Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year and Another Big Thanks!

I know that as I write this, parts of the world are already welcoming the first hours of 2011, but I still wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year. 2010 has been one fantastic adventure after another, and while I'm sad to see it come to an end, I'm looking forward to a new year and new opportunities. I'll be starting it out with a couple of adventures of my own early on and I hope that you are planning some too.

I also wanted to thank the readers of the Adventure Blog once again, because despite few updates this past week, and a relatively quiet last month of the year, December set a new record for the number of visitors to the site. It also capped the best year of traffic as well, which has been extremely gratifying for me personally. This little project of mine has grown much larger than I ever imagined, and opened a number of doors unforeseen, and it is all thanks to you. I appreciate every one of you.

So, with 2011 upon us, lets reflect a bit on all the wonderful things that went down in the last 12 months and start planning for new adventures in the months ahead. I'll be sharing mine very soon, and as usual, I enjoy hearing about yours as well.

Greg Hill Completes 2 Mill!

As the clock nears midnight, and the curtain drops on 2010, one of the year's big adventures comes to a successful conclusion today as Backcountry Athlete Greg Hill has completed his quest to ski and climb 2 million vertical feet in a single calendar year.

According to this post over at The Goat Blog, Greg finished up earlier today at Revelstoke Mountain Resort in British Columbia, where a group of friends and family were on hand to salute his accomplishment. Hill's Backcountry Bio Page now marks his total at 2,000,716 feet.

To put this accomplishment in perspective, in order to achieve 2 million vertical feet in a 12 month period, Greg had to average 5480 feet of climbing and skiing each and every day of the year. That is some serious dedication and a very impressive feat athletic feat.

Congratulations to Greg on achieving this spectacular goal. Now take a day off and head to the beach or something.

Antarctica 2010: Skiers Approaching The Pole!

Thanks to a busier than anticipated holiday season, it has been more than a week and a half since I posted an update on our intrepid Antarctic explorers. During that time, they have continued to steam their way south, with several now approaching the Pole.

For some, that will be the finish line, but for British explorer Chris Foot, the Pole is just the half-way point. Over the past week or so, Chris has struggled not only with extremely bad whiteout conditions but also steep, and energy sapping, sastrugi. On top of that, he's also had issues with his gear. The solar lead that he uses to recharge his communication equipment has been acting up, which has made for sporadic updates from the field. But, there is some good news for Chris and his hometeam. While it hasn't been confirmed in his posts yet, Chris should reach the Pole today, where he'll likely take a very brief rest before turning around and heading back to Union Glacier.

Willem ter Horst and Hannah McKeand continue their march to the Pole as well. Yesterday they passed the 87º mark in what sounds like absolutely horrible conditions. The pair have been dealing with bad sastrugi as well, and it seems to have taken its toll on them. Willem reports that they fell down on several occasions and that Hannah's pulk turned over twice along the way. Throw in more whiteout conditions, and it was one of the worst days in the Antarctic for the south bound team since their arrival 36 days ago. The snow was blowing so bad that they couldn't see more than a meter in any direction, which takes a mental toll on them to go along with the physical one. They still have roughly 170 nautical miles to go before they reach the end, and if these conditions continue, it'll be a real struggle.

Further back, but cooking right along, is Christian Eide, who is just 11 days into his journey to the South Pole and has now crossed the 84ºS latitudinal line. Christian is hoping to set a new solo, unsupported speed record to the Pole, and so far he's setting a good pace, knocking off in excess of 20+ nautical miles per day. He has experienced the poor weather conditions as well however, and has had to deal with plenty of whiteouts too. In order to break the record, Christian must reach the Pole in less time than Todd Carmichael did back in 2008, when he made the same journey in 39 days, 7 hours, and 49 minutes.

It should also be noted that Christian has offered to help Chris Foot by offering him a replacement lead for the one that has been giving him problems. This shows how incredibly tight knit the adventure community can be, as it is remarkable that Christian even knows about Chris' problems, let alone is thinking about how he can help. If the two were to cross paths, it would be on Foot's return journey, and it would remove the "unsupported" tag from his expedition. Still, it would provide a measure of security for Chris, which everyone back home would appreciate I'm sure.

Finally, there continues to be no word from the Indian Army team that is also making it's way to the Pole. They set off at about the same time as Foot and ter Horst, but they have not sent back any updates since their departure. We can only trust that all is going well and that they are enjoying their stroll across the Antarctic continent.

Lonnie Dupre Set To Attempt Solo Climb Of Denali In January

Polar explorer and climber Lonnie Dupre has set off for Alaska, where he hope to make a solo climb of Denali in January. If successful, it'll be the first solo ascent of the mountain during it's coldest and darkest month ever.

Standing 20,320 ft (6193 meters) in height, Denali is the tallest mountain in North America. Generally it is climbed in June and July each year, but there are occasional attempts during other months of the year, including the winter. Over the years there have been nine successful winter expeditions on the mountain, putting 16 people on the summit. Only one of those was completed in January, when a team of three Russians topped out back in 1998. Winter expeditions have also led to six deaths on Denali as well.

Climbing in January means that the cold temps and howling winds will be at their fiercest, but that isn't a major concern for Dupre, who has made numerous arctic expeditions over the years. For example, he has circumnavigated Greenland by dogsled and kayak, made a 3000 mile crossing of the Northeast Passage, also by dogsled, and he has made the challenging journey to the North Pole alongside Eric Larsen.

Clearly the extreme cold and the dark won't deter him, although the weather just might. According to his latest blog post, Dupre is now in Talkeetna, where his flight out has been grounded due to a powerful weather front moving through. He hopes to be in base camp soon, and start the climb in earnest.

And what a climb he has planned. Going up solo, Dupre has left his tent at home and will instead seek shelter in ice caves that he'll dig along the way. That is the same tactic that the Russians used on their successful climb a dozen years ago, and he hopes it'll allow him to repeat their success.

Watch for more updates soon.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Best Hike's Top Ten Hiking Towns Worldwide: #2 and #1

With the holidays hitting at the end of last week, I didn't have the opportunity to post Best Hike's picks for the final two spots on its Top Ten Hiking Towns in the World. In the run up to Christmas, site editor Rick McCharles has been posting his selection of favorite towns to serve as a base camp for some of the top trekking destinations around the globe, and he completed that list on Christmas Day announcing his top choice.

But before we reveal what the number one hiking town is, we have to take a look at number 2. That honor goes to Huaraz, Peru, which is described as a "trekker's paradise" thanks to its proximity to the Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Negra mountain ranges, not to mention Cordillera Huayhuash, which Rick says is for the hardcore trekker. He also says that despite the regional population reaching 100,000 people, the town still feels like a remote mountain village. He also gives it points for not having an airport, thanks in part because all the tourists fly to Cusco and leave this corner of the Andes alone.

