Top Ten Encounters With Natural Wonders

Thursday, March 30, 2006
I came across this article while making my daily surf over to It's a wonderful article about The Top Ten Close Encounters with Natural Wonders, and offers up some great suggestions for world travelers looking for some adventure in the outdoors.

Personally, the ones of interest to me include number 8: Tracking the Elusive Snow Leopard, 7: Polar Bears in the Arctic Circle, and of course number 1: Make breakfast for a panda. Tracking the snow leopard would provide an amazing experience in the Himalayas, while viewing Polar Bears would be amazing as well. I wanted so badly to see a Panda Bear a few years ago when I was in China, but alas it was not to be. I guess I'll need to make a trip back to experience that.

Follow The Amazon Queen

The is a great site dedicated to following all kind of nautical adventures, including sailing races, circumnavigation attempts, and other aquatic adventures. A few weeks back they published this story about a former Vietnam War vet, and his wife, who are sailing down the length of the Amazon River in a ship called the Amazon Queen. Today, they've posted an update on the expedition, and it sounds like it's been quite the adventure so far. These two pieces are worth a read, and I'll be sure to keep an eye out for furture updates from the River.

Huge Marine Reserve Created in the Pacific

The tiny island nation the Republic of Kiribati has created the third largest protected marine area, 73,800 square mile section of the Pacific Ocean, which contains over 120 species of coral and 520 species of fish. Obviously, this is a move that is being hailed by environmentalist the world over. You can read more about it at

I've never heard of the Republic of Kiribati, but apparently it's a small nation made up 33 islands between Fuji and Hawaii. This site should make for an awesome dive site, with an impressive array of sea life to encounter.

Team Nike Opens New Website

Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Team Nike, arguably the most successful adventure racing team of all time, and most certainly the most successful from the Northern Hemisphere, has opened a new website filled with great information. Perusing the site you'll find team profiles of adventure racing legends such as Ian Adamson and Mike Kloser as well as a schedule of upcoming races, tips on adventure racing, and even gear reviews.

If you're into adventure racing, the personalities that make up Team Nike are familiar to you, but if you're new to the sport, you'll have a tough time finding a team with more credentials. They always race hard, come prepared, and are a threat to win which ever event they enter. Over the years, they've won Primal Quest (three times), the Raid Gauloises, the Raid World Championship, and the now legendary Eco-Challenge, four times no less.

The Trail Running Personality has a lot of interesting articles on a range of topics, including a few very near and dear to my heart, such as climbing, hiking, and paddling. While browsing around their site, I found this really cool article on the personality and make-up of a trail runner. According to the article, a trail runner is someone who seeks out "adventure, variety, challenge, and excitement." They often prefer to be alone in their runs, and enjoy a scenic, long, backwoods trail, to a track, road, or sidewalk.

As someone who loves trail running, I found this to be a fun little article that discusses the differences between a road runner and trail runner in a straight forward fashion. It captured the essence of why I enjoy trail running. Personally, I love to get outside, and away from it all, and have some time on the trail to myself. I also enjoy the challenge of trail running, and the views along the way as well. Unfortunately, I find it hard to get onto a trail on a regular basis during the week, as it is often dark by the time I get to run, so I save my trail runs for weekend experiences. Of course, we're only a few weeks from daylight savings time kicking in, so I'm hoping that will help my weekday runs more. Well, that and getting over this nasty case of shin splints I'm battling through. Ouch!

American Team To Challenge K7!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006
According to this article at famed climber and adventurer Conrad Anker will lead an all American team up all three of K7's summits. K7 is a mountain located in the Charakusa Valley, where it's main peak tops out at 22,750 feet.

Moab Extreme goes to Team: Bagelworks!

Monday, March 27, 2006
CheckPoint Zero is reporting that this years Moab Extreme Adventure Race has been won by Team: Bagelworks. More than 300 adventure racers took part in this years event, a sprint class race, which has gotten some world class competitors in recent years. You can read all about the event right here! Congrats to Bagelworks!

Tour de France - Mountain Bike Style!

With Lance Armstrong kicking all forms of ass in the Tour de France over the past seven years, everyone now knows that the country is a hotbed of bike racing. However, not everyone would think about it as a place to go mountain biking. Well, is looking to change that with this article which details an awesome sounding trip to ride in the famous Courcheval region. It sounds like the runs were epic, and very challenging, in an area that wasn't crowded, and made for some incredible rides. Sounds like something I need to add to my "Life List of things to do!"

