Showing posts with label Yosemite. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yosemite. Show all posts

Video: The Life and Legacy of John Muir

John Muir was a tireless advocate for protecting and preserving outdoor spaces for others to enjoy. In fact, without his efforts, we might not have places like Yosemite and Yellowstone designated at national parks. Muir was a forward thinking naturalist in a time when that wasn't a popular thing to be, and yet he wrote about the need to ensure that our wild spaces didn't vanish completely from the Earth. In this video, we learn more about the man and his work, and we see first hand the places that he worked to protect. It is a powerful and inspiring tribute to that legacy.

John Muir - The Last Oasis from Michael Coleman on Vimeo.

Video: How the U.S. National Parks Are Attempting to Lure More Minority Visitors

The national parks in the U.S. are some of the most dramatic and breathtaking landscapes found anywhere on the planet, and as such they draw millions of visitors each year. Unfortunately, most of those visitors are white, with few minorities sprinkled in here and there. But the Park Service and its partners are trying to change that by creating a more inclusive atmosphere for everyone. In this video, we see how those efforts are being conducted with the hopes of getting more people of color to experience the outdoors as well.

Video: The Wonders of Yosemite in Winter

There is no question that Yosemite National Park is amongst the most naturally beautiful places on Earth. That's why millions of people visit it every year to take in some of the sights to be seen there. But in the winter, as temperatures drop and a blanket of snow covers the area, few people make the pilgrimage to see this incredible place. That's a shame, as it is probably even more breathtaking during this time of year. In this video, we'll go to Yosemite and see just what it is like during those winter months. I think you'll agree, it is worth the trip.

YOSEMITE WINTER WONDERS from Rudy Wilms on Vimeo.

Video: A Flood in Yosemite National Park

January has been a rough month for much of the American West. It has dumped untold inches of snow across many parts of the region, while areas of California have seen an incredible amount of rain. That includes Yosemite National Park, which as you'll see in this clip, has seen its streams and rivers swell, waterfalls overflow, and parts of the valley flood. California has been in a drought for sometime now, but this isn't necessarily the way you would want to see it come to and end. Still, the water as a whole is welcome sight to much of the state.

Examining Adam Ondra's Dawn Wall Climb

It has now been a week and a half since Czech climber Adam Ondra made history by completing the second free ascent of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite. While his expedition didn't get nearly as much media attention as Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson's first ascent back in 2015, Ondra's climb was certainly followed closely by the outdoor and adventure crowd. Now, we're already starting to look back on his accomplishment and trying to give it its fair place in history.

Dawn Wall Update: Adam Ondra Finishes the Climb!

We've been following Adam Ondra's ascent of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite closely over the past few weeks, and especially since he launched the full on assault on what many consider the world's toughest big wall last week. Now, we are happy to report that the Czech climber has reached his goal, repeating the climb that was first done by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson back in 2015.

Dawn Wall Update: Ondra Through the Crux, Weather Slows Ascent

It was a busy weekend for Adam Ondra on the Dawn Wall in Yosemite. The young Czech climber on his first visit to the valley is attempting what most believe is the toughest free climb in the world, and making fairly short work of it. Over the past few days, he's managed to finish the crux of the climb, and was looking at a strong push towards the end, but bad weather has temporarily delayed Ondra's march towards history, which seems like an inevitable conclusion now.

Dawn Wall Update: Ondra Reaches the Crux of the Climb

Czech climbing phenom Adam Ondra is making short work of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite at the moment. On Tuesday of this week he knocked off three more difficult pitches and positioned himself just below the most challenging part of the climb. His focus now will be to push through these crux pitches over the next few days, and before moving on to complete the second ascent of what many consider the toughest rock climb in the world.

Earlier in the week I posted an update on Ondra's progress saying that he and climbing partner Pavel Blazek had completed their full scouting expedition up the Dawn Wall last week, and had now begun what they called the "final push" of the climb. That is a ground-up ascent of this massive wall that sits along El Capitan's southeast face. On Monday, they launched those efforts, quickly blasting through the first nine pitches. Now, they've made further progress with the most difficult pitches ahead of them.

On Tuesday, Adam and Pavel stayed on their own schedule by completing pitches 10 through 13. That put them right below what is considered the crux of the entire climb, pitches 14, 15, and 16. Once he manages to complete those sections, the remaining 16 pitches are relatively straight forward and easier, although as with all big walls, there will still be some challenges to overcome.