Finally, the number one hiking town on the Best Hike list is Queenstown, New Zealand, which is described as the Adventure Capital of the World. Queenstown has a little something to offer any outdoor enthusiast, including hiking and trekking of course, but also skiing, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, bungee jumping, and more. The town of 10,000 people offers access to the excellent Routeburn and Kepler Tracks, as well as the Milford Track, which is largely considered to be amongst the best hiking trails anywhere in the world.

So, there you have it, the list i snow complete. With 2011 just a few days away, it's time to start planning a visit to one or more of these towns. It seems you can't go wrong with any of them. Thanks to Rick for sharing his considerable expertise with all of us. Great list!

New Adventure Links!

I've been meaning to give a tip of the hat to a couple of new websites that are offering adventure news and views for some time, and with the holidays upon us, I'm sure we'll all be looking for good things to read over the next few days. So, if you haven't found these sites yet, you'll definitely want to add them to your book marks.

First up, we have Extreme Adventure News, which may be a new site, but it is being run by an old friend. EAN is the new venture from Jason Hendricks, who was the editor of The Adventurists for several years. Jason took a bit of a sabbatical from the online adventure scene, but is back and providing good content and updates once again. You can also follow his Twitter feed at: @adventurenewz.

The other site that has recently launched and is already offering great content is Exceed Possibility. This site went up a few weeks back and is already carving an interesting niche for itself amongst the adventure sites on the Internet. Site editor Tom Evans is a university student in the U.K. who already had plenty of adventures in his young life, cycling across the country at 18, climbing Kilimanjaro at 19, and visiting Everest Base Camp at 20. His blog offers excellent insights already and includes historical perspectives as well.

I'd like to welcome Jason back and Tom to the adventure community. Keep up the great work guys!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays From The Adventure Blog

On this Christmas Eve, I wanted to send a message to all the readers of my blog wishing you all a fantastic holiday season and a wonderful New Year. I hope that your 2011 is filled with adventures both great and small.

Posts will likely be a bit sporadic over the next week or so as I enjoy some time with friends. But I'll post when I get the chance. There are still plenty of great adventures taking place around the world, despite the holiday season. More updates soon!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Best Hike's Top Ten Hiking Towns Worldwide: #3 - Namche, Bazaar

The Best Hike Blog revealed their pick for the number 3 hiking town in the world today, as their end of the year countdown continues. This selection is one that I can wholeheartedly agree with, as I visited the place earlier this year.

Namche Bazaar, located in the Himalaya of Nepal, gets the nod in no small part because of it's proximity to Everest. The town, which has a population of about 800 people, is truly is the gateway to the High Himalaya, but is also one of the most enjoyable stops along that trek to the Khumbu Valley. Visitors will find plenty of choices in accommodations and restaurants, as well as such amenities as Internet access, hot showers, and plenty of gear shops to buy last minute equipment in. But getting there isn't easy, as the hike up the "hill" is quite a slog. One that will leave you breathless at 3,440 metres (11,286 ft).

As Best Hike editor Rick McCharles points out, the big draw to visiting Namche is obviously Everest, but the culture of Nepal and the views along the way are equally appealing. The hikes throughout the region are fantastic, and there are no mountains anywhere that compare to the Himalaya.

Great pick in my opinion. So, what towns do you think will be in the #1 and #2 spots?

Greg Hill Closes In On 2 Million Vertical Feet, Just 9 Days To Go!

Remember Greg Hill? He's the guy that has been attempting to climb and ski 2 million vertical feet in a single year. Well, in case you haven't been looking at the calendar, the year is just about up. So how's he doing? According to an entry to the Goat Blog yesterday, Greg is now sitting at 1.9+ million feet, and has just 9 days to go.

Checking Greg's Skiometer on his athlete profile page at, he is currently sitting at 1,930,369 feet, which means he'll have to average more than 6660 vertical feet per day over the next nine days to reach his goal. Can he do it? Sure, but it isn't going to be easy. Stay tuned to see if he finishes his task, and check out the video below to find out more about Greg and his ski and climbing adventure.

2 Million With Greg Hill from FD Productions on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Best Hike's Top Ten Hiking Towns Worldwide: #4

The Best Hike Blog continues its countdown of the Top Ten Hiking Towns in the World today by revealing the #4 location on their list. That honor goes to Cortina, Italy, a sleepy little mountain village of 6000 people located at 1224 meters (4015 feet) in the Dolomites.

Cortina serves as the base camp for a number of excellent hikes into the Alps and is just as popular in the winter as it is during the summer. Best Hike editor Rick McCharles says the best time to visit is mid-June to  early-October if you hope to hike the near-by mountains, but the region is also home to some great skiing come the winter months as well.

Check back tomorrow for the number 3 hiking town. Europe keeps on getting the love for all the great hiking in the Alps, but perhaps the top three spots are dominated by other destinations. We'll just have to wait to see.

Speed Flying In Utah

We've seen videos of speed flying before, but it seems like they are always taking place in the Alps near Chamonix or something. Today we have new one, courtesy of the Adventure Journal, that was filmed on Mt. Superior in Utah on a spectacularly beautiful day on the slopes.

For those who don't know, Speed Flying is a combination of skiing and paragliding. Basically, as you're hurdling down the mountain on your skis, you can use the paraglider to help avoid some of the obstacles in your way, like a 400-foot drop off a cliff or something. The video gives you better examples of course, and it all looks like amazing fun.

Superior, Speed Fly from Marshall Miller on Vimeo.

More Info On Crocodile Attack On Hendri Coetzee

A couple of weeks back the adventure community was shocked and saddened to learn about the death of Hendri Coetzee, a South African kayak guide who had paddled throughout Africa. Coetzee was leading a First Ascent sponsored team down the Lukuga River in the Democratic Republic of Congo when he was suddenly attacked and pulled from his boat by a large crocodile. At the time, the details of the event were a bit sketchy, but now that the paddlers on the expedition have returned home, the story is starting to fill in.

According to this story from the Associated Press, Coetzee was paddling a rather calm and peaceful stretch of the river alongside American kayakers Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic, when the attack occurred. Apparently, the men were just 4 or 5 feet apart, and unaware that they were being stalked by one of the most deadly predators on the planet. The Nile Croc, which is common in the region, crept up behind Coetzee, and pulled him under in a flash. Stookesberry and Korbulic barely had time to shout before the entire incident was over. The hungry croc grabbed their guide and disappeared back under the water, and neither were seen again.

The attack came after the trio had run a 30 mile section of whitewater and were preparing for a long stretch of easy paddling. The river had plenty of wildlife, including hippos and crocs, two of the most dangerous animals in Africa, but that morning the team had only seen a few small crocs, which were of little concern. After weeks of paddling African rivers, they had grown use to the creatures there, and had learned to avoid them as best they could.

