Posts Tagged mountain/skyscraper climbing

Wingsuit Daredevils

This video shows a 120 mph wingsuit flight from the 13,000-foot-high Eiger Mountain in Switzerland. It interested me, because I recently watched a 1975 movie called The Eiger Sanction, which starred Clint Eastwood, who though 44 years old trained for the climb and did his own stunts. These included hanging from a rope and cable over a 4000-foot drop.

Eastwood also directed the film and produced some revolutionary footage long before digital special effects were possible. Unfortunately an experienced climber and guide helping out died during the shooting. Over 60 people have died trying to climb the mountain since 1935.

The Eiger is famous for its 5,900 ft north face of rock and ice, which is the biggest north face in the Alps.

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More Daredevils

These hikers I can relate to…only because I once walked– and sometimes crawled–on a similar ridge that was like a knife edge maybe 100-200 feet high. The Pacific Ocean was on either side of the rise in northern California. And there was a trail that others with more confidence would walk along. My companions called me crazy, waited in the flat areas and yelled at me for making THEM nervous. But I wouldn’t have died if I’d fallen. Just broken some bones and maybe drowned in the powerful surf. Oh to be young like that again…or actually, I am glad I did it and survived and know that my sense of balance isn’t what it used to be.

This next clip of city thrill-seekers does convince me that some people really are nuts. But I am sure it was pretty thrilling. Not everyone can make it to a mountain in the wilderness. So you use what the city has to offer:

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Adventures For The Young At Heart

ice climbing

ice climbing

I received from an elderly friend a few pictures of athletic and outdoor adventures. I can’t resist sharing them. If any of you have already completed these challenges, please let us know what it was like…assuming you made it back safely to your computer…these are high-risk, thrill-seeking, death-defying pursuits.

cliff camping

cliff camping

climbing redwoods

climbing redwoods

relaxing at Yosemite

relaxing at Yosemite

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Eldest Everest Climber Almost Dies During Descent

Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 8.59.25 AM

I love this elder athlete’s advice: “It isn’t just about staying healthy, but it’s about having goals,” he said.

“You don’t need to climb Mount Fuji or travel overseas. Just get out of the house. Enjoy good food. Those are the things we should do…”

Also of interest is that he took off his oxygen mask at the top to pose for pictures, and it almost cost him his life.

TOKYO (AP) — The 80-year-old Japanese mountaineer who last week became the oldest person to reach the top of Mount Everest says he almost died during his descent and does not plan another climb of the world’s highest peak, though he hopes to do plenty of skiing.

Yuichiro Miura, who also conquered the 29,035-foot (8,850-meter) peak when he was 70 and 75, returned to Japan on Wednesday looking triumphant but ready for a rest. He was sympathetic toward an 81-year-old Nepalese climber who on Tuesday abandoned his attempt to climb Everest, and break Miura’s record, due to worsening weather.

Min Bahadur Sherchan, the Nepalese mountaineer, faced difficult odds due to the brief climbing window remaining after delays in getting funding for his own ascent, Miura said.

“He is to be pitied,” said Miura, who had downplayed any talk of a rivalry.

Sherchan became the oldest Everest climber in 2008 at age 76 and held the record until Miura’s ascent last week.

The Nepalese climber said he slipped and fell just above the base camp three days earlier, hurting his ribs, so he was airlifted back to Katmandu, where he saw a doctor.

He plans to try again to regain his record, perhaps next year.

“I still have a few more years to make my attempts. I will try until I reach 84 and then quit,” Sherchan said.

Miura and his son Gota, who has climbed Everest twice, said things went well during their expedition because they carefully paced themselves, walking only half-days and resting in the afternoons.

“We just beat the monsoon season, and the typhoons are coming,” Miura said. “Thanks to good luck and careful preparation and planning, we all returned without any accidents.”

“We took our time. You get tired when you are old,” he said.

But Miura said he was dangerously weak at the beginning of his May 23 descent. Though he felt fine after he removed his oxygen mask on the summit to pose for photos and enjoy the view, he suffered for it on the way down.

