Friday, March 27, 2015

Video: Beautiful Iceland in Timelapse

We'll close out the week with this amazing three-minute short film that captures the spectacular landscapes of Iceland in timelapse. The settings look simply amazing, and should inspire some outdoor adventures for all of us as we head into the weekend. Enjoy!

Iceland 4K - shot on Nikon D800 from Macgregor on Vimeo.

Video: 2600 Miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in 4 Minutes

When backpacker Andy Davidhazy set out to hike the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail he decided it would be a good idea to snap a selfie every mile of the hike. That added up to more than 2600 photos that notably mark his progress along the iconic route, but also showed his amazing physical transformation as well. The video below is a compilation of all of those photos, taking us along with Andy on the PCT end-to-end in just four minutes. It is a pretty impressive record of his accomplishment and definitely a fun way to document the journey.

Video: Building the Barneo Ice Camp

A few weeks back I wrote a post about the construction of the Barneo Ice Camp, a temporary base that is set up each spring at 89ºN on the Russian side of the Arctic to help facilitate travel to and from the North Pole. Apparently construction of this year's camp is still underway, but the video below – which comes our way courtesy of Quark Expeditions – gives us an idea of the effort that is made to build the camp to prep it for visitors each season. Those efforts include airdropping supplies out on the ice, and the first arrivals at the camp parachuting in to help build a runway large enough for big aircraft to land on it. It is a fascinating story about a place that only exists for a few short weeks each spring.

London2London Via The World Update: Sarah Arrives in New York City, Atlantic Ocean Lies Ahead

It has once again been far too long since we checked in on Sarah Outen, the British adventurer who has been making her way around the planet completely under her own power. Since my last update on her progress, she has completed a six-month long cycling journey across Canada and the U.S. – much of it in winter – and is now preparing for the final stage of her journey, a crossing of the Atlantic by rowboat.

You may recall that Sarah launched her London2London via the World expedition four years ago by first paddling down the River Thames in London, and then across the English Channel to France. From there, she then proceeded to ride her bike across Europe and Asia, encountering many interesting people and adventures along the way. Eventually she arrived in Japan where she intended to cross the North Pacific by rowboat. That was back in the summer of 2012, and soon after she embarked on that ocean crossing she encountered a nasty storm that damaged her boat, and sent her back to shore. Undaunted, Sarah returned a year later and rowed from Japan to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. Then, last year she kayaked through the islands to the Alaskan mainland, where she returned to her bike for a long ride across North America.

On March 15, Sarah rode her bike into New York City, essentially wrapping up the final cycling portion of her journey. She will eventually tack on another 400 miles (643 km) to the ride when she heads for Cape Cod in a few weeks, but for now she is enjoying some time in NYC, where she has been catching up with old friends, making new ones, and starting to prepare for the next stage of her grueling journey.

Himalaya Spring 2015: Expeditions to Watch

This weekend many climbers from across the globe will set out for Nepal at long last. Even though there has already been action in the Himalaya this spring, the season won't truly get underway until next week when the teams begin arriving in Kathmandu in droves. It'll take them some time to get out to their various Base Camps, but things are about to get very interesting in the big mountains.

To prepare us for the season ahead, Alan Arnette shared a post yesterday detailing some of the major expeditions to watch in the weeks ahead. Most of these climbs center around Everest of course, but several will focus on other major peaks too. Alan himself will leave shortly for Nepal as well, where he'll be attempting Lhotse this spring.

Among the climbs that Alan recommends keeping an eye on this year are an expedition to the rarely visited North-Northeast Ridge, where Canadian Raphael Slawinski will be joined by Germans David Goettler and Daniel Bartsch to attempt a new route without the use of Sherpas or supplemental oxygen. This side of the mountain has only been scaled one other time, but a Russian team back in 1996. The trio will be going up the ridge along a different path however.

Kilian Jornet's speed attempt on Everest will certainly get plenty of attention as well. His original plans were to make the attempt from the North Side, but Alan's report seems to indicate that is no longer the case. Considering the challenges and uncertainty that come with climbing in Tibet, and the fact that some operators switched sides and cancelled climbs on the North, perhaps Kilian has had to change up his plans as well. That will make things difficult for him, as the larger crowds on the South Side will certainly alter his approach.