The article says that after the attack, Stookesberry and Korbulic sat stunned for 20 seconds before paddling as fast as they could to shore. They reached the bank a mile down stream and retrieved Coetzee's red kayak as it floated by. There weren't even any scratch marks on it to tell the tale of what had occurred.

According to the story, the croc that attack the South African guide was "at least 15 feet long and weighed up to 2 tons." While Nile Crocs can grow in excess of 16 feet, it is extremely rare. Large males are in that 15-16 feet range and weigh roughly 500 pounds. The largest ever recorded did reach over 21 feet in length and weighed 2400 pounds, well below the 2 tons quoted in the article. Still, they are powerful beasts that are amongst the most dangerous animals on the planet, and when you're in their element, you pretty much have no chance.

Thanks to Jason over at Extreme Adventure News for the tip on this story.

Infographic Helps Us Find The Big Snow

With the holidays looming, I know plenty of people will be taking some extra time off with the intention of heading outside and enjoying the winter weather. With the ski season in full swing, I'm sure plenty will be hitting the slopes as well. If you're still undecided on where you should go for the best powder however, you may want to check out the infographic below.

This graphic was put together by the fine folks over at and was built using data that was sent out in a newsletter a few weeks back from the Adventure Journal. (Sign up for newsletter here!) The image shows the impact of La Nina on the weather patterns in North America, and projects which ski resorts will get the most snow over the coming months. It also lists those ski destinations and shows their locations as well, which makes it easy to plan your next big powder adventure.

In a typical winter, you really can't go wrong with any of these resorts, but in a La Nina year, they are something extra special.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Best Hike's Top Ten Hiking Towns Worldwide: #5-#8

Last week I mentioned that Rick from Best Hike was posting his selections for the best hiking towns in the world to his blog. At that time, he had revealed numbers 9 and 10 on his countdown, with Zermatt, Switzerland and Moab, Utah claiming those two positions respectively. Due to a busy weekend, and a crazy day yesterday, I haven't been able to post the new additions to the list until now.

Coming in at #8 is El Calafate, Argentina, a town that gives access to both the Paine and Fitz Roy circuits of Patagonia. Those two legendary hiking routes should be enough to give El Calafate a spot on the list, but it also has plenty of other great trails to explore. Best of all, the town is often less crowded than some of the other places on the list.

Grindelwald, Switzerland earns the 7th spot on the list for it's fantastic routes in all directions, all leading up to the Bernese Alps. The region is very touristy, but if you get out of town and off the beaten path, you'll find plenty to keep you busy.

The #6 Best Hiking Town in the world is Banff, Canada, which is located in the spectacular Canadian Rockies. Rick says the best time to go is between July and September, and recommends hiking the Sunshine to Assiniboine route or heading to Montana for the Glacier North Circle. 

Chamonix, France lands in the #5 spot on the Best Hike list in part thanks to it's down-home, accommodating nature. It also happens to sit in the shadow of Mount Blanc and sits at one end of the famous Haute Route, which has Zermatt anchoring the other side. 

So there you have it. We're all caught up on the list. I'll try to make daily posts through the final four as there are sure to be some great recommendations coming. I love the diversity of the locations so far, although the Europeans are getting all kinds of love at the moment. It is richly deserved however, and I'm sure some other regions will get their due as the rest of the list is unveiled. 

Top 10 Climbing Stories For 2010

2010 is rapidly coming to an end, which means it is time to take stock and reflect on the events of the year that has just passed. Last week we saw Outside Magazine give us their Top 10 Adventure Stories for 2010, and now we have a list of the Top 10 Climbing Stories as well, courtesy of the Examiner.

As you can imagine, there are a number of great stories on the list, but a few dubious ones as well. For instance, while no one will feel that 12-year old Matt Moniz, who climbed the 50 high points in the 50 U.S. states, and in record time, doesn't deserve to be mentioned, I'm not sure I would put Lucy, the wheel-chair bound dog, and her ascent of Mt. Washington on my personal list.

This list also is a sober reminder of the climbers we lost in 2010, with the deaths of Joe Puryear, Chhewang Nima, and Dallas Kloke all making the list. As is usual in mountaineer, each year brings a few more fallen comrades to the Brotherhood of the Rope.

But the list also celebrates great achievements, such as Dean Potter and Sean Leary setting a new speed record on the Nose in Yosemite, as well as Stephen Wampler's ascent of El Capitan. Wampler inspired many with that climb, as he has been afflicted with cerebral palsy since birth.

It has been a good year in the world of adventure and these lists are a great reminder of that. Enjoy!

Antarctica 2010: Conditions Great At The Bottom Of The World

A number of teams are reporting in that the weather conditions in Antarctica have been fantastic over the past few days, with clear skies, calm winds, and moderate temperatures. As a result, everyone is making good time, but wondering how long their good fortune will last.

Willem ter Horst and Hannah McKeand have crossed the 85ºS point, which puts them halfway to the Pole and the end of their journey. It wasn't easy getting to that point however, as the pair were working up hill for most of the day yesterday before they reached the top of the Antarctic Plateau and spotted the Thiel Mountains for the first time. After 8 hours on their skies, they felt fresh enough to press on, claim the 85th degree, and make their day today much easier. The plan is to ski 12 nautical miles today before they take their second planned rest day tomorrow.

Chris Foot has also crossed the 85ºS mark, but that only puts him a quarter of the way towards completing his expedition. While it is true that he is also now halfway to the Pole, that is not the finish line for his journey. Once there, he intends to turn around and ski back to Union Glacier where he started, marking the first solo and unsupported trip along that route. Foot says that conditions remain fantastic, and he continues to make great time. He is also in great spirits because he has been communicating with his mates back home in the U.K. as the holidays loom. At the moment, it seems like it should be a relatively easy trip to 90ºS for Chris. Lets hope his spirits and stamina remain high as he makes the turn back towards the coast in a few weeks time.

The Fuchs Foundation Team hurriedly departed Antarctica on Sunday, hopping a flight back to Punta Arenas courtesy of ALE. The weather conditions were so good that they hadn't expected to leave so son, but they threw their gear together and were off before they really had time to reflect. It seems that the group of educators enjoyed their stay in the Antarctic, where they had the opportunity to conduct research and experiments. Presumably they are in safely back in Chile now, and preparing for the flight home, mission accomplished.

A new skier has just set out, late in the season for the South Pole, as Norwegian Christian Eide just got underway yesterday. Christian is no stranger to the Antarctic however, as ExWeb reports that he has already topped out on Vinson this season and has completed a Last Degree journey to the Pole was well. Hopefully he is quick on the ice, as he has a long way to go. Perhaps he'll cross paths with Chris Foot making his return trek. Good luck Christian!

