Friday, March 30, 2007

The Adventure Blog on Hiatus! Kili Here I Come!

It seems fitting that this is my 1000th post to The Adventure Blog, as announce that the blog is going to be on a two week hiatus following this post. Tomorrow, March 31st, I'll be heading off to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and then take in a Safari. This has been one of my dream trips for some time, and I'm greatly looking forward to the break, and the adventure.

I fully intend to take a lot of pictures, and blog the whole experience when I get back, but in the mean time, I'll have very limited Internet access so you'll just have to wait until my return on April 14th to resume my regular blog schedule. I promise to share the fun when I get home though. :)

I'm doing both the climb and the safari with Duma Explorer and I can highly recommend them so far. Through every step of the process they have been very helpful and patient, answering all kinds of questions, and responding to my needs when called upon. I expect that same level of service will continue when I arrive in Tanzania, as they have been a joy to work with so far. If you're planning a trip to Africa soon, you'll definitely want to give them a look.

Wish me luck on my climb. I hope to report back with a successful summit. This will be the highest altitude that I've ever been, and while we talk about 8000m peaks around here quite regularly, this will be a nice challenge and personal goal for me. I'll be back soon. Everyone be safe!

Primal Quest To Return in 2008? In Argentina?

Ok, let me preface what I'm about to say with a huge disclaimer that this is just a big fat rumor that I've had a little birdy whisper in my ear. I have no idea if it's true or false, it's just a rumor. However, I've had someone mention to me that the big Primal Quest announcement that is said to be coming "soon" will be that the race will return in 2008 (Duh! Kind of late for 2007!) and that the location of the race may be Argentina. Furthermore, there are rumors of a shake-up of the leadership of the race, which will probably have an impact on how and where it's run.

Interesting stuff if true. I'd love to see a big race run in Patagonia, one of the most amazing, and remote, places on Earth. Up until now, all PQ's have been held in the United States, so that would certainly make for a departure from that tradition. As I said earlier, this is just a rumor however, so we'll see what happens when an actual announcement is made.

Update: Yak at Check Point Zero has updated his blog entry on this subject and it's not positive. His sources, which I'm sure are far better placed than mine, say that the Primal Quest announcement that was to come next week has fallen through, and we're back in the "holding pattern". Hopefully something will break soon on this subject. All fans of adventure racing would love to see this issue resolved. Updates as they come.

Mike Curiak Revisited

Remember Mike Curiak? He was the guy that was going to peddle the entire length of the Iditarod Trail, all 1100 miles of it, unsupported, with just his bike and a specially designed trailer to carry his gear. He was first interviewed by The Gear Junkie who has tracked him down for a follow-up report.

It seems not all went well for Mike once he got out on the trail. He encountered some nasty temperatures and winds, as you might expect in Winter on the Iditarod Trail. At times the temps dipped belowe -30 degrees F and the winds blew at speeds in excess of 70 mph. The combination of the two crated 80 below windchill factors. (Didn't I already say "Brrrr!" once today?!?) In the end, it was too much for him to endure, and after 200 miles on the trail, he gave up on his quest.

In the follow-up interview, Curiak says that his trailer preformed great, but that he plans to shave some weight off of it this Summer, and adding some features that'll make it more "user friendly". It sounds like Mike isn't done with his adentures yet, so we'll have to stay tuned to see how things unfold.

Exploring Caves by Kayak!

Here's a cool article that I found over at about exploring the caves of the Channel Islands via Kayak. The Channel Islands are located off the coast of California, and have become quite an interesting place to visit as their remoteness in regards to the mainland, has left them mostly untouched, giving rise to interesting plant an animal life and a glimpse into what the area once looked like.

The article notes that there are over 255 documented sea caves on Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands, two of the five islands that make up the Natational Park. It's also noted that there are many more still waiting to be found. I can't think of a better way to explore them then by kayak, and it looks like it would be an amazing paddle to be sure.

Once again, the pictures help tell the tale, as there are only a few shots, but they are very cool indeed. The description of the islands themselves are amazing as well. Anyone want to organize a trip to paddle the area? :)

The Indomitable Miss Hawley

Himalaya climbers and armchair enthusiasts alike have no doubt heard of Miss Elizabeth Hawley, the 84 year old woman who has become THE athuority on Himalayan climbing and climbers. She's a legend in Nepal and the climbing community in general, and you haven't officially summitted if Miss Hawley doesn't say so.

Alan has a great post about her today on his Everest 2007 page and his description of his first encounter with her had me chuckling out loud.

Miss Hawley has been the chronicler of Himalayan climbing for more than 45 years and has released her detailed and accurate, though unofficial records, in a book and CD-ROM that follow climbing in the region from 1905 to 2003. Her Himalayan Database is considered to be the authorative source of information on Himalayan climbs.

Glacier Hikes

Adventurelogue has put together a nice list of glacier hikes that are fairly accessible to hikers in different areas of the globe. Their are recommendations for Alaska, Washington State, New Zealand, and the Alps.

The title says "part 1" so presumably we'll see a part 2 at some point. Perhaps early next week. But as the article notes, you may want to take one of these glacier hikes soon, as global warming continues to change the atmosphere, it's likely they may not be around for long. I'd say you are safe waiting until part 2 comes out though. ;)

Technical Canyoneering in Utah

I haven't seen a good article on Canyoneering in awhile, but The Backcountry Blog more than makes up for it today with this cool article on technical canyonneering in Utah.

Like the article says, most people think of canyonneering as rappelling down a canyon wall, then hiking along the floor, but some canyons require a little more skill than that. Such is the case with the canyon in this article, lovingly dubbed "Sandthrax", which was first explored in 2001. At the time, the climbers thought it would be just another basic canyon to explore, but soon found out that it was challenging, tight, and unlike anything else they had ever seen.

The following year the same team returned, better equipped to more fully explore the canyon, but since then few have ventured down into it, and it has become a bit of a legend in the canyonneering community. The pictures, taken by Hank Moon and Shane Burrows, that accompany the article should certainly help in telling the tale.

Polar Update: Lake Baikal Expedition Done! has a fresh Polar Update for us today as we head into the weekend. The first, big news, is that Conrad and Hilary Dickinson have successfully completed their Lake Baikal Expedition resulting in them becoming the first people to ever cross that enormous lake in the Winter. Their website was updated with news that they had reached their destination, and that more details would soon follow.