Freedivers Go For World Record

According to, two members of the Performance Freediving Team, will attempt to break several worlds records for freediving. For those that don't know, freediving is going deep underwater with out any scuba gear. In the case of these two divers, Mandy-Rae Cruickshank and Martin Stepanek, they will be attempting depths of 285 and 348 feet respectively. That's 29 and 35 stories down on one breath of air. Scary and impressive! The two will go for these records during the week of April 1st through the 7th in the Cayman Islands. You can read more here.

Trekkers Captured By Rebels in Nepal...

...then released.

It seems four Polish trekkers, exploring Nepal, had quite the harrowing weekend. Maoist rebels grabbed the four travelers after the refused to pay the "revolutionary" tax demanded to pass. The trekkers were enroute from Jiri to Lukla when they were abducted. Details are still kind of sketchy, and Maoist leaders are denying they had anything to do with it, but the Poles were released and eventually arrived at their destination unharmed.

You can read more about the events here.

Update: An update on this story from this source says that the four were never kidnapped, although they did argue with the Maoist Rebels. Eitherway, the whole story shows you how dangerous independent travel can be in a lot of countries.

Mountain Zone Quickies

Friday, March 24, 2006
A couple of quick, but interesting articles, over at Mountain Zone today.

First up, we have another installment of Matt Hart's blog, which I talked about last week, in which he discusses the recently run Chuckanut 50 km ultra-marathon. Matt was a volunteer at the event, and has some interesting things to say about the race.

The second article of interest is from the Gear Junkie Blog, and offers up some advice and information on adventure bikes. For anyone who hasn't seen and adventure bike yet, it's kind of like a mountain bike on steroids. They have huge tires and are designed for serious off road racing, including through sand and other surfaces.

Everest Updates is, as always, your first stop for news on what's happening on the tallest mountain in the world. Today, they had two interesting articles that caught my eye.

First, is their Daily Wrap Up which not only includes information on what the early teams are doing to prepare for the next two months, but also sends us the first pics of Everest from the 2006 climbing season.

The second article that caught my attention was this one which tells the tale of Henry Todd. It seems Todd is facing manslaughter charges because he sold oxygen, to commercial Everest expeditions, in recycled bottles. Apparently, a number of these bottles failed at high altitude, resulting in deaths. The question is, are these recycled bottles safe and what safety precautions are taken to insure that will work on the mountain?

NG Reports on Borge and Mike!

I've been blogging about Borge Ousland and Mike Horn's bid to reach the North Pole, unsupported, and on foot, during the Winter since the journey began. A few days ago I reported that they had indeed reached their goal, after a very long and arduous trek. Well, now Borge and Mike are getting some press from a few other sources, including this article over at National Geographic Adventure. Their epic feat deserves all the recognition it gets, and I'm glad some other publications are starting to take notice. As I've said before, I'll be looking forward to hearing more about their story when they return.

Classic Mountain Zone

Thursday, March 23, 2006 is celebrating it's 10th Anniversary, which is very impressive considering where the Internet was 10 years ago. As part of that celebration, they are re-posting some of their best articles over the years, and amongst them is Makalu Gau: The Untold Story of the 1996 Everest Tragedy. The article tells the story of Gau Ming Ho, a climber from Taiwan, who survived those incredible storms above 8000 meters on Everest that fateful day back in May of 1996. Many of you have probably read Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, but this tells the story from another perspective, and is well worth a look despite the fact that it is dated some.

It's hard to believe we're coming up on the 10th anniversary of the Everest Tragedy. It seems like it wasn't all that long ago that the tale began to filter back to the world about the events that took place on the mountain that day. I'm sure there will be a 10th Anniversary Edition of Krakauer's book, and if you haven't read it, I can't recommend it enough.

Dangerous First Ascent on Devil's Thumb! is reporting that Zac Hoyt has completed a solo first winter ascent on Devil's Thumb, a 9,077 foot peak near Juneau, Alaska. But as any climber will tell you, getting to the top is only half the journey, and getting down may be the most dangerous part. Hoyt, who is an accomplished climber, fell into a crevasse and had to be rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter.

