Friday, February 16, 2018

Video: The Sun, the Moon, and the Truth in Nepal

This thoughtful video takes us to Nepal, where we are left to ponder our place in the Universe, with the sun, the moon, and the stars overhead. Along the way, we get to enjoy some stunning scenes of the beautiful landscapes found there, as well as some wonderful shots of the amazing people that inhabit this country. For those of you who have been to Nepal, this clip will no doubt spark some memories. For those who have yet to visit, it will hasten your desire to go.

The Sun, The Moon, and the Truth | Nepal from Neal Howland on Vimeo.

Video: Ice Climbing Frozen Waterfalls on Michigan's Upper Peninsula

When you think about the best places to go ice climbing in the U.S., Michigan isn't always the first place that comes to mind. But the state's Upper Peninsula is one of the best wilderness destinations east of the Mississippi with some outstanding places get outside and play. That's exactly what Angel VanWiemeersch and Sasha DiGiliuan discovered when they went there, and as you'll see in this video, they found some amazing frozen waterfalls to climb.

How to Beat Cold Conditions While Winter Camping

For most of us, winter is just another season that brings new opportunities for outdoor adventure. But, it is still true that you have to take extra precautions during the season to stay warm and safe out in the cold conditions. To help us do that, Men's Journal has shared 4 ways to beat the cold while winter camping.

Most of the tips are ones that experienced winter campers already know, but are good reminders none the less. For instance, MJ says that you should consider the location of your camping trip before setting out. Some destinations require a bit more thought and planning to enjoy a comfortable outing. In their example, they mention hat the Adirondacks are actually better for camping at 0ºF/-17ºC than it is at 30ºF/-1ºC thanks to the snow being dryer. Wet conditions, as in any season, are the bane of any camper's existence.

Other tips include staying hydrated throughout the trip, as you'll dehydrate at a rapid rate in the winter too. Also, wear googles to keep blowing snow from your eyes and prevent damage from sun glare, and finally consider the location of your campsite carefully.

The tips presented int he article come our way from John Gookin, who has trained thousands of U.S. Marines on survival and warfare in arctic conditions. If anyone knows a thing or two about staying comfortable in cold weather, it is probably him. That said however, I would have liked to have had a bit more depth in each of these tips. There is more to be said for sure, but this is a fairly superficial look at how to stay warm.

Still, it is worth a read for sure. To check out John's suggestions click here.

Kayaker Paddling From Maine to Florida to Support Veterans

A 65-year old disabled Veteran has embarked on what promises to be quite an impressive adventure by kayak. Last year, Joseph Mullin set off on a 2000 mile (3218 km) journey from Maine to the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys in an effort to raise awareness and fund for Mission 22, an organization dedicated to help prevent veteran suicide. 

The idea for the expedition came about when Mullin learned that 20 American vets commit suicide each and every day. That's a staggering number. Mullin himself suffers from PTSD and can understand the challenges that these men and women face. So, to try to help out, he has set out on this kayak expedition, which is now about a third of the way complete. 

Dubbed the "One Man, One Mission to Save Thousands" expedition, the journey started at the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Maine on April 30, 2017. The lighthouse marks the easternmost point in the U.S., jutting out into the Atlantic ocean. From there, he started paddling south along the East Coast with plans to ultimately finish in Key West, Florida. 

Mullin says that he had to suspend his expedition temporarily when he reached Rhode Island where his original kayak started to lose buoyancy and stability. He went from covering 30-40 nautical miles per day down to just 10, so he knew he had to find a replacement. He tells Canoe & Kayak magazine that it took some time to research the right boat for the trip but eventually he found one that should do the trick. Now, he's waiting out the winter before he resumes the voyage, which should start again in April. 

Joe says that on Day 1 he ran into trouble thanks to an overloaded kayak. After two hours on the water, he capsized but because his boat was so heavy, he couldn't self rescue. He called for help from the Coast Guard, but it took them an hour to get to him. He spent that time in 38ºF (3.3ºC) water and developed hypothermia. He ended up spending some time in the hospital while he recovered, but soon resumed the paddle. 

He's also faced poor weather conditions, heavy seas, and high winds along the way, all of which have caused delays at times. He's also had some positive experiences along the way too, including watching an orca whale breach just a meter off of his kayak and meeting some helpful and friendly people throughout the trip. 

