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ExplorersWeb Week in Review The Pioneers Checkpoint

October 22, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

“I don’t want to die in the ring,” said Edurne Pasaban and then one of her fellow climbers perished, on a peak where media-savvy climbers had successfully claimed false summits only weeks before.

That same day a father in Colorado drummed up a giant rescue operation claiming that his son was trapped in an experimental aircraft. “We did it for the show,” the kid later revealed. “The stunt will probably land them a reality show,” sighed hardened journalists, with the million dollar question now being: is cheating the “new smart” and how will that affect our society?

In other news: most attempts on the 8000ers have been called off. Latest from Miss Oh is that she will make her final decision Monday. Check also ExWeb’s interview with a legendary sailor and a HumanEdgeTech currency report that could save you a barrel of money.

Shisha Pangma south side, Roby Piantoni lost Roby, Marco and Yuri were climbing slightly behind Swiss 10x8000ers summiteer Jean Troillet on the British route Thursday, when a rope section snapped, causing young mountain guide Roby Piantoni to lose footing and fall to his death. In 1981, Roby’s dad was killed in an avalanche in the Peruvian Andes. At the family’s request, climbers on Shisha Pangma have now joined forces to help bring Roby’s remains home to Bergamo, Italy. The climbers will split up in two teams and try to somehow haul the body, lying in a tough spot near the Scott Bivouac, down to BC. Roby will then have to be transported on a yak all the way to the Nepal border as Chinese authorities have banned helicopters in the area.

Shisha Pangma south side, Edurne’s doomed mountain “We are back in BC, spent and pretty bummed,” reported Edurne Pasaban earlier this week. “Our Scott Bivouac camp is trashed, we are short on gear and the wind keeps howling.” The next day, she called the expedition off. With a fourth attempt now failed, Shisha Pangma has once again proved Edurne’s doomed mountain. Pasaban and her team delayed their planned departure however to help retreive Roby’s remains.

Shisha Pangma’s north side: another theft? Upon arriving to Camp I, Rice and his mates discovered that someone had taken down their tent and all their gear. “We are sure that the tents were intentionally removed from Camp I as the shovel that was cached inside the tent was placed neatly in the snow next to the snow bars that previously had secured the tent to the glacier,” Nick said, forced to abort the expedition.

Shisha Pangma north side, Andrew Lock Back in Kathmandu after summiting the peak from its north side, Andrew Lock reflected on his 14x8000er ‘final’; “the experience is all the richer for having worked hard for it,” Andrew said, directing his thank-you speech to Shisha Pangma. ”Sooooo – have I finished with 8000 metre climbing?,” Andrew ended his dispatch. “No. I have at least one more climb I’d like to do next year in the pre-monsoon season (details to be announced later). Stay tuned!”

Annapurna: Miss Oh, “Had I quit my job to climb mountains alone, I wouldn’t have lasted long” Biding her time on Annapurna, Oh Eun-Sun took time to reflect and write an open letter directed mainly to fellow Korean women. “I worked several jobs and set up a noodle-shop to get the money for my dream,” she wrote. “Had I quit my job only to climb mountains, I wouldn’t have lasted long. In my opinion, to realize one’s true wishes it’s important to stay independent – not only financially, but also mentally.”

Annapurna summit push Eun-Sun Oh, Kim Chang-Ho and Suh Sung-Suk (disabled climber Kim Hong-Bin has called the attempt off) planned to reach C3 today, Sunday and there decide whether to continue towards the summit pending conditions (mostly wind speed). Latest is that the female record climber is postponing the decision for tomorrow as weather conditions on the upper part of the mountain are not too great, ExWeb’s Korea correspondent Kyu Dam Lee reported.

Manaslu “It snowed heavily for over six days – over five feet of fresh snow piled up and thus put an end to our summit hopes,” Guillaume Hintzy reported. “We have tried everything. But on a mountain like Manaslu, known for its high risk of avalanches, venturing up in these conditions is reckless. No sherpa would have joined us. Moreover, the return of good weather comes with a strong high altitude wind. The last two teams present in Base Camp – one Mexican, one French – are going home too,” Guillaume added.

Everest Alberto Iñurretegi, Mikel Zabalza and Juan Vallejo also finally decided to call the expedition off due to the bad weather.

Dhaulagiri “An essential part of my personal climbing gear has been buried under an avalanche,” Rodrigo Fica reported. “We climbed up to C2 on skis – but couldn’t find our tents!” Cala and Ivo chimed in: “There is nothing we can do in the current conditions, but to call it quits.”

Cho Oyu Also on Cho Oyu Adventure Consultants were forced to abort, due to the very high winds.

Cho Oyu: real summit The peak’s vast summit plateau often tempts climbers to stop at its edge; but that’s where the actual crux begins as a long and exhausting march on 8000 meters to the summit more than a thousand meters away. To prove that the highest point has been reached, Cho Oyu summit pictures should show climbers with the Everest-Lhotse group in back.

