Showing posts with label Patagonia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patagonia. Show all posts

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: Mountain Biking Patagonia

Take a beautiful journey through the wilds of Patagonia in this great video. We'll head out with pro rider Matt Hunter and friends as the explore this incredible setting from the seat of their Specialized Bikes. What they find, is a place unlike any other, with some unbelievable trails to ride. Having just gotten a glimpse of this place for myself, I can't think of a better way to see this part of the world.

Popular Mechanics Shares the 10 Greatest Wildernesses in the World

Looking to truly get away for awhile? Than perhaps Popular Mechanics can help. The site has published an interesting article that names the 10 greatest wildernesses on the planet, giving us some suggestions on where to go on our next adventure to places that few other people ever get to see.

Some of the destination on the list are classic adventure spots. For instance, both Patagonia and Antarctica make the cut for obvious reasons. Other places on the PM top ten aren't quite so familiar however, which makes them all the more intriguing. For instance, Bouvet Island in the Atlantic Ocean is considered the most remote island in the world, while Annamite Range of mountains in Vietnam are lauded for their inaccessibility as well. Some of the places on the list are a bit too remote however, as I doubt too many of us will ever see the Mariana Trench for instance.

Still, this is a fun list to look at and dream about. The majority of the destinations are certainly within the reach of most of us, given some time, planning, and money. In fact, I've actually been to a few of the places on this list already, and I have no doubt that more than a few of you have been as well. But if you're looking for some ideas on where to go on your next adventure, this isn't a bad place to start.

Read the entire story here.

Video: Into Patagonia with Endurance Runner Dakota Jones

As most of you know, Patagonia is one massive, sweeping, and spectacular wilderness. It covers more than a million square kilometers of space, and yet is home to less than 2 million people. Recently, American mountain runner Dakota Jones visited that place in an effort to explore it for himself and meet a few of those people along the way. This video takes us with him as he goes into Patagonia and discovers all of the wonders that can be found there. This is an amazing short documentary that you should sit back and enjoy. It's well worth the watch.

Video: Walking the Roads of Argentina

In 2016, a pair of travelers visited Argentina, exploring both the Salta Region in the north, and Patagonia in the south. Along the way, they shot some very dramatic video footage, which has now been assembled into this beautiful clip which not only reveals the roads of Argentina, but plenty of other breathtaking images of landscapes and people too. This well crafted short film is a joy to watch, and will get your wanderlust going as well.

ROADS OF ARGENTINA from Guillaume JUIN on Vimeo.

Spanish Climber to Attempt Repeat of Fitz Roy Crossing Solo

Back in February of 2014, climbers Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold completed what many thought was an impossible climb by linking up Cerro Fitz Roy and its surrounding peaks in southern Patagonia. The route was dubbed the "Fitz Traverse" at is involves climbing Aguja Guillaumet, Aguja Mermoz, Cerro Fitz Roy, Aguja Poincenot, Aguja Rafael Juarez, Aguja Saint-Exupery and Aguja de l'S, all in one go. This once-Holy Grail of rock climbing hasn't been repeated since, but a Spanish climber is about to give it a go.

Last week, Pedro Cifuentes set out for Patagonia, where he hopes to make the same climb as Caldwell and Honnold in solo fashion. Going in alpine style, and completely alone, Cifuentes estimates it will take him about 40-50 days to finish the traverse, which is considerably longer than his predecessors, who finished it in just 5 days. But, having a partner makes a huge difference, and the Spaniard admits he isn't up to climbing at the same level of speed that the two Americans can achieve. Instead, he'll look to be self-sufficient and travel in alpine style, carrying a 90kg (198 pound) pack with him filled with his supplies, food, and gear.

In total, the distance he'll travel will be a mere 5 km (3.1 miles), but it will also involve 4000 meters (13,123 ft) of rough vertical climbing to overcome. That climbing is where Cifuentes will slow down, as doing every pitch by himself will be time consuming and demanding.

This won't be Pedro's first go around with a significant rock climbing challenge. In 2013 he become the first person to solo all three Towers of Paine in succession in Patagonia as well. That expedition took 29 days to wrap up. Later that year, he also attempted a solo climb on Nameless Tower in Pakistan, but was forced to retreat due to incredibly poor conditions.

