Google and Discovery Join Forces for Virtual Reality Travel Series.

Tech giant Google and media outlet Discovery Channel have joined forces to create what promises to be quite the interesting travel experience. The new Discovery TRVLR series uses virtual reality to take viewers on a 38-episode, globe spanning, adventure that visits all seven continents. The episodes will be available on YouTube and the Discovery VR website, as well as in the Discovery VR app for iOS and Android, as well as various VR headsets.

The actual series isn’t set to debut officially until November 3, but according to the show’s website, the first season will take viewers to Auckland, Hanoi, Mexico City, Yerevan, Cape Town, La Paz and Antarctica. Along the way, they’ll get to meet locals, see the landscapes, and immerse themselves in the culture without ever leaving home.

The show will feature 7 chapters, each of which focuses on one of the continents. The chapters for North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia will be made up of six episodes each, while Antarctica will see two episodes. Viewers will be introduced to four different personalities on each continent, the Guru, the Renegade, the Entertainer and the Explorer.

Of course, there is no substitute for real travel and actually visiting these places, but this looks like a promising use of VR technology. I’m told that it isn’t just a 360º video shot using a special camera, but will be fully immersive stereoscopic virtual reality, which should make for an impressive experience, particularly on higher end devices.

Production of the series reportedly has taken more than three months, with some shooting and editing still ongoing. The recent earthquake in Mexico disrupted the crew to a degree, and there are still other locations to capture in VR before the show makes its official debut in a few weeks time.

You can check out the teaser trailer Discovery TRVLR below. Then grab yourself a pair of Google Daydream VR goggles or even Google Cardboard, and get ready to span the globe.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Google and Discovery Join Forces for Virtual Reality Travel Series

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

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Video: Reinhold Messner Visits Alex Txikon in Everest Base Camp.

One of the major expeditions we followed closely last winter was Alex Txikon’s attempt to summit Everest solo in winter. There are some rumblings that he might be headed back to try again this year, but I haven’t seen official confirmation of those plans yet. This video was shot in Base Camp last winter and it features a special moment when Reinhold Messner – perhaps the greatest mountaineer of all time – came to visit Alex there. The two men share a common bond of the mountains and talk a bit of strategy for making the ascent in winter.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Video: Reinhold Messner Visits Alex Txikon in Everest Base Camp

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

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The New York Times Looks at What it Takes to Climb Everest.

It isn’t often that mountaineering and adventure sports get coverage from the mainstream media, let alone the “paper of record.” But a few days back The New York Times posted an interesting article sharing details on just what it takes to climb Mt. Everest.

The article is written for someone who doesn’t necessarily know a lot about mountaineering in general, or Everest specifically. It answers basic questions like how tall is the mountain and how do you even get there? It tackles tougher issues such as how many people die on the mountain each year and how many summit too. It also talks about the costs involved, explains who the Sherpas are, and delves into the challenges of making the climb too.

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This Holiday Gift Could Change Someone’s Life Forever.

For the past several weeks I’ve been sharing all kinds of different holiday gift guides, with suggestions on what to buy your favorite outdoor adventurer. Obviously, those kinds of stories do quite well during the holiday season, as we’re all scrambling around looking for ideas on what to give the people we love. Now, with just a week to go until Christmas, I’d like to suggest one other idea for the season of giving. This is a gift that could easily change someone’s life in important and dramatic ways.

It is no secret that one of my favorite philanthropic and humanitarian organizations is the Himalayan Stove Project. In fact, I first wrote about the HSP way back in January of 2012, and since then I have posted regular updates on its progress. For those who don’t know, the Himalayan Stove Project is dedicated to improving the health and environment of people living in the Himalaya by replacing their old, inefficient, and dangerous stoves with new, modern, and clean cook stoves that use less fuel and give up far less pollutants. These stoves are built by a Colorado-based company called Envirofit, and are an affordable option for replacing the open fire pits and primitive stoves that are common throughout Nepal and Tibet.

To date, the HSP has given out thousands of these stoves, impacting the lives of more than 40,000 people. But of course, there is still plenty of work to be done. Through the holidays, the organization is running a a gift giving campaign, in which supporters can buy Envirofit stoves in the name of others. A single stove costs $150, which includes shipping to Kathmandu and installation in a family home in the Himalaya. All the stoves bought under the gift giving program also include an e-card to the person you’re buying it for, sharing details about this special gift and how it is changing lives.

If you’re struggling to think of a truly memorable and life-altering gift this holiday season, consider making a donation to the Himalayan Stove Project or buying one (or more!) of the stoves outright. You can bet that your contribution will have a big impact on the lives of those who get the new stove, while providing a bit of extra karma for you in a time when we can all use a little more of that.

Find out more at HimalayanStoveProject.org.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – This Holiday Gift Could Change Someone’s Life Forever

** see also: – Best Xmas presents.

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K2 Winter 2017: Final Preparations by alanarnette.com.

Autor: Alan Arnette

K2

After multiple attempts to summit K2 in winter, a Polish team is finalizing their plans to attempt the last 8000er not summited in winter. They will arrive in Pakistan after Christmas this year, 2017.

