Showing posts with label Conrad Anker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Conrad Anker. Show all posts

Video: Expedition to K7 with Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Brady Robinson

While patrolling around the web looking for great videos to share, I often come across some that are little older, but still plenty interesting to watch. Take this one for example. It is a full documentary about a 2001 expedition to K7, a 6934 meter (22,749 ft) peak located in the Karakoram Range of Pakistan. In the video, we'll follow mountaineers Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Brady Robinson as they take on this massive, and incredibly difficult peak. There are some that believe that this adventure served as a warm-up for Conrad and Jimmy's attempt on Meru, which was documented in the amazing film of the same name. Give it a watch below.

Himalaya Fall 2016: Conrad Anker Suffers Heart Attack at 20,000 Feet

The 2016 Himalayan climbing season has pretty much wrapped up, and quite honestly I didn't expect to be sharing another story from the region until sometime next spring. But, there is one more major update from Nepal, and it is an important one.

National Geographic Adventure is sharing an exclusive story about legendary alpinist Conrad Anker, who suffered a heart attack while climbing in the Himalaya a few weeks back. The 54-year old Anker was at 20,000 feet (6096 meters) on Lunag-Ri – a 22,600-foot (6888 meter) mountain – when the medical incident occurred. He was assisted down by his climbing partner David Lama, who led the rappels back to the start of the climb, where Conrad said he was suffering pain in his arm and numbness in his lips. From there, he was picked up by a helicopter and flown back to Lukla, before proceeding on to Kathmandu, where he received medical attention. A cardiologist at the Siddhartha Hospital had to perform emergency surgery to remove a blockage, potentially saving Anker's life.

Now, Conrad is back home and resting comfortably in Bozeman, MT. That's where Mark Synnott reached him to conduct the interview for Nat Geo. In that interview, Anker goes into more detail about what happened, the rescue procedure, how he got home (Vanity Fair, the parent company of The North Face – whom Conrad is a sponsored athlete for – helped with that process), and much more. We also learn that Anker is extremely healthy for a man his age, and has good medical indicators all around, but he suffered a heart attack none the less.

Anker and Lama were on Lunag-Ri in an attempt to climb the tallest (open) unclimbed peak in Nepal. It was their second attempt after failing to top out last year. Now, after this incident, Conrad says that he will adjust his lifestyle some, shying away from red meats and looking for ways to reduce stress in both his job and personal life. He says he is considering ways to begin to phase out the major climbs he has done over the past 30 years as well, transitioning into a less busy and dangerous schedule.

In the interview, Conrad also talks about his recent trip to Shishpangma in Tibet to recover the body of his fallen friend Alex Lowe. Lowe perished on an expedition to that mountain back in 1999, but his body was found there earlier this year. It was a very emotional journey, which put even more stress on the climber. It was hard for his entire family, since his wife Jenni is Lowe's widow, and their three boys are his sons too. All of this has led to a very challenging year to say the least.

The interview is excellent and provides a lot of insight into what drives Conrad, and where he'll be going in the years ahead. He is one of the most famous and accomplished American climbers of all time, and it will be hard to see him step back from a long and impressive career. Still, his health and family must come first, and I'm happy to know that he is home safe and recovering. Get well soon Conrad!

Video: The North Face Athletes Question Madness - Conrad Anker and Alex Honnold

Yesterday, I shared a video that launched a new brand campaign from The North Face that invited us to "Question Madness." The campaign celebrates the 50th anniversary of the company, which has become synonymous with outdoor adventure and exploration. Today, I have two more videos from that exemplify what the company is going for by introducing viewers to some of their sponsored athletes. In this case, those two people are mountaineer Conrad Anker and rock climber Alex Honnold. Check them out below.

Video: The North Face Invites Us to Question Madness

The North Face has just launched a new marketing campaign using the hashtag #QuestionMadness. Much like the famous "Think Different" ads from Apple Computers back in the day, this campaign introduces us to some of TNF's sponsored athletes. People like Conrad Anker, Alex Honnold, and Renan Ozturk, who are pushing the edge of adventure and exploration. Are they mad or are they geniuses? That is the question, and in this beautiful video we get an opportunity to see them doing what they do best, while we ponder whether or not it is all worth it or why they pursue these challenges. If you read this blog with regularity, you probably already know the answer to that. Particularly on your own personal level. Enjoy!

