Showing posts with label Eric Larsen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eric Larsen. Show all posts

Melting: Last Race to the Pole

On Wednesday of this week Animal Planet will air an amazing documentary that will certainly be of interest to regular readers of The Adventure Blog. The show, which is entitled Melting: Last Race to the Pole, follows Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters on their incredibly difficult expedition to the North Pole, which we followed very closely back in 2014. The duo spent weeks out on the frozen pack ice as they struggled to travel nearly 500 miles from Cape Discovery, Canada to 90ºN, the Geographic North Pole.

The documentary is both an ode to their amazing effort in the Arctic, as well as a discussion point for climate change. As our planet has warmed, the trek to the North Pole has become increasingly more difficult to complete. So much so, that there are many who feel that Eric and Ryan's journey could be the last successful full-distance North Pole expedition to be completed by man – something that I tend to believe as well.

The two-hour film shows the struggles that the two men faced as they lugged 320-pound (145 kg) sleds filled with gear and supplies for their unassisted, unsupported trek to the Pole. The terrain was incredibly difficult, the weather was wild and unpredictable, and the conditions were constantly dangerous. And to add to the challenge, the two explorers were also racing the clock as they hoped to set a new record on their way to the top of the world. If you have been reading this blog for a few years, you probably already know if they made it or not. But if you'll be watching the television show completely unaware of the story, I won't spoil it for you.

You can also get a sneak peek of the show in the video below, which gives you just a hint of what it was like to be out on the ice for days on end. This will certainly be an interesting documentary to watch unfold, and I hope everyone gets the chance to see it.

Himalaya Fall 2015: Turned Back on Makalu, Moving Up on Everest

The fall climbing season continues to unfold in the Himalaya where teams have been pressing ahead with their expeditions despite the challenging weather. While some are stuck in Base Camp at the moment, others are on the move and hoping to make progress over the next few days.

We'll start today's update on Makalu where the mountain has turned back a summit bid from the Alpenglow squad. According to the team's most recent dispatch, the team was in Camp 3 at 7467 meters (24,500 ft) after discovering waist deep snow, white conditions, and fresh avalanche activity above that point. The five member group was hoping to top out and make a ski descent of the mountain, but they weren't even able to reach Camp 4. They have since descended and are waiting for a better weather window before trying again.

Meanwhile, over on Everest, solo Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki has updated his blog to share his movements. While no details are shared, it does appear that he'll climb up from Camp 2 to Camp 3 today, putting him at 7000 meters (22,965 ft). Whether or not he feels acclimatized enough to move up to C4 remains to be seen, but if he does, we could be looking at a summit attempt this weekend, weather permitting of course.

The Adventure Consultants have checked in from Manaslu, where the team is now in BC and resting for their upcoming summit bids. They expect to start heading up the mountain on Saturday which would put them in position to top out early next week.

The Himex team appears to be a bit ahead of that schedule. They plan on summiting on Saturday instead. This tells us that the weather must be stable on Manaslu at the moment, with a wide weather window open. In Base Camp, conditions have been less than ideal, but the forecast says things are better up top. So, they'll set out for the summit and hope for the best.

The Altitude Junkies are on the same schedule, and will be joining in on the fun, as their Sherpas are working closely with Himex and the Mountain Experience to get fixed ropes into place. According to their update, the weather is far from settled, and the teams are taking a bit of a gamble that things will work out. But if the gamble pays off, they'll all summit this weekend.

Finally, Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters have returned to Kathmandu after making the first ascent of the 6000 meter Jabo Ri. The duo are preparing to head home now after their successful expedition, but couldn't leave town without first checking in with Ms. Elizabeth Hawley to share the details of their expedition. Their climb was proof that there is plenty still to do in the big mountains, as there are literally dozens of unclimbed peaks waiting to be explored.

That's it for today. I'll be keeping a close eye on summit bids over the next few days. Hopefully we'll have news of success very soon.