“I lost strength in my legs,” Miura said. “I could not move at all.”

Helped down by Gota and others, Miura revived after having some food and water at the team’s 8,500-meter (27,887-foot) -high base camp.

“He just wouldn’t give up. This is the real strength of Yuichiro Miura,” Gota said of his father’s recovery and persistence in traveling another 2 1/2 hours later in the day to reach their camp at 8,000 meters (26,247 feet). Read the rest of this entry »

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After Four Heart Surgeries And A Broken Pelvis, This 80-Year-Old Climbs Mt. Everest…Again!

Miura at the top for the third time

Miura at the top for the third time

The news story headline might be enough to talk about: Eighty Year Old Man Scales Everest. But there are other facts even more impressive.

The climb marks the third time Yuichiro Miura has summited Everest, a successful feat in itself, but even more remarkable considering his age and his medical history. He has had four heart surgeries to treat recurring arrhythmia, including one just two months before he set out on his latest journey. In 2009, a skiing accident left him with a broken pelvis and fractured thigh…

Miura didn’t attempt his first climb to the top of Everest until 2003, when he was 70 years old. He made that trek with his son, a former Olympian, and set a world record as the oldest climber to successfully scale the mountain. Five years later, he returned again — at 75 years old — to set another record…

Yuichiro Miura is quite a hero

Yuichiro Miura is quite a hero

Yuichiro Miura has spent a lifetime defying the odds. In his younger years, he skied down Mount Everest’s South Col, an adventure that was documented in the 1975 Academy Award winning documentary, “The Man Who Skied Down Everest.” Not satisfied, Miura summited and skied down all seven summits of the world, by his 50s…

More than 200 people have died trying to scale Everest, since the first successful attempt in 1953.

A few weeks into the climbing season at Everest this year, several records have already been set. Last weekend, Raha Moharrak became the first Saudi Arabian woman to reach the summit, while 30-year-old Sudarshan Gautam, a Canadian born in Nepal, became the first double amputee to conquer the summit.

I find myself smiling about those amateur athletes who whine about small injuries and take weeks off to rest a sore knee or elbow. I know I know…it makes sense and is very smart and reasonable. But here is an 80-year-old guy who has heart surgery shortly before scaling Mt. Everest. Unbelievable

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Montain Climber Fall Recorded Live By Helmet Camera

Mountain climbers brave serious risks for fun. Here is one challenge a climber hadn’t anticipated that his helmet-cam recorded. Pretty scary.

A British mountain climber with a helmet-mounted camera took a terrifying fall after being hit by a hurtling chunk of ice. He was attempting to scale Snowdon in north Wales, one of the U.K.’s highest peaks.

Mark Roberts, 47, a lifelong mountain climber, was climbing Snowdon last month when the falling ice caused him to tumble more than 100 feet down a gully. He came to a stop on a ledge. Roberts, who suffered a broken ankle and bruises, somehow escaped without serious injury—and without screaming.

“There was no feeling of panic, more a concerted effort to protect my head and neck, and be aware of what was below me, where I was heading and what I could do to slow and stop myself before I got to the more serious rocky outcrops,” he said, according to the British Mountaineering Council’s website.

A mountain rescue team airlifted Roberts to a local hospital, where he was treated.

“I was a little dazed but, critically, not unconscious,” he continued. “I had the foresight to check the cam was still attached and just hoped the vid had recorded.

“You have to laugh sometimes,” Roberts added. “Even with experience of risk assessment and making decisions, sometimes things just happen. When it all happens so quickly, you just try not to panic and hope there’s some luck with you.”

