Showing posts with label Mont Blanc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mont Blanc. Show all posts

Video: Enduring the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Trail Run

The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc is considered one of the toughest trail running events in the entire world, drawing hundreds of competitors from across the globe on an annual basis. In this fantastic short documentary we get an inside look at that race courtesy of our friends at Columbia Sportswear and Teton Gravity Research. As with most long-distance endurance events, the race is a blend of agony and joy, with runners pushing themselves to their absolute physical limits over the course of the 103-mile (165 km) route. Along the way they pass through three different countries – France, Italy and Switzerland – as they take on some of the toughest and most beautiful terrain the Europe has to offer. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

Video: Free Skiing Through A Mountain Glacier

It takes a lot to get met o post a ski video, mostly because there are a ton of them out there, they often do very little to distinguish themselves from one another. But, this one is special, so it was definitely worth sharing. It features pro skier Sam Favret as he free skis through the legendary Mer de Glace in the Mont-Blanc region of France. At a bit over three minutes in length, it is pure ski porn, with amazing visuals and some of the best skiing I've seen in a clip in a long time. Really an amazing way to take advantage of the terrain and create something special.

Ice Call - Sam Favret / Backyards Project from PVS COMPANY on Vimeo.

Climb to the Summit of Mont Blanc with Google Street View

Over the years Google Street View has continued to expand, taking us from the familiar avenues of our hometowns to such iconic locations as Machu Picchu in Peru, Petra in Jordan, and even the Khumbu in Nepal. Now, you can add one more location to that list, as earlier this week the tech giant brought one of Europe's most famous mountains online when they added Mont Blanc to their library of virtual destinations.

To capture these amazing places in full 360º images, Google uses a special backpack called the Street View Trekker. This special pack comes equipped with a device that includes 15 different cameras, each snapping images at the same time. Once the data is collected, software is used to stitch the data back together, creating a seamless experience of the various locations that the Trekker records.

In order to capture Mont Blanc in all of its glory, Google decided to enlist some specialists to help them out. They brought in mountain athletes Kilian Jornet, Ueli Steck, and Candide Thovex – amongst others – to get a streamlined version of the Trekker to the summit. The results are nothing short of spectacular.

The video below gives you a bit of insight into the project that brought Mont Blanc online. To explore it for yourself in Street View, simply click here.

Video: Running the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc with Luís Alberto Hernando

The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc is widely recognized as one of the toughest ultra-marathons in the world. Circling the iconic mountain from which it derives its name, it challenges runners to cover more than 166 km (103 miles), passing through three different countries in the process. This year, Spanish endurance athlete Luís Alberto Hernando set out to run the UTMB for the first time. It would be his first race of that distance, and it would end up testing him in new ways. This short documentary takes us out on the trail with Luís as he runs through the Alps, learning more about himself and what he is capable of along the way. Most of us will never run these kinds of distances, but there are still good things to be learned here.

Nuevos Pasos - Historias en los senderos from Outdoor Live on Vimeo.

Video: 33,000 Feet Above Mont Blanc

The Soul Flyers are a team of skydivers, BASE jumpers, and wingsuit pilots who make precision jumps all over the world. In the case of this video, three members of the squad jumped out of a plane at 33,000 feet (10058 meters) over Mont Blanc in Europe. Their descent was captured on GoPro cameras, with some beautiful scenery of both the sky, and the mountains below, making an appearance throughout the clip. This is high altitude sky diving over an iconic mountain, and thanks to their tiny action cameras, we get to go along for the ride.

Video: ASICS "Outrun the Sun" Trail Running Challenge

Last summer, ASICS hosted an incredible tail running event that challenged two teams of endurance athletes to "outrun the sun" around Mont Blanc in Europe. The relay race started and ended in Chamonix, France but crossed through Italy and Switzerland along the way as well. Covering a total distance of 152 km (94.4 miles), the route took runners through some of the most mountainous terrain in the region, forcing them to climb a combined 8450 meters (27,723 ft) in the process. The event was held on June 21, the longest day of the year. With sunrise taking place at 5:44 AM and sunset occurring at 8:48 PM, they had roughly 14.5 hours to run the route while the sun was still overhead.

The video below, which comes our way courtesy of EpicTV, gives us a glimpse at this challenge. I won't spoil the final results, but lets just say it was a tough run with some impressive results.

Video: Mountain Biking Mont Blanc Backcountry Singletrack

There is no question that the trails on, and around, Mont Blanc offer up some great opportunities for outdoor athletes. In this video, courtesy of our friends at EpicTV, two mountain bikers explore the fantastic singletrack that can be found there, and as you can probably imagine, the landscapes are beautiful. This is an entirely different kind of riding than the Red Bull Rampage video I shared earlier, and much more suited to they way I like to hit the trail.

Video: An Alps Travelogue to Mont Blanc

Shot in the Alps near Chamonix, France this past July, this video follows a trio of climbers as they head to Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Western Europe. It is a wonderful three-and-a-half minute film of the journey to the summit, complete with mountain lodges, glacial traverses, and spectacular views.

