Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Video: Aragon Winter Timelapse

Nestled deep in the heart of the Spanish Pyrenees, the Aragon region is a hidden gem for outdoor adventurers. Snowcapped peaks, alpine lakes, and beautiful valleys make great destinations for skiing, hiking, climbing, and more. The video below gives us a brief glimpse of what Aragon has to offer, and will almost assuredly put the place on your list of future destinations. Enjoy!

ARAGON WINTER TIMELAPSE from Pau Garcia Laita on Vimeo.

Video: Indonesia By Mountain Bike

Traveling by bike is one of the most rewarding and interesting ways to see a country. In the case of the video below, mountain biker Tito Tomasi shipped his bike with him to Indonesia, and when arrived there, he simply pulled it out of the box, and hit the road. Bringing his own means of transportation allowed him to explore the country like never before, and the video takes us with him to some extremely beautiful and interesting places. What a great way to travel.

Video: Where in the World are You? Quest #19

It is Wednesday, which means it is also time to play another round of "Where in the World are You?" with our friend Richard Bangs. This time we're off to a country whose capital was once known as "Linenopolis" and is home to a ship building industry that once built the biggest ship in the world. There are a number of other clues to be had from the video as well. See if you can guess Richard's destination!

Pure Michigan: Mountain Biking on the Upper Peninsula

Photo Credit Bryen Dunn
Michigan's Upper Peninsula quite possibly may be the most remote and wild place in the eastern United States. Bordered on three sides by the Great Lakes, it is a land covered in thick forests and rolling hills, and devoid of most signs of civilization. Just how remote is it? Consider this. Michigan is home to approximately 10 million people, and yet less than 3% of them live in the U.P. If you go there, don't expect reliable cell phone service, speed Internet, or much in the way of amenities. What you should expect is some of the most down to Earth people that you could ever meet, an abundance of great outdoor activities, and plenty of adventure.

My travels in the U.P. took me to the town of Copper Harbor, which is located at the extreme north of  the Keweenaw Peninsula, directly on the shores of Lake Superior. It is a sleep little town that has just 80 year-round residents, but welcomes adventurous travelers, particularly in the summer. One of the local businesses is the Keweenaw Adventure Company, which hosts kayaking trips out onto the lake, as well as guided mountain bike rides onto the nearby trails. But those trails aren't just some run-of-the-mill singletrack with little to offer experienced riders. The network of trails in and around Copper Harbor have been rated as a Silver Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Biking Association, which means they rank amongst the top five in the world.

With that kind of a reputation, I was eager to check out the trails for myself, and one morning while I was there, a few of us grabbed some bikes, and hit the trail. After a bit of a warm-up on some flat and fast trails near town, we caught the shuttle up to the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, which is home to beautiful golf course, but also provides access to several of the mountain bike trails. Soon, my companions and I were zipping off down the road to the trail head for a route called Garden Brook, which would eventually provide access to another called Bullwinkle. Within minutes, we were flying across a trail that was both technically challenging, and incredibly fun, mixing the twists and turns of downhill, with just a enough climbing to give your legs a good workout as well.

Pakistan 2014: Death on K2, Rescue on Broad Peak

It continues to be a very busy week in Pakistan, where a number of teams are packing up, and preparing to head home following the unprecedented success on K2 this past weekend. As of now, it seems that 35 climbers reached the summit of the "Mountaineer's Mountain" during a weather window that seems to only come along once every few years. But there is sad news from the Karakoram today, as the mountain has also claimed the life of one climber, bringing a bit of a dark cloud to the celebration that is still taking place there.

Details on the death are just now starting to come in, but Italian climber Tamara Lunger updated her blog to report that Spanish climber Miguel Angel Perez Alnarez has perished in Camp 4 on K2. She says that Miguel, who has 10 8000-meter peaks on his resume, left Base Camp on his own on Sunday, and reached the summit amidst good weather. But he was very slow on his descent, and was forced to bivouac above 8000 meters (26,246 feet) without a tent. Yesterday, the Spaniard was able to descend to Camp 4, but he died there last night.