The Moon-Regan Transantarctic Expedition officially came to an end on Sunday when the team arrived back at the Union Glacier camp. They were extremely happy to enter the mess tent and grab a hot coffee, but most of all they were happy to get a Coca-Cola. No word yet if they've departed for Chile as well, but they should be off the ice and headed back to civilization soon too. They've also managed to accomplish their goals, which included setting a new speed record for traversing the continent.

Meanwhile, over on Vinson, more teams have been topping out, with a slew of climbers claiming one of their goals in reaching the Seven Summits. With the good weather in place, I imagine plenty of climbers have had the opportunity in the past few days.

Speaking of Vinson, Alan Arnette is back in Colorado, recovering nicely form his Antarctic adventure while preparing for Aconcagua in a few weeks. Alan has shared his thoughts on his climb of Vinson in a recent blog post. This is, of course, the first of his Seven Summits for Alzheimer's climbs, so expect to hear much more from Alan in the days ahead. Congrats Alan!

That's all for now! More in a few days.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Want To Be A Race Photographer At The Patagonia Expedition Race?

Are you a fan of adventure racing? Fancy yourself a photographer? Ever wanted to visit Patagonia? Then I've got just the opportunity for you. The Wenger Patagonian  Expedition Race takes place February 8-16, 2011 in Chile's Patagonian region, and the organizers of the event are looking to add someone to their official photography team. In fact, they're running a contest to fill the job.

Entry for the contest is now open, and you'll find all the details by clicking here. Simply fill out the from with the standard info, such as name, address, e-mail, etc., and upload three photo samples, and you're in the running. If you're the grand prize winner, you'll get a trip to Chile, including airfare, accommodations, and ground transportation while in Patagonia, where you'll get unprecedented access to the race course so you can document the drama and excitement of this great race.

For the past few years, the Patagonian Expedition Race has been one of the first big events of year on the AR calendar, and 2011 looks to be no different. The race attracts top teams from around the globe, giving them a chance to compete in one of the most spectacular wilderness environments on the planet. Patagonia is a fantastic place to hold a race, and each year it seems to throw new and unexpected wrinkles at the racers. I'm sure 2011 will be no different, except if you're the luck photographer who gets to go, you'll get to see it all first hand.

Good luck!

Solo Sailing Update: Laura Completes First Stage, Crosses The Atlantic

15-year old solo sailor Laura Dekker has completed the first stage of her journey by crossing the Atlantic Ocean and reaching the island of St. Maarten over the weekend. It took her 17-days to sail from the Cape Verde Islands aboard her 38ft yacht affectionally named Guppy.

Reaching the Caribbean is a milestone for the teen, who hopes to set a new record for the youngest to sail solo around the world. It has been a turbulent path for the Dutch girl, who saw her departure blocked by authorities on more than one occasion due to her young age. Earlier this year she was finally granted permission to sail, and set out for the Gibraltar. She then spent two months in the Canary Islands, preparing for the voyage ahead. Once the Guppy was sea worthy, and her skills were finely honed, Dekker hit the open ocean on December 2nd.

Clearly Laura is in no hurry, and she still has nearly two years to break the youngest record, which is currently held by Australian Jessica Watson, who completed the solo sail a few days shy of her 17th birthday. Dekker currently plans to sail the warm Caribbean waters for a time, with an eye on passing through the Panama Canal in the April/May time frame.

It is "so far, so good" for Laura. There hadn't been much news on her progress until now, but it seems that she is doing well and enjoying the experience. Her unhurried pace reflects a course that has been designed for her to avoid some of the perils of the high sea as much as possible. For example, Watson had to deal with the notoriously bad waters off of Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, which can be very dangerous, but Dekker's route will allow her to bypass those hazards.

Congrats to Laura for completing the first phase of the journey. Well done!

Monowalker Enables Long Distance Treks

With the holiday season just about on us, you may find that you still need to find a last minute gift for the adventurer on your list. Thankfully, the Monowalker is here to save the day.

Billed as "hikingtrailer" is designed for hikers, climbers, and photographers who need to shuttle gear around and may not want to carry a backpack. The single-wheeled cart connects up to your hips via a specially designed belt, and comes with two handles that keep things balanced and allow you to pull your load easily.

According to the product information page, the Monowalker was tested in the Alps, and none of the trails there were a problem for the trailer. When you get into steeper terrain, it quickly converts into a backpack and can be thrown on your shoulders to allow for easier scrambling and climbing. Allegedly it takes less than five minutes to set up, but can allow you to carry heavier loads over further distances with less effort.

This handy little gadget won't come cheap though. It is available for about USD $1000. If Santa is going to put one under your tree this holiday season, you had better have been good all year long.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Ten Biggest and Best Jumps of All Time

Okay, so it's a bit of a slow news day on a Friday before the holiday season really kicks into gear. So to wake you up, I present the video below, which comes our way courtesy of Adventure World Magazine and my friends at the Aussie adventure mag Outer Edge.

The video is the Top 10 Bigget and Best Jumps Ever, and it crosses disciplinary lines without regard. You'll see ski jumps, BASE jumps, motorcycle jumps, and so much more. You'll even see some dude jump out of an airplane without a parachute. Crazy stuff, but kind of fun too.

The First Descent of the Huallaga River in Peru

The Kayak Telluride team recently went to Peru, where they made the first Descent of the Rio Huallaga, which was the last major tributary of the Amazon that had yet to be navigated. What they found there was plenty of whitewater to run and unexplored river to float. Check out some great footage from their adventure in the video below.

Exploring by kayaking on a river that hasn't been run before has to be a fantastic experience.

Best Hike's Top Ten Hiking Towns Worldwide: #10 and #9 Revealed

My friend Rick McCharles, the editor of the Best Hike Blog, has started another one of his great top ten countdowns to end the year. This year, that list is his picks for the Top 10 Hiking Towns Worldwide, and if anyone knows hiking towns, it's Rick. He hikes everywhere, and I do mean everywhere, in his never ending pursuit of the perfect trail.

To earn a spot on Rick's top ten list, a hiking town needs to meet a few criteria. For instance, it needs to be located close to a major trailhead of course and it has to have a good gear shop or three to provide last minute provisions before you set out. It should also have a unique and memorable place to stay, and a great restaurant doesn't hurt the cause either.

With that in mind, Rick has already announced his first two selections that meet that description. Coming in at number 10 on his list is Moab, Utah which is located in the eastern portion of that state, not far from the Canyonlands. Rick describes Moab as a "fantastic jumping off point for outdoor adventure" and lauds it not only for its great trails, but also great rock climbing and mountain biking opportunities.