Video: The Amazing Story of Alex Lowe and Conrad Anker

The discovery of the remains of Alex Lowe and David Bridges on Shishapangma has made headlines across the mountaineering community and beyond. That revelation has brought to the forefront Alex's friendship with Conrad Anker, and they way the loss of his friend changed Anker's life forever. This video from Outside TV provides the background on that story which remains extraordinarily touching even for those of us who already know it.

The Remains of Alex Lowe and David Bridges Found on Shishapangma

There is a lot of news to report from the Himalaya over this past weekend, but I felt this story warranted its own post. One of the big stories to break over the past few days is that the remains of climbers Alex Lowe and David Bridges were discovered on Shishapangma more than 16 years after they went missing there.

Back in October of 1999, Lowe and Bridges – along with Conrad Anker – were part of an expedition to the 8027 meter (26,335 ft) mountain. The three men were scouting their route in anticipation of their ascent when an avalanche struck, sweeping Alex and David away in the process. Anker survived and was joined by other members of the team, who swept the face of the mountain for signs of their fallen comrades. They didn't find a trace of them.

Those of you familiar with this story know what happened next. Anker returned home, grieving for the loss of Lowe who was his best friend. He sought solace with Alex's widow Jenni, and the two eventually married with Conrad becoming the step father to the couple's son. In the years that have followed, Anker has gone on to be one of the most accomplished alpinists of his generation.

Last week, Ueli Steck and David Göttler were scouting a new route on Shishapangma in preparation of an alpine style ascent this spring. The two men – who are also highly accomplished climbers - discovered the remains of Lowe and Bridges, who was a talented cameraman sent to film the 1999 expedition.

The bodies of the two men were revealed as climate change has started to cause melting on Shishapangma. And while they haven't been conclusively identified as of yet, the gear from the era that they went missing, and the location of the bodies on the mountain, all point to bodies being Alex and David.

The discovery does bring a measure of closure to the families of the two climbers who are no doubt grieving again with revelation of the remains of Alex and David being uncovered. Our thoughts are with those who were close to the two men. Hopefully this discovery helps them to find a further measure of peace.

Video: Introducing the 2016 North Face Speaker Series

For 2016, The North Face has once again assembled a stellar crew for its Speaker Series. This year you'll get the chance to listen to people like Conrad Anker, Alex Honnold, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk talk about their adventures around the globe, sharing what they learned and how those expeditions shaped their lives. In this video, we get a preview of what those sessions will be like, with some amazing footage gathered from TNF sponsored expeditions. As usual, the clip looks top-notch, and will probably not only inspire you to want to listen to these men and women speak, but also get out on more adventures of your own. Never Stop Exploring.

Video: POV Footage of David Lama Climbing Lunag Ri

Last fall, mountaineers David Lama and Conrad Anker traveled to Nepal to attempt the unclimbed peak known as Lunag Ri. While they were unable to summit, they did manage to reach the mountain's massive headwall, which was an accomplishment in its own right. This video takes us with those two men as they go up that rock face, and using POV video shot from a helmet cam, we get an excellent idea of what it was like for them on this climb.

Video: High Spirits in Nepal - Climbing Lunag Ri with David Lama and Conrad Anker

This past November, David Lama and Conrad Anker – two of the top mountaineers in the world – traveled to Nepal to attempt the first ascent of Lunag Ri, a 6907 meter (22,660 ft) peak found on the border with Tibet. The duo put in a valiant attempt, becoming the first climbers to reach the mountain's headwall, but ultimately they were turned back by high winds and freezing cold temperatures.

In this video, we get a look at that expedition, and what it was like to attempt this big mountain. You'll see two of the best climbers in the world plying their skills on a formidable Himalayan peak, and while they were thwarted this time out, Lama says they already have plans to return and give it another go. Looking at this beautiful and eye-opening video, you can understand why they are inspired by this challenge.

