Monday, October 15, 2012

'Expedition Denali' Seeks to Demolish Mountaineering Stereotypes

The REI Blog is following the progress of Expedition Denali as the all African American crew readies for their June 2013 summit attempt. Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin, field instructor and Diversity and Inclusion Manager from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and cofounder of Expedition Denali, provides this update:
Picture a mountaineer. OK, what does your picture look like? I bet it is a rugged, leathery-faced white male in his late 30s to early 40s with wind-burnt cheeks and chiseled features. I bet you don’t picture the all African American members on Expedition Denali.
So why is it that so many of us picture white men when we think about mountaineering, or even outdoor adventuring in general?
Is it Hollywood characters such as Scott Glenn playing K2 specialist Montgomery Wick in Vertical Limit or Sylvester Stallone free soloing a cliff during a blizzard inCliffhanger? Is it our history books, which tout about the heroic deeds of Sir Edmund Hillary? Is it just how the sport began, as mainly the pastime of the privileged few who wanted to make their mark on history?
Or is it the media, which has largely failed to make reference to pioneers such as Alaska Native Walter Harper who made the first ascent of Denali in 1913, or the countless Sherpas who have ushered mountaineers to the highest points on earth?
Face it, it will take a major paradigm shift for us to see alpine mountaineering as more than rich white dudes gallivanting across the world to climb granitic monoliths in the Himalayas. But with Expedition Denali, I hope that maybe—just maybe—that highlighting the inspiring feats of a set of African American outdoor role models can get us part way there.
With Expedition Denali, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) will lead the first African American expedition to summit Denali—the highest peak (20,320') in North America—in June 2013, the centennial of its first ascent.
Through this expedition, our school aspires to develop role models who will inspire young people of color to get outside, stay active and fall in love with nature. A greater goal of the expedition is to engage a broader constituency in a public dialogue about diversity in the outdoors.
Expedition Denali roped up on Baker
But more important than the actual expedition will be what is happening on the ground.
During the mountaineering team’s ascent, organizations nationwide such as Sierra Club and the YMCAwill lead youth and families on their own “10,000 Steps to Denali” (the approximately 5-mile round trip distance between High Camp and the Denali summit) in outdoor spaces near their homes in solidarity with the team and to commemorate this historic event. After the expedition, team members will visit with schools, organizations and church groups nationwide to directly connect with people of color.
The team’s journey began with rigorous training in Alaska’s Chugach Range, British Columbia’s Waddington Range, Washington’s Mount Baker and the Patagonian Andes. Now the team will continue to train and stay fit as we all eagerly anticipate June 8, when their Denali expedition begins.
Team member Adina Scott recently blogged about her Expedition Denali training for The REI Blog. Stay tuned for future posts from team members as they reflect upon the past months of preparing for Denali and the journey ahead.
Photos courtesy of Fabel/Duba/NOLS.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Indian Navy pilot to circumnavigate the globe non-stop in ship

A naval pilot is embarking on an ambitious expedition to circumnavigate the world non-stop in a specially-built ship.

If Lieutenant Commander Abhishek Tommy pulls off the adventure, he would become first Indian and the second Asian after Minoru Saito from Japan, to accomplish such mission.

Tommy will set sail from Mumbai on November 1 and is expected to take six months to circumnavigate the globe in his indigenously built vessel INSV Mhadei.

The expedition labelled as 'Sagar Parikrama II' is a sequel to 'Sagar Parikrama I' completed successfully by Commander Dilip Dhonde who had travelled 23,400 nautical miles for 165 days.

"This would be uninterrupted journey," Tommy told PTI at Verem Naval jetty near here.

As a naval pilot, Tommy had provided the shore support in Dornier aircraft to commander Dhonde during 'Sagar Parikrama I'.

Tommy will be carrying foodstock that is expected to last for about a year.

Mysore-based Defence Food Research Laboratory has produced the food provision that can last for months together without refrigeration facility for the second edition of the ambitious expedition.

The officer will be carrying gadgets that will give him access to satellite Internet, satellite telephony and access to email.