This news has no doubt sent a shockwave through K2 Base Camp, where the teams were still enjoying their success the past few days. K2 has a reputation for being the "Savage Mountain," in part because one out of every four climbers who reaches the summit, dies on the way back down. That has not been the case this year of course, but the loss of Miguel is a stark reminder of the dangers that climbers face on that mountain.

My condolences to the friends and family of the fallen climber.

Meanwhile, over on Broad Peak, there is news that the Polish team climbing there have saved the life of a Taiwanese climber who was stranded, and dying in Camp 4. The details on the rescue are a bit fuzzy at the moment, but it seems that he or she was left alone in C4, where the Poles discovered the unnamed climber who was asking for help. The Polish team then called for assistance from other members of the team in Camp 3, and assisted in getting the Taiwanese climber down the mountain. Hopefully the stranded climber is receiving the medical attention they need, and are on the road to recovery. I'm sure we'll hear more about this story in the days ahead as well.

Finally, while we're still sifting through all of the successful summits on K2, and across the Karakoram, this past week, there was at least one record set. When our friend Alan Arnette reached the summit of K2 on Sunday morning, he became the oldest person to ever achieve that feat. Alan is 58 years old, and while he took up mountaineering later in life, he has certainly made the most of his time in the mountains. He is also an inspiration to all of us.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Video: More Alaskan Beauty

If you haven't gotten your fill of the breathtaking landscapes of Alaska just yet, then check out the video below. It was shot by a couple of travelers making their way through that amazing destination, and capturing their adventures along the way. It can't be reiterated enough just how beautiful Alaska truly is, and this video may leave you wanting to pay a visit yourself.

Alaska from Caleb & Shawn on Vimeo.

Video: Summer Solstice in Alaska

This beautiful video was shot using a Phantom 2 drone and GoPro camera on the Summer Solstice in Alaska, the Land of the Midnight Sun. It features some amazing footage from of wilderness there and reminds us why it is such a great destination for adventure. Truly breathtaking stuff, and great use of the drone to capture images that simply weren't cost effective just a few years ago.

Solstice from STURGEFILM on Vimeo.

Adventure Tech: Iridium Go! Satellite Hotspot Now Shipping

Back in February of this year, I posted a story about a new product from satellite communications company Iridium called the Iridium Go! At that time, the device was newly announced, and we were just getting an early look at what it could do. The relatively small gadget would allow explorers and outdoor adventurers to stay in contact with the rest of the world while visiting remote places. Acting much like a portable WiFi hotspot, it would provide both data and voice communications, allowing a variety of devices to connect to Iridium's' network, with the Go! acting as the bridge. Thus, you could use your iPhone, tablet, or computer to send messages, post social media updates, and make phone calls from just about anywhere on the planet. The Go! promises to revolutionize the way we communicate from the field. Yesterday, Iridium announced that the device has begun shipping, and is available to consumers for the first time.

Designed for use in the remote corners of the planet, the Go! is rugged and durable. Once configured and powered on, it provides a WiFi network with a range of up to 100 feet (30 meters). This can allow users to set the device up in a location that has a clear view of the overhead sky, while they take shelter in a tent or close to natural protection. Their devices can then connect to the Go!, even though it isn't in the same physical location that they are. This helps to extend the versatility of the device for use in the backcountry. The Go! is even capable of connecting to up to five devices at the same time.

Iridium has created two free apps for use on smartphones and tablets. They include the Iridium Go! app, which is used for placing satellite phone calls, while the Iridium Mail & Web app serves as a portal for getting email, surfing the web, and connecting to social media. Additionally, Iridium has released an SDK for the platform, with other companies signing on to develop apps for the Go! as well.