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Mr. Death Loves Thrill Seekers At Birthday Parties

Talking to some friends yesterday about thrills like parachuting and paragliding, I reached for my computer and showed the June 15th video on this site of people screaming excitedly during their maiden tandem BASE jump. Suddenly I saw that my friend was not smiling, but crying, and she asked me to turn it off. A neighbor and friend of a friend in her town was being buried as we talked after making a first-time, tandem parachute jump from a plane in which the chute never opened and both jumpers were killed. More poignantly, the jumps were gifts at a 50th birthday party for guests who had the courage and interest to try it out. I heard how the man’s wife also jumped and was walking along afterward looking for her lost husband. The CBS news story starts out like this:

David Winoker was a guy who didn’t take chances, always driving below the speed limit, always using several layers of sun block. His wife says she urged him to go skydiving Friday, and he reluctantly agreed. Taking that risk cost him his life…Three million people skydive in this country every year. In 2011, there were 21 related fatalities. Of those, just one was a tandem jump like Winoker’s.

As I started to tell my daughter about it later on, she interrupted and said she definitely wants to try jumping…and then I told her about this accident. A severe reminder that there is always danger in these thrilling adventures that take no skill, no practice. Just courage and money. When I jumped out of planes 50 years ago, it was after three weeks of conditioning under strict supervision. Yet people were killed and injured anyway. It’s a risky game. And jumping in tandem is definitely not a sport.

A few days earlier, I’d found this story about an experienced mountain climber who fell to his death. I knew two people who went hiking and fell over cliffs and died. It all sounds so idyllic, but accidents do happen, even to experienced professionals.

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Tamae Watanabe Is Oldest Woman To Climb Mt. Everest As 3 Die

summit photo of Tamae (left?)—5/19/2012

While watching the Celtics lose to the Heat, the commentators said that the three leading Boston players were so old (four top players are 36, 36, 34, 27) that they ran out of gas in the fourth quarter of the seventh game. Same comment about old man Federer (31) not able to keep up with the young bucks Djokovic and Nadal (25 and 26). That is partly what makes this story so impressive…that a woman in her 70’s is able to keep up with climbers half her age and less, while defying death on the mountain.

KATMANDU, Nepal — A 73-year-old Japanese woman climbed to Mount Everest’s peak Saturday, May 19, 2012, smashing her own record to again become the oldest woman to scale the world’s highest mountain.

Tamae Watanabe had climbed Everest in 2002 at the age of 63 to become the oldest woman to scale the mountain, beating the 50-year-old record holder at that time. She had retained the title until she topped herself a decade later. Amazingly she found it a bit more challenging this time, because she broke her back in 2005!

a few days after Tamae's historic climb

May is considered the best month to climb Everest, when climbers get about two windows of good weather for their bid for the summit. Unfortunately, so many climbers make the attempt at this time that there are bottlenecks, slowing down some ascents, and then people come down from the summit too late in the day or night. On May 19th this year, when Tamae set her latest record, three climbers died attempting to reach the peak.

The first clear weather conditions of the spring climbing season were Friday and Saturday, but a windstorm swept the higher altitudes of the mountain by Saturday afternoon. An estimated 150 climbers reached the summit on either day, most of them on Saturday.

There was a traffic jam on the mountain on Saturday. Climbers were still heading to the summit as late as 2:30 p.m. which is quite dangerous. Climbers are advised to not attempt to reach the summit after 11 a.m. The area above the last camp at South Col is nicknamed the “death zone” because of the steep icy slope, treacherous conditions and low oxygen level.

With the traffic jam, climbers had a longer wait for their chance to go up the trail and spent too much time at higher altitude. Many of them are believed to be carrying limited amount of oxygen not anticipating the extra time spent. The three climbers who died Saturday were believed to have suffered exhaustion and altitude sickness.

The oldest person to climb Everest is a Nepalese man, Min Bahadur Sherchan, who climbed Everest in 2008 at the age of 76.

fantastic achievement

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Just In Case You Dream Of Climbing Mt Everest

thinking about climbing Mt Everest?

Have you ever dreamt of one day climbing Mount Everest, if only you could muster the guts to attempt it? Well, a thirst for adventure isn’t all you’ll need. The journey to Earth’s highest summit also requires a considerable wad of cash—more than most people might think.

Experienced climber Alan Arnette of Outside magazine outlined the different options for ascending the highest Himalayan peak. Those options are as follows: go it alone and put together your own expedition, join a logistics-only expedition, or, the priciest route, join a fully-guided expedition.

