Monday, May 22, 2017

Video: Take a Look at the World Through the Eyes of Nature

This beautiful video isn't just a reminder that we should look around our world and soak in the natural beauty. It also introduces us to Botei – an eagle hunter from Mongolia – and Kuja, who lives with his family in the Amazon Rain Forest in Ecuador. The two men lead very different lives, but they share a bond with the world around them, as both of their people have lived in a very similar way for hundreds of years. To help tell their story further, Botei and Kuja have both been given mobile devices and Instagram accounts to share images from their world. You can follow them at @botei.eagle.hunter and @kuja.achuar.people respectively, with each photo giving us a glimpse into their culture.

 
NATURE'S EYES from Fabien Ecochard on Vimeo.

Video: High Winds on Everest

Over the past week or two, we've been reporting on high winds on Mt. Everest, which have dictated when summit pushes can begin or must stop. So just what do high winds on the mountain look like? This video – shot back in 2003 – will give you an idea of what the climbers are dealing with, complete with shredded tents and all. After watching this short clip, you'll have a better understanding of the forces at work on the mountain.

10 Great Outdoor Documentaries From The Adventure Journal

Just because the dog days of summer force us to stay inside in the air conditioning from time to time doesn't mean we have to skimp on our daily dose of adventure. On the contrary, as there are some amazing outdoor documentaries to be enjoyed while we rehydrate and prepare to head back out into the heat. And to help us find some of the best, Adventure Journal has put together a list of their 10 favorites, which include some all-time classic and recent hits.

The list has a little something for everyone, from mountaineers, to rock climbers, to surfers, and skiers. Each entry is accompanied by a trailer video that will give you a sense of what each film is about. There is also a brief description of the documentary as well, giving readers an indication of what to expect from the film.

So which movies made the cut? I won't spoil too much of the list for you, but I will say that Valley Uprising and Meru both earned a spot on AJ's top 10. Those two films have been amongst the most celebrated adventure docs to come out in recent history, and for good reason. If you haven't seen either of them yet, than you need to correct that ASAP. Also, one of my favorite documentaries is also on the list in the form of The Barkley Marathons (trailer below). If you haven't seen it yet, it is on Netflix and is fantastic.

While AJ's suggestions are good ones, I find the list to be a bit too safe and predictable. There aren't too many films on it that you probably haven't heard of, and if you're like me, you've probably seen most of them before as well. So, what did they miss out on? What are some great docs that didn't get a mention the we should be watching? Leave a comment with your suggestions.


Himalaya Spring 2017: Kilian Jornet Summits Everest without Oxygen and in Alpine Style

There has been a lot of news coming out of the Himalaya this past weekend, and it'll likely take a few days to get caught up on everything that his happening. That said, I thought that this story definitely deserved its own post, especially since I know so many people have been following the expedition.

Kilian Jornet has closed out his Summits of My Life project in epic style by climbing Mt. Everest from the North Side in alpine style and without the use of supplemental oxygen or fixed ropes. The Spanish mountain runner set out from the Rombuk monastery at 10:00 PM local time on May 20, at an altitude of 5100 meters (16,732 ft) and reached the top of Everest (8848 m/29,029 ft) at 12:15 AM on May 22, taking roughly 26 hours to complete the ascent in a single push. He then descended safely back to ABC for a total roundtrip time of approximately 38 hours.

Kilian says that he was moving well for most of the climb but once he hit 7700 meters (25,262 ft) he began to have stomach problems, which slowed him down some. Still, he was able to continue upwards to reach the summit nonetheless and set an impressive time in doing so. Most climbers who will be following in his footsteps on the next summit push, will likely take 3-4 days to complete the same route.

Following his success on the mountain, Kilian is claiming another FKT (fastest known time) on for the climb. It would be pointed out however that Hans Kammerlander made the ascent without bottled oxygen from Base Camp in 16 hours and 45 minutes back in 1996. Presumably he did it using fixed ropes however, so there may be some room for interpretation of the true "FKT."

This brings an end to Jornet's Summits of My Life challenge, which over the past couple of years saw him setting new speed records on Kilimanjaro, Denali, Aconcagua, Mont Blanc, and the Matterhorn. During that time, he has proven himself to be one of the most adept mountain runners – and now climbers – of all time and he likely has another project already in the works. But for now, he's going to savor his accomplishments on Everest and enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation.

Congrats to Kilian on finishing this epic quest. It has been a joy to follow along and we can't wait to see what you'll do next.

