Everest 2018: Zos, Yaks, Porters and Helicopters.

When planes, trains and automobiles are not available to move your stuff, you do what you have to, to move your stuff. And that’s what we are seeing right now from Kathmandu to Everest Base Camp.

Pause for a moment and think about how much gear it takes to support a team, it can be overwhelming. Even a small team of a handful of climbers will have a couple of cooks, separate tents for dining, cooking and sleeping. Then the large teams add another few tents for storage and toilets. The high-end guides will have communications tent and even a “relaxation” tent.

All of this is at base camp where you live, eat and sleep for the better part of six weeks. Speaking of food, it also must be stored somewhere and there has to be fuel for the stoves, and sometimes heaters. Then there are generators, solar panels and on and on. Oh and don’t forget a few thousand oxygen bottles.

As you go higher, climbers share tents and often eat in the cooking tent.  Then there are the fixed ropes with snow bars, pitons, carabiners, ladders and everything else you need to actually move up the Hill. Regardless, the problem remains of how to get that gear up there.

So how does all the stuff get to base camp? On the Tibet side, it’s straightforward. Huge trucks haul it in on paved roads. However, it’s a different story on the Nepal side. Since Everest is within the Sagarmatha National Park where motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trails, everything is transported on the backs of people or animals or in a heavy duty helicopter. Lets first look at how the expeditions move their group gear to base camp and then how the personal gear is handled.

AirYak

Freight helicopter at Syangboche

It may seem obvious to just use a helicopter to ferry tons of tents, stoves, fuel, etc. from Kathmandu to the foot of the Khumbu Icefall, but they are expensive and risky. If one goes down with all your gear, your season might be lost. Usually a version of a Russian cargo helicopter flies gear to a relatively low landing strip close to Namche Bazaar, at Syangboche, at 12,410’/3782m. Any higher might be impossible given the heavy loads. From there, the gear is shifted to animals and people.

Most expeditions use a combinations of animals – yaks and dzomos aka dzo. This last beast is a cross between a yak and a cow and can haul loads under 14,000 feet. They are smaller than yaks but not as happy! OK, so how do I know? Well all I know is that I get happy seeing a yak, so they must be happy as well. 🙂

All kidding aside, yaks are huge furry beast of burden that can seemingly go forever at glacial speed. They are colossal animals with a full-grown male weighing in at 1,400 pounds and standing 5.5 feet at the shoulders. Yaks have three times more red blood cells than regular cows thus can go higher than their cross-breed siblings. Also their long, thick hair insulates their bodies from winter temperatures that can plummet to -30C (-22F) or colder.

Continuing with “more than you wanted to know about yaks”, they are most comfortable above 14,000 feet probably due to generations of genes nurtured on the high Steppes of Tibet where Nomads constantly moved them between summer and winter pastures at 14,000 to 16,000 feet high. They will forage for food as high as 20,000 feet in the summer but usually don’t go lower than 12,000 feet.  Today, many yak owners in Nepal will not let them go lower than Namche fearing malaria, parasites or other diseases, often carried by cows, sheep and goats. They are treated very well by their owners due to their cash value from expeditions and then their meat at the end of life.

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50 Parks to Visit in 50 U.S. States.

The U.S. has always been at the forefront of creating public lands for its citizens and foreign visitors to explore. After all, the country was the first to designate a national park when Yellowstone was first created way back in 1872. Today, there are fantastic parks to explore in every state in the Union, and Popular Mechanics wants to help you discover the best ones.

In a slideshow entitled “50 States, 50 Parks” readers will go through each state in alphabetical order, with the individual slides providing some information on the absolute best park to visit at that particular destination. So, for example, in Alaska you’ll learn that Denali National Park has earned a spot on the list, which is no small feat when you consider the fantastic national parks that exist there. The slide not only contains a brief explanation for what makes Denali special, but an epic photo from the location as well.

Other great parks that make the cut include Grand Canyon (Arizona), Yosemite (California), Starved Rock State Park (Illinois), and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. I’ll leave the remaining 45 parks for you to discover, as it is a lot of fun to see what choices were made for each state.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the national parks, but there are some pretty spectacular state parks to be found as well. Thankfully, this list doesn’t count them out and you’re likely to discover plenty of new places to add to your “must visit” list. Check out the entire slideshow here.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – 50 Parks to Visit in 50 U.S. States

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Video: Traversing the High Sierra with Kalen Thorien.

