30 May 2011

Ueli Steck Turns around 1 Hour from the top of everest.

Well done to the 'Swiss Machine' For his first attempt at Everest

Taken direct from Ueli's Blog:  Himalaya speed, Project Himalaya

'Despite my down suit and the continuos movements I do not feel hot. I like the climbing, although it has not much to do with climbing. I would rather say its walking. In the ridge I go over bands to the First Step. Here I have to climb shortly. I do not climb up the fixe ropes. I don’t know how well they are fixed. I rather climb by myself, so I can see where I can hold myself. Now the famous Second Step. A steep 30 meter rock wall assured by a ladder. Once I reached the top I see the first alpinists in front of me. They are quite slow and I overtake them. Finally it gets dawn. I hope the sun can warm me a little bit. Still I cannot feel any difference. My feet have been numb for a while now. I can feel my heels get cold and without feeling. Not a good sign. I move on to the Third Step. A Sherpa tells me that I would need max. 1 hour to the summit. Shall I…? Shall I not…? It’s not long. But my feet. I am on another mountain, without oxygen. I have to accept that. I turn down. As fast as I can down. I do not want to sacrifice any of my toes for Everest. I am totally fit, I do move on fast and at around 9 am I am back at camp 2. The same day Don and I reach ABC.

The adventure Everest is over. Pity, I was doing well. I imagined that I would only suffer up there. Not at all. I am happy about that. I had a great feeling, I moved on, that’s what I am looking for, although I turned back 100 meters from summit. Of course I would have been nice to stand on top. For a moment I have thought to ask a sherpa if I could breathe 10 minutes of oxygen. Then I would have had again warm feet. But then I would have stood on another peak. So better to go down. Everest will stay and I can come back!'

24 May 2011

Smart phones, bouldering and the rat race

A strage combination to be sure but what on earth do smart phones, bouldering and the rat race, as we know it, have in common, if anything ? A few thoughts have occurred to me in the last weeks and left quite a lasting impression and desire to make changes for the better.

Bouldering, for those not in the know, is the sport of free climbing large rock boulders and working out the boulders ‘problems’  or climable routes to get to the top. Strenuous, focussed, passionate and imaginative are some of the words used to describe boulderers as they search for the thrill of  solving the problems almost bodhisattva style. Areas around the world such as Fontain Bleau in Fance, Joshua Tree and Yosemite in the US and Melloblocco in the Valmasino valley in Italy, all host some of the most fabled and awesome bouldering venues in the world.  I read an article this month stating that in May, Melloblocco hosted the largest bouldering competition in the world. Some 2600 climbers from 22 countries registered over a 3 day period with a further 10 000  non climbing friends and families attending.  They descended in quiet, orderly fashion to enjoy nature, and just as much  the climbing. Of course also the desire to be a part of something truly grand in every sense. That is an astounding amount of people to gather in one place for a  little known but growing sport such as bouldering. I think I could safely say there is something here worth investigating a bit further.

Our own home grown Kenton Cool, mountaineering expert bar none, has become the first person in history  to both climb Everest  nine times and make the worlds first 3G phone call to his wife on summiting.  Techology never ceases to astound me. Smart phones rule the mobile communication air waves and there is practically no where on earth you cant take a picture of yourself, attach the story of your adventures and then in minutes post both on your favourite social nerwok page for all the world to see and comment on. This leads me on to my next point. Where do the limits lie for everything we do as human beings . The world celebrated when Edmund Hillary first summited  Everest, alpine peaks that used to take 4 days to climb are now being conquered almost matter of factly in sub 4 hrs. Calling your Missus to discuss whats for tea when on the top of Everest… where does it end.?

The majority of us in the UK live the nine to five life style of  work, doing the boss proud in our ever  constant quest for more money, better houses and of course the latest smart phone for the kids, who truth be told, often know more about  and can often better use technology than our selves . We do our adventuring on the weekends ocassionally, and if very fortunate will get to fulfill our dream of the bagging that summit or travelling the globe to conquer that once in a life time opportunity that has been sat in picture form on your desk at work for what seems to be a million years. Just as many bragging conversations to those work mates who just smile and nod in agreement thinking yeah whatever !!! . As fast as the world is changing, and technology making things easier for us, people are seeking out to discover new horizons in the outdoors.

Most of the world lies conquered by the elite. The highest points on the earth, the deepest jungles, longest rivers and the list goes on. True adventure  lies in our own personal discoveries and we need to put aside the achievements of others yet keeping in mond what we can achieve. They merely point, compass like, affirming the way to the realms of possibilities of achievement. Perhaps we feel like second rate citizens following in the foot steps of those ‘God’s’ gone before, but in the end it is what we have as memories and our own personal achievements that is our reward.

Clearly, more people are desiring  what lies outside.  Forrests, mountains, rivers, enjoyment  of  nature and embracing the challenges that are offered in this environemnt. We test out mind, will, limits and physical endurance which makes us feel alive and clear headed.  It brings a measure of peace  and meaning to our lives.  Perhaps it is time to more fully challenge our personal thinking as to how we live our lives and why we do what we do.  Adesire for more out of life is clearly on the increase all over the world attested to by Melloblocco. As  I said there must be something here worth further investigating !!!

18 May 2011

Three days in the Lake district

My thanks to Jon for his 3 part series on his trip to the lake district. I have personally not been up there but seeing the pictures makes me think I should make the effort and do some routes while I am there.