According to Arnette’s estimates, the absolute lowest possible cost, without sacrificing safety, would be around $35,000. And that’s if you go as part of a seven-person team. To fly solo, expenses would total around $60,000. Gear, food, oxygen and tents aren’t the only necessities, Arnette explains. Each expedition must also pay for a permit, liaison officer, visa, park fee, waste deposit, insurance—not to mention a ticket to Nepal. Climbing solo could cost you up to $83,000. In other words, two years at NYU or five Toyota Corollas.

On the other hand, guided expeditions allow climbers to split some costs. Still, the “full service” trips can top $100,000 when you factor in tipping your guides and splurging on luxuries like sushi, open bars or oxygen. Fully-guided trips also offer more support to less experienced explorers. Logistics-only, partially-guided expeditions can cost just south of $30,000, but are only recommended to seasoned climbers.

If you opt to fly solo, according to Arnette’s estimates, at the high end of the spectrum that will total $82,900. Still feeling intrepid? For that cost, you could get a new Audi A8, a three-bedroom house in Schenectady, N.Y., or 150 iPads.

(thanks to Time Magazine for this info)

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Alex Honnold Is The Greatest Free Solo Climber—No Rope, No Harness

Alex Honnold is an amazing athlete. One narrator says he is like the Michael Jordan in the sport of free solo rock climbing: no rope, no gear, just rock shoes and a chalk bag. “It is profound and the ultimate. One wrong move…you fall, you die.” Most people climb the 2000 feet of Half Dome in Yosemite in a day or two. Alex does it in less than three hours.

Alex climbs without any gear

Check out the shorter video above. For more background in the 13-minute segment on 60 Minutes, watch here. He lives in a van, drives from mountain to mountain, and exists on about $12,000 a year.

Usually fearless, but he froze at this point for a few minutes

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Chad Kellogg Trains To Run Up Mt. Everest

Chad Kellogg is a speed climber of mountains, by running up them or scaling their walls. He trains on Washington State’s Mt. Ranier, going up and down in five hours, while normal climbers take two days just to climb up. He is training for another assault running up Mt. Everest and saves money for the attempt by living out of his pickup truck. This is real dedication. Total focus. And this athlete also lost his wife to a fall off a mountain and is a cancer survivor. What an inspiration!

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Stuntman Walks Up Mountain On Cable Car Wire

Freddy Nock climbs mountains a special way

It’s simply amazing to me that people do these things…

A 46-year-old Swiss stuntman, Freddy Nock, has ascended a nearly 10,000-foot-high mountain by tightrope walking a two-inch-wide cable car wire—without the aid of any safety gear.

He clambered up the cable to the top of Bavaria’s Zugspitze mountain with only a balancing pole. It took the daredevil less than 90 minutes to make the ascent, which is the longest and highest wire-walk in history, the Daily Mail reports.

Nock has an even more daring stunt planned for later this month: He’ll ride a bike across a wire in an effort to raise funds for Unicef, reports The Telegraph.

look at those abs!

no net beneath him; no safety line attached to the cable

A 46-year-old Swiss stuntman, Freddy Nock, has ascended a nearly 10,000-foot-high mountain by tightrope walking a two-inch-wide cable car wire—without the aid of any safety gear.

He clambered up the cable to the top of Bavaria’s Zugspitze mountain with only a balancing pole. It took the daredevil less than 90 minutes to make the ascent, which is the longest and highest wire-walk in history, the Daily Mail reports.

Nock has an even more daring stunt planned for later this month: He’ll ride a bike across a wire in an effort to raise funds for Unicef, reports The Telegraph.

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Ueli Steck Climbs Some Mountains Faster Than Anyone

This first video above gives you a taste of what Ueli Steck can do. He may be the fastest mountain and rock climber in the world. He is a real inspiration. You won’t believe what you see. One person I showed it to admitted that her palms were sweating. She also wondered how he gets down.

