Thursday, April 26, 2018

Video: Burro Racing in the Mountains of Colorado

As hard as it may be to believe, Burro Racing is a thing on some of the mountain trails of Colorado. But, this isn't the kind of burro racing you might be imagining. Instead, racers must run alongside the animal, which is not allowed to carry them but can carry their gear. In the video below, Salomon sponsored athletes and ultrarunners Ryan Sandes and Max King travel to Colorado to take part in the 69th annual  Burro Days 30 Mile World Championship Pack Burro Race. Along the way, the got far more than they bargained for.

Video: The Stunning Great Barrier Reef and the Threats That It Faces

In this video we join surfers Belinda Baggs and Wayne Lynch, along with free diver Kimi Werner, as they travel on a sailing expedition to the Great Barrier Reef to assess the health of the largest living structure on the planet. The GBR is an important ecosystem for thousands of different species and provides protection from storms to the coast of Australia. But, it is under threat and it is now believed that more than half of the reef is dying or already dead. This clip gives us a look at this changing natural wonder and what it might take to help it survive.

The Adventure Podcast Episode 16: Hidden Gems of America's National Parks

A new episode of The Adventure Podcast is now available for download through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, and Spotify. You'll also find the latest episode embedded in this post for those of you who would rather listen to it directly through your browser as well.

In this episode, in honor of National Park Week,  Dave and I share our picks for our favorite hidden gems in the U.S. National Park System. These aren't necessarily our favorite national parks, but are instead our selection of the parks that few people know about – or visit – and yet are utterly spectacular. In adventure news, we talk about a bold new rowing expedition, Lance Armstrong settling with the U.S. government, and the results of the recent North Pole Marathon. As usual, we wrap things up with our picks for the latest gear you should be using.

We've been enjoying the feedback we've been getting on the show and always welcome more. Of course, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or email us directly. We typically post links to the things we talk about on the show in those social media outlets, so it is a good way to not only connect with us but keep up with the things we discuss too. As always, thanks for listening!

Team of European and Middle Eastern Women Ski to the North Pole

A team of adventurous women from Europe and the Middle East completed a last degree ski expedition – which calls itself the Women's Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition – took about seven days to cover the 80 km (50 miles) from their drop off point to 90ºN, reaching that spot this  past weekend.

The journey for these women began back on April 15, when the first flew to Svalbard in Norway, and then on to the Barneo Ice Camp. From there, they were transported out onto the Arctic ice and began their ski excursion to the northernmost point on the planet. The group was organized and led by veteran explorer Felcity Aston, who skied solo to the South Pole back in 2012.

In total, there were 10 women who made up the group. Those ladies came from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Slovenia, Sweden, France, Cyprus, Russia and the UK. Judging from the dispatches they shared throughout their journey, it seems that this was a truly memorable bonding experience indeed. While they may have only covered the distance from 89ºN to the Pole, it was a challenging struggle marked by cold temperatures, strong winds, and plenty of long days pulling their sleds.

The expedition had two goals: foster a better understanding between European and Middle Eastern cultures and to inspire women everywhere to push beyond their own boundaries and pursue their passions, no matter where they might take them. Those are good messages indeed.

Find out more about this team by clicking here.


_Exposure from Felicity Aston on Vimeo.

Himalaya Spring 2018: Collapse in Icefall Injures Two Sherpas

As if the climbers, Sherpas, and porters on the South Side of Everest got a sharp reminder of the dangers they face yesterday when a section of the Khumbu Icefall collapsed, injuring two. At least one of the injuries was serious enough to warrant an evacuation and temporarily preventing the teams from climbing up from Base Camp to Camp 1. 

According to The Himalayan Times, the accident occurred at 4:00 AM local time when a group of Sherpas was headed up to C1 and passing through the icefall. A section of the route through that area of the climb – located just above BC – collapsed while the porters were moving through the area, causing a severe back injury to Ngima Sherpa, who was airlifted to Kathmandu for treatment. Dendi Sherpa was also injured in the incident, although the extent of those injuries is unknown. He was treated by doctors in Base Camp and returned to his climbing team. 

The collapse shutdown the route through the icefall, which has been described as the safest and most direct path through this section of the climb in years. It took the icefall doctors about two hours to repair the route and reopen it to climbers. 

