Latest Headlines – avalanche killed 19 climbers and Sherpas.

An earthquake-triggered avalanche slammed into hundreds of tents at … least 61 people injured and a total of 19 climbers and Sherpas dead.

1. Mount Everest avalanche triggered by Nepal earthquake kills 18: reports

Updated 26 Apr 2015, 12:32am

An Indian army mountaineering team has found 18 bodies on Mount Everest, an army spokesman said, after a massive earthquake in Nepal unleashed an avalanche on the world’s tallest mountain at the start of the main climbing season.

The earthquake hit Nepal and north India on Saturday afternoon, killing more than 1,300 people and collapsing buildings in Kathmandu.

Nepal’s Tourism Ministry could only confirm 10 deaths, but spokesman Gyanendra Shrestha said the death toll could rise, and that the avalanche had buried part of the base camp.

He said two tents at the camp had been filled with the injured.

More than 1,000 climbers had gathered there at the start of the climbing season, including about 400 foreigners.

One of those killed was Dan Fredinburg, a Google engineer based in California.

He died as a result of head injuries when the avalanche hit, according to a statement from the mountaineering company that had taken him to base camp.

Climbers on the world’s highest mountain have pleaded for help, saying an avalanche has destroyed camps and sent slabs of ice crashing in a “huge disaster”.

“An avalanche from Mt Pumori has hit the base camp, burying a part of it,” Nepalese tourism official Gyanendra Shrestha said.

“We don’t have the details yet, but 10 have been reported dead so far, including foreign climbers.”

“We are trying to assess how many are injured. There might be over 1,000 people there right now, including foreign climbers and Nepalese supporting staff.”

Romanian climber Alex Gavan said on Twitter that there had been a “huge avalanche” and “many, many” people were up on the mountain.

“Running for life from my tent. Everest base camp huge earthquake then huge avalanche,” he said.

“Huge disaster. Helped searched and rescued victims through huge debris area. Many dead. Much more badly injured. More to die if not heli asap,” he later tweeted.

Another climber, Daniel Mazur, said Everest base camp had been “severely damaged” and his team was trapped.

“Please pray for everyone,” he said on his Twitter page.

Carsten Lillelund Pedersen, a Danish climber, said about 40 people were being treated in a makeshift hospital at a tent at base camp.

He said many of those injured had back injuries from being hit by rocks and ice when running from the avalanche.

The poor visibility after the first avalanche meant it was “difficult to see the following avalanches, and there are so many – maybe one every five minute – that I have stopped counting”, Mr Pedersen said on Facebook.

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Himalaya 2011 climbing season, Pakistan wrap-up: K2 not over yet on either side, under the radar notes from Rodrigo, and more.

(Angela Benavides) Compared to Everest where KTM heli shuttles, food yaks, bars, and a general bustling scene of hundreds of climbers cushion the waiting game: hanging in the dark and cold BC on K2 south side is a challenge in itself. Fabrizio and Kinga have done it for two months already, still hoping for a summit chance. On the equally empty north side; the international team hopes for a final push early next week.

In other news: Rodrigo Granzotto Peron has compiled a bunch of expedition reports which passed unnoticed by most media. There’s also word from Korea, and about landslides in NW Pakistan.

K2 south

When everyone left for home after the failed summit push on Cesen last week, American Fabrizio Zangrilli and Polish Kinga Baranowska stayed behind in BC. First to arrive and last to leave, “We are alone in BC, just like in the beginning, checking weather forecasts which, unfortunately, are bad,” Kinga wrote. “We will give it another go if the weather will give us a chance in the next 10 days,” Fabrizio added noting that, “K2 is a tough nut to crack.”

K2 north

Dodging avalanches and shooting rocks, back in BC Maxut Zhumayev reports that the definitive summit bid may take place as soon as the currently strong wind recedes, by August 16.