Hopefully, Joe will be back on the water in a couple of months and resuming his journey south. He is doing it for a good cause and it is quite the impressive undertaking. Find out more in his interview with Canoe & Kayak

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Video: Love in the Tetons

In the spirt of Valentine's Day, we have another wonderful short film courtesy of REI today. This one tells the story of Juan Martinez, who traveled to Grand Teton National Park 15 years ago and fell in love with the landscapes there. As a kid from Los Angeles, he had never seen stars before and this was an outdoor wonderland he didn't know existed. Then, he met a park ranger named Vanessa Torres, and fell in love all over again. This is there story, and it is wonderful.

Video: Kilian Jornet's Path to Everest

Last spring, mountain runner Kilian Jornet completed his Summits of My Life project by reaching the top of Mt. Everest not once, but twice. Now, a documentary film about that expedition is about to be released and we have the teaser trailer for it below. That's really all the set-up you need. Can't wait to watch the full film.

The Adventure Podcast Episode 7: Adventure News

Just a quick note to let everyone know that the latest episode of The Adventure Podcast is now available for download. As usual, you'll find it on the web, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher. I've also embedded the show in this post so you can listen to it as well.

In this episode I am flying solo, so rather than boring everyone too much, we just picked a few important adventure news items from the past week or so and shared them with listeners. This is a much shorter episode  than usual too, running just 17 minutes in length. Next week, we'll be back to the usual format, before we goin on hiatus for a bit while I travel and Dave takes care of a major project on his end too.

As always, thanks for listen. If you have any feedback, be sure to drop us a note at theadventurepod@gmail.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Pakistani Officials Weigh in on Nanga Parbat Rescue Controversy

The rescue operation that took place on Nanga Parbat a few weeks back continues to be a source of frustration and controversy. While climbers from K2 were able to rescue Elisabeth Revol, they weren't able to climb higher to save Tomek Mackiewicz, which has created a contentious environment to say the least. Revol has expressed her anger over how slowly the operation came together, saying more than once that Tomek could have been saved had search and rescue teams responded more expediently. She has even said the company operating the helicopter raised the price of the flight in an effort to make more money off of the situation. While that remains under investigation, Pakistani officials have responded to criticism not just from Revol but the media as well, providing some insights into their side of the story.

In a post made to the Pakistan Mountain News page on Facebook officials made four points that they thought were important enough to share. Those points were as follows:
1. First, Pakistan is a developing economy and ‘Tourism’ sector receives much less attention. Despite, it has world’s best wonders. Neither there are institutions for high-demanding-skills rescue operation on mountain nor has it modern resource and equipment.
2. Second, these mountaineers go on Nanga Parbat at very economical package. Such economical packages do not cover many essentials. It is only their bravery and audacity that make them to summit in the winter.
3. Third, Askari Aviation does not have high-tech helicopters that can hover around in inclement weather condition. As it was coordinated rescue operation, nobody could help Tomek and Elisabeth in private capacity.
4. Lastly, Poland or French official authorities did not contact State of Pakistan officially after this rescue. However, Eisabeth was given utmost care and attention. The Chief Secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan enquired after her in hospital. She did not utter a word.

Winter Climbs 2018: Is it Almost Go Time on Everest?

Since our last update on the winter climbs there hasn't been a whole lot of progress, but the future schedule is starting to become a bit clearer. Meanwhile, over on K2, things remain contentious, with one member of the team clearly unhappy with the current situation.

We'll start in Nepal, where Alex Txikon and his team have been relaxing and waiting in Base Camp. Everyone seems to be in good spirits while they watch the weather forecasts for an opportunity to make a summit push. Currently there is a projected weather window that could come next week on February 20, which means that everyone could be on the move as early as tomorrow to get themselves into position for a dash to the summit. The weather models predict that the wind speeds will die down at last, granting access to the top.

Of course, Alex, Ali Sadpara, and the rest of the squad will carefully pour over the data to ensure that it is safe to make the ascent, otherwise they'll just end up wasting energy. But, if there is a chance that they could complete the climb, it seems like they are poised to do so. Remember, the Basque climber will be going up without the use of supplemental oxygen, so this winter climb is far from a sure thing.