Himalaya Spring 2017: Weekend Brings Numerous Summits, 4 Deaths on Everest

As expected, it was an incredibly busy weekend on both sides of Mt. Everest. Weather forecasts had called for calming winds on top of the world's tallest mountain, which had led to many teams getting themselves into position for a massive summit push. The weather was a bit dicey at times, but ultimately Mother Nature allowed climbers to reach the top, although unfortunately four climbers also perished in the process.

According to The Himalayan Times, at least 70 climbers reached the summit of Everest yesterday alone, and there are some indications that that number might be conservative. For instance, the IMG team alone put 27 climbers on the summit. Numerous other teams were within striking distance of the top as of Saturday, although some were still watching the forecasts closely to determine whether or not they should sit tight or make a dash for the top. High winds are expected to return today, although there was a narrow weather window that may have allowed even more teams to summit early this morning.

Alan Arnette estimates that as many as 150 more climbers could have been staged for an early summit attempt today, or they could be waiting out the winds for a second window that is expected to open later in the week. At the moment, it is unclear whether how many more may have gone up today, while others await their turn.

Meanwhile, The Times is also reporting that a number of climbers had to be rescued from the South Side today due to severe altitude sickness. The climbers in question were apparently of Nepali, Pakistani and Argentine descent, and apparently ran out of oxygen near the balcony and had to be assisted back down the mountain by other climbers. Once low enough, they were also airlifted to Camp 2, where they were receiving further attention and getting help with the descent back to BC.

Sadly, there were also four deaths reported over the weekend as well. 51-year old American Doctor Roman Yearwood perished near the Balcony at 8000 meters (26,200 ft) on the Nepali side of the mountain. Also not the South Side, a 50-year old Slovakian climber by the name of Vladimir Strba and a 27-year old Indian climber named Ravi Kumar died as well. Sadly, a 54-year old Australian by the name of Francesco Enrico Marchetti also died while attempting the North Col route in Tibet too. Our condolences go out to the friends and families of the deceased.

These deaths put 2017 on pace to surpass the number of climbers who perished last year on Everest, with more summit bids yet to come. Hopefully, those still heading up will get back to Base Camp in a safe and timely manner.

With this first massive summit push now mostly behind us, we'll have a bit of a lull today and into tomorrow as the remaining teams watch the weather closely. There are still a lot of climbers waiting for their opportunity to summit, and that chance should come within the next few days, particularly if the winds subside as expected. For now though, we continue to wait and watch just like everyone else.

Congrats to everyone who successfully summited and good luck to those who have yet to set out.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Video: Climbing the Hillary Step on Everest

Yesterday we learned that the Hillary Step on the South Side of Everest is gone from the mountain. This iconic point was often a source of bottlenecks on the route to the top, but once overcome, it was usually clear sailing to the summit. Now, things will be a bit different, with some saying the removal of the step should make things easier, while others are claiming it could present new challenges. In this video, you'll get a look at what the Hillary Step once looked like, and what it was like to climb it. Starting this season, summiteers will have an entirely different approach to the top.

Video: Mountain Biker Takes Midnight Ride Illuminated by Drone Light

When mountain biker Loic Bruni set out to ride a trail after dark, he found a creative way to light the way for himself. In this clip, you'll see Loic descending down the mountain with a drone following close behind to illuminate the way. The rest of us probably would have just mounted a light on our bikes, or worn a headlamp, but hey, this works too!

The 20 Best Day Hikes in America's National Parks

Summer is a time for family vacations, outdoor exploration, and simply having fun in the longer, warmer days. If your plans for the summer ahead include a visit to some of America's National Parks, than you're going to want to check out this article from National Geographic. It lists the 20 best day hikes in the parks, proving that you don't have to hike for days to find some epic trails.

Narrowing down a list of great day hikes in the national parks isn't easy, but some of the best trails in some of the best parks definitely made the cut. For instance, Nat Geo recommends the 9 mile (14.4 km) Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords for its physical workout (1000 feet/mile vertical gain) and stunning views of the glaciers. Meanwhile, the Hot River Trail (also 9 miles) in Olympic National Park gets a nod because it wanders through one of the most spectacular rainforests in all of North America, while the Yosemite Falls Trail in Yosemite (7 miles/11.2 km) is one of the best ways to check out the parks picturesque waterfalls.

This is, of course, just a small taste of what the list has to offer. There are 17 other trails that also make the cut, some of which are amongst the most scenic and iconic hiking routes in all of the national parks. Best of all, each of them is short enough that they can be hiked in a day, and still have you back to town for a wonderful dinner.