Amazing Climb On Kili

I've mentioned a few times that my ultimate trip right now is to climb Kilimanjaro, preferably before the famous Snows of Kilimanjaro disappear. Today I found this article which offers details of a climb organized by Berg Adventures International that involved getting 19 mentally and physically challenged men and women to the summit of Kili. At 19,341, Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa. While reaching the summit is by no means a technical climb, it is still very challenging, and will tax someone in good condition, especially at the higher altitudes. This is an impressive adventure for anyone to undertake, and it is very inspiring to see these disabled climbers reach the Roof of Africa.

Borge and Mike are at the Pole! is reporting that Borge Ousland and Mike Horn have, at long last, reached the North Pole. The two have become the first men to reach the North Pole on foot during the Winter. Unsupported no less. It took them three months, mostly traveling in darkness, to reach their goal. Along the way, they have faced incredible cold (of course), buffeting winds, aggressive polar bears, injuries, and equipment failures. You can read more about this impressive journey by clicking here. I can't wait for a book about this epic expedition. Congrats Borge and Mike!

(As a side note, this marks my 100th post! Yay! Go me! :) )

The iPod's impact on Travel

It's no secret I dig my gadgets. And one of the coolest of all gadgets is the iPod. National Geographic Traveler Magazine has posted a really cool little article about how useful the iPod can be when taking a trip. Of course, we all know that it can provide hours of entertainment on a long flight, but the other suggestions on the list include using it to store your digital pictures, listening to an audio version of a travel book, or taking a podcast tour.

Personally, I love being able to put on some headphones and some quiet music, allowing me to get a little sleep on a plane. I suffer from the affliction of not being able to sleep while flying, and it has not helped on those 12+ hour flights.

Iceland: Endless Adventure

USA Today updated their Destinations travel section with this piece today on the opportunities for adventure in Iceland. Be warned though, as they mention right off the bat, that a trip to that beautiful country doesn't come cheap. (Then again, most adventure travel doesn't.)

They offer links to other websites with more information on traveling to Iceland, as well as tips on what to expect when you get there, for instance it isn't as cold as you would think, judging by the name. :) This is a solid read for anyone thinking of visiting Iceland in the future.

New Trail Running Site Opens

Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Team La Sportiva/GoLite, an adventure racing and mountain running team, has opened up an excellent new website with lots of information for trail runners, marathoners, ultra-marathoners, and aspiring newbie runners alike. The site,, contains information about the team, but also news about upcoming events, feature stories on races and training methods, and news from the running world, specifically from trail running.

As someone who is an avid trail runner, the new site looks nice, and I'll be looking forward to what they have to offer. Unfortunately, I've been hampered by severe shin splints over the past few months, and finally had to scale back my training dramatically in order to recover. I think I'm finally on the mend though, and hope to shift my training back the other direction starting this week. Anyone who has ever suffered shin splints will empathize with the pain from each step.

Himalayan Climbing Season Begins!

The Himalayan climbing season is getting underway today, with many climbers arriving in Kathmandu, and making the last minute preparations for a two month long odyssey to the peak of Everest, or some other equally daunting mountain. You can get daily news and updates over at

Among today's news is the arrival of the Bahrainis that I wrote about last week, who are going for a speed record on Everest, despite the fact that they have zero experience with high altitude mountaineering. You've go to give it to them. They surely live by the creed: "Go big, or stay home!". :)

Trip Planning, Outside Style!

Are you planning a trip soon? Perhaps something epic in scale? Something that takes you outdoors to an amazing place with some great friends, to do some incredible things? Not sure how to plan everything? Never fear, because Outside Magazine is here to help! The good folks over on Outside Online have posted a a great article on how to use the new and old media to your benefit. The article discusses using the Internet and blogs for ideas and tips, how guidebooks have changed over the years, and more. It's a great read for the intrepid traveler planning his or her next getaway.

Team Spyder Takes First at The Raid

Monday, March 20, 2006 is reporting that Team Spyder (USA) has crossed the finishline in first place over the weekend in the first Raid event of the year. The win puts them well on their way to qualifying for the Raid World Championship, an expedition length race to take place in the Alps later this year. For complete coverage of the race at Check Point Zero, click here.

Mike and Borge at the 89th Parallel has posted another one of their Polar Updates and are reporting that Mike Horn and Borge Ousland have reached the 89th degree of latitude, the last one before proceeding on to the North Pole.

The two have faced tough conditions since they set out to reach the North Pole on foot, in Winter, and the expedition isn't over yet, with 97 km yet to go. The two are exhausted beyond belief and have faced incredible winds and equipment breakdowns in their bid for the Pole.