Makalu: Ueli Steck, “I fought as never before in my life” Back in Switzerland, Ueli Steck’s frostbites are slowly healing and the daily routine is setting in. “I badly need the rest,” the climber said, “Makalu challenged me to the very end.”

Death Valley update: Endless maze of washes brought an end to the path “The ugliest terrain I have ever crossed,” said Todd Carmichael. After a section of soft sand and attacked by killer horse flies when he tried to rest, Todd found himself and his cart-wheel trapped on a vicious carpet of boulders stretching endlessly between 25 foot rock walls in the 100°F desert. “Since crossing Antarctica I’ve wondered if ‘man hauling’ Death Valley was possible,” Todd dispatched. “Today I found my answer. Not for the furnace like heat or the distance or the snakes and such, but for the endless maze of washes blocking the path.”

Patagonia update: Georg Sichelschmidt and Olaf Rieck are ready for the Southern Patagonia Icecap, only once before crossed in its full length. Georg sent word to ExplorersWeb that Olaf had injured a ligament in his foot but the team has arrived in Tortel, packed and ready to leave by boat to the Jorge Montt Glacier. The two Germans hope to ski and kite the glacier to the technical Fitz Roy, and finally leave the Icecap over the Paso del Viento to El Chalten in Argentina.

Disabled adventurer Karen Darke’s plans to ski to the South Pole only with “arm-power” Paralyzed from the chest down at the age of 21, avid adventurer Karen Darke, 38, next plans to sit-ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole in 2011. “The Pole of Possibility team” will also include her partner Andy Kirkpatrick. In the I994 “Unarmed Expedition” Norwegian Cato Zahl Pedersen, who lost both arms at age 12, skied unsupported from Berkner Island to the South Pole with countrymen Lars Ebbesen and Odd Harald Hauge and later also attempted Mount Everest. Like Karen, Cato’s destiny became to prove that the farthest corners of our world are not exclusive to the super fit.

Long Riders’ Guild: “we are determined to lead from the saddle” “Earlier this year an impassioned debate was held regarding the fact that a London-based geographic society hadn’t fielded a single expedition in more than a decade,” said the LRG press release. After sponsoring, mentoring or encouraging more than a hundred equestrian expeditions on every continent except Antarctica in less than ten years, “[…] we are determined to lead from the saddle,” the Guild put down. The new Equestrian Exploration Program is to be overseen by Swedish adventurer and long rider, Mikael Strandberg (sledge-haul winter journey across Siberia) who will be giving a presentation in London on 19 October about the ethical values set up and his upcoming camel journey from Oman to Morocco.

ExWeb interview with Maurice Uguen, “The greatest danger in the Northwest Passage is in the Human and his limitations” “30 years ago we were in contact by Ham radio [this time] Philou phoned me on my cell phone while I was at a wedding of a friend in a British cathedral!” During the past Northwest Passage season Maurice Uguen routed his fellow Frenchman, Philippe Poupon (Philou) through the Passage. Maurice has a wealth of sailing and navigation experience, as this was his passion for most of his life. He spoke to ExWeb’s Correne Coetzer about routing ‘Fleur Australe’ through the NW Passage, the dangers, the differences between now and thirty years ago, and his new projects.

Northwest Passage boats wrap-up: all boats out of the Passage Ocean Watch didn’t plan to end up in the worst part of the Gulf Stream, but sailed into it in 30-40 knot southwesterly winds. They warned about the sea off Cape Hatteras, “the Graveyard of the Atlantic.” Check ExWeb’s extensive roundup of all the boats crossing the fabled passage this year.

Mars Ocean Odyssey update: 900 days at sea, and no end at 1000 days Reid Stowe has passed the 900-day mark at sea without any land stopover. His plan was to stay 1000 days, which comes to an end in January 2010, but Reid has announced that he is going to postpone landing with a few weeks.

Greg Kolodziejzyk and Jordan Hanssen to pedal around Vancouver Island Canadian Greg Kolodziejzyk and American Jordan Hanssen announced that one week from now they will be will attempting a circumnavigation of Vancouver Island in a pedal-powered boat. “My objective is to demonstrate the amazing things a human being can do under his or her own power,”said Kolodziejzyk. “It’s good for the environment, it’s essential for our health, and sends the right message regarding physical activity to our children.”

Balloon boy: all for the show? When a 6-year-old boy floated away on an experimental aircraft, the parents called a local TV station before 911. Following several hours of terrifying coverage, live images transmitted on US TV Networks finally showed the craft empty on landing. The 6-year old emerged in the family living room after hiding out in a box, and said on CNN’s Larry King Live later that night, “we did this for a show.” The family had appeared twice on the ABC reality show Wife Swap and ran their own reality show on YouTube. Colo., Sheriff Jim Alderden is not amused. “We have since learned that these people are actors,” he said today, adding that charges will be filed.

HumanEdgeTech currency report: buy cheap, buy…American! The tanking US economy and dollar offer great deals to global climbers, explorers and travelers. Exporting worldwide for years, check HumanEdgeTech’s report on shipping, customs, VAT and the money to be made.

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