As most of you already know, the Dawn Wall was first climbed back in 2015, when Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson made their historic ascent. Ondra is trying to repeat that feat, and on his first visit to Yosemite no less. How's he doing so far? According to Rock and Ice, he reached pitch 13 on day two of his climb, something that took Tommy and Kevin six days to accomplish.

It is difficult to overstate just how impressive Ondra's Dawn Wall climb has been so far. While Caldwell and Jorgeson took seven years to scout the route and put all the pieces together, the Czech climber has only been in Yosemite Valley for a month. He obviously benefits greatly from having the two American climbers set out the route ahead of him, but being able to essentially onsite the toughest climb in the world is nothing short of remarkable.

The next three pitches could take some time to complete. They have very few hand holds, with just some tiny cracks to hold onto on the way up. This section of the climb is so difficult that Ondra decided to rest yesterday in preparation for the push. To put things in perspective, it took Jorgeson six days to complete pitch 15 alone. It could be awhile before Ondra and Blazek make more progress too.

Stay tuned for more updates as the climb continues to unfold.

Dawn Wall Update: Adam Ondra Ready To Repeat Historic Ascent

After spending the past couple of weeks scouting out what many consider to be the toughest climb in the world, Czech climbing phenom Adam Ondra, along with climbing partner Pavel Blazek have launched their final push on the Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park. If they are successful, they'll be just the second team to complete this epic route up El Capitan, mirroring the path that Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson took back in 2015.

We've been watching Ondra's progress closely here at The Adventure Blog, and when we last checked in he was working out the details of the 14th, 15th, and 16th pitches of the route, which are considered the toughest of the 32 pitches that make up entire climb. Above that point things begin to get bit easier as Caldwell and Jorgeson discovered on their climb last year. After spending most of last week working out the exact approach on those pitches, Ondra now feels like he can complete the ascent.

He and Blazek launched their bid to repeat the Dawn Wall yesterday morning, and according to Rock and Ice they knocked off the first nine pitches in no time at all. They hope to continue making progress today, possibly reaching the cruz of the climb at pitches 14, 15, and 16. Once through that challenging section, they'll be well on their way to making history of their own.

Caldwell and Jorgeson spent seven years plotting their route, but this is actually Ondra's first visit ever to Yosemite Valley. He began examining the Dawn Wall on October 17, and he and Blazek finished up their aid-assisted ascent last week. Ondra then returned to the wall to work out the challenge of those three very difficult pitches before taking some time off. Now, they'r ready to put everything they learned on their scouting missions to make their own ascent.

As impressive as Caldwell and Jorgeson's climb was, if Ondra and Blazek can pull this off it could be even more spectacular. For someone to just show up in Yosemite and knock of this route on his first go give an indication of the level of talent we're seeing at work here. That said, Adam himself will tell you that he has benefited greatly from watching what Tommy and Kevin did in 2015, which paved the way for him to follow.

Stay tuned. We'll keep our eyes peeled to see how this plays out. We may be seeing history made on the Dawn Wall once again.

Dawn Wall Update: Ondra Begins 'Final Push'

It has been a week since we last checked in with Czech climber Adam Ondra, who continues his attempt to complete what is widely held to be the toughest rock climbing route in the world. Over the past few weeks, the talented 23-year old has been trying to repeat an ascent of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite, a feat which has only been accomplished once before. And while his progress has slowed since his initial burst of speed over the first ten pitches or so, it now seems like he has put the pieces together to finish the climb at last.

According to Planet Mountain, Ondra has now scouted the entire climb, all the way to the summit of El Capitan. He and fellow rock climber Pavel Blažek finished an aid climb to the top over the weekend, which has served as a scouting mission of sorts, given him a look at everything that still sits before him. After that, he dropped back down to the valley floor and returned to his portledge where he continues to work on the very difficult 14th pitch, which is considered by most to be the crux of the entire climb. After examining that section of the climb, Ondra now feels that he has the beta he needs to complete the route. It is just a matter of time before he puts it altogether.

You may recall that the only previous ascent of the Dawn Wall was done by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson back in January of 2015. At that time, no one knew if it was even possible to climb the rock face, which Caldwell had scouted for seven years before making the ascent. Ondra benefits from having someone go before him to show the way, which he acknowledged by saying: 
"the complexity and difficulty of the whole climb is just shocking to me. I might have been too optimistic, but I definitely expected it to be easier… Hats off to Tommy and Kevin, who believed that the whole climb was possible before they free climbed. Without having the beta, some of the sections look just impossible. I have the advantage that I know that the climb is possible and that helps me to keep the faith that I might be able to do it as well. I am humbled and impressed by what Tommy and Kevin did!"