The Go! carries an MSRP of $895, although there are already a few early adopter discounts being offered. Considering the amount of versatility it brings to our satellite communications from remote places, I'd say that is a reasonable price to ask. The fact that it allows you to use your existing devices, such as an iPhone or iPad, means that you can carry less gear into the field, and use a single device no matter where you go. Iridium as even future-proofed it, as the Go! is already compatible with their next generation of higher speed satellites that will begin coming online next year.

If you've been waiting for the Go! to arrive, now's your chance to pick one up, and put it to use in the field. It looks like a great little device, and I can't wait to hear how it performs.


Great Pacific Race Update: Rowers Arriving in Hawaii

It has been a few weeks since I last posted about the Great Pacific Race, and over that period of time, the crews aboard their boats have been making steady progress towards the finish line in Hawaii. In fact, the first teams began arriving there last week, becoming the first to complete the inaugural edition of the race, which promises to become one of the most challenging endurance events on the planet moving forward.

For those who haven't been following along with the race, it began back on June 7, with 13 teams setting out from Monterey, California for Honolulu, Hawaii. Ahead of them sat 2400 mile (3862 km) of open ocean, with choppy seas, big swells, and difficult storms to overcome. A few of the entrants didn't make it very far, dropping out of the race while just a few days in, but others have pressed forward. Now, nearly 50 days into the race, two boats have come home, a third should arrive today, and the remaining rowers continue pressing on.

Last Tuesday, the first team reached finish line when the four-man crew known as Uniting Nations arrived in Hawaii after 43 days on the water. Two days later, the second team, named Battleborn, also wrapped up their row. That squad, which is also a four-person crew, arrived on July 24. The third team, Noman Is An Island, is expected to arrive sometime today.

That leaves five teams still out on the water, with most expected to arrive over the next few weeks. All of them are making great progress towards their goal, although on solo rower, Elsa Hammond, seems to be struggling to get her boat out into the ocean currents that will help carry her to Hawaii. She is far behind the others, and will undoubtedly be the last rower to reach the finish line.

Considering that this is the first ever GPR, it seems that the race has been a remarkable success so far. Despite a rocky start due to some poor weather, the crews have made excellent progress crossing the Pacific. This bodes well for future editions of the race, which looks to be the Pacific's version of the Talisker Atlantic Challenge. While there are no plans to hold the event again next year, race organizers are already gearing up for another edition to take place in 2016.

Congratulations to everyone who has already finished their Great Pacific Race, and good luck to those still out on the water.

Pakistan 2014: More From K2 and Gasherbrums, Masherbrum Expedition Over

If you've been following the climbing scene in Pakistan over the past few days, you know that it has been a very busy time in the mountains there. This past weekend, more than 30 people reached the summit of K2 amidst good weather and great climbing conditions. The weather window hasn't closed on that mountain yet, and other teams have now launched their summit bids, with an eye on reaching the top by the end of the week. Elsewhere, teams have started packing up to head home, as the end of the summer climbing season is now in sight.

Our friend Alan Arnette checked in from K2 Base Camp yesterday after he topped out early Sunday morning. While he hasn't posted a summit report just yet, he did update his Facebook page with some details of the climb. Alan, along with the rest of his team, set out from Camp 4 at 10 PM local time on Saturday evening, and topped out around 8:30 AM the next morning. Part of the delay was due to a slight shift in the route following an avalanche on the Bottleneck, one of the more treacherous portions of the climb. Alan says that the entire climb to the top was incredibly steep as well, generally 60-70 degrees, but stretching up to 80-90 degrees on the Traverse. This only adds to K2's difficulty of course, and further cements its reputation as the toughest mountain on the planet.

If that wasn't enough, a meter of fresh snow fell on the slopes to the summit on Saturday, and the team had to take turns breaking trail on the way up. As a result, Alan reports that he was quite exhausted by the time he summited, and was experiencing some symptoms of dehydration and high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). Fortunately, his teammates watched over him closely, and he was able to get up and down safely.

