At last weekend's International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Cup, Indonesia’s Aries Susanti Rahayu, aka "Spiderwoman," broke the women's speed climbing record previously set in April by her competitor, China’s Song Yiling. Rahayu bested Yiling's prior record by .106 seconds which, in this game, is a lot. Speed climbing. in which climbers race to scramble a 15-meter wall, will be a new addition to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Below, more highlights from the 2019 IFSC World Cup:
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Everest isn't the most difficult mountain in the world to climb, but it is one of the most expensive. The individual cost of getting one's athletic ass to the top of the mountain range is between $40,000-$130,000. Most of this cheddar gets thrown at logistics. It takes a lot of money for a mountain outfitter to set up multiple camps at varying altitudes along the route to the top of the world. It takes considerably less money to hire the ludicrously underpaid Sherpa guides to set it all up and, if things go well, get their clients up the side of Everest and back down to base camp again in one piece. This in-depth video explains it all. Read the rest
It's weird to think that if he got struck by lightning a couple of feet short of the top, and you were being sent up to fetch the charred remains, you would obviously take a light bulb with you. Read the rest
Two Nineteen Forty Four is Tristan Greszko's remarkable timelapse of last year's record-breaking ascent on The Nose at Yosemite's El Capitan. Read the rest
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)
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Though the original video was removed for some reason, YouNews grabbed a copy of footage purporting to show a Vietnamese tactical team running a drill where they scale a wall using the momentum of an officer being pushed upward by a long pole. Read the rest
La Rambla is one of the world's most challenging sport climbs, and 19-year-old Margo Hayes made it while on a study break from school. Read the rest
The British have erected a "wall of genitals" so that you may climb upon it. "Ever fancied pulling yourself up a wall by firmly gripping a purple penis? ‘Course you have. Haven’t we all?" Read the rest
If your palms are too dry, this helmetcam from the Mount Huashan plank path might help. Best part? It's a two-way path, so one hiker has to swing out and around anyone going the other way. Read the rest
I recently started rock-climbing and have been wanting to find a trainer. This one will do nicely.
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For decades, the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru in Northern India was thought by most elite climbers to to unclimbable. Read the rest
The Shark's Fin on Mount Meru is 21,000 feet above the Ganges River in Northern India. In this short video, climber-filmmaker Jimmy Chin gives a tour of his tent, which hangs on the side of a sheer cliff, and contains 200 pounds of stuff that he and his climbing partner have hauled with them.
Watch the trailer for the full-length documentary about ascending this challenging mountain, called Meru.
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Earlier this month, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson made the first free ascent of El Capitan's 3,000-foot Dawn Wall at Yosemite. This dizzying footage is sure to have your palms sweating. Read the rest
Back in May, we linked you to the reporting of Outside's Grayson Schaffer, who was stationed in the base camps of Mount Everest, watching as the mountain's third deadliest spring in recorded history unfolded. Ten climbers died during April and May. But the question is, why?
From a technological standpoint, as Schaffer points out in a follow up piece, Everest ought to be safer these days. Since 1996 — the mountain's deadliest year, documented in John Krakauer's Into Thin Air — weather forecasts have improved (allowing climbers to avoid storms like the one responsible for many of the 1996 deaths), and new helicopters can reach stranded climbers at higher altitudes. But those things, Schaffer argues, are about reducing deaths related to disasters. This year, he writes, the deaths that happened on Everest weren't about freak occurrences of bad luck. It wasn't storms or avalanches that took those people down. It wasn't, in other words, about the random risks of nature.
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This matters because it points to a new status quo on Everest: the routinization of high-altitude death. By and large, the people running the show these days on the south side of Everest—the professional guides, climbing Sherpas, and Nepali officials who control permits—do an excellent job of getting climbers to the top and down again. Indeed, a week after this year’s blowup, another hundred people summited on a single bluebird day, without a single death or serious injury.
But that doesn’t mean Everest is being run rationally. There are no prerequisites for how much experience would-be climbers must have and no rules to say who can be an outfitter.
A long line of climbers follow each other up Mt. Everest. Image: Ralf Dujmovits.
1996 was the deadliest year in the history of modern climbing on Mt. Everest. In one May weekend, eight people died when they were caught on the mountain in a storm. Over the course of the year, the death toll climbed to 15 total.
In the wake of that year, people tried to make sense of what had happened—particularly when it came to the May 10/11 deaths. All the reporting brought some internal mountaineering debates into the public eye in a big way for the first time. Is it really a good idea to treat Mt. Everest as an adventure-minded tourist attraction, suitable for anyone with a little climbing experience and enough money? What are the risks of having lots of inexperienced, guided trekkers up on the mountain at the same time? Do those climbers have enough climbing instincts to make the right decisions about going on or turning back when they're exhausted and under the influence of a low-oxygen environment? What can their guides do, under those circumstances, to force a right decision? Remember: This isn't a place where help is readily available if you get into trouble. Helicopters can only go so high up the mountain. And if you collapse, the chances of somebody else being able to carry you down are pretty slim.
These questions are likely to come back into the spotlight now. Between May 18th and 20th—last weekend—four people died on Mt. Read the rest
French urban climber Alain Robert, also known as the French Spiderman, climbs to the top floor of a 22-story hotel building in Bucharest October 14, 2011. Robert's climb was part of an advertising campaign for a local electronics retailer.
Robert first climbed a building at the age of 12 when he got locked out of his apartment and decided to mount the eight stories up to an open window. He has since climbed more than 80 buildings around the world including Chicago's Sears Tower and Taipei 101 in Taiwan.
More photos of his ascent follow, courtesy of Reuters.
(NB: I'd link to the man's website, but the front door is a horrible auto-audio-blasting Flash abomination which redirects to what looks like malware. Maybe he can take a look at that when he climbs back down to Earth.)
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