Video: Jimmy Chin Talks Risk and Responsibility in Climbing

Last week I posted a video from the Nat Geo Live series that feature photographer/climber Jimmy Chin and filmmaker Elizabeth "Chai" Vasarhelyi talking about the making of the film Meru. In that clip they talked about the particular challenges that Jimmy, along with teammates Conrad Anker and Renan Ozturk, faced in capturing footage for the documentary. Today, we have another video from that same session, this time with Jimmy discussing the risks and responsibilities that mountaineers and climbers face when embarking on an expedition. As he says, it is a balance between pushing your own personal ambitions, while maintaining the safety of the entire team. It is an interesting look at where that line falls, from a man who has walked it on more than a few occasions.

Video: The Making of Meru

Earlier this year, the acclaimed climbing film Meru was released, giving us an incredible look at two expeditions by Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk to climb the infamous Shark Fin on Mt. Meru in India, with the trio finally completing the first ascent of that massive rock wall in 2010. If you haven't had the chance to see this documentary yet, you should do so as soon as possible. It is simply amazing, with some of the best mountaineering and climbing footage you could ever hope for.

If you have seen the film, you probably have wondered how it was made. Obviously the three climbers, and in particular Jimmy, did most of the shooting, which was later compiled together to make Meru. But there was more to it than just that, as you'll see in this video which is part of the Nat Geo Live series.

In the clip, Chin and filmmaker Elizabeth "Chai" Vasarhelyi discuss how the film came into being, and the process it took to put it altogether. Truly fascinating stuff, particularly if you've seen the movie and want to know how it was made.

Nat Geo Picks the Best Adventure Films of 2015

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

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

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

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

Himalaya Fall 2015: No Summit on Burke-Khang

Just a quick update from the Himalaya today, as most of the expeditions have either wound down by this point, or still holding in place as they wait for better weather. The season is starting to run short now, with only a few more weeks to go before winter will completely shut things down. Still, there are a few teams still holding out hope that they can find success this year where others have not.

Unfortunately, the Burke-Khang team will not be one of those squads. The group, which was led by Madison Mountaineering, has abandoned their summit attempt due to unstable conditions near the top of the mountain. They had hoped to top out earlier in the week, and were reportedly within striking distance of the summit when they encountered a rock wall that was too dangerous to attempt. The entire group – including Bill Burke whom the mountain is named after – returned to Base Camp a few days ago, and flew out to Lukla by helicopter yesterday. They're now waiting for a flight back to Kathmandu, before heading home.

Over on Ama Dablam, Carlos Soria is on the move and hoping to summit in the next few days. His team is currently in Camp 2 on that mountain, and with a good weather window ahead they should be able to top out over the weekend. While not an 8000 meter peak, Ama Dablam remains a popular mountain to climb in Nepal, in part because of its beauty. It is also one of the few mountains that has actually seen some success this fall.

Finally, Conrad Anker and David Lama should now be in the Khumbu Valley and trekking towards their eventual goal of Lunag-Ri. The two hope to climb the Northwest Face of that mountain, which sits along the border to Nepal and Tibet. At 6895 meters (22,261 ft) it will provide a considerable challenge, particularly this late in the season when the weather could be potentially more unpredictable than it has been thus far.

There aren't too many more expeditions underway at the moment for us to follow. We'll continue to watch the South Korean team on Lhotse of course, and the Poles still haven't given up on the summit of Annapurna IV. But for the most part, things are getting very quiet in the Himalaya. Soon, we'll turn our attention to the spring, when expeditions to Everest will resume, and there will be lots of action to follow. For now though, things are starting to grind to a halt as winter approaches.

Himalaya Fall 2015: Summits on Ama Dablam, Waiting on Lhotse, and Conrad Anker on Lunag-Ri

The past few days have been busy ones in the Himalaya, with a number of teams on the move as they work towards their goals, even as the season starts to wind down. There aren't too many climbing days left in the big mountains this fall, so climbers are trying to take advantage of them while they can. As a result, there has been some late season success, with possibly more to come.

Late last week, two members of Lonnie Dupre's Vertical Nepal team topped out on Ama Dablam. The group had spent a couple of weeks volunteering in the region before climbing Kyajo Ri at the end of October, which all helped to acclimatize them for the attempt on this mountain. But with a couple of members of the team feeling under the weather, and wind speeds picking up dramatically, only climber Elias de Andrés and a Sherpa named Phurba went to the summit. They managed to complete their ascent at 7:45 AM local time last Friday, before descending back to Base Camp. The squad has now left the mountain and are already volunteering in Lukla.