The second video helps you understand how Ueli thinks and how he innovated and rewrote the traditional Swiss Alpine climber manual. Lots of interviews here of Ueli and other climbing authorities.

Now here are some of his records and then a great article from You can see more videos and pictures here .

Steck’s record ascents:
North face of the Eiger, Heckmair Route, two hours, 47 minutes (February 13, 2008)
North face of the Grandes Jorasses, Macintyre Route, two hours, 21 minutes (December 28, 2008)
North face of the Matterhorn, Schmid Route, one hour, 56 minutes (January 13, 2009)

Ueli Steck on the Eiger Northface—1/2006

The Death Wall

Ueli Steck has actually broken the record for the fastest ascent up the north face of the Eiger twice, including his own. The first time he shaved 45 minutes off a record of four hours, 30 minutes, set by Christoph Heinz in 2003.

Then in February 2008, Steck pruned 58 minutes off his own time, climbing the north face alone in winter in a staggering two hours, 47 minutes, 33 seconds.

The Eiger Nordwand is particularly perilous because rocks and ice chunks rain down the face onto climbers below. The 1,800-metre high wall also acts as a backstop, trapping virulent storms even while better weather lingers over the surrounding area.

Jul 27, 2009

Most climbers need two days to tackle the Eiger’s treacherous north face, but if you’re Ueli Steck, Switzerland’s fastest alpinist, you can do it in less than three hours.

You wouldn’t spend all day on the north face of the Matterhorn, either. Steck bagged that one in one hour, 56 minutes, compared with the ten nerve-wracking hours it takes most people.

The north face of the mighty Grandes Jorasses near Chamonix, France? Steck ticked it off in a blistering two hours, 21 minutes.

The 33-year-old from the rolling Emmental in canton Bern is one of the world’s best free-soloists, the most perilous of all the climbing styles. He often tackles dangerous routes with no ropes or gear to guard against a fall. A single mistake can mean a horrific death.

“The strongest part of him is his focus,” said Stephan Siegrist, Steck’s friend and a climbing partner for ten years. “You have to be focused like that if you want to climb at that level.” Read the rest of this entry »

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13-Year-Old Jordan Romero Is Climbing Mt. Everest This Week

Jordan Romero on his way up Mt. Everest

Here is an inspiring article about a person who is obviously not ordinary. But what an inspiration for those of us with dreams and who, like myself, need to push hard to be disciplined about efforts like gym exercises and abs crunches. Jordan Romero is a 5’10” 13-year-old who has been climbing mountains for years, has already reached five of the Seven Summits—the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents—and hopes to become one of just 200 people who have climbed all seven of those mountains. So now he is about to take on Mount Everest and become the youngest person in the world to reach that summit.

Jordan on the top of Oceania's highest mountain—9/1/09

The article questions whether any 13-year-old is able to understand the risks involved, how it will affect his brain development and whether his attempt should even be allowed. What do you think? He is already camped at 21,000 feet and waiting for some high winds to subside before climbing the next 8000 feet to the top by Sunday. Best wishes, kid…

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Another Inspiring Person…He Climbs Mountains

Timothy Egan tells a story in today’s New York Times about his friend who is off to climb Mt. Everest at 62. There are so many people who continue to inspire us.

John Rudolf—2008

John Rudolf—2008

SEATTLE — My friend John Rudolf left for Mount Everest on Monday, off to clamber up toward the roof the world at an age, 62, when some people have trouble getting out of bed in the morning — or at least finding a motivation to greet the dawn.

He’s in great shape, full of the kind of energy that could keep a poker game going at 3:00 a.m., and I’m convinced if weather, luck and logistics are on his side, John Rudolf will join a very small club of people who have climbed the highest point on each of the seven continents. For him, Everest is the last one left on this most rarified of bucket lists.

Oh, and he’s been diagnosed with prostate cancer as well, though at this point it’s in a wait-and-watch stage.

“Sometimes I wake up in the morning like that character in the Kafka novel [‘Metamorphosis’], I look at myself and say, ‘How did I get old?’” he said. “Because I don’t feel like that guy.”

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