Other interesting expeditions on the schedule an attempt to ski the Lhotse Coulair on Everest by Matt Moniz and Wilie Benegas. Alan says the coulair has never been fully skied before, and these two climbers will do it after summiting Everest. British climber Kenton Cool has ambitious plans for the weeks ahead as well. He'll first attempt to summit Everest – something he has done 11 times in the past – before moving on to Kangchenjunga and eventually K2. 23-year old Brit Rupert Jones-Warner will attempt to summit Everest from both the North and South Side, using a helicopter to travel between the two Base Camps on the respective sides of the mountain. Finally, German climbing legend Ralf Dujmovits is returning to Everest once again to attempt to summit without the use of bottled oxygen. Ralf has already climbed all 8000-meter peaks, but feels he has unfinished business on Everest after using O's to summit that peak.

That's the run-down of Alan's suggestions for climbs to watch this spring. Of course, I'm sure there will be plenty of other interesting expeditions to keep an eye on as well. The season is only about to get underway, so there should be plenty of action to come.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Video: The Moonriders of Zermatt

We seem to have a theme going with our videos today - mountain biking and Zermatt, Switzerland. In this beautiful short clip a pair of riders head out on fat tire bikes to ride in the mountains above Zermatt on an evening that is lit by a bright, full moon. The images they captured were spectacular, and it looks like an amazing time to go for a ride. For those that don't know, Zermatt is one of Europe's best outdoor playgrounds, with plenty of climbing, skiing, mountain biking, and other activities. I never would have thought to go riding there at night, but this looks amazing.

Moonriders from Christian Mülhauser on Vimeo.

Video: Things I Remember About Zermatt

The things that stay with us when we travel to a new place are often surprising. That's the premise behind this video, in which the filmmakers traveled to Zermatt, Switzerland for a mountain biking trip in the shadow of the Matterhorn. They wanted to highlight the amazing things they saw there, and the elements of Zermatt that stood out the most. This beautiful video is the result.

Things I Remember from Zermatt from Filme von Draussen on Vimeo.

Video: Danny MacAskill's Solar Eclipse Ride

For last week's total solar eclipse in Europe famed mountain bike rider Danny MacAskill traveled to his homeland on the Isle of Skye in Scotland to take his bike for a spin just as the moon was covering the sun. The video below chronicles that journey – and that ride – in epic fashion, wish some amazing shots of the island, as well as Danny's usual escapades on the trails there. If you've seen any of his other mountain biking films, you know what to expect here, and as usual Danny delivers in spades.

Trail Run Takes Athletes Around Kilimanjaro on Foot

National Geographic Adventure has posted an interesting article about the Kilimanjaro Stage Run, an 11-day epic trail running event that circumnavigates the famous African mountain. This non-competitive event is undertaken by runners from around the world each year as a challenging adventure that gives them a different perspective on the mountain and the people that live at its base.

The run is the brainchild of Simon Mtuy, a Tanzanian who has earned world-wide respect for his trail running skills. Back in 2006 Simon set a record for running to the summit of the mountain, reaching the top in just 9 hours and 21 minutes. That record was broken in 2013 when Simon helped Kilian Jornet beat his mark. Jornet managed to make the trip just 7 hours and 14 minutes. The current record, held by Ecuadorian mountain runner Karl Egloff stands at 6 hours, 56 minutes, and 24 seconds by the way. To put that in perspective, on my recent climb up Kili, we spent the better part of seven days reaching the summit.

But they Kilimanjaro Stage Run isn't about speed or setting records. Instead, it covers 260 km (161.5 miles) over 11 days as participants travel completely around the base of the iconic mountain. The runners stay on dirt tails and footpaths the entire way, at altitudes that range from 1400-2000 meters (4593-6561 ft). They pass through dense rainforests, pass beautiful waterfalls, and immerse themselves into Tanzanian culture in small villages along the way. All the while, the snowcapped peak of Kili looms tall overhead.

The Nat Geo article gives readers a good indication of what the run is all about, and provides excellent insights into the experience for intrepid trail runners who are considering attempting the run themselves. You can also check out the fantastic short film called Mountain of Greatness, which you'll find below. It follows a team of runners who completed the KSR back in 2012, and gives viewers an even better sense of what it is like out on the trail.

The 2015 edition of the Kilimanjaro Stage Race is set to take place from October 17-27 of this year. If you're interested in running it, you can find out more here. Sign up and get busy training. There is still plenty of time to prepare.


Mountain of Greatness from Andrew King on Vimeo.