Adventure in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the countries on my list that I need to visit at some point. It's incredibly easy and cheap to get to, and offers a ton of adventure opportunities, including kayaking, mountain biking, zip lines, jungle trekking, and climbing on active volcanoes. All of which sound great to me!

National Geographic Adventure has posted a really cool article called Costa Rica: Big Trip, Little Country which highlights all the incredible things you can do there.

Iditarod on OLN

While channel surfing on Saturday Night, trying desperately to find something watchable on TV, I came across coverage of the Iditarod on the Outdoor Network. Not only did I watch the entire broadcast, I immediately added a Season Pass to my Tivo as well. Even though I already know the outcome, it was fun to watch and to get to know all the different characters that take part in the race. You can find a complete schedule of upcoming episodes here.

Matt Hart: Tales of Endurance Blog

Friday, March 17, 2006
Matt Hart is an endurance athlete and member of the DART adventure racing team. He is an experienced mountain biker, climber, and ultra-marathon runner as well, who recently left his job at Microsoft to pursue racing full time. Since then, he has opened his own blog that offers insights into his training, thoughts on adventure racing at more. At the moment, there aren't a ton of entries, but it should be fun to read as it develops over time. Good luck Matt!

Update on the Poles

There are several expeditions underway at both the North and South Pole at the moment, and there is no better site to follow the progress than Amongst the highlights today are one story of an explorer who had to call for aid after falling in the frigid artic water yesterday, and an update on Borge Ousland and Mike Horn who are attempting to reach the North Pole on foot.

I blogged about Borge and Mike over a month ago, and since that time, they have faced extreme cold, howling winds, being stalked by polar bears, and equipment failure. I'm sure when they return, it will make for a great book! :)

15 Year Old Goes For Everest!

The always reliable has posted a new story today about a 15 year old climber from Australia who will attempt to summit Everest in the upcoming climbing season. Christopher Harris will join his father Richard on the slopes of Everest in an attempt to become the youngest person ever to reach the Top of the World. According to the article, they will attempt the climb from the Tibetan side, on the North Face, as it is illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to climb Everest in Nepal. Ultimately, Christopher hopes to become the youngest person to scale all of the Seven Summits.

Kilimanjaro: Crown of Africa

Thursday, March 16, 2006
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak on the African continent, and one of the Seven Summits. It's a challenging, non-technical climb that takes you through all the climate zones found on Earth en route to the summit at 19,341 feet. Today I found this great little site, called The Crown of Africa that allows you to explore Kilimanjaro from your desktop. The site requires Flash, but it offers some tons of information and photographs. You'll find details on routes up the mountain, conditioning needed to summit, and all the gear you'll need for the trip.

Climbing Kili is my number one dream trip at the moment, and it's the one that I plan to complete with in a few years. For some reason I've been captivated by it since seeing an IMAX film a few years back, and I've made it one of my goals ever since. Thanks to for putting together such a great site.

Adventure Deals at NG!

National Geographic Adventure has added a new section to their website called Adventure Deals. Twice a month they promise to post great deals, at least 15% off, on deals from outfitters and gear companies from their marketplace.

Today they are highlighting a special on a Tanzanian Safari (15 days at 15% off) and 43% off on a sport-duffel travel bag. I'll keep an eye on this from time to time and see if they post any really great deals.

Costs of Climbing Everest

This article of Ask Adventure is a couple of years old, but still of interest as the Everest climbing season approaches. It goes into detail about what it costs to climb Everest today, and it's not for the faint of heart. For instance, it'll cost you $25,000 for a lead guide alone, and $10-$15K for each assistant guides. Sherpas run $5000 each. All told, it's about a $65k bill to climb the highest peak on Earth, and that's assuming you have all the gear you need already. This is a very interesting read and shows you expensive an expedition to Everest really is.

Biking Cross Country

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
USA Today has actually provided some interesting articles of late regarding a number of adventure stories. Normally, the mainstream press doesn't tend to report on these topics, so it's always good to see an article, such as this one which focuses on a cross country bicycle trip. The article discusses such topics as expenses, required fitness, gear, and what to expect on the road, including a little fear of the dangers of being on the road. It's an interesting read for anyone considering a long distance road trip on their bike, and will certainly give you a nice starting point when planning your adventure.

Diving Deep, with the Dead

This article, which originally appeared in Outside Magazine's August issue, was recently nominated for a National Magazine Award for American Sports Writing and for good reason. It is one of the most compelling stories you will read, and it's wonderful that Outside has published it in it's entirety online.