Cifuentes admits that his solo attempt on the Fitz Traverse is a long-shot, but he enjoys the challenge and hopes that his skill, planning, and determination will help get him through. He says, "I'm not looking for summits, but for experiences. It is not my first expedition, nor will it be the last. I do it for me, to enjoy, for the experiences, for what you see, for what you learn .... it is very difficult to convey what it means to face alone an escalation like this ... every second is very intense, thousands spend Of things, you're out of the world ... The top is fine ... but it's not what I'm looking for. If so, there are easier ways to get it. "

Pedro is on his way to the start of the climb now and should get started shortly. Hopefully he'll reach his goals in the mountains of Patagonia, but if not, perhaps he'll at least get the experiences he's looking for.

Video: Living Alone at the End of the World

This video brings us the unique story of Heraldo Riel, a gaucho who has lived alone in Chile's Patagonia region for more than 70 years. He has a simple life, but one that is rewarding in its own way. Surrounded by one of the last great wild places on the planet, he has carved out an existence that is connected to nature in some unique and wonderful ways. This is a beautiful video that you shouldn't miss.

The Last Colonizer | DJI World from Brent Foster on Vimeo.

Video: Scenes From Patagonia

We all know that Patagonia is one of the most spectacularly beautiful places in the entire world. But, this video remind us of that by taking us back to that iconic destination to share some wonderful scenes of life and landscapes of southern Chile and Argentina. Truly one of the great wilderness destinations on the planet.

Moments from Patagonia from Ivana Varesko on Vimeo.

Video: A Timelapse Journey Through Patagonia

Take a four-minute journey through one of the most spectacularly beautiful places on Earth courtesy of this clip. It takes us to southern Chile and Argentina to wander the amazing landscapes of Patagonia. The timelapse images found here are mesmerizing, showing some remote, wild places that will take your breath away. We don't have to tell you that Patagonia is yet another destination that you should have on your bucket list. Watch this video and you'll completely understand why.

A Journey Through Patagonia from Amanda Magri on Vimeo.

Nat Geo has 10 Trips for Spring 2016 We Shouldn't Miss

Now that spring is officially here, it is time to head outside, enjoy the warm weather, and start thinking about some adventurous escapes. Thankfully, National Geographic is here to help, as the writers at Nat Geo Travel have compiled 10 great trips for the spring.

As usual with any list like this one, NG provides plenty of information on not just where to go, but when and why as well. Each entry in the list includes suggestions on where to stay, what to eat, and the things you absolutely should not miss while you're there. These helpful tidbits will make it easier in planning your escape, and give you an idea of what to expect when you arrive.

So where exactly should we be headed this spring? I won't give away the entire list, but I will share a couple of suggestions from the National Geographic staff. They include Sicily, Italy for the UNESCO World Heritage sites; the Falkland Islands for the amazing wildlife; and San Sebastián, Spain for the excellent food. They also give a nod to Great Basin National Park in Nevada, and the Futaleufú River in Patagonia, Chile for some of the world's best white water rafting.

One of the best parts about the arrival of spring is that it represents new possibilities for the year ahead. These suggestions from National Geographic are just that – new possibilities for travel. There are plenty of other great places to choose from as well, and hopefully you are already thinking about where you would like to go next. I know I am!

Video: Beautiful, Magical Patagonia

I never get tired of seeing photos and video from Patagonia. Is there are more beautiful place on Earth? This three-and-a-half minute clip takes us to the southernmost reaches of Chile and Argentina to explore the landscapes found there. As you'll see, they are nothing short of spectacular.

Patagonica from Dapp on Vimeo.

Patagonia Expedition Race Now Underway in Chile

The legendary Patagonia Expedition Race returned from a three-year hiatus yesterday when 18 coed teams of four embarked on what promises to be one of the most challenging adventure races of their lives. Over the course of the next ten days, the competitors will run, pedal, climb, and paddle their way across more than 600 km (372 miles) of the most spectacularly beautiful, and incredibly grueling, terrain on the planet.

Anyone who follows adventure racing has no doubt heard about the Patagonia Expedition Race. For years it set the standard for the sport, offering some of the most physically demanding courses ever. The famously bad Patagonia weather often played a role, with cold conditions, heavy rains, rough seas, and high winds often impacting the outcome of the event. Sadly, the race was off the schedule for the past two years, but has now returned bigger, and badder, than ever.

