that the two men haven't shared their exact plans yet, but it seems likely that in June they'll have to ski to Mt. Dickey to begin the climb and decide from there what their strategy will be. Since the route is mostly unscouted by either of the climbers, it seems likely that they'll spend several days on the project, setting up portaledges as they go. A straight shot up the wall in a single, massive push seems very unlikely, even for two guys as talented as this.

Either way, it should be interesting to see how this one develops. We'll have to wait for June to get further updates.

Video: Black Diamond Introduces the HonnSolo 11 Free Soloing Airbag Pack

Typically I'm not a fan of April 1 on the Internet. It's filled with all kinds of fake news (we have enough of that already!) and it seems that sites go to great lengths to try to pull one over on their readers. But occasionally someone does something that is genuinely funny and its hard not to share. That's the case with Black Diamond Equipment and climber Alex Honnold, who unveiled the new HonnSolo 11 climbing pack. To give much more away would be to spoil the fun, so just sit back and watch. If you missed it last Saturday, you'll probably still get a good chuckle out of it now.

Video: The Top 5 Mountaineers of All Time

Amongst climbers it is always fun to debate who the greatest mountaineers of all time are. Of course, such a list is always subjective, particularly when discussing climbers across different eras. That doesn't stop the makers of this video from attempting to make their picks however, so I present to you a list of the top 5 mountaineers of all time. Not sure I agree with all of them, or the order for that matter, but it sure makes a lively discussion. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Video: A Tribute to Discomfort with Cory Richards

Earlier today I shared a link to a new article from National Geographic that discusses the challenges that mountaineer and adventure photographer Cory Richards has faced throughout his life. In that story, Richards shares some very personal revelations about the demons that have stalked him over the past few years. In this video, we get a different look at this man, who has created a lasting legacy both on and off the mountain. Here, he talks about the suffering and discomfort that comes along with pursuing your passions in the wilderness. Something that a lot of us can relate to as we go out to explore the world around us.

Gear Closet: INO Weather Pro

As outdoor enthusiasts, one of the things we keep any eye on the most is the current weather conditions. The weather has a huge impact not only on our ability to do the things we love outside, but our safety as well. Which is why keeping tabs on current and future conditions is vitally important at times. Thankfully, smartphones have made this a lot easier to do than in the past, but those devices are only as good as the forecast that they are feeding us and aren't all that helpful in telling us exactly what the weather is like directly around us. On top of that, should you find yourself in the backcountry where a data network is not existent, a smartphone becomes all-but useless for tracking changing weather patterns.

Fortunately, there is a device that can fill that niche, and provide a wealth of weather data to help keep us safe wherever we go. It's called the INO Weather Pro from INO Technologies, and after putting it to the test extensively, I can attest to how handy it is to have in your pack.

Designed to fit in the palm of your hand, the Weather Pro is a gadget that comes packed with an array of sensors simply designed to monitor the conditions around us. As such, it can provide the current temperature, atmospheric pressure, relative humidity, heat index, dew point, and more. It can also use its onboard barometric sensor to detect your current altitude as well. But best of all, it can also detect lightning strikes within 40 miles of the device, and provide audio alerts if those strikes get too close.

If you spend a lot of time in the outdoors, you can probably already see how a gadget like this one would be nice to have at your disposal. Monitoring sudden shifts in atmospheric pressure and temperature could prove to be incredibly useful, if not life-saving, while knowing when lighting is moving into your area is something that anyone who is climbing or hiking in the mountains can appreciate.


While testing the Weather Pro I found it to be very accurate in most of its readings. Upon powering it up, it takes a few minutes for the device to acclimate itself to its current location, but once it does, temperature, barometric pressure, altitude, and other readings soon reflect the conditions around you. A simple touchscreen interface makes it a breeze to access that info, which is displayed on the screen in a large, easy to ready font. That screen can get a bit washed out in bright sunlight however, but the display offers solid performance without draining the rechargeable battery too quickly.

My test unit did on occasion register a few false positives when it came to lightning strikes however. It would often indicate that there had been two or three strikes near by, even though that wasn't the case. Those readings never set off any of the active alarms however, and I chalked it up to the device recording other atmospheric anomalies. Were a real thunderstorm taking place around me, it would not only indicate the number of lightning strikes in a given time period, but the Weather Pro would have also given off an alert tone indicating it was time to take shelter. That never happened, except when an actual lighting storm was taking place.

