Climber on Everest summit.
Image by ExplorersWeb courtesy ExplorersWeb.com, SOURCE
ExplorersWeb 2010 Year in Review

Posted: Dec 22, 2010 09:25 pm EST
Remember the series "Women in Himalaya - Amazons fighting the Dark Ages"? Or the interviews with the adventure teens; and one mother about how to let go? Or that it's only ten months since ExplorersWeb 3.0?

Remember the Menu Upheaval at the Explorers Club after glazed scorpions were substituted by roast beef? Or that had it not been for the Chinese; Miss Oh's near-summit might not have mattered?

Remember how the unsupported skiers were plucked from the ice one by one this hard Arctic season, until only one rookie team remained? So much went down in addition to the usual drama in the Himalayas, that even though we cut out most of the big interviews, world treks, and stuck only to the record stats -- the 2010 ExplorersWeb Year In Review is still massive enough to keep you busy for a while. Here goes.

January

It's not about the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog: Life is too short to worry about what might have been" said Geoff Holt when crossing the Atlantic in a catamaran on 7 January, 25 years after being paralyzed. With that he kicked off the brand new 2010 at ExplorersWeb.

Ciao Amore: "You cant love a climber if you dont love the mountain." Luca Vuerich perished while ice climbing in Slovenia. In her final words to him, Nives's sister Leila Meroi hoped to send a message to those who wish to find a meaning in lifes circumstances no matter how hard they get.

A number of teams reached the South Pole during the holidays: Cecilie and Ryan arrived on New Years Eve after skiing 1173 km in 49 days. Amazingly, they turned their compasses north to reach the Ross Sea at the other side of the continent. It took some final wobbly turns on the Devil's Dance Floor but yes, this Antarctica crossing was a major world's first.

In his 1911-14 expedition to Antarctica, Douglas Mawson took a wingless, single propelled plane with to use as an air tractor to haul supplies. On New Years Day 2010 a team found parts of Mawsons plane near his huts at Cape Denison.

The Dome: 1974 2009. The prominent feature at the destination of the South Pole skiers was deconstructed. ANSMET reported 1010 meteorites found during the 2009-10 hunts.

News sources reported incorrectly that 17-year old British Katie Walter became the youngest person to ski to the South Pole and broke 18-year-old Canadian Sarah McNair-Landry's record set five years ago. Walter in fact covered more than 80% of the route in an airplane. Sarah McNair-Landry thus remains the youngest person to ski to the South Pole.

Mars Ocean Odyssey: Mission accomplished! The old sails worn out, his last laptop shot on day 970, on January 16 Reid Stove completed 1,000 days at sea without touch of land or taking any resupplies - an astonishing world record.

ExWeb 2010 CES report: "You can never be too rich or too thin" wrapped the 2010 Sin City consumer electronics show. The future will also come to who has the best touch and biggest bandwidth. But who'll be the first to film Everest in 3D? And while simplifying is good, there is a thin line between that and down-dumbing concluded ExWeb's 2010 CES report.

February

It's faster, it's bigger, it's interactive! You asked for it and we built it. Following 400 programming hours and marking our 10-year anniversary; a new ExplorersWeb was born. Now just one single website, 7 brand new areas were added to the regular content with a host of new features overall.

Contact 5 was price-slashed to below US $300 while upgraded: go live with text, images and video to Expedition Website, Twitter, Facebook and more with one single click.

American speed climber Chad Kellogg debriefed his under-the-radar solo on Aconcagua's wild south face.

Studying aerial images taken at 8200m, Everest researcher Tom Holzel believes he has spotted Mallory's climbing partner: "Now all we need is some boots on the ground to prove it one way or the other - and bring back Irvine's folding Kodak camera," he wrote at ExWeb. The quest is still on after a few secretive teams failed the search later in May.

Male Himalayan climbers often have kids but female mountaineers are rarely mothers. Moreover, men leaving their family for risky exploration are admired while women doing the same thing are criticized. Why is that? The entire issue a red-hot taboo: ExplorersWeb threw in the grenade and asked women high altitude mountaineers for their opinions in the "Women in Himalaya - Amazons fighting the Dark Ages" special series.

A Kiwi team excavated five crates from beneath Ernest Shackletons 1909 hut on Antarctica. Three crates were labeled as containing whisky and two labeled as containing brandy.

