Himalaya 2011 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /5/ – Week in Review.

Not even last-man-standing Ben Saunders made it out to the edge of the Arctic ice from Canada this year. At least choppers have taken off for Borneo, on the Russian side of the North Pole.

Winter Karakoram climbing barely over (statistics are up) spring Himalaya has already kicked off with most teams arrived in Kathmandu and some hitting the trails. Lists of expeditions are up for Himalaya and summer Karakoram, along with a M&I special, winter Denali debrief, interview with Berserk’s Jarle, and inside Japan reports from Hiro and Yusuke.

Summit Air: New system for breathing oxygen high on Mount Everest Mountaineers who reach the South Col will be able to breathe oxygen pumped up the mountain. It was an April Fool’s hoax. You knew that.

2011 climbing season kick-off: Everest and Himalaya list of expeditions! Has the global recession affected commercial and independent climbing? Perhaps. Some commercial teams have cancelled projects, but there are at least around 60 teams headed to Himalaya this spring.

Karakoram list of Expeditions: preview of 2011 A preview of the upcoming Pakistan season brought lots of interesting stuff, such as Stangl returning for K2, a recent winter trio grabbing no less than three permits, Americans for Pumari Chhish East, and Japanese “Giri Giri Boys” to attempt Ultar II.

Alex Txikon from Islamabad: “We’re gonna finish what we started” Gerfried Göschl, Louis Rousseau and Alex Txikon are decided: “We are definitely trying again next year: same team, same route (conditions permitting), same time,” Alex Txikon told ExplorersWeb in a phone call from Pakistan.

Pakistan 2010 season’s end climbing statistics With all winter expeditions over, ExWeb got the statistics for last year’s climbing in Pakistan. Out of a total of 40 expeditions and 305 climbers there were 13 summits with a total of 56 summiteers.

Christine Feret and Artur Testov Winter Denali debrief Alone on the roof of America, the couple was stuck in a snow cave at 14800 ft for a week before retreat. Check their debrief and unique pictures.

Pete Poston, part M&I Everest special: Why Andrew Irvine Will Not Be Found in a Sleeping Bag! American researcher and climber Pete Poston is a long time contributor to ExplorersWeb. With another Everest season coming up, in a 2-part special Pete revisited The Mystery of Mallory and Irvine’s Fate. Poston’s clue contradicts the reported sighting by Xu Jing of the 1960 Chinese Expedition. The body must have been Irvine’s but what’s up with the bag?

Pete Poston editorial: The Politics of Mallory and Irvine Judging from the secrecy you’d think that finding Irvine and the camera on Everest is far more important than, say, discovering the God particle in Geneva. Fittingly, Pete Poston ended his M&I series in an editorial about the politics surrounding the search.

Hiro Takeuchi live from Tokyo: “Japan will rise again!” If anyone knows survival it’s Japanese Himalaya climber Hiro (Hirotaka) Takeuchi. He had just resumed his plan to become the first Japanese 14x8000er when destiny stroke again. “Luckily, my family and I are safe,” he told ExplorersWeb in a message he wants out there: Japan is going to make it.

Yusuke Hirai from Japan: M5 quake part of “the normal” these days There is a proud collection of foreign correspondents at ExplorersWeb such as Yusuke Hirai reporting from Japan. This time around though, Ysuke reported not on Japanese climbing but the quake, tsunami and radiation scare.

Missing in Kazakhstan update, Denis Urubko: “Outfitter messed up, please help the search” Last year Piotr Zwolinski and Michal Kacperski went missing on their way to climb Khan Tengri. New facts have recently been added to the case. Denis Urubko is critical of their outfitting agency and asks everyone to please help Kazakh climbers in their search for the Polish men.

Spiderman climbs Burj Khalifa in Dubai Last time ExplorersWeb spoke to Alain Robert, better know as “Spiderman” he was in jail for illegal climbing and slapped with a $1,500 fine. Last week he had better luck. In Dubai, Alain climbed Burj Khalifa, 828m, before hundreds of admiring onlookers. The climber reportedly even bagged the antenna at the top to the tune of kids below chanting “Spiderman”!