Joining Moab on the list at number 9 is Zermatt, Switzerland, which comes as no surprise to the adventure travel crowd. Zermatt sits in the shadow of the Matterhorn, perhaps the most iconic peak in all the Alps. It is all one end of the famous Haute Route, which is a spectacular trek that leads to Chamonix, France. Rick says there are trails all over the Alps, and this is one of the best places to explore them, just don't let the resort atmosphere fool you and, as he says, "Ignore the posturing Eurotrash"

Can't wait to see what town comes in at number 8!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Saluting Roald Amundsen

Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of Roald Amundsen, and his team, becoming the first men to reach the South Pole. Back in 1911, the Norwegian explorer was locked in a heated battle with other explorers, who were also looking to declare themselves the winner in this race, which at the time was viewed as a matter of national pride. Amundsen won that race because he elected to use sled dogs to reach the Pole, edging out rival Robert Falcon Scott by just a few weeks.

The journey to 90ºS was a tough one. The team faced -70ºF temperatures, ranging blizzards, and low supplies. Yet they persevered, and like true explorers of the time, planted their flag in the name of Norway. A dejected Scott would later find that flag upon his arrival to the Pole, which surely was the start of his downward spiral that ultimately led to his demise.

But Amundsen survived his trek to the South Pole and went on to become the first man to reach both the North and South Pole as well. He also was the first to complete a crossing of the Northwest Passage, adding another milestone to his cold weather adventures, and cementing his status as the greatest polar explorer of all time.

In 1928, Amundsen disappeared somewhere over the Arctic Ocean, when he was helping to conduct a rescue mission of other missing polar explorers. I have no evidence to back up my theory, but my guess is that that was exactly the way he would have liked to have gone.

So, on this date, I want to salute Roald Amundsen. One of the greatest explorers of all time.

The Antarctic Ice Marathon and 100km Ultra Race

In my Antarctic update that I posted earlier today I briefly mentioned that the 2010 Antarctic Ice Marathon took place today way down south on the frozen continent. Reportedly there were 40 competitors from 19 different countries taking part in the event, which saw them running a full 26.2 miles near the Union Glacier base. In preparation for the run, large trucks smoothed out a course, and competitors ran two laps on that course, which was mostly made up of hard packed snow.

The official website for the race has posted the results with Bernardo Fonseca of Brazil claiming the overall win with a time of 4 hours, 20 minutes, 31 seconds. Marc de Keyser of Belgium was second in the men's category, four minutes back, and Steve Hibbs of the U.S. was third, 26 minutes off the pace. In the Women's group the win went to Clare Apps of the UK, with a time of 4 hours, 47 minutes and 37 seconds. Catherine Due of Denmark was second at 5:34:38 and American Sarah Oliphant was third, crossing the finish line with a time of 6:32:48.

The fun isn't over just yet however, as tomorrow will be the 100km (62.1 mile) Ultra-marathon, which has a smaller field of competitors who are willing to endure the Antarctic cold for hours on end, just to run an ultra on that continent. As the race website says, this opens up the opportunity for a "Seven Continents Club" of ultra-runners who have completed an epic race on every continent.

Seems like a great event for cold weather competitors. Not sure I'd like to go all the way down south just to run a marathon, let alone an ultra, but seems like as good an excuse as any to visit Antarctica. But really, I don't need an excuse. I just want to go. :)

National Geographic Announces Photo Contest Winners

Each year, National Geographic holds a photography contest that spotlights some of the best images taken over the previous 12 months. The images are usually quite spectacular and worthy of the Nat Geo legacy, not to mention having the ability to make other aspiring photographers, like myself, quite envious.

The 2010 award winners have been announced, and as usual, the photos are fantastic. You can check them all out on the contest page, which can be found by clicking here. There are three galleries to browse through, including Nature, People, and Places, and each of those shows weekly winners as well as the overall winner for the category.

The Grand Prize Winner is shown on the contest's main page. The image was taken by Aaron Lim Boon Teck, who captured an image of a trekking group on the trail in Indonesia, while a volcano erupts in the background. It really is a fantastic shot, with subtle colors and shadows that were shot at just the right time.

The other images are all great as well, and each of them reminds us that not only is it important to have a good eye and technical knowledge of your equipment, but a healthy dose of luck as well. It seems you have to be in just the right spot at the right time to get that perfect photo.

Antarctica 2010: 84ºS For Chris, Fuchs Team Back At Union Glacier

It has been a few days since I posted an update on the events taking place in the Antarctic, and while we're all busy preparing for the holidays ahead, the explorers are still concentrating on the task at hand, which is namely heading staying on course and heading south.

Chris Foot has been doing a very good job of that so far, as he continues to make good progress towards the Pole. He is now 21 days into his march, and is topping 16 nautical miles per day. As a result, yesterday he went over the 84ºS mark, which was another milestone on the journey. In his latest audio dispatch, Chris says the weather has been good the past few days, although temperatures are on the cool side, but he is happy with the way things are going for the most part. You'll recall that Foot is hoping to complete the first trip to the Pole and then back again to Hercules Inlet, completely solo and unsupported.

Willem ter Horst and guide Hannah McKeand are also picking up speed as they head south. They knocked off more than 15nm yesterday in their best day so far. The two took turns leading the expedition after Willem's ski bindings started to give him trouble. Turns out, they weren't damaged however, and he was able to continue on skis on a nearly perfect day in Antarctica. With the weather cooperating, the duo hopes to keep making solid progress towards the Pole, although right now they're more focused on their next supply drop and rest day, which is still about another 90 miles away.

The group of teachers that are part of the Fuchs Foundation who have been in the Antarctic for the past few weeks conducting research and experiments are now back at the Union Glacier base, where they'll soon be making their way back to Punta Arenas, and eventually home. They kept themselves busy by manning a checkpoint for the Antarctic Ice Marathon, which is currently underway at the bottom of the world. It seems that this team has really been enjoying their time in the Antarctic.

The Moon-Regan Transantarctic Expedition may have completed their crossing of the continent, but the team is still making its way back to Union Glacier, where they'll be picked up by ALE and given a lift back to Argentina. Reading their blog, it seems that the boys will be happy to be back in civilization, and get a break from one another, as three-weeks out on the ice has started to take its toll, as evidenced by a recent spat between two of the drivers of the support vehicles over which direction to go. It seems like tempers are a bit short after spending many, many hours huddled inside their trucks the past few weeks.

Finally, Alan Arnette is back in Colorado, and will no doubt be sharing insights from his Vinson climb soon. He posted this thoughtful piece to his blog a few days back, remarking on how much he enjoyed his stay in Antarctica, where he completed the first of his Seven Summits climbs by topping otu on Mt. Vinson. He also shared the YouTube video below, which does a great job of showing us all what the Union Glacier base is really like.

