Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Video: An Expedition to One of the Deepest Caves on Earth

Think cave diving simply involves showing up at the site, putting on your gear, and dropping in? Think again. In this video, we get a glimpse of the logistics involved in simply reaching the Dark Star cave system in Uzbekistan, which is believed to be one of the deepest on the planet. The team of explorers who recently went to the cave spent hours on a bus just to reach their starting point. They then trekked for two days to get to base camp, located above 12,000 feet (3657 meters). The cave itself has seven known entrances, each of which requires rock climbing skills to reach. In other words, this is no walk in the park. Check it out below.

Video: Exploring the Atacama Desert by Unicycle

We've seen some unique modes of transportation used in adventurous ways over the years, but riding a unicycle remains one of the most unusual. In this video, we follow an adventurous unicyclist as he rides his one-wheeled bike through some impressive landscapes in the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile. These are places I'd love to mountain bike, but I'd prefer to do it with two wheels, thank you very much. Still, it is impressive to watch nonetheless.

Gear Closet: Goal Zero Venture 70 USB Battery Pack

My recent trip to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia in the Southern Ocean were a perfect testing grounds for new gear. While in those wild and beautiful places, I had the chance to put a bunch of new products to the test, and in the coming days I'll be sharing my thoughts on a number of new products that you'll want to have on your radar. That starts today with a look at the new Venture 70 battery pack from Goal Zero, a rugged USB charger with plenty of power and features to help keep your gadgets powered up while on the go.

As most of you probably already know, Goal Zero is one of the leaders in the field of portable power for use in the outdoors. The company has been making lightweight and efficient solar panels for years, and its line of Yeti power stations have been a mainstay in base camps for along time now. Of course, it was only natural that GZ would also get into smaller USB power packs as well, which are more convenient for the average traveler. That led to a line of lightweight chargers that have been in the company's catalog for several years as well, including the Venture 30, a ruggedized USB battery pack that features a 7800 mAh lithium-ion power cell, that is also dust and waterproof too. The Venture 70 is the evolution of that product, sharing many of the same features along with a much larger battery.

Much like its predecessor, the Venture 70 is also ruggedized for use in the outdoors. It's outer casing functions much like an armored shell, protecting it from accidental drops, while also keeping water and dust at bay. For those who want the technical specs, the battery pack is IPX67 rated, which makes it a great option for those of us who venture into remote and challenging places on a regular basis. On top of that, it functions well in cold weather, which I learned on South Georgia. Batteries often take a significant hit in the cold, but this one managed to continue to provide power, even when the temperature took a plunge.

Outside Shares the Best Advice the Magazine Has Ever Given

In 2017, Outside magazine is celebrating its 40th anniversary. To commemorate that event, the adventure mag is posting a series of special articles that look back on its long and storied history. The latest of those stories is available online and it shares the best advice that the editors, writers, and contributors of the periodical have ever given. As you can imagine, there is a wealth of wisdom to be had here.

For experienced climbers, backpackers, and travelers, some of the advice probably seems like common sense. But, in some cases, Outside was providing these insights years before the mainstream crowd caught up with their way of thinking. For instance, the magazine offered ideas on how to ditch your car for a bike nearly a decade ago, but bike commuting has become all the rage in recent years. The pages of Outside have also been filled with nutritional advice too, telling us what to eat, when to eat it, and how to maintain proper calories while out on the trail. You'll find a few pieces of info about that in this article too.

As usual, the "best advice" covers a wide range of topics. The magazine reminds us to "Keep it Simple" for instance, and goes on to explain how to maintain focus on fitness and recovery. You'll also find advice on finding the best adventure partner, cherishing your favorite piece of gear, how to wanter without getting lost, and so much more.

Many of these items have been collected from issues dating back as far as 1978, but the wisdom is just as useful today as it was back then. There is a lot to take in here, but it is a great read and an excellent reminder for those of us who already knew all of this stuff, but may have forgotten it along the way.