Now, the entire squad is back in BC and preparing to head home. After an exhausting climb, they face a 70 mile (112 km) trek back to Askole, where they'll be able to drive to Skardu, before catching a plane to Islamabad, and eventually home. They are all exhausted, but relieved to have completed their expedition safely and successfully. I'm sure an enormous sense of satisfaction will follow, once they have had time to reflect on their accomplishment.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Video: Wingsuits Over New York City

Often times when we get a video of wingsuit pilots flying through the air, they are doing so in some lovely, remote mountain locations. That certainly isn't the case here, as a team of wingsuiters zip over New York City, before attempting to land on a barge floating in the Hudson River. This may have been filmed in an urban setting, but the sport still looks exhilarating none the less.

Video: Zion Traverse - Running 53 Miles Across Zion National Park

Ultrarunners love finding beautiful, but difficult, terrain, and then doing what they do best – namely running across said terrain. That seems to be the case in this video, which follows some ultrarunners as they make a traverse of the stunning Zion National Park in Utah, covering a total of 53 miles in the process.

Zion Traverse: Ultrarunning from Jerry Armstrong on Vimeo.

Video: Paddling Solo Through the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River

In January and February of this year, adventurer and filmmaker John Nestler paddled solo, and unsupported, through the Grand Canyon. He spent 27 days kayaking through that iconic landscape, documenting the journey as he went. The short film below is the result of that expedition, and features some fantastic scenes from Canyon, as well as some of the people that Nestler met while on his adventure. It is perfect inspiration for the start of a new week.

Why Rush Through Paradise from Fluid Glass Productions on Vimeo.

Tour de France 2014: Nibali Claims Victory in Paris

Yesterday was the final stage of the Tour de France, and as expected, Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali finished the race in the coveted Maillot Jaune, making him the champion for 2014. It was a dominating win for Nibali, who finished more than seven and a half minutes ahead of his nearest rival. All told, he wore the Yellow Jersey for all but two days of the Tour, and even put in a great performance in the individual time trial on Saturday, even though he already had the race won. As is usual on the final day of Le Tour, no riders attacked the race leader, and Nibali was able to ride into Paris to receive the adulation he deserved for such a dominating performance.

Of course, the final Sunday of the Tour de France isn't just about the ceremonial ride into Paris. The sprinters lined up for one last mad-dash on the Champs Élysées, with Marcel Kittel nipping Alexander Kristoff at the line. As usual, it was a crazy day on the cobbles of the streets of Paris, with plenty of fireworks as the riders pushed towards the finish line. But Kittel is now amongst the elite sprinters in the sport, and he proved that once again.

Saturday's individual time trial was also intriguing to watch. While Nibali put in a good performance, climbing fourth on the day, the rest of the Peloton was simply no match for world champion Tony Martin, who averaged 48.8 kph (30.3 mph) over the length of the 54 km (33.5 mile) route. His time was by far the fastest of the day, and proved why he remains the best time trialist in the sport at the moment.

Yesterday was a historic day in Paris, with two Frenchmen joining Nibali on the podium. Second place went to Jean-Christophe Péraud, who rode well on Saturday to take over the position from third place finisher, Thibaut Pinot. But Péraud nearly lost that second place finish when he was involved in a crash on the Champs Élysées on Sunday. Fortunately, it occurred far enough from the finish line that he was able to get back into the main group in time. Out of respect for his positioning, the peloton also slowed down to allow him to rejoin.

Pakistan 2014: Historic Weekend on K2

It was a very busy, and successful, weekend on the world's toughest mountain. As predicted, a good weather window stayed open through yesterday, allowing numerous teams to reach the summit of the mountain on both days, and it doesn't seem that that window has closed just yet, as other climbers are still on the move.

Yesterday, a team of international climbers that included Alan Arnette topped out on schedule. The team set out from Camp 4 at 10:40 PM Saturday evening, and reached the summit around 5:45 AM on Sunday morning. Joining Alan on the top of K2 were Matthew Dupuy, Garrett Madison, Kami Rita Sherpa, Fur Kancha Sherpa, and Kami Tshering Sherpa. There hasn't been a dispatch following the news of the successful summit, although I would expect one soon. Alan did follow up on Twitter however, simply saying "K2 summit unbelievable hard."

