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Adventure in 60 Seconds: Last Week in Exploration

Text by Tetsuhiko Endo

MOUNTAINS

It was a busy week in the Himalaya last week, where, despite strong winds and bad weather on numerous peaks, determined climbers summitted on Everest, Lhotse, Kangchenjunga and a host of other mountains.

In an often male-dominated world, it was the women who stole the show. Edurne Pasabán is finally safe and resting back in Camp 3 on Kangchenjunga after a nearly 72-hour descent that is being compared to her 2004 summit of K2, in which she lost two toes to frostbite. Check out the video of her reaching the summit and the emotional return to Camp 3 at the website for her television show Al Filo de lo Imposible.

Pasabán wasn’t the only woman on Kangchenjunga. Polish climber Kinga Baranowska also stood on the peak, or at least a meter from it out of respect for the gods, as is the custom when climbing in the Himalaya. “It was the hardest climb of my life!” she told Explorersweb.com. Unfortunately, the ascent proved too much for Romano Benet, the husband and climbing partner of Nives Meroi, who decided to abort her try for the top so as not to put him in danger of developing HAPE.

As Meroi was falling behind in the race to become the first woman to summit all 14 8,000-meter peaks, Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner was over on Lhotse shouting “Gipfel erreicht!” (translation: "Summit reached!") and in doing so, drawing even with Pasabán. Congratulations to both of those women, and our thoughts go out to Pasabán, who is flying back to Spain today.

It’s never boring in the Himalaya, and no place less so than the circus on Everest. So many teams have summitted during the last week that one gets the impression that they are in danger of crowding each other off the fixed ropes. Our other favorite lady, Melissa Arnot, who, you will recall, was kept off the summit with the first half of the First Ascent team due to a stomach bug, summited on the 23rd with Dave Hahn's team (watch a video). For the entire list of Everest summiters, check out explorersweb.com.

SPACE

Those crazy kids on Everest might be pretty high in the sky, but they’ve got nothing on the astronauts who finished repairing the Hubble telescope this week. “Not everything went as we planned, but, pulling together, we've been able to do some incredible things," mission commander Scott Altman said. According to the BBC, the team employed a lot of improvisations, as well as healthy dollops of elbow grease. But after 166 combined hours of work, the Hubble is ready for action and should go back online by the end of the summer. If all goes according to plan, we will be enjoying the beautiful and informative images is captures for another five years.

OCEANS

Elbow grease is another common ingredient for those endeavoring to row across the Indian Ocean. The last few days have not been kind, with high seas hampering the progress of the galley-folk in the Indian Ocean Rowing Race.The latest victim (in a race that has barely gone a week without losing a boat) was team Southern Cross, who capsized this morning, but managed to right themselves and are now back on their merry way. Follow the carnage on the race website.

Sarah Outen, who is attempting to become the first woman to row solo across the Indian Ocean, is also feeling the effects of that weather as she is just popping her heard out of her cabin for the first time in 40 hours. Now she has to make up all that ground she lost in the storm. Get rowing, Sarah, it’s going to be a long weekend.

Roz Savage, in her bid to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific, set out last night on the second stage of her journey, some 2,600 miles from Hawaii to Tuvalu, Polynesia.