A new NASA budget was proposed by the government. The constellation program and human exploration were scrubbed. There was a general mention of "game changing technologies" but no real goals or timelines were specified. 6 Billion were to go to private entrepreneurs, but who were they? ExWeb provided some answers.

March

Edurne Pasaban's original plan to climb Shisha Pangma first was thwarted by Chinese authorities who, against previous agreement, stated suddenly that no climbing permit would be issued in Tibet until April. China closed the Tibetan border to climbers and tourists alike, in advance of the Tibetan Uprising anniversary.

Still within calendar winter, Edurne rerouted for a yet lonely Annapurna where the team held their puja, fixed rope and bagged the summit all in one breath. When Miss Oh arrived, the two briefly met, after which Edurne returned to Shisha Pangma.

Edurne Pasaban told a journalist and Miss Hawley about the Sherpa stating that Miss Oh never reached the summit of Kangchenjunga last year. Miss Hawley said she would continue to file the ascent in the database, but as disputed. Miss Oh's sponsoring Black Yak answered with a heated press release, while the climber herself dealt with high winds and summit push on Annapurna, her last 8000er.

Thanks in part to the Spaniards' logistics; Miss Oh could bag Annapurna pretty fast. Edurne's furious fight to the bitter end was over. Or was it.

22-year old Katie Spotz finished her solo row across the Atlantic Ocean from Dakar in Senegal to Georgetown in Guyana after 71 days at sea. In the Southern Hemisphere 25-year old Shaun Quincey finished his solo row across the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand after 54 days at the oars.

The Jules Verne Trophy went to French skipper, Franck Cammas and his nine-men crew onboard their 105 ft trimaran, who broke the around-the-world sailing record by finishing in 48 days, 7 hours, 44 minutes and 55 seconds March 20 in Brest.

April

The Icelandic ash cloud kept many Himalaya and Greenland bound teams stuck in Europe.

Everything was going smoothly on Everest south side except that the plan to scatter Edmund Hillary's ashes on the summit of Mount Everest was cancelled after Buddhist priests in Nepal warned it would bring bad luck.

On the north side climbers were still waiting for clearance and no traverse permits were issued by for this spring either. ExWeb ran a big report two years after the Olympics which showed that propaganda, surveillance, censorship and crackdowns were worse than ever in China. Over the past year the government had also encouraged China's state-owned enterprises to forcibly buy private firms.

Manaslu Air Zermatt of Switzerland and Fishtail Air of Nepal joined forces to provide the first Himalayan standby helicopter rescue service in history. A Spanish team on Manaslu witnessed one of the first operations, performed at 6,500m, which saved seven lives. The chopper showed up just hours after a Korean team called SOS. "It's been an amazing feat," the Spaniards said.

Late March, shortly before veteran mountain guide Heidi Kloos, 41, was to guide trekkers to Everest BC she was lost in an avalanche on Colorado's Baldy Peak. Heidi was buried under 10 feet of snow; her dog stayed with her until a rescue patrol arrived on April 1st.

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.

April 14 Richard Weber's team were first to reach the North Pole following a lightning fast (supported) trek from the coast. It was a different story for the unsupported and solo skiers who were airlifted out until only two dark horses remained. The final two nautical miles were horrendous and seemed unduly punishing, said Dan Darley and Amelia Russell about reaching the NP on April 25 - as the only unassisted team this season. Amelia became the third woman in the world to achieve this, only hours after falling into a lead and dislocating her shoulder.

Crying wolf can seriously jeopardize rescue possibilities for those who really need them, not to mention explorers who exaggerate their situation for media attention. "This behavior does and will reflect on the entire polar adventuring community," commented polar veteran Richard Weber one of the big mainstream news stories involving a solo skier during the season.

During the Vertical Blue 2010 free diving competition at Deans Blue Hole, New Zealander William Trubridge and Austrian Herbert Nitsch set two new world records in the free immersion (FIM) and constant weight (CWT) disciplines respectively.

On Apr 26 François Bernard (France) and Frederik Paulsen (Sweden) crossed the Bering Strait in an Ultra-light from America to Russia; according to them a first in that direction.

The folks at the gigantic collider near Geneva got a break at last. They collided protons at record speed, and with that the hunt for other dimensions, dark matter and the "God particle" has begun. Meanwhile ExWeb ran a report about new technologies that are bringing jetpacks to regular humans.