Alan did release an audio dispatch while he was on the summit, and you can tell from the sound of his voice that it was an incredibly moving and personal moment for him to reach the top. He has been using his various mountaineering expeditions over the past few years to raise money for the Cure Alzheimer's Fund – a cause that is very near, and dear, to his heart – and this climb was a culmination of all of those efforts. I expect that we'll get another dispatch from Alan soon that will share the details of his climb.

Meanwhile, a host of other climbers also reached the top on Saturday, including Adrian Hayes and Al Hancock. In an audio dispatch, Al noted that it was a 15 hour roundtrip for the climbers who summited on Saturday, with most of them all topping out within a short time with one another. Adrian and Al are already back in BC, and it sounds like the descent was just as challenging as the climb. But, it seems that climbers are getting up down the mountain safely this season, which isn't always the case on K2.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Video: Turkey in Timelapse

Sitting at the juncture of three continents, Turkey is a country that is rich in history and culture. This video serves as a lovely travelogue of that nation, sharing images of the people and places that make it such a special place. Intermixed with those shots are some amazing timelapse scenes that are as beautiful as any we have seen. This excellent five-minute video seems like a wonderful way to end the week. Enjoy!

In Turkey - 2014 from Vincent Urban on Vimeo.

Video: Alex Honnold Free Soloing Mt. Watkins in Yosemite

The title of this post says it all. Video footage of Alex Honnold free soloing Mt. Watkins in Yosemite. As usual, Alex is pushing the limits of climbing, taking on big walls with little, or no, safety gear. This clip will certainly get your heart rate going.

Tour de France: Soggy Ride Underscores Dangers For Nibali

It was a long, wet day in the saddle for the peloton at the Tour de France. The riders faced a 208.5 km (129.5 mile) ride from Maubourguet Pays du Val d'Adour to Bergerac with steady downpours following them for most of the way. Those made for slick conditions on the road, and had an impact on the eventual outcome of the stage. Those rain soaked roads also underscored the dangers that overall race leader Vincenzo Nibali still faces on his ride into Paris.

After leaving the high mountains of the Pyrenees behind yesterday, today's stage featured just a few rolling hills, and a single Category 4 climb, along the route. But that Cat 4 climb was a step ascent, and it was put to good use by Lithuanian rider Ramunas Navardauskas, riding for Garmin Sharp. He managed to catch stage leader Alex Howes at the crest of the hill, and set off on a 13 km (8 mile) solo ride to the finish that saw him cross the finish line just ahead of a surging group of riders in pursuit. The win gives Navardauskas the distinction of being the first Lithuanian rider to win a stage at the Tour de France.

But he didn't do it completely on his own. The weather helped to a degree, as the slick roads caused a crash amongst the primary pursuit group with just under 3 km (1.8 miles) to go to the finish line. That crash sent a number of riders to the ground, including Frank Schleck, Romain Bardet and Peter Sagan, who was expected to contend for the stage win up until that point. Sagan's bike was broken in the crash, and he was forced to wait for the arrival of a replacement, effectively ending his chances of earning a stage win at this year's race.

The bad weather was a good reminder to Nibali that he hasn't won the race until he crosses the finish line in Paris. One bad accident could still end his chances, and considering how many riders we've seen crash out this year, the idea of Nibali joining them isn't all that crazy. Fortunately, he was able to avoid the crashes today, and navigate safely to the finish, without surrendering any time to his rivals or suffering an injury himself. With just the individual time trial left on the schedule for tomorrow, and more than a seven minute gap between him and second place rider Thibaut Pinot, I'm sure the Italian will be cautious if the rains return for the penultimate day of the Tour.

