Monday, September 15, 2014

Video: Words of Wilderness

I'm fortunate enough that while writing this blog I come across some truly beautiful and inspiring videos to share with readers. Of all of the clips that I've posted over the years, few can compete with this one however. It deftly mixes some of the most amazing outdoor shots that you've ever seen with the fantastic words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir, and others. It is 3-minutes of pure bliss that remind us that "wilderness is not a luxury," a sentiment that I agree with whole heartedly. Watch this video and share it with friends. It is well worth the time, and it will leave you wanting to visit your favorite wilderness again soon. Truly remarkable.

Words of Wilderness: 1836 - Present from Pete McBride on Vimeo.

Video: Where in the World are You? Quest #78

It has been a few weeks since we've had a new "Where in the World are You?" video from our friend Richard Bangs. He's been busy traveling the globe to places like Bosnia, Croatia, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. But, he did find time to fire off this latest video, which will once again challenge viewers to name the location from a series of clues. This time out, we'll travel to a place that truly lets you get up close and personal with some amazing creatures. See if you can name this destination.

Reminder: The Adventure Magazine Radio Show Begins Tonight


Last week I posted a story announcing the launch of a new radio program called The Adventure Magazine with Monroe and Gigi, which will be hosted by my friend Julian Monroe Fisher and his wife Gigi. I wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the program begins airing tonight on Port City Radio 103.7 WBNE in Wilmington, NC at 6 PM Eastern Time. You will be able to listen to it live over the Internet, and the entire program will be available to stream from the website after it has aired live as well.

Tonight's first guest will be Alan Arnette, who will share stories from his mountaineering expeditions to the Himalaya and elsewhere. Alan is fresh off a successful summit of K2 this summer, and I'm sure he'll have lots to say about that expedition. Future episodes of the show will include other great guests, including Levison Wood, who recently finished walking the length of the Nile River, and polar explorer Felicity Aston.

The Adventure Magazine is sponsored by Great Outdoor Provision Company, and will be a one-hour program that airs each week. Topics will include exploration, gear, travel destinations, and much more. As it debuts, the show is running on just one radio station, but plans are in place to expand further. By the end of 2015, they hope to have it airing on as many as 25 other stations.

If you get the chance, tune in tonight and listen to the first show. If you miss it, be sure to listen to the archived version on the Adventure Magazine website. I'm sure it'll be an interesting hour for Adventure Blog readers.

Good luck to Julian and Gigi on their first show.

Why Now is a Good Time to Visit Africa


As some of you probably already know, I have recently taken over the adventure and outdoor travel page at About.com. Over the past month and a half, I've been truly enjoying writing on the site, as I get to cover a number of topics that I'm truly passionate about, including travel. Over the weekend I wrote a piece that was posted there entitled "Why Now is the Time to Visit Africa," and I thought that it might be worth sharing here as well. 

The gist of the story is that fear and uncertainty over the ongoing Ebola epidemic in West Africa is causing a lot of travelers to cancel their plans to visit the continent, most out of ignorance about the geography there, and the dangers presented by the disease. While it is true that Ebola should be a concern for those traveling in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria, and Senegal, numerous other countries are seeing their tourism industries decimated by the virus, even though there have been no cases of it reported within their borders. Places like Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa, which is actually further away from the Ebola outbreak than some European countries. 

The number of travelers heading to Africa is expected to drop off dramatically in the months ahead. In fact, there are some indications that the number of flights to sub-Saharan Africa could fall off by as much as 50% by the end of the year. Hotels and tour guides are reporting large numbers of cancellations, as travelers scramble to book their holidays elsewhere. All signs are pointing to massive slowdown to the tourism industry across Africa, which had been growing at an incredibly fast rate over the past three years. 

But this slow down presents some opportunities for travelers who understand that the Ebola outbreak is not a threat to those visiting most of the continent. As I pointed out in my article, there are 47 countries in Africa, five of which are being impacted directly by this disease. Most of the others are safe, and welcoming to visitors, and have some amazing things to share with those who come. And if the drop off in tourism is as bad as it is expected to be, there will likely be some amazing travel deals available. KLM has already started offering very affordable rates to a number of countries in Africa, and empty hotels and lodges will be looking to fill rooms any way that they can. That means, that if you've ever wanted to go to Africa, now might be the most affordable time to do so. 

