To right the unrightable wrong/To love pure and chaste from afar/To try when your arms are too weary/to reach the unreachable star.
Lyrics from "The Impossible Dream" and image courtesy of Jessica Watson's youngestround.blogspot.com (click to enlarge).
ExplorersWeb Week in Review
Posted: Nov 23, 2009 12:53 am EST
A four-part investigative report from Shisha Pangma, two Himalaya legends lost, Antarctica kick-off, a number of interviews with great explorers and spellbinding stories from the seas. We didn't expect such an eventful November, but here it is.
ExplorersWeb fall 2009 Shisha Pangma true summit special report, part 1 Climb until you reach a point where you can't climb any higher. Mountain tops are that simple. Or are they? Himalayan quests demand major sacrifice, often spanning decades, not to mention the very real risk of death. False summit claims steal not only from serious climbers but from every honest soul in the mountains. Because most every summit claim on Shisha last month was countered by contradictory reports, ExplorersWeb editors launched a major investigation of them all.
ExWebs fall 2009 Shisha Pangma special, part 2: Central Summit, virtually there? Due perhaps to the big number of "summits" actually ending below the knife ridge, Shisha Pangma is a vastly underestimated climbing target. There were only two summits this fall, and only one "Central summiteer." But how low below even the Central point do claims actually stretch these days? Check the answer in part 2.
ExWeb fall 2009 Shisha Pangma special report final: false summit claims - and the winner is... Among all the incomplete, inaccurate or plainly wrong statements from Shisha Pangma this season, Annelie Pompe and Johanna Öhrns story got the cake. Aided by local and international mountaineers, one Swedish climbing veteran finally did what local journalists failed: unveiling a mess of false statements, contradictions, and pictures both stolen and manipulated.
Shisha Pangma TRUE summit report: and the winner is... "Pending," ruled ExWeb about Andrew Lock's Shisha Pangma summit when the climber could not provide images due to a contract with the Australian Geographic Society. But when an image from Shisha's Main summit including details and GPS readings from summit day arrived, it became clear that Andrew and Neil were the only Shisha Pangma summiteers this fall. The achievement made Andrew the 18th man to ever summit the 14 8,000ers, and the first Australian.
Tomaz Humar Lost His amazing life came to an end on an unknown peak, in the company of local kitchen boy Jagat, on a climb very few knew about. Air Zermatt Swiss rescue team Pilot Robert Andenmatten and rescue-climber Simon Anthamatten finally found Tomaz at 5600 meters on the south wall of Langtan Lirung on November 14. Robert dropped Simon with a 25 meter static rope on the accident site but it was too late. Tomaz had died, apparently after breaking his leg in a fall.
The good guys In the relatively short time that ExplorersWeb has been around, we have lost too many great climbers, and friends. Tomaz Humar was one of the very first we interviewed, in 2003. Humar's temperament and climbs left few indifferent and Tomaz a man to be remembered in climbing history. Read ExWeb's American editorial and European profile about the climber plus a word from Simone Moro.
K2 pioneer Lino Lacedelli gone Achille Compagnoni died earlier this year at age 94. Friday, Lino followed Achille for one last time, after making peace if not with Bonatti, then at least with himself. Italian K2 pioneer Lino Lacedelli died on November 20, a few weeks shy of 84 years.
ExWeb interview with Bill Hanlon: One of the biggest difficulties in his job? "Access," said Bill, "as result of political and geographical reasons." One of the Everest summiteers who will challenge themselves on skis this Antarctica season; Bill Hanlon does all these extreme adventures to promote and develop public health and primary health care projects in remote and high altitude communities. Last week he spoke to ExWebs Correne Coetzer about his Basic Health International (BHI) Foundation as well as skiing to the South Pole. "Our medical work emphasizes improvisations and working with limited resources," Hanlon told ExWeb, "This trip will parallel many similar issues."
Preparing for Mongolia with a big list of to dos, might dos and have dones With less than five months before his Mongolia trek starts, This business of searching for sponsors, I should explain, is a very time consuming duty, Ripley Davenport told ExWebs Correne Coetzer who caught up with him during his preparations.
Eric Larsen, The job of explorers in the 21st century is not to conquer these places but to protect them. Eric is skiing to the South Pole at the moment, but this is part of a bigger plan; to complete the Three Poles in 365 days. Before he left for Antarctica Larsen spoke in length to ExWebs Correne Coetzer about the quest and its mission.
Popular re-run: Hercules Inlet start point leaving from where exactly? This season there are three start points to the South Pole, the classic start from Hercules Inlet, the somewhat shorter route from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf and the longer route from Berkner Island. Last week ExWeb posted a re-run about the Hercules Inlet Start Point.
Call to preserve the South Pole Dome The Dome at the South Pole has been the prominent feature at the Pole, sheltering as many as 200 scientists and support workers in the summer seasons and 50 winter-overs for 30 years. Replaced by the new building, the Dome is scheduled to be demolished in the next few months, but a small group of polar veterans is trying to preserve the structure.
Patagonia Ice Cap wrap-up: The Norwegians on the Northern Patagonia Ice Cap and the Germans on the Southern Ice Cap reported most spectacular views mountains, forests and glaciers. The beautiful terrain though was not easy and progress slow.
Antarctic wrap-up: We are here! The Big Bird has landed on The Ice November 12 the Ilyushin landed the first skiers on Antarctica. Twin Otters next shuttled teams to their starting points. While Cecilie and Ryan made good progress on their skis, the wind at Patriot Hills was gusting at 120 km/h over the weekend damaging some team's tents.
Henk de Velde neverending voyage update: Oil lamps and outdoor cooking on firewood by the beach - no it's not the Four Seasons in Aruba: Henk has left Australia through a pass in the Barrier Reef for Papua New Guinea after which Juniper will head for Micronesia and Japan. After staying 6 months in Australia Henk said he found out how easily western values and prosperity sucks you back into society - but that was before the natural paradise Mioko island, where Chief Bongian Bunbun Wesley called a public meeting to his people, demanding they meet the stranger on his boat with respect and friendliness. The main stuff missing here is more simple water tanks and each household some hand-generated-LED-lamps, reported Henk.
Mars Ocean Odyssey update: Being out on the Oceans for more than 930 days, Reid Stowe days are filled with spiritual experiences and creative paintings.
Atlantic Rowing Race update: In less than 20 days the Woodvale Atlantic Ocean Rowing Race will kick off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to English Harbour in Antigua. Many more rowers entered for this race than the Indian Ocean Rowing Race and 11 are women.
Mick Dawson and Chris Martin finished their row across the North Pacific Ocean in 189 days, 10 hours and 55 minutes. The two British rowers set off from Choshi, Japan on 8 May 2009 and finally rowed across the finish line, under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco on 13 November after more than 6 months at sea.
Phoenicia in Somali waters: Yuri can you get the generator started and the LRAD plugged in. Nicolas can you check the satellite phone is ready. Darken ship and get our navigation lights off. Phoenicia had some nerve wrecking incidents when pirate attacks took place just over 200 miles south east of their position and would indicate a pirate mother ship in the area. Their well-rehearsed Pirate drill came handy when one night the crew spotted a light approaching.
Teen girl sail around the world update: Jessica Watson crossed the Equator on 19 November and celebrated it with the traditional dunking of salt water of any first time equator crossing. Next she will be sailing north another 200 nm up around Kiribati Island, her rounding point in the northern hemisphere, then south back across the line and on to Cape Horn.
Read these stories - and more! - at ExplorersWeb.com