The teams arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile over the weekend where they went through mandatory gear and skills checks prior to the start of the race yesterday. As usual with an adventure race like this one, the competitors received their route information 24 hours before the start of the event, allowing them to plot their navigation points ahead of time. After the gun went off signifying the start of the race yesterday, they'll now spend somewhere between 6-10 days racing non-stop, 24/7 until a winner is crowned.

You can follow the PER on the race's official website or at It should be an interesting race to watch unfold.

Alex Honnold and Colin Haley Set New Speed Record on the Torre Traverse in Patagonia

It has been a good couple of weeks in Patagonia for Colin Haley. Not only did he set a speed record on Fitz Roy, completing a round-trip ascent of that mountain with Andy Wyatt in just 21 hours and 8 minutes, he also put up the first solo ascent of Torre Egger as well. That would be enough accomplishments for anyone's career climbing resume,  let alone just one month. But he wasn't finished just yet, as Haley was later joined by his friend Alex Honnold to set yet another speed record, this time finishing the Torre Traverse in an incredible 20 hours and 40 minutes.

What's the Torre Traverse you ask? Only one of the toughest challenges in all of climbing. In this case, it involved a north-to-south traverse of Patagonia’s Cerro Standhardt, Punta Herron, Torre Egger, and Cerro Torre in a single push. Those peaks are pretty much a collection of the toughest and most well known rock climbing walls in the region, with each being a considerable challenge on its own. Linking them up adds a new dimension to that challenge. So much so that it has only been done once before. That was back in 2008 when Haley made the same climb with Rolando Garibotti, spending three days on the attempt.

The Traverse has been a project in the works in Patagonia for decades, with some of the top climbers first envisioning it way back in the 1980's. At that point, one of the peaks – Punta Herron – hadn't even been climbed as of yet. Over the years there were a number of attempts to put all the routes together that were necessary to make the traverse, but it took until 2008 for it to all come together. It hadn't been repeated since, until Monday, when Haley and Honnold did it, and in a very impressive time.

According to National Geographic, the two climbers went camp-to-camp in 32 hours, with heir record time representing their actual time climbing. Considering the challenges that the Traverse presents, and the skill sets and climbing knowledge that Alex and Colin bring to the table, it seems likely that this record will stand for awhile.

Find out more details of the climb in Nat Geo's article here.

Nat Geo Tells Us Where to Backpack in 2016

2016 is just a month old, but if you haven't started planning your travel yet, you're probably missing out on precious time. Thankfully, National Geographic is here to lend us a helping hand with some great suggestions of where to go backpacking in 2016.

The complete list contains ten total designations, ranging from Argentina and Patagonia in South America, to Zimbabwe in Africa, to Vietnam in Asia, with plenty of other options inbetween. In fact, every continent is represented on the list with the exception of Antarctica, which means just about no matter where you go, there will be some exceptional hiking spots nearby.

Beyond just creating a list of excellent backpacking places, Nat Geo also offers some great travel advice for those visiting these places. For instance, they'll tell you how to get there, how to travel around once you arrive, and just where to stay too. The various write-ups for each destination also include tips on what to eat, when to go, and what activities you absolutely should not miss out on.

All in all, this is a fairly comprehensive travel piece with some good suggestions on where to go backpacking this year. While the individual articles do a good job of setting you on the path to going to that particular place, they also leave plenty of room for you to explore and plan your own excursions and activities too. Think of it as helpful advice from those who have been there before, with just enough information to get you intrigued and started with your planning.

Find out what other destinations made the list by reading the entire article here.

Colin Haley Completes First Solo Ascent of Torre Egger in Patagonia

American climber Colin Haley continues to add impressive accomplishments to his resume. As both a skilled rock climber and mountaineer, he has completed some of the toughest routes in the world in Patagonia and the Himalaya. But on January 19 he only added to his growing list of accomplishments when he managed to complete the first solo ascent of Torre Egger, one of the most iconic and difficult towers in the world.