The Khumbu Icefall is easily the most dangerous section of the climb on the South Side and the site of many injuries and deaths. Collapses like this one are a common occurrence however, and the icefall docs make similar repairs on a regular basis throughout the season. Thankfully, no one was killed this time out and according to reports Ngima Sherpa is out of danger and doing well in Kathmandu. 

Meanwhile, the Sherpa team in charge of installing fixed ropes on Everest continues to work away. According to the latest reports, they are now approaching Camp 3 on the mountain and have passed the famed Yellow Band. The team will finish placing the lines on Lhotse within a few days as well, with a summit push coming on that mountain very soon. 

We also have a quick update on Spaniard Carlos Soria, who is climbing Dhaulagiri this year at the age of 79. He and his squad are current back in Base Camp on that mountain after making an acclimatization rotation up to Camp 1 and Camp 2, spending the night at both locations. All is proceeding well and Carlos hopes to nab his 13th 8000-meter peak in a few weeks time. 

Stay tuned for more updates soon. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Video: Full Trailer for Andy Irons: Kissed By God

If you're looking for a powerful and beautifully shot documentary to add to your list of upcoming films to catch, than look no further than this trailer. It is for a film called Andy Irons: Kissed By God, which tells the tale of world champion surfer Andy Irons, who was a supreme athlete who also struggled with bipolar disorder. The documentary will explore how that impacted Andy's life and the lives of millions of other people who deal with the condition on a daily basis. Powerful stuff.

Video: Slackliners Cross a Line Between Two Frozen Waterfalls

Slacklining is one of those activities that only continues to grow in popularity, with top athletes pushing the boundaries of what we think is possible. Case in point, in this video two slacliners – Lukas Irmler and Pablo Signoret – set up their line between two frozen waterfalls in the Alps and then proceed to walk across. As you'll see, they aren't a short distance above the ground either, instead walking out into open space hundreds of feet up. Don't try this one at home folks.

Gear Closet: Revant Optics New Sunglasses Are The Last One's You'll Ever Have to Buy

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to travel to Sedona, Arizona for a little trail running and mountain biking excursion. While there, I was the guest of Revant Optics, a company that up until now was best known for offering consumers replacement lenses for their favorite sunglasses. But now, Revant is launching its own line of eyewear and it just might be the last pair of sunglasses that you ever have to buy. 

The company was originally founded back in 2010 when CEO Jason Bolt wiped out on his mountain bike. He came away mostly unscathed, but unfortunately his favorite pair of sunglasses weren't quiet so lucky. When he retrieved them he soon discovered that the lens were scratched, but he wasn't necessarily ready to just toss them in the trash and buy another pair. So, he went in search of a way to replace the lens and keep using the frames. In the process, Jason learned that most lens were easily obtainable, so he launched Revant to make it easier for consumers to keep the sunglasses they already owned but just swap out the lenses whenever they became scratched or broken.

Now, Bolt and his team at Revant are looking to bring that same sensibility to all of the other parts that make up a pair of sunglasses too. To that end, they've just launched a Kickstarter campaign with the intention of bringing a line of high-quality, high-performance eyewear to outdoor athletes. 

The new Revant Sunglasses come in three different versions, the S1L, S2L, and F1L. Each has its own unique design, but they share some common features as well. For instance, Revant has built them to be tough and durable enough to take the abuse that comes along with using them outdoors, although we all know that accidents can happen and even rugged eyewear can beaten up or broken. To that end, pretty much every part of these sunglasses are modular and easily replaceable. If the lens get scratched, they can be popped out and quickly replaced. Break an arm and you can snap a new one into place in seconds. The idea is that you don't have to trash your favorite pair of sunglasses when something breaks. Instead, you get a replacement part and fix them. This should help keep a lot of sunglasses out the landfill, which will be good for the environment too. 

Penn State Bans "Outdoor Club" From Actually Going Outdoors

Here's an interesting story that has been making the rounds over the past day or so. Penn State University has banned it's Outing Club – an on-campus organization dedicated to getting students into the outdoors – from actually going outside. The school has deemed the activities conducted by the club, which include hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and trail maintenance, as being too risky.