Over on K2, the Polish Ice Warriors continue their work on the Abruzzi Route. According to reports, Denis Urubko has now been as high as 6500 meters (21,325 ft) before being forced back down due to poor weather. The team has shuttled gear up to their new campsites but are now forced to stay in Base Camp while they wait for their next opportunity, which coincidentally could come on February 20 as well.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Poles at the moment is team unity. Urubko continues to criticize his teammates, the group's leadership, and even their selection of a climbing route. As usual, he seems like the strongest climber in the group, and has been shouldering much of the work up high, but he also hasn't held back in his critique of how things are going either, taking shots at the other climbers for things like not properly hydrating or assisting with the fixing of ropes. This discord can't be good for morale and could eventually lead to issues between the men. On the other hand, Urubko might be the team's best chance for getting to the summit, so it is a fine line to walk for sure.

We'll continue to keep an eye on things to see how they develop. Right now, the weather is keeping everyone in place, but it seems we're on the verge of summit bids on Everest, and possibly K2 as well. There are still four more weeks of winter to go however, so there is time for both teams to be patient and wait for the right opportunity.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Video: The Sweeping, Breathtaking Landscapes of Mongolia

It is difficult to put into words just how utterly beautiful the country of Mongolia actually is. Thankfully, I don't have to because this video does the job for me. Shot this past fall using a drone, it captures the breathtaking vistas that are found throughout this amazing country that I was lucky enough to visit a couple of years back. This serves as a great reminder of how wild and open this place truly is, making me want to return to experience it again. If you haven't gone yourself, Mongolia definitely needs to be on your bucket list, and this clip will show you why.

MONGOLIA - Cinematic Drone Film (4k) from Michael Roberts on Vimeo.

Video: Wild and Wonderful Climbing in West Virginia

This wonderful little film takes us to West Virginia to learn the story of PsicoRoc 2016, a deep water soloing competition that almost didn't take place. The event was held on Summersville Lake, which had been shut down to climbing back 2007 due to accidents unrelated to the sport. But, a persistent group of people thought it was a great place to organize an event and get it off the ground, leading to a one-day permit to host the competition. This is there story and its a good one.

Volvo Ocean Racing Team Finds Abandoned Ship on Stage 6 of the Race

In October of last year I shared the unbelievable story of two women who were adrift at sea for five months before finally being rescued by a fishing ship from Taiwan. Their initial plan was to sail from Hawaii to Tahiti, but a series of poor decisions and bad luck left them stranded. When they were finally rescued, their 50-foot ship, the Sea Nymph, was abandoned at sea and its fate was unknown. Now, the ship has been spotted once again, this time by competitors taking part in the Volvo Ocean Race.

The ships taking part in the race are now heading south to Auckland, New Zealand as they compete in the sixth leg of the event. But yesterday, Team Turn the Tide on Plastic spotted a ship drifting in the ocean without any signs of life whatsoever. The vessel didn't respond on radio and appeared to be dead in the water, so the team contacted Race Control which confirmed that there were no search and rescue operations underway in the area.

Not wanting to pass by without rendering aid if necessary, the crew fired up a drone that is onboard and flew it over to inspect the vessel more closely. It turns out that it was indeed the Sea Nymph still floating on the ocean completely alone, but little worse for wear from when it was abounded.

Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari says they discussed salvage rights for the ship and momentarily considered towing it along with them to Aukland, but decided it probably wasn't all that feasible. So, the Sea Nymph is still adrift, creating a hazard to other vessels in the area. In other words, if you're in the market for a 50-foot yacht, it is out there waiting for you to claim it.

The video below provides more context and footage. This is definitely an interesting side note to the story from last fall and just another day on the job for the Volvo Ocean Racing teams.


25 Places to See Before They are Gone

There is little doubt that climate change, economic upheaval, continued industrial and commercial development, and other factors are leaving an indelible mark on our planet. Things are changing, and if reports are to be believed, they are changing at a faster rate than we once thought. That means in the decades to come the world around us will start to look very different and some of the places that we cherish now might not be around in the future. To that end, the team at Men's Journal has put together a list of the 25 places you should see before they disappear.

This list features a number of iconic and well known places, some of which are located on or near water, where rising sea levels will potentially reclaim them or alter our access. For instance, one such place is the Dry Tortugas off the coast of the Florida Keys. This 19th century fort located there is expected to be battered by increasing storms, stronger tides, and rising sea levels, putting the entire place at risk. The masonry that was put in place at the fortress was never intended to be submerged, yet rising water has already begun to encroach on its walls.