In the "Deer in headlights" report from the 26th National Space Symposium, ExWeb reported that 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 while a representative for the manned Chinese space program was a lot more perked up.

May

Early May was all about Annapurna with 24/7 coverage by ExWeb staff and volunteers. The final summit push took place in spiking wind but Annapurna had 19 summits in one day - a record number. Unfortunately, another record number was due: as the seventh straight year with casualties on the mountain. Descent was hard on everyone with several cases of altitude problems and frostbite. The exhausted Spanish Tolo Calafat passed away after two days in the open at 7600 meters. In vain, a Sherpa searched for the climber for 11 hours carrying O2 and supplies. A heli search was also unsuccessful. Miss Oh and Black Yak rejected all accusations about failing to aid in the search, stating that they can only ask, not force, their sherpas to help.

The Nepalese Fishtail Air and Swiss Air Zermatt rescue chopper airlifted all climbers who remained in C4 (7000 meters) - Carlos Pauner, Juanito Oiarzabal and Horia Colibasanu - in the highest long line rescue in history.

On Everest north side, a Hungarian climber escaped an avalanche which sadly took his climbing mate. Peter Kinloch, 28, died after a Sherpa team failed to help him down in storm conditions. The search for Irvine went undercover while Gerlinde and Ralf fought all on their own over at the north face.

A Sherpa crew topped-out Everest south side early May along with a Himex guide who decided to join the push after bolting parts of the route. A report stating that it was decided that no western climbers were allowed on the mountain while sherpas fixed the route spurred ExWeb founder Tina Sjogren to design a new strategy in her editorial: "Brave new Everest for a changing market."

May 16, both sides of Everest were summited, with a large number of climbers topping out the south side. A Chinese rope team fixed the route to the summit on Everest north side and made the first Everest north side summit.

By late May, Everest had a large number of summits from both sides. Among the major events: Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner - in her 13th no-O2 8000er, Jordan Romero, 13, and Apa Sherpa in his 20th Everest summit.

5000+ ascents to date - that's what the Everest counter clocked at closing a successful season before the Memorial weekend. A majority of climbers made it in the final wave, including serial-summiteers such as record-westerner Dave Hahn (12th E top) and SeracFilm's Michael Brown. Climbers were lost and rescued, while Chad's speed attempt got stuck in lines on the Balcony.

On Dhaulagiri, a Chinese expedition reached the summit by nightfall and had to force a bivouaq through the stormy night. In an ensuing inferno three of the climbers lost their lives. A frantic effort by Fishtail Air and Air Zermatt rescued the survivors.

Edurne Pasaban bagged Shisha at last. Together with Asier Izaguirre, Alex Txicon, Nacho Orbiz and sherpas, Pasaban climbed in rather light style, pitching three camps on the way up to her 14th 8000er.

Serguey Duganov perished on May 7 at 7800 meters during descent from Lhotse. Kazakhs Maxut Zhumayev, Vassiliy Pivtsov and Vlad Chekhlov summited Lhotse in what became the 13th 8000er for both Max and Vasso. As usual, Denis Urubko went his own way and opened a new route on the mountain sans 02.

A French expedition summited Makalu from the normal route on May 23rd, Marty Schmidt made it on the 24th descending with three Ukrainian summiteers that topped out via a new route on the SW face. Outware's Makalu expedition folded with a bitter-sweet end: several members summited on May 23rd but Zaharias Kiriakakis was lost.

ExplorersWeb's contributor Brazilian Rodrigo Granzotto had a massive job compiling the spring season:

Part 1: covers 8000er Collectors, Everest Serial Summiteers and Lost Climbers.
Part 2: The (then) final chapter of the race between Edurne Pasaban and Oh Eun-Sun for the first female 14x8000ers ascent.
Part 3: Climbers joining the 14x8000er summiteers' club, historic records, other "firsts" achieved in spring 2010 plus the controversies.
Part 4: covers serial summiteers, lower peaks, new routes, rescues and Sherpa racers.
Everest & Himalaya 2010 Seasons End Chronicle, part 5: Special report--The Spring of Annapurna.

Summit? The proof is in the... SPOT. Verifiying summits has been an increasing problem in Himalaya. Lately, the tiny 150 gram SPOT tracker has offered to become a great back-up to traditional summit proof. Beyond SPOT's reach - Solara tracks positions in polar areas as well as much of the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. Check out ExWeb's tech reviews of both.