Three days in the Lakes

Part 1 - Haystacks, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Green Gable, Brandreth & Greyknotts

Monday 9th May 2011

Our first walk started from the National Trust car park at Honister Pass, we headed off to Haystacks with it's Innominate Tarn via Dubs Quarry. The first part was fairly tough on un-tested legs and involved a long slow incline up to Dubs, then following a simple trail up to the top of Haystacks. I was pleased that our first 'Wainwright' was the one most favoured by the great man himself and it gave some great views of the surrounding fells and valleys. We descended into the Ennerdale valley, overshadowed by the dark, brooding Pillar (one for another day!) and up past the remote Black Sail Hut which must be a fantastic place to stay.

We followed the river for a bit, then took a sharp right up Black Sail Pass towards Kirk Fell, a fairly steep path took us up the pass and we then decided to add some adventure and check out a cut into the side of the fell, which we later discovered to be 'Baysoar Slack', and see if we could get to the top of Kirk Fell via this route. Baysoar Slack was awesome and many minutes of exciting scrambling (combined with a number of rests!) brought us thankfully to the top of the gully!

We lunched at the top of the Slack and then summited Kirk Fell, with excellent viability and a view Great Gable to die for!

As we walked down off of Kirk Fell the winds really picked up and a combination of this, fatigue and watching a group having great difficulty descending Great Gable made me greatly uncertain about ascending this great English peak!

My valour however prevailed and with some encouragement form Scott we began to pick our way up the east side of Great Gable, via an uncertain and unclear path. It was much easier than it looked and whilst we were inconvenienced by a hail storm we made good progress and even managed to stop for some foot care and the discovery that one of the soles of my brand new boots was falling off! Reaching the top of Great Gable was a massive high after my earlier concerns and the views of the surrounding peaks were awesome.

After spending some time at the top we made our way down towards Green Gable and with a sudden change for the worst in the weather forcing us to take cover for a time and don our waterproof gear. One lasting impression of the Lake District will be it's forever changeable weather!

In order to get to Green Gable we had to cross the aptly named 'Windy Gap' and given the driving wind and horizontal rain this was not a fun experience. We watched one poor guy climb up Aaron Slack to Windy Gap, seeming to continually take two steps forward, then one step back the entire time. Climbing up to the top of Green Gable being buffeted by winds was rather how I imagined that this would be walking on the surface of Mars – tough, but not entirely un-enjoyable.

Our trip back to the car off of Green Gable and over Brandreth & Greyknotts was uneventful and overshadowed by more poor weather, with the decent down to the Honister Pass via Greyknotts seeming to take forever. My car has never looked so good and then it was a quick change and a trip down the hill to our base at the YHA Borrowdale. Our first walk in the Lakes was about 9 miles and took in 6 Wainwrights, not bad for a pair of Southerners, and one completing the have the trip with a broken boot!

17 May 2011

Super Sherpa V Kenton Cool

A 51-year-old Nepali mountaineer, nicknamed "Super Sherpa", climbed Mount Everest for a record 21st time on Wednesday, breaking his own record for the most summits of the world's highest mountain, hiking officials said.

Apa Sherpa, who lives in the United States, reached the 8,850-metre (29,035-foot) peak of the mountain along the Southeast Ridge route, pioneered by New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who were the first to reach the top of the world in 1953.

Kenton has a way to go yet howeven he said wathc out for number 10 summit next year.

10 May 2011

9th Everest Sumit for Kenton Cool

Can you believe it. Kenton Cool UK cimber extrodinaire has summited everest for the 9th Time.
Where does the limit lie these days? Some people set summiting Everest once in a life time as a goal. This guy does it before lunch. To top that he is the first man in history to make a 3G mobile phone call to the Mrs to say 'hi I might be late for supper'. No kidding he was sponsored by Samsung and the made the highest telephone call in history.

Well done Kenton.

2 May 2011

251 climbers to attempt Mt Everest this spring

KATHMANDU, Nepal - The spring 2011 mountaineering season has begun, and 26 expeditions consisting of 251 climbers have already headed towards Mt. Everest (8,848m) in a bid to scale the highest peak on earth.
The actual climbing will start from mid-May, and the mountaineers will spend time on the lower reaches of the Himalaya to acclimatize themselves.
According to the industry division of the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, it has issued 704 climbing permits to 83 expeditions for different peaks in the Himalaya as of Friday.
Last spring, there were more than 661 applicants for climbing permits with 347 climbers making it to the top of the 8,848 m peak before the climbing season ended on May 25. Among the summiteers, 157 were foreigners and 190 Nepalis.
“We are still receiving applications, and this momentum will probably continue for two more weeks,” said L.B. Basnet, an official at the industry division.
The spring mountaineering season attracts the largest number of mountaineers. The government collects more than US$ 3.5 million in mountaineering royalties during the period.  eturbo news

The 8000m Mountains of the World

I thought I would start with some of the basics. Working my way down from top to bottom if you like relating to the other 8000m peaks. Obviously the 7 most well known summits stand out as icons and trophies worthly of collection. This in itself is a life time achievement for the truly inspired (and wealthy or fortunate sponsorship collectors) and just part of the job for the select few that live and breathe high altitude mountaineering. Just 5 countries hold all of these treasures.
1953; Sir E. Hillary, T. Norgay
1954; A. Compagnoni, L. Lacedelli
1955; G. Band, J. Brown
1956; F. Luchsinger, E. Reiss
1955; J. Couzy, L. Terrary
1954; S. Joechler, H. Tichy, P. Dawa Lama
1960; K. Diemberger, P. Diener, M. Dorji, E.  Forrer, N. Dorji, A. Schelbert
1956; T. Imanishi, G. Norbu
Nanga Parbat
1953; H. Buhl
1950; M. Herzog, L. Lachenal
Gasherbrum I
1958; A. Kaufman, P. Schoening
Broad Peak
1957; H. Buhl, K. Diemberger, M. Schmuck, F. Witerstellar
Gasherbrum II
1956; S. Larch, F. Moravec,
H. Willenpart
1964; H. Ching & nine climbers