Read the entire story here. It may be a major eye-opener for you.

Himalaya Spring 2017: A New Season Begins on Everest and Beyond

It is that time of year again. As April inches ever closer, climbers, trekkers, porters, and guides are gathering in Kathmandu to begin their annual pilgrimage out into the Himalaya. The spring climbing season in Nepal and Tibet is about to begin, and already the first teams are on their way to their respective mountains. It promises to be yet another interesting year, with potentially record setting numbers on Everest. And while the other peaks in the region will see less traffic, there will nevertheless be plenty of expeditions on those mountains to follow too. So buckle up and settle in, as the next two months of adventure news will be highly focused on the mountaineering world. 

As I write this, the first teams are already en route to Everest Base Camp, and Sherpas have been there for a couple of weeks establishing the campsites that will be home for the next two months. The Icefall Doctors are also already onsite and have been busy building the route through the Khumbu Icefall. They'll stay until the last climber is off the mountain, maintaining and repair that route late into May or even early June. 

This year, we can expect the usual suspects to continue to play major roles on the mountain. That will include teams from Himalayan Experience, Adventure Consultants, Mountain Madness, and others. You'll also see more and more low-cost Nepali operators muscling their way onto the mountain. These locally owned companies have begun to play a much larger role in the past few years, and are able to offer Everest expeditions at much lower rates than their Western counterparts. They'll be bringing large continents of clients with them to the mountain, as interest in climbing the highest peak in the world only continues to grow. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Video: Mountain Biking Patagonia

Take a beautiful journey through the wilds of Patagonia in this great video. We'll head out with pro rider Matt Hunter and friends as the explore this incredible setting from the seat of their Specialized Bikes. What they find, is a place unlike any other, with some unbelievable trails to ride. Having just gotten a glimpse of this place for myself, I can't think of a better way to see this part of the world.

Video: Kayaking Down a Drainage Ditch in a Tandem Kayak

Three years ago I shared a video of kayaker Ben Marr as he paddled down a drainage ditch in British Columbia, setting off a slew of copycats that followed. Now, Ben has returned to that same spot to run the drainage ditch again, this time in a tandem kayak with his buddy Russ Sturges in tow. Check out their antics in the clip below, which demonstrates that like most things in life, having a partner just makes it more fun.


Video: A Profile of Explorer Mike Horn

One of the expeditions we followed closely this past Antarctic season was Mike Horn's attempt to cross traverse the continent solo by kite ski. He was of course successful in that endeavor, and is now pushing forward with the second part of his Pole2Pole journey, in which he is circumnavigating the planet north to south via both Poles. In this video, we get a profile of Horn and his past accomplishment, as well as an inside look at at his Antarctic traverse. If you're not aware of what drives this man, you'll learn a lot more about him here. If you already know Mike and his ambitious journeys, you'll likely come away even more impressed.

Nepal Will Use GPS Tracking to Verify Summit Claims

Another interesting development occurred in Nepal while I was away visiting The Falklands and South Georgia. Just as the spring climbing season inched closer to its start, the government in the Himalayan country announced that it would use GPS tracking devices to improve safety and verify summits on Everest this year, a move that comes amidst increasing scrutiny of the world's highest peak. 

2017 is expected to be a record year for climbers on Everest with dozens already on their way to Base Camp and hundreds more to soon follow. A few of those climbers will be required to wear a GPS tracking device – such as a SPOT Satellite Messenger or DeLorme InReach – while they make their climb. Those devices have the ability to send an SOS signal should the climber – or anyone else that he or she is climbing with – gets into trouble on the mountain. Both devices also are equipped with tracking capabilities that will allow Nepali officials to follow a climber's path to the summit and quickly discover if they actually made it to the top or not. 

Last year, a high profile fake summit case took place when an Indian couple claimed to have topped out on Everest when in fact they never went much higher than Base Camp itself. These GPS devices will help to prevent those kinds of frauds from happening, although not every climber will be carrying one, so the impact is likely to be minimal, at least for now. 