Himalaya Spring 2015: More On Annapurna Tragedy

Yesterday we received the unfortunate news that two climbers had perished on Annapurna. Finnish climber Samuli Mansikka and local guide Pemba Sherpa lost their lives on the descent of the mountain after successfully reaching the summit on Tuesday. At the time that the story broke there was little more information than that, and the exact cause of their deaths was as yet unknown. The details remain scant today as well, but some of the story is starting to become clearer.

Samuli and Pemba were on Annapurna as part of the Dreamers Destination team. They arrived on the mountain early in the season in an attempt to summit before the spring snows change the complexion of the mountain. Their plan for an early summit paid off, and 13 members of the squad reached the top a few days back.

But apparently the team was slow in descending, and according to reports they ended up not returning to Camp 4 after their summit, and instead bivouacked at 7400 meters (24,278 ft). While they were stranded high on the mountain, something happened to Samuli and Pemba. The reportedly went missing for a time at 7100 meters (23,293 ft), and the rest of the squad wasn't sure where they were located. Their bodies were later discovered at 7000 meters (22,965 ft), but the cause of their death is either unknown, for has yet to be revealed.

The rest of the Dreamers Destination squad has been slowly making its way back down the mountain. Reportedly they are all both mentally and physically exhausted from their climb, and the ordeal that followed shortly there after. The squad is expected back in Base Camp tomorrow, after reaching Camp 1 today. Hopefully there will be no further problems as they descend, as many accidents occur when climbers are extremely tired.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Video: Reinhold Messner Talks Mountaineering, Adventure, and More

Reinhold Messner is a true legend in mountaineering. He is the first man to climb all 14 8000-meter peaks, and he pioneered the idea of climbing without the use of supplemental oxygen. As you can imagine, he has seen and done a lot of amazing things throughout his career. In the video below, he shares his thoughts on a number of topics, and offers some advice to young climbers today. If you're not familiar with Messner, this video is a great introduction. If you already know all about him, it is a good reminder of the impact that he has had on mountaineering. Great stuff as always from National Geographic.

Video: Riding the Tour of the Dragon in Bhutan

Bhutan is home to many things, including towering mountains, impossibly deep canyons, and amazing Buddhist temples. It is also home to the Tour of the Dragon, a one-day mountain biking race that covers 268 km (166.5 miles) between Bumthang and the capital city of Thimphu, crossing over four mountain passes in the process. The video below gives us a taste of what that race is all about, with stunning footage of landscapes of Bhutan serving as a backdrop. If there are any riders out there looking for a new challenge for 2015, this could well be it. The next Tour of the Dragon is scheduled for September 5, so get training.

Gear Closet: Rocky S2V Substratum Direct Attach Hiking Boots

Recently I've had the distinct pleasure of putting some of the fantastic gear from Rocky S2V through it's paces. I carried both the Provision Jacket and Provision Pants with me to Kilimanjaro, and if you've read my reviews of those two products, you already know that they proved invaluable in keeping me warm and dry on Summit Day. I've also been testing Rocky's Substratum Direct Attach hiking boot as well, and have once again come away incredibly impressed with the level of design, comfort, and attention to detail that has been put into this product. This is a boot that will see you through many adventures – in incredibly poor conditions – and continue to keep you moving all the while.

I will say that while I was very excited to receive the Substratum Direct boots as part of my pre-Kilimanjaro care package from the good folks at Rocky S2V, they did not accompany on my journey to Africa. As I wore them prior to departure, I realized two things. First, they needed to be properly broken in before I could scale a mountain in them, and secondly they are incredibly warm, which would have been great on the summit push, but not so useful on the lower portions of Kili where you're hiking through muggy rainforests. For those reasons, I chose to leave them at home and carry a pair of boots that were more suitable for all of the climate zones on Kilimanjaro instead.

That said, it should be noted that these boots are actually fairly easy to break-in, I simply didn't have the time to do so before leaving for my climb. But upon return, I have been wearing them regularly, and it has taken very little time at all to get them completely broken in. They were already very comfortable straight out of the box, but the flexibility wasn't quite where I wanted it at first. But it didn't take long at all for the boots to loosen up, and feel more natural on my feet.

Himalaya Spring 2015: Two Climbers Perish on Annapurna Following Successful Summit

There is sad news from the Himalaya today where we have received word that two climbers have perished on Annapurna following successful summits yesterday. Details of what exactly happened remain scarce at this time, but it seems that Finnish climber Samuli Mansikka and Pemba Sherpa both died while descending the mountain earlier. They are the first two casualties of the Spring climbing season in Nepal, where most other mountaineers are only just starting to arrive in Kathmandu.

