Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Video: What is Canyoneering?

One outdoor sport that is often referenced, but not always clearly defined or explained, is canyoneering. Essentially, this activity involves rappelling down into a slot canyon and either hiking or climbing your way back out. In this video, brought to us by our friends at REI, we learn more about the sport, not to mention the skills and equipment needed to take part in it. The clip starts the REI Trailheads, who are a group of brand ambassadors who are usually a lot of fun to watch on their adventures. They don't disappoint here either.

The North Face, SmartWool, Other Outdoor Brands Move Headquarters to Denver

It's starting to look like Colorado's bid to host the Outdoor Retailer convention is beginning to pay off in a big way. When the outdoor industry took umbrage with some of the state of Utah's approaches to protecting public lands, Colorado rolled out the red carpet, luring the lucrative convention away from Salt Lake City to Denver instead. Now, the city is becoming an even bigger epicenter for the outdoor world as more brands relocate to the area, including some of the biggest names in the industry.

Yesterday, VF Corporation announced that it was moving its world headquarters to Denver. While many of you probably haven't heard of VF Corp before, I guarantee you've heard of some of the brands that it owns. For instance, The North Face falls under the VF corporate umbrella, as does SmartWool, JanSport, and number other high profile companies.

Naturally, Colorado officials are excited to welcome this Fortune 250 company to the state. "We are thrilled to welcome a new partner that embodies the values that define Colorado,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “VF’s move underscores the critical driver that the outdoor recreation industry plays in our economy where business meets lifestyle.”

The relocation process is expected to take about two years to complete, with more than 800 VF employees moving to Denver. The new global headquarters building is expected to open in mid-2019, although the exact location hasn't been revealed yet. Employees will start arriving soon thereafter, including about 70 from SmartWool, which currently operates out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

All told, VF Corp and its subsidiaries employ about 70,000 people worldwide, operating in 170 countries. In 2017, it generated $11.8 billion in revenue. Obviously, only a fraction of those employees will be moving to Denver, but it is still a significant coup for the city and state, which have always emphasized the importance of outdoor activities and adventures. Once the relocation is complete, the company will be Colorado's most valuable publicly traded company as well.

The Rebelle Rally is the Off-Road Adventure Just for Women

Female adventurers looking for a unique new challenge should look no further than the Rebelle Rally. This off-road navigation rally raid is the first of its kind in the U.S., with only women allowed to compete. This wild adventure will take competitors deep into the wilderness on an 8-day driving adventure that is more about skill, patience, and precision rather than speed.

The Rebelle Rally will take place from October 11 - 20, with the start taking place in Tahoe, California and the finish line located in Southern California. As is common with an event such as this one, the exact route is shrouded in secrecy, particularly since finding checkpoints and navigating through the wilderness is a big part of the adventure. We do know however that the route will cover some 2000 km (1242 miles) through California and Nevada, with the final stop in San Diego.

As you would expect, GPS devices are not allowed. Instead, the two-woman teams will have to navigate using just a compass and a map, with some roadbooks used for some of the challenges. The competitors will be tasked with locating checkpoints along the course, some of which will be well hidden along the dirt roads, double tracks, and even open desert that must be explored in order to find them. Live tracking will allow fans to follow along from back home once the race is underway.

Teams taking part in the rally can compete in two different vehicle classes. Some will drive 4x4 vehicles with a low-range, two-speed transfer case throughout the rally, while others will use unibody crossover vehicles. The 4x4s include a variety of Jeeps, Land Rover LR4s, and a Ford Rubicon. The crossover options include a Jaguar F-Pace, Honda Ridgeline, and Subaru Outback. And if potential teams don't have a vehicle of their own, they can be rented prior to the start of the rally.

The entry fee for a team is $12,000, which includes meals, drinks, a nightly base camp, and accommodations prior to the start and following the end of the race. Meals are prepared by Michelin-starred chef Drew Deckman each day as well, and there will be pre- and post-rally celebrations in Tahoe and San Diego.

Those looking to get a sense of what the Rebelle Rally is all about can check out the excellent highlight reel from the 2017 edition below. You'll also find all of the info you need at the official website. Personally, I'm excited to see what this event is all about and I'm glad to see more opportunities for the ladies to have their own adventures too. This is going to be wild.