Similarly, the safety features of the device aren't likely to help much either. Most of the time the issue on Everest isn't locating someone who is injured or in trouble, it's getting them down safely. Carrying a device such as these won't help in those situations, although it could potentially improve the reaction time for search and rescue squads by signaling potential rescuers much more quickly. 

All of that said, there isn't much of a reason to be against carrying the trackers either. They are lightweight, fairly unobtrusive, and they do serve a positive function. 2017 is likely to be a test bed for using the devices, with more climbers potentially having to wear them in future seasons to come. The biggest challenge is likely to be keeping them charged and operating while higher up on the mountain, as battery life can be short and they don't do much without power. 

It will be interesting to see how this program plays out. Just having a few climbers carry them isn't likely to change the culture much on Everest, but at least it is a start. False summit claims aren't rampant, but they do happen, and any attempts to prevent that is a good thing. The same goes for any efforts to help make climbing in the Himalaya safer too. If this technology can achieve those goals, than it is a positive step in my opinion. 

Winter Attempt on Everest Ends, North Pole Skiers Cancel Expeditions Too

I'm back from my adventure across the Southern Ocean to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, and obviously have a lot to catch up on. Some major expeditions pulled the plug on their intended journeys while I was away, so before we turn towards new adventures about to begin, I thought it was best to post a recap of a few things that happened while I was away.

We'll start with an update on Alex Txikon's attempt to summit Everest in winter without the use of bottled oxygen. When I left the country a few weeks back Alex and his team were preparing to make a summit bid, even as the clock was ticking. He had been in the Himalaya since early January and with the end of winter looming, the Spanish climber knew that it was now or never.

Unfortunately for him, Mother Nature didn't cooperate and a projected weather window never materialized. High winds hit the mountain while the team was moving upwards, closing off all attempts to get anywhere near the summit. Worse yet, the weather forecast looked gloomy for the days ahead, so Alex made the tough choice of calling it quits – at least for now. Judging from his remarks following the expedition he plans to return to Everest in the future to give another winter summit a go.

Meanwhile, just as I was heading south, two teams planning to ski to the North Pole this year were embarking on their own epic journey's to the north. Sebastian Copeland and Mark George made up the Last Great March squad, while Martin Murray (along with dog companion Sky) were the other team heading in that direction. Both teams cancelled their trips just a few days into their expeditions however, meaning that once again no one will complete a full-distance journey to 90ºN this year.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Heading to the Southern Ocean

I've alluded to it in a couple of posts over the past week or so, but now's the time to announce that I'm heading out on another adventure. This time, I'll be traveling in the Southern Ocean, sailing from Argentina to The Falkland Islands and South Georgia, two places that I am very much looking forward to seeing. South Georgia in particular should be spectacular, not only for the scenery, but the historical elements with the Shackleton Expedition for instance.

While gone, I'll be working on assignment from Popular Mechanics and traveling with Lindblad Expeditions. While this will be wild, and sometimes turbulent, part of the world, I don't think anyone will be feeling too badly for me considering the amenities we'll have aboard the ship I'll be traveling on. Still, this will be an amazing adventure to a remote corner of the globe, and I'm looking forward to all of the opportunities it will afford me. I'm also looking forward to sharing stories of that journey with you when I get back home. Stay tuned, I'm sure there will be a lot to tell.

In the meantime, change is in the air, the winter climbing season is wrapping up, and the spring Himalaya climbing season is ahead. By the time I get back, quite a lot will have changed in the adventure and exploration landscape, and there will be plenty of news to share from this big, wonderful world of ours. It is going to be an exciting time to say the least.

I'll be back before you know it!

Video: This Amazing Video of a Viking Voyage is Made Entirely Out of Paper

The title of this post pretty much says it all. This incredible video tells the story of a wild Viking voyage, which is cool enough in and of itself. But, even more impressive is the fact that the entire clip is made from paper. You'll have to remind yourself of that throughout the short film, which is just a lot of fun from start to finish. Enjoy!