During Everest Skydive 2010 solo and tandem jumps were performed as high as 29,500 ft at Shyangboche drop zone (12,350 ft). Skydivers from New Zealand, UK, Nepal, USA, Australia and France participated. Check the debrief report at ExWeb.

June

Pakistan woke to yet another tough year. Heavy flooding early spring; added costs and financial security requirements imposed by the government; the global money crunch and political unrest all shrunk Pakistan outfitters' client base. With only 25 climbing permits issued for all peaks, this was the quietest Karakoram summer in modern climbing.

The season's first 8000er summit in Karakoram was bagged by Polish Hajzer and Szymczak on Nanga Parbat, and Italian Walter Bonatti turned 80. Remains of June were mostly about the issue of age in adventure.

A torn mainsail delayed Jessica Watsons planned arrival in Sydney with two hours, but when she finally stepped of Pink Lady and walked up towards Sydney Opera House, the 17-year old received a hero's welcome. Jessica will not claim the youngest non-stop and unassisted official world record around the world though. She did not cover the distance required and the issue also made for a rerun of ExWeb's previous circumnavigation special, "What is around the world?"

Menawhile Abby Sunderland talked to ExWeb during a stop-over in Cape Town about her sail. Soon after, Abby was successfully picked up from her dismasted yacht out on the Indian ocean only to face an even bigger wave: of media fury. ExWeb's Tina came to her rescue in the editorial, "Young guns current: Abigail Sunderland and the kid who flew to Space."

During the same month, 12-year old Matt Moniz summited Denali, Whitney and Elbert in just eight days. ExWeb's contributors Morgan (9) and Amanda Padoan caught up with Everest wild child Jordan Romero, 13, for an interview. All kids praised their parents, but what was the mothers point of view?

When 22-year old independent, single-handed, Atlantic Ocean rower, Katie Spotzs, mother got an email that her daughter wanted to row an ocean on her own, a battle began: She wanted to keep her daughter close and safe, and her daughter wanted to live her dream. Mary Spotz explained at ExplorersWeb how she had to let go.

But Laura Dekker was grounded for yet another month by the Dutch court, the decision further shrinking the chances for the then 14-year old of becoming the youngest to sail around the world. On Everest north side, CTMA issued new regulations with 18 as the youngest and 60 as the oldest allowed on the peak from the Chinese side. The age limits seemed to have no effect on speed record climber Pemba Dorje Sherpa, who calls for national pride as a motivation to take a 10 years old to the roof of the world next year and thus break Jordan Romero's recent record.

Dekker set sail August 21 at last, on the first leg of her sail around the world. In the Lipton Cup Sailing Challenge in Cape Town meanwhile, the youngest sailor was 13 years old. Over on Greenland, Eric Brossier and France Pinczon du Sel from Vagabond fame arrived with a hybrid-motorboat equipped with diesel and electrical engines, 10 square meters of solar panels, two wind turbines and three sails. Their 3-year old and 5-month old daughters completed the crew. By December, Laura Dekker had made it safely across the Atlantic, at age 15.

On Greenland Sebastian Copeland (46) and Eric McNair-Landry (25) kite skied 595km in 24 hrs, which gave them the new kite distance world record.

Roz Savage finished her third and last leg Pacific Ocean row in Madang, Papua New Guinea June 4th. Each leg was around 2000-2500 miles, and while rowing any ocean is not for the faint of heart, Savage's accomplishment should not be confused with the non-stop 8000 and 9000 mile rows done by solo rowers such as latest Erden Eruc.

Mars Ocean Odyssey Reid Stowe spent his last day of his 1152 continuous days at sea at anchor outside New York before sailing in to Pier81 World Yacht Marina to set foot on Mother Earth for the first time in over three years.

July

Two years passed since the big accidents new teams were assembled at the foot of K2 in early July. ExplorersWeb re-ran of some of the most notable stories published during and after the 2008 tragedy. Attempting Lhotse together this spring with K2 hero Pasang Lama, survivor Marco Confortola wrote an essay for Explorersweb, reflecting on the aftermath of the K2 tragedy and the meaning of true heroism.

The orange dot spotted on the mountain, off route, relentlessly moving down in the direction of Camp 3 on the Cesen route: Dutch Wilco Van Rooijen's story is now available in English in the book Surviving K2. In an interview with ExplorersWeb, Wilco confirmed, "Gerard McDonnell is a hero."

