It is about a month before teams from all around the world packtheir duffel bags for the flights to Kathmandu. Thus far the southlooks like business as usual with about 16 teams already announced. Toput this in perspective, in 2007, when we saw a record number ofEverest summits, there were about 17 teams on each side.
One question for 2010 is how the north will shape up. It has been afew years since climbing was open from the north. The Chinese closedEverest with their desire to celebrate the 2008 Olympics in Beijing bytaking the torch to the summit.
This created difficulties in getting permits and access to routes in2007 when they did a practice climb and again in 2008 when they took atorch to the summit. In 2009, violence in Lhasa resulted in Chinaclosing Tibet to foreigners for most of the climbing season.
A couple of years ago I got the chance to interview the cast and crew of The Deadliest Catch in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. My first interview was with Captain Phil Harris, who recently passed. He was in the wheelhouse operating a crane, moving palates of groceries from a delivery truck on the dock onto his deck. He lit up a cigarette, cranked some heavy metal to show off the new stereo he had just installed, and started yelling back blunt answers to my questions. He was refreshingly frank.
Phil's journey as a fisherman started because of car envy. While in high school in Bethel, Washington, he drove a Chevelle. His buddy came around with a new car he bought after a season fishing for king crab. At 17, Phil left with that friend to fish on the American Eagle. Early into his first season, he quit and then crawled up on a galley table and curled up. The captain came down and yelled at him, "You can't handle it." He took it as a challenge, got back up, and never looked back.
Christine Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation, said the amount of young people heading outdoors is dropping each year, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. The Foundation's Special Report on Youth, which focuses on young people ages 6-24, draws on the responses of over 40,000 Americans captured in an online survey covering 114 different activities. Although outdoor participation has fallen each year, the report finds nearly 60% of American youth participating in outdoor recreation. A lack of interest and a lack of time are the top barriers keeping youth non-participants in outdoor recreation indoors. Running, bicycling, fishing, camping and hiking are the most popular outdoor activities among youth.