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ExplorersWeb Week in Review The Pioneers Checkpoint

September 20, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Is interstellar travel possible in our lifetime? Is there any money in space? Rooftop solar, biofuel and wind – are they our only chances to go green?

Last week ExWeb’s 4-part Space series went up, while the current Tech month featured the scoop on Iridium high speed OpenPort.

Other action included interviews with Simone Moro and Sarah Outen while on a sad note, Sven Gangdal was lost in a fatal boating accident.

Norwegian mountaineer Sven Gangdal dies in boating accident Himalayan climber Norwegian Sven Gangdal died in a boating accident on the night of September 13. Sven was alone in a small motor boat which ran at high speed into a cliff. Sven Gangdal had climbed five 8000ers and was twin brother of fellow mountaineer Jon Gangdal who became the first Norwegian to scale Kangchenjunga this past spring.

Mount Everest Iñurrategi, Vallejo and Zabalza have reached 7,500 meters on Everest North side normal route. The climbers are acclimatizing there before heading for the Hornbein Couloir in a single, alpine style push. It took the team three hours to reach 7,500 meters after spending the night at the North Col in high winds. “Conditions were tough as well, due to wind-slabs,” they told their home team.

Makalu Lugging a 20 kg backpack Ueli Steck climbed straight from BC to his small tent at 6700 meters on Makalu West Pillar in 9 solid hours. Hoping to leave a cache at 7,600 meters, Ueli had to turn back at 7200 meters in very deep snow. The climber now plans to hold, hoping for conditions to improve.

Renaissance explorers: ExWeb interview with Simone Moro about Cho Oyu SW face new route attempt Only months after his first winter ascent of Makalu, while preparing for a new route on Cho Oyu’s SW face, Simone Moro got a commercial helicopter pilot license in LA, improved his skydiving in San Diego, and is ready for a new son to be born. ExWeb caught up with the climber/pilot shortly after his final flying exam, and just before he takes off for Kathmandu.

Another team for a new route on Cho Oyu SW face Simone Moro and Herve Barmasse won’t be alone on Cho Oyu’s SW face – A Czech team (all climbing mates from K2) led by Leopold Sulovsky has come up with the same idea. Simone and his climbing mate Herve Barmasse will acclimatize in the Khumbu Valley prior to the ascent while Sulovsky’s team is already resting in BC, after setting up and stocking ABC. Simone’s new line attempt will probably go to the right of the Czechs’.

Koreans on Annapurna Kim Jae-Soo is in Annapurna BC where heavy rains have delayed the works on the route. Oh Eun-Sun is expected in BC by Sep 23-24th.

Manaslu sky-descents In addition to the Chilean ski-mountaineers, British Guy Willett & Emma Jack are on Manaslu hoping for a first complete ski-descent. Mallory & Irvine researcher and Everest climber Jochen Hemmleb sent a word about Manaslu ski-descent history: “Austrians Peter Woergoetter and Sepp Millinger made a ski descent from Manaslu as early as 1981. They started their descent from the notch at the base of the 40 m high final ridge, which they didn’t ski because it was knife-edged – so this was a complete a ski descent as could get, at least at the time. Also, this is often regarded as the first ski descent from an 8000-metre peak. They skied down all the way to the snow line.”

Pauner injured in a fall on Shisha Carlos Pauner has left Shisha with painful but not serious injury after he took a fall last weekend on the way to C1.

Shisha in Inaki’s footsteps? “We are climbing Shisha’s northern side, following Iñaki Ochoa’s traverse from the upper sections to the main summit,” reported Kinga Baranowska. Andrew Lock hopes to complete his 14x8000ers project on Shisha, which would be Kinga’s 7th. Juanito Oiarzabal and a team mate have joined Marco Panzeri and Nick Rice; also this team will consider the ‘Iñaki variation’,” Nick Rice stated.

Shisha’s South side Meanwhile on the South side, Edurne Pasaban’s team has moved up to ABC. Basque Juan Vallejo complained about at least one team intending to fix ropes all the way up Shisha’s British route. “All routes on Shisha’s South face have been opened in light style, and repetitions are usually done in the same way,” he said. “The place has become an ‘alpine style sanctuary’ among the Himalayan 8000ers, and it’s sad that some are unwilling to follow this un-written law and ignore History by climbing the mighty wall in heavy, ‘normal route style’.”

