Mountaineers are tough but throw in winter conditions and the hardy crowd shrinks to almost none. The ongoing attempts are therefore worth special attention: one is alone on Denali, two handfuls are chilling in Pakistan.
Over at Antarctica, a Norwegian solo speed skier is shattering all previous records. An ExWeb exclusive in the trekking section added yet another controversy to The Long Walk tale.
Check out all the interviews, other stories, and finally the 2010 ExplorersWeb award winners!
Winter Denali: Lonnie Dupre is off Having Mount McKinley vistas all to himself, and the crevasses, after four days American Lonnie Dupre is already approaching the base of the face on the West Buttress route. High up on north America’s tallest peak, climbed in winter very few times before, Lonnie kicked off his solo alpine style attempt on January 7.
Winter Karakoram: Solo Russian out of Nanga; Broad and GII teams in frigid BC; GI according to plan minus two Pounded by snow and the big freeze, northern Europe and US east coast are not alone. Reaching Broad Peak BC on Monday, even the Polish winter veterans found the cold there hard to believe. In similar conditions, Simone, Denis and Cory hit Gasherbrum II’s base on the same day. The solo Russian climber surrendered to Nanga Parbat winter already in the first round so the question is: will the first Karakoram 8000er winter summit become a reality this season? Check out ExWeb’s interviews with Simone Moro and Arthur Hajzer about what’s ahead. Gerfried Göschl in turn told ExplorersWeb that losing Roberto Rojo and Don Bowie was hard on logistics but that he, Louis and Alex are still sticking to their G1 plans.
Winter Karakoram 6000ers: Shimshal women Climbing coaches Shaheen Baig and Qudrat Ali left on December 29 to attempt Mingligh Sar (6,050m) and Vulyoo Sar (6,030m) with nine female students of the Shimshal Mountaineering School.
Antarctic ski wrap-up: Hannah McKeand and Willem ter Horst reached the South Pole in 46 days and 8.4 hours. Aborting his return journey; Chris Foot arrived at the South Pole on January 5, 2011 after setting off at Hercules Inlet on November 25, 2010.
Flying over the ice, solo speed skier Christian Eide crossed 89 degrees on day 23; compare to previous solo record holders Hannah McKeand and Todd Carmichael who crossed 89 deg in 37 and 36 days respectively. What’s his secret? Polar Norwegians leave little to chance and work together in terms of gear, training and planning. Check out ExWeb’s interview with Lars Ebbesen about Eide’s strategy. And did you know that the strict polar rules at AdventureStats actually stem from Norwegian tradition? To stay clean in the record books, Christian – scheduled to arrive the pole within hours of this publishing (early Thursday) – even avoided cat tracks.
Sweet sixteen on Vinson – and Everest? Romanian Crina Popescu, 16, wants to become the youngest woman to climb the Seven Summits and Volcanic Seven Summits. Currently on Vinson at Antarctica in April she will attempt Everest (the last of her Seven Summits).
A message from the past on Carstensz Pyramid Speaking of the Seven Summits, in November Walter Laserer led a small team on Carstensz Pyramid via a new route up the peak’s north face. The approach demanded a rough jungle trip along the Kemabu river, but the climbers were rewarded with a sunny summit and the discovery of a message signed by pioneer Heinrich Harrer 48 years ago.
Another one for Everest 2011 Everest traverser and triple-summiteer David Tait is gearing up for yet another big E attempt, this time without supplementary oxygen. On the way, he also plans to forge a new variation route on Lhotse.
The Long Walk, did it ever happen? “The Long Walk” by Slavomir Rawicz inspired generations of readers since it was first published in 1956 but his story was later debunked. Instead, Witold Glinski showed up with an almost identical version and a movie leaning on his tale was recently released. Enters Leszek Gliniecki. Armed with archive documents, he told ExplorersWeb that at the time Glinski was supposed to be escaping Gulag he was in fact attending school with him. The situation begging the question if the Long Walk happened at all; Gliniecki pointed out that real courage should not be overshadowed by unsubstantiated tales and heroism should be earned.
Death Railway Expedition coming up Rachel and Luke are preparing a four-month-long expedition to follow, as close as possible, the 300km route the F Force were forced to march as Prisoners of War during WWII, on the infamous Death Railway in Thailand.