It’s an all or nothing bet. “The next attempt will by our only chance to summit,” Gerlinde told

Korean Gasherbrum summiteers: Cho Oyu next

South Korean Gasherbrum summiteers Kim Chang-Ho and Suh Sung-Ho will attempt Cho Oyu next, ExWeb correspondent Kyu Dam-Lee reported from Seoul. The ‘Turquoise Godess’ (Cho Oyu’s Tibetan name) could become Kim’s 13th 8000er (with only Everest left to go) and the last colective peak for the Busan Hope Expedition series. As for Suh, he has Cho Oyu, K2 and Broad Peak left to complete his 14x8000er challenge.

Dark horses: more expedition stats

Rodrigo Granzotto-Peron compiled a bunch of expedition reports which have passed largely unnoticed so far.


The Czech expedition made a summit bid in late July, when they reached C2 on the regular route of Nanga Parbat, but the attempt was called off on July 29 because of “steep ice and falling rocks”. Check for further info here.

On July 13, Pavel Matousek, Olga Novakova, Suzanna Hofmann, Antonin Belik, Vit Auermüller, Libor Kadlcik, Tomas Kruml and Michal Vyroubal became the first Czechs to summit Spantik (7027 m).


Strong winds, unfavorable weather forecasts and excess of snow on the upper plateau of Broad Peak led several expeditions to abort the summit bids and return home empty handed.

This was the case of Altitude Junkies expedition, under leadership of Phil Crampton, and with a multinational team of six climbers and five Pakistani HAPs. The expedition was called off on July 22.

The same reasons cut short the Spanish-Argentine expedition. All four members – Javier Camacho Gimeno (Chavi) Bueno and Arturo Aparicio, from Spain, and Lito Sanchez and Heber Orona, from Argentina – more or less reached 7850 meters, on the plateau, but due to strong winds (60-70 km/h) and cold feet, they headed down. Further attempts were halted by instable weather. Check for further info here.

Mexican well-known couple Mauricio Lopez Ahumada and Badia Bonilla de Luna, self-dubbed Una Pareja en Ascenso, managed to reach 7500 meters on July 12. Later, bad weather prevented further attempts, and they headed home.

Exception was the British-Spanish expedition. On July 25, Scott Mackenzie (UK), the expedition leader, and Koldo Zubimendi (SPA) summited Broad Peak.. The British side of the team had acclimatized on Mount Damavand (Iran, 5621 m). Scott summited and skied on descent.


Supposed to team up with Colin Haley for a new route on Ogre II (6960 m); when the American could not participate Norwegian top climber Bjorn Eivind Artun changed plans for a solo attempt on Hunza Peak (6270 m). The spire was first climbed in 1991 by Mick Fowler and Crag Jones and news are expected soon from Artun.

Among other conquests, Bjorn has two new routes on a 1000-meter-high wall on Kjerag Mountains (Norway) and a speed ascent of the Cassin Ridge on Denali, with Haley.


Swedish duo Magnus Eriksson and Martin Jakobsson just arrived in Pakistan to attempt the 1500-meter-high central pillar of Tahu Ratum (6651 m). “The route has never been climbed before, so we really don’t know what to expect,” Martin said. The climbers plan to summit early September Check for info here.

Landslides strike NW Pakistan – again

Natural disaster is striking Gilgit-Baltistan region again. Nearly 130 houses in Talis village have been flattened by landslides, affecting 1,200 to 1,500 people, according to AFP.

NGO’s such as Alberto Iñurrategi fundation plead for help, since the relief work done in the area since last year’s flood is destroyed. Check the story on Barrabes here.

Links to 2011 Pakistan teams:

K2 – Pakistan (south) side:

Kinga Baranowska
Fabrizio Zangrilli

K2 – China (north) side:

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner
Ralf’s Amical
Maxut Zhumayev

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Himalaya 2011 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /8/ – Week in Review.

Pakistan climbing is full throttle: season’s first summits went to Latok III; a massive rescue saved a life; scattered victories on the Gasherbrums so far.

The past two weeks brought out interviews and some major stories; one such touching the final flight of the shuttle.