Many of the economies in Africa rely heavily on tourism, and this downturn could have a long, and far-reaching, impact on the people that are directly or indirectly employed by the travel sector there. By gong now, we're not only helping to bolster those economies, we're also showing others that there is no reason to fear Ebola while on safari in Kenya or Botswana for instance. It is a reminder that South Africa has seen zero cases of the disease, and is perfectly safe for foreign visitors, and that Zanzibar in Tanzania is unaffected by the disease. Most of all, it is a good opportunity for travelers to visit a part of the world that is rich in history, culture, and natural resources. One that everyone should see at some point. 

Outside Magazine Shares the Best Gear of Interbike

Interbike is the annual North American gear show for the cycling industry. Each year, hundreds of companies descend on Las Vegas to show off their latest and greatest products, while thousands of people within the industry attend to get a glimpse of where cycling – both road and mountain – is headed in the months ahead. Often, there are some amazing new bikes, clothing, and other gear on display, and this year Outside magazine has shared their selection for the very best equipment that was on display there.

Outside says that "adventure cycling" was all the rage at the show this year, and as a result, a number of bike manufacturers introduced models specifically for this type of riding. Adventure cycling includes off road riding, but not to the level of mountain biking. It is road biking, but with gravel, dirt roads, and light trails thrown into the mix. Specialized introduced the new Diverge Carbon Di2 just for that specific style of riding, and the Outside editors say it is the most refined adventure bike yet.

Other items to get the nod from the magazine include a new apparel line from Scott designed to minimize road rash in a fall, a video camera-tail light combo called the Fly6 that can help keep road cyclists safe, and the Stromer ST2, and electric bike that seems to be leading the pack in that segment of the market. Shimano's latest electronic shifter earned a spot on the Editor's Choice list as well, with an update to the system that will have the hardcore cyclists rushing to their favorite bike shop.

One of the great things about the cycling industry is that the gear that is cutting edge, and expensive, today, will eventually trickle down to the more affordable categories in a few years. So, while we can't all ride around on a super-light, $10,000 machine, the components that make up those bikes will one day be on ours bikes as well. In the meantime, we just have to be patient, wait for our turn, and drool a bit in anticipation.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Video: Timelapse of Stars Over Antarctica

As we head off into the weekend, I thought I'd wrap things up with this video. It is a timelapse clip of the Aurora Australis that was shot over the Rothera Research Base in the Antarctic. As you can imagine, the skies overhead are fairly spectacular. I hope you enjoy.

Starlapse from Kenrick Turner on Vimeo.

Video: Time in Tibet

This wonderful video provides viewers with a lovely look at the people of Tibet. It features some excellent shots of these hardworking, fiercely independent, and devoutly Buddhist people as they go about their daily lives. Starting in Lhasa, and then venturing out into the countryside, we get increasingly immersed in their culture. Truly a wonderful travelogue through this extraordinary country.

TIME in TIBET (GoPro) from Fallout Media on Vimeo.

Video: Meet the Summit Adventure Team

This video is an introduction to the Summit Adventure Team, a squad of adventure racers from Colombia who are preparing to compete in the Adventure Racing World Championships that will be held in Ecuador in November. The video is beautifully shot, and serves as a nice intro to the sport of AR as well. The landscapes that the team are racing through in this clip are simply spectacular, and will inspire you to run, ride, and paddle yourself. Truly an excellent AR video.

Summit Adventure Team from realtape on Vimeo.

Adventurous Couple Paddling to DC to Save Their Favorite Wilderness

Dave and Amy Freeman are quite the inspirational couple. Over the course of their adventures, they have traveled more than 30,000 miles (48,280 km) by canoe, kayak, and dogsled through some incredibly remote wilderness areas ranging from the Amazon to the Arctic. They've also covered some incredible distances on foot too. Last year, they wrapped up an 11,647-mile (18,744 km) expedition across North America, which earned them National Geographic Adventurers of the Year status. With that project behind them, you knew it was only a matter of time before the set out on their next journey, and in late August they did just that. The couple is now on another long distance journey, this time Paddling to DC to save one of their favorite outdoor wilderness area.

Dave and Amy are residents of the state of Minnesota, which is home to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This spectacularly beautiful and remote place is truly a fantastic escape for outdoor enthusiasts looking to get back in touch with nature. Surrounded by the Superior National Forest, it is a fantastic place for a paddling expedition by kayak or canoe. It is also being threatened by sulfide mining on its borders, which could have potentially disastrous consequences for the environment there. 