Himalaya Fall 2015: Bad Weather Impacting Expedition Schedules

It has been a relatively slow start to the fall climbing season in Nepal, in no small part due to the poor weather that teams have experienced thus far. Last week, heavy rain and snow fell around Everest and Manaslu, making it tough to make any progress at all. In fact, it has been reported that over two feet of snow fell in Everest Base Camp alone, which has had an impact on how things are unfolding there. Still, the Ice Doctors have completed a route through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall, and are now working on finishing the route to Camp 1 as the season begins to unfold at long last.

As you may recall, there is just one expedition to Everest this fall, and it is being led by Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki. The squad arrived in BC later than expected, but has since tried to make the best of the situation. Kuriki did an acclimatization climb of nearby Lobuche Peak in preparation for his Everest summit attempt, and is now prepared to begin a solo push to the top. If a weather window opens as expected this week, he'll climb up to Camp 2 tomorrow and launch his summit bid from there.

Over on Manaslu, the teams are seeing their acclimatization rotations delayed due to the weather as well. The Adventure Consultants report more rain and snow yesterday and today, but hope for clear skies tomorrow to allow them to start back up the mountain. The Summit Climb and Himex teams are facing a similar challenge, as are numerous others. Manaslu is a busy peak this fall, with more than 100 climbers currently hoping to summit.

Over on Makalu, the Alpenglow squad moved up the mountain yesterday as they continue their acclimatization process. They're hoping to spend a few nights above 25,000 feet (7620 meters) before return to Base Camp. From there, they'll start watching the weather too with the hopes of pushing to the top. They plan to make a ski descent of that mountain as well.

Explorer Eric Larsen is in Nepal this fall, where he is attempting to climb several unclimbed peaks with partner Ryan Waters. They are reporting similar news on their attempt to summit Jabo Ri. So far, they've spent an inordinate amount of time in their tent waiting out storms that include high winds, and plenty of rain and snow as well. Over the past two days, the two men have launched two separate bids to move up the peak, but both were turned back due to dangerous conditions. They are currently back in BC, where they are resting and regaining their strength for another go.

In other news, it appears that the rebound for the economy in Nepal may be a slow one. It was hoped that climbers and trekkers would return in large numbers to help jumpstart the rebuilding process following the deadly earthquake that had occurred back in April. But so far only about 200 permits have been issued to climbers, which is a far cry from the 1000 that were issued last year. Hopefully more travelers are preparing to visit the country later in the fall as the trekking season really gets underway, but at the moment it looks like it could be an even longer road to recovery than first anticipated.

That's all for now. More news from the big mountains soon.

Himalaya Fall 2015: More Teams Heading into the Mountains, China Rejects Climbing Applications

Yesterday we noted that the the fall climbing season was ramping up nicely in the Himalaya with teams now starting to arrive in Kathmandu, and some already making their way out to their respective base camps. While the monsoon rains are still subsiding there, and autumn has yet to officially arrive, it appears like it will be a relatively active season in the mountains. This bodes well for the return of travelers to Nepal, which is in dire need of a boost to its economy following the massive earthquake back on April 25.

The Nepalese won't be competing with their counterparts in Tibet for tourism dollars this fall, as China has rejected all applications for permits to climb there. The official party line is that Chinese officials fear for the safety of climbers following the earthquake and that they want to take time to inspect the mountains before allowing teams to return. But, the Chinese president is also planning to visit Tibet in September, so there may be political reasons as to why the permits have been denied.

The closure of the Tibetan peaks has caused a few of the commercial teams to change their plans. Cho Oyu and Shishapangma are two popular peaks during the fall season, but with their closure climbers are heading elsewhere – namely Makalu and Manaslu.

ExWeb posted an update today that has provided us with more information on climbing teams in the Himalaya this fall. They report that a French squad is currently en route to Annapurna where they hope to attempt a new route along that mountain's notorious South Face. The team will first acclimatize to the altitude, than split into two groups. One of those groups will go up the new route in alpine style along the Japanese Spur, while the other will attempt to summit along the normal route.