First Ascent of North Face of Latok I Completed After 40 Years

Big news from the Karakoram today where we learn that not only is the climbing season there not completely wrapped up, but a team of alpinists have solved one of the great challenges of mountaineering. Slovenian climbers Ales Cesen and Luka Strazar, along with British climber Tom Livingstone, have knocked off the North Face of Latok I, a route that has evaded completion for more than 40 years.

Standing 7145 meters (23,441 ft) in height, Latok I has been seen as one of the toughest peaks in the world for decades. It has been summited exactly one other time when a team from Japan managed to scale its south side back in 1979. Prior to that however, an American team consisting of Jim Donini, Michael Kennedy, Jeff Lowe and George Lowe gave the North Ridge a shot back in 1978 but were turned back after 100 pitches due to poor weather and illness on the team. Since then, the face has grown to almost mythical status amongst mountaineers, with numerous attempts over the years.

News of the first ascent first broke on the Camp-Cassin Facebook page, who are sponsors of the expedition. The news then rolled out across the climbing community with other websites picking up the story. Not a lot of details have been revealed just yet, but more are expected when the team returns home next week.

Typically, the Karakoram climbing season has come to an end by mid-August, but Cesen, Strazar, and Livingstone have continued their expedition there despite most other teams having left for home. That could be an indication of shifting climate conditions, as the Alpinist article linked to above quotes Thomas Huber from Stephen Nestler's adventure sports blog as saying that global warming may have changed the ideal climbing season from early August to mid-August instead. It's tough to know if that is true or not at this point, but the climbers certainly found good weather that allowed them to complete the climb.

It should also be noted that Latok I was the sight of the recent dramatic rescue of Russian climber Alexander Gukov, who was stranded on the mountain when his climbing partner fell to his death. Those two men were descending when the accident occurred after coming within 100 meters of the top too. Conditions were so difficult at the time that Gukov had to spend nearly a week on the mountain alone before a SAR team could get to his position.

Congratulations to Ales, Luka, and Tom on finishing off a line that many thought would never be climbed. Well done! Now get home safely.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Video: Climbing the Abruzzi Spur Route on K2

If you've ever wondered what it is like to climb K2, the second tallest mountain in the world, this video will certainly be eye-opening. It takes us to that mountain and up the famed Abruzzi Spur route, one of the toughest and most technically challenging ascents in the world. The video was shot this past summer in the Karakoram and gives viewers a glimpse of the conditions and challenges that come along with taking on "the Savage Mountain." It is both beautiful and intimidating at the same time.

Video: Running Around the World Episode 2 - Ultra Trail Running in Yunnan, China

Trail runners Jason Schlarb and Meredith June Edwards travel to Yunnan, China in this video, which is part of an ongoing series from our friends at Altra Running, to take on a 55k (34 mile) trial run and set an FKT on the Haba "Snow" Mountain, a 5395 meter (17,703 ft) peak located there. The two endurance athletes discover an unexpected culture of adventure that provides them with more of  a challenge than they bargained for.

Video: Everest Base Camp 360º VR Trailer

Virtual reality and 360º filmmaking is holds some exciting possibilities for telling stories and transporting viewers to new places. Such is the case with a new documentary film that my friend Milosz Pierwola is creating as he has taken a 360º camera to Everest Base Camp to capture the sights and sounds of what it is like to be there. The video below is a the trailer for the full documentary, which will be released at a later time. If you're using a browser that supports 360º films, you'll get a great look at the Himalaya in Nepal as Milo made his way to EBC. This is the next best thing to being there yourself and well worth a look, not only for the subject matter, but the technology involved too. This looks amazing and I can't wait for the full film.

Backpacker Lists the Best Budget Tents of 2018

One of the the biggest investments an outdoor enthusiast makes when purchasing gear for use on their adventures is buying a tent. Today's tents come in all shapes and sizes and are often made of lightweight, high-tech fabrics and come with carbon fiber poles. This makes them lighter, more comfortable, and roomier than ever before, but it also tends to make them more expensive too. If you're in need of a new camping shelter, you don't necessarily need to break the bank however, as Backpacker magazine has put together a list of its favorite budget tents, proving you can get a good model without shredding your bank account.