In a nutshell, the story is about a cave diver, named Dave Shaw, who was diving in the Bushman's Hole in South Africa, believed to be the third largest freshwater cave on the Planet. While more than 800 feet beneath the surface, he came across the body of a young man who had disappeared 10 years earlier. What follows is an incredible story about a man risking everything to retrieve the body from the depths of the Bushman's Hole.

I can't stress how incredible this story is, and how interesting it was for me to read. I first read it back when the issue was published, and still find it very compelling now. Cave diving can be a risky endeavor, but it must be amazing to explore these completely alien worlds beneath the surface. Go read this story. Now! :)

King Wins the Iditarod!

According to The Official Iditarod Website Jeff King is into Nome, and has won the 2006 Iditarod by 3 hours over Dough Swingley, the only other musher to complete the course as of this writing. Rachael Scdoris is currently in 57th place, and still competing. She is out of Unalakleet, but still making a great showing of herself on her way to Nome, with several stages yet to be completed. By the way, it's 11 degrees F today at the finish line. I guess I'll just have to settle for the 70 degrees we're expecting here in Austin, TX.

Bahrainis Go For Everest Speed Record

Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Our friends over at are reporting that two men from Bahrain will attempt to not only become the first men from their country to reach the summit on Everest, they plan to do it in record time. Even more daunting, is the fact that these, have no previous climbing experience, and will spend their first days learning to survive on the mountain and deal with the harsh conditions.

Now, I wish these two the best of luck, but honestly, I don't think they have a chance in hell. Everest is a challenge for climbers who have been at it for years, and these two guys think they can pick up the skills and summit in a few short weeks. As if reaching the summit was not enough, they're going to try to beat the record as well. Oh, and in case you're wondering, the current record is 8 hrs 10 min by Pemba Dorjie Sherpa with supplemental oxygen. I'll keep you posted on how they do!

Phone Home From Anywhere!

Robert Young Pelton, the author of The World's Most Dangerous Places has written a short, yet informative, article for his column over at National Geographic Adventure that focuses on making phone calls from anywhere on the planet. He discusses using local phone lines and cell services in many countries, using satellite phones, and even using Skype to stay in touch. If you're making a trip abroad, you may want to give this a look and see what options you have at your disposal.

Iditarod Update #2

Monday, March 13, 2006
Since last I blogged about the Iditarod, we've seen a change at the top of the leaderboard. It is Day Nine of the race, and Jeff King, a former three-time champion, has passed Doug Swingley, and now holds a two ahd a half hour lead. The lead mushers are out of Shaktoolik, and are making there way towards the next checkpoing at Koyuk, enroute to their eventual destination, Nome, where it's a balmy 14 degrees F today.

Visually impaired racer, Rachael Scdoris is currently in 59th place. It'll be an amazing accomplishment for her to finish the race, and at the age of 20, she is already quickly becoming an Iditarod veteran.

Kayaking Around Britain

The King's Lynn Today is reporting that kayaker Steve Williams will attempt to sea kayak around the entire British Isles. The trip is expected to take five months, as he proceeds clock-wise around Ireland, Scotland, and England itself. Williams hopes to raise 25,000 pounds for the charity BBC Children In Need. He'll start out in April, and if all goes according to plan, will complete his journey in September. You can learn more about the expedition on his website.

North Face 2006 Expeditions

Friday, March 10, 2006
The North Face, a long time expedition sponsor and well known equipment manufacturer, has released their 2006 Expeditions list. You will also find lists of previous expeditions on the same page as well.

Included on the list are such awe inspiring adventures as Peak Bagging in Bolivia, exploring the Ancient Caves of the Kingdom of the Mustang in Tibet, and a first ascent on South Face of Chimante, "a 2500 ' big wall on an unclimbed tepui deep in the heart of the Venezuelan jungle." All of these expeditions sound like an incredible experience to me. Hey North Face, hook a guy up, will ya'? :)

Three Teams Go For Gasherbrum IV Summit is reporting that three teams will attempt to summit Gasherbrum IV, a remote and seldom visited peak in the Karakorum, during the upcoming climbing season. Just 75 meters shy of joining the 8000 meter peak list, Gasherbrum IV is known for it's challenging technical climbs, and dangerous weather. The last attempts to summit the mountain were in 2004, when an extemely accomplished team was turned back by dangerous snow falls. Sometimes called the most beautiful peak in the Karakorum, G-IV falls on the Pakistan-China border.

