Tag: MountainsView All Tags
Adventure Travel / Scotland Travel / Edinburgh Travel / Edinburgh Field Trip / Mountain Climbing / Mountains / → All Tags
What activities do you typically think of when planning a trip to Scotland? Well, there's trying haggis, maybe flirting with the idea of buying a kilt, and perhaps enjoying some nice highland scenery. But when we went to Edinburgh recently, we looked out the window of the hotel only to see a looming, misty dormant volcano in the distance; this is "Arthur's Seat" and it was calling our name.
A quick visit to the wiki page on Arthur's Seat verified that it is easily climbable, so we set out for what would become a most exhilaratingand at times, most dangeroushike. We cannot stress enough the importance of appropriate footwear!
After the jump, how to climb and what to see on Arthur's Seat
The island of Antigua is getting into the whole rebranding thing by renaming its highest mountain after Barack Obama. As the AP points out, the unfortunately-named Boggy Peak will officially become Mount Obama Monument and National Park on August 4, 2009, a move that officials hope will bring more tourists to the Caribbean island. In addition to the name change, the mountain will get a new network of hiking trails, a museum, and educational facilities.
At 395 meters (1,319 feet), Mount Obama isn't about to supplant Everest as a destination for elite climbers, but for the rest of us, it's a perfect mid-sized mountain with sweeping views of the ocean that can be tackled in a couple of hours. It's also a good reminder that while Caribbean islands are most commonly known for their coastal areas, it's worth the effort to tear yourself away from the beach and check out the interior regions, which often contain rain forests, waterfalls, and under-appreciated mountains like this one. Smart move, Antigua.
· PM Spencer Sends Message to Barack Obama - Moves to Rename Boggy Peak to Mount Obama [Antigua & Barbuda]
· Antigua's Mount Obama to be National Park [AP via Yahoo! News]
· Mountain Coverage [Jaunted]
When it comes to mountaineering safety, famed climber Ed Viesturs has a saying: "Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory." This weekend, at least nine climbers on Pakistan's K-2 will, sadly, not be coming down alive. Details are still sketchy, but officials are reporting that an expedition of 22 climbers was hit by an ice avalanche shortly after summiting the world's second highest peak, killing seven and leaving three unaccounted for. In addition, there are reports of three other climber fatalities on the mountain in unrelated incidents.
The gist of Viesturs's advice is to turn back if conditions get too dangerous - even if the summit is just minutes away - but I'm not sure these climbers had any prior indication of the impending slide. It sounds more like simple bad luck, an unfortunate reminder that no matter how controlled a modern climbing expedition might seem, a significant risk always remains for those who take the challenge.
In the seat-belted, air-bagged, sanitized-for-your-protectioned, guard-railed, helmeted, over-insured world many of us live in, it's no surprise that people are drawn to pursuits that take them to the edge. Something inside us all needs to feel the energy that can only be found at the edge, if only to help us appreciate our cozy lives even more. The trick is finding a way to get close enough to the edge to take a good look at the vast beyond, and then safely take a step back with your new perspective now a permanent part of your life.
· Officials: At Least Nine Die Scaling K-2 [USA Today]
· Factbox: World's Deadliest Mountaineering Disasters [Reuters]
· Mountain Climbing Coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo: Pakistan Tourism Office via Reuters]
Mountains / Mountain Climbing / Adventure Travel / China Travel / Olympics / 2008 Olympics / Beijing Olympics / Beijing Olympics 2008 / Sports Travel / Olympic Torch / → All Tags
Mountaineering types and adventure travel advocates are always hyping their accomplishments--until too many people follow in their footsteps. We can officially call Mt. Everest done-ski now that the Olympic Torch has made it to the summit.
When a team of torch runners can just say, "Let's take this thing up there," you know it's gotten too easy to just cruise up the mountain. Well, maybe easy is a bit of a stretch:
The summit attempt had been repeatedly delayed because of bad weather, and the team had been forced to sit for days at various high camps.
The group of ethnic Tibetan climbers and Chinese journalists must've been a lonely on the climb: China barred access to the summit earlier this year to keep any pro-Tibetan protests from marring the mountain-top torch run.