Pakistan wrap-up: Alexander Odintsov’s Russian Big Wall team summited Latok III at last.

‘World’s Toughest Jobs’ Chances are slim that Discovery will do a feature on Sherpa and HAP’s but they probably should: people from unrelated expeditions on the Gasherbrums saved the life of a Pakistani climbing porter reportedly seriously neglected by his Japanese employers.

A total of 12 climbers summited GI or GII last week. Later pushes were aborted, along with pushes on Broad Peak. Following no-shows including Swede Strang’s, Nanga Parbat is quiet: bad weather finally thwarted the Kyrgyz-Russian summit attempt and only the Spanish remain in a wet BC, hoping to at least try the normal route. Austrian Stangl is enroute back to K2, saying he’ll tape on real summit and post to YouTube. The north slope K2 climbers are fixing route.

ExWeb interview with 14x8000er summiteer Kim Jae Soo: “Korea is isolated behind the language barrier” In this unique interview with ExplorersWeb, regular partner of the late Mi Sun-Go and recent 14x8000er summiteer Kim Jae Soo talks about why he will return to Cho Oyu, the language problems, the controversies, the definitions, why he climbs and how to help locals beyond building schools

Opinion: Royal Marines Officer Sean Chapple about polar teamwork and success In addition to polar feats both north and south, a few years back Sean Chapple led a team of three Royal Marines unassisted and unsupported at Antarctica in over 2200 km distance. The 2011-12 Antarctic season will be busy and Sean discussed at ExWeb what makes the difference between teams who succeed and those who don’t.

A blind man’s adventure, “What inspires and encourages humans is consciousness of one’s power” “In summary, this trip reminded me of what I could do, and not what I was incapable of doing,” said Imtiaz Moosa following a canoe expedition down the Yukon River. Fellow seeing adventurer Howard Fairbanks in turn wrote how returning to the city changed everything.

ExWeb interview with Alex Hibbert about Greenland speed ski attempt in August After being grounded in Tasiilaq in April, Hibbert & Wilkinson will be back in Greenland in August to attempt to break the Norwegians’ 8 days & 9 hrs ski record across the appr 530km Nagtivit – 660 route. Hibbert told ExWeb about their April experience.

ExWeb interviews with Dimitri Kieffer, finals Losing 2 tents in 2 seconds, cooking in the open in minus 35°C and skiing with open toes were some of the low points in Dimitri’s trek in Far Eastern Russia. In the final two parts of the interview series he told ExplorersWeb also about the magic, life changing moments, and The Missing Link.

Africa walk from Mozambique to Angola ended near heavily land mined area Julian Monroe Fisher has completed his ‘Equatoria’ – A Walk Across Africa, from the coast of Mozambique, across Malawi, Zambia and the DRC to the coast of Angola. He experienced Africa as a complex mixture of beauty and ugliness all wrapped up into one vast space.

Avalanche evaluation made easy by southern volcano On June 4th the Puyehue volcano in the Andes mountains of southern Chile erupted, setting up an incredible snowpack in the ski resort of Cerro Bayo. French avalanche specialist Cedric Larcher sent over pictures of the ashes clearly dividing layers of snow.

Paragliding World Cup boss Xavier Murillo missing Paragliding World Cup boss Xavier Murillo went missing while paragliding in Peru on Friday 1 July. The Paragliding World Cup Association (PWCA) appealed for donations to help fund the aerial search. “The support that we have received on Xavier’s behalf via the appeal fund has been wonderful, and a reflection of the love and affection that we all feel for him,” wrote PWCA in a note to ExWeb. Unfortunately, Murillo remains missing.

US Family of four heading for unofficial speed sailing record James Burwick is known for his exhausting solo adventures at sea. On Sunday June 26th James and his family left Maine to set an unofficial speed record to France. The youngest on board is 9 months old.

Are you ready for it? ICON raises 25 million, let production begin! The new Sport Pilot License is cheaper and faster. With a mission “to bring the fun and adventure back to flying,” ICON says it has closed a $25 million round of venture financing. With that, full-scale manufacturing of the sport plane can begin.