The Outing Club posted a special announcement regarding this ban on its website. In that announcement the PSOC indicated that it would no longer be organizing any student-led trips into the outdoors. The club cited University officials who said  they had found the organization's activities to be “above the university’s threshold of acceptable risk for recognized student organizations.”

Penn State spokesperson Lisa Powers says, “The groups are being disbanded in their current high-risk model and are actually being re-organized to provide more oversight of activities by trained and professional staff." The University is quick to point out that the 98-year old Outing Club is not going away, just being reorganized.

Apparently there have been some concerns about how several students conducted themselves on unsupervised trips into the backcountry and there are allegations of "issue of alcohol" as well. The findings come after the university conducted a risk assessment of is 79 individual clubs, finding that 20 of them had some level of risk involved. Those included the Archery Club, Boxing Club, and Rifle Club. Only three were determined to have high-risk actives – the Outing Club, Grotto Caving Club, and the Nittany Divers SCUBA Club.

Obviously the misuse of alcohol during certain outdoor activities is a cause for concern, but no one is probably surprised to learn that college kids were having some drinks while on a camping or hiking trip. But, to ban an outdoors club from going outdoors seems rather reactionary. I guess in this day and age, a lot of people probably do think going outside is risky, which is why so many stay inside glued to their television sets or smartphones, rather than actually enjoying nature. Hopefully Penn State and the students in the Outing Club can resolve this issue and get back on track. Right now, this all sounds rather farcical.

It's Official - Polish Ice Warriors Will Return to K2 in 2019/2020

This past winter one of the expeditions that we followed closely was the attempt by the Polish Ice Warriors team to make the first winter ascent of K2. If you paid attention to those posts you probably know that it was one of the most interesting expedition teams to follow in recent memory with a daring rescue mission and high profile infighting, but ultimately no successful summit. After the group called it quits back in March, it was unclear of what the future of winter climbing on K2 would be. Now, we have confirmation that the Poles will be back to give it another go, but we'll have to wait awhile.

In an update  posted to ExWeb today, the Polish team has announced that it will attempt K2 in winter once again. But, an expedition of this scale takes time to plan and prepare for, so unfortunately the Poles will not go back to the mountain until the winter of 2019/2020. This gives them more than a year and half to prepare for the next attempt, which according to the Ice Warrior's leader, Krzysztof Wielicki, is needed to have a proper go at the mountain. With May fast approaching, he simply doesn't see a way that he and the other men could be ready to return in December of this year.

While it is too early to speculate about how the team will make their second attempt on the mountain, ExWeb theorizes that the Poles could go with a smaller, faster, more nimble team next time. The large group proved to be ponderous at times this past winter and the workload was not distributed evenly as was planned. There is even some thought that Italian Simon Moro – winter climbing specialist – could join the team as well, although that is pure conjecture at this point. Particularly since Moro has promised his wife he would not climb K2 after she had a dream that he would perish on the mountain.

The other question mark for this team is whether or not Denis Urubko would return. Though he is an extremely strong and experienced climber, he also caused a lot of internal strife as well. He was often critical of his teammates, called into question the decisions of Wielicki, and even ended up attempting a solo summit in an all out mutiny. Whether or not he would be asked to return remains a major question mark, and if asked, would he even want to return?

The start of the next winter attempt on K2 is a long way off, but already the team is considering what they would do different, including arriving on the mountain earlier. There plan next time out would to be in Base Camp by December 20, the start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. This would give them more time to establish their camps and work on acclimatization prior to the arrival of the truly harsh weather. This would give them a bit of a head start on the climb, although a true weather window for the summit would still be needed.

For now though, we'll just have to wait and see if anyone attempt K2 this winter instead. Otherwise, we have a long wait before anyone attempt the "Savage Mountain" in winter once again.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Video: The Remote Landscapes of Lake Baikal

Located in a remote corner of Siberian Russia, Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake by volume found anywhere in the world. It covers approximately 12,248 square miles (31,722 sq. km) and is as much as 5387 feet (1642 meters) in depth at certain points. It is also surrounded by a rugged, untamed wilderness, which is stunningly captured in the video below. This is a part of the world that most of us will never get the chance to see and its stark beauty is definitely worth a look.

The Lake Baikal from DiamondSky production on Vimeo.