The technical specs on the Weather Pro indicate that it has a battery life of about 30 hours when fully charged, and I would say that from my testing that is fairly accurate. The rechargeable lithium-ion power cell can be powered up using a USB adapter, which is becoming a universal way of keeping most of our mobile gadgets charged these days. 30 hours may not seem like much battery life, but unless you're really keeping a close on the weather conditions, it is actually quite a bit of time. I found that I could power on the device, take a few readings, and then shut if off again until it was needed. In this way, that battery could go a very long time on a single charge.

The other limiting factor for the INO Weather Pro is its price. MSRP on the device is set at $497 (although it is currently on sale for $447), which makes it an expensive purchase for the casual user. However, this is a gadget that will likely prove indispensable for guides, as well as dedicated climbers and mountaineers. Basically, if you depend on accurate weather information to keep yourself, your friends, or your clients safe in the backcountry, this is a worthy investment indeed.

To find out more, and purchase your own INO Weather Pro, visit inotechnologies.com.

Video: Climbing Big Walls in Madagascar

Earlier today I posted a story about three Belgian climbers completing a free ascent of the Central Tower in Torres del Paine. Two of those climbers were Sean Vilanueva and Siebe Vanhee, both of whom you'll find in this video as they travel to Madagascar to climb big walls in that country. While there, they discovered a completely unclimbed line on Tsaranoro Atsimo and set out to see if they could make the first ascent. This is the story of that expedition.

Belgian Team Free Climbs Central Tower of Torres del Paine

Three Belgian climbers have completed the incredibly difficult feat of free climbing the 1200 meter (3937 ft.) El Regalo de Mwono route on the Central Tower of Torres del Paine in Patagonia. Their accomplishment is already being heralded as one of the biggest achievements in climbing in recent memory, as the trio faced not only an incredibly technical ascent but braved unpredictable weather along the way as well.

Alpinist says that the climb began back on January 31, when Nico Favresse, Siebe Vanhee and Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll first touched the rock. The carried with them enough supplies for 15 days on the route, which is rated as a 5.13b. True to big wall climbing, the men established portaledges along the route, moving higher as they completed certain sections. The weather was dicey at times, but they were able to eventually reach the top, completing the third overall ascent of the Central Tower along El Regalo de Mwono.

When they reached the top, there was still one section of the climb that they hadn't ben able to free, but 15 days had passed and the team was low on supples and needed to catch a flight. The weather looked uncooperative so they prepared to descend from the tower and head home. But, on the 19th day the skies cleared, giving them one last chance. It was then that Favresse was able to climb that last pitch (also rated 5.13b) and complete the full ascent at last.

The three men ended up missing that flight, but something tells me that they're okay with that. In the Alpinist article linked to above, you'll find more details on what the climb was like and an interview with Favresse himself who discusses the aspects of the route and compares it to others he has climbed. He also provide details on overcoming the final crux, the team's nutrition strategy, and more.

In terms of big wall ascents, this is about as impressive as it gets, and definitely a major accomplishment during a season that saw lots of expeditions get their hopes dashed in Patagonia. Congratulations to Nico, Siebe, and Sean on a job well done.

Video: A Life of Climbing with David Lama

Austrian mountaineer and sport climber David Lama is one of the most talented climbers on the planet. He has shown his ability to tackle challenges on rock, ice, boulders, and mixed routes too. That's because he literally started in the sport not long after he could walk, and now he shown his ability to tackle incredibly difficult ascents all over the world. In this video, we learn the origins of Lama's climbing skills and we follow him through his most impressive accomplishment to date – completing the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre in Patagonia. Here, you'll discover what drives him and learn more about his approach to climbing. As with many talented alpinists, the greater the challenge, the bigger the reward.

Video: The First Repeat Ascent of Metanoia on the Eiger North Face

Jeff Lowe's Metanoia route on the Eiger North Face is considered one of the most impressive climbs of all time. Solo and without bolts, Lowe went straight up the Eiger, changing the way we viewed climbing forever. That was back in 1991, and since that time no one else has attempted to make that same climb. But back in December, a trio of very talented alpinists – Thomas Huber, Stephan Siegrist, and Roger Schaeli – were able to make a repeat of Lowe's groundbreaking route at long last. This video tells their story.

Video: Unbound with Alpinist Jordi Tosas

For more than 25 years, Jordi Tosas has been working as a mountaineering guide in the Alps and the Himalaya. Over that time, he has completed countless climbs and his love for outdoor adventure in all of its forms has continued to grow. A few years back, he was introduced to Kilian Jornet, the great mountain runner from Spain. That chance encounter has led Jordi to reexamine everything he knows about mountaineering and relearn and reinvent his approach to the mountains. In this video, we learn about Tosas and that process, which is continuing to evolve today.