K2 is the world’s 2th highest mountain at 28,251’/8611m. It is located in northwest Pakistan about 30 miles from the border with India. K2 is called the Mountaineer Mountain and the Savage Mountain for its deadly and difficult reputation.

Additional Member

The expedition has been in the planning stages for years but perhaps one of the biggest last minute changes is that elite Kazakstan alpinist Denis Urubko will join the team. He has held Polish citizenship since February 2015. See this recent interview with Urubko in Alpinsimonline. 

The entire expedition is being lead by 67 year-old Krzysztof Wielicki who lead the last Polish K2 attempt in 2003. Wielicki has summited all of the 8000ers without supplemental oxygen.

This report from PPA revealed a tremendous amount of gear being transported to base camp: 600 kg (1322 lbs) of cargo in addition to 400 kg (881 lbs) they will travel with as they move to base camp. This includes thousands of meters of rope, anchors, pitons, snow bars, tents, food, stove, fuel and a lot more that’s part of modern expeditions.

The Polish Ministry of Sport and Tourism has funded the expedition to the tune of $275,000. Jasmine Tours in Pakistan is the ground agent for the team and will provide 6 high altitude climbers from Pakistan for the expedition support.

The team is composed of Adam Bielecki, Marek Chmielarski, Rafał Fronia, Janusz Gołąb, Marcin Kaczkan, Artur Małek, Piotr Tomala, Jarosław Botor and Dariusz Załuski in addiiton to Urubko and Wielicki.

K2 routes

K2 Routes: Abruzzi and Česen

It is planned that they will take the Česen aka Basque Route but may evaluate the Abruzzi as well.

The most significant obstacle the Poles will encounter is the weather. Even in the summer it is unpredictable, harsh and deadly. High winds have blown climbers off the summit, avalanches have killed climbers in their tents at high camps and some have simply disappeared. But the weather is the wild card. They will need winds under 60 kph/40mph for a safe ascent.

It appears the team will do the standard siege style climb establishing four camps as they set the route with a fixed rope and stock camps with food and fuel. They will not be using supplemental oxygen while climbing.

… more –  K2 Winter 2017: Final Preparations

Autor : Alan Arnette

* source: –  http://www.alanarnette.com/blog

** see also: – Everest and K2 in the Winter by alanarnette.com.

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How Much Will it Cost to Climb Everest in 2018?

Alan Arnette has compiled his annual examination of the costs of climbing Everest and as usual the post is filled with lots of interesting information. If you’re thinking of joining an expedition to the highest mountain on the planet sometime in the near future, you’ll definitely want to give this article a look. For those going in 2018, here’s what you can expect to pay.

So how much will it cost next year? Alan says it will be a minimum of $30,000, with most climbers paying somewhere in the neighborhood of about $45,000. That’s an increase over 2017, with prices climbing both on the lower end of the spectrum and the premium high-end as well.

In 2018, the price range for an Everest climb starts at $28,000 and goes up to as much as $85,000. You can have a completely custom climb for $115,000 as well, although few take that option. At the bottom end, if you want to mostly go it alone, with some support, you can get away with spending as little as $20,000, although as Alan points out, this is for the extreme risk takers only.

In recent years we’ve seen a rise in the number of low-cost expedition options on Everest, which is what is fueling the larger numbers of climbers on the mountain as more alpinists from India and China rush to make the climb. Even though more of these inexpensive options exist, prices have continued to climb. Alan says that over the past five years companies have increased their prices by 6% on the Nepal side of the mountain and 12% on the Tibetan side.

The article also breaks down where the costs go, with estimated prices for travel, permits and insurance, gear, logistical costs, and more. This gives anyone who is planning an Everest expedition a chance to see exactly where there money is going and how much they should expect to budget in any given category. For instance, Alan says that you can plan on spending a minimum of $800 per person for food alone and supplemental oxygen – used by 97% of climbers – is $550 a bottle. You’ll also need things like a down suit, high-altitude boots, sleeping bags, packs, and a lot more.

The last bit of information in the article that is probably of interest is a break down of what all the major companies charge for an Everest expedition. That chart is in alphabetical order and offers prices for climbing on the North and South Sides of the mountain. If a company operates on the South Side in Nepal, they may also offer different rates for climbing with a Sherpa guide versus a Western guide as well. Allan also offers insights into each company’s results and success level from 2017 too.

As I’ve said already, this is a fantastic resource for anyone who is thinking of climbing Everest in the near future. It is both an eye-opening and realistic look at the increasing costs of a Himalayan expedition in general. Most mountains are cheaper to climb than the Big Hill of course, but they can often be in the same price range.

Check out the full story here.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – How Much Will it Cost to Climb Everest in 2018?

** see also: – Would You Pay $95,000 to Climb Everest in Just 4 Weeks?

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1. Best story:

Everest and K2 in the Winter by alanarnette.com.

Would You Pay $95,000 to Climb Everest in Just 4 Weeks?