Meanwhile, Rosie Stancer-Mars continues her solo expedition to the North Pole. She ran into a scary moment when she came across an area of thin ice about the size of two olympic swimming pools and decided that rather than trying to go around, she would swim across it, in her dry suit. The whole way she had to break open the ice, that was too thin to support her weight, but thick enough to cause issues. About halfway through her swim, the hood on her dry suit opened up, and water began to get in. You can imagine her relief upon reaching the other side!! All I have to say is brrrrrrr!!!

And finally, what are the children of polar guides to do when they go off to seek a little adventure? Why kite across Greenland of course! That's just what Sarah and Eric McNair-Landry intend to do as they set out for "kiter's paradise" with their friend Curtis Jones. Sounds like a good time for all involved!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Rest of Everest is Going Back to Everest!

If you are a regular viewer of The Rest of Everest you probably heard Jon's announcement a few weeks back that he is returning to the North Side of Everest this year. In just a few days actually, as he departs on Sunday, April 1st. He has more details of the trip in this week's video podcast on what we fans can expect.

For starters, there is a whole new webpage you'll want to bookmark that will be updated throughout the trip, with blog entries, images, audio files and more. We'll hear from Jon while he meets up with some teams on the North Side and Ben, the lead climber on the Rest of Everest video podcasts, will be checking in from time to time as he goes for the summit of Shisha Pangma this year. It sounds like we should be treated to some great stuff.

Also, in this bonus podcast, we learn about climbers Brian Oestrike and Justin Hewitt who are taking on Everest this year for a good cause, namely to raise money and awareness for lung cancer. The charity they are climbing for is and you can follow their whole climbe at

Good luck to Brian and Justin on the their climb for a cause, and have fun in Nepal and Tibet Jon. We can't wait to see what kind of new adventures you have and look forward to you sharing them with us. Be safe guys!

More on The Eye at the Top of the World posted a podcast interview with Pete Takeda, the author of the book. The interview dates back to January of this year, but is still interesting for those of us who are still discovering the story.

The text on the page gives another brief introduction to the story and then has the audio file available to listen to directly in your browser, or if you'd prefer to listen on your iPod you can also download it.

I've also been alerted that I'll be receiving a copy of the book to review, so hopefully after Kili I will have that available as well. In the meantime watch for a couple of other book reviews coming very soon.

Thanks for the link Jon!

Antarctic Exploration From Your Desktop!

The Washington Post has created a new webpage entitled Exploring Antarctica with lots of nice information, including some cool audio and video files to help you get a feel for what's it's like way down under.

There is some nice photography here, and the site is very interactive, offering up all kinds of information on the Antarctic continent. There is even a live chat room area to discuss Antarctic topics with "experts". Couple that with interesting facts, features on how to get there, and even a slideshow on Mt. Erebus, the souther-most active volcano.

Very cool stuff. Some of those images would make great desktop images for my computer (some are available for download), including a few that look like the Wampa ice cave from The Empire Strikes Back. Thanks goes to Daniel for this one.

Everest Briefs

Alan has published several briefs on his Everest 2007 page to help keep us up to date on what's happening over there.

On the North Side, Alex Abramov's 7 Summits Club has arrived in Kathmandu and have met with Russel Brice's Himex team to discuss fixing ropes up the mountain. As reported, the Himex Sherpa's will go up the mountain to put down the fixed ropes for the other teams, with every climber putting $100 into Brice's coffers. Himex will also, as is the norm, set the climbing schedule for the other teams using their ropes.

Over on the South side, the report is that the Sherpas have been building tent platforms for all the teams that will be arriving soon at Base Camp. Alan also explains the politics of BC a bit, with teams sending their Sherpas in early to mark out a preferred spot. He notes that some teams like to be close to the Khumbu Icefalls to shorten their climb some, while others prefer to be further away to prevent traffic from going through their camp.

Also, check out the short introduction to the "Teahouses" in the area that act as hostels for the climbers trekking up the Khumbu Valley to BC. It's a nice read and offers insights into the climbing exerpience that you don't always find somewhere else. Great stuf Alan!

Light Hiking and Camping in the Winter is a great resource for ideas and tips on how to travel lightly in the backcountry, and I'd say that it's easier now then ever to "go light". New, higher quality equipment, focuses on taking the weight off our packs while still providing us with the true backpacking experience. This especially holds true in Spring, Summer, and Fall, the time when most of us get out and camp. But what about Winter?

Well, you can use many of the same techniques int he Winter as well, but obviously the need to stay warm and dry chaneges things dramatically. That's why Backpacking Light has put together this helpful article as well as an accompanying podcast with lots of great tips to for camping in the colder months.

The focus is on such topics as "Keep Warm Without Getting Wet" and "Keep Your Stuff Dry". But my personal favorite is "Eat, Eat, Eat, Drink, Drink, Drink." Words to live by throughout all four seasons I say. The podcast/mp3 file is found at the top of the page and can be downloaded or listened to directly on the page.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Caudwell Xtreme Everest Team Arrives in Kathmandu

The first team of climbers for the Caudwell Xtreme Everest expediton have arrived in Kathmandu and are preparing for the largest human biology study at altitude ever. The team hopes to study the effects of hypoxia on the human body with the hope that the study will benefit clincial care worldwide.

During the Spring climbing season, nearly 200 people in total will venture to Nepal to take part in the expierment. The team will consist of members from the U.K., Europe, the U.S., and Australia who will be test at four different locations to measure the effects of altitude on the human body. Tests will be conducted in Kathmandu, 1,355 metres (4,379 ft), at Namche Bazaar, 3,450 metres (11,318) Pheriche, 4,280m (13,805 ft) and Everest Base Camp, 5,300 metres (17,225 ft).

Subjects will be expected to pedal a bike while wearing equipment to measure the effects of low oxygen on the human body at high alitiudes. A new breathing apparatus will also be test with the eventual use being for patients who require oxygen.

This sounds like very cool study and could yield some interesting results, both for the mainstream public and their health care as well as for mountaineers looking to travel efficiently at altitude. My only question is why didn't someone contact me? I'd have been happy to join the team in Nepal!

Audio Interview with Mike Libecki

National Geographic Adventure has posted a cool audio interview with climber Mike Libecki who recently returnd from a trip to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan where he, and his brother Andy, climbed Mount Asan.