To protest this mining activity, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act – which created the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness – Dave and Amy have taken on a 100-day paddling journey from those waters, that will eventually end with their arrival in Washington, D.C. All told, they will cover approximately 2000 miles (3218 km) along the way, as they carry their important message about the dangers of sulfide mining along with them. 

So far, they have covered about 160 miles of paddling through the Boundary waters, and have now started to sail across a 200-mile section of Lake Superior. The couple are posting regular updates to their blog, and will be sharing stories from the journey at the National Geographic Adventure Blog as well. You can follow them as they paddle all the way to DC.

The video below explains a bit more about their cause. 

Himalaya Fall 2014: More Teams Depart for the Mountains

The 2014 fall climbing season in the Himalaya is starting to pick up steam now. Over the past few weeks, we've seen a number of teams already arrive in Kathmandu, and make their way out to their respective Base Camps. But now, several other high profile squads are en route as well, as the season officially gets under way.

Earlier today, the British Military team climbing Makalu this fall set off at long last. They departed for Nepal from Heathrow International Airport, and should arrive there tomorrow. They'll only spend a few days in the capital city before shipping out to BC. They now estimated that they will arrive on the mountain around Sept. 21, which coincides nicely with the official start of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. They'll be attempting the incredibly tough Southeast Ridge, which is brutally long and difficult. This will be one of the more interesting expeditions to follow in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned for updates.

Meanwhile, over on Shishapangma, 75-year old Carlos Soria has reached Base Camp. He'll be spending a few days there acclimatizing before he starts heading up the slopes. If he successfully reaches the top in a few weeks time, this will mark his 12th 8000-meter peak, which is an impressive accomplishment at any age. But, Carlos doesn't look like he intends to slow down anytime soon, and he continues to serve as an inspiration to us all.

Chris Jensen Burke left Kathmandu today for Cho Oyu. She hopes to be in Base Camp by next Thursday, after spending some time in both Nyalam and Tingri acclimatizing. Cho Oyu is in Tibet, so much of the journey will be made by vehicle, as opposed to trekking to BC in Nepal. She is allotting just 25 days total for the expedition, and is targeting a summit date around October 4. Of course, the weather will dictate if that schedule will hold or not, but since she is still acclimatized from her summer in the Karakoram, it shouldn't take her long to be ready.

The Adventure Consultants are already on Cho Oyu, and they report that things are going well. They held their Puja ceremony this morning, and spent the remainder of the day prepping their gear for their first rotation up the mountain. Tomorrow, they'll head up to Camp 1 and begin the acclimatization process.

Finally, over on Manaslu, the Altitude Junkies are settling into their routine as well. Their latest dispatch indicates a slight change in schedule, as persistent heavy snowfall over the past few days has made things a bit unstable. Nothing too serious to worry about, but it delayed the rope fixing duties by a day or two. The work is progressing steadily however, and the Sherpas will proceed directly up to Camp 2 tomorrow to start fixing ropes up to C3. The teams will follow them up to C2, where they'll actually be taking their second acclimatization rotation already. Despite the poor weather, things are going about as well as can be expected at the moment.

That's all for updates for today. Look for more progress reports next week.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Video: The Golden State in Timelapse

California isn't just sprawling metropolises. It also features some incredibly beautiful scenery as well. This 4-minute video takes us on a visually stunning tour of the state, giving us shots of some of its most spectacular landscapes. It is a wonderful clip that will make you even more jealous of those who live in Cali.

California from Hal Bergman on Vimeo.

Video: Red Bull District Ride Germany Course Preview

Downhill urban mountain biking feature some of the craziest tracks you'll ever see. Take for instance the one shown in the video below. It is a preview of the Red Bull District Ride held in Nuremberg, Germany last weekend. In the clip, riders Aaron Chase and Yannick Granieri take us through the course ahead of the start of the race. It includes some massive jumps that will make your stomach drop just watching them on the video. There are also some great obstacle, and even a finishing ride down a major ramp that must first be accessed by taking an elevator to the top of a building. It definitely needs to be seen to be believed. Don't try this at home kids.

Red Bull District Ride 2014 Germany - GoPro Course Preview from YOOO.TV | twoleftfeet | Raiders on Vimeo.

