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Adventure : Celebrities

Yuichiro Miura: The Old Fogey

In his third bid for the summit, 80-year-old Yuichiro Miura of Japan is attempting to reclaim the title of oldest Everest climber. He’s held the oldest man on top of the world title before, in 2003, but he lost it five years later. The current record holder, Min Bahadur Sherchan, who is Nepalese, climbed it in May of 2008 when he was 76. Miura, who also climbed that season, summited the following day, but he was only 75. Five years later he’s back to regain the old dude crown. He’s climbing the southeast ridge with a nine-person team including his 43-year-old son, Gota, and a doctor specializing in heart disorders, who is there to monitor Miura who had two heart surgeries last fall.

Mirua has been breaking obscure records on Everest for the past 40 years. In 1970, he became the first person to ski Everest. He skied from the South Col, wearing a fighter pilot helmet and a parachute. The Nepalese government wouldn’t let him ski from the summit. He caught an edge, and tumbled uncontrollably down most of the face after his parachute failed to deploy. A documentary about his descent, The Man Who Skied Down Everest, came out in 1975; he calls himself the man who fell down Everest.

Mirua told Reuters that he has other climbs on his tick list, and that Everest won’t be his last peak. "Maybe, when I become 85 years old, and if I stay alive, I want to climb and ski down Cho Oyu," he said. "It is my next dream."

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Justice Department Files Civil Action Against Lance Armstrong

On Tuesday, Justice Department lawyers filed the government’s anticipated civil action against Lance Armstrong, also naming Tailwind Sports, which owned and operated the U.S. Postal Service cycling team, and Johan Bruyneel, who managed it.

The government is joining a whistleblower action initiated by Floyd Landis in June 2010, and is seeking to recover triple damages on the $40 million that the Postal Service spent as a sponsor between 1998 and 2004. The complaint alleges that the defendants were “unjustly enriched” because Armstrong and other Postal riders cheated to win, with all hands repeatedly lying to assert that they raced clean.

Here is the full text of the 28-page filing, which goes into considerable detail about alleged cheating practices, some of which will be familiar to readers of the USADA report. Armstrong’s side of the story will be spelled out later, but Armstrong attorney Elliot Peters told the Associated Press that the complaint was “opportunistic and insincere,” maintaining that the Postal Service reaped ample financial gain from the partnership and was not defrauded.

The government clearly intends to stress that reputation, not just revenue, was an important part of the Postal Service’s arrangement with Armstrong. In 2000, for example, in the wake of French media reports asserting that Postal riders had used banned substances in the 2000 Tour de France, the Postal Service added new wording to its sponsorship agreement specifically charging Tailwind with maintaining the drug-free integrity of the team.

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Adventurers of the Year: Supersonic Man Felix Baumgartner

On October 14, Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian skydiver, stepped out of a steel capsule and fell to earth from the stratosphere, topping the previous record for highest parachute jump, which was set by Air Force colonel Joe Kittinger in 1960. Bold projects like this used to be possible only through government funding. Now the adventure world is dominated by individuals and companies with deep pockets.

Here's a breakdown of Baumgartner's jump:

127,852.4 feet: After a massive helium balloon lifts him 24 miles high, Baumgartner opens the hatch to his eight-foot-diameter capsule and launches into the stratosphere.

91,316 feet: Fifty seconds into free fall, Baumgartner reaches his top speed of 843.6 miles per hour and becomes the first person to break the sound barrier with his body, creating a sonic boom that’s caught on amateur video from the ground.

75,000 feet: Baumgartner enters into an uncontrolled flat spin—one of the greatest concerns going into the mission, since G forces can cause blackouts. After 13 seconds he regains control.

8,400 feet: Baumgartner pulls his chute after four minutes and 20 seconds of free fall.

Touchdown: Forty-five miles east of Roswell, New Mexico, Baumgartner lands safely, drops to his knees, and raises a hand in triumph for the cameras.

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Adventurers of the Year: Director James Cameron

On March 26, 2012, Avatar director James Cameron piloted his mini sub, the Deepsea Challenger—which he designed with engineer Ron ­Allum—to the deepest spot in the ocean, the 6.8–mile-down Mariana Trench. It was only the second time mankind had reached that depth, after Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard made the trip in 1960 in the U.S. Navy’s hollow-steel bathyscaphe Trieste. Bold projects like this used to be possible only through government funding. Now the adventure world is dominated by individuals and companies with deep pockets.

These were the stages of James's deep sea dive:

Sea level: Two hundred miles off the coast of Guam, Cameron’s support vessel winches the 24-foot Deepsea Challenger into the Pacific.

650 feet: Descending at a rate of eight feet per second, the Challenger moves through the sunlight zone, where most ocean life resides, and into the twilight zone, where light fades and bioluminescent creatures like lanternfish live.

13,000 feet: Lights out—Cameron enters the pitch-black abyssal zone.

19,700 feet: Three-quarters of the ocean floor lies at this depth. The only deeper points are its trenches.

Touchdown: Two hours and 36 minutes after beginning his dive, Cameron arrives at 35,756 feet, where water pressure is 16,000 pounds per square inch. Before collecting sediment samples for analysis, Cameron sends out a tweet: “Just arrived at the ocean’s deepest pt. Hitting bottom never felt so good.”

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The Future of Skiing: Personal Heli Drones and Electrostatic Skins

Twenty-five years ago, skiing was a different beast. Skis were straight and narrow and long … really long. Helmets, Gore-Tex jackets, Alpine Touring gear and thermomoldable liners weren’t even a glimmer in the skier’s eye. Ski movies involved a lot of hang gliding, train-jumping, and moguls. Resorts didn’t have gladed runs, side country wasn’t a concept, and the only helmet cam was a full sized VHS video recorder duct taped to a hockey helmet. Global warming didn’t exist as far as any of us knew. The Internet didn't exist. And freestyle skiing meant you did snow ballet.

In 25 years, the world has changed enormously, and with it skiing. What will the sport look like 25 years from now?

As ski season 2013 wraps up, we turn to 10 of the ski industry’s visionaries, luminaries, and legends, from athletes to gear designers to filmmakers to snow activists. We asked them to gaze into their crystal balls and tell us what they see for skiing a quarter century from now. Here are their bold—and ooccasionally wacky—predictions for 2038.

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