The list consists of six different tents in total, with each entry broken down into several categories. The tents are rated for their livability, weatherproofing, features, and durability, all of which are important factors to consider when shopping for a new model. And to put things in perspective, these tents range in price from as little as $120 to as much as $250, which even at the high end is still fairly reasonably priced.

I won't give away all of the tents that made the cut, but I will say there are some nice options available from brands that you know and trust. When making a "budget" list of outdoor gear, it is easy to choose products from companies that no one has ever heard of. The problem is that those pieces of gear don't tend to have a proven track record from companies that have been making outdoor equipment for years. That isn't the case here, as all of these tents come from companies that you probably already know and trust.

For example, the best all around tent was awarded to the Sierra Designs Meteor 2, which got good marks for livability and weatherproofing, while the Mountainsmith Morrison EVO 2 earned a spot on the list thanks to its features and livable space. The other four tents offer similar options and strengths and weaknesses depending on what you're looking for and how much you want to spend.

You can check out the full list here.

Endurance Athlete Attempting 50 Ironman Triathlons in 50 Days

We've seen some pretty tough and grueling fitness and adventure challenges before, but endurance athlete Ashley Horner may have just taken things to a completely new level. The 34-year old has embarked on what has to be amongst the hardest physical challenges ever as she sets out to complete 50 Ironman triathlons in 50 days, across Haiti and the 48 contiguous United States.

The attempt got underway last week when she completed the first of those triathlons in Haiti. From there, she'll continue knocking out one Ironman a day until she's done one in every U.S. state, other than Alaska and Hawaii. Then, to wrap things up, she'll return to Haiti to finish her 50th Ironman in 50 days.

A standard triathlon is challenging enough and doing 50 in 50 days would be a true test of stamina. But an Ironman requires even more determination and dedication. Rather than just swimming .9 miles (1.5 km), an Ironman requires that athlete to swim 2.4 miles (3.8 km) instead. From there, its on to the bike leg, which is 112 miles (180 km) in length, before wrapping things up with a full 26.2 mile (42.1 km) marathon. Typically completing one of these races is enough to put most athletes on the couch for some serious recovery time afterwards. Horner won't have that luxury however, as she'll be doing 49 more back-to-back.

Why start in Haiti you ask? Because Horner is hoping to raise $100,000 for the Maison Fortuné orphanage, which is based in that country. Located in Hinche, Haiti, the orphanage serves as a shelter and primary school for more than 85 girls and 150 boys who otherwise wouldn't get much of a chance at having a good life. Here, they get an education, form friendships, and are cared for, giving them opportunities that might not come their way otherwise.

Horner is no stranger to these types of grueling challenges. The fitness queen has already completed a 1350 mile (2172 km) bike ride and run 230 miles (370 km) in 72 hours. Still, this will be an entirely different type of challenge as the daily grind starts to wear on her throughout the 50 days. She is determined to see this through however and tells ESPN "Guaranteed, I'm going to get it done."

You can follow Ashley throughout the challenge on her Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Video: War and Poetry - Climbing Big Walls in Greenland

Greenland is one of those raw, untamed countries that inspires the idea of a big adventure simply by uttering its name alone. This video takes us to this sprawling, wild country with a group of climbers who set off to make a three-day ascent of a route called War and Poetry (VI 5.12c) on the South West face of Ulamertorsuaq in the Tasermiut Fjord. The expedition was one that went light and fast, free climbing the massive wall along the way. But the story is more than just overcoming the mountain itself, with a sense of adventure pervading the entire expedition.

Video: The Best of the 2018 Tour de France

This year's Tour de France was one for the record books, bringing some of the most competitive riding we've seen in the past several years. Of course, with 21 stages and more than 3350 km (2081 miles) of riding, it's tough to see everything that went down. That's why a video like this one is so much fun. The clip gives us the best of this year's race, mixing in everything from mad-dash sprain finishes to grueling mountain climbing and painful crashes. Along the way, there is plenty of beautiful scenery to soak up too, reminding us why we love this race so much. It is a long time until the start of next year's Tour, so for now this will have to tide us over. Enjoy cycling fans!