To see which other trails made the short list, read the entire article here. Then, start planning your national park getaway this summer.

The Volvo Ocean Race Looks to the Future

The 2017-2018 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race won't begin until October, but already the organization is looking towards the future of the 44 year old race. A few days back, race management made some announcements about where the event is heading, and it looks to be exciting times ahead for this round-the-world adventure.

For those who aren't familiar with the Volvo Ocean Race, it is one of the three major sailing challenges in the world, with America's Cup and the Olympics rounding out the "Big 3." It is a race that is held every two years that tests some of the best sailing crews on the planet as they attempt to be the fastest to circumnavigate the globe. The 2017-2018 edition is expected to cover some 46,000 nautical miles (52,935 miles/85,192 km), as the teams cross four oceans, visit six continents, and stop in 12 different cities. To say it is a test of skill, strength, and stamina, would be an understatement.

But, while the five teams that have entered this year's race prepare for the challenges ahead, VOR leadership is looking beyond that competition to others yet to come. Amongst the changes that are coming in the future is the inclusion of a new 60' foil-assisted ocean racing monohull design that will bring faster speeds to the ships, as well as the introduction of a new "flying" catamaran for use during In-Port Races. Those segments of the Volvo Ocean Race are currently used to settle tiebreakers, but the In-Port Races will play a larger role in future versions of the event, although the offshore legs will still be where individual races will be won or lost.

The updated ship designs are just part of the new initiatives that have been announced however. Race leadership also noted that it will begin offering race activity every calendar year, rather than waiting two years between events. To support that activity, it will also add three new hosts cities, new routes, and some interesting changes in race format as well. For instance, it was hinted that teams may even race non-stop around Antarctica in a future event, which would be an amazing and treacherous part of the world for a sailing competition.

Himalaya Spring 2017: High Winds on Everest Turning Early Summit Bids Back

All week long we've been closely watching the evolving situation and weather on Everest with the expectation that teams would launch their summit bids over the weekend, provided the weather window holds. But, a few teams have attempted to go up in dicey weather, and now it sounds like they may be headed back down without ever reaching the top.

Alan Arnette has been following the summit pushes closely and as always, he has the best info on where everyone is at on the mountain at any given time. He's posted an update of the "second summit wave" which got underway late last night Nepali time, and has been continuing throughout the day there. But, an update from the Summit Club team indicates that they have received a radio call that says high winds on the summit are turning teams back without success. That means that the teams that launched an early bid, including the 7 Summits Club, are heading back down the mountain. How far they'll descend and whether or not they'll be ready to make a second push over the weekend remains to be seen.

Considering that a large number of teams, including IMG, are now heading to higher camps for summit attempts over the weekend, you can bet that all eyes are now on the weather forecast. If high winds continue, a lot of squads will be forced to delay their final push to the top, and the next weather window isn't expected to open until the early part of next week. Hopefully conditions will settle down and allow these teams to get up and down safely, but nothing is certain at this point. In fact, the weather has been so strange and unpredictable this season that it is possible that some climbers will miss out on the summit altogether due to bad timing, a narrow window, or because conditions simply just aren't right. The forecasts continue to look positive for the next couple of days, but for now you can bet there are a lot of climbers and expedition leaders holding their breath and crossing their fingers.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Video: Timelapse of the Sun From the South Pole

Ever wonder what the movement of the sun looks like at the South Pole during the long days of the austral summer? Well, wonder no more! This video is a timelapse shot over five days that shows the sun continuously circling the horizon without ever setting. It is quite a sight to see and something that can only truly be found at the North and South Pole.

What does the sun do at the Pole !? from Robert Schwarz on Vimeo.

Video: Exploring Remote British Columbia by Snowmobile

In this video we join a team of backcountry snowmobilers as they set out into remote regions of British Columbia to reach a hot springs that has become almost inaccessible in recent years. Along the way, they find some gnarly snow conditions, challenging routes, and wild space that see very little – if any – human visitors. And if you think traveling through the backcountry on a snowmobile is easy, this video will leave you thinking otherwise.

Is the Hillary Step Gone From Everest?

Yes, we've had a lot of news focused on Everest of late, including an update already today. But this new is big enough that I thought it deserved its own post.