Video: The Double8 Expedition Checks In From Shishapangma Base Camp

If you've been reading my updates from the fall climbing season in the Himalaya, you probably have seen me mention the Double8 expedition on a couple of occasions. It features German climbers Benedikt Böhm and Sebastian Haag, along with Italian Andrea Zambaldi, in what promises to be one of the more interesting expeditions of the season. The team will first acclimatize on Shishapangma, then go for a speed attempt on that mountain, before descending back to Base Camp, climbing aboard their mountain bikes, and riding and trail running to Cho Oyu. They'll then make a second speed attempt on that 8000 meter peak as well. A few days ago, the boys arrived in BC on Shisha, and they released the video below sharing their journey so far. It offers a nice introduction to their plans, while giving us plenty of great shots from the trip to the mountain.

Introducing The Adventure Magazine with Monroe and Gigi Radio Program


I have some exciting news for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts. My friends Julian Monroe and Gigi Fisher are launching a new radio program that will focus on some of our favorite topics here at The Adventure Blog. The show, which is called The Adventure Magazine with Monroe and Gigi, will begins airing on Monday, September 15 at 6 PM Eastern Time, on Port City Radio 103.7 WBNE out of Wilmington, NC. Those of us who live outside the broadcast area, will be able to listen to it live on the Internet, or get the archived version from The Adventure Magazine website after it airs.

Topics of discussion will include exploration, mountaineering, outdoor gear, adventure travel, extreme sports, and a host of other things that regular readers of this blog will surely appreciate. I'm told that the very first guest on the show will be none other than Alan Arnette, who will share stories about his experiences on Everest and K2 I'm sure. Monroe and Gigi if a series of other high profile and interesting guests queued up for future episodes as well. People like Mikael Strandberg, Felicity Aston, and Levison Wood.

The Adventure Magazine will start airing in just a single market when it hits the radio waves next Monday, but the hope is to have it syndicated on 25+ stations by the end of 2015. The Great Outdoor Provision Company has signed on to be the main sponsor, and there are hopes that the show will strike a chord with adventurers everywhere.

Despite having this new radio gig, Julian assures me that he isn't done with his regular job yet either. As you may recall, he is an explorer by trade, and will soon be preparing to head back to Africa for the next leg of his Great African Expedition. That is scheduled to take place next March, when he'll be traveling through East Africa once again. I'm sure that will make for great stories for the radio show as well.

Add The Adventure Magazine to your calendars for next Monday and get ready for what promises to be a fun show.

Why We Must Heed The Call of Adventure

Adding a little adventure to your life is a good thing. Most of us that read this blog probably agree with that. But often times we get too busy with work, friends and family, and all of the little things that clog up our daily lives. But adventure brings its own rewards, some that are not always so easily identifiable, although their benefits are worth the pursuit.

That's the gist of a new article written by Chris Gullebreau, whose new book, The Happiness of Pursuit debuted earlier this week. The book, which I have not read yet, talks about the importance of finding a quest that will give you focus, drive, and passion. This is something that the author learned himself when he set out to visit every country in the world, something that took him over a decade to complete.

In the article, Gullebreau says that a good adventure can help put you on a path of self-discovery that will help some people to "find" themselves. He also says that it can help someone reclaim something that they've been missing in their lives as well. Often these adventures come about as a result of external causes beyond our control, which was the case with Chris' own journey, which began in the post-9/11 haze, which resulted in him going to work on a hospital ship in West Africa for four years. His round the world journey started after that.

The article is an interesting one, and Gullebreau's point, both in his book and in his philosophy for life, is that we all have an adventure that is waiting for us. We just need to figure out what it is, and then go after it. This is something that is a bit of a philosophy around this blog as well, as I often hope to inspire others to get outside and find some adventure for their life, whether it be big or small.

Looking at the ratings for Happiness of Pursuit on Amazon, it seems that Chris has connected with readers. The book is getting great praise and currently sitting with a rating of 4.5 stars. The message is certainly a good one, and one that we're in alignment on. If you're looking for a little inspiration for your next project, no matter what it might be, the book, and this article might serve to help.

Thanks to Sam Wilhot for sharing this story.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Video: Ueli Steck on the Future of Climbing

This video, which is a promo shot for Goal Zero, features the Swiss Machine himself, Ueli Steck talking briefly about the future of climbing. Ueli mentions what he likes about climbing, and where he thinks things are headed for the upper levels of mountaineering. If you know anything about him, it'll probably come as no surprise to find that he thinks the future is pushing it to the limits on the really big mountains in the Himalaya.

