July 22, 2008

EXUM Guide Dies While Soloing

The SierraJournal (formerly Sierra-Alpinist.com) has a short write-up on the death of Exum Mountain Guides employee George Gardner, 58, who died Saturday, July 19, while free soloing the Grand Teton’s Lower Exum Ridge (more…)

Posted in Climbing | 4 Comments

July 7, 2008

North Palisade: the U-Notch Couloir

North Palisade: the U-Notch Couloir

What an absolutely amazing adventure this was! North Palisade offers the gamut of high alpine mountaineering challenges, from glacier travel to ice climbing to technical rock, making it not only one of the most challenging Sierra fourteeners, but also one of the most rewarding. I had wanted to climb this route for some time, but simply didn’t have the skills or the mindset to try to solo it (more…)

Posted in Climbing | 5 Comments

March 26, 2008

Off to Everest…

Bishop-area guide and climber Kurt Wedberg is guiding a client up Everest via the south approach this year. You can follow their progress at the IMG Website, and also the personal blog of Kurt’s client, Michael Andrews.

This looks like a really unlucky year to be paying the usual fortune for an Everest bid. Civil war in Nepal has threatened to close off south-side access, and the Chinese government has apparently closed the entire north side of the mountain as part of an Olympics promotion stunt (they want to carry the torch to the summit). Just to add to the mix, China is reportedly pressuring Nepal to close the south side of the mountain as well. I guess they need the whole mountain to themselves for the torch ceremony?

Sounds like it will be an interested time on the world’s highest peak—but then again, it always is.

Posted in 8000m Peaks, Climbing | 0 Comments

March 18, 2008

AAC Changes to Global Rescue ‘Service’

The American Alpine Club has posted more information on its website about the organization’s shift from offering rescue insurance as a member benefit to a rescue ‘service’ managed by Global Rescue Worldwide (more…)

Posted in Climbing, News | 0 Comments

March 18, 2008

8000m Crime

The Alpinist’s web site is running an excerpt from High Crimes: the Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed by Michael Kodas. High Crimes documents the shocking but very real emergence of theft as yet another deadly threat climbers must face on 8000 meter peaks. You’ve probably heard about the ‘borrowing’ of oxygen bottles on Everest and similar tales, but the depth of the crime on Everest and other big peaks (including K2!) is truly astonishing (more…)

Posted in 8000m Peaks, Books, Climbing | 1 Comment

March 13, 2008

Dean Potter ‘Baselining’ Video

“Instead of Dying, I’m Flying.” — Dean Potter, Moab, Utah climber and Baseliner, in the New York Times.

Oddly enough, this does not seem that appealing to me…

Posted in Climbing | 0 Comments

January 23, 2008

See Kili Before the Snow Is Gone

My brother and I talked about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro years ago; for us, it was one of those exotic, chance-of-a-lifetime dreams. Sadly, the trip fell through, and we never went.

While not a technical climb, 19,340′ Kilimanjaro has long been a coveted summit. The view atop the summit at dawn is legendary. And the climb up, starting in African rain forest, and ultimately reaching the continent’s highest (and glaciated) point, is surely one of the most diverse imaginable.

Kili’s popularity has been growing in recent years, fueled by a “see the snow before it’s gone” pitch. Most scientists believe Kilimanjaro’s glaciers will vanish sometime this century. That has translated into something of a tourist boom. I don’t know if my brother and I will ever make it to Kilimanjaro, but if we do, I doubt we’ll be carrying skis.

Posted in Climbing, Weather | 0 Comments

January 22, 2008

K2 Expedition Video in HD

NBC has an unusually good online video of a K2 expedition—the ‘Shared Summits’ attempt, which was captured in Hi-Def.

Hi-Definition footage is really changing how I think of television. Previous to the technology, you’d need a virtual army to take a 35mm Panavision camera on a trip like this. Now, with tiny HD cameras, even a small expedition can return with theater-quality video that gives the viewer a vastly more real experience.

That makes it possible for us to see video like this: a fast-and-light team trying for a new route up one of the world’s most dangerous and deadly peaks.

Posted in 8000m Peaks, Climbing | 0 Comments

June 30, 2007

Mount Whitney — the Mountaineer’s Route

Mount Whitney — the Mountaineer’s Route

If you are considering climbing the Mountaineer’s Route, I heartily recommend it. The route is spectacular. Be aware, however, that hiking conditions are currently unusually favorable on the mountain. Under more normal circumstances, the Mountaineer’s Route can well be a technical endeavor requiring ice axe and crampons, and the skills to use both safely (more…)

Posted in Climbing | 11 Comments

May 30, 2006

Lincoln Hall Survives Everest

It has become another ‘bad’ season on Everest—fifteen climbers dead so far, including skier Tomas Olsson, who was skiing the mountain’s north face.

And then this: following a successful summit bid, climber Lincoln Hall collapsed around 8800 meters, struck by cerebral edema, one of the deadliest of the many high-altitude disorders.

Sherpas tried for nine hours to get him off the upper mountain, but eventually gave up for their own safety. Hall was left on the mountain, and word was sent to his family and to his native Australia that he had perished.

Seven a.m. the next morning: climbers on the way to Everest’s summit found Hall alive. His first words were reportedly, “I imagine you are surprised to see me here.”

Miraculously, Hall had survived a night alone on Everest. With the aid of fresh sherpas, he was assisted down the mountain to base camp, where, aside from frostbite, he quickly recovered.

It is strange, isn’t it, to read these stories? Every year, Everest’s call lures climbers to the deaths, and still they come.

If the opportunity came for you to go to Everest, would you be able to resist? Would you go, but tell yourself (as writer John Krakauer did) you’re only going to climb a little way above base camp? Or would you take your best shot, come what may?

Posted in 8000m Peaks, Climbing | 0 Comments

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