The teams going after the summit this Summer are stacked with accomplished climbers with very impressive resumes. If the weather holds out, I have no doubt that at least one team will find the summit.

Whitewater in Iran?

Who would have ever thought that you could actually run whitewater in Iran? Certainly I had no idea, at least not until I came across this cool article over at the Canoe & Kayak Magazine website. The accompanying photos look amazing, and the story is really interesting starting with the author getting her visa to travel to Iran, continuing on to the kayaking runs themselves, and concluding with a little post-adventure experience in Tehran with some locals.

Trekking Nepal

Thursday, March 9, 2006
Another great travel article buy Last week they had that article about climbing in Ecuador which I wrote about, and this week they have this great little article about trekking in Nepal. More specifically, trekking in the Kangchenjunga Glacier region, which sounds like an incredible experience.

Trekking in Nepal is one of my dream trips. Exploring the vast mountain area, hiking up to high altitudes, visiting remote villages, and interacting with the wonderful Nepalese people all sounds incredible to me. I'm not sure I have it in me to climb Everest, although I'd like to. It's just such an expensive endeavor and it takes a huge chunk of time, where as a trip like this can be done much more cheaply, and on a shorter time schedule. Sign me up. I'm ready to go tomorrow.

85 Year Old Woman to Climb Everest...or NOT! ;)

Did you hear about the 85 year old British woman who intends to climb Everest? She's going to take her dog with her as well, and up a new route none-the-less. Sounds too good to be true? Well, you're right! had the first scoop on this story, and you can read all about it right here. It seems that the 85 year old grandmother, named Mary, is just a big marketing scheme put on by Mammut Sportswear. It would seem that not everyone in the climbing community realized this was a joke from the beginning however. Mary even had her own website to chronicle her adventure.

I first read about this some weeks ago when I read an "interview" with Mary over at I nearly posted about it, thinking it was remarkable that this woman was going to attempt the climb. But as I read further, I got very skeptical, and when they mentioned she was taking her dog along, I figured it was hoax, but by whom, I had no idea. Anyway, it makes for a good chuckle, and I'd love to see some commercials with Mary and her dog! :)

Another Find In Egypt!

I saw this really interesting article over at National Geographic's website earlier, and just had to post it. Basically, it tells about some archaeologists who have discovered the earliest ocean going vessel ever. The remains of the ship were found in a cave along near the Red Sea, along with rope and cargo boxes. It is believed that these ancient Egyptian mariners set sail over 4000 years ago and ranged as far as 1000 miles from home.

It continues to amaze me how much we are still learning about ancient cultures. Egypt is one of the oldest cultures known to man, and the things they accomplished rival nearly any other civilization on Earth. Now we learn that they sailed the seas long before anyone ever thought they could have, and for greater distances as well. Simply amazing.

ExWeb Interviews Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner

Wednesday, March 8, 2006
There is a short, but sweet interview with Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner over at Kaltenbrunner is one of the best female high alpine climbers in the world, holding more 8000 meter summits than any other woman. It's a good read, with some insights into her personality. They talk about her approach to climbing the 14 8000 meter peaks and her upcoming attempt at Kangchenjunga, another 8000 meter peak in Nepal, and the third highest peak in the world.

Gerlinde seems to be a very cool person, who takes her accomplishments in stride. It can be tough for a woman in a male dominated sport like high alpine climbing. On top of that, she's cute as hell too. ;)

Gadgets for the Road Warrior

It's no secret that I love my gadgets. I've got my share of GPS devices, MP3 and portable video players, digital cameras, and more. We're a technology driven society, and these new gizmos are allowing us to travel, work, and play in comfort and style, while still staying in touch with friends and family, and the World as a whole.

Outside Magazine , who yesterday brought us a list of the Best Trips of 2006, returns today with a list of great gear you won't want to leave home without on your next trip, whether it's out for a trail run, or out of the country. Lots of excellent, gear to inspire technolust.

Iditarod Update

Just a quick post to update the standings on the Iditarod. At this writing, approximately 11 AM CST on Wednesday, March 8th, four time champ Doug Swingley still leads the pack. He is into Takotna, and holds a 35 minute lead over second place musher Jeff King. In a race of this length, 35 minutes isn't much. Rachael Scdoris, the visually impaired racer I blogged about yesterday is currently in 59th place. Not bad, all things considered.

You can follow all the action over at the Official Iditarod Website.