Located in Argentina's Patagonia region, Torre Egger is a sheer rock face that stands 2685 meters (8809 ft) in height. It is considered one of the crown jewels of rock climbing, often mentioned in the same breath as El Capitan, Trango Towers, or Torres del Paine which is also located in Patagonia. On January 19, after months of planning and preparation, Haley set out to solo that massive tower in what would become an very long day in the mountains.

Alpinist has all the details of the ascent, including the exact route Haley took to the summit, and some of the challenges he to overcome along the way. As you can imagine, it was not an easy climb, requiring 16.5 hours to complete the route. But even after reaching the summit, Colin faced more difficult on the descent. At one point his rope became hung up, and he had to spend several hours bouncing on it to get it to release a few inches at a time. Eventually it gave way, and he was able to finally finish his descent.

The solo of Torre Egger wasn't the only impressive climb Haley finished in Patagonia this month. Alpinist says that he and fellow American Andy Wyatt also completed a speed ascent of Monte Fitz Roy (3405 m/11,171 ft) on January 6, completing that challenge car-to-car in 21 hours and 8 minutes. According to the report, that would be the fastest known time for a round-trip ascent on that peak as well.

These are some impressive accomplishments over a span of just a couple of weeks. Congrats to Colin (and Andy Wyatt!) on a job well done.

Video: Traveling the Andes Mountains - Spine of the South

In 2015, photographer Eric Hanson spent seven months traveling the length of South America along the spectacular Andes Mountains. Starting in Ecuador and ending in Patagonia, he captured thousands of photos of the landscapes that he encountered along the way. The very best of those images can be found in this breathtaking video, which give us an incredible look at these amazing mountains. Sit back and enjoy this clip, it is gorgeous.

Spine of the South from Overland Collective on Vimeo.

North Face Founder Doug Tompkins Dies in Kayaking Accident in Chile

There is sad news for the outdoor adventure community today as it was announced last night that Doug Tompkins, the founder of The North Face, has passed away in a kayaking accident that took place in Chile. He was 72.

According to reports, Tompkins was on a kayaking trip in the Patagonia region of South America. He, and several others were paddling across General Carrerra Lake in high winds and strong waves, when six members of the team, including Tompkins, capsized. They were all waters that were below 40ºF (4ºC) for an extended period of time, which led to Tompkins eventually passing away due to extreme hypothermia.

Doug founded The North Face back in 1964 as a local gear retail shop in San Francisco. Later, he would also found the Esprit clothing company as well. Both would grow into billion dollar empires. Tompkins retired from the business back in 1989, and moved to Chile where he purchased thousands of acres of land, both in that country and Argentina. Most of that land was turned into a private nature reserve to help keep the Patagonia region free from developers.

Tompkins' legacy will of course be The North Face, and his important work in conservation. But in 1968 he was part of a four-man team that spent six months traveling to Patagonia and climbing there. He and the team put up a new route on Fitzroy, and documented their efforts in books and films. One of the other members of that squad included Yvon Chouinard, who would go on to form Patagonia and also go to great lengths to help preserve the natural landscapes of Chile and Argentina.

None of the other members of Tompkins kayaking team were seriously injured in the accident. Unfortunately, he succumbed to hypothermia in the intensive care unit of a Chilean hospital. I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Doug's friends and family. He will certainly be missed.

Video: A Journey Through Wild and Remote Patagonia

We all know that Patagonia is one of the most wildly beautiful places on the planet, but that fact is hammered home even more convincingly in this short video. Shot in both Argentina and Chile, filmmaker Benjamin Aubray has captured incredible shots of the landscapes that are found at the very tip of the South American continent. You'll see jagged snowcapped peaks, pristine lakes, rushing rivers, and lush meadows, all working together to make the setting that much more spectacular. If you haven't gone yet, Patagonia needs to be on your list of places to visit. It not only lives up to the hype, in exceeds it in every way.

PATAGONIA from Benjamin Aubray on Vimeo.

Video: Drones Over Patagonia

We all know that Patagonia is one of the most breathtaking destinations in the world, but that sentiment is only reinforced by this video. Shot with the use of a drone near the Argentine village of El Chalten, the landscapes shown here are nothing short of spectacular. This is 4+ minutes of pure mountain bliss.

And when you're ready to go to Patagonia yourself, my friends at Mountain Travel Sobek can help. They offer multiple trips to South America, including one that explores Patagonia on foot.