Outside's Top Ten Adventure Stories For 2010

Yesterday we had an interesting little story on the Outside Blog that listed the Five Greatest Adventure Hoaxes of All Time. Today, they follow that up with their selection for the ten biggest stories in adventure for 2010.

Unlike the list of hoaxes, I won't give them all away here, but suffice as to say, you can predict what a number of those stories will be. Amongst the big adventure news items that made the cut were Alex Honnold's various climbing efforts, which included a new speed record on a couple of back-to-back climbs on El Cap, amongst other things. The continuing battle with performance enhancing drugs in the world of competitive cycling also gets a mention, as does the young kids who lit up climbing the world, like Jordan Romero, who topped out on Everest at the age of 13. Of course, my favorite story of the year, Ed Stafford's completion of his Source-to-Sea trek along the length of the Amazon, also gets a nod.

The top two stories on Outside's list don't rank as high with me simply because I don't follow surfing all that closely. I know in that world they are big stories, but I felt there were others that deserved higher mention, such as Roz Savage's completion of her solo row across the Pacific or Eric Larsen visiting all three "Poles' in a single year. Of course, that's what makes these lists so interesting, is that they are also highly subjective.

What makes your list of the top Adventure Stories for 2010?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Even More BASE jumping Fun Caught On Video (With A Rockin' Soundtrack!)

Our friend Steve Casimiro over at the Adventure Journal posted another beautiful video today, this time perfectly blending spectacular shots of those daring young men (and women!) flying through the sky in their wingsuits err... BASE jumping chutes. The video is made all the better by a great soundtrack, courtesy of Boards of Canada, which just sets the mood so very well.

A real breathtaking video in every way. Enjoy!

Last Walk Around Mirror Lake - Boom Bip (Boards of Canada Remix) from FroschYankee on Vimeo.

The Greatest Adventure Hoaxes Of All Time

The Outside Blog has a great entry today that takes a look at the Top 5 Adventure Hoaxes of All Time. The entry was written by Erin Beresini, who says she was inspired by Christian Stangl's fake summit of K2 from earlier this year. While Christian did come clean on his own, the perpetrators of these fakes weren't so forthcoming.

The list includes the great Mountain McKinley hoax of 1906, during which Frederick Cook claimed he, and fellow climber Ed Barrill summitted the mountain for the first time. Also making the list was Rosie Ruiz's Boston Marathon win and Jennifer Figge's false claims of swimming across the Atlantic Ocean. Rounding out the list are Cesare Maestri's claims of climbing Cerro Torre in Patagonia and Donal Crowhurst's attempt to win a round the world sailing race back in in 1968 that ended in his own death.

To get the true gist of the stories, you'll have to read the full post, but my short summary above gives you the big picture. Is Outside missing any other big ones? What would you add to the list?

Thule Adventure Team Wins Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge Again!

The 2010 edition of the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge came to an end today just like the last three versions of the race. The New Zealand team Thule Adventure crossed the finish line ahead of the pack, claiming their fourth straight victory in the event, which has held a place on the December calendar for the past few years, marking an end to the adventure racing season on an annual basis.

Thule Adventure is captained by Richard Ussher who is joined by wife Elina, as well as Nathan Fa'avae and Marcel Hagener. The team completed the final kayaking leg, which was shortened due to high winds and rough seas, in just 3 hours, 17 minutes, 41 seconds. They came across the finish line more than an hour ahead of their closest competitor and won each of the nine stages throughout the week of racing. This was also their largest margin of victory ever in the ADAC, which helped to underscore their dominance in this race.

The second place spot went to Thule Adventure/Europe and third place was claimed by Wenger SUI-GER, both of which ran a very tough, competitive race, but were never much of a threat to the overall winners.

With those results in, another edition of the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge comes to close, bringing a curtain down on the 2010 AR season, which to me seemed like a great bounce back year for the sport, which has been hampered by the economic slump that we've all been in for the past few years. 2011 looks to be a great year for adventure racing though, so expect plenty of coverage on some great events in the months to come.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Martina Navratilova Abandons Kili Climb Due To Altitude Sickness

Last week I wrote a story about tennis legend Martina Navratilova, who was attempting to climb Kilimanjaro for the Laureus Sports For Good Foundation. At the time, she was just about to embark on her climb, calling it "just a basic hike." Turns out, she got more than she bargained for, as she had to be assisted from the mountain and spent some time in a Nairobi hospital recovering.

According to this story, Navratilova reached as high as 4511 meters (14,800 ft.) on the 5894 meter (19,340 ft.) mountain before she turned back. Apparently, fluid had begun to collect in her lungs, and she was showing all the classic signs of altitude sickness. On Thursday of last week she abandoned her climb and was assisted down the mountain by porters, who took her to a nearby hospital before she was transferred to another in Nairobi where she spent three days recovering.

Navratilova is considered one of the greatest female athletes of all time and lives at altitude in Aspen, Colorado. But she had never been higher than 12,000 feet before this climb, and we all know that altitude can doe weird things to the body. It seems that that is the case here. No matter how fit and well trained you are, altitude is the great equalizer and can bring anyone down.

Fortunately, Navratilova is recovering just fine, and is on her way home. She's disappointed that she didn't complete the climb, as it was to raise funds for Laureus, but she now has a healthy respect for mountaineering, and Kilimanjaro in general.

Just a basic trek indeed!

Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge Update: Course Changes!

As I mentioned last week, the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge is currently underway in the United Arab Emirates, with 50 coed teams of four competing against one another on six-day, four-stage, race that has been a challenge since they hit the starting line last Friday.

Today, with 48 teams still racing, that level of challenge increased greatly thanks to high winds and rough seas, which forced a cancellation of a planned sea kayaking leg. That leg was suppose to be a major part of the final day of the race, but now the teams will compete on a different paddle – a sprint sea-kayak leg that will see them doing laps around the protected Lulu Island, which sits just off the coast.

Three-time defending champs Thule Adventure Team look like they are about to claim another victory. The team, led by adventure racing stalwart Richard Ussher, have been strong all week long, and were the first to come off the desert orienteering stage, which was 116km (72 miles) in length and ran through the Empty Quarter of the Rab al Khali Desert. This remote, and very desolate region, has sprawling sand dunes as much as 45-stories in height, and is roughly the size of France, Holland, and Belgium combined. Throw in hot temperatures and a blistering sun, and you get a desert trek designed to sap the remaining strength from the legs of the athletes.

With the Kiwis of Thule Adventure Team squarely in first place, the race is on for the second two podium spots. Currently in second is Thule Adventure Team/Europe with Wenger SUI-GER in third. The teams are currently resting and prepping for tomorrow's big finish, which will also mark the end of a fantastic year of adventure racing in general.

