Showing posts with label Desert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Desert. Show all posts

Belgian Explorer wins European Adventurer of the Year

Last week, the award for European Adventurer of the Year was announced and I'm happy to say it went to someone whose expeditions we have covered many times here at The Adventure Blog. The award, which was handed out at the ISPO sports show in Munich, was given to our friend Louis-Philippe Loncke for his solo treks across some of the most challenging deserts in the world.

The award has been given out every year since 2009, and past winners have included the likes of mountaineer Simone Moro, Amazon walker Ed Stafford, high-altitude skydiver Felix Baumgartner, and mountain runner Kilian Jornet, amongst others. The awards is given to "a person for outstanding performance in the concept of adventure. The purpose of this award is to clarify the adventure as a phenomenon and highlight the human desire and motivation to implement and achieve their dreams."

Loncke embodied this concept by taking on his Three Deserts Challenge, which involved trekking solo and unassisted across the Simpson Desert in Australia, Death Valley in the U.S., and the Salt Flats of Bolivia. To do this, he carries an extremely heavy pack filled with all of the water and supplies that he needs to trek for days in environments that are hostile to life. After years of perfecting his strategies for surviving in these desert places, he has now been able to accomplish multiple long distance treks that have never been done before.

According to a press release announcing the awards, Lou-Phi has plenty of plans on where to go next. He is reportedly contemplating solo crossings of the Namib and Atacama Deserts, as well as trekking across Iceland and Antarctica too.

Congrats to Louis-Philippe on receiving this honor. It is well deserved my friend.

Belgian Adventurer to Attempt Simpson Desert Crossing in Australia

Belgian adventurer Louis-Philippe Loncke is about to set out on another expedition across Australia's Simpson Desert. Back in 2008, he mad a similar journey spending 36 days traversing the "Dead Heart" of the continent solo and unsupported. This time out, he hopes to repeat his success, although he is taking a completely different approach.

Stretching out for more than 176,000 sq. km. (68,000 sq. miles), the Simpson Desert covers parts of Australia's Northern Territory, Queensland, and South Australian states. Marked by a dry, sandy red plain and towering dunes, it is one of the most forbidding places on the planet, and home to the longest parallel sand dunes on Earth.

When he completed his crossing back in 2008, Loncke pulled a specially built cart that carried his gear and supplies, including water, behind him the entire way. This time out, he'll leave the cart behind and carry all of his equipment in his backpack instead, something he did while crossing Death Valley last year. His route will be a bit different this time out as well, as he'll travel west to east starting from Old Andado station in the Northern Territory and ending at Poeppel Corner via the geographic center of the desert itself. All told, he expect the expedition to cover about 280 km (174 miles).

The challenges that Loncke faces on this journey are numerous. The desert is extremely hot and dry, so dehydration, heat stroke, and exhaustion are real possibilities. Since he's carrying all of his supplies and gear with him on his back, equipment failure is a serious concern too, as is the fear of potential injuries. On top of that, he'll have to contend with snakes, dingos, and wild camels too, not to mention a host of annoying biting insects. In other words, this won't be a walk in the park, but a seriously difficult expedition through an unforgiving environment.

Loncke says that if he crosses the desert successfully, and still has enough supplies to continue on, he plans to push another 135 km (84 miles) past his end point to the town of Birdville instead. That would bring the entire journey up to 415 km (258 miles), although he'll have to wait to see how he feels physically before making that decision.

Loncke departed for Australia from Belgium yesterday and will spend a few days preparing for the journey before setting out. He should get underway next week, and have quite an adventure in the desert. Stay tuned for updates on his progress.

Good luck Lou-Phi!

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.

The Last Great March Will Take Explorers Across Simpson Desert and to the North Pole

As the 2016 Arctic exploration season starts to wind down, we now get word of yet another attempt to ski the full distance to the North Pole. Adventurers Sebastian Copeland and Mark George are planning on making that journey in 2017 as part of what they call The Last Great March, a project that also includes a self-supported journey across Australia's Simpson Desert as well.

The two men – who has extensive exploration and adventure credits on their resume – first plan to set out from Ellesmere Island in Canada next February in an attempt to ski 775 km (481 miles) to the Geographic North Pole at 90ºN. They'll travel on skis over the ice, dragging their sleds filled with gear and equipment behind them as they go, with the hope of finishing the journey in under 49 days. Along the way, they'll face unpredictable weather, ice rubble fields, large open leads of water, and possibly even polar bears. If they can actually pull it off, they'll be the first team to complete the full journey to the North Pole since 2014, and quite possibly the last to do so.

But the expedition to the North Pole is only one phase of the Last Great March project. Sebastian and Mark are also planning of trekking for 520 km (323 miles) across the Simpson Desert, the driest place on the Australian continent. To do so, they'll need to pull specially built carts carrying 400 pounds (181 kg) of gear and equipment, much of which will consist of the water they'll need to survive in this inhospitable place. While out in the desert they'll face intense heat, dehydration, massive sand dunes, and a variety of poisonous snakes.

The goal of The Last Great March is to not only push the boundaries of human endurance in remote and difficult settings but also to record the impact of climate change on these places. It will be interesting to see how these expeditions play out, particularly in the Arctic. We had one team announce a full-distance expedition to the North Pole this year, and that didn't end so well. Will this team have more success next year? We'll have to wait to see.

Video: African Desert in Timelapse Courtesy of Nat Geo

I share timelapse videos with regularity here on The Adventure Blog, but it isn't very often that we get one from National Geographic. In this case, our friends over at Nat Geo take us into the heart of Namibia, where we get an incredible look of the beautiful desert there. The short clip was created by filmmaker Matthew Hood, who seamlessly blends daytime shots into the night with stunning starscapes rising behind untouched wilderness.