Video: Backpacking Across Iceland

Need a reminder of just how wild and beautiful Iceland can be? Look no further than this video, which was shot over a six day backpacking trip across that stunning country. It comes our way courtesy of Outside magazine and while the music and words can be a bit overwrought at times, there is no denying the spectacular landscapes that are on display. It will definitely get you ready for a hiking journey of your own on whatever trail is available.

Gear Closet: Suaoki G500 Portable Power Station Review

A couple of months back I reviewed a portable power station called the Suaoki S270, which I found to be an incredibly versatile and handy battery pack for keeping mobile devices and other gadgets charged up while traveling, camping, or just hanging out in the backyard. But, that device is a bit on the smaller side and isn't necessarily well suited for powering larger devices or for use in a base camp situation. Thankfully, Suaoki makes another device that is built just for that purpose.

I first mentioned the Suaoki G500 when it launched on Indiegogo back in March. Since then, it has gone on to complete a successful crowdfunding campaign, and is now ready to order on the company's website. It brings a lot more power to the table, delivering a device that is perfect for expedition use, overlanders, car campers, or anyone else who needs efficient portable power just about anywhere.

At its core, the G500 is a massive 500 watt-hour (137,700 mAh) battery pack capable of not only charging smartphones and tablets, but also laptops as well. It can even run small appliances, like a mini-refrigerator or LCD projector. In fact, offers enough juice to keep just about anything you can carry with you into the backcountry functioning, including drones, camera equipment, lights, and more.

Of course, a portable power pack is only as good as the ports that it offers for charging, but the G500 has us well covered in that area too. It comes equipped with two AC wall outlets, three quick-charge compatible USB ports, two standard USB (A) ports, and a USB-C port as well. It also has a built-in DC port like the cigarette lighter port found in your car.

As far as inputs for charging the G500 itself, it also can be powered up using an AC wall outlet, a DC car port, or a solar panel. These different options making easy to recharge the power station at home, on the road, or even off the grid.

How One Expedition Team is Trying to Save the Okavango Delta

Located in the heart of Botswana, the Okavango Delta is a vast inland river delta that forms each year by seasonal flooding. Rains in the Angola Highlands flow down the Okavango River, but rather than be deposited in a lake or ocean, they simply spread out across the plains, covering an area of about 8500 square miles (22,014 sq. km) for several months of the year. This results in a large ecosystem where a variety of plant life grows, attracting large numbers of animals to the otherwise dry and desolate region.

This amazing place is the largest intact watershed in Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But, it has also come increasingly under threat from a variety of sources, including poaching, ongoing conflicts across the region, industrialization, irrigation, and climate change. But a dedicated group of conservationists is looking to protect the Delta and have undertaken an impressively massive expedition to explore its vast expanse.

Dubbed the Okavango Wilderness Project, the team is supported by National Geographic and have spent years charting the Delta from "source to sand." They've started up in the highlands where the rivers that feed the Okavango begin and wandered down all the way to where it terminates on the planes of Botswana, the water evaporating into the air as part of its seasonal process. This team, led by South African Steve Boyes, has gone the length and breadth of the region in an effort to understand it better.

Another British Polar Explorer to Attempt Solo Antarctic Traverse

Another British polar explorer will attempt a solo, unassisted traverse of Antarctica later this year. Veteran adventurer Lou Rudd has announced his plans to follow in the footsteps of Henry Worsley by setting out to cover more than 1770 km (1100 miles) across the Antarctic continent. Rudd has vowed to complete the job that his friend could not, becoming the first person to finish this epic journey completely on their own.

In an interview with Explorers Web, Rudd says that the expedition is scheduled to begin in November of this year and wrap up sometime in January of 2019. He says that he has already begun training for the journey and will tap into his experience in the Antarctic as well. Back in 2011 he took part in the Scott/Amundsen Centenary Race, which is where he first met Worsley. That group traveled more than 1290 km (801 miles) across he Antarctic to reach the South Pole. Then, in 2016/2017 he was part of another six-man team that skied across the frozen continent once again. Now, he's looking to go completely solo on his third visit to Antarctica.

