Text by Tetsuhiko Endo
Pakistan is a savage place to climb in more ways than one. This year, both weather and the Taliban are complicating life for climbers hoping to summit on the high mountains in the Karakorams, reports explorersweb.com. In the face of growing attacks by Taliban insurgence, fewer teams are climbing in Pakistan this year and those foregoing the drive from Islamabad to Skardu (the main climbers outpost in the Karakoram) are in favor of flying. The only problem is that there is only one flight to Skardu a day and the seats are hotly contested. Between road blocks and bomb attacks in Islamabad (mounteverest.net), you can bet the teams spend most of their days waiting in the airport.
According to their blog, some of the guys in the Field Touring Alpine Broad Peak/K2 expedition have pulled their golden (plane) tickets and are elated to land in Skardu (fieldtouring.com). Fabrizio Zangrilli is still in Islamabad sorting out logistics, but will join tem soon. Check out their blog for regular updates.
Meanwhile, away from the gunfire and rocket-powered grenades, a different kind of danger is pelting down on the French team of Eli Revol, Antoine Girard, and Ludovic Giambasi, who are stuck between Camp 2 and Camp 3, due to heaving snow. They’ve been on the mountain for a few weeks now without getting a good weather window, but despite the wind and snow, remain in good spirits. If you read French, check out Eli’s blog, otherwise, follow them on explorersweb.com.
Speaking of danger, the climbing community was reminded last this past week jus how deadly the Himalaya can be, even with most of the climbers off the mountains. With the last attempt at Everest by Gabriel Fillipi aborted on the 8th, it was expected that the news would slow until next year. However, the mountains quickly claimed three more lives in quick succession. First, Dutchman Dennis Verhoeve fell to his death on Cho Oyu (mounteverest.net). Then, Australian Mick Parker, who had summitted Makalu was found dead in Kathmandu, apparently from the lingering effects of HAPE mixed with alcohol. Finally, American Wade Johnson was killed in an avalanche on China’s E Gongga (mounteverest.net).
The seas is often just as dangerous as the mountains, and no one in the world understands this better at this point in time than the people competing in the Indian Ocean Rowing Race. This weeks, the only solo rower still floating retired leaving just five boats in contention. Some of them aren't doing so great, either (indianoceanrowingrace09.com).
- Nat Geo Expeditions
She might be in the same ocean, but Sarah Outen isn’t worried. Despite strong winds blowing her off course, Outen is calm and collected and blogging away in her small cabin. The wind will change soon and when it does, Ms. Outen will be back on those oars.
While Outen relaxes, there is no rest for the weary on Mt. Mabu in Northen Mozambique where the first herpatologist to ever visit the area, Bill Branch, is hunting chameleons by night. Of the seven species branch has caught so far, only one is NOT new to science, reports the BBC.