Swedish media meanwhile had a fresh piece from K2 story-teller Fredrik Strang. This time from GII, where Strang was said to have rescued fellow mountaineers with wild swings of his ice-axe.

The 2010 K2 season didn't end much better. By mid-July, Bulgarian climber Petar Georgiev Unzhiev passed of high altitude sickness in camp 2. A few weeks later, amazing Swedish sky-skier Fredrik Ericsson fell to his death while on summit push in the Bottleneck. The only summit claim on the mountain proved to be a fraud, and K2 remained unclimbed yet another year.

The only bright note was from another summiteer and survivor of the 2008 tragedy, Cecilie Skog. As one of the celebrities in Norways Dancing with the Stars; Cecilie said she was dancing for her late husband, mountaineer and polar skier, Rolf Bae, whom she lost on K2.

Unstable weather and high winds were punishing Karakoram and summit reports were thin. Excitement was found on the wild side of G1 where three Italians, running into red tape, chose to drop the camels and journey Shipton style.

The biggest triumph was bagged by the Basque on Broad Peak where Alberto Iñurrategi, Mikel Zabalza and Juan Vallejo reached the Central Summit via a new route. The following day, 14x8000er summiteer Alberto climbed back up from their bivy tent and stepped on BP's main summit, thus completing the massif traverse.

On Nanga Parbat Mingma became the first Sherpa to summit 12 different main 8000ers; and Korean Kim Chang-Ho only the second mountaineer after Messner to summit Nanga from both sides.

Early G1 summit claims around July 20 were left unconfirmed or denied by the climbers themselves. Canadian Don Bowie and Russian Alexei Bolotov's attempt ended VERY close from target, but, "If you can't ride that thing like a pony, you ain't on top!" Bowie "quoted" John Wayne and returned for another shot one week later. On July 29, Bowie and Bolotov summited G1 at last together with American Marty Schmidt and Czechs Radek Jaros and Libor Uher who completed their GI and GII double-header.

Keep Baltoro Clean team collected 4000 kg of waste from Concordia and installed 8 eco toilets at Concordia Circus. French "Summit Sweeper" Arian Lemal reported a junk-filled C4 on GII.

Late July, American mountaineer Ryan Waters and his team of Elbrus climbers were among the 105 passengers freed from a hijacked plane by Russian Special Forces.

On Svalbard, Norwegian kayakers had a nightmare awakening as one was pulled out of the tent by a polar bear and dragged off until his expedition partner managed to shoot the animal.

July 22 Franco-Italian Alessandro Di Benedetto arrived back in France. Alessandro spent the past 268 days circumnavigating the world in a 6.5 meter yacht solo. The last part, the whole Atlantic, of it with a jury rig.

July 27 American Wayne Maynard, 61, made it to the North Pole and back alone in his Cessna 350. He later sent through some photos to ExplorersWeb of his navigation equipment showing the variation and the effect of the Magnetic North Pole.

August

The final chapter of the 2010 Karakoram climbing summer offered little joy. Down in the valleys a monster flood was affecting more people than ever. Its the worst flood Ive witnessed in my life, ExplorersWeb Pakistan correspondent Karrar Haidri agreed. "It's a disaster," American climber Fabrizio Zangrilli confirmed from Skardu.

Already at the foot of Everest, early August Alberto Zerain was alone on the Tibetan side of the mountain for a solo attempt of the Supercouloir. Intense monsoon rains made things difficult also in Himalaya and there were no survivors in a Lukla bound plane crash.

HumanEdgeTech launched Contact Augmented, mixing real-world environment with virtual reality features. 3D maps and fly-by viewer experience is updated over satellite communication with live trip reports and pictures. First out with ContactA was Sean Burch, known for his super-fast ascents, and about to cross Nepal on foot from India to Tibet on the Great Himalaya Trail. Sean did it in a record 49 days, 19 days faster than the previous record set by Rosie Swale Pope 2003.

Following a 28-month trek, Brit Ed Stafford and local Gadiel "Cho" Sanchez finished at the sea on the east coast of Brazil after starting from the source of the Amazon.

September

The debate continued, did she or didn't she? Miss Oh was facing increasing opposition. The Korean Alpine Federation (KAF) declared Miss Oh's summit claim for Kangchenjunga 2009 "unlikely."