The two brothers spent five weeks exploring the climbing possiblities in the area, and finished off with a 3000 foot ascent on Mount Asan's headwall. The trip was quite a bonding experience for the brothers, who have also climbed together in China and Greenland, but this was the first real technical climbing for Andy.

It sounds like the two had a great time, despite the fact they got food poisoning, from eating goat head and intestine, a local delicacy. If you ask me, if you go to a foreign country and eat goat head and intestine, you're just asking for food poisoning. ;)

Primal Quest: Not Quite Dead Yet?

I've bemoaned the recent state of affairs in Adventure Racing a number of times on this blog, and even mentioned how things have been changing in the sport, especially with the big races at the top like The Raid and Primal Quest. The most recent news on PQ was that it was being put on hold indefinitely, with a glimmer of hope that it might return at some point in the future. The outlook was not optimistic.

Today we get this short and cryptic post in the Yak Blog over at Check Point Zero that says that there may be a big announcement from the Primal Quest team soon with word on the next edition of the expedition length race. This is encouraging news to all the fans of the sport. I'm hoping PQ returns in a similar format and length, with perhaps a more international location, but we'll have to wait and see. Here's hoping we get good news soon!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Espionage in the Himalaya

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is running a very cool story about a man named Robert Schaller who was a doctor, and a climber, who was contracted by the CIA to plant a nuclear powered surveillance device on Nanda Devi, a peak in the Himalaya.

The device was suppose to keep monitor Chinese missile tests and keep an eye on it's burgeoning nuclear program. Schaller entered into a series of covert operations and training missions to support the CIA's mission, and often left friends and family behind to pursue James Bond style espionage activities. However, when the team was finally suppose to complete it's mission by putting the device on the summit of Nanda Devi, they were turned back by a blizzard. They made the choice of leaving the device at Camp 4, lashed to rocks, with the thought of returning in the Spring to complete there task. Only one problem. When they returned in the Spring, the device was missing, carried away be an avalanche.

Since that time, the government has been very hush-hush about the activities in the area, but climbers have reported that the mountain is radioactive. The theory is that the device is now bured in a glacier, which is slowly destroying the plutonium core that powers it.

The whole tale can be read in the book The Eye at the Top of the World by Pete Takeda. Sounds like a fascinating read. I may have to add this to my list of books.

Thanks to The Piton for this one.

Update: Regular reader Carl sent me this link to a very cool YouTube video on the book The Eye at the Top of the World This story gets more and more interesting. Thanks for sharing Carl! I appreciate it! Check it out here:

Simone Moro: The Lessons of Broad Peak in Winter

Simone Moro has done an interview with about his recent experiene on Broad Peak in which he attempted a Winter summit. You may recall, the team arrived early and had a great deal of success in establishing Base Camp and setting fixed ropes. They even managed to establish their high camps before the bad weather set in, forcing them off the mountain. What followed were weeks of blizzards, high winds, and extreme cold, preventing them from making a summit push. Despite all that, a weather window did open eventually, but the climbers found that Camp 4 had been buried and were forced to turn back as that window slammed shut quickly.

Simone says he learned a number of lessons on the climb however, such as logistically planning ahead to send cargo and heavy equipment before the team arrives to make sure that there are no issues with vital gear. Part of the teams gear was delayed in transit and caused some headaches early on. He also said that had they stayed on the mountain, he still wouldn't have made the summit. Once the weather turned bad, it stayed that way.

However, he also says that he'll definitely go back. He isn't finished with Broad Peak, and he loves the solitude of Winter in those mountains. Perhaps next year we'll be following another Winter attempt. Very insightful read.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Alps: "A Gorgeous Homage to Alpine Climbing"

International Herald Tribune has posted an AP story on the new IMAX film The Alps which I've mentioned briefly a few times already. This is the film that follows John Harlin III up The Eiger on the same route that killed his father nearly 40 years ago. The climb was the inspiration for Harlin's book The Eiger Obsession.

The article talks about Harlin climbing in his father's footsteps, even as his own nine year old daughter watches through a telescope from the chalet below. Harlin III was nine years old himself when his father fell off the face of the Eiger while pursuing his dream to climb the "Eiger Direct" route.

This is the first "review" of the film that I've seen however, and it comes across as nothing short of glowing. The film looks great, as you would expect from an IMAX film, and goes to great lengths to capture an accurate portrayal of what it's like to climb a big mountain face in the Alps. The BIGGEST face in the Alps as a matter of fact.

The film sounds amazing, and I can't wait to see it. Unfortunately, it isn't playing in my area yet, nor is listed on the IMAX website, so I'm not sure when it's coming. But I'll keep my eyes peeled, and when I do get a chance to see it, I'll be sure to post my thoughts here. I'm also plugging away on the book, but with a busy week ahead, I'm not sure I'll be able to post a review before I leave for Kili on Saturday. With a little luck, I'll get it finished, otherwise I'll have to post it upon my return.

North Pole Update Too! also has an update today with news from the North Pole. It seems that a nasty storm hit the north-bound teams over the weekend causing them to drift off course, in some cases for miles, and forcing the ice to drift Eastward as well. But as of today, things seem to be improving.

Alain and Dixie were waylaid by the storm and spent the day in their tend. Ice drift pushed them to the South-East and caused them to lose as much as 5km distance.

Over on Lake Baikal the team is continuing to progress as they make the first expedition across that lake. The team reports that they are no longer counting the days on the ice nor the days they have left, but instead they dream of all the wonderful creature comforts they are missing, and think of warmer places.

Finally, two supported North Pole expeditions are also making progress. Rose Stancer is head North on a solo expedition was also caught in the storm, and reports that she lost distance thanks to negative drift, but is expected to be back on track today. Adrian Hayes is hoping for a resupply today, as long as the weather holds out.

Everest Update: Speed Attempt By Pemba Dorje is reporting that Pemba Dorje will attempt a new speed climb with the intention of summitting Everest, and Lhotse in the same day.

Dorje set the current Everest speed record back in 2004 with a mind bending 8 hour 10 min ascent from the South Side, with the use of oxygen. It that wasn't enough, he also intends to spend more than 24 hours on the summit of Everest to beat the record currently held by the late Babu Chirri Sherpa. Dorje will attempt that record without the use of supplemental oxygen however.