Iditarod 2017: The Race Resumes in Fairbanks Today

Over the weekend, the 2017 Iditarod got underway in Anchorage Alaska, with 74 mushers setting off following the ceremonial start. But, as I reported last week, the regular restart point at the Campbell Airstrip isn't suitable for use this year because of a lack of snow. So instead, the the sled drivers ant their dogs had to be relocated to Fairbanks, where they'll restart the race today.

This is the third time in Iditarod history that the restart point has been moved to Fairbanks, and once again it is due to poor snow conditions on the trail. While Alaska as a whole has seen plenty of snow this year, the area around Anchorage hasn't been getting the necessary dumps of fresh powder to allow the sleds to run efficiently. Up north in Fairbanks, things are much better however and when the race gets back underway today, the dogs will have plenty of snow to play in.

Since Saturday's start was just a ceremonial send-off, there are no rankings yet. As of this posting, it is still about two hours until the race officially gets going, but don't look for the true contenders to start to emerge for a few days. The race to Nome will cover 980 miles (1577 km), and it is as much a test of endurance as it is speed. For now, the veterans will be mostly content to lurk in the middle of the pack, waiting for the right time to truly get going. By Friday of this week we should have a better idea of where things stand, and who will be the teams to watch heading into the Yukon.

You can follow the entire race on the Iditarod website, which posts all kinds of updates on the standings. Keep in mind when you look at those rankings however that they tend to be a bit skewed  until everyone has taken their mandatory 8 hour and 24 hours breaks. Still, if you know what to look for, it is easy to see who is running well and has a good strategy.

"The Last Great Race" should be interesting to follow once again this year.

Winter Climbs 2017: Messner Visits Txikon in Base Camp on Everest

The winter climbing season continues unabated in the Himalaya and elsewhere. The days are now ticking away rapidly, and with just two weeks to go in the season, the climbers on Everest are beginning to eye the finish line with the hopes of making one last summit bid before spring actually arrives. Meanwhile, in Alaska, another expedition is about to truly get underway.

Alex Txikon and his team have been on Everest since early January now, and have had all attempts to summit the mountain turned back due to bad weather. The team has seen its share of bad luck as well, with a couple of members being sent home after suffering injuries. In fact, the entire squad was recalled to Kathmandu a few weeks back, but after spending eight days in the Nepali capital, they returned to Base Camp last week to begin preparing for another summit push once again. They spent most of that time rebuilding the route through the Khumbu Icefall, but did manage to climb up to Camp 1 before going back down to BC.

It has been a very long and difficult season to say the least, and Alex and company are probably more than ready to wrap up this challenge and head home. If they have been feeling dejected in any way, it hasn't come through in their dispatches however, and the Spaniard has always maintained an optimistic demeanor, even when things looked like they were at their worst. Still, today he received a major shot to his morale when legendary alpinist Reinhold Messner paid them a visit in Base Camp. Just judging from his dispatch it is clear how excited Alex was to meet his idol, and it may just be the shot in the arm he needed to finally get him up the mountain.

North Pole 2017: Still Waiting in Resolute Bay

Just a quick update from Resolute Bay in Canada today. That's where the two teams planning on skiing to the North Pole continue to wait for a good weather window to begin their journey. The three men (and one dog!) who collectively make up these expeditions have been in town for more than week now, and continue to wait patiently for the start of their adventures, each knowing that each passing day could make things just a bit more difficult.

Martin Murray, who will be traveling with a dog named Sky, hasn't updated his status since last week, at which time he had sorted and weighed his gear in preparation for departure. But, The Last Great March team of Sebastian Copeland and Mark George shared news of their status yesterday. With nothing to do but wait, the two men retrieved their sleds from the aircraft and made use of their time by pulling them around for two hours in preparation for what they'll encounter out on the ice. Those training sessions will help them to get prepared for the long grueling days they'll face once they are dropped off at their starting point – either on Cape Discovery or Ward Hunt Island, which hopefully will happen sometime soon. They are poised and ready to get on the plane once they are given the green light.