Peakery.com Relaunches with New Design, Mobile Support

Way back in 2011 I posted about a new website called Peakery.com that aimed to become an online community for climbers to share their outdoor adventures, gain information about various mountains, and plan their expeditions to summits great and small. Since that time, the site has continued to grow, and now boasts more than 11,000 members, 336,000 peaks climbed, and 117,000 summit posts. But, as is common with websites that are more than six years old, the owners knew it was time for a fresh coat of paint. They got that recently in the form of a site redesign, which brought some much needed new features, including support for mobile devices.

In a blog post announcing the new Peakery, ten of the new features are shared with members of the community, with things like now having the ability to add GPS tracks of your climbs, sharing summit routes, and getting updates on climbing news from your specific region. The site also boasts improved summit logs with more information, as well as better pages for sharing photos. You can even set challenges for yourself, and then check them off as you complete them, while also earning virtual awards for your accomplishments along the way.

But, easily the most important update to the site is that it now features responsive design that makes it accessible on more devices. Site designers say that Peakery 2.0 now has three independent designs, one for computers, another for tablets, and a third for use on a phone. The site also allows you to upload photos directly from your mobile device, get turn-by-turn directions to the trailhead, and more.

If you've been a member of Peakery.com for awhile now, these updates will probably be very welcome indeed. If you're a member that hasn't dropped by the site for some time, perhaps this will lure you back. But most of all, if you're not already a member, go ahead and sign up. You'll find a lot to love on the website, as it is a great resource for climbers everywhere.

Video: Rock Climbing Norway with Magnus Midtbo (Oh! And Alex Honnold Too! Sort of!)

In this video we head to Norway to take on some of that country's big walls with talented rock climber Magnus Midtbo. As you can imagine, the scenery is pretty epic, and Magnus gets a chance to show off his skills on some amazing rock faces. But, the headline for the video also implies that Alex Honnold is along for the ride, which really isn't the case. Sure, he shows up briefly, but then is quickly gone, so don't expect to see these two men doing too much together. Still, it is a nice look at some of the challenges that Norway has to offer.

Video: (To)Day Dream - REI Reminds Us to Spend Some Time Outdoors

This video seems highly appropriate as we head into the weekend. It is a a short, but sweet, reminder to get outside and enjoy nature. It comes our way courtesy of REI – who obviously has a vested interest in getting us outdoors – but it is a great message nonetheless. Yes, we're all busy and have very complicated lives. But some time outdoors can help us sort through all of that. So, as the video says find an empty spot on your calendar and find an empty spot on the map. It is as simple as that.

(To)day Dream from REI on Vimeo.

Video: Staying Powered Up on North America's 50 Classic Climbs

This video is a bit of a commercial for Goal Zero products, but it is also a case study of what works in the field too. Over the past seven years, Mark and Janelle Smiliey have been committed to completing all 50 of the Classic Climbs of North America. As they went about that project, they found themselves looking for ways to keep their electronic gear (smartphones, tablets, cameras, etc.) powered up in the backcountry. That was a real challenge, until they found Goal Zero. The three-minute video is filled with some great mountaineering and climbing shots, and product placement is kept to a minimum. Definitely worth a watch.

Video: A Higher Crawling

We share a steady stream of interesting and informative videos here at The Adventure Blog, so every once in awhile it's nice to get one that is just plain fun. Like the clip below, which is a parody of mountaineering videos, although this time it stars a couple of 6 month old climbing phenoms who are rivals at first, but eventually bond over their love of the high spaces of our planets. And diapers. I hope it puts a smile on your face. Enjoy.

A Higher Crawling from eric becker on Vimeo.

Video: Pedal to Peaks Across Norway

In this video, we join a group of friends as they set off on an adventure across Norway by bike, climbing, and skiing. As with any good adventure, not everything goes as planned and they hit more than a few challenges along the way. But, they also discover amazing scenery, beautiful landscapes, and wonderful people as they traverse Lofoten archipelago, learning more about themselves and each other along the way.

Video: Emily Harrington and Alex Honnold Free Climb "Solar Flare"

It's always a joy to watch two amazing rock climbers ply their trade, and that is exactly what we get in this clip. We'll follow Emily Harrington and Alex Honnold as they free climb Solar Flare, a 5.12d route in the High Sierra mountains of California. As usual, these two make it look easy, but make no mistake, this is rock climbing at its finest.