Last year we speculated that the Hillary Step, one of the most prominent landmarks on the route to the summit of Everest on the South Side, may have been destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. The iconic spot was named for Sir Edmund Hillary of course, who scrambled up that section of the mountain on his way to the first ascent with Tenzing Norgay back in 1953. That part of the climb has always told climbers that they were closing in on the summit, and was an important access point for climbers who may not have had the technical skills necessary to complete the ascent. Now, it appears that there is more evidence that the Step is gone, and it could cause problems for future alpinists.

When news broke last year that the Hillary Step was no longer on the mountain, there were some that said that it was indeed still there, but it was covered in a lot of snow and ice, altering its look. When climbers approached, they still found a similarly shaped obstacle that had to be overcome on the way to the top, leading many to believe that everything was normal, but things just looked a bit differently. But now, it appears that those reports may have been wrong.

According to a report posted by Alan Arnette. climbers Tim Mosedale and Scott Mac summited Everest earlier this week just behind the rope fixing team. On the way up, the discovered that the route was indeed a bit more technical than normal, and that the Hillary Step was no longer there. Mosedale is quoted as saying:
"The route from the South summit is reasonably technical and, shock horror, there’s no Hillary Step. The next thing you know we’re on the summit enjoying the views and the sense of achievement."
He later posted the photo above with another quote:
"It’s official – The Hillary Step is no more. Not sure what’s going to happen when the snow ridge doesn’t form because there’s some huge blocks randomly perched hither and thither which will be quite tricky to negotiate."

So there you have it, it seems this iconic point that has been a part of the Everest climb for decades is now gone. How that will impact the summit push ahead remains to be seen, but it sounds like it will have a bigger role in years to come, when there might not be as much snow on the mountain. We'll just have to wait to see. 

This season continues to get more and more interesting. 

The New York Times Takes A Look at Climbing K2 in Winter

It's not often that mountaineering gets good coverage by the mainstream media, let along the paper of record. But, this past weekend, The New York Times took an in-depth look at what it takes to climb K2, the second highest mountain on the planet, during the winter – something that has yet to be accomplished.

The story in The Times introduces readers to a team of Polish climbers who are preparing to take on "the world's most lethal mountain" this coming winter. The story does a good job of not only providing readers with a sense of history for Polish winter climbing in the Himalaya, but also the sense of pride and accomplishment that has come along with the impressive feats that those climbers have accomplished in the past. For them, there is only one big challenge yet to be conquered during the coldest months of the year, and that's K2.

Readers get a sense of what it is like to climb a major Himalayan peak during the winter months, when cold conditions and howling winds can leave alpinists stuck inside their tents for days on end, waiting for a proper weather window just to go out and acclimatize, let alone make a summit push. It is a harsh and unforgiving environment that has crushed the dreams of many climbing teams, and has left far too many men and women dead in its wake. Add that to the fact that K2 is already one of the most difficult and dangerous mountains on the planet, and you begin to understand why it is such a crazy endeavor.

The New York Times story is quite extensive, and an excellent read for those of us who already have a sense of what it takes to climb a big mountain in winter as well as those being introduced to the concept for the very first time. I'm sure more than a few readers were left wondering why anyone would want to do this at all, but if you read this blog with any kind of regularity, chances are you've already moved beyond that question.

Winter is still quite a few months off yet, so its hard to think about it too much at the moment. But, it will also be here before we know it, and the Polish team is busy preparing, plotting, and training to get ready. Once they get underway, you can bet we'll be following their progress closely. Until then, you'll just have to read the article to get ready for the challenge they face.

Himalaya Spring 2017: It's Finally Go Time on Everest

After years of planning, months of preparation and training, and weeks of acclimatizing and waiting, it's now starting to look like it is time to climb on Everest. The teams on both the North and South Sides of the mountain have been patiently watching the weather forecasts for the past week or so, and conditions are starting to finally come around. But the weather windows look tight, so squads are setting off now to get themselves into position for the summit push to come.

If you've been following the season closely, and you thought to yourself that the weather seems odd this year, you're not alone. In fact, Alan Arnette has written an article on that very subject, quoting meteorologist Michael Fagin of Everest Weather who has described conditions this year as the most difficult to forecast in the 14 years he's been predicting weather in the Himalaya. He also indicated that the forecast models have often changed ever 12 hours, which is why it has been so difficult to nail down a good window to launch summit bids.

But, things are changing, and there does seem to be a two short periods of stability about to arrive. The first should take place on May 18-21 – essentially today through Sunday, and then again from May 23-25, which is the middle of next week. The teams on the mountain are now scrambling to take advantage of these calmer days ahead.