I'll post the final results when we have them.

BASE Jumping Antarctica

With the Antarctic season in full swing, we all know there are plenty of adventures underway at the bottom of the world. One of those took place last week when Russian climber and BASE jumper Valery Rozov climbed up the 2931 meter (9616 ft.) Mt. Ulvetanna in -22ºF temperatures, just so he could jump off the top in his wingsuit and glide back to base camp. The video below captures all the fun, which includes some rather technical rock climbing in very cold conditions.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hood To Coast Movie Comes 1-11-11

Way back in August I wrote about the Hood To Coast Relay, which is a race that begins 6000 feet up Mt. Hood in Oregon and runs 197-miles to the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Each year, 12,000 participants take part in the event, which is billed as "the World's Largest Relay Race."

At the time that I posted on the run, I noted that a film was in the works as well. That film is now nearing completion and is set to make it's debut on 1-11-11 (January 11, 2011). You can find more about the film at and checkout the great trailer for it below. Looks great!

Hood To Coast Movie Trailer from HoodToCoastMovie on Vimeo.

ExWeb Strips Oh Eun-Sun of Status As First Woman To Climb 8000m Peaks

Explorers Web has made the move to strip Korean climber Oh Eun-Sun of the status as the first woman to climb all 14 of the 8000 meter peaks due to the continued dispute over whether or not she actually reached the summit of Kangchenjunga in 2009.

As you probably recall, Miss Oh reached the top of Annapurna this past spring, which was suppose to be her final peak before setting the mark as the first female to scale all the big mountains. Spanish climber Edurne Pasaban topped out on Shisha Pangma a few weeks later, becoming the second woman to accomplish that feat. Or so we all thought. Controversy followed when Edurne issued a protest of Oh's Kangchenjunga summit after several Sherpas stepped forward to claim that the Korean expedition didn't reach the summit. There were also no photos of Miss Oh on the summit either, just some non-discript rock on the mountain.

Miss Oh has continued to claim that she did indeed reach the summit of Kangchenjunga, so the whole affair turned into a "she said, she said" affair. For the most part, the controversy simmered own, with even Edurne seemingly admitting that Oh had claimed the record. For her part, Elizabeth Hawley, the grand dame of Himalayan record keeping, has marked Oh's Kangchenjunga summit as "disputed" as well, not seeing enough evidence to weigh either direction. But as the days wore on, the mountaineering community came to accept the fact that Korean climber was the first to join the elite ranks of 8000-meter summitteers.

Last week, ExWeb made the move to strip her of that crown and hand it over to Edurne. I haven't read the complete report, as it is behind their new pay wall and not accessible to the general public, but it's pretty easy to get the gist of their argument. They feel the evidence against Miss Oh is strong enough to justify the move and the ExWeb editors feel that she never officially reached the top of the 8,586 m (28,169 ft) Kangchenjunga.

Has anyone bothered to spring for the ExWeb Subscription yet? Have you read the article? Thoughts on stripping Eun-Sun of the crown and giving it to Pasaban? Does anyone see this as the "official" view?

Antarctica 2010: Weather Woes Continue

It was another challenging weekend in the Antarctic with teams facing long marches in bad weather once again. The weather was so bad in fact that it delayed the dropping of resupply caches for a couple of teams, who were reduced to emergency rations for a time.

One of those teams was the pairing of Willem ter Horst and Hannah McKeand, who picked up their third degree South today. Willem reports that the weather has improved ever so slightly, and that today wasn't a total whiteout, but blowing snow and high winds still made for a challenging day. Late in the day on Friday, the pair were down to their emergency rations, but on Saturday the skies cleared just long enough for a food and fuel drop that gave them the much needed relief that they hoped for. They're now well passed 83ºS and picking up speed, knocking off about 14 nautical miles per day.

While the Indian Army Team continues to avoid posting updates to their site, ExWeb is reporting that they were waiting at 82ºS for their first supply drop as well. This runs counter to their original plan, which was to go unassisted, but it looks like they received new goodies over the weekend as well.

Chris Foot also reported tough whiteout conditions over the weekend, only to find a sunny day with blue skies overhead yesterday. He is picking up speed as well, having crossed over the 15nm per day barrier, and today he plans to drop another 10kg cache for his return trip from the South Pole. That will lessen the weight on his sledge considerably, and should help him pick up speed too. He does report that the terrain is changing for the worse however, and thinks things could be more challenging in the days ahead. He also notes that while he continues to lose weight, his 6000+ calories per day is helping to slow that process.

Finally, a couple of expeditions are over, and the teams are on their way home. For instance, the Moon-Regan Transantarctic Expedition completed their crossing of the continent last week, and are now preparing to head back home, mission accomplished. Alan Arnette is also done on Vinson and according to his most recent blog post, he is waiting to get picked up and begin the long journey home as well. That journey includes hopping a flight back to Union Glacier aboard a Twin Otters aircraft. From there, he'll wait for the big Illusyin to shuttle him back to Punta Arenas with all of his gear, then finally the long flight home to the States. All of that is contingent, like all things in Antarctica, on the weather, which has been unpredictable to say the least.

There will be more climbers headed to Vinson over the next few weeks as another round of expeditions commence. Plenty of climbers will take the opportunity to nab the highest peak on the continent while the seasonal window is open, so I'm sure we'll hear about a rash of summits leading into January.

The big expedition to watch continues to be Chris Foot's. His attempt to go to the Pole and back again is still a major challenge, with weather, powdery snow, and supplies all impacting his final outcome. Should definitely be interesting to watch in the weeks ahead.

Thoughts on 127 Hours

So, I finally had a chance to catch 127 Hours yesterday, which is of course the film by Academy Award winning directory  Danny Boyle that portrays the events that took place when hiker Aron Ralston had his arm pinned beneath a boulder and eventually had to amputate part of it himself in order to escape. Most of you already know the story, and heck, many of you have probably already seen the film, but I've been asked for my opinion, and it has taken me a bit of time to get around to seeing it, mostly because I've been rather busy of late.

I'll start off by saying, that I liked the film, but I wasn't blown away by it. I think that partly comes from knowing the story and the inevitable outcome of the events portrayed in. I will say that James Franco, who places Ralston, does an excellent job with the role, and lives up to the hype going in. Also, Boyle did some interesting and very creative things while making the film that gave you unique perspectives on what what was happen. This includes everything form quick-flash dream like sequences that give us insight into what was going through Ralston's mind while trapped in that canyon, to the unusual perspective of seeing water, not to mention other stuff, flowing down the tube from a hydration bladder. The filmmaking was top notch and worthy of the director for sure.