Other locations that earn a dubious spot on this list include the Dead Sea, which is shrinking in size dramatically, and the Alaskan Tundra, which is being altered by changing weather patterns which see the ice that typically covers it melt at a faster rate, altering the ecosystem there. Other places at risk include the Great Blue Hole in Belize, Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Each of the entires on the list includes an explanation as to why it appears there, outlining the threats to these places. There are also suggestions on how to get to these places yourself to witness them first hand. Of course, that begs the question as to whether or not our travel is actually contributing to the demise of these locations, some of which are already quite frail.

Check out the entire list here.

Where Are the North Pole Skiers for 2018?

Typically about this time of year we begin to turn our attention north to the Arctic and the North Pole. Late February and early March are usually the time of year when skiers are preparing to set out on expeditions to the top of the world, a long and arduous journey that requires a great deal of strength, determination, and focus. But this season I have yet to hear of any expeditions undertaking such an excursion, which leaves me to wonder whether or not we have indeed seen the last of such ventures.

The Antarctic and Arctic expedition seasons use to be staples on the adventure calendar, with a few intrepid explorers setting off in both directions each year. But while the Antarctic has probably seen increased numbers of skiers in recent years, the Arctic has seen its numbers dwindle, and for good reason. Skiing to the South Pole remains a great challenge, although it is manageable for anyone who prepares properly, has the right gear, and doesn't mind spending a month and a half out on the ice.

Going to the North Pole is a completely different beast though, with much bigger challenges to overcome. Since skiers are actually traveling over a frozen ocean, there is a measure of instability involved that often leads to massive rubble fields that can take days to cross. Climate change has also caused the ice to thin, and created wide sections of open water as well. What was once frozen pack ice is now liquid, forcing skiers to go around or swim across instead.

Because of these changes, we haven't seen a successful full distance expedition to the North Pole since 2014, when Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters completed that journey. Over the course of the ensuing years, a number of people have tried, but most have had to give up very early in the expedition. Massive storms have become the norm this time of year, bringing fierce winds and frigid temperatures to the Arctic. Worse yet, those conditions have made it difficult for aircraft to operate in this part of the world, which forced Kenn Borek Air – a company whose motto is "anytime, anywhere" – to stop supporting expeditions to the North Pole.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Video: Urban Mountain Bike Racing in Valparaíso, Chile

The 2018 edition of the Red Bull Valparaíso Urban Mountain Bike Race took place this past weekend, and as usual it was quite a show. In this video, we climb aboard a bike with winner Tomáš Slavik to watch him jump steps, ride banks, and avoid pedestrians on his high-speed run through the city center. This is a completely different style of mountain bike racing that is crazy for all kinds of different reasons. After watching this, I'd much rather be on a trail than trying to navigate these urban obstacles. As usual, it is a wild ride from start to finish.

Video: The Eerie Sounds of Skating on Thin Ice

We've all heard the expression "skating on thin ice" before, but this video takes things to the next level. In fact, it literally shows a skater traveling across a frozen lake near Stockholm, while a microphone picks up the eerie – and often scary – sounds that the ice makes beneath him as he goes. The thinner ice actually turns out to be the smoothest, but the nosies it makes is enough to give anyone pause.

Video: How to Run 100 Miles

For most people, the thought of running a hundred miles sounds absolutely ludicrous. For others of us, it is something we'd love to aspire to. This video is for the second group of people. It features Brendan Leonard of Semi-Rad fame as he prepares for, and eventually takes part in, the 102.9-mile (165 km) Run Rabbit Run ultra in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. For anyone who has ever dreamed of becoming an ultra-runner, this video is both eye opening and inspiring at the same time.

Popular Mechanics Tells Us How to Get Started in Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is one of those sports that looks like its a lot of fun but can be rather intimidating on how to get started. After all, these rock jocks use terms that sound foreign, have a whole bunch of gear that only makes sense to them, and can manage to make things look effortless at times. So how does someone who has never climbed before ever hope to join their ranks? Fortunately, Popular Mechanics is here to help us sort it all out.

An article posted on the Pop Mech website breaks down what it takes to begin rock climbing. It discusses the various styles of climbing ranging from bouldering, sport, and trad, to options for climbing indoors at the gym. It also tells us exactly what gear we need to buy, and even explains the various rating systems (Yosemite Decimal and V-Scale) that are used to describe how difficult a climbing route (aka a problem) truly is.