Unfortunately for both squads, each day that they delay is like a clock ticking away. The Arctic ice now melts at a much faster pace than it did in the past, which means that while it is now at its thickest point, it will also be unsteady and constantly breaking apart. That makes their journey all the harder and will have a significant impact on their eventual success or failure.

At this point, it is unclear when they'l be flown out to their drop off points. As is usual with these kinds of expeditions, Mother Nature sets the schedule. Everyone involved will be watching the weather closely, and as soon as they see an opportunity to depart, they'll go. That could come as early as today, or it could be another week. For now, they'll just have to play the waiting game.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Video: The Last Great Race - A Lieutenant Colonel's Iditarod Tale

U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Roger "Snowdog" Lee has been training for the 2017 Iditarod for the past three years. Tomorrow, he'll take to the starting line in Anchorage to being "The Last Great Race." His life-long dream will come true, but the real challenge is still ahead. Find out more about Lee and his Iditarod ambitions in this great video, which gives us an idea of what the mushers go through in preparing for the race and endure while out on the trail. Just 1000 miles to Nome!

Video: This is the Spacecraft that Will Take Passengers to the Moon Next Year

Easier this week it was announced that Space X would send two private citizens to the moon next year aboard its Dragon 2 space capsule. If you'd like to see what that vehicle looks like, the animated clip below gives you an idea. The two minute video was made back in 2014 when the Dragon 2 was first revealed. Since then, it has been used to shuttle supplies to the International Space Station, but the planned mission to orbit the moon in 2018 will be the first time it has been used beyond Earth's orbit. Not much is known about the mission just yet, so it will be interesting to learn not only who the private (paying) astronauts are, but when they will make the flight. And for the record, I'm still skeptical that this will happen next year, but I'm ready for commercial spaceflight to truly take off.

Himalaya Spring 2017: Blind Austrian Climber Returns to Everest

As I mentioned yesterday, the spring climbing season in the Himalaya is still a month away from truly getting started, but we're starting to see some interesting stories emerge ahead of the climbers arriving in Kathmandu. As usual, there will be a number of fascinating climbs to follow over the course of the two months that the season runs, not the least of which will be Andy Holzer's expedition to Everest, his third attempt in the last four years.

Andy is an Austrian mountaineer who happens to be blind. He has set a goal for himself to climb the seven summits, and has already knocked off six of those mountains, leaving just Everest yet to be climbed. He first traveled to the mountain back in 2014, when the collapse of a serac claimed the lives of 16 porters, abruptly ending that season before it ever got started. In 2015, Holzer returned to Everest, only to have the devastating earthquake that occurred that year bring an end to his efforts. After skipping 2016, he now plans to return again this year.

Recently, Holzer conducted an interview with Stefan Nestler, which as now been posted to his adventure sports blog. In that interview he talks about his return to the mountain, the reasons he's climbing from the North Side in Tibet, his training and preparation, and a lot more. He also talks about his relationship with Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind climber to summit Everest to date. The two have been friends for awhile now, but Andy's approach to the climb is a bit of a different one.

Everest always delivers such interesting stories and 2017 is already shaping up to be no different. I expect the mountain will be very crowded this year, with a record number of summits. Most of those men and women will go up and down the slopes with relative anonymity, But every once in awhile we get a really great, touching story. Hopefully we'll have a lot more to share in the days ahead.


The 2017 Iditarod Begins Tomorrow

One of my favorite events of the year gets underway tomorrow in Anchorage, Alaska. That's where the ceremonial start of this year's Iditarod sled dog race will get underway. This year there will be 73 mushers heading to the starting line with the intent of racing nearly 1000 miles (1609 km) to the finish line in Nome. The race is a test of determination and endurance not only for the men and women who enter, but their teams of sled dogs as well, with the route passing through remote sections of Alaska wilderness where conditions in March are often harsh.