Meanwhile the Saturday Morning Namche market was crowded with locals, as usual, as well as plenty of climbers making their way up the Khumbu Valley. More and more teams are nearing Everest, and thus traffic in the area has picked up dramatically. New teams to the area include a former Malaysian Deputy Minister who will be leading a team of 11 and Alex Abramov's 7-Summit's Club.

Seems like things are going according to plan. We should start to see more dispatches from Base Camp soon, and teams will be making their advanced camps over the next few weeks. You just have to love the Spring climbing season.

New Gear For Spring!

Now that Spring is finally here, I'm sure many of you are turning to the outdoors once more, and heading out to trails that were covered in snow not all that long ago. Of course, that means you might need some new gear, and Outside Online has you covered.

Check out their Spring Gear Review with a few cool new items that'll surely be useful as the weather warms up. There is a new environmentally friendly PFD for the kayakers out there and a new Ultra-light rain jacket to fight off those April Showers. You'll find a few other cool items as well, like moisture wicking shirts, biking gloves, and a big duffle bag to store everything in.

So if you're looking for something new to add to the gear closet, you can start here. As for me, I'm now on a first name basis with most of the staff at my local REI, so I think I'm done buying gear for now. We'll see in a few though. ;)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race Begins Tomorrow!

I'm a big fan of adventure racing. Especially the longer, expedition length races. I first watched the sport years ago on Discovery Channel when they first started showing Eco-Challenge. Later I would follow The Raid, Primal Quest, and others online, and watch them on TV when ever possible. I've even particpated in a few shorter, sprint races. One of the websites that was most useful in helping to track these races online was, and remains, Checkpoint Zero.

Yak, the site administrator, is clearly a huge fan of the sport. His site has been on the cutting edge in introducing new technology for following adventure racing and helping us to get to know the racers better for a number of years now. And now, after a lot of planning and preparation, he's about to see a dream come true, as tomorrow marks the first ever CheckPoint Zero Adventure Race gets underway.

63 teams will take part in the inaugural race, with a wide range of experience between them. You can follow the race online at and it should be a fun, exciting race. I wish all the competitors luck and hope everyone races hard and safe. But most of all, I'd like to congratulate Yak for going out and pursuing his dream, and now finally seeing it come to fruition. I hope the race is a smashing success for you and that there will be many more to come!

More on The Eiger Obession

I first comment on John Harlin III's new book The Eiger Obsession a week or two back when there was an excerpt from the book on Outside Online. Now, is getting in on the action with a brief introduction to the book as well as the IMAX film that acts as a companion to it. You'll also find two audio interviews with Harlin as he discusses what The Eiger, and climbing it means to him.

For those who don't know, Harlin's father, John Harlin II, was one of the great climbers in the Alps druing the late 50's and early 60's. He put up new routes on a number of faces, and was as well known for his climbing as his "movie star" good looks. John Harlin II had a fixation on putting up a route on the Eiger that became known ad the Eiger Direct, which was essentially climbing a line straight to the top instead of winding all over the face as the Classic Route does. While attempting just such a route, with climbing legends Dougal Haston and Chris Bonnington no less, he lost his life. The team ultimately completed the climb, but he was not there to see it. Since then, John Harlin III has always had the shadow of the Eiger looming over him, and he knw that eventually he would have to climb it. The book follows him through that climb.

I'm currently reading the book and hope to have a review up within the next week. As I'm currenlty halfway through it however, I can safely say that it's a great read with a nice mix of biography for Harlin's father as well as well as his own struggles on the Eiger as he faces those demons of the mountain that killed his father. Good stuff.

Trekking The Karakorum

There are few places on Earth as remote and challenging as the Karakorum. Much of the area is so far away from civilization that is largely remains unexplored even today. Which is why I found this article over at so interesting. It tells the tale of Michael Beek, a German trekker, who has spent the better part of 35 years exploring the Karakorum. During that time, he has come to know the people that inhabit the area and much of it's landscape.

However, last July Michael decided to get off the well worn trekking paths and head into areas that were far less traveled. Along the way he claims to have viewed K2's North West face from a location that no other westerner has ever seen it, and had the honor to name three mountains and two mountain passes.

At times, he was in such remote areas that border's between countries became indistinct and he had to rely less on the sketchy maps that he had with him and more on satellite images and the help of Pakistani guides.

Beeks sems to exhibit the spirit of adventure. He looks for and finds all kinds of challenges in his exploration, and certainly isn't afraid to get out into some remote areas, isolated from human contact. It sounds like a great adventure to me, and I'd love to hear more about his expedition.

Everest and Himalaya Update

It appears that the general strike that hit Kathmandu a few days back has been lifted. According to this article (via The Advenurist) the businesses in Nepal decided to lift the strike after the eight ruling parties in the Nepalese government vowed to work towards meeting some of the demands of businesses in the city. This comes as a major relief for all the climbers currently in the city who feared being able to actually fly out to the various regions they'll be climbing in this Spring.

Meanwhile, has published a new update from the region as well, and indicate that teams acclimatizing in the Khumbu Valley are begging to get their first look at Everest as they trek closer to the mountain. Other teams are arriving for Spring climbs on Cho Oyu and Dhaulagiri as well.

Activity in the Himalaya is picking up with more teams arriving this weekend as well. It wont be long until "Tent City" is alive with activity and the Sherpa guides will go to work on fixing ropes and setting up camps. That's whent he fun begins. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dangerous Destinations 2007 has released their list of the Most Dangerous Destinations for 2007.

For most travlers this would probably be a list of place to NOT go, but for some of you it's probably a checklist of places to visit instead. You'll find the usual suspects on the list including Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and more. Not exactly your typical vacation hot spots, but a good list to be aware of none the less.

The article gets a bit philosophical when it discusses whether or not the World is actually becoming more dangerous, or if we actually are just perceiving it as more dangerous thanks to the increasing news coverage around the globe. Forbes seems to lean towards the perception theory. They also discuss how travel abroad is becoming more dangerous as terrorists have begun targeting so called "soft targets" such as tourist sites, commuter busses and trains, and other civilian locations.

Be sure to check out the complete list in the Dangerous Destinations photo gallery.

Thanks Gadling!

Podcast Update: Welcome Back A Life of Play!

