Summits, rescues, controversies and politics in remote Himalaya. Antarctica anniversary kicking off with side-by-side now-and-then dispatches. Tech news from the edge, interviews, and great men lost. The past weeks have been unusually busy at ExplorersWeb. Here go the main headlines:
The one is gone: Walter Bonatti passes Lies matter because they have consequences and he never forgot neither forgave. The Italian climber lived true to his own standards and the world climbing community lost its ultimate reference for excellence when Walter Bonatti passed at the age of 81.
Stay hungry, stay foolish: We said goodbye to Steve Jobs.
The youngest member in Col Hunt’s 1953 Everest team, two years later the young Brit summited Kangchen after which he moved on to gas and oil exploration. Kangchenjunga pioneer George Band passed at 82 years old.
An earthquake hit northeastern India, Nepal and Tibet and a tourist plane crashed outside Kathmandu killing 19 people. The 8000er climbing season was slow to start and then almost over in a week. Here some of the highlights:
Makalu summits and hairy descent Shortly after a snow storm and with no one else around Polish climbers Adam Bielecki, Tomasz Wolfart and winter veteran Artur Hajzer bagged Makalu. Coming down, exhaustion caught up with the men and a rescue alert was issued by the team doc. In the end the climbers managed to reach lower camps on their own in what surely was an epic descent.
Summits and disappearances in Cho Oyu twilight zone Cho Oyu sported a number of summits this fall – including making Korean Jae-Soo Kim legal at last in the first success of the season – but also at least one fatality. Climbers said a supposedly Czech mountaineer was spotted hanging lifeless on the ropes and another was probably dead above. Nobody knew details or names and no outfit neither official CTMA acknowledged losses.
A successful rescue took place on Cho Oyu after a Spaniard was reported in bad shape high up following a summit push. The independent mountaineer was brought down by K2 Magic Line climber Jordi Tosas.
A large number of climbers summited Manaslu including Antarctica world record pair Ryan Waters and K2/Everest summiteer Cecilie Skog. Ticking off no 26 on Manaslu in his quest to summit the 14x8000ers twice: “8000er climbing is getting harder and harder for me,” sighed Juanito Oiarzabal who needed some help down. A Kiwi team hopes for a Manaslu speedfly descent possibly next week.
Partial success on Shishapangma where a number of teams topped out Shisha central (not main). Two SummitClimb mountaineers will give the peak a try next.
He bagged all 14, skied to both poles, and opened a new route on Everest a few years ago. Korean Young-Seok Park is expected in BC around October 8 to attempt a new line on the dangerous Annapurna.
K2 interview: “King of the Shoulder” Fabrizio Zangrilli Fabrizio knows the Cesen so well he could climb it in his sleep. ExWeb caught up with the climber after his latest expedition for a chat and plenty of veteran K2 knowledge.
ExWeb interview: Simone Moro on rumors about Himalaya rescue commissions, and more Last spring posts on Lonely Planet stated that Everest trekking guides get commission from helicopter operators to push rescue jobs their way. We checked in with Italian climber and Fishtail rescuer Simone Moro for comment.
ExplorersWeb target of DDoS attack ExplorersWeb was target of a three-days-long denial of service attack culminating on 9/11. Origin was traced to China while the poll was spammed from Russia.
Speaking of China, climbers crossing in from Nepal were divided in their impressions from the “new Tibet.” A Colombian reported cushy hotels; a Spaniard saw an “architecture of fear.” Meanwhile according to NY Times quoting Free Tibet, on October 3 a young Tibetan monk set himself on fire, becoming the fourth monk from Kirti Monastery to self-immolate this year. A few days later Dalai Lama joined Google+ where he reportedly plans a hangout with South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu on October 8.
Kashmir: Outdoorsy trekkers or army trolls? A small groups of civilians, launched and escorted by Indian army staff, ventured into the Siachen glacier, a.k.a. “the highest battlefield on Earth” last month. India states the treks are a way to promote tourism while Pakistan, protesting wildly, claims that Siachen is still disputed.
Aw Steve what gives? It was a news-packed month also for the Spanish climbing community who watched sponsor video of purist climber Steve House negotiating a flat Pyrenees glacier and…
…local TV showman Jesus Calleja kicking off an Everest reality show, with Jesus leading 10 rookies to C3 and Willie Benegas in charge of security.
Roz Savage in Mauritius: record or not? She claims to have rowed the Indian and to be the first woman to row across the “Big Three” oceans of the world. But what are the rules? ExWeb checked in with other rowers and the Ocean Rowing Society.
Bear Grylls latest: “Mountain is not about records” He’s not the real SAS according to folks from the real SAS, he didn’t fly over Everest according to his outfitter, he faked his TV shows according to media and his survival tricks are bull according to some explorers. He also wasn’t the youngest Briton to climb Everest. In the latest twist a spokesman for TV showman Bear Grylls reportedly told the Sunday Herald Sun from London that, “Bear does not want to argue,” and that “In general he (Grylls) feels the mountain is not about records.”
Karakoram: frostbite amputee for extreme paraglide He bagged eight 8000ers in Himalaya but lost his fingers to frostbite trying to save his junior climbing partner. Now Jeong-Heon Park is in Pakistan to paraglide a big swath of the Himalayan peaks. Using hot air balloon the team of three rise to altitudes between 3,500 meters to 7,000 meters and then paraglide from there – Park sans fingers.