For the third time in the race's history the course has been altered. A lack of snow in the Anchorage area this year has left the trail in a sorry state heading into the start of the race, which was the case back in 2003 and 2015 as well. So, after the teams have their ceremonial start tomorrow, they'll travel 350 miles (563 km) to the restart point in Fairbanks, where conditions are already predicted to be extremely cold, hovering around 0ºF/-17ºC on Monday when the race will resume. Usually the race restarts in Willow instead.

Fortunately, the rest of Alaska hasn't been without its fair share of snowfall. Moving north to Fairbanks will give the racers, and their dogs, a much better trail to run on. And, conditions have been colder this winter too, which bodes well for the race too. In recent years, warmer temperatures have often left the trail soft and wet, which is harder for the sleds to run on. That will likely make the 980 mile (1577 km) dash to Nome a bit easier and faster.

Normally when writing a post about the start of the Iditarod I would run through a list of mushers who are the leading contenders heading into the event. But, let's face it. After winning the race four of the last five years (only losing to his dad), Dallas Seavey is the clear favorite once again. At the age of 29, he's poised to rewrite all of the records in this race. His father Mitch will probably be amongst the leaders as well, and look for racers like Jeff King, Aliy Zirkle, and Hugh Neff to be in the mix too.

As usual, it will take a few days into the race to see who is running well and to watch the strategies play out. There will probably be a few surprises at the top of the leaderboard as things first unfold. But, by the midway point it will be obvious who the contenders will be. Once racers get through their mandatory 24 and 8 hour rest periods and start to turn for Nome. But at this point, that is a long way off, so for now, we'll just have to watch the ceremonial start and let things play out. It should be an interesting race once again.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Video: A Visit to Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is an amazing place. Despite its name, life actually abounds there if you know where to look. In this full-length documentary video, we travel to this spectacular destination and get a fist hand look of the landscapes that are found there. Best of all, if you're lucky enough to have a 4k monitor, you can see it in stunning ultra-HD resolutions. This is the next best thing to actually being there yourself. Of course, nothing actually tops going there, and after watching this, you'll know why. Grab a snack, pour yourself a drink, and get comfortable. You'll want to watch this from beginning to end.

Video: How Every Runner Feels Each Morning

Here's a video that most runners will be able to relate to. It's that resistance we all must overcome before we hit the road or trail where it feels so much better to just stay in bed or relaxed on the couch. Sometimes we need a bit of motivation to get out the door, although usually once that happens, it's all good. The clip captures that little voice inside all of our heads so very well, and urges us to fight that resistance. Get out there and run. You know you'll feel a lot better afterwards. This is motivation on those days when you just don't want to exercise.

Territory Run Co. - Fight the Resistance from Steven Mortinson on Vimeo.

Himalaya Spring 2017: Bill Burke Heading Back to his Namesake Mountain

Over the past couple of climbing seasons in the Himalaya, one of the mountains that we've watched closely has been Burke-Khang, an unclimbed 6942 meter (22,775 ft) peak located in the  Solukhumbu region of Nepal not far from Mt. Everest and Cho Oyu. The mountain is named after American climber Bill Burke, who has spent the past couple of years trying to complete the first ascent of the peak that bears his name. Those efforts have been stymied by bad weather, and in some cases bad luck, so far but, and after not being able to summit last year, it looked like it might be awhile before anyone would try again. But, it turns out that a new expedition is in the works, and Bill will once again be taking a crack at the mountain.

In a recent blog post on his website, Bill wrote "It's a Go!" regarding a new expedition to take place this spring. Apparently, the team of Sherpas that he works with on this climb have made a reconnaissance flight over Burke-Khang and have spotted a route that will take the team up the mountain more safely. Last year's attempt was blocked by a dangerous icefall, but in the months since they were last there, the seracs that made up the icefall have collapsed, clearing the way forward.