I'm a few days late on this one, but better late than never. I first mentioned the A Life of Play Podcast and I noted that they seemed to be on a break from releasing new episodes, but encouraged everyone to check ot their back catalog of episodes. The podcast focuses on things you can do in your free time and discusses all manner of topics from travel to hiking and biking to mountaineering and more.

Well, fortunately for all of us, A Life of Play is back with new episodes, starting with Episode 20 which focuses on training and preparing for a running a marathon. Show host Jeff Cutler interviews Steve Walker, who has run 14 marathons to date, and has some great insights for runners preparing for their first marathon as well as experienced marathoners.

So, welcome back Jeff and A Life of Play. I'm looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us down the line. Keep up the great work.

Climber Forced Down By Bees! has posted this scary story about climber Keith Lockwood of Australia, who was forced off a wall he was climbing on Mt. Arapiles in Australia last weekend because he was attacked by a swarm of angry bees.

The 55 year old Lockwood was 60 meters up the Tiger Wall (pictured) when the swarm attacked. He said at first he thought it was simply a fly that he brushed away when he heard the buzzing, but then a few more joined, followed by the whole family. Lockwood was forced to descend some 25 meters while using just one hand while he used the other hand to swat the bees away. The swarm followed him down about 40 meters before finally giving up.

Upon reaching the bottom, Lockwood says that he vomited and passed out, then awoke to find another climber administering adrenaline. He was stung more than 50 times in all, and as of yesterday, remained in intensive care. Scary stuff. I can't imagine being that high up on a rock face and then have to deal with angry insects. Ouch!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The 2007 Himalaya/Monsoon Rickshaw Run!

Here's a crazy adventure for anyone looking for something a little different. It's called the Rickshaw Run and it involves driving the little three-wheeled vehicles over fast distances and varying terrain. This year's version will be run in Nepal, Bangladesh, and China, over a course that is 2000 miles in length, during the monsoon season no less. Some of the roads top out at over 17,000 feet in height according to the official site as well.

These tiny rickshaws have only seven horse power, and while they are common all over South East Asia, they aren't exactly designed for going long distances. Let alone long distances on roads that range from paved to non-existant. Not to mention the amount of mud and water that will be encountered during the rainy season.

This race sounds like it would be all kinds of fun, while being all kinds of crazy at the same time. If you're itching to go though, you should read the offical rules first, and then check out these YouTube cilps from last year's race.

Not surprisingly, this race is being organzied by The Institute of Adventure Research who just happen to be the same lunatics who brought us The Mongol Ralley. :)

Thanks Gadling!

Want To Go Buildering?

So you've topped out on El Cap, put The Eiger behind you, and The Towers of Paine no longer hold a challenge. So what's next? How about Buildering? What the hell is buildering you ask? Well, that's a great question, since I said the same thing! Basically, it's like bouldering, except you're climbing buildings instead. Really tall buildings.

There seems to be a rash of stories about buildering today, starting with this one over at the Gear Junkie, where we are introduced to French Builderer Alain Robert, who is known as the Spiderman. You can find an interview with Mr. Robert here. An interesting fellow to say the least. Then check out this awesome photo gallery of the Spiderman scaling a building in Abu Dhabai.

Not to be out done, the other Adventure Blog has their own article about Alain (although they do seem a bit confused with his name) and a recent attempt to scale the Petronas Towers. His second attempt at the Towers was thwarted by police, but he has successfully climbed the Sears Tower, The Empire State Building, and the Eiffel Tower, along with nearly 70 other buildings.

Update: Still haven't gotten your Alain fix from the above links? Check out even more photos and information here.

Thanks multidimid!

Everest Update: General Strikes Hit Kathmandu!

I mentioned a few days ago that teams were converging on Kathmandu in preparation for Everest, and other Himalaya climbs. At the time I noted that the political climate had changed somewhat this year with the Maoist rebels now joining the government in an effort to change thing in Nepal, but that there was still general unrest in much of the population. Well, it hasn't taken long for that unrest to manifest itself in the form of a general strike.

According to this article over at ExWeb many climbers are scrambling to get out of Kathmandu today before the airlines go on strike tomorrow. Many of the hotels, restaurants, and other services are already on strike, making things difficult for teams who are stuck in the capital. You can read a first hand account from climber Mike Haugen in his blog over at the Coleman Everest website. (Thanks Alan!)

For those lucky enough to already be out of Kathmandu, it seems the expedition is continuing on schedule. Many teams are already trekking up the Khumbu Valley and, as ExWeb notes, Base Camp is busy with Sherpa guides prepping "Tent City". Hopefully everyone will be out to Lukla by tomorrow, or they'll be facing a long, difficult drive should the airline strike become prolonged.

Discovery Channel Presents: Planet Earth!

Tivo Alert! (or VCR if you still live in the 20th Century!) The Discovery Channel is launching an incredible new show this Sunday when it will being airing Planet Earth.

This 11 part mini-series looks simply amazing, with some of the finest natural footage you'll see anywhere. The show is billed as being "five years in the making" and with some of the shots that they have captured, I can see why. I've had the pleasure of already seeing the first episode, Pole To Pole and I can honestly tell you that I sat with my mouth open for most of the hour. That particular episode begins at the North Pole and works it's way to the South Pole, but stops inbetween to visit some of the most amazing and diverse locals on the planet. It's a great way to kick off the series, with a great overview on a number of ecosystems and incredible video of many species of animals.

Sunday will also see two other episodes in a three-hour total block of time. Episode 2 is entitled Mountains and will obviously will examine some of the most remote mountain ranges in the World and the creatures that live there. Episode 3 is Deep Oceans, and will take us from those highest peaks to the even greater depths of the seas. I can't wait to see what these episodes have in store for us as well.

Best of all, if you have an HDTV, you'll be able to watch every episode in crystal clear HD. When I watched Pole To Pole it was in HD as well, and it made the show even more breathtaking to watch. The show looks like a winner, and I think it's going to be one of the best things ever to air on Discovery, which is saying a lot. I'll post my thoughts on it next week after I've had time to watch the second and third episodes. In the meantime, you can get a taste of what to expect in the teaser video on the first page of the Planet Earth website.

Grand Canyon Skywalk Opens!

The Grand Canyon Skywalk that I've posted on a few times already held an invitation only event yesterday, and as previously reported former astronaut Buzz Aldrin was the first to step out onto the structure.