Of course, once you've sorted all this out, there is no substitute for simply going out and starting to climb, which is how the story wraps things up. It talks about heading to the gym or crag and just going for it, starting at the bottom and working your way up to the top – or at least as far as you can go at first. It also talks about potentially the scariest part of all, getting back down.

For beginners this is a good guide on how to get started. It doesn't overwhelm readers with a ton of details, but instead offers just enough to encourage them to get going. It helps them sort out the most basic questions that they'll need to begin and then sends them off to actually do it. It doesn't get much simpler than that. In other words, you can't try if you don't ever start and you'll gain experience by doing. That is, after all, the best way to learn just about any new outdoor activity.

Read the whole story here.

What it Takes to Start a New Guide Service on Everest

If you follow the climbing season on Everest, you probably know most of the companies that guide there by name. Himalayan Experience, International Mountain Guides, Altitude Junkies, and others are practically household names within the mountaineering community. It can be extremely challenging for a new company to break into that world where the risks on the mountain equal those of starting a new business. But this year, a operator will launch in the Himalaya and Alan Arnette recently had the chance to find out just what it takes to start a new guide service on Everest.

The new company is called Climbing the Seven Summits, and as its name indicates, it will help clients climb the tallest peaks in the world. In its inaugural year, CTSS will offer expeditions to Denali, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Vinson, Cho Oyu, and of course Everest. This new operator was founded by professional mountain guide Mike Hamill, who has been a lead guide for IMG for years, heading up their private 1-on-1 expeditions. Now, he's decided to try his hand at running his own company.

In the interview he discusses why he made that decision, the logistics of launching a new guide service, and the challenges that lie ahead for CTSS. He also shares information about his background, how he got started in the business, and how he found time to write a book dedicated to climbing the Seven Summit. Mike also shares stories of the company's first expedition, talks about the competition that all operators face on the Seven Summits, and what it is like to be a guide, launch a new business, and be newly married at the same time. He even tells us which of the Seven are his favorite.

The interview is a good one not just to hear Mike's personal story but for insights into the challenging business of leading clients up big mountains all over the world. At a time when the big operators are seeing increased pressure from smaller, low-budget companies in the Himalaya, it can be a risky proposition to launch a new venture such as this one. But Hamill's reputation is stellar and he is positioning his company to be the authority on climbing the highest peaks on all the continents.

We wish him the best of luck. Hopefully we'll be hearing about CTSS for many years to come.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Video: A Drone's Eye View of Victoria Falls

Located along the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is one of the largest and most impressive waterfalls on the planet. In fact, the local tribes called it "The Smoke that Thunders" for its roaring noise and heavy mists. In this clip, we'll travel to this iconic African destination to witness this sight for ourselves, capturing some impressive shots of the falls from above.

Video: How to Ski Powder

After providing a series of excellent short videos on how to care for our outdoor gear, REI returns with a new clip that offers tips on skiing soft powder. You would think that this wouldn't necessarily be all that tough, but the change in conditions can be hard to shift to if you don't have much experience in fresh snow. This video will offer some suggestions on how to handle the change. It doesn't offer much advice on where to find said powder this year, as it has been in short supply in some areas.

Indie Rock Band The Mother Hips Want Your Adventure Videos

Photo by Jay Blakesberg
Do you have a great photo or video from your outdoor adventures that you'd love to see immortalized forever? If so, I have just the opportunity for you.

Indie rock band The Mother Hips is creating a music video for their new single "It's Alright," and they're asking for help from the outdoor community. The members of the band just so happen to be avid outdoor adventurers themselves, and they're looking to collect awesome photos and clips from our adventures to include in the video.

In an article posted to The Mother Hips website, the band had this to say:
"Be part of the next music video! We'd like to use videos and photos of YOUR adventures - whether it be hiking, climbing, kayaking, skiing, surfing, etc in our next music video! A lot of you have started families of your own along the journey and as a result we have a new generation of young Hips fans out there! If you have any footage of your kiddos rocking out at a Hips' show, or even to a Hips' record, we'd love to see that too! Post your files to our community dropbox to be included. Deadline for submissions is February 23rd at midnight PT."
To help facilitate the process, the band has set up a webpage with more information that also provides access to their Dropbox folder where the photos and videos can be stored. If you have some awesome shots you'd like to see included, send them to the Hips. Who knows, they may love those images as well and include them in the video.