Yesterday we noted that Adrian Ballinger of Alpenglow Expeditions would be attempting a full ski descent of Makalu. It turns out that is only part of the story, and he isn't alone. The expedition was one that was denied a permit on Cho Oyu, so they switched locations to make the best of the situation. Adrian is already in Base Camp on that mountain, and is joined by such luminary ski-mountaineers as Emily Harrington, Hilaree O'neill, Kit Deslauriers and Jim Morrison. That should be a fun expedition to follow in the days ahead for sure.

The plan isn't to just climb and ski the mountain however, as the Alpenglow team is also looking to have a positive impact on the communities in Nepal as well. Not only will they be putting money back into the economy there by hiring Sherpas, porters, and local guides, but the team hopes to raise as much as $20,000 to help with recovery efforts as well. On top of that, Aspect Solar has donated 30 full solar energy kits to help 30 different villages improve their energy infrastructure as well. The team will be helping to install those systems while in Nepal too.

Finally, Eric Larsen's climbing team has left the road and started their trek into Rolwling. The monsoon caused some unexpected mudslides, preventing them from driving to the trailhead, but that just meant they transitioned to foot a bit sooner than expected. The team will be focusing on some newly opened unclimbed peaks in the days ahead, but for now they are just happy to making progress towards BC.

Eric and his team are heading into a very remote area. In his latest dispatch he indicated that even the trail they are using is mostly overgrown since so few people actually come this way. The squad won't be focused on an 8000 meter mountain, but will instead look to go where no other climbers have gone.

That's all for today. More updates will come soon as the teams begin to get settled.

Outside Explores The Goofiest Gear to Go Mainstream

Outside magazine has put together a fun little online story in which they asked four extreme athletes and adventurers what was the goofiest piece of gear they first scoffed at, but it eventually went mainstream. The answers are all pretty surprising, and are pieces of equipment that many of us probably either own, or have used at some point.

The panelists for this article include ultrarunner Mike Foote, pro snowboarder Hana Beaman, expedition kayaker Ben Marr, and polar explorer Eric Larsen. Each shares tales of how they came across some piece of gear that the completely under estimated, only to later find that that product became huge, or that they were even using it themselves. Take for example Larsen, who is quoted in the story as saying that he thought "the Buff was silly. I mean really silly." He is pictured here on one of his numerous expeditions to the cold places of our planet. Around his neck is a Buff.

The other choices for odd gear that these adventurers came back on include bear spray, which Foote thought was unnecessary when he moved to Missoula, Montana from Ohio. But after a few encounters with the ursine population near his home, he quickly changed his tune. For his part, Marr felt that nose plugs were unsightly and uncomfortable, but later discovered that they helped prevent sinus infections. Now, as he paddles places like the Congo River and the Salween in China, he knows that the plugs are helping him to stay healthy.

Perhaps the biggest underestimation of the entire article comes from Beaman however. She had the opportunity to use a GoPro camera before they were released to the general public, and didn't quite understand why anyone would want to wear one. Of course, we all know that the company is now huge, and just about everyone is carries the rugged little cameras with them everywhere. That includes Beaman herself, who says she never goes anywhere without a GoPro now.

Do you have a piece of gear that you thought was odd when you first saw it, but it eventually it caught on? For me, I'd have to say it was probably the stand-up paddleboard. While I wouldn't say that I necessarily thought it was all that odd, I just never would have predicted that the sport would blow-up in the way that it has either. The first time I went to Outdoor Retailer, there were a few SUP booths tucked away in an out of the way section of the show. A year later, the category was booming, and it had taken over a sizable section of the exhibit hall. That presence remains quite large now.

Post a comment about what gear items surprised you. I'd love to hear your stories.

Video: Mountain Biking with Eric Larsen

After spending 53 days this past spring traveling to the North Pole on foot, I'd say polar explorer Eric Larsen has earned a little down time. In this video, he takes advantage of some time off to go mountain biking in Colorado near Crested Butte, a spectacular place to hit the trail if there ever was one. The ride looks like a fun one, with enough speed to provide some adrenaline, without becoming overly technical on the descent. Just what you need some days when all you want to do is get on your bike and go. Lovely.