The admiration seems to go both ways. Jorgeson has been following Ondra's climb closely and has been in Yosemite to lend some advice from time to time. He has called the Czech climber "Badass" as he watched him work the rock. Remember, this is Adam's first ever visit to the valley, and he is essentially on-sighting the world's hardest climb.

Now, Ondra will turn his attention the difficult Pitch 14, and while there are some difficult sections still ahead, he feels like he is well equipped to deal with them once he works out this problem first. He is definitely feeling optimistic at this point, saying that he now feels like he is entering "the final push."

Stay tuned for more. We may have history in the making on the Dawn Wall once again in the days ahead.

Dawn Wall Update: Progress Slows, But Adam Ondra Continues to Climb

Last week I posted an update from Yosemite, where Czech climber Adam Ondra is working on the toughest challenge imaginable. The 23-year old has been plugging away at the Dawn Wall, the massive rock face that sits on the southeast face of El Capitan. When last we checked in, Ondra was quickly zipping up the tough climb, having knocked off 10 pitches in just a couple of days. But now, progress has slowed as he hits the tougher sections of the climb, forcing him to spend a bit more time figuring out these problems.

As of this past weekend, Ondra has successfully completed the first 13 pitches of the Dawn Wall, and was working on pitch 14, 15, and 16. Those are amongst the three toughest sections of the entire climb, and he reports that it will take colder weather and more skin on his fingertips to finish those three pitches. He says both are on the way, but in the meantime he's been gathering intel on the moves he'll have to make – some of them very tough – to get through this next series of challenges.

Once he's above pitch 16 things get a bit easier and he should have few problems finishing off the Dawn Wall. If he does complete the climb, it'll be only the second time it has been scaled. You probably recall that Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson knocked it off in January of 2015, but they spent years planning their ascent. Ondra is currently making his first visit to Yosemite Valley.

The Czech climber hasn't been only focused on the Dawn Wall. Last week he took some time off to climb The Nose with his father, hoping to complete that iconic route in a single day. While they did manage to finish around midnight, it wasn't completely free climbed. They also got hit by a storm near the summit and were forced to camp out on top until the following morning.

After his foray on The Nose, Ondra has now returned to the Dawn Wall and is working on figuring out that challenge. We'll continue to bring you news of his progress as we hear more.

Dawn Wall Update: Adam Ondra Making Steady Progress on the Toughest Climb in the World

Remember last week, when I shared the news about Czech climber Adam Ondra preparing to make an attempt on the incredibly difficult and demanding Dawn Wall in Yosemite? At the time I had said that it seemed unlikely that he would be able to take on that epic ascent considering it was his first visit to the valley, and he hadn't even touched the rock there yet. On top of that, the Dawn Wall had only been completed once in the past, having famously been free-climbed in January of 2015 by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson. But, it turns out I couldn't have been more wrong however, as Ondra is proving what many in the outdoor world already knew – that he just might be the best rock climber in the world today.

Ondra began his climb of the Dawn Wall last Monday – October 17 – and has been making steady progress up the face ever since. On his first day out, he managed to knock off seven quick pitches as he rapidly ascended the route, which falls along the southeast face of El Capitan, quite possibly the most famous rock climbing spot in the entire world.

But, being primarily a sport climber, Ondra found the Dawn Wall to be a different beast than he is use to tackling. By the time he finished those first seven pitches he was exhausted. Despite those challenges however, he did manage to reach the top of pitch 10 before darkness fell Tuesday, making it a very productive first couple of  day for sure.

Over the following few days of last week, Ondra continued to make progress, albeit at a slower pace on more difficult pitches. Heading into the weekend, he had reached pitch 15, which is rated a 5.14d and is considered the crux of the entire climb. There hasn't been update yet as to his progress on that particular challenge, but if he didn't get past it over the past couple of days, it will certainly be his primary focus as he starts his second week on the Dawn Wall.

If the 23-year old Czech climber can get over the next three pitches – and there is no indication that he won't – it is relatively easy sailing to the top from there. That means we could see a second ascent of what many consider the toughest rock climbing challenge in the world by the end of the week. Stay tuned for more updates. It's going to be fun to follow Adam's progress.