Dhaulagiri “We’ve got some problems with the Porters,” the Chilean team reported from the so-called Hidden Camp (at the French pass before BC). “Only four of them remain with us, after the rest abandoned us on a higher pass before BC where we are now, due to altitude sickness. Therefore, we are carrying the loads down to BC ourselves.”

HumanEdgeTech report: Beyond Inmarsat’s coverage – High Speed Internet and Video from Anywhere Over the last few years, improvements in Inmarsat BGAN systems have slashed costs and weight, and radically increased data speed. Those in polar and some ocean areas, have however been stuck with Iridium handsets and painfully slow data speeds of 2.4kb/s. Enter Iridium OpenPort. With true global coverage and speeds up to 128kb/s it radically stretches polar possibilities, albeit with some important limitations. Check out HET’s special report.

Heads up: Christoph Höbenreich, Paul Koller and Karl Pichler’s Queen Maud Land expedition Christoph Höbenreich from Tyrol will be leading an Austrian expedition to explore some unknown mountain areas in Antarctica’s Queen (Dronning) Maud Land during November and December 2009. “Instead of looking out for difficult rock climbs big wall style the Austrian team will try to ski across the ranges from West to East and climb mountains in alpine style or using skis,” Chris told ExWeb.

ExWeb interview with Sarah Outen “Talk to as many different ocean rowers as you can, go with the best boat builder around, prepare and train, and pack lots of chocolate.” 24-year old Sarah Outen recently became the first woman and youngest person to row across the Indian Ocean single-handed and unsupported. ExWeb’s Correne Coetzer caught up with her for a debrief interview.

Non-Russian commercial vessels transit the Northeast Passage On 7th of September, two multi-purpose heavy lift project carriers, MV Beluga Fraternity and MV Beluga Foresight, became the first non-Russian commercial vessels to make it through the Northeast Passage from Asia to Europe. The MV Beluga Fraternity had cast off on the 23rd of July and sister vessel MV Beluga Foresight five days later from Ulsan, South Korea. They entered the so called Northern Sea Route via the inspection point at Vladivostok in order to deliver their project cargo as far into the destination area as no other merchant vessel had previously been able to.

ExplorersWeb 2009 Space Conference report: Stuck like Velcro? It’s the money, stupid! The 28th annual International Space Development Conference kicked off May 28 in Orlando, Florida. Check ExWeb’s report about the latest on Virgin, Mars exploration, private rocket planes, a mono-rail for 0G bike rides, and some contemplation, “If you accept the vision of a closed future, sooner or later every other person on Earth becomes your enemy,” said Zubrin.

ExWeb 2009 space report, part 2: Interstellar travel – from LOX to eternity over Einstein’s speed bumps Traveling to other planets in our own solar system is fairly easy; a number of man made spacecraft are already doing just that. Faster than light travel is also not as impossible is it seems; we’ve come a long way, and most of it only in the last fraction of our existence. So what are our chances to travel outside our solar system in reasonable time? ExWeb’s interstellar space travel crash course is a must read.

ExWeb 2009 Space report, part 3 – Manna from Heaven: Space Solar Power Although gas prices didn’t take us for the same big ride this summer compared to last, fact remains that we are running out of juice. Man made global warming or not, we want to go green. At least until we start to count on it and speakers at this year’s Space conference offered some pretty chilling facts. There’s a third option though, where a new industry is quietly brewing: Space Solar Power. The idea is basically to launch solar panels into space, and beam energy with lasers or microwaves to collectors on earth.

ExWeb 2009 Space report, final: if you wish upon a star… On Manhattan this past June, Space Business Forum examined the budding $257 billion space industry. Real estate and new technology drive economy in a democracy, however, two thirds of engineer graduates in US are not US citizens and less than a third graduate in Science. If you want in you’ll be entering thin air when it comes to competition but plenty of POISK when it comes to money. Check ExWeb’s final Space report on where to find it and don’t miss ExWeb’s “real life” tales vs. Space investment banks’ advice for IPO.

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