You can find all kinds of coverage of the event over at Spulch which has some excellent images posted as well as a round up of articles from other sites, such as Yahoo and BBC, on the event.

The official opening of the Skywalk isn't until next week, when we can all pony up $25 to walk out over the Grand Canyon. While you wait for the official opening, check out this video.

Thanks Engadget.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Andrew Skurka Just Can't Stand Still!

Remember Andrew Skurka? You know, the guy who has already hiked the AT, the PCT, and the Sea To Sea route. Recently he evenwent ultralight in the Nation's Icebox.

Well, according to Best Hike he's up to his old tricks again. This time Skurka will attempt to hike "Great Western Loop", a 7000 mile trail that will take him through "12 national parks, 75+ designated wilderness areas, 5 existing long-distance trails, 2 desert traverses, and zero attempts or completions to date."

It is expected to take him around seven months, and he is aiming to start on April 1st. Skurka hasn't decided where he will start from yet, as he is keeping an eye on the snowpack, but he thinking of hiking counter clockwise, starting in California, near The San Gorgonio Pass.

Good luck Andrew. You crazy mofo!

Park Young-Seok To Attempt New Route On Everest!

The always reliable has posted this story about Park Young-Seok, a Korean climber who has alread topped out on all 14 8000m peaks. Park will be attempting a new route this Spring on the South-West face of Everest, in the hopes of putting up a new line on that daunting, dangerous, and technically demanding face. As of right now, there are only two other routes up that side of the mountain.

Park, who had to be rescued from the Bearing Strait just last week, hopes to complete the climb in honor of the 30th Anniversary of the first successful Korean summit. Aside from climbing the 14 8-thousanders, he became the first man to complete the "Adventure Grand Slam" by also walking to the North and South Poles, as well as completing the Seven Summits.

It should be interesting to watch this climb and follow the updates. It will certainly be demanding, as only Chris Bonnington's 1975 team and a 1982 Russian team have managed to successfully put up new routes on this wall.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Arctic Expedition News is kicking off the week with an update on the arctic expeditions that are currently out on the ice.

First up, Dixe and Alain are making good progress despite the fact that their solar chargers are not functioning properly. They've traveled 308km in 18 days, which will put them at the North Pole in roughly three weeks. You'll recall that these are the guys attempting an arctic traverse from Siberia to Greenland, via the North Pole.

Meanwhile, the Lake Baikal Expedition continue to make progress but are behind schedule thanks to the lack of wind to allow them to kite. Adrian Hayes, part of the Weber Arctic Team reached the 84th degree last Friday, and are continuing North at a solid pace.

Finally, Will Steger's Global Warming 101 Team has cleared the barrier ice that was blocking the way out onto the Pangnirtung Fiord, and are now back on schedule as well, finally able to return to a solid trail. This is the team that Ed Vieturs and Richard Branson will join in a few weeks as they explore the impact of global warming on the Inuit tirbes on Baffin Island.

It's interesting to talk about global warming, an undeniable effect on our planet, while these teams are discussing the bitter cold. Many of them have remarked at how much colder it is than they had expected. I guess global warming can only have so much of an effect when you're that far North.

Wonders of the Chinese Landscape

I was introduced to this incredible gallery of photographs thanks to a blog entry over at

If you ever thought that China didn't have amazing scenery to visit and explore, than surely this will change your mind. The two images I've posted here are just a samping of some of the amazing things to see and do in China, which is a vast country with widly varying terrain. The photos capture some of the beauty there, and if you didn't already have China on your list of must visit places (and you should!) then perhaps these will convince you. Great stuff.

The Planet Ice Project has kicked off a new blog called Planet Ice in which writer and photographer James Martin will be making regular entries over the next two years as he visits some of the major icefields and glaciers around the world to study the effects of global warming on our planet.

The author says that he'll be visiting the Mountains of the Moon, the Alps, the Andes, the Himalaya, Greenland, Iceland, and the polar ice caps as he works on the project, which will also include a book of photographs and essays, as well as a touring exhibition on the project.

The tour is actually already underway, and Martin has already visited Antarctica and published his blog entry for the region. He had visited the region some ten years ago, and makes a lot of comments on how the area has changed in that time, with more free floating ice and warmer temperatures this time around. Next up on his list of stops is The Mountains of the Moon and Kilimanjaro.

This should prove to be an interesting read over the next two years with visits to a number of amazing places to record the impact of global warming on the glaciers and snows in the regions. I'm sure the eventual book will have some amazing shots too. Now if I could just convince someone to fund an adventure like this one for me. :)

Everest Update: Teams Gathering in Kathmandu! has posted an excellent Everest update article with news on all the major teams arriving in Kathmandu and making their way to Lukla and beyond.

At this time of year, the streets of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, become crowded with foreign vistors there to climb Everest, Annapurna, or one of the hundreds of other peaks in the area. This year, the political climate has changed some, with the Maoist rebels joining the government, but it seems like there are still plenty of protests and other unrest to still cause delays and other issues.

Still, teams are on their way to both sides of the mountain, and will be arriving in BC soon, their home for the next two to three months while they undertake the arduous task of scaling the Everest.

Adventure Through All of Life's Stages

National Geographic Adventure has taken a unique approach to recommending adventure travel. They've broken life up into seven stages with some wonderful suggestions for everyone, no matter what age you are.

The different life stages include: The Age of Innocence (Ages 5-16), The Age of Virute (Ages 17-22), The Age of Enlightenment(Ages 23-30), The Age of Romance (Ages 25-45), The Age of Conquest (Agest 25-45), The Age of Anxiety (Ages 35-55), and finally The Age of Reason (Ages 55 and up).

Each "Age" has a nice explanation and some excellent suggestions for adventurous travel all over the world. Another fun article from Adventure.

Young, British, Antarctic Explorers Wanted!

Are you between the ages of 18 and 23, have a zest for adventure, and a resident of the U.K.? Then you may want to check out BSES's Antarctic Gap Year Expedition. You'll have the opportunity to explore Antarctica aboard the HMS Endurance from November 2007 to January 2008.

I received a press release on this unusual and very cool opportunity earlier in the day, and thought that it sounded like such a great opportunity for the right people. In the press release was this quote:

“We are looking for volunteers to join our team of explorers and scientists who are ready to experience the Antarctic region’s variety of wildlife, scenery, geology and history. They need to have some mountaineering experience, love being outside and working with people, as well as having a thirst for science,” said Pat Parsons, leader of the Antarctic region expedition.