Bits from the Silver Bullet: latest from Japan A few times each month SF New Tech come ashore and head for the Mars Bar. There, developers and inventors are offered 5 minutes sharp to pitch their ideas. Latest we checked out the 6 most promising startups from Japan.

Final countdown: “Sad, not fatal,” says Space industry CEO On Friday, the final Space Shuttle launch is scheduled. What will this mean to the industry, and the very soul of America? “It is the end of an era. It is not the end of the world,” said Elliot Holokauahi Pulham, CEO of the Space Foundation, in a newsletter.

ExplorersWeb space shuttle editorial: why we explore “Exploration can’t wait for perfect times and it never has.” Who founded National Geographic and why; Why military and academia make poor explorers; Who we are and who we are not; Why we matter; and What American historian Frederick Jackson Turner had to do with it – a big editorial by the founders of ExplorersWeb touched on the last voyage of the shuttle in the perspective of explorers, and new Americans.

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Himalaya 2011 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /7/ – Week in Review.

Climbing statistics, a new list of Pakistan expeditions. Antarctica anniversary technology kick-off and ‘Bits from the Silver Bullet’ new Silicon Valley adventure tech series.

A camel caravan to K2 north side, a few early summit pushes and one success already in Pakistan: Here goes a wrap from ExplorersWeb.

2011 Pakistan List of Expeditions Karakoram will have a fairly thin but serious climbing season. There are new route attempts, records to be finished without gas, and controversial figures returning to the jagged peaks alongside mountaineering veterans. The list of the 2011 Pakistan climbing expeditions is up.

Word is Latok III is in the bag Check tomorrow’s Pakistan wrap for details.

Early summit pushes: French Sophie Denis wants it all, in record time Sophie saw the light during a hard trip that included new routes in the Andes: she would chain-climb the 14x8000ers. She summited Cho Oyu and Lhotse within two weeks this past May. On Friday, barely days after arriving Broad Peak BC with FTA, Sophie chanced a rapid summit attempt with Lakpa Sherpa from C2 but it was cut short by high winds. After Broad Peak, Sophie hopes to bag K2.

Pakistan 2010/2011 stats heads-up: chronicle of the winter firsts Before kicking off the Pakistan climbing season, a stats wrap by ExWeb contributor Brazilian Rodrigo Granzotto Peron revisited the past Karakoram winter.

Preliminary stats: Himalaya and Everest 2011 spring review Youngest, oldest, first and last. Rodrigo Granzotto Peron wrapped the past Himalaya spring season, the interesting along with the sad, in numbers.

French Alps in the news Six French climbers were found dead by a hiker at the Neige Cordier peak (3,614 m) in the Alps on Sunday morning. Seems the rope team slipped at the top of the corridor and fell 200 metres (650 ft) fairly soon after starting out on Saturday morning.

Human cargo sling: Fishtail Air retrieves remains from Naya Kanga Fishtail Air retrieved the body of Japanese woman hiker Masue Yoshida, 63, who was killed in an avalanche at Naya Kanga peak 5844m, 30 kms north of Kathmandu. The operation was carried out from an altitude of 18000ft.

Communications on ‘the cheap’ from Everest Base Camp While in BC, research assistant professor at the University of Washington and recent Everest summiteer Seth Wolpin compiled a detailed technology report that could prove useful for the next batch of Everest south side climbers.

Karakoram clean-up effort continues Launched by the Italian EvK2Cnr Committee (manning the solar powered Everest Pyramid near Gorak Shep, keeping the live web cam at Kala Patar and running the weather station near Everest summit), Maurizio Gallo leads this year’s Karakoram cleaning expedition. Since 2009 the campaign has cleared the area of 20 tons of junk, and hopes to remove another 7-8 tons this season.