The Best Gear for Your Summer Adventures

With August now upon us we've turned the corner on summer and we're heading down the homestretch towards fall here in the northern hemisphere. That said, there is still plenty of warm weather to enjoy before the seasons begin to change and to help us do that, Backpacker magazine has compiled a list of the best summer gear for outdoor adventures

The 14 products that make the cut are designed to keep us cool and comfortable, even as the heat and humidity rise. Some of the items that made the cut include a pair of Chaco Z/2 Classic sandals, Eddie Bauer Guide Pro shorts, and Native Eyewear Wells sunglasses. You'll also find the MSR Trail Base water filter kit to help you stay hydrated on the trail and the women's Orvis Outsmart Biscayne quarter-zip shirt to regulate temperature and protect your skin from sunburn.

Surveying the list you'll definitely find a common theme –– staying safe and comfortable during your hot weather pursuits. All of the clothing, footwear, and other gear have been carefully selected not only because they are durable and perform well, but also because they are made to be used in warmer temperatures, when breathability and moisture control are still important factors to consider. All in all, this is a solid list of summer outdoor gear, mixed in with some suggestions for sunscreens, meals, and drinks to help you enjoy your time in the outdoors. 

I know certain parts of the world will start to cool off more quickly than others, but where I live the warm weather will continue well into the fall. That's why it's never too late stock up on good gear for use in the heat. In fact, as summer starts to some of these items are likely to be on sale. Pick them up now and add them to your gear closet, because next summer is only 10 months away. 

Check out the entire list here

An Adventurous Duo Rode Kick Scooters Across the U.S. From Canada to Mexico

If there is anything I've learned while writing this blog over the years, its that adventure can come in many forms. Take for example the journey that British adventurers Gil Drori and Bex Band just wrapped up. In May, the duo set out on a 1500 mile (2414 km) excursion that saw them cross the U.S. north to south using kick scooters and their own legs as their sole mode of transportation. Yep, that's right, they traveled from Canada to Mexico using only these simple scooters to propel them along.

The journey began way back on May 17 when the duo set out from Vancouver, Canada on what they call the Kicking the States expedition. They estimated that it would take about three months to wrap up the challenge, averaging about 30 miles (48 km) per day on their way to the finish line in Tijuana, Mexico. They stuck fairly close to that schedule, finishing just ahead of schedule, by reaching the end of the journey earlier this week.

Bex wrote about the entire journey on a blog that can be found here. Here stories from the road are both fun to read and offer a glimpse into their lives while on the road. Traversing the U.S. by kick-scooter may not be as impressively big of an accomplishment as some of the other adventures we cover here on The Adventure Blog, but it was still a tremendous undertaking and a reminder that you can find adventure just about anywhere if you truly go looking.

Kicking the States wasn't just about the adventure however. Gil and Bex also used the expedition as a fund raiser to collect money to assist a school in Tanzania too. The couple set a goal of bringing in $10,000 and are more than 80% to that goal. The money will go towards building a new classroom that could dramatically change the lives of young people in Africa.

Congratulations to Gil and Bex for finishing up this long journey. It couldn't have been easy riding kick scooters for all of those miles and now that its done, they probably won't want to see another scooter for the rest of their lives. The journey looks like it was rewarding one however and I certainly can appreciate the good cause. Now, they turn their attention to some much needed rest, including a visit to Disney Land, before heading home to catch up with friends and family.

Read more about their experiences here.

Free Solo Trailer Gives Us First Glimpse of Alex Honnold on El Cap

One of the biggest stories in outdoor adventure last year was Alex Honnold's free solo climb of El Capitan in Yosemite. Even now, more than a year after he completed this epic climb,  it is difficult to put Honnold's accomplishment in perspective using just mere words. Thankfully, soon we'll have another way to gauge exactly how massive this achievement was.

