Video of the most dangerous rope-free mountain climb ever

On Saturday, Alex Honnold became the first person to free solo climb the 3,000-foot wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California. Look ma, no rope!

"Honestly, I think this is the most satisfied I’ve ever been," he said afterwards. "It was exactly what I hoped for. I felt so good. It went pretty much perfectly."

"Climber Completes the Most Dangerous Rope-Free Ascent Ever" (via @nadiamdrake)

"First Interview With the Climber Who Scaled El Capitan Without a Rope" (Nat Geo)

(photo by Jimmy Chin) Read the rest

Explore Mount Everest in 3D

Mountaineering disasters are fascinating, especially in how they illustrate extremes of human behavior and endurance—the way people get lost barely feet from safely. Written reports rarely make sense of the confusing geography of dangerous peaks, though, and screen depictions are mostly (and necessarily) visual fiction. So is it with awed delight that I ran across Explore-Everest.com, which allows me to climb Mount Everest in 3D from the safety of my desk.

Experience the harrowing trek to the summit of the Earth’s highest mountain.

There's a description of the recent Khumbu Icefall disaster, but you won't meet any of the mountain's permanent residents: they seem to be shooped out of the aerial shots, as far as I can tell. There are so many up there (NSFL!), their colorful sporty gear poking from the snowdrifts, that mountaineers supposedly call it the Rainbow Valley.

Neat fact about Everest: the English name is a compound of "Eve Rest", but the American pronunciation "Ever Rest" was already the norm by the time I was growing up in Britain. It's apropos, in any case. Read the rest

Experience Norway's midnight sun by drone

Michael Fletcher collaborated with Alan Mathieson to capture drone footage of northern Norway's mist-shrouded mountains during this summer's midnight sun. It's like watching a moving Bierstadt painting. Read the rest

Magnificent mountaineering museum embedded in a summit

Above, a balcony jutting from the Messner Mountain Museum Corones that's carved out of the summit of Mount Kronplatz in Tyrol, Italy, 2,275 meters above sea level. Zaha Hadid Architects designed the mountaineering museum that is built entirely of concrete on steel scaffolding. More photos and construction time-lapse video below.

"The idea is that visitors can descend within the mountain to explore its caverns and grottos, before emerging through the mountain wall on theater side, out onto the terrace overhanging the valley far below with spectacular, panoramic views," Hadid says.

(via Uncrate) Read the rest

“Meru,” a new film on the quest to scale an “unclimbable“ mountain in India

For decades, the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru in Northern India was thought by most elite climbers to to unclimbable.

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Malaysia blames quake on naked selfie tourists, some of whom now can't go home

The tourists' naked selfies angered the ancestral spirits of Borneo, said the official, and we are inclined to agree.

Octopus found atop England's highest mountain

During a community trash-gathering exercise on England's Scafell Pike, a volunteer found the remains of an octopus near the peak, the BBC reports. "The mountain does attract a lot of people climbing it," said cephalopod discoverer Dave Ascough, 43. "... so unfortunately it does attract a lot of litter" Read the rest

The horrors of an avalanche (and the beauty of really amazing online journalism)

Now this is how you do multimedia.

At The New York Times, John Branch tells the amazing, terrifying story of 16 backcountry skiers and snowboarders caught in an avalanche in the Cascade mountains in February 2012. The article, by itself, is a must-read. But you should also take a look at the absolutely fantastic way that Branch and his editors put the online medium to good use — embedding interactive maps, photos that move like something out of Harry Potter, and more standard videos into a lovely, fluid design.

Alissa Walker, who pointed me toward this piece, said that she felt cold just reading it. And you really do get that feeling. All the elements of Branch's article are brought together in a way that enhances the urgency and amplifies your sense of experiencing somebody else's story. It's really, really, really fantastic.

Read the full story at The New York Times Read the rest

Martian Mt. Sharp vs. Mt. McKinley

Philip Bump put together this great comparison of Earth's Mt. McKinley and Mars' Mt. Sharp (as photographed by the Curiosity rover).

Officially, it's Aeolis Mons, and it stands 18,000 feet above the crater floor. Here's how that compares to Mount McKinley, America's tallest peak at 20,320 feet. The sea levels / floor levels are roughly comparable. But this is just an approximation. Do not make wagers based on this.

Via pbump.net Read the rest