We love Top Ten lists, so when we found a forum on BootsnAll that asked backpackers for their top tips for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro we had to take a peek. What did we find? Words of wisdom that every camper knows--about sleeping with the next day's clothes to keep them warm or reusing baby wipes--as well as a few choice bits of wisdom specifically about reaching the summit of the Kill:
Instead of a backpack for the porters to carry all your stuff that is not in the day pack...use a DUFFLE bag. Easier for one to pack and unpack. The porters consolidate bags and carry them in their packs on their head...so even if you have a great pack its not very useful for them.
Forum-goers also have ideas on what to pack:
Don't forget knee braces and elastic bandages. You will need them while coming down. Your knees will thank you.
And even a special tip just for the ladies:
For the girls...dig a hole in front of your tent between the tent door and the outer fly, make a 'dam' on the downward slope...This is great if you need to pee in the middle of the night and you don't want to walk to the long drop (bleh), find a bush, or it's freezing cold outside. Cover your pee with dirt when your done...Get as low as you can, knees literally on the ground and lower legs splayed out to prevent splashing and waking up your neighbors.
[Photo: Millbrook Inn]
Welcome to Where To Find, our growing guide to those little-known places that never seem to show up on the travel radar--until now. We're not saying they're undiscovered, but you may need to look 'em up on our WTF Map.
Adventure travel has just got a bit less exciting, after a British guy made the first phone call and sent the first text message from the peak of Mt Everest. In a nice piece of advertising for Motorola, who sponsored the attempt, Rod Baber texted:
One small text for man, one giant leap for mobilekind - thanks Motorola.
And no, he didn't write that himself. He also made a phone call giving pearls of wisdom like "The Himalayas are everywhere", "It's cold" and "I cannot wait to get back".
China Telecom recently installed a mast at the Rongbuk base station, close to the summit, and the ability to use cell phones will obviously aid rescue efforts when climbers get in trouble. But it'll also aid the increase of the kind of unnecessary, obvious text messages people often send when they've got nothing to do. Don't try it yourself unless you're well prepared, though. Taking your gloves off to write the text message would probably get your fingers snap frozen and useless.
· "I Can't Feel My Toes": Everest Mobile Call [UK Times]
· World's Most Dangerous Airports: Himalayas [Jaunted]
Weather / Mountains / Nature / Technology / → All Tags
Long gone are the days when people just let nature take its course. There are artificial reefs and wave pools for swimmers and surfers who want to control how the swell works, and those nifty machines that make snow when the clouds fail to provide it.
So it was never going to be long before someone decided to manipulate the sun. The residents of the small village of Viganella in the Italian Alps were basically pissed off that they never got to see sunlight between November and January, since the shadow of the Alps kept them in the dark. Perhaps that was one of the reasons that the village rarely saw tourists.
So some bright spark decided to install a massive mirror on the side of the mountain to reflect sunlight into the town square. Computers control the angle of the mirror as the sun moves, and the Viganella villagers are now guaranteed six hours of sunshine a day: providing, of course, the sun comes out at all. Now how could they guarantee that, we wonder...
· Village Beats Winter Blues [Metro UK]
history / mountains / Austria / Top Gun / → All Tags
Fifteen years ago this week, two German tourists uncovered Ötzi the Iceman in the Austrian alps. That was over 5000 years after poor Ötzi hung up his boots, so he quickly came to fame as the world's oldest natural human mummy.
Of course, 15 years is just a drop in the ocean compared to how long his body's been hanging around on earth, but we want to look back and check how his 15 years of fame have been for this otherwise average kind of guy--5 foot 3 and in his mid 40s when he died. Scientific research over this period has been able to tell us his last two meals, the clothes he wore and the fact that he had 57 tattoos. And just this week, they worked out he died of an arrow wound to a vital artery, and probably died within minutes.
Poor guy. Just minutes to die, but thousands of years to hang around and have people prodding, poking and examining you. Keep an eye out on your alpine treks for any of his mates who could keep him company.
Iceman Died Quickly [ansa.it]
USA Today asked conservationists and environmentalists just which world attractions were most in danger of disappearing. Number one on the list is Mt. Kilimanjaro, which has just 20% of the glaciers it had 100 years ago. Blame higher temperatures and less rainfall for the setback: scientists think that the glaciers will be completely gone in a decade or two.
Image from Just Insomnia
· 5 on the verge of vanishing [USA Today]
· World Monuments Fund [Official site]