Franco's performance is an impressive one when you consider the fact that he is on screen alone for most of the film. He is a likable guy and his charming personality shines through in the early moments of the film, but as the tension mounts, and he comes to the realization that he is going to die alone, trapped under that rock, his desperation sets in too. I can see why he is getting Oscar buzz for his performance, as his emotions run the gamut, and he does a great job of bringing Ralston alive on screen.

The much talked about scene where the amputation actually takes place is definitely a challenge to watch, but I personally found the segment before hand, when Ralston was forced to break the bones in his arm, more cringe worthy. Boyle does an amazing job of building tension during the scene, and the use of music to build that tension is superb. At the crucial moment that Ralston needs to cut a tendon draws near, the music amps up with a nerve grating sound that helps to hammer home the pain that he is feeling in that  moment. It's tough to describe, but you'll know it when you hear it.

For me, the true star of the film was the scenery. The amazing Canyonlands setting of Utah looks fantastic in the movie, and the cinematography is top notch throughout. Once again, Boyle does some interesting things to show off the those landscapes, and outdoor enthusiasts will no doubt want to visit the place for themselves. The scenery is so fantastic looking in fact that it is almost worth the price of admission alone.

As I said in the beginning, I liked the film but didn't love it. It is well crafted and definitely worth seeing, but I came out of it wanting to know more about what followed after the events. We do witness Ralston's stirring rescue after he escapes the canyon, and we get a brief update about his status before the credits roll, but other than that, it's all about his struggle to get free, with little to follow. Still, for fans of Ralston's story, the film is a must see.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Climbing (and Descending) The Passo dello Stelvio on a Breakless Fixie

The Passo dello Stelvio is one of the highest paved mountain passes in all of Europe. Located in the Italian Alps, it is a popular challenge for cyclists to climb, and then fly down the 2770 meter (9088 feet) route. This morning, the Adventure Journal posted a fantastic video of rider Patrick Seabase taking on the pass and in grand style. Seabase went up, and down, the mountain on a fixed gear bike that didn't have any breaks. Quite an accomplishment really, and while watching the video, you can almost feel your legs muscles aching on the climb, and your heart pounding on the descent. Oh, and the scenery is pretty spectacular too! Enjoy!

SEABASE vs STELVIO from YUHZIMI Ltd. on Vimeo.

The Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge Is Underway!

The fourth edition off the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge got underway today, with 50 coed teams setting off on a six day, stage based adventure race that will see them running, biking, paddling, and navigating their way through a course that was undergoing tweaks and adjustments right up to the start of the race.

As of this writing, the first stage is still underway, with the lead teams currently on the final run of the day. The Prologue was won by the Kiwi team of Thule Adventure, which consists of defending champs Richard and Elina Ussher, Marcel Hagener, and AR legend Nathan Fa'avae. That same team currently leads the race out on the course, with Thule Adventure Team/Europe running in second place. Team Netcompetence Training Portals/Explore holding down the third spot.

Over the course of the next few days, the teams will be racing stages of various lengths and disciplines. For example, tomorrow they'll take on a 20km (12.4 mile) mountain bike stage before moving into a mountaineering/orienteering section that will incorporate a ropes course as well. The stages that follow wiill be longer and offer more mountain biking, orienteering, paddling, and of course trekking.

For the past few years the ADAC has held down the final spot on the year's adventure racing calendar. It seems the race is off to a great start again this year, and will close out 2010 in grand fashion.

Antarctica 2010: More Vinson Summits

Yesterday I posted a note on Alan Arnette's successful summit of Mt. Vinson in Antarctica. Alan reported great weather and fantastic conditions on the mountain, which allowed him, and plenty of other climbers, to make their summit bids. Today, ExWeb has a full report on the other teams climbing in Antarctica.

According to the post, the winds died down enough for teams to head to the summit, but it was extremely cold up there. ExWeb says temperatures were around -30ºF when the climbers approached the top. Amongst the teams that stood on the highest point on the continent were Latitude Expeditions, who were the first to top out, International Mountain Guides, the 7 Summits Club,  Adventure Consultants, and Alpine Ascents.

While Vinson doesn't ever get as crowded as say, Everest, that is still a healthy stream of climbers going up at the same time. It sounds like everyone had plenty of company at the summit, and despite the cold, they all report great weather for their climbs.

With this first round of summits out of the way, things will calm down a bit, but expect a steady stream of climbs on the mountain, and surrounding peaks as well, over the next few weeks. Vinson is not a very technical mountain to climb, but the logistics are a challenge, and the weather can be awful. Still, it is one of the Seven Summits, so it is a much coveted peak to have on the resume.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Antarctic 2010: Alan Summits Vinson!

As predicted, the weather window in Antarctica was good enough to allow climbers access to the summit of Mt. Vinson today, with Alan Arnette being one of them. A short time ago, Alan sent an audio dispatch back to his blog, saying he was coming to us "From the top of the World, at the bottom of the World."

In his dispatch, Alan says that the climb was a very good one, and that he captured plenty of great photos along the way. Conditions were perfect, with crystal clear skies, and no winds, which made for cold conditions, but otherwise a spectacular ascent with few problems.

This is, of course, the first of Alan's Seven Summits for Alzheimer's climbs, which will see him attempting to knock off all the highest peaks on the seven continents in less than one year. His ultimate goal is to raise $1 million to for Alzheimer's research. It is mission accomplished on phase one of the project. Congratulations Alan!

The weather conditions in Antarctica haven't been great for everyone however. Chris Foot sent back an audio dispatch of his own saying that he battled high winds all day, which made for challenging conditions throughout his day on the skis. He described it as a "very, very tough day" in winds of 45+ knots (50+ mph). Despite that, he still made decent progress.

Willem ter Horst reports similar conditions today as well, although it didn't effect him, and his guide Hannah McKeand, much, as it was a designated rest day today. Reports say that clouds and snow will move in over the next few days, but conditions should improve on the weekend. The duo were expecting a supply drop today as well, although they are well supplied should they need to continue for a few more days yet.

The Fuchs Foundation team are also being tormented by the wind, especially in the evenings when they try to sleep. They have been camped in the same spot for several days now, and while the skies are clear and bright, the wind has made it impossible to move during the day, and hard to sleep at night. They intend to move on to their next destination once the wind allows them to stand up-right and move with their sledges.

Details are a bit on the sketchy side at the moment, but it seems that the Moon-Regan Transantractic Expedition has achieved their goal and successfully crossed the entire continent of Antarctica. Their latest blog post talks about poor weather and other conditions, but doesn't mention the crossing yet, although their front page has declared the expedition complete. This is the team that was making the journey in vehicles, including a snow buggy powered by bio-fuels. They faced a number of challenges along the way, including mechanical breakdowns, but they have completed their final destination.

Congrats to the entire team for their accomplishment as well!

More from the frozen continent soon!