Video: Mountain Biking the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one of those countries that is brimming with potential for explorers and adventurers, but the ongoing conflict there prevents most of us from being able to travel there, and discover everything the country has to offer. But the video below will give you an idea of what is possible there, as it follows mountain bikers Dan Milner and Matt Hunter on an epic 12-day ride through the legendary Wakhan Corridor, a place that I would love to visit for myself someday. The terrain is rough, remote, and challenging, but the place looks amazing as well.

Pakistan 2014: Summit Push Begins on K2

With the weather window holding out, and teams now in position, it is go time on the grand prize of the summer climbing season - K2. This weekend will see two waves of teams move up the mountain, with the first big push coming tomorrow, followed by a second group approaching the top on Sunday. While conditions are as good on K2 as they have been in recent years, the teams are still unsure of what they'll find above Camp 4, which is where the Saturday summit teams are now gathered. At this point, things look good for a large number of climbers to summit over the next few days, but this is the hardest mountain in the world, and until they stand on top, nothing is certain.

The first group of teams going for the summit tomorrow include Al Hanccock and Adrian Hayes. Chris Jensen Burke, and Lhakpa Sherpa, will also be a part of that push, as will the Italian team led by Giuseppe Pompili. The mixed team of Pakistani and Italian climbers celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of K2 has sent 10 members of the mountain, while an all female Nepalese expedition is also in position to go for the summit as well.

On Sunday, the teams will include Alan Arnette's team (Garrett Madison, Matthew Dupuy, and Frederick Sylvester) as well Finnish climber Samuli Mansikka. The Fin set out from BC yesterday, and skipped Camp 1, choosing to instead head directly C2. This group will have the benefit of being able to follow the trail of the teams that will go for the summit 24 hours before them.

Alan updated his audience with an audio dispatch earlier in the day, checking in from Camp 3. He indicated that K2 has completely lived up to its reputation for being a difficult climb, pushing him to the limits on the ascent from C2 to C3. He and his teammates will head up to Camp 4 today, and plan to summit around 5:00 AM local time on Sunday. Alan reports that the weather is great, and looks to remain that way at least through the weekend.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Video: Kayakers Have an Incredibly Close Encounter with Whale

In this video, two kayakers have a close encounter with a whale that would be absolutely terrifying. Paddling a tandem, sit-on-top boat in Puerto Madryn, located in Argentina's Patagonia district, the two paddlers drift into a pod of whales passing through the region. When one of them surfaces directly under them, they get a look at whale from a perspective that few people on Earth have experienced. Amazing and scary at the same time.

Adaptive Ocean Rower Completes Pacific Crossing

Ocean rowers Tara Remington and Angela Madsen wrapped up an impressive crossing of the Pacific Ocean a few days back, completing a 4000 km (2485 mile) journey that began in Los Angeles and ended in Waikiki, Hawaii. The two women were out on the water for 60 days, facing rough seas, high winds, and treacherous storms in the process.

Traveling in their 6 meter (19.6 foot) long row boat, dubbed The Spirit of Orlando, the duo set out to not only cross an ocean, but to raise funds for worthy causes in the process. Remington, who hails from New Zealand, was attempting to raise money to send a young girl to a special summer camp for amputees, while American Madsen rowed to support the California Adaptive Rowing Program, an organization that holds special meaning for her.

Throughout the voyage, the two women took turns manning the oars, making slow, but steady progress across the northern Pacific. The rough seas made for tough going at times, and exhaustion from 60 days of rowing certainly took their toll. But the scariest moment came when they were ten days from reaching the finish line. A big wave struck the boat, nearly sending Remington overboard. Fortunately, she was able to stay on the Spirit, and avoid what would have been a life-threatening situation.

Both women are accomplished rowers and athletes, each having rowed across the Atlantic in the past, amongst other great adventures. But in this case, Angela has other physical challenges that makes her accomplishment standout even more. The former U.S. Marine suffered a back injury while on active duty, and a botched surgery left her paralyzed from the waist down. Madsen hasn't let that slow her down much however, as she has rowed oceans, and competed in sporting events, despite lacking the use of her legs.