In other Iditarod related news, former champion, and dog sled legend, Susan Butcher has been experiencing some healthy issues of late. But according to her website she has found a bone marrow donor, and hopes to return to Alaska soon. I wish Susan the best of luck, and a speedy recovery to full health.

Tragedy on Mulhacen

Tuesday, March 7, 2006 is reporting, via the the Guardian, that three British Climbers have died on Mulhacen, the highest peak in Spain. The climbers were caught in a nasty snow storm, and while one of their party went for help, three stayed behind in a snowhole that they dug on the side of the mountain. By the time rescuers found them however, it was too late, as hypothermia had set in.

It is stories like these that remind us that a life of adventure is also a dangerous one. Many of the activies that we take part in are exciting and rewarding, but are also dangerous, even when we proceed with caution. Our thoughts and prayers are with the familes of these men, who died while pursuing their dreams of adventure.

Outside Magazine's Best Trips of 2006

Outside Magazine , one of the best sources of news, stories, and information on adventure in all forms, has posted it's wonderful Wanderlist 2006 which consists of the best trips for the coming year. The story is broken down by region, and offers some excellent ideas for the world traveler who wants to get away from it all.

The highlights of the list for me include: Sea-kayaking in the Galapagos, Tracking the Snow Leopard in India, the Cross-Country Traverse of Costa Rica, Safari by Elephant in Botswana, and the Climbing and Photography expedition to the Antarctic. Of course, there trip of the year , which I won't spoil, would be awesome as well.

The article ends with a preview for 2007. If anyone from Outside needs some help reviewing next years trips, drop me an e-mail. Please? Pretty please?? :)

The Raid comes to Idaho! is reporting that one of the world's premiere adventure races, The Raid World Cup will be holding a championship qualifier in Idaho this year. From June 9th to the 11th, more than 50 teams will compete for the chance to move on to the championship race, which is expedition length and will be held in Saguenay, Quebec this September.

This is a great opportunity for American's to experience one of the oldest and most prestigious adventure races. Sure The Raid has changed formats some what over the past few years, but it's still a great race with long roots in the endurance racing world. It's great that an event of this caliber will be held right here in the western United States.

Racing The Iditarod Blind

The mainstream press doesn't cover a lot of the stories that I enjoy reading. For example, you rarely see any news stories on adventure racing or mountain climbing, except in the case of when something has gone terribly wrong. However, the Iditarod has gotten pretty good coverage over the years, which has helped the average American to know more about the event.

Today, USA Today has thisvery interesting article about Rachael Scdoris, a visually impaired musher who is racing in the Iditarod at this very moment.

I remember reading about Rachael last year, and thinking what a remarkable story it was. She's a gifted musher for sure, and it takes a lot of courage to head out there on the trail in that weather. Essentially, she has another sled team with her, who serves as a guide, yelling out directions and information about the trail. It seems to work very well, and I'll be very interested in seeing where she places this season.

The Iditarod Begins!

Monday, March 6, 2006
The Last Great Race, also known as the Iditarod, got underway yesterday. The 1,149 mile dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska has been run since 1973, and now offers up a $600,000 purse. The event has become one big party for Alaskans, who will follow the race over the next week and a half.

The Iditarod was created to celebrate the historic run of mushers in 1925 who raced against time to deliver serum to Nome to combat a diphtheria epidemic. More than 20 dog sled teams crossed the frozen landscape relaying the serum to one another. The final leg of the journey was lead by legendary sled dog Balto who found his way through an epic blizzard to deliver the medicine on time.

As of this writing, four time Iditarod Champ Doug Swingley leads the pack as the first musher out of Yentna. I'll be following the race over the next week or so, and posting updates from time to time.

(Note: The Iditarod should not be confused with the Iditabike! ;) )

New Finds in Egypt!

Friday, March 3, 2006
I saw two articles today of some interesting new finds in Egypt. First up is this story which gives the details of a huge crater found in the Sahara Desert. The crater is 19 miles wide, which is twice the size of any similar crater found in the Sahara in the past. The article also points out that Meteor Crater in Arizona is a mere 3/4 of a mile across.

The second article over at National Geographic's website is about a huge Egyptian temple found in Cairo. This temple is said to have been built by Ramses II for the Sun god Ra. The temple has been hidden under an outdoor market for centuries, and leads many archaeologists to believe that there are many other such sites yet to be discovered under other Egyptian cities.