The video below is the first trailer for a film called Free Solo, which will release later this year. Directed by E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, the same team that brought us Meru, the documentary promises to not just take us up the rock race with Alex, but give us the story behind what drives him to attempt just such an ascent and how it impact those around him. As you'll see in the clip, even Honnold's close friends –– many among the climbing elite themselves –– had a hard time with this project.

As you would expect, the footage is stunning, heart-pounding, and at times difficult to watch. This is a climbing film like any other we've seen before. Thankfully, we know it has a happy ending, but this is going to be edge-of-your-seat stuff when it hits theaters this fall.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Video: The Mountain in the Hallway - Climbing Grand Teton to Beat Cancer

When it comes to inspiring adventure films, they don't come much more powerful than this. The short documentary below introduces us to Tate MacDowell and Brian McDonnell, both of whom were diagnosed with colorectal cancer back in 2016. The two men went through stages of denial and fear, but eventually they decided they weren't ready to give up on life. Instead, they set a challenge for themselves to climb the Grand Teton, not only for themselves but for the loved ones in their life too. The result is this beautiful video.

Video: Mountain Biking Through a Dream

We've all had those days out on a bike where it feels like we're simply floating along in a dream. The ride feels easier, the scenery is undeniably beautiful, and you wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Those make for some pretty fun days and that sense is captured quite nicely in this clip, which is the third and final chapter in professional rider Mike Hopkins' "Dreamride" trilogy. The video takes a bit of a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the tropes that come along with these short films, while still managing to find a voice that is all its own.

Gear Closet: CreekKooler Floating Cooler Review

Here at The Adventure Blog we are lucky enough to have a lot of outdoor gear and products come through our doors. Some of it is super useful, well designed, and built to keep you alive in harsh conditions. Others are high tech gadgets and devices that have were created to enhance our time in the outdoors. And occasionally we also get items that are just down-right fun to use. These products may not get the same level of attention as the gear that some of the big names in the industry produce, but they often fill a nice niche and provide us with a service we didn't even know we needed. Such is the case with the CreekKooler, a handy little tow-behind cooler build specifically with paddlers in mind.

At first glance, the CreekKooler looks a lot like a miniature kayak that is roughly a meter in length. That's by design, as the product is built to track through the water just like a boat, handling waves, rapids, and swells like the much larger watercraft that it resembles. The CreekKooler attaches to the back of a kayak, canoe, raft, or even SUP board, and is towed behind carrying precious cargo, like cold beverages, food, ice, and other items.

As the name implies, the CrrekKooler is intended to be used as a floating cooler with a capacity of 30 quarts (28 liters). It features double-walled construction and a high level of insulation, with the intent of keeping ice frozen for hours on end. An included lid helps seal the interior not only from outside heat, but water too. This allows the cooler to maintain a consistent temperature within while also maintaining its structural integrity as well. With the lid firmly in place, you don't have to worry about the mini-boat getting swamped with water and sinking mid-paddle or your favorite beverages getting warm before you've had a chance to enjoy them.

Want to Become a Brand Ambassador for Salomon and Get Free Gear?

If you're a fan of the outdoors and love free gear, we have just the opportunity for you. Salomon is looking for ten new people to join its Squad and the company has teamed up with Gear Junkie to bring some fresh blood to the team.

The Salomon Squad will get started by helping the outdoor brand launch a new hiking shoe that is a blend of comfort and performance on the trail, with the fashion sensibility to transition to town afterwards. The new boot is called the OUTline and it will begin shipping later this year. The Squad will get the boots first however and help spread the word about this lightweight and athletic new product.

But that is just the beginning. As part of the Salomon Squad, you'll also be outfitted with a whole new line of gear each season of the year, with new apparel, gear, and footwear for spring, summer, fall, and winter. That means the company is looking for individuals who enjoy doing just about anything outdoors, from hiking, backpacking, ant trail running, to skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding. Salomon makes some of the best lightweight, high performance gear around, and these luck ambassadors will get their hands on the latest and greatest four time a year.

If this sounds like something you'd be interested in becoming a part of, you can find out more here and fill out the application here. Ten lucky winners will be selected from all of the entries, and the Squad will grow from there. Who knows, you may just have what it takes to be a part of the team. And hey, who doesn't want to get free gear?