Skog and Gjeldnes turned around Cecilie Skog and Rune Gjeldnes decided to abort their summer mission to the North Pole after plenty of brash ice, but no open water for the canoes, killed the planned schedule.

Johan Ernst Nilson update Following his ski from the North Pole to Canada; Nilson is cycling through Nunavut’s clouds of mosquitoes heading south.

Basque high altitude climbers finished Greenland kite ski What was intended as a test ended up much harder than they thought, Alberto Inurrategi, Juan Vallejo and Mikel ZabalzaI said after finishing their Greenland crossing from Narsaq to Qaanaaq.

ExWeb interview series with Dimitri Kieffer “I simply realized how clearly focused I needed to be along every step” Dimitri Kieffer completed what he calls, ‘The Missing Link’, from Knik Lake near Anchorage, Alaska, USA to Omsukchan, Russia. In an interview series he tells ExWeb all about his big walk.

ExWeb interview with Henry Worsley and Mark Langridge: Obviously no one will be ‘Going outside for some time’ At the end of the year, 2 British teams will follow Amundsen and Scott’s routes from the Bay of Whales and Cape Evans. They told ExWeb about what they have learned from the early explorers.

Big kayak challenge reaches milestone Richard Harpham’s Big5 Kayak Challenge has reached a 5,000 Mile Expedition milestone. Headed back to Alaska and Canada, Richard will complete his 11th kayak and canoe based expedition.

NWP: shoestring project on different route The season for sailing the North West Passage is coming up. A Swede and a Canadian plan to sail a more northerly route this year in a small cruising yacht on a shoestring budget.

ExWeb tech series kick-off: bits from the Silver Bullet Chased by early winter storms we fled across high passes in our version of the pioneer wagon: an old aluminum trailer dubbed the Silver Bullet. Now arrived in Mecca; stay tuned for ExplorersWeb’s Silicon Valley tech roundups with an adventure edge.

Bits from the Silver Bullet: San Francisco NextGen K2 frostbite? Get a glove-keyboard to dispatch using only one hand. Korean climber or Messner’s bro? Sample with your desktop sized DNA xerox machine. Adventure clothes made of silver; toys built to beef up your focus: last week San Francisco ran a small NextGEN Science Fair spotlighting futuristic products and ExWeb was there.

“Hi I’m Tiny!” GoPro’s little hero now in 3D 3D has been all the rage in 2011 but GoPro should have the most innovative solution: Add a second cam plus housing to your existent GoPro Hero HD and you’re all set at $99. (The housing is water proof to 60 meter). 3D editing software is included and works on Mac and PC.

New poll: which is toughest? In the past poll, only 31 of you figured that AI is best remedy for Khumbu cough; 233 correctly voted that a face mask will do a better job. Only a few days old, the new poll shows surprising results. Is bobbing across the Atlantic really more difficult than climbing Everest?

Have your say – comment stories Do you think an expedition is over-hyped? Or under-reported? If you think that exploits are ranked to media connections, financial might or sheer bullshitting skills – now you can change that. Like or unlike stories at ExWeb, and comment what’s going on using the power of facts.

Polar Pad and Polar Netbook: Antarctica 100 year anniversary tech news and roundup This Antarctica season marks the 100 year anniversary of the discovery of the South Pole. In anticipation and to honor our surprisingly techie polar ancestors HumanEdgeTech brought out two major news. The PDA – for almost a decade King of Antarctica dispatches – will have to share the throne with the Polar Pad and Polar Netbook.

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Himalaya 2011 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /6/ – Week in Review.

Greg Mortenson on trial, Erhard Loretan killed, Ueli Steck’s unexpected climb, Abele Blanc done at last: in a fairly calm (so far) Himalaya climbing season the news have been anything but. Other: Osama Bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in a mansion on KKH today, Sunday.

Osama Bin Laden was found not in a cave in Afghanistan but a fancy mansion close to Islamabad. This could put serious tension on US relations to Pakistan and change the upcoming climbing season scene. A global travel warning for Americans has been issued.