Worsley famously attempted this same journey back in the 2015/2016 Antarctic season, losing his life in the process. This year, Ben Saunders gave it a go as well, but pulled the plug when he reached the South Pole. That leaves the solo, unassisted traverse still open for someone to become the first to finish, Rudd thinks he's the man for the job.

In the interview with ExWeb he touches on what draws him back to the Antarctic, what he learned from Henry while they traveled together, and his overall goals for the expedition, which may include the use of embedded medical sensors to track his biometrics. He also shares some details on his training and what will be on his music player/reading list while he's in the Antarctic.

We'll of course be keeping a close eye on Lou's expedition later this year and bring regular updates on his progress once he gets underway. November is still a ways off, but for him it'll be here before he knows it. You can find out more about Rudd and his plans on his official website.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Video: Exploring the Chugach Mountains of Alaska by Paramotor

Take to the skies above the Chugach Mountains and Knik Glacier in Alaska to get a bird's eye view of the spectacular scenery found there. In the case of the video below, you'll putter along on a parameter flight that provides some epic aerial views of the landscapes found there. This is a truly amazing and adventurous way to explore the backcountry.

Video: Spring Flooding in Yosemite National Park

Heavy rains and rapid snow melt off have hit Yosemite National Park hard this spring. The park has had some of its more popular and iconic places closed due to the conditions, with some roads covered in as much as 4 feet of water at times. This video was shot a couple of weeks back and gives you a sense of what it is like there. Things have improved some now, but there are still areas of the park that continue to battle the wet conditions. This is a good reminder of wild and powerful Mother Nature can be.

Gear Closet: Salomon XA Elevate Trail Running Shoes

If you're in the market for a new trail running shoe this spring, I just might have exactly what you're looking for. The new XA Elevate from Salomon is a shoe built to take on the toughest of trails and keep your feet well protected for miles, although some might not appreciate its stiff ride on less demanding terrain.

As with pretty much every running shoe from Salomon, the XA Elevate is filled with some interesting and unique features and technology designed to help them perform better in the worst of conditions. In this case, that includes the company's Contagrip outsole for improved traction on a variety of surfaces and its EnergyCell midsole that was built to not only offer runners plenty of cushioning underfoot, but substantial energy return too. These components are paired with Salomon's Advanced Chassis to manage motion control and stability, as well as the Profeel Film that offers enhanced rolling of the shoe during toe off.

What does this all mean for runners? To put it more simply, the XA Elevate was built to grip well on just about any surface, protect your feet from rugged terrain, and keep you moving at a fast pace, even when things get rough. And how does it do in terms of delivering that level of performance? In a word – outstanding.

I've been running in this shoe for several weeks now and have come away very impressed. It is a versatile trail runner that can handle a variety of different terrains with ease, but it is surprisingly adept at keeping your feet comfortable and well protected on rocky ground. But more than that, it also performs well on extremely technical trails, providing plenty of confidence in the roughest environments. And at the end of a run, your legs don't feel quite so beat up, with recovery times feeling shorter too.

Popular Mechanics Expands Bucket List with 55 Things to do Before the End of the World

The concept of a bucket list is an interesting one. The idea is to come up with a bunch of things that you'd like to do before you "kick the bucket." If you're like me, that list is always in motion, with new things being added and subtracted all the time. In my case, I'll probably never finish the list completely, but it will certainly be a lot of fun trying. With that in mind, Popular Mechanics is offering us some new things to include on such a list, posting 55 things to do before the end of the world. The author notes that the world isn't probably going to end all that soon, but these are some things you might want to do "just in case."

Some of the items on the list are big adventures, like catching a marlin from a kayak, hike Antelope Canyon or enter a desert race. Others are more practical, like buy yourself a good set of screwdrivers or build yourself a work bench. Some, are just downright silly, like shave your head or shoot pumpkins with arrows. All of them are experiences to be savored and shared however, bringing a splash of color – and sometimes the entire spectrum – to your life.

We've of course seen similar lists from other outlets in the past, but what separates this one from the others is the diversity of things you'll find on the list. They range from things as serious as donating a kidney to as whimsical as eating at a specific barbecue joint in Tennessee. There are also things on the list that anyone can accomplish too, with most of the items being rather simple and straight forward, even if they might require you to step outside your comfort zone a bit.

