When planning a long car trip, you can’t help but fantasize about your journey’s end. Mandalay, Timbuktu, Tipperary – all famous destinations that conjure up all sorts of exotic and colourful images.
So where better to have as your journey’s goal than Nepal? This remote mountain state, sandwiched between China and India, has long captured the imaginations of explorers and adventurers alike, as the gateway to Everest and the Himalayas.
There are many routes into Nepal, most obviously by air. But by driving from India in to Nepal, you get a chance to appreciate how the landscape and people change as you travel from the vast India sub-continent into this relatively tiny Himalayan country.
We’ve all seen the images: piles of plastic bottles and expedition detritus dumped at Everest’s base camp. In another moment it would be an art installation, drawing our attention to the problem, but it’s not. It’s the everyday neglect and complacency that is spoiling what the Nepalese call the ‘goddess of the sky’.
Recently, an expedition led by David de Rothschild aboard the Plastiki raised awareness of the threat plastic bottles has on marine life. The Plastiki, a catamaran made almost entirely from plastic bottles, sailed 15,000km across the Pacific Ocean.
Plymouth University’s Professor Richard Thompson notes that most plastics are made to be thrown away: “We now find plastic debris widespread in the oceans, at the sea surface, down to the seabed; from the poles through to the equator.” read more
When booking a round the world trip we all have a budget. But what if price was no object? What if you could sample the most extreme adventure sports, in the world’s most stimulating environments?
Just where would you go and what would you do? You can tell us in a minute, but for now here it is: our absolute, ultimate, round the world, extreme sports holiday wish list.
Let’s begin in the Indian Ocean, scuba diving in the Maldives, finding our way among the corals and atolls of some of the world’s most impressive dive sites.
From here it’s onwards and upwards, and time for a bit of hard work (we never said it would be easy!). We’re off to trek Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding mountain in the world…. As the oxygen thins and we push way above the cloud level, it’s soon time for the view of a lifetime. read more
We are forever hearing about Everest expeditions, and K2 and the other usual suspects, but which mountains still unconquered are on mountaineers’ to-do lists?
We all to easily forget that the vast majority of the Earth’s peaks have yet to be climbed. A quick glance at the geo maps from China reveal the true scale of the challenges ahead.
According to the country’s national data, Karakorum mountain peaks at 8611m, that’s only 237m short of Everest, and there are five more mountain ranges that top out at over 7,000m. Now, who is looking to take climbing to new heights and get onto these new on challenges? read more
Mikael explains how to prepare for success:
“Mikael, I had to abandon my expedition! My idea was to cycle through Africa, but I had to give up after just three months. I lost it along the way. What did I do wrong?”
My answer to this email was simple and direct: “You lost motivation and you hadn’t prepared enough!”
His email was similar to hundreds I have received in the last 25 years. After reviewing all of them at length, I realised these failed expeditions often had three things in common: Explorers had lost motivation, and they had failed to understand the need for good sleep, and the benefits of good food.
When the going got too tough, they proved not tough enough to keep on going! Key to any successful expedition is understanding why you go through all these hardships – at the most difficult of moments remember what it is that drives you, and draw on this, it can be your motivation.
When I first read that a 13-year-old boy wanted to climb Everest, I reacted negatively. I thought this has got to be a joke, he is way too young!
But reading more about Jordan Romero it becomes clear that this boy knows his way around a mountain. He’s been to high altitude before and has some top peaks on his CV.
So why the worry? His detractors, and there are many, are clearly forgetting what exploring is all about.
Human life is about pushing the limits of what others think is impossible. Or stupid. Or irresponsible. Or dangerous. This underpins all exploring.
Put yourself in the boy’s position; what an opportunity!
So I say to Jordan Romero, aged 13: Go for it!
When sports stars are put out to pasture, there are only so many routes they can take. One is to swap the team jersey for a coach’s blazer – not always a success – while another, is to pass on their experience, as a media pundit. Only a select few move into adventure sports. But those that do bring stamina, knowledge, and physical application: attributes that serve them well.
Take the case of Josh Lewsey: Formidable England rugby international famous for his truck-stopping tackle on Jonah Lomu, now preparing to ascend Everest; taking the most difficult route. Why, after years of physical stress and strain, continue to push your body to the limits? Because, it is what these people do. read more
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