Editorial: Three Cups of Tea and Krakauer’s Beef Greg Mortenson has spent most of his life building schools in Pakistan. In areas where many women are still hidden behind shut doors, Greg dared the unthinkable: he built schools for girls. “No good deed shall go unpunished?” asked Tina Sjogren in response to Krakauer’s accusations.

Erhard Loretan and Kip Garre killed in accidents Swiss mountaineer Erhard Loretan died in a climbing accident in the Swiss Alps on Thursday afternoon. American ski mountaineer Kip Garre, 38, was killed in an avalanche near Lone Pine, California on Tuesday.

Sherpa legend dies Nawang Gombu Sherpa, the youngest on Hillary’s Everest team in 1953, died at age 79 during Easter Sunday.

Ueli Steck summits Shishapangma 20 hours tent-to-tent “That’s right- the Shishapangma Expedition is over, the yaks already on their way,” read the dispatch on Don Bowie’s website. Already on Cho Oyu, Ueli solo-speed climbed the peak during a recon tour and Inaki tipping his hat above.

This adventure that we have shared: Abele Blanc summits Annapurna Abele Blanc, 57, scaled Annapurna, his last 8000er. This is a major triumph for the Italian mountaineer who had attempted the peak six times already and lost his best friend there.

Jae-Soo Kim climbs Annapurna According to Korean media, Jae-Soo Kim (50) climbed Annapurna on March 26, along with Byoung-Woo Shon, Chang-Ho Kim (BuSan Dynamic) and Sung-Ho Suh (BuSan Dynamic). Chang-Ho Kim and Sung-Ho Suh originally hoped to open a new route on the peak but bad weather forced them to change plans. Jae-Soo reportedly plans to repeat Cho Oyu this fall in order to place a photo of his climbing partner the late Miss Go (Mi-Young/Mi-Sun Go) on top. Miss Go was on a quest to summit all 14, 8000ers when a climbing accident took her life. Jae-Soo wants to bring her picture to the summits she didn’t climb.

Iran summits Manaslu Iranian Mountaineers reached Manaslu summit at 14:15 (Tehran Time) on Friday April 30 reported IMZ.

Spring 2011: Swiss rescuers standby in Nepal For the second year, mountain rescue specialists of Swiss Air Zermatt are present in the Nepalese Himalayas. In the months of April and May they are training Nepalese helicopter pilots and rescuers of Fishtail Air how to perform rescues at high altitude. In the meanwhile the crew is on standby.

Everest wrap Except for a commercial vs. independent climbing clash (“Willi sat next to me and told me to be patient as this is what things are like here,” Edurne reported from the expedition leaders’ meeting on Everest south side. “Like this?” I said to him, “but are we all stupid or what?”) Mount Everest has been uneventful so far. On Everest south side, Everest climbers are in a camp 3 (7350m) rotation. That over with, summit push will be next pending weather. On the north side, climbers are acclimatizing in the north col camp and above.

North Pole wrap-up: April 26 was due date for pick-up by the Russian helicopter. All the last degree and last two degree skiers were picked up at the North Pole and flown to Longyearbyen while the remaining Russian staff started to dismantle Barneo’s tents. Two sets of amphibious cars, who attempted an Arctic crossing, were halted by technical problems and open water. The ski teams from the NP are still heading south to Greenland.

Diabetic pilot, Douglas Cairns, flies to the North Pole A diabetic & former British Royal Air Force jet pilot, Douglas Cairns, flew from Alaska to the Magnetic and Geographic North Poles in a light twin-engine, piston powered aircraft. After circling 90 deg N, he flew to Barneo and landed on the ice runway where they fixed two problems on the plane.

ExWeb interview with Wendy Booker, to the North Pole with Multiple Sclerosis, “we can’t take a single day for granted” Running beside a dogsled on the Arctic Ocean, Wendy’s ability to run long distance was born out of a challenge she set for herself after being diagnosed with MS, she told ExWeb.