Taking a cursory glance at these things to do before the end of the world, I'd say I'm about halfway or so through the list. That's not too bad of course, but it does leave me with some work to do. I'd better get cracking.

Find out how many you've already accomplished by clicking here.

Himalaya Spring 2018: The Name of the Game is Acclimatization

We've entered the phase of the 2018 spring climbing season that is a bit of the grind for the climbers. Now that most teams have settled into base camp and gotten a bit more comfortable, it is time for the acclimatization rotations to take over. For the next few weeks, everyone will simply being going up and down their respective mountains, sleeping at increasingly higher campsites along the way, all in an effort to prepare themselves for the thin air they'll encounter as they prepare for the summit. It isn't the most glamorous part of any expedition, but it is necessary for success.

As mentioned last week, the teams on the South Side of Everest have already started making their way into the Khumbu Icefall and up to Camp 1 and 2. More teams are jumping on that schedule now, making the route through the icefall a bit slower, and those two campsites increasingly crowded. The Adventure Consultants are currently at C1 with their entire team and report good weather conditions at the moment. The IMG squad is a bit higher at C2 where the team has already spent a couple of nights. They'll head back down to Base Camp today, even as another group heads up Lobuche as part of its acclimatization efforts. The Jagged Globe team is also in C1 today and plans to head up to C2 tomorrow.

On the North Side of the mountain in Tibet the teams are on the move as well. Furtenbach Adventures has launched its first rotation up the North Col and will spend a few days at Advanced Base Camp. The team uses oxygen tents to pre-acclimatize at home before they ever arrive on the mountain, giving them a bit of a leg up in terms of preparation. Most other teams to be on a similar schedule with climbers heading out to intermittent camp and ABC over the next day or two.

Another team that uses oxygen tents prior to leaving for the Himalaya is Alpenglow Expeditions. As mentioned before, the team is hoping to nab a double summit of both Cho Oyu and Everest this year, and while company owner Adrian Ballinger has been in Tibet for a few days already, his team is now arriving as well. They hope to summit the first of those peaks by the end of next week, then jump over to the Big Hill shortly there after.

Finally, Matt Moniz is starting his first rotation through the Khumbu Icefall today, climbing along with Willie Benegas. Matt is attempting a double summit of his own, climbing both Everest and Lhotse. So far, his acclimatization efforts have been stymied by a stomach bug, which prevented a summit of Pumori. But, he seems to be back on his feet and pushing through his first rotation up the mountain. We'll be keeping a close eye on his efforts in the days ahead for sure.

That's it for today. We'll be watching closely as things unfold over the next few days. Hopefully everyone gets up and down the mountain safely as they start to find their legs and get their lungs ready for the climb. More to come soon.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Video: Mike Foote - Skiing and Skinning 61,000-Feet of Vertical in a Day

A few weeks back I shared the story of Mike Foote, an ultrarunner who had set a new record for skiing the most vertical feet in a single day. Over the course of a 24 hour period, he managed to skin up and ski down Whitefish Mountain Resort 60 times, notching an amazing 61,200 feet (18,654 meters) before he was through. The video below captures the essence of that endeavor more so than anything I could write about it. If you want to see what this mission was like for Mike and his support team, check it out below. It is agonizing, thrilling, and inspiring, all in one go. 

Video: A Road Trip To All 59 National Parks

Next week is National Parks Week here in the U.S., and to celebrate I thought this video was appropriate. It follows travelers Matthew and Renee Hahnel as they travel across the country visiting all 59 national parks, spending 7 months to get to each of those places. Along the way, they discover some of the most striking landscapes found anywhere on the planet.

Lance Armstrong Settles $100 Million Lawsuit with Federal Government

Yesterday, former pro cyclist and Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong put to rest the final lawsuit that has been dogging him since he admitted to doping throughout his long and successful career. It was announced that Armstrong has settled out of court with the U.S. government, agreeing to pay $5 million as well as an additional $1.65 million in legal fees for former teammate Floyd Landis, who could claim as much as 25% of the settlement as the whistleblower in the case.

The lawsuit was brought against Armstrong by the U.S. Postal Service, who was his sponsor for a large part of his career, which saw him win 7 back-to-back Tours de France. The lawsuit claimed that Armstrong defrauded the USPS by using performance enhancing drugs to win those races, during which the team was paid $32 million, of which $13.5 went directly to Armstrong himself. Initially, the suit was for $100 million.