Word from Elbrus: Summits, Skiing, and Skydives A plane jack last year involving climbers, a bomb destroying a Gondola lift and three skiers shot dead – Mount Elbrus was recently reportedly closed. Word has arrived though that not only are summits being made, a skydive is in the works as well.

North Pole season kicked off at last No-go from Canada and delays from Russia. Even last man standing Ben Saunders finally had to abort the attempt from Canada to the North Pole, “there hasn’t been a window to land at Cape Discovery – my intended start point – so far this year, and there’s no sign of there being one any time soon,” he wrote. But March 21 helis lifted from Russia at least to set up the Borneo Base. As usual, there are celebrities in the crowd. This time Prince Harry will walk a few days with “the wounded” team before flying back to England for bro William’s wedding.

McNair-Landry kids to kite-ski Northwest Passage, and summer NWP and Arctic sea expeditions Retracing the route sailed by Amundsen, young adventure siblings Eric and Sarah McNair-Landry started their 3000 km kite-ski, sledge-hauling expedition through the Northwest Passage on March 19 from Tuktoyaktuk by the mouth of Canada’s McKenzie River on the Arctic Sea. Summer teams plan NWP sail crossing, Geographic North Pole sail crossing, Ellesmere circumnavigation, and row to 1996 Magnetic NP – find them all at ExplorersWeb.

Greenland – Ellesmere update: Team turning back, with limited food and water Broken sea ice prevented George Sichelschmidt and Ondrej Kotas from crossing over to Ellesmere Island. A bigger problem was their broken stoves that left them no choice as to melt water on their bodies and eat only their limited snacks the past 10 days. Their planned 60-day trip has been cut short by 20 days.

Berserk tragedy: Interview with Skipper Jarle Andhøy His crew vanished in the Ross Sea in February, Expedition leader Jarle Andhøy told ExplorersWeb in an interview that he plans to return to the area for a flower ceremony.

Interview: The old man and the Vertical Sailing 76 years old Bob Shepton follows in Bill Tillmans wake by combining his two passions – and doesn’t let age stop him. The sailor/climber has done six Greenland expeditions and brought a bunch of climbers up the big walls last summer. ExWeb caught up with superman-grandpa for an interview.

ExWeb interview with Eric Philips, “I look back at my first polar expedition and think how beautifully antiquated it was” He’ll haul loads of butter on his kayak-sled, Philips told ExWeb about the upcoming trip, guiding Pat Farmer on the polar sections of his “run” from the Geographic North Pole to the Geographic South Pole.

Julian’s stroll across Africa At sunrise on April 30, Julian Monroe Fisher will start walking west. He’ll walk from the Indian Ocean on the Mozambique coast to the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of Angola. Julian spoke to ExWeb about what lies ahead.

Human power circumnavigation update: Kieffer and Bushby Both Dimitri Kieffer and Karl Bushby are racing against the time restriction of their 90-day Russian visas. Temperatures are getting warmer, which means bears will be coming out of hibernation and icy rivers en route will be melting.

Ray Zahab, Hannah McKeand and i2P Youth to run Bolivia’s salt flats Salar de Uyuni is covered with a crust of salt up to 10m thick. Below the crust lies a lake composed of water, salt, magnesium and over half the world’s lithium reserves! Ray Zahab will lead Hannah McKeand, other adventurers and a bunch of kids on a 255km, 7day run across the valuable lake.

Sarah’s 20.000-mile journey In 2009 Sarah Outen became the first woman to row across the Indian Ocean from Australia to Mauritius single-handed, unsupported and at only 24 years old; the youngest. After 124 days without seeing a soul she arrived skinny and sore, but – except for forgetting to bring a hairbrush and a plankton net- there were no regrets, she said. The feat landed her an ExWeb award and last week it was time again. Sarah left London Bridge on April 1st and will have covered 20.000 miles before she sees it again.

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