Polar other:The Greenland British team who wanted to attempt a speed ski world record, went home before they started. One of the Ellesmere circumnavigation team broke his back in a kayak accident. Very low visibility and freezing fog at the North Pole grounded the Polar Pumpkin at Eureka, Canada. Since the Cessna lacks de-icing capabilities. Art Mortvedt finally canceled his flight to the North Pole.

Georg Sichelschmidt’s advice to cross from Greenland to Ellesmere Island: take a kayak, not a sled Georg Sichelschmidt and Ondrej Kotas planned a round trip, sledge-hauling on north western Greenland across to Ellesmere Island. Broken sea ice and broken stoves prevented them from making a crossing. Georg told ExWeb about the conditions.

Into The Cold – A Journey of the Soul: DVD release Into the Cold retraces Sebastian Copeland and Keith Heger’s ski expedition to the North Pole. The film is as much about adventure and advocacy as it is a deeply personal journey by foot to the top of the world.

Human power circumnavigation update: Dimitri Kieffer without a gun in polar bear territory Dimitri Kieffer is closing in on his destination with water/river crossings, potential bear encounters and potential annoying rain ahead. Lately he has been traveling up a crevasse filled Shirokaya River, crawled and grinded up a steep pass, and saw polar bear tracks around his tent.

Erden Eruç finishes the Indian Ocean In the middle of March Erden Eruç returned to his rowing boat on Madagascar as the cyclone season in the area was winding down. His aim was to finish the crossing of the Indian Ocean, and on April 21th he successfully reached mainland Africa.

Urban exploration: Kagge’s notes from the underground “The going is slow when you hike on slippery shit, toilet paper and brown water, but we were never in a hurry on this trip.” The first to do all three Poles, this time Norwegian pioneer Erling Kagge decided to face his biggest fear. Don’t miss his report.

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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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Himalaya 2011 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /4/ – Week in Review.

It has been an unexpectedly action-packed week at ExplorersWeb. The winter summit of GII made waves with a very 45 degrees below, raging wind, jet-plane altitudes and slippery walls: last we left off, Gasherbrum II had a historic first winter ascent but all other attempts since have been in naught. GI and Broad Peak climbers ended their final pushes in the past 24 hours, at the eve of the Karakoram winter.

The upcoming Supermoon had no effect on the Japan disaster but could make drop off interesting for Ben Saunders at the edge of the Arctic sea ice. Overall, the North Pole season has had a dramatic start (and end) with all other expedition teams from Canada aborting.

Berserk is much criticized but it’s still unclear why the yacht vanished at Antarctica.

And last we left off Egypt had kicked out their dictator but things have not gone as smooth for the Libyan freedom fighters. Khadaffi’s sat phone jam also affected climbers in Africa.

More tech news: next gen solar Feather have arrived, slashing previous size in half. HET will buy back your old panels when you upgrade. Here go the headlines:

Karakoram winter climbs Shattered camps, deep freeze, pitches taking too long. “The mountain was stronger,” Gerfried’s home team reported yesterday about their last push on G1. On Broad Peak Robert Szymczak and Ali Sadpara fought it out until 7,800 meters before turning back today. Simone Moro commented on the climbs and discussed his and Denis/Cory’s upcoming plans at ExplorersWeb.

(Almost) all ski teams abort expeditions from Canada to Geographic North Pole (90°N) The Irish, RAF and Italian teams, delayed too long in Resolute Bay for their ski/walk/swim/row expedition drop off from Canada to the Geographic North Pole – decided to abort their 2011 attempts due to financial implications and too snug pick-up date.

North Pole skiing – Supermoon and Three is a Charm? Ben Saunders is out on his third solo attempt to ski from Canada to the North Pole, reportedly feeling more confident and better prepared than ever. Hoping to make it under 46 days, Ben’s next drop off is scheduled for March 19, when the moon is at its closest to Earth in 18 years and also at its fullest. A full moon is infamous among Arctic skiers for breaking up the ice due to the rising tide.