As someone who has been to Cairo, and spent time in the Sahara Desert, I found these new discoveries to be fascinating. To think that a temple could be hidden for all this time beneath the streets of a thriving city like Cairo is amazing, and the giant crater makes you wonder what that impact must have been like, and what it did to the environment in that area.

Being Ed Viesturs

I found this excellent little article while poking around over at the Hooked On The Outdoors Magazine's website. It's an insightful, if a little old, piece on how Ed Viesturs manages to collect sponsors for his high altitude expeditions, and what those sponsors expect of him in return. It's an inside look of the athlete-sponsor relationship, and how the business of climbing has changed over the years. This article was originally printed in the Nov. 2005 issue of Hooked, but as the old saying goes, if it's new to me... :)

For anyone who isn't familiar with Ed, you can find out more at his website. In a nutshell, he's arguably the most accomplished American climber of all time, and recently left his place in the record books by becoming the first American to climb all 8000 meter peaks, without the use of supplemental oxygen. A true adventurer by any sense of the word.

One thing I found interesting in the article is when Ed says that when he started back in the 80's, a climbing permit for Everest was $3000. Now, it's $70,000. Wow! Talk about inflation. Looks like my attempt on the summit will have to be set back a few more years.

More on Everest Peace Project

Thursday, March 2, 2006
I posted about this a few weeks back, but since it's such a cool project/expedition, I thought I'd point out another source for more info. as this article up about the Everest Peace Project .

You'll recall, that this is the climbing team made of of people from several different countries and religions, who hope to show the world that they can all get along while working together to summit the highest mountain on Earth. According to this article, the team will arrive in Nepal on April 4th, and travel to Tibet as a team on April 8th. Obviously they intend to scale Everest from the Tibetan side, with the hopes of their accomplishing their goal in late May or early June. A typical Everest expedition lasts in the neighborhood of 50+ days, depending on weather, traffic on the mountain, travel schedules, etc.

As the team takes to the mountain, hopefully we can get updates from the website. As new information becomes available, I'll post it here. I wish them the best of luck in their attempt on the summit.

Urban Adventures!

Gadling came through with another great article today. The Guardian has posted on 20 Urban Adventures that pretty much anyone can do in great cities all over the world.

The ones that get me going include: Ice Climbing in London, Caving in Budapest, and Adventure Racing in Edinbrugh. There is pretty much something on the list for everyone, and even if you can't get to one of these cities, perhaps it will inspire you to find something similar to do in your own city.

Top Seven Adventure Destinations!

Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Adventure Journey Magazine, which is quickly shaping up to be an insightful and interesting source of news on adventure travel, has a cool little article called Top Seven, in which I presume they will be listing their Top Seven list each month on a different topic. This months topic is Adventure Destinations.

Every location on the list is definitely a place that I would like to visit, including their top spot, Peru. In fact, one of my dream trips is to hike the Inca Trail, ending in Macchu Picchu. If you're someone looking to get into adventure travel, or have had a yearning to put some adventure back into your life, perhaps this list will give you some ideas. I completely approve! Not that anyone was asking! :)

Race with Robyn Contest!

Checkpont Zero has all the details on a cool new contest of interest to anyone into adventure racing. Merrell Footwear has announced the "Race with Robyn Contest", the winner of which gets to run a race with Robyn Benincasa, one of the most experienced, and best female adventure/endurance athletes in the world.

In addition, Robyn will be hosting an AR seminar sponsered by Eastern Mountain Sports in conjunction with the Genesis Adventure race series. These will be great chances for beginning adventure racers to get some insights on the sport from someone who literally has years of experience in races such as Eco-Challenge and Primal Quest.

Backcountry Navigation NG Adventure Style.

National Geographic Adventure has this great little article in their "Instant Expert" series about backcountry navigation. It's a short, but sweet, little primer for getting orientated and navigating while in the wilderness.

Some of the best points to think about are getting your bearings, plotting (and sticking to) a course, and to not go rushing ahead. They also recommend some great, high quality compasses, and offer some links to some good orienteering and rogain sites.

I've given my thoughts on this before, and those who read my blog regularly know I'm a tech gear junkie who loves his GPS. But, I think it is vitally important that you know who to navigate by reading a map, using landmarks, and using a compass. Sometimes a GPS just can't get a good signal, or you're stranded miles from the trailhead with dead batteries. While there is nothing really new in this article, I still found it to be a nice reminder, and a good intro for someone new.