Stranded Australian Climber Raises Questions About Who Pays Rescue Bill in New Zealand

Last week, an Australian climber by the name of Terry Harch had to be rescued from a mountain in New Zealand. Harch had apparently set out to summit the 3033 meter (9950 ft) Mt. Aspiring by himself on what he thought would be a quick and light ascent. But poor weather moved in, bringing 60 km/h (37 mph) winds and heavy snows with it, leaving him cut off on the mountain. Eventually Harch would trigger his SPOT device calling for assistance, and after spending three days alone on the mountain, a rescue team would reach him. They determined that it was too risky to descend back down the mountain due to avalanche danger, so they spent another night high on the slopes before a helicopter retrieved them last Friday. Now, the entire incident has sparked a debate in New Zealand regarding who should pay for the rescue operation. Particularly since this isn't the first time the Australian has had his bacon pulled from the fire.

The cost of Harch's rescue operation are believed to have climbed as high as $150,000 and required more than 500 volunteer hours to coordinate and conduct. That bill has left some taxpayers in New Zealand seeing red, particularly since the money was spent on saving a foreign climber who has already been rescued by Kiwi SAR teams in the past. Back in 2013, Harch and a climbing partner had to be rescued from Mt. Tasman as well after they made a last minute decision to change their route for the descent. In that case, they ended up stuck on the mountain for three days as well after poor weather set in once again.

The debate over who should pick up the tab for rescue operations continues to be a heated one in just about every mountain setting around the world. On the one hand, rescuers never want to abandon someone in need and will always try to find a way to conduct a safe rescue operation. But in the case of Harch, you have a foreign climber who doesn't pay taxes into the system and has now had to be saved not once, but twice. It's easy to understand why New Zealand taxpayers would like to see him have to repay the funds used in his rescue. Throw in the fact that he is being painted as a bit of a reckless climber and the outrage will likely only continue to grow.

In some parts of the world –– such as the Himalaya in Nepal and Tibet –– rescue insurance is often required for climbers. In other places, where the conditions aren't seen as being quite so dangerous, insurance isn't a requirement at all. If Harch had insurance of his own, it would cover this type of expense. As it stands now, the New Zealand search and rescue operators are on the hook for the money, although I wouldn't be surprised if they don't go after the Australian to pay back at least some of the funds.

At the end of the day, saving lives is still what its all about. That said, Harch was retrieved from the mountain and is in relatively good health with just a bit of frostbite. Now that he's safe, he's likely to find himself at the center of a maelstrom for awhile. He may also find himself with a pretty hefty bill to pay too.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Video: UTMB Stories - Beyond Ultra

The Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc is one of the most famous and challenging ultra events in the entire world. The 2018 edition is set to take place in just a few weeks and to help us get ready, Columbia has released this excellent video which shows a group of runners who are taking part in another event called the PTL (Petite Trotte à Léon), which includes a course that is unmarked and requiring navigation skills. The race is also unsupported, meaning the athletes need to be completely self-sufficient out on the trail too. It is a different kind of beast, and as you'll see in the video below, it can be a soul-crushing affair for those not prepared.

Video: The Nevis Catapult is the Latest Adrenaline-Fueled Adventure in New Zealand

It's no secret that New Zealand has invented more than its fair share of adventure sports and extreme activities. It is the country that gave us bungee jumping after all. Now, the crew at AJ Hackett Bungy have created an all new thrill ride in the form of the Nevis Catapult –– an experience that will accelerate you to up to 3Gs and nearly 100 km/h (60 mph) in just 1.5 seconds. The Catapult just opened a few days back and the video below will give you an idea of what it is all about. Looks crazy to me!

The Adventure Podcast Episode 29: The One With the Guy From the U.K.

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for another episode of The Adventure Podcast. This week, we welcome guest Ray Betts to the show, during which we talk about a broad range of topics, including climbing Kilimanjaro, preparing for Aconcagua, and the importance of going on an adventure. But first, we share news on a daring rescue operation in the Karakoram, fake climbing permits on Everest, and a very special high school that focuses on travel and adventure. And of course, we wrap things up with some new gear items that have struck our fancy, including a lightweight drone and an innovative sleeping bag for kids.