Meanwhile, the only summit on K2 this season was scrubbed. Christian Stangl was accused of dreaming the entire push up with a thick book in a "rock-hotel" behind base camp. The morning after ExplorersWeb asked Stangl for comments regarding his summit picture, Stangl fessed up to local media that he'd been nowhere near the top.

In Chinese Himalaya people crowded on Cho Oyu while the few Everest north side climbers reported that Tibetans are now a minority in Lhasa and most foreign websites are blocked.

"Even in the fall, Everest is hardly the solitary experience of polar travel" Eric Larsen told ExplorersWeb from the Nepali side. Together with a Sherpa team, he had the mountain mostly to himself along with all the work on the south side route.

On Peak Pobeda, nearly 15 people got stuck for seven days in a fierce storm between 7,000 and 6,400 meters. Russian climbers Yuri Efremov, Andrey Baynazarov and Kirill Mokhov died before reaching the airlift rescue point at 5,500 meters on Dikiy Pass.

October

Early October Himalaya was already falling quiet. The peaks had claimed five climbers, including two of the greatest names in high altitude mountaineering and one much admired alpinist.

Aiming for a new route on the SW face of Cho Oyu in alpine style, Walter Nones,39, fell to his death on October 3 following a solo bivouac at 7,000 meters. Japan's leading climber Osamu Tanabe was among the four lost in an avalanche on Dhaulagiri, his tenth 8000er. Alpinists Joe Puryear and David Gottlieb were known at ExWeb for spectacular first ascents. Their saga ended October 27 on Labuche Kang when a cornice broke off and Joe fell to his death.

On Everest, attempts folded on both sides leaving only Eric Larsen still in the game. But on October 15 the polar skier plus Sherpas Dawa Gylatzen, Tshering (Chhering) Dorje, Pasang Temba and Dawa Tenzing bagged the first Everest fall season summit in four years. The Terramar sponsored expedition concluded Larsen's quest to reach the "Three Poles" in record time.

Blind Everest summiteer Erik Weihenmayer led a team of war-battered soldiers to the top of the 20,075-foot Lobuche on October 13.

South Koreans Chang-Ho Kim, 41, and Sung-Ho Suh summited Shisha Pangma south side on October 14, via the British route. Shisha became Kim's twelfth 8000er without O2; and Suh's tenth.

Manaslu summits were questioned again but it seemed confirmed that at 71, Spanish Carlos Soria became the oldest climber to summit Manaslu, his 9th 8000er. Carlos Pauner collected his 10th 8000er peak, while Phurba Tashi became the Sherpa with the most +8000 summit ascents (23). Sadly, Manaslu claimed Japanese Nobuaki Kuwabara on September 24.

A group of Sherpa fixing the route on Cho Oyu were avalanched just one week after TMA's crew suffered the same fate. The first Cho Oyu summiteers were at first reportedly German/Austrian combo Rupert Hauer and Alix von Melle. Later though German Ralf Arnold told ExplorersWeb he was the first Cho Oyu summiteer of the season on October 1. An October 7 summit claimed by Argentinean Adrian Sanchez was scrubbed after the alleged summit picture turned out shot in C1 by expedition mate Marcelo Hernandez.

The loss of 18x Everest summiter Chhewang Nima Sherpa to an avalanche on Baruntse put a sober end to the climbing autumn season.

German "Red Point" free-climbing pioneer Kurt Albert, 56, sustained critical injuries after falling from a via ferrata in the Frankenjura region and died in hospital two days later.

ExWebs stellar contributor Amanda Padoan delieverd yet another special, this time an interview with eighteen-year old Samina Khayal Baig, a trailblazer for Pakistani female climbers.

Captain Daniel Gavrilov and his young crew aboard Peter 1st was the first yacht to reach the Pond Inlet on the Northern coast of Baffin, with Børge Ousland just behind. The young Russian crew was the first ever to sail through both the North East and North West passage in one season.

Kiwi Graeme Kendall did a solo 12 day rowing transit of the North West Passage five years after his previous attempt which got stuck in ice.

A 35 liter dry-pack, a kite, a board, and 2000 kilometers of Brazilian coast ahead. That was Louis Tapper's, 36, life for 33 days when he set a new world record for the longest kite surfing journey solo.

