A slew of big news stories have hit the wires this morning. Here they are all in one clump, for obvious reasons.
A new Mount Everest record is scheduled to be set, as Bob "Gnarly" Goldstein aims to be the first man to mountain bike to the summit. According to an interview with Gadling.com, Goldstein reckons that the trip back down the 29,029-foot mountain will be worth the agony of ascent.
Three time Mens's Pro World kayak champion EJ Jackson announced his retirement today. According to his blog, the 47-year-old, who was previously making a bid for the 2011 World Championships, will re-focus his energies on frisbee golf, fishing, and beer.
Several yeti sightings have spurred officials in west Siberia to launch a scientific institute dedicated to studying the ape-like mythological creatures. Scientist Igor Burstev told the AFP, "we think the yeti is a separate branch of human evolution. It lives in harmony with nature." A reported 30 scientists are already studying the creature and could streamline research at the new institute.
Animal Planet announced a two hour show on the cobra that escaped from the Bronx Zoo. The cobra’s been to Wall Street, to Ellis Island and the Empire State Building. Now it’s coming to Animal Planet. The network announces today @BronxZoosCobra: SNAKE ON THE TOWN, a special two-hour documentary to air this spring about the newly recaptured venomous cobra, @BronxZoosCobra, and her very public whirlwind tour of New York City.
And if you believe those, here's an even better one from last April 1st.
They are cuddly and (mostly) harmless, but vacationers in Florida have nothing but complaints about the recent arrival of nearly 400 koala bears in the Everglades National Park. Campers report being awakened mid-night to the furry animals invading sleeping bags, and scientists are growing concerned about the marsupial's effect on the Everglade's fragile ecosystem.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” remembers Carla Sommers, who says she woke up inside her RV in the Everglades this past January to discover a koala had wrapped its tiny arms around her body and was snoring soundly. “He was just so cute and looked so darn comfortable sleeping there beside me. No one has hugged me like that in years."
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The IOC announced today that the sport of geocaching will be added to the list of games at the 2012 Olympics in London. While a surprise to traditionalists, geocaching has reportedly seen unprecedented growth worldwide in the last few years, though numbers are difficult to pinpoint as most cachers see the sport and lifestyle as a solo pursuit. The sport has no governing body, and most regional organizers are self appointed.
Geocaching athletes fought hard for their sport to be recognized on the Olympic level, and their victory today wasn't without some compromises along the way. Most notably, the absence of a medal ceremony, which the IOC declared too expensive. Instead, the gold, silver, and bronze medals will be cached for the top athletes to find themselves.
The official venue for geocaching's Olympic debut has not yet been announced, but participants should have no problem finding it when the games begin. Inside sources say the event will most likely not take place in London proper, after several caches were nicked and hocked by locals during a test run Tuesday, before participants could find them.
Eric Simonson addressing the Everest 2011 Group (Courtesy AlanArnette.com)
Sometimes I think I enjoy writing about climbing more than I enjoy climbing – that is until I start climbing. The truth is I love both. The opportunity to share with anyone about this sport, my passion – alpine mountaineering; is an honor. But it is also work.
So my last day in Kathmandu was spent getting some new technology to try out while climbing Everest. As I wrote a few months ago, the Swedish cell phone company Ncell, bought out the local provider and expanded their network in theory to the summit of Everest.
I already came prepared with all the usual proven communication technology I have used for years – sat phones, Bgan modems, computers, PDAs – the works. But the technology from Ncell uses standard cell phone 3G voice and data services on standard GSM phones and laptop computers. I know, I know too much information.
So, with one of my teammates, Gineth who is attempting to be the first Costa Rican to summit Everest, we set off in the alleys of Kathmandu to find the Ncell store and buy the goods. Meanwhile many of our team played tourists by visiting nearby Pashupatinath to observe the long tradition of cremation along the Bagmati river that flows into the Ganges in India.