Last week was not a good one, three adventurers 'crossed the bridge' and two are missing. Image by ExlorersWeb (click to enlarge).
ExplorersWeb Week in Review

Posted: Oct 29, 2006 10:17 pm EST
Last week was not a good one, three adventurers crossed the bridge and two are missing: Climber Todd Skinner fell to his death on Leaning Tower, rower Urko Mendiburu died of a heart attack at only age 35, and on Annapurna Lakpa Rita was killed in an avalanche. In Indian Himalaya, a search is on for Mexican Everest summiteers Alfonso de la Parra and Andres Delgado.

In other news, Nangpa La survivors reported that they had been shot at like sitting ducks, while in Nepal the Maoists continue to harass local folks and climbers alike. On a brighter note; team ExWeb checked out the XPrize Cup in New Mexico - covering the latest in private space exploration.

Kit DesLauriers' Everest ski descent: I developed a mantra during the descent that came to me from somewhere unknown, recalled Kit. Before each turn I would say to myself 'like your life depends upon it' and then make a turn. Like your life depends upon it, turn. All the while we kept tabs on each other knowing that if anyone made a single mistake, they would be unrecognizable at the bottom of the Lhotse Face."

Nangpa La shootings survivors: "There was no warning of any kind": 41 of the 75 Tibetan refugees who were shot at on Nangpa La finally managed to reach India, where they held a press conference. "There was no warning of any kind. The bullets were so close I could hear them whizzing past, Tibetan monk Thupten Tsering told journalists. Lobsang Choeden recalled how he was rescued by foreign mountaineers who helped him hide in their tent and gave him food. He said it was the most appalling and dreadful time of his life.

Mexican climbers missing on Changabang Mexican Everest summiteers Alfonso de la Parra and Andres Delgado are reportedly missing on Changabang (6,864m), Indian Himalaya. The climbers last made contact via sat-phone from the mountain on October 13. A rescue operation is underway, led by Indian army officers.

Yosemite legend Todd Skinner lost on Leaning Tower: American Todd Skinner, one of Yosemites free-climbing pioneers, fell to his death while rappelling down the Leaning Tower wall, apparently after climbing a new route.

Avalanche hit Japanese team on Annapurna one casualty When the Italian team led by Silvio Mondinelli applied for a climbing permit on Annapurna this fall, they were told there wouldnt be any other team on the mountain. However, a Japanese team led by Yamada Yoshichika reached the peak later in the season to face the avalanche-prone south side. On October 22 a snow slide swept the expeditions C2, killing the teams Sirdar: Lakpa Rita Sherpa, 25.

New Czech Route on Meru's Shark Fin: Czech climbers Marek Holecek and Jan Kreisinger have opened an impressive new route on the so-called Shark Fin, the central summit of Mount Meru (6310m), Garhwal Himalaya (India). The 2000 meters-long route climbs up the NW face of Meru Central, and includes difficulties up to 7a, M5, as well as ice sections up to 80º steep.

ExWeb interview with Badia Bonilla: "My husband and I are a team - not competitors" Mexicans Badia Bonilla and Mauricio López are some of the few married couples pursuing the 14x 8000ers challenge. Past summer they summited GII in a second attempt. Badia has summited five main 8000ers (plus Shishas central summit), a record with Latin Americas female climbers.

It's Banff time again: Checking out films on Everest and Shisha Winter Banff Mountain Film Festival in Alberta, Canada is on and there are some interesting documentaries among the finalists, as well as a number of adventure celebrities: Simone Moro, Borge Ousland, Leo Houlding, etc.

Xtreme Everest Project looking for the climbers gene: Everest climber and researcher Dr. Julian Thompson contacted ExplorersWeb with a particular request. He needs as many DNA samples as possible from Everest summiteers. Julian is involved in a scientific research which could be helpful to high altitude climbers, but also critically ill patients.

Ama Dablam (6812 m) Several large teams are reaching BC this week. Expect loads of snow and poorly fixed route.

Slovenian Trango Towers debrief: Double success for the Old Men and the Rocking Girls A Slovenian team climbed new routes and did fast ascents of Eternal Flame route on Nameless Tower. Check their debrief at ExWeb.

Cho Oyu: Russian summit Russian First Don Cho Oyu expedition launched a summit push on Cho Oyu last Thursday, October 18 at 4 am. from Camp 2 (7100 m). The weather started out fine but ended in a snow storm. Dmitry Podlesny summited at noon, whilst all other climbers turned back.

Maoists requested to stop extorting Khumbu Valley visitors: "It is indecent of the Maoists to collect money from tourists," Tourism Minister Pradip Gyanwali told Reuters. Over 1,300 complaints have been filed about Maoists breaking their commitments - most of the complaints are related to extortion, abduction, torture, seizure of private property, display of arms in public places and parading of armed groups. As for the money extorted from visitors in the Khumbu Valley Dev Gurung, a senior Maoist leader told Reuters that guerrillas were collecting "taxes" to develop the Everest region and maintain their "army".

Velux 5 Ocean race: Solo, around the world race is on Eight solo sailors departed last weekend from Bilbao (Basque Country, Spain) on this solo, around the world sailing race. The race is exclusively for Open 60 and Open 50 classes. Also, there are only two stopovers: In Perth, Western Australia and Norfolk, Virginia on the east coast of the USA.

Ocean rower Urko Mendiburu succumbs to a heart attack Basque (Spanish) ocean rower Urko Mendiburu died unexpectedly on October 25 from a heart attack - he was only 35 years old. Urko Mendiburu rowed the Atlantic East-West, back in 2001. Together with Xabier Argote, they took part in the Ward Evans Atlantic Rowing Race. Spanish Media brought the news with the words "Goian Bego", meaning "Rest in Peace" in Euskera, the Basque Country language.

Zeeman Ocean Challenge: Quiet days in the deathzone Four weeks after departure from La Gomera, Ralph and Mike Tuijn are well in their particular deathzone: the area to the West of the Caribbean islands. This is the most dangerous part of the Atlantic Ocean, they reported. All the tropical storms and hurricanes which hit the Caribbean and the United States every year originate here.

Team n2i for the South Pole of Inaccessibility Canadian Paul Landry will guide British Team n2i on a 1100 miles (1800km) kite-supported Antarctic trip, from Novolazarevskaya Base to the The Pole of Inaccessibility(POI), the furthest point from Antarctic coast. They aim to complete the trip in 52 days with one re-supply at the polar plateau.

ExplorersWeb Special: The People's race for space - XPrize Cup 2006: Containers flied banners explaining various events. Models of rockets, planes, engines, and lunar landscapes spread out between exhibitors pitching their versions of space technology, reported crew ExWeb from the XPrizeCup in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Robots crawled around and in the distance - big rockets pointed to the sky Resembling an interstellar trading post; the place was packed with rookie engineers mingling with 'real' NASA folks.

Read these stories - and more! - at ExplorersWeb.com
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