Alps Travelogue - Mont Blanc from Bruno Aretio on Vimeo.

Peak to Peak 2014 Expedition a Success!

Back in August, I posted a story about the Peak to Peak 2014 Expedition, an attempt by adventurers Grant "Axe" Rawlinson and Alan Silva to climb the highest mountains in the U.K. and France, while traveling between those two peaks completely under human power. I'm happy to report that they were successful in their endeavor, and had a heck of an adventure along the way.

The two men began the expedition by first climbing Ben Nevis, a 1344 meter (4409 ft) mountain located in Lochaber region of the Scottish Highlands. If you know anything about Ben Nevis, you probably know that there is a popular tourist trail that leads to the top. But Grant and Alan weren't planning on taking that route. Instead, they wanted to go off the beaten path, and scale the North Face of the mountain, which actually requires some technical rock climbing to complete. Unfortunately, a late start didn't allow them the time to go that intended climb however, so they elected on an alternate route known as the CMD arete. This wasn't as technical, but did involve quite a bit of rock scrambling instead.

After successfully reaching the highest point in the U.K., the two men climbed aboard their bikes the following day, and started to ride south. They peddled their way through the Scottish Highlands, past Glencoe Valley, into Glasgow, and eventually across the border into England itself. Their cycling journey continued through the Yorkshire Dales, in and out of quaint little English villages, and includes a fair share of stops at popular pubs along the way.

Eventually, the duo arrived in London, where the next phase of the journey would begin. They had to face the daunting task of crossing the English Channel, which they did by kayak, although there was a hitch. French regulations prohibit paddling across the channel, to Grant and Alan completed most of the journey under their own power, then boarded a support ship to take them across a French shipping channel so that they would be compliant with the rules and regulations. This was a 5-6 mile stretch of water, which prohibited them from making the entire journey under their own power. While it is okay to swim across the English Channel, the French don't want any unseemly paddlers coming to their shores.

Once safely in France, they returned to their bikes and started their ride towards the Alps, and Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe. It took them 8 days to do so, following back country roads, as they were not allowed to cycle on the main highways. They once again enjoyed scenic, pastoral, countryside, along with inviting French villages, good food, and lovely places to stay.

By the time they arrived in Chamonix, and were preparing for their final challenge – a summit of Mont Blanc – the boys were starting to run out of time. They had set aside just 24 days for the entire expedition, and they had been on the road for more than 18 already. They needed good weather, and some luck on their side, if they hoped to complete the Peak to Peak adventure on schedule.

Climbing the mountain would take a couple of days, as they made the ascent in traditional Alps fashion, going hut-to-hut, until they could launch a final push to the top early one morning. A successful summit came later in the day, and Grant and Alan would eventually descend back to Chamonix with their mission accomplished.

I have given you just a brief overview of the journey. If you really want to hear what it was all about, you should read the full account that Grant posted to his website. It contains far more details and good information for anyone who would like to make a similar expedition in the future.

Congratulations to Axe and Alan on competing this adventure. It is a good example of what is possible when you have just a few weeks vacation to play with, but want to do something adventurous, without requiring a lot of money. This is definitely an inspiration to adventurers everywhere.

Video: Precision Wingsuit Flying on the Mont Blanc Massif

Ready for a little boost of adrenaline? Then check out the video below which comes our way courtesy of our friends over at EpicTV. It features wingsuit pilot Vincent Descols as he puts on an impressive display of precision flying over the Le Catogne, a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in France. You'll marvel at how this daredevil zips down the slopes, dangerously close to the ground.

The North Face Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc Sees Repeat Winners

This past weekend, one of the toughest and most demanding foot races in the world took place around Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Western Europe. That's where the 2014 North Face Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc was run, with more than 2000 competitors from across the globe testing their strength, endurance and determination on a course that is known for its difficult mountain trails, high altitude passes, and completely unpredictable weather.

This year, the 168 km (104 mile) race was saw two familiar faces atop the podium as both the mens and womens champions are past winners. French runner Francois D'Haene, who won in 2012, set a new course record on his way to victory, finishing the race in 20 hours, 11 minutes, 40 seconds. American Rory Bosio was the fastest woman on the course, crossing the finish line in 23 hours, 23 minutes, and 20 seconds. Francois finished approximately 50 minutes ahead of the next closes competitor, while Bosio was about 90 minutes in front of the second place woman.

Competitors in this year's race had to deal with wet, muddy conditions, which made the already difficult course even more challenging. Runners on the UTMB must circumnavigate Mont Blanc, starting and ending in Chamonix, France, but passing through both Italy and Switzerland along the route. They are also required to be self-supported out on the course, as they carry food and water with them on the run, as well as emergency supplies should they run into trouble out on the trail. In year's past, bad weather has halted the race at times, or stranded some of the runners in the mountains.

For most of the racers, it is just about finishing the UTMB, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. The race has a 46-hour cut-off time, and many of the athletes don't make it back to Chamonix before that point, while others simply DNF out on the course. But for those who do finish, it is a badge of honor to have completed one of the most prestigious trail running events in the entire world. Congratulations to all of those finishers, and especially to D'Haene and Bosio.