November

On November 7, news broke about a Fishtail Air chopper crash on Ama Dablam north face. David Göttler and Kazuya Hiraide were rescued, pilots Sabin Basnet and Purna Awale lost their lives. Only this past spring, Basnet had performed the amazing rescue at 7,000 meters on Annapurna.

Kyle Dempster and Scott Bruce Normand returned from China's Minya Konka 6000ers with two new routes under their belts.

Alex Caizergues set a new World Speed Sailing Record at 54.10 knots on a 500 meter run. French-Italian Charlotte Consorti became the fastest female kiter in the world and the first woman to break the 50 knot barrier.

Simen Havig-Gjelseth, Sigrid Henjum, Tormod Austring, and Dag Marius Ammerud made a successful 20 days circumnavigation of South Georgia as only the third kayak expedition to have made it round what most kayakers consider their Mount Everest.

German artist Jürgen H. Staeudtner chose a rather unusual subject for his painting collection: portraits of Everest climbers with a story to tell such as David Sharp and Lincoln Hall. The resulting art series named "Top of the World" shows Mount Everest as a symbol for personal fates and philosophical dilemmas: some died, other succeeded or helped others. Jürgen also painted the ice cave in which the remains of Green Boots are located. The place sums up many factors, Jürgen says. It is a landmark, and it is a grave. In the end, I have concluded that painting mountaineers is a way to paint Mount Everest.

Never-ending solo sailing in the wildest parts of the world, Henk de Velde found Hollywood star Sterling Hayden's classic seafaring book Wanderer in a remote library. "To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest," the actor wrote. "Otherwise you are doomed to a routine traverse [...] If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about." Soothing words for those choosing to be bankrupt in money rather than life.

After cycling 7,780 km from Cooktown to Perth across Australia as part of his human power circumnavigation, Erden Eruc was ready for his next stage on the Indian Ocean. In his solo row from mainland Australia to Africa and following an astonishing 137 days out at sea non-stop (by far the longest row yet over the Indian Ocean), on November 26 Erden hauled his rowing boat up on the island of Madagascar. Erden is now second only to Peter Bird to have spent the longest time out at sea in a rowing boat (Bird spent 937 days and died on the voyage).

December

A pay service made ExplorersWeb create headlines all on its own. Wire- and breaking news are still free but a subscription is needed for specials such as the other big December news: about Miss Oh losing her summit status at Adventure Stats. With that, the world got its true first female 14, 8000ers mountaineer: Edurne Pasaban.

IsatPhone Pro, 3G service on Everest, Terrastar's smartphone/satellite hybrid: never have choices been so many to communicate from remote places. In a huge review, HumanEdgeTech helped sort hype from the real in 2011.

New Zealander William Trubridge (30) dove 100 meters into Dean's Blue Hole on Long Island with a single breath of air, and only his hands and feet to send him down and up. This is Trubridge 13th freediving record.

South African kayaker Hendrik Coetzee was on an expedition in Congo when he was pulled out of his kayak and killed by a crocodile.

Antarctica kicked off with the Arctic Trucks' Iceland drivers and their Indian Science team arriving at 90 degrees South as the first expedition to the South Pole this season. Union Glacier runway replaces PH this year as new BC 70km north-west of Patriot Hills. A major insurance company is no more covering expeditions in polar areas. A Hercules Inlet - SP return solo ski has never been done before, but this year Chris Foot is attempting the challenge.

And the famous Russian BASE jumper did it again; this time in minus 30 degree Celsius on Antarctica. Valery Rozov became the first person to climb the 2931 meter high Mount Ulvetanna and BASE jump off.

Winter climbing expeditions began to announce their plans: this season in unpresedented attempts on almost all (except K2) of the Karakoram 8000ers - all previously unclimbed in winter. Watch for ExWeb's special winter coverage in Himalaya next month.

Lonnie Doupre will try Denali, where only nine expeditions totaling 16 people have ever reached the summit in winter.

The Long Walk to Freedom has been made an international bestseller and a Hollywood movie is due based on Slavomir Rawicz famous account of a 6500 kilometer walk to escape from a prison in Siberia. Three young Poles discovered a different story by tracing his footsteps. The true hero is Witold Glinski, they told ExplorersWeb. But is he, or is it Rawicz after all, or perhaps neither of them? Check in for more details to the story in December.

And now - get set for the 2010 ExplorersWeb Awards!

#Review #topstory #feature