Adam Ondra to Challenge the Dawn Wall in Yosemite

In January of 2015 the world was transfixed by one of the most difficult and audacious rock climbing expeditions ever. That's when Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Joregeson spent nearly three weeks climbing the Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park, widely considered the toughest big wall in the world. At the time, millions of people followed their ascent, including a large portion of the population who normally doesn't care about what happens in the rock climbing world. It was a pivotal moment for the sport, and an inspiring challenge to say the least. Now, another climbing star is hoping to repeat that epic feat, even as he climbs in Yosemite for the very first time.

Czech climber Adam Ondra has already made a name for himself as one of the best sport climbers in the world. But, he recently admitted in an interview with Black Diamond that he has never been to Yosemite Valley to go climbing before – something that he is about to change. Ondra arrived in the U.S. last week and is currently en route to the national park, where the has already announced plans to take on two of its most iconic routes – The Nose and the Salathé Wall. Both are considered to be extremely challenging, and and are amongst the most well known routes in the entire world.

But, Ondra has also told Black Diamond that he is considering an attempt on the Dawn Wall as well. He admits that he doesn't want to reveal too much about those ambitious plans since he hasn't even seen the route in person yet, but he would like to give the famous climb a go should the opportunity present itself.

For most climbers, attempting a massive climb like the Dawn Wall without first setting eyes on it would seem like a silly proposition. But as National Geographic Adventure points out, Ondra has already climbed similar routes on his first attempt, something that is known in rock climbing circles as "onsighting." Nat Geo further points out that the Dawn Wall carries a Yosemite Decimal System rating of 5.14d, which is incredibly tough for sure. But, there are three sport climbs rated 5.15c in the entire world, and Ondra is the only person to complete all of them. That is the most difficult rating in the entire sport.

Will he be able to complete the Dawn Wall? Only time will tell. Personally, I think he'll need to scout the route a bit and consider his options closely. Climbing the Dawn Wall isn't just about its difficulty rating. It is a long, grueling ascent that takes days to complete. Caldwell and Joregeson spent years in preparation, and both have a great deal of experience in Yosemite. Can Ondra make he climb? Of course he can. But, I think he'll need a bit more seasoning in the Valley before he does so.

If he proves me wrong, it will indeed be one of the greatest feats in the history of climbing. For now, we'll just have to wait to see if that is the case.

Blind Adventurer Erik Weihenmayer Scales El Cap in a Day

Just when we think we've seen it all from blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, he comes up with new ways to surprise us. Yesterday, we learned that he not only managed to climb the iconic El Capitan in Yosemite, but he did so in under 24 hours, an impressive accomplishment with or without sight.

Climbing with some of the sport's biggest names – including Hans Florine, Timmy O’Neill, Geoff Tabin, and Charley Mace, Weihenmayer went up the East Buttress route. While that is the shortest path to the top of the famous wall, it still involves 11 pitches and 1500 feet of climbing. He told National Geographic  “I wanted something I could free climb, and the length of East Buttress made me feel somewhat confident that I could do it in a day.” That turned out to not be a problem at all, as the squad finished the route in about 8 hours, even passing another team along the way.

This is just the latest in a series of impressive accomplishments by Weihenmayer. His resume also includes a successful climb up Mt. Everest – along with the rest of the seven summits – and a descent of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon by kayak. Over the years he has climbed numerous mountains, competed in adventure races, mountain biked some tough trails, and generally did a number of very adventurous things that even those of us with full use of our eyes would be lucky to do. He has also served as an inspiration for millions around the world, who have seen the boundaries of what a blind person can accomplish redefined again and again.

This isn't even the first time Weihenmayer has climbed El Cap. He did it 20 years ago with Florine as well. But that time they went up The Nose route, taking four days to complete the 32-pitch, 3000-foot wall. This is the first time any blind climber has knocked off El Cap in a single day however, which is pretty much the mark that all climbers are looking for when they take on the massive wall.

At the top of the East Buttress, the team was met by friends who had cold beer and snacks waiting. It didn't take long for Erik to start talking about his next Yosemite climbing adventure, with Florine chiming in that they should try The Nose again, but this time do it in a day as well. Perhaps that will be the next major challenge for Weihenmayer to undertake. We'll just have to wait to see how he surprises us next.