In all, 12 people will be selected to join the Endurance crew. If you're interested, send an e-mail to for more informaiton. Or, drop me an e-mail and I'll forward the press release on to you.

Oh to be young again. And, you know, British. :)

Ecos Lifelinke: Coming Soon To An Expedition Near You?

Check out this cool 'do it all' power station from Ecosphere. Dubbed the Ecos Lifelink, this unit will purify water as well as provide power and wireless Internet service all through the use of solar and wind power. The orginal article at speculates that the device will be used in a disaster relief role, such as in areas that have been hit by a hurricane or other natural disaster, but it's quite easy to see this thing finding a home in Everest Base Camp or similar locations.

The device is made up of two twenty foot sections that can be delivered and assembled in a numbr of ways. The size of it would prohibit it's use in a lot of areas, but we will also likely see the size come down over time as the product is improved. It would make for quite the luxury item in basecamp, with plenty of power for our list of expedition gadgets while pumping out 30 gallons of purified water per minute, and providing wireless Internet and voice-over-IP within a 30 mile range. Impressive stats to say the least.

It's clear this is an early prototype, but it's also clear that the company is on to something here. I won't be surprised at all when this thing goes into production and smaller units are created for more remote areas. Cool stuff. It'll certainly keep your iPod charged.

Thanks Engadget.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ranulph Fiennes Conquers The Eiger!

British Explorer and all around Adventurer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes has completed his goal to scale the North Face of the Eiger. Fiennes undertook this endeavor, at the age of 62 no less, in an effort to raise money for the Marie Curie Cancer Care Program.

In all, it took five full days on the Eiger Face for Fiennes to reach the summit. Along the way, the explorer had to over come attacks of vertigo, climbing that he described as "nightmarish", and a long hard climb over the Traverse of the Gods. All of this with out the use of half the fingers on his left hand thanks to severe frostbite from a 2000 expedition to the South Pole.

Fiennes has vowed to "never again" climb the Eiger, and has been quoted as saying that had he known it would be as difficult as it was, he isn't sure the would have taken the challenge, even to raise funds for the Marie Curie Charity.

You have to hand it to him, climbing the Eiger is no small feat, even for a much younger man. Fiennes not only completed the climb, he hasn't pulled any punches when it comes to evaluating the difficulty of the North Face. Clearly this took a lot out of him and it makes you wonder how many more of these adventures Sir Ranulph can under take. You have to admire his spirit of adventure.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The WIldeBeat Tells You How To Avoid Getting Eaten In The Backcountry

The WIldeBeat has relased Podcast Episode 80 entitled Fighting Animal Terror.

Steve's guest this week is Dave Smith (sounds like an alias!) who is a former backcountry caretaker at Yellowstone and has written several books on the topic of avoiding becoming lunch for a bear. He gives some good tips on how to handle bears, cougars, and other critters you may run into while hiking in the backcountry.

They mention high profile animal victims like Steve Irwin and Timothy Treadwell to demonstrate that anyone can be caught off guard and killed by an animal attack. Treadwell in particular would have done well to have heeded some advice from someone like Smith.

As always, the WildeBeat is well worth listening to and comes highly recommended by me. Subscribe in iTunes or bookmark the website for weekly episodes.

2007 Everest Climbing Season Begins!

The 2007 Spring climbing season on Everest, and the Himalaya in general, has begun. Teams of climbers have descended on Kathmandu with literally tons of gear and plenty of ambitions. Over the coming weeks they'll head out to Everest, Annapurna, or any number of other mountains, some of which we've never heard of, and being the long, slow process of acclimatization and setting up fixed ropes and high camps.

To kick off the season ExWeb has posted an excellent essay on climbing on Everest and how it has become a haven for commercial climbing and reality TV shows. It's a good commentary on not only climbing on the "Mother Goddess", but high altitude climbing in general.

Almost as if to underscore their point, there is this publicity stunt by Discovery Channel to promote their show Everest: Beyond The Limit which I covered extensively when it aired here in the United States. To draw attention to the show in Sweden, Discovery paid climber Philip Junaeus to sleep in a tent, suspended from a billboard promoting the show, for seven days leading up to it's first airing. I think this story pretty much speaks for itself. Thanks for the tip GoBlog, not to mention the plug!

When you're done with those articles, head over to Alan Arnette's 2007 Everest Page for a complete listing of teams heading to Everest for the Spring season. This excellent page has all kinds of links to websites for the climbers and is broken down nicely between the South Col and North Ridge Routes. Scroll down the page even further to see some excellent articles and interviews about the topic. Great stuff Alan!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Best Hike Challenge!

Remember back in December when posted their Top Ten Hikes In The World? There were some amazing suggestions for places to Hike, like the Annapurna Circuit or Kilimanjaro. Well, now they've upped the ante with an interesting challenge, complete all ten hikes in one continuous series of treks over a five month period!

While the challenge is a bit tongue in cheek in it's approach, it's still an interesting idea to be sure. Be sure to check out the comments on this particular blog entry, as Best Hike Editor Rick McCharles estimates that it will cost a minimum of $10,000 US to attempt such a feat, and more likely would be in the ballpark of about $13,000.

Oh, if only I had the money, and time off work, to take you up on your challenge Rick. It sure would make for one hell of an adventrue.

Ice Climbing In Ouray

Many people consider Ouray, Colorado to be the Ice Climbing Mecca in the United States. It's well known for it's impressive and challenging climbs and commitment to the ice climbing crowd. They even have an annual ice climbing festival.

Now, the other Adventure Blog has posted a cool little introduction to Ouray that includes some stunning photos of the area.

The article obvioiusly highlights the ice climbing aspects, but is also quick to point out that Ouray isn't just about that. There is plenty to do in the warmer months, with rock climbing, mountain biking, and hiking all being popular activities. But lets face it the Ice Park is the attraction in the Winter. The park was built back in 1995 and has more than 150 shower heads that spray water out over the Uncompahgre Gorge creating a mile long section to climb.

I've never been to Ouray, but the place looks gorgeous. Perhaps I need to make a visit to the area, even though I've never done any ice climbing. The scenery is beautiful and there seems to be a ton of things to do outdoors, all of which sounds great to me.