In 2013, Armstrong admitted to doping, setting off a flurry of lawsuits, while most of his long-time sponsors abandoned him. The Tour de France stripped him of his seven wins and the Olympic Committee took away a bronze medal he had won as well. The cyclist was also banned for life from competing in organizes sports as well.

Since that time, Armstrong has been slowly fending off those lawsuits and settling them in various ways. The AP reports that he has paid out more than $20 million over that time. Putting this final case behind him should allow him to move on with his life, which has changed dramatically since his cycling days. Today, he still continues his cancer survivor support work, while serving as a public speaker, podcaster, businessman, and advocate for a wide variety of sports.

Personally, I always felt this lawsuit was a bit unfair. Yes, Armstrong obviously doped and won a lot of races while using banned substances. There is no question of that. But, the U.S. Postal Service saw the full benefit of its sponsorship and then some. Being associated with Armstrong at the height of his fame brought a lot of publicity to the USPS. I don't think they were harmed in any way however when Armstrong admitted to cheating. Either way, its good for cycling to have this over with. Now, hopefully everyone can move on.

How a Team of Ultrarunners Took on the Snowman Trek in Bhutan

Way back in 2016 we followed along as a team of ultrarunners made an attempt on the Snowman Trek in Bhutan. The Snowman is one of the hardest, most demanding trails in the world, and the team of  Ben Clark, Anna Frost, Tim Olson, and Chris Ord set out to run it end-to-end in less than 14 days. Along the way, they faced a bevy of challenges, including porters and logistical support that quit on them, poor weather conditions, and incredibly difficult terrain. Yet in the end, they were able to accomplish their goal.

Fast forward to today, and National Geographic has posted an inside look at the expedition, sharing some behind the scenes details of just what it took for the team to make this daring and difficult journey. The article is an interview with mountaineer, endurance athlete, and filmmaker Clark, who still has a lot to tell about the Snowman Trek adventure.

In the interview, he talks about the origins and idea of attempting a speed record on the Bhutanese trail, what inspires him to visit remote corners of the globe, and why he chose this particular adventure. He also talks about the team's preparation for the speed-record attempt, how he selected those that came along with him, and some of the challenges that they faced along the way.

Clark made an amazing documentary about the speed-record attempt and it will be debuting in 350 movie theaters across the U.S. on May 17 at 7:00 PM local time. It is a one time showing of the film, and tickets can be purchased online.

Trio of Climbers Make First Ascent of Jeannette Peak in Canada

The news of this story broke a week or so back while I was on the road, and it got lost in my email box until now. Still, it is a good story and I thought it was worth sharing, even if I'm a little late on reporting it.

Three climbers have made the first ascent of an unclimbed peak in the Selwyn Range of the Canadian Rockies in eastern British Columbia. On April 2, at 5:10 PM local time, American Lonnie Dupre, along with Canadians Pascale Marceau and Vern Stice, reached the summit of Jeannette Peak, a 3089 meter (10,135 ft) mountain that is the highest in the region.

The team chose this particular mountain because after an exhaustive search they could find no records of it having been climbed at anytime in the past. They were also drawn to its large prominence, which is reportedly 1657 meters (5437 ft). It is believed that it has remained unclimbed until now due to a parameter of knife-edge mountains circling its bace and the numerous narrow, avalanche-prone valleys that are part of its summit approach.

Dupre and Marceau made an attempt on the mountain three weeks prior to their successful ascent, but were turned back 120 meters (393 ft) from the summit due to technical rock obstacles in their path and a high risk of avalanche. They returned in early April and added Stice to the team, finding success along the northwest shoulder and western ridge of Jeanette Peak. When they reached the summit they found a small plateau located there that was made up of snow and rock. The trio spent just 15 minutes on top, before turning back down.

In a press release announcing the success of the team, Canadian Mountaineer David P. Jones commented on the successful climbing, saying “From my perspective, it seems fewer and fewer folk are willing to get off the beaten track and explore without the benefit of a guidebook — so it’s always great to see there are still a few skiers and climbers venturing into more remote areas of the mountains.”

Congrats to the team on their success.