Climbing notes from Pakistan, India and Afghanistan: Following 10 days spent on the spire’s NW face; the first Russian route was reported on Nameless Tower (6239 m) in Pakistan. An American team bagged Saser Kangri II East (7,518m) and a Spanish team bagged Junai Kangri (6.017m) – both first ascents – in India. Field Touring Alpine successfully guided Satopanth (7.075m). New Zealand’s Christine Byrch and Pat Deavoll forged a new route on Koh-e-Baba Tangi (6,516 m) in Afghanistan’s Wakan corridor. Three Americans bagged Meru (6300 m) via unclimbed Shark’s Fin route. Two young Slovenians, in their first Himalayan experience, took four days to carve a new route on K7 West (6858 m) in Pakistan.
Antarctica, today a hundred years ago Oct 6, 1911: Amundsen and his team were waiting for warmer weather and worked on equipment. Scott and his team were occupied by the ponies and their telephone communication system. Oct 6, 2011: with the first ALE flight to Antarctica scheduled on Oct 16, teams started repacking food in Punta Arenas and testing their tech. ExWeb is kicking off the anniversary Antarctica season with a now-and-then comparison of teams, challenges, and gear.
Alan Lock: As far as the mind can reach – blind man for the pole In 2003, 24-years old Alan Lock began to rapidly lose his vision. Instead of crawling into a corner, the young UC Berkeley grad and Royal Navy Officer has already lived a lifetime. Next, he aims to be the first blind person to ski from the Coast to the South Pole.
Adrian Hayes and two Emiratis to recreate journey from Oman to UAE Polar skier and Everest summiteer, Adrian Hayes and two Emirati Nationals are to recreate the journey made by Wilfred Thesiger in 1940s, starting late October. Their Footsteps of Thesiger expedition will cover 1,500km on camels and on foot across the Arabian Desert from Salalah to Abu Dhabi.
Seasoned Swede floating down a river You might recall Christian Bodegren from his seven-month-long Sahara-by-camel crossing attempt. These days he can be found in a kayak on the Amazon river, paddling south and crashing backyards by the riverbanks.
Action Man on the Nile Tom Smitheringale has decided to tick off the Nile and the Sahara desert both.
ExWeb interview with Ripley Davenport: The challenges of the Gobi Desert and team mates Ripley Davenport took a team of adventurers 1000 miles across the Gobi Desert. He talked to ExWeb about their skilled camel handler and the challenges of team mates in extreme conditions.
Kayak circumnavigation of South America German Freya Hoffmeister is out circumnavigating South America in a kayak. The trip will cover more than 24.000 kilometers and last over 24 months.
New SUP record British Dave Cornthwaite set a new world record on his stand-up paddleboard (SUP) paddling the 2,400-mile journey along the Mississippi River.
Green tech in Russia’s winter Many rural Yakuts keep their water supply throughout the year in frozen blocks of ice three meters below their houses at permafrost level. You would not have known was it not for Dimitri Kieffer out-cycling Russian winter to Yakutia with 1734 km completed.
Few Greenland crossings This summer Greenland was hostile for the skiers. Only 2 Norwegian and one Swedish team made it over. Michael Arnor and Joakim Bill managed to cross from Isortoq to Point 660. Find their debrief at ExWeb.
ExWeb interview with Alex Hibbert, “If we thought we had bad luck on the east coast then we had a shock on the west coast!” Alex Hibbert & Andrew Wilkinson’s attempted to break the Norwegian speed ski record across Greenland, but the brutal terrain filled with crevasses and meltwater tortured both skiers and their equipment during their 15+ hour ski sessions with only 2-3 hours sleep in between.
The 104 demanding, arduous, and dangerous days were his retirement party. Knowing that this was his last big expedition, he needed to savor every last moment of the rigor and intensity, 65-year-old Jon Turk told ExplorersWeb.
Walrus attack scarier than polar bear Being attacked by a walrus was his scariest moment during the circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island, Boomer (26) told ExWeb; much scarier than his 20 encounters with Polar bears.
“Cold” and more: ExWeb attends Annual Mountain Film Festival in Norway This year’s South Pole anniversary it’s all about Norway. A mountain film festival held last month in breathtakingly scenic Turtagø sported 800 people and a virtual who’s who of names covered at ExplorersWeb. Prepping for her own Antarctica trip, ExWeb polar editor was there.
Great White Weather Man: ExWeb interview with Mark de Keyser Several ski expeditions to the South Pole start this year in October. That is the tail of winter, warned ALE’s meteorologist, and sometimes this tail can trigger extreme cold/windy conditions.
Hicks back to row around Antarctica Following a previous attempt some years back, Ollie Hicks is ready to once again try and row the 18.000 nautical miles around Antarctica. Ollie will start in 2012 and plans to travel over a 18-22 months period.
Bit from the Silver Bullet: Nostradamus 2.0 – mining the net for money and world peace Best case scenario, the Stanford Peace Map could predict world conflicts and measure peace. Global news tone has been found to have forecasted revolutions and predicted stability and future economic events. HumanEdgeTech visited Google to listen to Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab talk about how they use computer and smartphone chatter data to measure large samples of human behavior.
HumanEdgeTech review: Iridium 9575 – GPS and wifi hotspot During a press conference Iridium CEO Matthew J. Desch launched the new Iridium phone Extreme. The phone is a little smaller, lighter and tougher than the previous model 9555 but for explorers it’s a small attachment that might just revolutionize dispatching, reported HumanEdgeTech.
ExWeb Poll results: If you had to choose one, what would you abandon for your expedition communications? Facebook 41%; Twitter 37%; Email 9%; Website 13%. Total number of votes: 181 (Oct 07, 11 pm US Pacific time).
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Filed under: Climbers, Expedition, Himalayas, Week-In-Review | Tagged: Artur Hajzer, Climbers, Denis Urubko, Expedition, Gasherbrum, K2, Karakoram, Nanga Parbat, Polish climbers, Russian Climb, Simone Moro, Travel |