Filling In The Blanks On The Map

There are stories of adventure and then there are stories that inspire adventure. Today we have just such a story from It's the tale of two Frenchmen exploring the Karakorum for hidden passes and unclimbed peaks.

Bruno Collard and Matthieu Paley set off for the Braldu Valley last Summer in an attempt to find a long forgotten mountain pass that would link India with the ancient Silk Road that passed through China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. They spent the better part of two weeks exploring the valley and searching for traces of the pass, finding an old salt mine and other traces of human passage in the area, including bones of previous travlers. The bones pointed the way, and the managed to find the fabled Lukpe La pass at 5,620 meters. The pass ran across a glacier that connected South and Central Asia, and hadn't been used in hundreds of years.

As if that wasn't enough, the two explorers decided to go after a first ascent on Wulio I Sar, a 6000m peak that seems to be a decent, but not terribly challenging climb. It's likely that it's remained unclimbed more because of it's remote location rather than it's technical difficulty. Still, after finding the pass, it seems like a fitting way to end the expedition with a first ascent.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Khumbu Icefall Explained

When people talk about the dangers of climbing Everest they seem to always fixiate on the summit and the perils associated with "The Death Zone". They rarely talk about the dangers at the lower levels, and few have even heard of the Khumbu Icefall.

The Adventurist has posted a cool little article that serves as a nice introduction to the Khumbu Icefalls explaining where it is located and exactly why it is the most dangerous place on the mountain. There is even a link to a 360 degree view of the Icefall on the PBS website.

The article notes that the Icefall was responsible for three deaths and four induries during the 2006 climbing season and if history is any indication, there is likely to be more injuries, or even deaths, in 2007. The dangerous crevasses are unforgiving, and the glacier is constantly shifting, requiring climbers to use ladders and ropes to slowly move through the Icefall after departing from Base Camp and moving up to Camp 1.

By the way, if you haven't bookmarked The Adventurist yet, what are you waiting for?

It's Official! Mackey Wins Iditarod!

It was all but wrapped up yesterday, and the ride from White Mountain into Nome was just a formality, but now it's official. Lance Mackey has won his first Iditarod Sled Dog race!

Following in his father's (and bother's) footsteps, Mackey claimed the victory by finishing 2 hours and 20 minutes in front of Paul Gebhardt, who took second place for the second time. Mackey also becomes the first man to win both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod in the same year, solidifying his place as one of the best long distance mushers ever.

Following Mackey and Gebhardt, came Zack Steer in third place with Martin Buser and last year's champion Jeff King in fourth and fifth respectively. As of this writing, ten teams have made it to Nome, with more arriving all the time. You can check out the current standing on the leaderboard.

Huge congratuations to Lance. This is a well deserved win, and winning both races in one year is an amazing accomplishment.

Breaking The Ice!

Popular Mechanics has published a very cool article entitled Voyage to the Top of the Earth (Almost) in which they follow the Canadian coast guard icebreaker Des Groseilliers as it heads through the North-West Passage into the the High Arctic to resupply a research station.

The ship is powered by six diesel/electric engines that generate more than 17,000 horsepower, as it pushes itself through ice as much as seven feet thick on it's journey to the top of the World. It's bow is designed to slice through the ice, while still withstanding incredible pressure and she can maintain a speed of three knots even while pushing through three feet of ice.

It's a pretty amazing machine, and the eight members of the Eureka research team, the remote weather station the ship is sent to resupply, are happy it exists. The article is a fun read, and it's interesting to see what the conditons are like above the Arctic Circle, even in the middle of Summer. The trip is not possible at any other time of the year.

Searching for America’s Roof

Some months ago I posted on the brewing controversy over the highest mountain in Soth America. There are some who believe that Ojos del Salado may actually be taller than Aconcagua, which I joked would throw all those Seven Summitters into a tizzy. I also noted that that should be a fairly easy thing to resolve these days.

Well, it looks like someone is going to resolve it after all. Dubbed the "Searching for America's Roof" expedition a team of French and Chilean climbers will measure both Ojos del Salado and the nearby Nevado Pissis to get accurate heights to compare to one another.

Not only does potentially impact the Seven Summits, it's also a matter of national pride. Aconcagua is in Argentina, while Ojos del Salado is in Chile. The prize is the tourst dollars and climbing fees for everyone who wants to go up these mountains. It should be interesting to see how this all ends up.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Iditarod Update: Mackey Is Nome Free!

Ok, so the pun in my title is a little bad, but I couldn't resist. :) But word from the Iditarod is that Lance Mackey has taken a commanding lead and has now departed White Mountain for Nome with a two and a half hour lead on his next closest competitor, Paul Gebhardt.

The run to Nome will largely be ceremonial for the three time Yukon Quest champ who is about to win his first Iditarod. Mackey has been one of the finest distance mushers for some time now, but bad luck and poor strategy have sometimes cost him in The Last Great Race. At last it looks like he has conqured the Iditarod, and will join his father and brother as champion.

Rounding out the current top five are Martin Buser in third place, followed by Zack Steer and Jeff King in fourth and fifth respectively. The race has gone by very quickly this year, and the leaders have set a blistering pace. For a complete list of standings check out the leaderboard.

Alpinist Photo Essay

Alpinist has an excellent photo essay on their site entitled Little Man, Big Mountain that has some amazing photos. The images were taken by Evrard Wendenbaum, a Swiss photographer, who has followed climbers all over the planet to take pictures of them on the rock. Along the way, he recognized that there is a big world out there to explore, and that we are a fairly insignificant, yet still striving to find our place in it.

I really like the photography here, and I'd like to see more of it. If anyone knows if the photographer has a website, post the address in the comments. It's images like these that make me want to learn to be a better photographer myself.

Spring Adventures From

Spring is just a short week away, well on the calendar at least, and it's the time when a young man's heart turns to... adventure! If the Spring Thaw has you itching to get outside and play, then perhaps can be of some help.

They've posted this article with a number of excellent suggestions for some Spring time destinations for adventure. For instance, the list includes Skiing White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, Ice Climbing in Ouray, Colorado or Backpacking in Big Bend National Park, Texas.

There are plenty more suggestions as well with a little something for everyone. So shake off the cabin fever and get outside. You survived another Winter! :)