Amongst them is the IMG squad, which sent their first wave of climbers up yesterday. They're expected to reach Camp 2 today, and if everything goes according to schedule, they should be ready to summit over the weekend. But, the team's guides are keeping a close eye on conditions to determine the right time to climb. They also have two other waves of climbers waiting for their turn, with another one likely to set out today.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Video: This Timelapse Video of the Grand Canyon is the Best Thing You'll See All Day

When it comes to sharing videos here on The Adventure Blog, I'm prone to hyperbole when writing the descriptions. But when it comes to this fantastic clip of the Grand Canyon, there simply aren't enough superlatives to do it justice. To understand what I'm talking about, you simply just have to watch it. At a little over 2.5 minutes in length, it isn't much of a commitment, and you'll be oh-so glad you did.

Thanks George for reminding me of this!

SKYGLOWPROJECT.COM: KAIBAB ELEGY from Harun Mehmedinovic on Vimeo.

Video: 20 Appalachian Trail Hikers Tell Us Why They're Making the Journey

Have you ever wondered why someone would want to dedicate six months of their life to hike 2200 miles (3500 km) along the Appalachian Trail? In this video, produced by Outside magazine, we meet 20 of those hikers, who share their stories and the reasons behind their trek. As you can imagine, their motivations are as varied as the people, but you'll find some good stories mixed in as well. What would it take to get you motivated to make that hike?

Public Memorial for Ueli Steck to be Held May 23 in Switzerland

Despite the fact that teams in the Himalaya are now preparing for major summit pushes on a host of big mountains, a dark shadow continues to loom over the spring climbing season. The mountaineering community still mourns the loss of Swiss climber Ueli Steck, who was amongst the best and brightest climbers of his generation. Now, Ueli's family has announced that they will hold a public memorial for the man, with all who wish to attend invited.

The commemoration for Ueli will be held on Tuesday, May 23 at 4PM in the Conference Center located in Interlaken, Switzerland. The event will be used to not only celebrate the life of the mountaineer who inspired so many, but also will be an opportunity for Ueli's friends and family to express their gratitude over the outpouring of support and love that they have received following his death.

Ueli perished while climbing on Nuptse back on April 30. He was training and acclimatizing for an attempt at the Everest-Lhotse Traverse when he apparently fell. His body was cremated in Nepal and a ceremony was held in Tengboche Monastery to honor the mountaineer. Later, his family also held a private funeral back home in Switzerland too. But, they also recognize that many in the mountaineering community continue to morn the loss as well, which is why they will hold this public commemoration next week.

The family asks that instead of sending flowers that we instead consider donating money to the Alpine Rescue Switzerland REGA. That organization can be reached at the following address:

UBS AG
Clearing 230
IBAN CH10 0023 0230 4656 8501 F
BIC UBSWCHZH80A
Alpine Rescue Switzerland, Rega-Center, 8058 Zurich Airport, Switzerland
Remark: Ueli Steck

I continue to send my condolences and sympathies to Ueli's friends and family. His loss will be felt for a long time to come. 

Himalaya Spring 2017: First Summits of Lhotse, South African Climber Detained

We'll start the day with yet another update on the current climbing scene in the Himalaya, where things are now quickly coming to a head. On Everest, the teams are now eyeing a weekend summit push, but elsewhere there is plenty to report as well.

We'll start on Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain on the planet and the closest neighbor to Everest. Yesterday, a team of Sherpa's completed fixing ropes to the summit of the mountain, becoming the first people to stand on top of that peak in three years. According to The Himalayan Times, that group consisted of Tshering Pemba Sherpa, Temba Bhote, Phurba Wangdi Sherpa, and Jangbu Sherpa, along with a few others, were amongst those who installed the lines and made the push to the top. They've now cleared the way for others to follow, with about 100 climbers expected to make the attempt in the days ahead.

As with Everest, it didn't take long for another climber to summit Lhotse once the lines were in place. Also reaching the top of the mountain were Indian climber Debasish Biswas, John Snorri Sigursson of Iceland and Cian O Brolchain from Ireland, as well as Tsering Pemba Sherpa and Ang Chhiring Sherpa all summited. An unnamed female climber from New Zealand was also part of the summit push.

