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ExplorersWeb Week in Review Apr 19, 2010

Posted: Apr 19, 2010 07:45 am EDT
It's been a packed, packed week and weekend at ExplorersWeb: Joao Garcia and Edurne's team topped out Annapurna in a very hard climb. Garcia has become 14x8000er summiteer and Edurne Pasaban bagged her 13th. An avalanche hit camp 3, injuring one climber. A new push is underway.

In other news: statement from K2 survivor Marco Confortola; a chilling US Space symposium report; and success at last at the North Pole amidst lots of evacuations. Here goes:

K2 survivor Marco Confortola: Reflections on Heroism K2 survivors Marco Confortola and Pasang Lama will attempt Lhotse together this season. In his essay for Explorersweb, Marco reflected on the aftermath of the K2 tragedy and the meaning of true heroism.

First team at the North Pole Richard Weber, Tessum Weber (both Canada), David Pierce Jones (Switzerland) and Howard Fairbank (South Africa) arrived at the North Pole on April 14 following a lightning fast (supported) trek from the coast.

Geographic North Pole wrap-up: On April 15 Australian Tom Smitheringale activated his emergency evacuation device after he fell through the ice and spent about 10 minutes in the freezing Arctic water to get out. By pure coincidence Canadian Forces were in the area when they picked up Toms distress call and organized his evacuation. Dan and Amelia are now the only unassisted, unsupported skiers on the ice. Dan says there are no easy days. The ski teams encounter lots of fractures and ridges in the ice.

Magnetic North Pole update: Team off the ice The all-British team who set off from Resolute Bay on April 3 to the 1996 position of the Magnetic North Pole was evacuated on April 10. Their team leader was seriously ill with suspected pneumonia. The team also reported trouble with making water and rehydrating due to a lack of snow.

Jean-Louis Etienne balloon update: The landing in Siberia Landing is always a fall back to Earth, said the French explorer from the ground. On April 10 Jean-Louis Etienne touched down in Sakha in Siberia after flying alone in his rozière balloon across the Arctic Ocean for 121h and 30 minutes.

NP divers: The French dive team reported that the underwater side of the sea ice is as they had hoped and even more magical. Strong winds from the west were pushing the skiers to the east. Loose snow made it hard to judge the strength of the ice and the leads. Ground blizzards caused spindrift.

Everest wrap-up: Teams on Everest south side prepared for the Khumbu Icefall last week as Simone Moro and Aldo were already on their way to C2. On the north side, an Austrian team will try to find Irvine's body and the 1924 camera.

Himalaya wrap-up: Lhotse, Manaslu, Makalu, Dhaula +7000ers and 6000ers action "All countries of the anti-Hitler coalition are now represented on Makalu," reported the Ukranians. Over in Lukla, I feel that the climb last year has awaken me to really grab life by the horns! said Ben Clark about his Baruntse project. Check out ExWeb's coverage of Everest but also the other, "wild" Himalaya.

Teen sail update: Hard homecoming days for Jessica The battle between the 16-year-old round the world girls are full on as Jessica Watson is approaching her finish line. Jessica is well in to her home waters, but last week was hard with big gusts, lightening, water in the cabin and a torn sail.

Mongolia trailer broke down and evacuated The last 24 hours have been the most unmerciful of my life as I sit here alone in the darkness, on the fringes of the Steppe, wrote Ripley Davenport on April 17 when his trailer with its 247 kg load broke down after only 12 km on the trek, and almost 4 years of preps.

Dimitri Kieffer update: Tentless in a fierce storm Dimitri Kieffer and Nyurgun Efremov left the reindeer herders of Brigade #6 and headed towards Slautnoye in Kamchatka territory. A lack of snow on the ground hampered their sledge-hauling. Their tents blew away in a gust. Dimitri walked through the night in a fierce storm; Nyurgun camped in his sled.

More Greenland teams; some with South Pole plans The Greenland ice is popular training ground for Antarctica. Currently the PolarIce team is training for a coast-to-coast Antarctic kite-ski expedition and another team will be training for their return South Pole kite expedition. The Spitzbergen team experienced crevasses and ice that is breaking up.

Deer in headlights: ExWeb Space Symposium report In Colorado Springs on Wednesday, the main exhibitor hall was sadly reminiscent of a dinosaur museum with relics on display of what used to be the American Moon and Mars program. Among the speakers; a representant for the manned Chinese space program was a lot more perked up. Read all about it at ExWeb.

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


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