(By Tina Sjogren) All stories have a beginning and here is ours. MountEverest.net was set up in 1998, at the dawn of internet and early years of Everest commercial climbing. We had set foot on the mountain already in 1996, when Scott Fischer and Rob Hall were still alive. The year of Into Thin Air would take us on a journey lasting much longer than we had intended.
Everest would not let us leave. It kept us season after season, until we knew its every strength and weakness. It took four years until we were allowed on its top, graduating much more than a summit during the ascent.
They were also the early years of satellite and internet technology. No longer would explorers have to rely on editors’ goodwill to have their story told. Word was liberated to run straight from source to readers. We jumped on that wagon too, transmitting some of the first live dispatches from Everest, building WiFi on the mountain to make it happen.
Following our summit, we changed MountEverest.net from an early Everest expedition blog to a guide for others. “The Dream” kicked off a how-to series for climbers who wished, like us, to give the peak an independent shot. Soon, small news was added. AdventureStats went up, with simple facts to give credit were credit was due.
And then we skied to the Poles. And sailed the Atlantic Ocean. Years before we had crossed central Borneo and many years later we voyaged on the Amazon river with a motley crew of friends. One step had led to the other, guided not by men or pride but wander lust alone. When we reached the last edge, we looked up. There on the dark horizon, our dream of Space was drawn.
Meanwhile, MountEverest.net was added to. Our further explorations gave birth to the Oceans.net and ThePoles.com. Friends’ climbs helped set up K2Climb. Pythom explored independent Space travel. Soon the different websites had grown too wild and a unifying platform was needed. We took the leap and, alas, ExplorersWeb replaced them all.
All those years passed one by one, each a thread of unique shade weaving the blanket of our lives. ExWeb grew to hundreds of thousands of readers, up to a million when human nature was involved, such as in the case of David Sharp. And then we were not just Tom and Tina anymore. Skilled in-house journalists came on board: Angela bred by classic Basque mountaineering; Correne schooled by polar travels, Micke shaped by great walks around the world; Jon covering the Oceans mostly from a boat out at the Nordic sea. Each with their own version of English spelling, yes, but united by uncompromised knowledge of their field.
To ease the work load we tried guest writers but found that to gain respect with our community; exploration stories required skills vast beyond entertaining penmanship. To our waged in-house staff; volunteer contributors such as Karrar in Pakistan were therefore also selected strictly for their specialized knowledge in adventure and climbing. And so there is Brooke in Seattle, alone with the monumental task of keeping the different voices somewhat in line with American grammar as it was intended.
Somewhere along the way, the simple goal we once set up for MountEverest.net had escalated to a complicated and time consuming project. Giving due credit requires a job few mainstream media care to take on, and for good reason. Debunking false claims (not to mention those connected to your advertisers) requires unbribed devotion to the truth, in addition to a delicate and tedious investigative work spanning months, if not years.
Moreover, triumphs and disasters happen 24/7 in our world. Publishing daily news from extreme exploration is akin to covering a never-ending war. Now and then we see adventure blogs spring up with the ambition, all under-estimating the effort involved. In the long run we end up alone again, our news copied wildly by the once inspired.
ExplorersWeb has arrived at the top, yet much more is ahead. 19813 stories after the start-up in New York, ExWeb now must find its financial feet. Time has come to bring in more language editors, update AdventureStats, expand the in-house staff to keep up with an increasing amount of content, and build new technology to connect all the adventurers of our world, spreading their unique spirit, knowledge and ideas.
How do we do it without becoming pet reporters to advertisers and their sponsored athletes? We do it as we have come this far. With your help. 19813 free stories later, ExplorersWeb is today joining the trend among established media to charge for some content.
The dreamers who will not or cannot settle: there is usually only one of us in each small town but globally we make up a pretty big pack. All it takes to keep our story real are a few cents per day.
PayPal of credit card, choose your subscription plan of 3, 6 or 12 months (12 months give 3 months free). You’ll get added features to the usual world adventure news and a portion will go to Himalayan air rescues.
One more thing. Thank you!
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Filed under: Climbers, Equipment, Expedition, Himalayas, Travel Tagged: | Artur Hajzer, Baltoro, Broad Peak, Climbers, Expedition, Gasherbrum, K2, Karakoram, Krzysztof Wielicki, Nanga Parbat, Nepal, Pakistan, polski himalaizm zimowy, PZA, Travel, winter expedition