Video: Yosemite Ranger Meets the True Owners of the National Parks

As we edge closer to the 100th anniversary celebration of the National Park Service later this week, this video gives us a good reminder about what those parks are all about. The clip, which comes our way courtesy of NBC News, introduces us to the true owners of these parks – the American people themselves. The national parks have been called "America's Best Idea" and for good reason. Prior to the designation of the world's first national park – Yellowstone – the idea of setting aside lands for the greater good of the public was completely unknown. Now, there are thousands of national parks around the world, with more being created on a regular basis.

Miranda Oakley Sets New Female Speed Record on the Nose in Yosemite

It has been good couple of days for female climbers. Yesterday we had word that Maddie Miller set a new speed record for nabbing all of the high points in the U.S., and today we learn that Miranda Oakley has managed to break the record for climbing The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite in the fastest time ever by a woman. What's more, she didn't just break the record, she smashed it, setting a new high water mark in the process.

A few days back, Oakley completed a solo summit of Yosemite's most iconic route in 21 hours and 50 minutes. That shaved more than 2.5 hours off the previous record, which was set by Chantel Astorga back in 2014. Astorga went up the nose in 24 hours, 39 minutes, which means Oakley is also the first woman to break the 24-hour mark as well.

The Nose has a long and storied history in climbing. It is considered one of the most famous routes in all of rock climbing, requiring equal parts skill, strength, and stamina to complete. Rated a 5.9 C2, the classic ascent is a 3000-foot monster that tests the dedication and determination of any climber. Oakley did it solo for the first time last year, completing her climb in a little under 27 hours.

For reference sake, the current speed record on The Nose for a two-person team is held by Hans Florine and Alex Honnold. That talented duo managed so complete the route in 2 hours, 23 minutes, and 46 seconds. The solo record for men is held by Tommy Caldwell, who topped out in just under 12 hours.

Congratulations to Miranda for an impressive display of skill and strength. Well done!

Video: Yosemite Half Dome in 360º

One of the more exciting innovations in technology over the past year or two has been the rise of 360º videos. These clips are made with special camera set-ups that can shoot footage in every direction at once. Than, when viewed in a supported browser, the viewer can actually pan around the video to get a look at the scene from different angles. The effect is even more enhanced if viewed with a set of virtual reality goggles, such as the Oculus Rift.

The video below is a good example of this type of technology, as it takes us on a climb up Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. The result is quite an experience, particularly if you view it in Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Opera. Enjoy!

Actor Jared Leto Joins Alex Honnold on El Cap in Yosemite

Academy Award winning actor Jared Leto seems to have added yet another skill to his resume that already includes musician, songwriter, director and author. It seems the celeb is also an accomplished rock climber, as was evidenced last weekend when he went climbing in Yosemite with Alex Honnold.

On Friday Leto and Honnold scaled the East Buttress of Middle Cathedral, which is ranked amongst the 50 classic climbs of North America. Then on Saturday, the two men climbed three shorter, easier routes on the 600-foot Manure Pile Buttress, before moving onto the East Buttress of El Capitan on Sunday.

Later, Leto posted a photo of The Nose on El Cap – perhaps the most iconic climb in the world – hinting that he might like to try that at some point. Later, he shared the photo below on his Instagram account of he and Honnold. They're joined by Jimmy Chin, who dropped by for a photo bomb apparently.

A photo posted by JARED LETO (@jaredleto) on

Video: Hang Gliding Off Half Dome (Circa 1977)

This short documentary was shot back in 1977 but it only now making its way out to the public. It chronicles the flight of three men – Rich Piccirilli, Jim Hanbury, and Brian Johnson – from the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Mid-flight Hanbury and Johnson release themselves from the hang glider and freefall to the valley floor below. This is a wonderful, nostalgic look back at a very different era in world of outdoor adventure. But it is lots of fun nonetheless.

HALF DOME! (1977) from Randy Forbes on Vimeo.

Video: Yosemite's Horsetail Falls Firefall Looks Stunning

A few weeks back I posted a video of the annual Firefall event that takes place Yosemite. In the spring each year, the sun hits Horsetail Falls just right, lighting it up as if it is on fire. It is a stunning display to say the least, and one that is caught even better in this video. This is simply a beautiful sight to see, and this is once again a clip you should not skip. Really, it's only two minutes long. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Horsetail Falls Firefall 2016 from Shawn Reeder on Vimeo.