With this successful crossing of this leg of the Pacific, Angela has become the first adaptive rower to complete a section of that ocean. Clearly she has not allowed her physical challenges to prevent her from chasing after her dreams, and that should serve as an inspiration to all of us.

Congratulations to both Tara and Angela on completing this amazing feat.

Thanks to TA Loeffler for sharing this story.

Tour de France 2014: Nibali Leaves No Doubt!

The toughest day in the Pyrenees has had a major impact on the General Classification of the 2014 Tour de France, but at the end of the day,  the overall leader of the race remains the same. Italian cyclist Vincenzo Nibali has left no doubt who is the best rider in the race this year, claiming his third stage win on the summit of Hautacam, and securing his victory in Le Tour, barring some unforeseen problems over the final few days of the race.

Today's stage featured two massive climbs, the first of which went up the imposing Tourmalet, which has been the site of some dramatic cycling showdowns in the past. That Beyond Category climb gave way to a fast and furious descent, before the riders started the grueling ride to the mountain top finish on Hautacam, another legendary slope from past tours.

The day belonged to Nibali, who left all challengers in his wake as he made his way up the final climb of this year's race. When the great Italian rider went on the attack, few were able to hang with him for very long, and soon he found himself riding alone all the way to the summit Behind him, the battle for a podium spot heated up however, as Alejandro Valverde, who entered the day in second place on the GC, cracked on Hautacam and watched a number of young riders pull away from him. That group included Thibaut Pinot, Jean-Christophe Péraud, and Tejay Van Garderen, all of whom picked up time. At the end of the stage, Valverde fell out of the top three, with Pinot and Péraud moving up to second and third place overall.

With the last mountain stage now behind us, Nibali should ride into Paris in the Maillot Jaune. Tomorrow's stage will be flat, and favor the sprinters, while Saturday's individual time trial shouldn't pose much of a challenge considering he has more than a seven minute lead on the second place rider.  Nibali is not a great time trialist, but he is certainly strong enough to hold off any challengers. Provided he gets through the course without any serious accidents, he will ride onto the Champs Élysées on Sunday in Yellow. He will become one of just six riders to win all three of cycling's Grand Tours.

Video: Where in the World Are You - Quest #11

Our friend Richard Bangs is back this week with another "Where in the World Are You" video. Once again, Richard provides clues as to the location that he is visiting, sharing cultural and historical landmarks to help give us hints. Can you guess where his travels have taken him this time?

Pakistan 2014: Success on Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II, Progress on K2

It has been a busy couple of days in the Himalaya and Karakoram of Pakistan, where multiple teams launched summit bids on several mountains across the region. While those summit bids are still on going on K2, climbers have found success on other peaks, including Gasherbrum II and Broad Peak.

We'll start on BP, where most teams set out from Base Camp on Monday, with the promise of good weather, and a wide window. Those forecasts proved to be true, and teams report great summit conditions as they approached the top yesterday and today. Amongst those summiting were Romanian climber Alex Gavin, who topped out along, with climbing partners Boyan Petrov and Ivan Tomov, both of Bulgaria. They completed their climb yesterday, and have already begun their descent back to BC.

The second round of summit pushes are underway today, and ExWeb has indicated that Spanish climber Jesus Morales also topped out at 6:15 AM local time. He is the first of a large group of climbers heading up today, and we should expect to hear about more successful summits shortly.

Not everyone found success on Broad Peak however. Oscar Cadiach, climbing with Anna Pujol and Jean Marc Flores, was headed for the summit this morning as well, but was forced to turn back just 22 meters (72 feet) from the top. Cadiach's home team reports that Oriol Ribas continued up alone, but it is unclear if he reached the summit or not. Oscar, Anna, and Jean will retreat to Camp 3 for now, and reevaluate the situation. The good weather window is expected to last through the weekend, and they may have another go at the summit before they leave the mountain.