Terming his mission the "biggest adventure for any human being," Tommy said so far only 80 people have circumvented the globe non-stop.

"There are only 80 people who have circumvented the globe non-stop, while 180 people have made it with stops..500 people have gone into space and 5,000 on Mount Everest," he added.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012



On July 8, 25-year-old journalist Filipe Leite straddled one of his two horses and rode out of the Calgary Stampede under the escort of the Royal Mounted Police to start a 10,000-mile, two-year-long, 12-country journey that he hopes will end on his family’s ranch in Brazil. To understand the motivations for the cowboy's quest, it helps to start with his birth. His father, a cowboy, named him Filipe because it means friend of horses in Portuguese. He rode a horse before he could walk. As a little boy, his father told him the story of Aime Tschiffely, a Swiss schoolteacher who decided to ride from Argentina to New York City in 1925 on a pair of horses. Tschiffely rode over 16,000-foot mountain ranges, down into humid tropical jungles, and slept in Indian villages on his way through Central America. He didn't make it to New York City, but landed in Washington D.C., where he was greeted at the White House by President Calvin Coolidge in 1928. “Of high adventures, hairbreath escapes, and deeds of daring, there were few; yet in all the annals of exploration I doubt if any traveler, not excepting Marco Polo himself, had more leisure than I to see and understand the people, the animals, and plant life of the countries traversed,” said Tschiffely in an article about the expedition.

Leite said Tschiffely's journey inspired him. The Brazilian hopes to chronicle his expedition in a documentary. For now, he is resting in Delta, Colorado, roughly 1,000 miles from his start in Canada. He estimates it will take him another a year and nine months of riding before he arrives home at his family’s ranch in the small town of Espirito Santo do Pinhal, Brazil. “My horses will be retired there where they will enjoy fresh water and green grass for the rest of their days,” says Leite. “I'm giving the to my little sister. She's six-years-old now and will spoil them to death.”

We caught up with the cowboy by e-mail to find out a bit more about his journey.

From the road Photo: @filipemasetti on Instagram

WHO: Filipe Leite, a 25-year-old journalist who grew up on a ranch in Brazil.

WHAT: A 10,000-mile, 12-country journey from Calgary, Canada, to Espirito Santo do Pinhal, Brazil, on two horses. Leite travels an average of 20 miles a day and rides for four days straight before resting for two days. He sits in the saddle for about 10 hours a day, switching steeds when he needs to. In cities, he stays at rodeo grounds. In the country, he stays at ranches or farms. The toughest part of his journey so far has been a four-hour walk in the dark through Yellowstone. “I thought I was going to get mauled by a grizzly bear,” says Leite. “It was the worst.”

WHEN: Leite left Calgary on July 8, 2012 and expects to arrive at his family’s ranch in Brazil during the summer of 2014, hopefully in time for the Olympics.

WHY: “The trip was a lifelong dream. I hope to inspire others to follow their dreams. I want to show the world that we can do anything we put our minds to, even if it seems as insane as riding horseback 10,000 miles from Canada to Brazil. I also hope to show how we are all inherently the same—we all want to love and be loved. As a journalism graduate, I also knew I wanted to do a documentary within the Americas that focused on the dichotomy between rich and poor while also highlighting how similar we all are—regardless of religion, creed, or social economic background. Travelling horseback is perfect for this because it allows you to really live with the people in all of the places you pass through. Because I need help in order to find food, water, and the best routes for my horses, I am in constant contact with locals. They open their ranches and farms for my horses and I and while sitting around the dinner table with them I get to learn so much.”

SPONSORS: Copper Spring Ranch, Mellohawk Logistics, and Outwildtv

FOLLOW ALONG: Outwildtv, @FilipeMasetti on Twitter, Journey America on Facebook, and@FilipeMasetti on Instagram

—Joe Spring

Monday, October 1, 2012

NOAA National Weather Service "gets it" with new 'one-click' weather graphics

KUDOS to NOAA's NWS for making it EZ!!!

1.) Point your browser to one url:
2.) Then click a specific map location for weather information.