As reported yesterday, Samuli and Pemba were part of the Dreamers Destinations team that topped out on Annapurna. The squad managed to put 13 climbers on the summit amidst good, early spring weather. It seems likely that following their successful summit bid the team returned to Camp 4 and rested there overnight before attempting to descend back to Base Camp today. Apparently an accident  must have occurred on that descent, claiming the lives of both climbers. What that accident was remains a mystery, but Annapurna is notorious for having frequent and deadly avalanches.

According to the article linked to above, the teammates of the two fallen climbers are hoping to retrieve their bodies from the mountain. Rescue helicopters have also been sent to assist in that process. The two men lost their lives at roughly 7000 meters (22,290 ft), so that process will not be an easy one.

This is a sad start to the climbing season which remains on the brink of actually starting. As mentioned, most climbers are only now preparing to set out for the Himalaya, with most not arriving in Nepal until next week. But the Dreamers Destinations team – amongst others – arrived on Annapurna early in an attempt to climb the mountain before it gets more dangerous later in the spring. At this point, the mountain is mostly still frozen following the long winter, and the heavy snows that come later have not started yet. Their plans for summiting early seemed to have worked brilliantly, although this accident will cast a long shadow over Annapurna, a mountain that is considered to be one of the deadliest in the world.

My condolences go out to the friends and family of Samuli and Pemba in their time of need.

Adventure Television Casting News - Animal Planet and Survivorman

Have you always wanted to be a reality television star? If so, than I have a couple of casting opportunities for you that just might be your big break.

First, Animal Planet is looking for expedition leaders to travel Greenland to be a part of their show Ice Cold Gold. The program follows a mining company as it travels to remote areas of globe in search of valuable metals and minerals. This year, that quest is taking them to parts of Greenland that have seldom been visited by outsiders before, where they'll race to complete their job before the harsh Arctic winter sets in, covering the landscape in snow and ice once again.

If you think you might be qualified, send an email that includes a photo and a brief description of yourself, as well as some info on your expedition experience,  to lauren@metalflowersmedia.com. You can also find a bit more of a description in this posting at ExWeb.

The second opportunity is one that I'm sure will appeal to a number of readers will be interested in. Reality television legend Les Stroud is preparing to film new episodes of his show Survivorman and he's looking to take one lucky viewer with him out into the field. For those who haven't seen this show (have you been living under a rock?), Les is dropped off in a remote region of the world – usually completely alone – and he must survive in that environment while making his way to safety.

But for an upcoming special episode Les wants to take someone along with him on his adventure, and he is accepting applications to do just that here. Applicants will need to fill out the online form and submit a 5-10 minute long video explaining why they are the right person to accompany him out into the wild. The submission deadline is April 1, which is a week from today, so you better get going. Les explains more in the video below.

Good luck to anyone who applies for either of these opportunities. They could certainly lead to some interesting adventures.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Video: South America by Drone

Adam Humphrey, the filmmaker behind this beautiful short film, spent five weeks backpacking through South America, covering more than 19,000 km (11,800 miles) in the process. Along the way, he shot some amazing video – with the help of a drone – in Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, and Peru. The results speak for themselves, as viewers are treated to fantastic shots of some of the most stunning landscapes on the continent, if not the world.

South America by drone from Adam Humphrey on Vimeo.

Video: Climbing Manaslu - Part 1

High altitude mountaineer and RMI guide Alex Barber is currently in Nepal and preparing for a solo summit attempt of Annapurna this spring without the use of supplemental oxygen. But last fall, he made a similar expedition to Manaslu, the 8163 meter (26,781 ft) peak located in the Mansiri Himal district in Nepal. This video shares the first part of that expedition, giving us a glimpse of Alex's trek to Base Camp, the team's puja ceremony, and the early stages of the climb as he acclimatizes on the mountain. It is a good look at a major expedition to the Himalaya, and if feedback is good, I'll share the second part of the climb tomorrow.

Manaslu - Part 1 from Alex Barber on Vimeo.

Video: Total Solar Eclipse from Spitsbergen, Norway

Yesterday we had a fun little video of a snowboarder enjoying some time in the backcountry of Norway while the total solar eclipse occurred last week. Today, we get a wonderful timelapse video of that phenomenon that was shot above the Arctic Circle in that same country in Spitsbergen region. This short clip – less than two minutes in length – gives us a wonderful view of the eclipse in a fantastic setting. Enjoy!