"It's Alright" is part of the band's next album, which is entitled Chorus and is scheduled for release on  June 8 of this year. Obviously they're collecting our videos and photos now in order to have the music video ready for release at the same time.

For more information visit themotherhips.com.

Endurance Athlete Completes Circumnavigation and Summit of Aconcagua in Single Push

Mountain runner Sunny Stroeer is up to her old tricks again. You'll recall, she's the endurance athlete who set a new speed record on Aconcagua last February and then followed it up with another speed record on the Annapurna Circuit this past fall. Now, she's gone back to Argentina once again, and has managed to pull off yet another impressive feat on the tallest mountain in South America.

Last week, Stroeer became the first woman to not only circumnavigate Aconcagua on foot, but then also proceed straight up to its 22,841-foot (6961-meter) summit in a single push. And if that doesn't sound hard enough, she also accomplished this impressive feat completely solo.

Dubbed the "Full 360," this test of endurance has only been accomplished once before. It took Stroeer 47 hours and 30 minutes to complete the 64-mile (103 km) loop, with the clock starting to tick as soon as she stepped out of her hotel room.

Stroeer tells National Geographic that she had no intention of attempting the Full 360 when she traveled to South America back in December. Her original plan was to lead a team of female climbers up Aconcagua, then have a go at a different speed record. But when her climbing partner pulled out of that attempt, she went looking for other projects, eventually settling on this one. She ended up training for about a month before setting out on the trail.

As you can imagine, the summit push on Aconcagua proved to be the toughest part of the expedition. Stroeer says she arrived at Camp 3 on the mountain – located at 19,300 feet (5882 meters) after running for 24 hours straight. She had stashed some supplies there, including clean ice to use as drinking water, only to discover that someone had stolen it. With very little water in her pack, she set out for the summit anyway, facing dehydration on the way up. She says she nearly turned around at least six times, but eventually was able to push through.

This is just the tip of the story though. To find out more, read the full interview with Nat Geo, where Sunny even provides some insights into what might come next for her. Those projects include a potential speed record attempt on the Hayduke Trail and possibly a solo expedition to the South Pole.

Winter Climbs 2018: Poles Make a Change on K2, Summit in Siberia

While it has only been a couple of days since I posted my last update on the major winter expeditions that we've been following so far this year. There has been a steady stream of news over the weekend that makes it worth of yet another update. Things are happening quickly right now, and the fate of these climbs is hanging in the balance.

On K2, the Polish Ice Warriors team has made the jump from the Česen Route over to the Abruzzi after yet another climber suffered an injury, this time serious enough to send him home. Last week, you'll recall, Adam Bielecki was struck by a falling rock, breaking his nose and opening a cut that required six stitches to heal. Over the weekend, Rafael Fronia also was hit be a falling rock, this time breaking his arm. This was enough of an injury to send him packing for home, and convince the team to switch to what they hope will be a safer route.

While conditions have been cold and windy on K2, there hasn't been a lot of snowfall, making rockslides much more common. Frozen snow and ice helps to keep that kind of debris in place, but a lack of it has created unsafe conditions. The hope is that the longer, less-steep climb up the Abruzzi will help mitigate some of these issues.

Meanwhile, the team has had some internal problems it seems as well. Denis Urubko posted some blistering thoughts about the progress so far, blasting his teammates to a degree. Urubko took umbrage with the fact that he was the only one installing ropes at higher altitude, and was critical of the other climbers for not staying hydrated and using their cooking stoves inside tents that aren't ventilated properly. Are these messages signs of discontent amongst the group or just his frustration on the lack of progress thus far? We'll have to wait to see, but perhaps the change of route will be good for morale all around.

Over on Everest, the Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara, and the rest of the team continue to wait out the winds. Conditions high on the mountain are expected to improve early this week and they are tentatively planning a summit push once the forecast indicates better weather. For now though, there isn't much to do but rest, watch the skies, and prepare for the work yet to come. With 5 weeks of winter still on the calendar, they can afford to be patient.

Finally, there is new of a successful summit in Siberia. Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger have reached the top of Pik Pobeda, a remote mountain located in the Chersky Range. The peak is just 3003 meters (9852 ft) in height, but it is located an a bitterly cold location. Last week, prior to launching their summit bid, temperatures were hovering around -40ºC/F, with winds making it feel even colder than that. Despite those conditions however, the duo were able to top out over the weekend, logging the first winter ascent of this mountain.

That's all for now. More updates soon.