Bill says that there are still a few crevasses to traverse, but the snow is reportedly in good condition and the route up is much safer and more straightforward. There are a few sections of blue ice to climb, and the headwall on the way to the summit is described as "steep," but everyone is feeling much better about their chances heading into the 2017 season.

Burke left for Kathmandu on March 1 and should now be in Nepal and making plans for the start of the expedition. Hopefully, after two years of being denied the chance, he'll finally stand on top of his namesake mountain at long last.

We'll be following Bill's progress and adding a number of other expeditions to our line-up in the days ahead. The start of the season isn't as far off as it would seem at this point and things will start to get very interesting in just a few weeks time. Stay tuned.

Outside Names America's 10 Most Deadly National Parks

Have you ever wondered which of America's national parks is the most dangerous? After all, it seems like each year we see news stories about someone getting attacked by a bear or falling off a cliff face. The parks are incredibly beautiful places, but they are also nature in its purest form, and we all know that the wild can be completely unforgiving at times.

Outside magazine has published an article that ranks America's ten most deadly national parks. The rankings are based on the number of total deaths the parks have seen over the years. For instance, Grand Teton National Park makes the list because it has had 59 people die within its boundaries since it was established back in 1929. Four of those occurred in 2016 alone. Denali is also on the list with 62 deaths, although most of those have occurred on the mountain that the park shares it's name with.

Of course, I won't reveal all of the parks that made the cut, but I will say that it is a good mix of places that you would expect to see on the list and a few that you might not have anticipated. Amongst the usual suspects are a some that are bit further off the radar, including the top spot overall. It should be noted that Outside uses the term "national park" broadly here, as a few of the places on the list aren't officially designated as parks, but still fall under the jurisdiction of the Park Service.

The list was also generated purely by the sheer number of people who have died within a park, and doesn't take into account the number of years since that place was established nor the number of visitors. If a 100 people died in a park that has been around for 100 years, it seems less deadly than a park that may have had 100 people die in just 50 years for example. Similarly, if millions of visitors pass through a park's gates each year and a handful pass away while there, it isn't as dangerous of a place that has the same number of deaths but only gets a few thousand visitors for instance. Still, this does give you an idea of which parks are the most dangerous in the purest sense.

All of that said, it is a wonder that some of these parks haven't seen more deaths over the years. For instance, Yellowstone has been around since 1872, and over the course of its 145 years of existence, only 92 people have died within the park. Considering that nearly 6 million visitors now go there on an annual basis, that doesn't seem all that bad.

Update: It has been pointed out that the article says that the stats were taken for all parks from 2006 on, so my rant above is off base. That makes the article a fairer comparison for sure.

Find out which other parks earned the dubious distinction of "most deadly" here.

Winter Climbs 2017: Icefall Route Restored on Everest

Alex Txikon and his team of Sherpas continue to make progress on Everest as they attempt one more shot at the summit. The squad arrived back on the mountain earlier in the week, and have been working on restoring the route through the Khumbu Icefall ever since. Now, with that job done, they are turning their attention upward with the hope of making a final push to the top soon.

In all, it took three days to completely rebuild the path through the icefall. According to reports, more than 60% of the route was destroyed while Txikon and his crew were back in Kathmandu for eight days. Bad weather and shifting ice took its toll on the path, which is mostly made up of ropes and long aluminum ladders that are used to cross open crevasses.

With the icefall now tamed once again, the team is planning their next move. Yesterday was a rest day, but today they intend to get back on the move. They'll climb straight up to Camp 2 and 6400 meters (20,997 ft). Since the group should be fully acclimatized at this point, this could indicate that they are prepared to make a summit bid now, although it could simply be a recon mission to check the status of the camps prior to resting for a few days. That said, time is now of the essence. With just three weeks left in the winter season, and their endurance starting to be tested, we're closing in on a "now or never" situation. And of course, as always, it is the weather that will ultimately decide when they can have a go at the top again.

To get an idea of what it is like to work in the Khumbu Icefall, check out the video below. We'll have more updates as we learn more about Alex's plans moving forward.