Total Solar Eclipse, March 20, 2015 - Spitsbergen, Arctic from Witek Kaszkin on Vimeo.

Endurance Athlete is Running from Vancouver to Buenos Aires

As a daily runner, I pride myself in slipping on my running shoes each and every day, and heading outside to put in a few miles no matter what the weather. But my running addiction is nothing compared to that of Jaime Ramsay, a British adventurer who is currently attempting to travel from Vancouver, Canada to Buenos Aires, Argentina on foot. That's a distance of more than 18,000 km (11,185 miles), of which he has already completed 6500 km (4038 miles).

Jaime has broken this epic running journey down into three stages. The first stage began in Vancouver and consisted of him running down the Pacific Coast of the U.S. That section of the run covered a total distance of 2700 km (1677 miles) before ending in the Mexican town of Tijuana. He completed that stage last fall, and immediately moved onto the second, which is a more challenging and dangerous excursion across Mexico and Central America that will eventually end in Panama City. covering some 6400 km (3976 miles) in the process. As I write this, Jaime is in the midst of that second stage, having reached Guatemala a few days back.

The next stage of the expedition will be even more difficult and dangerous. After he reaches Panama, Jaime will face the extremely remote and wild region known as The Darien Gap. This 100 km (62 mile) stretch of his run will cross through dense rainforest populated by drug runners, guerrilla fighters, dangerous animals, and incredibly difficult terrain. How exactly he'll navigate through this part of the world remains to be seen. Even he says he'll have to determine the best route once he arrives. But needless to say, it will be one of the more trying parts of the entire expedition as he passes through a place that is amongst the most dangerous in the world.

Himalaya Spring 2015: Early Season Summits on Annapurna

With spring just a few days old, and most climbers still preparing to set out for the Himalaya, one team has already completes the first expedition of the season on one of the most difficult mountains in the entire world. According to Explorers Web, the Dreamers Destination team has reached the summit on Annapurna, and in the process introduced a new strategy for success on that mountain.

As I wrote yesterday, the team first arrived on Annapurna in early March and have spent the past few weeks acclimatizing to the altitude while fixing ropes and establishing their camps. That early season work paid off as the entire squad reached Camp 4 yesterday, putting them in position to continue to the summit today.

Earlier, the Dreamers Destination website was updated with the following post announcing the success of the team:
"Congratulations to the team of Dreamers Destination Annapurna Expedition team 2015 for conquering Mt. Annapurna which is most difficult mountain of all. Seven Clients and 6 Sherpa have made to summit recently."
Knowing that, we can assume that amongst the summiteers were Sherpa leaders Mingma G. Sherpa, Anggeli Sherpa, and four other members of the Sherpa team. Additionally, the seven clients include Finnish climber Samuli Mansikka, Iranian Reza Shahlaee, Turkish-American Muharrek Aydin Imrak and Macedonian Zdravko Dejanovic. The other three members of the squad are from China.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Video: Wondrous Timelapse From South America

Shot in Chile and Bolivia, this beautiful video captures timelapse footage from the amazing landscapes that can be found in those two countries. You'll see everything from sun-soaked deserts to rocky canyons to snowcapped peaks, with a lot in between. It is a wonderful short journey through a part of the world that I personally enjoy immensely. After watching this clip I think you'll understand why.

Wondrous Timelapse from VDOLAB on Vimeo.

Video: Snowboarding in a Total Solar Eclipse

As I'm sure many of you know, last Friday a total solar eclipse occurred over Europe, bringing some unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for those who had the opportunity to witness it. In this video, one adventurous person trekked out into a remote region of Svalbard in Norway to capture the eclipse on video and then snowboard down a mountain while it was still taking place. His excitement over what he is seeing is endearing to say the least, and the landscape that he chose to shoot his video in is spectacular. This is a great example of someone taking advantage of the moment and creating a wonderful adventure for himself. One that he'll remember throughout his lifetime.

Solar Eclipse Svalbard from stian aadland on Vimeo.

Video: Hooké Ungava - An Expedition to No Man's Land

It isn't often that I post about a fly fishing, but for this video I'll make an exception. It is a short trailer for a longer documentary that follows a group of four friends who travel to a remote region of Quebec and Labrador to go fishing for Atlantic salmon and northern char. What makes this such an exceptional film is the location for sure. The landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful, and seldom visited by outsiders. Just getting to their fishing spot was an adventure, but seeing the places where they dropped their lines is enough for me to want to watch the full documentary. This is a remote, isolated, and nearly uninhabited place where it seems adventure abounds around every corner. Simply beautiful.