Video: Alex Honnold 3.0 - Everything You Wanted To Know About The Rock Climber

I came across this video on YouTube earlier, and thought it was definitely worth sharing. It is a 30+ minute short film about Alex Honnold, and his rise to fame as one of the best rock climbers in the world today. The video is funny, insightful, and interesting, with a look at where Alex has been, and where he might be going. Good stuff for his fans.

Video: Precision Wingsuit Flying on the Mont Blanc Massif

Ready for a little boost of adrenaline? Then check out the video below which comes our way courtesy of our friends over at EpicTV. It features wingsuit pilot Vincent Descols as he puts on an impressive display of precision flying over the Le Catogne, a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in France. You'll marvel at how this daredevil zips down the slopes, dangerously close to the ground.

Adventure Tech: Introducing the Apple Watch

Yesterday was a big day in the world of tech gadgets. Not only did Apple unveil its new iPhone, it also showed off a new payment system that uses NFC technology to purchase things both online, and in brick and mortar stores. But perhaps most importantly of all, the company also took the wraps off a new product called the Apple Watch, which could hold a lot of potential for outdoor athletes.

If you recall, a month ago I mentioned how wearable technology was a hot item at the latest Outdoor Retailer show. A number of the companies that produce fitness watches were on hand, and showing off some innovative new options for athletes. These watches and fitness trackers were thinner, lighter, more comfortable, provided more functionality, and now have the ability to connect to your smartphone to share data. It was clear that there was a concerted focus on creating devices that were easier to use, and offered innovation that had been lacking in previous models.

Apple's watch will be competing directly against those devices in the fitness space, but it also hopes to do so much more that those devices as well. It tethers to an iPhone to provide data, and can pretty much do just about anything you'd expect from a smartphone, but with functionality shrunk down to fit on your wrist. You can use it to control your music for instance. It can display texts, emails, and other alert messages. It will provide walking directions to a destination, and it can display weather updates or give you your schedule for the day. Oh yeah, and it can also tells time.

Of course, most of that stuff already exists in smartwatches available from other companies as well. But Apple has wrapped it all up in an intriguing new operating system that looks easy and fun to use. This will help set their watch apart from its competitors in many ways, as it appears to have Apple's trade mark was of use, allowing anyone to quickly find the functionality that they want, and dial it in for their needs.

Ship Missing for 160 Years Found in the Arctic

Back in 1845, famed British explorer Sir John Franklin set out to find, and navigate, the Northwest Passage. With him he took two ships, and 129 men, with the hopes of discovering a way to sail across the Arctic from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Not long into the expedition, Franklin, his men, and the ships disappeared, creating one of the great mysteries of that era. Now, one of the ships has been found, shedding some light on what became of the crew.

Today, the Northwest Passage is a very real navigational route that opens for a few months each summer. Climate change has warmed the Arctic enough that the ice that once kept the Passage permanently sealed now gives way for ships to pass through. In Franklin's day however, the route was mostly a myth that a few explorers raced to discover. Sailing the Arctic Ocean in that era was a treacherous affair, fraught with uncertainty.

Franklin's ships were named the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. Exactly which ship has been located is unclear, but a team of explorers using sonar have found, and positively identified, one of the vessels at the bottom of the Victoria Strait. They believe that locating the first ship will provide some clues as to where the second can be found as well.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Video: What I Do in Whistler

Remember the Internet meme that was making the rounds awhile back which featured various activities shown from multiple points of view, usually with the captions of "what my friends think I do" or "what my grandma thinks I do" with images juxtaposing the reality of the situation? The video below is a film version of that meme, with the various viewpoints centered around mountain biking in Whistler. In this case, our erstwhile hero just wants to go riding, but he has to face the challenges of what his boss, girlfriend, and grandfather thinks he does there. Worse yet, he has to get over the hurdle of what his mom thinks he does there. It's a funny clip, with a good payoff at the end, and some great mountain biking shots intermixed.

What I Do In Whistler from Matt Dennison on Vimeo.

Video: Investigating Rhino Poaching in South Africa

Update: Removed the video from this post, as the embed code for it wasn't working properly. If Yahoo wants me to share, they should send us better code. Anyway, click on the think below to watch the clip.