Elsewhere, we're now awaiting word from Lhotse on the progress of the South Korean team there. Last week the group had fixed the ropes up the mountain to Camp 3, and were preparing to make a summit push based on weather reports that indicated a window would be opening this week. They had expected to go up the mountain this past weekend, reaching Camp 4 on Saturday. The plan is to then work at installing ropes above that point with the expectation of summiting on Thursday (Nov. 12) of this week.

Unfortunately, there has been no update yet to indicate if things are going according to plan. The team has not updated its Facebook page, although that could simply be because they are in the midst of the planned summit push, and don't have the means of sharing their progress. Either way, since the deadline for their final attempt is nearing, we should know more later in the week.

Meanwhile, Bill Burke has shared an update from Burke-Khang, the unclimbed peak that was named in his honor. The team hoping to make the first ascent of the 6941 meter (22,775 ft) peak have now moved up to Camp 1 and are beginning their acclimazation rotations. At the moment, all seems to be going according to plan, and even the weather is cooperating. They'll need a few more days of preparation to allow their bodies to get use to the thinner air, but they should be preparing for a summit bid short as well.

Bill reports that the climb from ABC to C1 was a tough one, as they gained more than 2500 feet (762 meters), on a wall that was often at an angle of about 70º, and was covered in snow, rock, and ice. In other words, Burke-Khang may not be the tallest mountain in the region, but it isn't easy either. And considering they don't know what awaits for them as the move up, there are likely more unexpected challenges ahead.

Over on Annapurna IV, a team of Polish climbers is acclimatizing for a summit push on that mountain. They report good weather conditions after a fall that has been filled with lots of snow and high winds. The squad also reports that time is running out for a summit push, but they are now ready to go when an extended weather window opens. If that happens, they'll set out for what they hope is a fast ascent.

Finally, Conrad Anker has returned to Nepal to attempt an unclimbed route up the Northwest Face of Lunag-Ri with David Lama. The peak is 6895 meters (22,261 ft) in height, and offers some interesting challenges for the two very experienced climbers. They set out for Nepal this past weekend, and should be in Kathmandu now, and preparing for the start of their climb. It is a late season expedition to say the least, but as Conard tells Nat Geo Adventure in this interview, he once climbed Ama Dablam on Christmas Day, and the conditions were perfect. In other words, he's not too concerned about what the date the calendar says.

That's all for today. More updates to come soon as these final expeditions continue to unfold.

Men's Journal Talks Everest with Conrad Anker

No matter what season we're in, Everest is never too far from the public eye. Case in point, Men's Journal has posted an interview with Conrad Anker, discussing his personal experiences on the mountain, the current climate there, and his thoughts on whether or not we should climb the Big Hill at all. (Spoiler alert: He thinks we should!)

In the interview, Conrad says that after three successful summits of Everest, he himself is done with the mountain. He says that the amount of time, money, and resources required it too much for his approach to mountaineering these days. On the other hand, he says that anyone who has a desire to climb it, should definitely go and do so. For him, there is nothing more pure than a person challenging themselves against nature. It is a very different activity than the much more controlled and measured sports that we typically take part in.

Anker shares his thoughts on a number of other topics as well, including the role of Sherpas in climbing expeditions, ways of making the business of climbing more equitable for them, and how the government of Nepal can improve safety in the mountains. He's in favor of a more controlled permit system that limits the number of people on Everest, and he would require anyone attempting it to have at least two other expeditions to climb peaks in Nepal under their belt first.

Perhaps most interesting for those of us who follow mountaineering closely are Conrad's plans for the future. He says that he is hoping to climb Thalay Sager in the very near future, perhaps as early as next spring. The 6904 meter (22,651 ft) peak located in the Garhwal Himalaya of India was on his schedule for this fall, but promotional commitments for the film Meru kept him from actually pursuing that goal. He says that while he hasn't officially scheduled the expedition just yet, he is eager to go. His climbing partners for that trip? None other than Jimmy Chin and Alex Honnold.

Now that will be a fun expedition to follow.