Meanwhile, The Times is also reporting that back in Kathmandu, officials have arrested Ryan Sean Davy, the South African mountaineer who attempted to climb Everest without a permit. Davy has admitted to climbing as high as 7315 meters (24,000 ft) on the South Side of the mountain before he was discovered. At that time, he was escorted off the mountain and his passport was confiscated by Nepal's Department of Tourism. He was told to report to the DoT to retrieve said passport, and when he did so yesterday evening he was arrested. The cost of a permit to climb Everest is $11,000. No word on how long Davy will be held or what fines he'll need to pay.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Video: A Visit to Ascension Island - The World's First Artificial Ecosystem

Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Ascension Island is literally a thousand miles from anywhere. When it was first discovered back in 1501, there was just one tree to be found anywhere on the island. But later, in the 1800's, naturalist John Hooker began to transform the place, bringing in non-native species of plants. Today, it is a mix of its original landscape and new vegetation, and it as you'll see in the clip below, it is a much different place.

Gear Closet: Osprey Aether AG 60 Backpack Review

When designing an updated version of its award-winning Aether 60 backpack, Osprey could have simply added a few new colors, changed some minor details, and addressed a few design issues here and there and called it a day. But instead, it redesigned the pack almost completely, and added its now famous Anti-Gravity suspension system, in a sense creating a whole new product. So how does it match-up to previous generations? Quite simply, this just might be the best backpack you've ever owned.

The list of features on the new Aether AG 60 pack is long enough that I could spend all day just trying to cover everything that this bag brings to the table. But, there are three areas where it truly stands out, and those are definitely worth mentioning. As already alluded to above, the Aether now comes with Osprey's patented Anti-Gravity suspension system, hence the addition of the "AG" to the name.

If you haven't tried AG yet, let me tell you that it is a game-changer. The suspension is made from a single panel of lightweight mesh that extends completely around the upper torso and reaching down into the lumbar area of the back. This panel works in conjunction with a set of super-comfortable shoulder straps, and a moldable hipbelt, to help keep the weight in the bag well balanced and properly dispersed, making it far more comfortable to wear a heavy pack than it has been in the past. The result is less fatigue and soreness out on the trail and at the campsite.

The second significant upgrade to the Aether is a new harness that is designed to allow users to dial in just the right fit. The new shoulder straps and hipbelt play a significant role here as well, providing a level of customizability that hasn't been seen before. In fact, the components are completely interchangeable, which makes it easy to find the proper fit that works for your body style. This again, helps hikers and backpackers to carry heavier loads without becoming overly fatigued.

Nat Geo Offers the Best Summer Trips for 2017

Still looking for some suggestions on where you should go and what you should see on an upcoming summer adventure? Why not let National Geographic help? The website has compiled a list of the very best destinations for Summer 2017, with some excellent (and surprising!) options to choose from.

The suggestions – and there are ten in total – are broken down into categories, such as eco-friendly places to visit or an option for those who want to go to a big city instead. The ten destinations are quite diverse, ranging from places as far away as Rwanda in Africa, and as close to home (for me anyway!) as Nashville, TN.

The list will provide you with wildlife encounters, great music, fine art, history, culture and more. There are some classic spots that earn a nod (I"m looking at you Galapagos Islands), and some unexpected places like Bonito, Brazil. But no matter how you like to travel, and where you want to go, chances are you'll find something that will appeal to you in the places that Nat Geo has selected. And since each of the various locations comes with description of why it deserves to be on your summer short lit, you'll at least have some idea as to what to see and do there.

To check out all of National Geographic's selections and start planning your summer escape, read the entire article here.

Himalaya Spring 2017: More Summits on Everest, Dhualagiri, and Makalu

With mid-May finally here, the pace of climbing has definitely started to pick up in the Himalaya. The season will start to grow short soon, and in just a few weeks it will close down altogether. With that in mind, teams are on the move all over the region, with more than a few now finding success on their respective mountains.

Yesterday we reported that the route to the top of Mt. Everest from the South Side had opened after the rope fixing team took advantage of a small weather window to finish installing the lines to the summit. We also knew that a few foreign climbers followed closely behind but just how many remained a bit of a mystery. Today, The Himalayan Times reports that at least 35 other climbers summited Everest in the wake of the rope fixing team, with some of the most prepared and eager mountaineers also taking advantage of the weather window. The group of summiteers was a mix of both foreign climbers and Sherpa guides. With the weather window now closing, they are all descending back to Base Camp today.

Most of the teams are now in Base Camp and eyeing the forecast, which calls for higher winds over the next few days. But, as we inch closer to the weekend, conditions are expected to improve and another weather window is expected to open. Look for a major push on both sides of Everest to begin on Wednesday or Thursday of this week, with climbers looking to top out over the weekend. We're in the final stages of the season now, but there is a lot of work to be done before we're through.