Hooké Ungava : An Expedition to No Man’s Land from HOOKÉ on Vimeo.

New Gear Essentials From Outside and Nat Geo

Now that spring is officially here I'm sure more than a few of you are planning a few adventures of your own. Over the past few days, both Outside magazine and National Geographic Adventure have posted articles sharing essential new gear to take with you on your spring excursions. Each of these articles has some excellent tips on new equipment that can help make your next escape even better.

Outside gets things started with their 5 Best Pieces of Gear for the Road. Among the items that earn a spot on the list are the new Pelican Progear Elite line of luggage, which is built to protect all of your important – and fragile – equipment while traveling. The luggage features a hard external shell to resist impacts, and is fully waterproof as well. Unsurprisingly, the new GoPro Hero 4 Black also makes the list as the "best camera for stick situations," while the Sony Alpha 7 II takes top honors as for making your travel photos look amazing. The new Patagonia Alpine Houdini jacket and the Fugoo Sport Bluetooth speaker round out the list.

Not to be outdone, Nat Geo has provided their list of 8 Spring Gear Essentials which offers their picks for the equipment you need to get you through your upcoming adventures. Some of the items making this list include the Suunto Ambit3 Peak HR GPS watch, which has been a favorite with outdoor enthusiasts for awhile. The new North Face FuseForm Dot Matrix jacket also gets a nod, as do the Teeki Cloud Hot Pants running tights, which can make those early spring runs go much smoother. As the weather gets warmer, you'll want to transition to the Tracksmith Longfellow shorts of course, while Nat Geo recommends running in the Adidas Ultra Boost shoes this spring too.

Spring is the perfect time to get back outside and enjoy the weather, and that is often made easier with some new gear. These suggestions from both publications will get you back to being active, and get you on the road to some new adventures. What more could you ask for with return of warmer weather?

Himalaya Spring 2015: Early Summit Push on Annapurna Begins

The spring climbing season in the Himalaya is only a few days old and already we have our first summit bid. Last week I wrote about the early arrival of teams on Annapurna, with some climbers already spending a few weeks on the mountain. Now it seems that one of those teams is already prepared to head toward the top even before most mountaineers even leave home.

According to ExWeb, Mingma G. Sherpa and Anggeli Sherpa of the Dreamers Destination expedition  had planned to finish fixing the ropes to Camp 4 yesterday. Behind them, the rest of the squad, which consists of Samuli Mansikka, Reza Shahlaee, Muharrek Aydin Imrak and Zdravko Dejanovic, were making their way upwards as well. That group were planning reach Camp 3 yesterday so that they could be in position for a summit push this week. If all goes well, they could top out as early as tomorrow, depending on weather and surface conditions.

It seems that the current strategy on Annapurna is to get to the mountain early in the spring to avoid some of the dangers that the peak is so well known for. As the season evolves, more snow falls on the upper slopes, making it more challenging to climb and creating increased avalanche danger as well. But by going early, the mountain is still frozen from the winter, helping to keep rocks and snow in place. On top of that, the heavy snows associated with the spring are still a few weeks away, making it safer in general to climb up.

The Dreamers Destination team is the only one to take this approach this year. 76-year old Spaniard Carlos Soria is already on Annapurna as well, and has spent a few nights in C2 as he acclimatizes. Aussie female climber Chris Jensen Burke has also been on the mountain since last week, and has also spent some time in both Camp 1 and 2 as par to her acclimatization.

Annapurna will be a busy place this spring with more climbers due later in the season. Among them will be American Alex Barber who hopes to make a solo summit attempt without oxygen. Alex just let for Nepal yesterday however so he won't be in Base Camp for awhile yet. He will be climbing with BC support from Seven Summits Treks along the North Side but which route he takes will be determined by the conditions of the mountain upon his arrival. Watch for updates on his progress in the days ahead.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of climbers will be preparing to depart for Nepal this week. Most expeditions won't officially get underway until around the April 1, so climbers are in last minute prep mode at home as they pack their gear, make plans for the days ahead, and start thinking about their individual expeditions. It is an exciting time, but it is about to get a whole lot more exciting.

There should be a lot more new to report soon. Stay tuned.