Yahoo Travel has launched a new series called A Broad Abroad which features Editor-in-Chief Paula Froelich jetting off to visit some of the more interesting and unique places on the planet. The first episode of the series went living yesterday, with Paula traveling to South Africa to investigate the ongoing problems with poachers killing off the already critically endangered rhino population there. You can watch the video below to get a sense of what this new series will be like, and follow Paula on her adventure. Upcoming episodes will take her to other locations in South Africa as well, including a cheetah rescue program, and shark spotting off the coast. This is part of Yahoo's bid to become a bigger player in the travel space, and it will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

Video: Unicycling Moab

We all know that Moab is one of the best mountain biking destinations in the world, but when we say that, we're usually referring to the two-wheeled kind. In this video, we get to see some daring unicyclists take to the famous Moab trails to give it a go. The results are about as exciting as you would imagine. I think I'd have enough problems with two tires. Just one seems crazy. Enjoy!

Simone Moro and Ueli Steck Returning to Everest?

In 2013, Simone Moro and Ueli Steck were involved in one of the more high profile mountaineering incidences in recent memory when they got into a fight with Sherpas on Everest. Words were exchanged high on the slopes, and egos from both parties got in the way, leading to an escalation of the situation beyond what anyone had anticipated. The conflict turned dangerous, and if it wasn't for the intervention of a few other western climbers, who knows what would have happened. As a result of the highly-publicized argument, both Simone and Ueli were turned off to the climbing scene in the Himalaya, and even indicated that they might not return. Ueli has since gone back to make his amazing solo-summit of Annapurna last fall, and now there are some indications that the two men could team up once again for an attempt on Everest.

In a recent interview, Simone has outlined some of his plans for the future, which include several ambitious projects, including a potential return to Everest. He says that he would like to go back to Nanga Parbat to make another attempt at a winter ascent, but he is still searching for the right partner. Previous teammates David Göttler and Denis Urubko are unable to join him this year as David is resting after a busy climbing schedule, and Denis has concerns regarding security on the mountain. But if he can find the right person, Moro would like to go back to Pakistan once again.

Regarding a winter attempt on K2, Simone says that he will not attempt that climb. His says that his wife had a dream in which she saw him die on K2, and because of that dream, he has made a promise to not attempt that mountain in winter. Nanga Parbat and K2 remain the only two 8000-meter peaks unclimbed during that season.

As for his plans with Ueli, Simone says that the two climbers are planning on pairing up to make an attempt on Everest and Lhotse, making a back-to-back summit of the two mountains. He says that they are committed to going back, despite the harsh statements that were made in the wake of the fight with the Sherpas. Moreover, the Nepali government has recognized that there were extenuating circumstances that disrupted their expedition last year, and has extended their permit, allowing them to return to try again.

According to the story linked to above, they will not be going back this fall, as there is too much snow on the mountain following the monsoon. Instead, they are likely to wait until spring, and then make their return to Everest – something I think we'd all like to see happen.

Himalaya Fall 2014: More Arrivals in Kathmandu and Base Camps

It has been a busy few days in the Himalaya, where after a slow start to the fall season, teams are now on the move at long last. Over the past few days, a number of squads have settled into Base Camp, with some even starting their first rotation up their respective mountains. Meanwhile, back in Kathmandu, climbers continue to arrive on the scene, setting the stage for what promises to be an interesting fall throughout the region.

We'll start this update on Lhotse, where a lone Korean team arrived in BC last week. ExWeb says that they endured the remnants of the monsoon while trekking through the Khumbu Valley, and had soggy first few days. But they have completed their Puja ceremony – the ritual in which climbers as for permission from the mountain to climb – and are now waiting for conditions to improve before proceeding up.

75-year old Carlos Soria is freshly arrived in Nepal, and is still in Kathmandu. The Spaniard will be heading out to Shishapangma soon, where he'll begin his attempt to climb is 12th 8000-meter peak. For now, he is content to do some last minute shopping in the capital city, and rest up for the trek ahead, but he plans to leave for the mountain in the next few days.

The trio of Benedikt Bohm, Sebastian Haag and Andrea Zambaldi – collectively known as the Double 8 Team – will also be heading to Shishapangma soon. They estimate that their climb will get underway the middle of next week. They have ambitious plans for the fall, as they first intend to climb Shisha, then run and mountain bike to Cho Oyu, and summit that mountain as well, all within about a 7 day time span. First they'll need to acclimatize of course, but once they are ready, the intend to make the climb in a fast and light alpine style. It should be interesting to see how their journey unfolds in the weeks ahead.