Video: The ɹǝɥʇO Way with The North Face

Yesterday, The North Face relaunched its iconic line of Summit Series gear. In doing so, they streamlined the number of products, and refocused their purpose to be the best mountaineering apparel available today. But before they could start delivering the new Summit Series to customers they first had to test it in the Himalaya. Last February, a team consisting of Conrad Anker, Hilaree O'Neill, David Göttler, and Renan Ozturk traveled to Nepal to go in search of unclimbed peaks. This video takes us to those cold, windy, snow swept mountains with them as they not only test the new products, but push the boundaries of exploration too. You can almost feel the frigid temperatures around them as the stunning landscapes of the big mountains is revealed. At this point, I'm not sure how well the gear performs, but the video is spectacular.

Video: Ice Climbing in Montana with Conrad Anker and Kris Erickson

One of the more beautiful and thoughtful climbing videos I've seen in sometime, this short film takes us to the backcountry of Montana where Conrad Anker and Kris Erickson attempt to complete a new route called Nutcracker in the Hyalite Canyon region near Bozeman. The winter ascent follows a path that is mixed rock and ice along a beautiful line amongst stunning scenery. The 12-minute video follows the team as they climb, with some good insights and introspection thrown in along the way. Definitely a great piece of work, and well worth a bit of your time today.

Always Above Us from The North Face on Vimeo.

Video: Climbing the Shark Fin on Meru with Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk

This past weekend the film Meru finally made its debut in theaters across the U.S. It has not gone into wide release just yet however, so I'm sure that like me, most of you haven't seen it just yet. This video  serves as an introduction to the film, giving you an understanding not just of what it is about, but what climbers Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk accomplished on their 2008 ascent of the Shark Fin on Mt. Meru. This was one of the boldest and most dangerous climbs in recent history, and it is great that their story is finally being told. Check out the video below to get you even more excited for seeing the documentary in the theater.

Climbing the Shark’s Fin from The New York Times - Video on Vimeo.

Video: Tour Conrad, Jimmy, and Renan's "Tenthouse" Suite from the Mountaineering Film Meru

Yesterday I mentioned that the mountaineering film Meru is due to be released in theaters this week. Today, National Geographic brings us this fantastic clip that takes us up 20,000 feet (6096 meters) to the "Tenthouse" suite, which is of course the wall-tent that the three climbers – Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk – stayed in while ascending the Shark Fin on Mt. Meru. Jimmy gives viewers a quick tour of their home, which is held in place by a few ropes, over a 4000 foot (1219 meter) drop. If you've ever wondered what it is like to live on the side of a mountain for days at a time, this clip will certainly provide some insights.

The commute to the suite is a tough one, but the views are certainly spectacular.

Meru Film Opens This Week

Yesterday I shared the second trailer for the upcoming Everest film, which judging from the traffic on that post there is a great deal of interest amongst reader. But that isn't the only mountaineer movie that we'll be able to catch in theaters over the next few weeks, as Meru is also releasing to a more limited number of screens starting this week.

This documentary follows the 2008 expedition to Mount Meru by Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk to attempt to climb the Shark Fin, a 4000-foot (1219 meter) big wall in the Indian Himalaya. The trio of climbers faced difficult conditions, avalanches, harsh weather, and some of the most challenging pitches found anywhere on the planet on their way up the 21,000-foot (6400 meter) peak. Along the way they were pushed to their absolute limits as they gave into their obsession for reaching the summit.

For my money, Meru is the most important mountaineering film we'll see of the two new releases. It is raw and real, with the actual climbers telling the story. Everest on the other hand is a big Hollywood production that – judging from the trailer – is filled with melodramatic dialog. Don't get me wrong, the climbing scenes look well done for this type of movie, but Meru is using actual footage from the real expedition, and the scenes haven't been recreated for the purpose of telling the story.

The documentary will go into limited release starting this Friday, and will slowly make its way into other theaters in the weeks ahead. You can check to see where it will be playing in your area by clicking here. In my case, it arrives in my town on Sept. 4, two days after a depart for the South Pacific for my honeymoon. That means it may not be still playing here when I get back home, but I am eager to see it none the less.

For an idea of what Meru is all about, check out the trailer below. It does a fine job of showing us what to expect. Can't wait to see it at some point.