ExWeb Interview with Michele Pontrandolfo, “So many times I said to myself, perhaps only the devil goes here.” Last year the ice from Ward Hunt was a slaughterhouse with rubble he said to ExWeb. This time the Italian polar adventurer planned to leave from Cape Discovery. ExWeb caught up with Michele Pontrandolfo in Resolute Bay as he prepared to start his second attempt to the Geographic North Pole.

ExWeb interview with Jules Weekes, “Our formal military training teaches us self resilience and the ability to think clearly” Before their planned unassisted ski expedition from Cape Discovery to 90 deg North, Jules (with Royal Air Force teammate Matt Stowers) spoke to ExWeb about the challenges and RAF/NP training. Following the busted drop off deadline, the RAF team decided to go for the Magnetic North Pole instead but that attempt was shot due to frostbite.

Norwegian sailing yacht vanished in Antarctica Traveling off season outside the Scott base area as support ship to an under-the-radar Antarctica expedition, Norwegian yacht Berserk went missing with three people aboard when hurricane winds swept the area. Only Berserk’s beat up and empty life raft was found. Racing towards the coast in two ATV’s, Berserk’s leader/skipper Jarle Andhøy and an 18 year old crew/team member were eventually airlifted from the ice. Andhøy had not applied for permits and received massive criticism from polar scientists in New Zealand, while the Sunday Star Times called his expedition foolhardy self proclaimed Vikings. Former round the world sailor Skip Novak said he had turned down Andhøy and that the Ross Sea is unsafe at any time of the year for small yachts. Not so fast, some explorers kicked back, opening new territory (such as the Scott/Amundsen South Pole) is what we do and it is unknown what sank the ship.

Thuraya heads-up: Gaddafi/Khadaffi jam bugging Kili climbers Gaddafi’s jamming of the Thuraya network was affecting users as far away as Mount Kilimanjaro. HumanEdgeTech ran a report on the tech used by the dictator and other details.

Christine Feret and Artur Testov: Denali retreat from hell They were stuck in a snow cave at 14000 ft for a week before deciding on retreat. “It was hell,” Christine wrapped the terrifying descent lasting several days in blowing snow, hurricane winds and thick whiteout over the crevasse riddled glacier.

Elbrus closed for security reasons A bomb destroyed a Goldola lift at an Elbrus ski resort, three skiers were shot dead and two more were injured in a machine-gun attack while traveling on a bus. “In the context of the current strained situation in Kabardino-Balkaria region, it was decided to close all the ski courses on the slopes of Mount Elbrus: Alpine skiing is stopped; and all tourist groups are prohibited to enter the route,” reported the Caucasian Knot.

Human power circumnavigation: Dimitri Kieffer and Karl Busby in Far Eastern Russia Four years ago the guys crossed the frozen Bering Strait together. Now Dimitri has started the latest section of his journey through S-E Russia, to sledge-haul 423miles/ 680km on tundra during his 90-days visa. Karl’s start point is in N-E Russia.

Ben Thackwray and Ian Couch The two Brits will be heading out to high altitude mountains, three ice fields, a dry desert and an ocean in the next 12 -18 months. Starting off with Everest in April, some of these expeditions will be speed attempts and will lead them to their planned Antarctica ski crossing.

Greenland – Ellesmere update George Sichelschmidt and Ondrej Kotas started their sledge-haul expedition from Qaanaaq, skiing north on sea ice in temps below minus 30 deg Celsius. Broken ice and too wide open water forced them up a glacier, relaying their food, and travel on land.

World’s lightest expedition solar panels Next gen Feather solar panels have arrived, slashing previous size in half. This means twice the watts on your back – or half to lug around – your choice. What to do with your outdated panels? HET will buy them back! Check out the Q&A.

* Polish Himalayas – Become a Fan

Exweb Week-In-Review is sponsored by HumanEdgeTech the world’s premier supplier of expedition technology. Our team helps you find ultra light expedition tech that works globally.

e-mail or call +1 212 966 1928

* Read these stories – and more! – at

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