The Outside Blog

Dispatches : May 2012

Adventure Video of the Week: 'Strength in Numbers'

Mark your calendars for 3 p.m. EST on May 24. That's when Anthill Films will show their new mountain-biking documentary Strength in Numbers for free on Red Bull TV. The production company spent 726 days in the field shooting everything from novices to the world's best mountain bikers. In the end, they traveled more than 35,000 miles, shot more than 450 hours of footage, and edited that footage for more than a year to create the final feature-length film.

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Everest Heritage: Sherpa Adventure Gear Makes the Old New

Inspiring photo from Sherpa Adventure Gear[18]

For centuries, Sherpas wore layers of heavy wool to handle the harsh Himalayan weather. Now, Sherpa Adventure Gear is bringing back Himalayan styles from the 1950s, but making them with modern materials.

Tashi Sherpa, founder of Sherpa Adventure Gear, had two uncles involved in the first climb of Everest. Da Namgyal Sherpa—far right in the photo above—one of the Tigers of the Snow, the elite cadre of Sherpa who trained as high-altitude mountaineers at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, pitched the way for Hillary and Tenzing Norgay with John Hunt. Ang Gyalzen Sherpa, who appeared on the cover of Outside's issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first Everest summit, was also one of Tashi's uncles. He was a porter, a man Outside called an unsung hero.

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Biking Can Save Your Life

Jason Sikkila's fundraising page for the upcoming AIDS/LifeCycle event.

On June 3, Jason Sikkila will mount his bicycle in San Francisco and start peddling south. Over the course of a week, he'll bike through Santa Cruz, Paso Robles, Ventura and a handful of other towns you know primarily as "those places out by the beach," before ending up in Los Angeles, 545 miles away from where he started, on June 9. He'll be just one of the more than 2,000 people expected to make the trek this year in a now decade-long effort to raise funds for fighting—and awareness about—HIV/AIDS. Sikkila isn't joining the pack just because he needs to or because he wants to—though those are reasons too, he says—but because he is able to.

The first time that he participated in AIDS/LifeCycle, back in 2010, Sikkila recently wrote in a moving short personal essay for The Advocate's website ("What It Really Means to Be a Positive Peddler," May 11), he didn't believe the kick-off words of Lorri L. Jean, then as now the CEO of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, the world's largest LGBT organization with thousands of volunteers, and a frequent member of "most powerful gay and lesbian people in the country" lists. "AIDS/LifeCycle is a life-changing event," she said. "You will not complete this ride and leave here the same person you are today."

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The Best Landscape Astrophotography of 2011

If you want to see the difference between night skies with and without light pollution, you can't do much better than the video above. The World at Night recently announced the winners of the 2012 Earth and Sky Photo Contest, and threw them into this six-minute Vimeo slideshow. Make it big and hit play.

More than 600 photographs taken during 2011 were submitted and judged in two categories. The first category was Beauty of the Night Sky. Photos were judged on the ability to show an amazing, unpolluted night sky in its natural color. The second category was Against the Lights. Photos were judged on their ability to show the negative affect of light pollution on the night sky. In each image, the photographer needed to capture the sky and a notable location or landmark.

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John John Florence Wins the 2012 Billabong Pro Rio

John John Florence wins 2012 Billabong Pro Rio. Photo: ASP/SCHOLTZ

The last six months have been pretty good for 19-year-old surfer John John Florence. The Hawaiian took the 2011 Van Triple Crown Championship in December, won the Volcom Pipe Pro in January, went home with first from the Drug Aware Pro in Australia in March, and today won the Billabong Pro Rio for his first ASP Tour victory.

"Won my first title in Brazil," Kelly Slater tweeted. "JJ wins his 1st event on tour there 20yrs later. Pretty cool for me. Known him since he was about 6yo. #stoked ."

At that age, Florence was already a bit of a veteran.

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