Biking Congo US and UK authorities advice against it: violence, kidnappings and general lawlessness make Congo a bad travel destination – yet Helen Lloyd just cycled right through it.
Interview: Kevin Vallely and Ray Zahab for Atacama sands ExWeb caught up with the Canadian ultra runners before their crossing of the Atacama Desert in Chile. The runners hope to cover over 1200 km of soft sand, parched salt flats and rough rock in a little over 2 weeks; carrying each day’s supplies in 12 kg back packs.
Two rowing teams out in the Atlantic shooting for a record Angela Madsen and her crew on the Big Blue ocean rowing catamaran (!) worked overtime to get ready for their Atlantic rowing record attempt; Matt Craughwell and his team on the more conventional mono hull Sara G got a head start from Morocco five days ago.
First unsupported round South Georgia kayak crew back home Norwegian kayakers Simen Havig-Gjelseth, Dag Marius Ammerud, Sigrid Henjum and Tormod Austring returned home after a truly memorable circumnavigation of South Georgia. They are the third expedition to manage the feat, and the first ever to do it unsupported.
Best of ExplorersWeb 2010 Awards:
Winner: Edurne Pasaban, 14x8000ers Skipping up the Pyrenees, as a child “I was extremely shy and quiet,” Edurne told ExplorersWeb. At age 14 nevertheless, she signed up for a rock climbing course hoping to find, “a super-sexy climbing teacher.” Somehow, choices like that would end up shaping her great Himalayan destiny and make her the winner of the 2010 Best of ExplorersWeb Awards.
2: Antarctica crossing Following the K2 tragedy, returning to life took more than a year for Cecilie Skog. She decided to find her closing on the very ice that had shaped her husband: Antarctica. In a world’s first she crossed the continent with American climber Ryan Waters, and Rolf Bae’s maps to guide them.
3: Himalaya helicopter rescues They saved 7 on Manaslu and on Annapurna, the Fishtail Air/Air Zermatt heroes went even higher. November 7 on Ama Dablam one of the pilot rescuers lost his own life while trying to save yet another mountaineer.
4: Mars Ocean Odyssey He didn’t go crazy, and the ship held up well. But Reid Stowe encountered another dilemma: who will make the new rules when astronauts actually go to space? His voyage a world record and the skipper a friend: the 1000-day Mars Ocean Odyssey became another addition to ExplorersWeb’s 2010 Hall of Fame.
5: Teen solo sail She wanted the world to know exactly what ‘little girls’ are capable of. Alone at sea for over 200 days, Jessica Watson brought buckets of courage, self reliance and honesty to the Spirit of Adventure in 2010.
6: Indian Ocean row Halfway out on his self-propelled journey around the world, Erden realized that his quest would not live up to his rules. What would you do? For Erden, it was back to square one. This is what led to the by far longest row yet over the Indian Ocean, and the 2010 award to global circumnavigator Erden Eruc.
7: Himalayan Knights If facts such as statistics, time and obituaries count for anything, then one human quest stands in a league of its own: the challenge to climb the tallest mountains on Earth — the fourteen 8000ers. Last spring two men entered the prestigious club: Portuguese Joao García and Polish Piotr Pustelnik.
8: North Pole circumnavigation A motley crew of young Russians on a battered motor-sailer ready for a killer summer cruise. Approaching from west; a tricked out trimaran carrying Norwegian and French polar/sailing adventure bigwigs. The stage was set for a race leading to a world’s first ocean voyage and a joint ExplorersWeb award.
Special mention Dan Darley and Amelia Russell; Ed Stafford; Valery Rozov; and Jean-Louis Etienne. With a note to some of the climbs that also contributed in an extraordinary way to the Spirit of Adventure in 2010.
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Filed under: Climbers, Expedition, Himalayas, Week-In-Review | Tagged: Artur Hajzer, Broad Peak, Climbers, Denis Urubko, Expedition, Gasherbrum II, Himalaya, mountaineering, Nanga Parbat, Nepal, Simone Moro, Travel, winter climber, Winter Denali, Winter Karakoram |