My co-host Dave Adlard and I would like to thank our friend Ray Betts for coming on the podcast this week. Ray is a British adventurer, climber, and endurance athlete who is an avid mountaineer and long distance runner. He also happens to be good friends with Sir Ranulph Fiennes, sharing some thoughts on that legendary explorer. Ray is also preparing to climb Aconcagua this fall and shares his thoughts on that mountain, as well as his aspirations for Everest. He even gives us a hint at his favorite pieces of kit, which include his trusty Garmin Fenix 5 watch.

As usual, you can listen to the show in the embedded player at the bottom of this post, or you can subscribe to it through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify. You can also reach out to us with feedback, suggestions, comments, and questions on Facebook, Twitter, and via email as well. As always, thanks so much for listening. We appreciate it greatly!


Outside Names Five of the Most Dangerous Peaks in the U.S.

Outside magazine has compiled a list of the most dangerous mountains in the United States, taking a look at the history of fatalities on each of the peaks. The tag line for the article says "some might surprise you," but in reality these are all well known mountains that are notoriously dangerous and those who know them probably won't be all that surprised at all. Still, the article serves as a sharp reminder that danger can always lurk around the next corner and even mountains that aren't particularly high can still be incredibly difficult and deadly.

The mountains that made the list –– yes, I'm going to spoil all five of them –– include Mount Washington in New Hampshire, Longs Peak in Colorado, Mount San Antonio in California, Mount Rainier in Washington, and Half Dome in California. Each entry on the list includes the height of the mountain as well as the number of lives claimed on its slopes. There is also a paragraph describing why that particular mountain is dangerous. For instance, Mount Washington is famous for its bad weather and incredibly high winds, while Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the lower 48 states, making it a highly technical climb.

But one of the other reasons that these mountains tend to see a high number of fatalities is because of their relative ease of access. Some of these peaks are a just a short distance away from large metropolitan areas, drawing lots of hikers and climbers on an annual basis. Many of those tend to be inexperienced and are out for day hike, often getting much more of an adventure than they anticipated. For example, Half Dome sees more than 50,000 visitors on an annual basis in some capacity or another. Many of those hike to the summit along the famous cabled route. Often, it is the only significant outdoor excursion they'll make that year.

Outside has also included a video with each entry on the list, which helps to put some perspective into why these mountains can be dangerous as well. Each of the clips are inserting, but I found the ones on Mount Rainier and Longs Peak to be the most compelling.

To check out the entire list click here.


2018 Piolets d'Or Winners Announced

The 2018 winners of the Piolets d'Or ––sometimes referred to as the "Oscars" of mountaineering and climbing–– have been announced , with awards themselves being handed out at a ceremony to be held in Poland next month. The list of winners includes three climbs and two honorable mentions, which were narrowed down from a list of 57 "significant ascents" that took place in 2017.

This year's winners include the first ascent of Satisfaction, a 2600 meter (8530 ft) route on Gasherbrum I, which was completed by Marek Holecek and Zdenek Hak of the Czech Republic. They're joined by Kazuya Hiraide and Kenro Nakajima of Japan, who completed the Shukriya Road, a 2700 meter (8858 ft) summit traverse of Shispare in the Karakoram. The third Piolets d'Or goes to Frederic Degoulet, Benjamin Guigonnet, Helias Millerioux for their successful summit of Nuptse along the 2200 meter (7217 ft) South Face of that mountain.

The two runner-ups include Obscured Perception, a new route on the 6596-meter (21,640-ft) Nilkanth peak in India and a nod to Alex Honnold for two short new routes that he completed in Alaska and Antarctica. A lifetime achievement award was also given to Andrej Stremfelj of Slovenia as well, recognizing the breadth of his accomplishments across a long and storied mountaineering career.

The 2018 Piolets d'Ors will be handed out at an awards ceremony to be held at the Ladek Film Festival in Poland. The festival is scheduled to run from September 20-23.

For more details on the winners and the significance of these climbs, check out this story from Alpinist. It provides far more depth into the winners and why they are deserving.