What do you do in the off season if you’re a professional skier? In the case of Kalen Thorien, you set out on an 18-day, 270-mile solo traverse across the High Sierra Mountains. In this video, we join Kalen on this adventure as she goes in search of adventure and solitude. She finds all of that, and a lot more, as she makes the hike through some very remote and ruggedly beautiful landscapes.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Video: Traversing the High Sierra with Kalen Thorien

** see also: – https://himalman.wordpress.com/category/video/

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Video: A Relaxing Hour in Yellowstone.

Have you had a rough start to your week? Did Monday come way too quickly? Perhaps this video can help. It comes our way courtesy of National Geographic and is just over an hour in length. I’m sure that sounds way too long, but it is an hour of life in Yellowstone National Park, which is always a place worth visiting, either virtually or in real life. So, if you’re in need of a bit of relaxation, sit back and soak it all in. You won’t be disappointed.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: –Video: A Relaxing Hour in Yellowstone

** see also: –  https://himalman.wordpress.com/category/video/

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Video: Alex Megos Completes First 5.15 Climb in Canada.

Rising rock start Alex Megos has just completed an epic and historic first ascent in Canada. The German rock climber has completed a route that he calls Fight Club, which is rated as a 5.15b on the Yosemite Decimal System. For those that don’t know, that’s hard. Really, really, hard. In the video below, you’ll learn more about this climb and what it took for Alex to complete it. It was quite an impressive accomplishment as you can probably imagine.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Video: Alex Megos Completes First 5.15 Climb in Canada

** see also: –  https://himalman.wordpress.com/category/video/

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Nat Geo Celebrates National Parks Week With 10 Big Adventures.

This week is National Park Week here in the U.S., which is dedicated to recognizing the amazing places that have been set aside as protected spaces for the public to enjoy. Those locations include iconic destinations like Yosemite and Yellowstone, as well as some lesser known spots like the Dry Tortugas and Isle Royale. To help us celebrate the occasion, National Geographic has posted a list of the top 10 national park adventures, giving readers a seres of challenges and epic activities, all of which take place inside one of the parks.

Some of the adventures that Nat Geo recommends include searching for a great stargazing spot in Death Valley, scuba diving in the Channel Islands, and camping in the backcountry in Denali. Other options include climbing, hiking, horseback riding, and paddling through other top parks in the U.S. system, including some of most famous and popular places that the Park Service oversees. Of course, I won’t spoil them all, and let you find out for yourself, with each adventure paired with an equally great photo from a National Geographic photographer.

As a huge fan of the national parks, I always enjoy reading lists like this one. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit a lot of these places, but there are still a few more that I need to get to at some point. If I had to choose a favorite, for me it would probably be Yellowstone. My recommendation for a big adventure there would be to go in winter, when it is peacefully empty, the landscapes are covered in snow, and the wildlife has all come down from altitude. There won’t be any bears, as they’re all in hibernation, but it is time when you can truly enjoy the primal nature of the park.

What is your favorite national park? Do you have any major adventures to share from your time there? I’d love to hear about them. Leave a comment below!

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Nat Geo Celebrates National Parks Week With 10 Big Adventures

** see also: –  https://himalman.wordpress.com/category/video/

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Hiking Lady’s Blog – My recommendation.

Let me introducing you… very cool website :

Welcome to Hiking Lady! 
Do you like to hike? Do you enjoy the outdoors? Perhaps you’re in the market for hiking gear but don’t know what to buy? Hiking Lady is here for you!
Whether your idea of a hike is a walk on a secluded path close to home, a serene day hike in beautiful Yosemite National Park, or climbing a peak, Hiking Lady is the place to develop and share a passion for the outdoors!
Do you like to hike but are concerned about your baby? Do you want to hike while pregnant? Then check out Hiking Lady’s new site, Hiking Baby!

The Latest from Hiking Lady’s Blog.

Hiking in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona

Venturing out of Southern California with Hiking Baby in tow, we went to Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, and explored some baby carrier and stroller friendly hikes/walks. Luckily the weather was… Read more…

* source: –  http://hikinglady.com/

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