The Outside Blog

Dispatches : May 2012

Ueli Steck Summits Everest Without Supplemental Oxygen, Three Climbers Die, Two Go Missing

Ueli Steck and his climbing partner, Tenzing Sherpa, notched some of the first Everest summits of the season. The speed climber topped out on May 18 without supplemental oxygen. Last year, Steck turned around a few hundred feet from the summit rather than risk frostbite on his toes. Last year, a member of the Peak Freaks team made also the decision to turn around 280 feet from the summit, recording the moment in the helmet cam footage seen above. This year, all members of the Peak Freaks team made it safely back to Base Camp after several of them notched successful summits. Others did not fare so well.

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Lessons From a Tour of California Team Car

Descending Glendora Ridge RoadHigh-speed descent of Glendora.

It seemed like such a good idea: Ride along in a Team SpiderTech chase car on the queen stage of the Amgen Tour of California. Day seven’s finale to the 6,500-foot parking lot on Mt. Baldy always promised drama, especially as six GC contenders entered the race huddled within 67 seconds of the race lead. And with two SpiderTech riders aspiring to factor in the finish, second-in-mountains-classification David Boily and perennial workhorse and nice guy Lucas Euser, seeing the action up close from the front seat of their team car was bound to deliver some thrills. But while I buckled up expecting the electric fun of a good amusement park ride, what really transpired felt more like the gut churn you get when a carny ride nearly comes off the rails.

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Four Dead on Everest

Everest_flags_mainPrayer flags near Everest. Photo: Daniel Prudek/Shutterstock

At least four climbers are dead after a weekend of summit attempts on Mount Everest. German Eberhard Schaaf, 61, died from apparent altitude sickness Sunday at around 28,700 feet on the South Summit. South Korean Song Won-Bin, 44, who has been missing since Saturday, collapsed with acute mountain sickness and fell off a cliff at The Balcony at 27,600 feet. Nepali-born Canadian climber Shriya Shah, 33, died Sunday, and the body of 55-year-old Chinese climber Ha Wenyi was found near 28,200 feet. Neither cause of death has been confirmed. "Most of these deaths occur due to high-altitude sickness," Asian Trekking founder Ang Tshering Sherpa said. "Climbers spend their energy on the ascent and they are exhausted and fatigued on the descent." A Nepali guide was also reported missing on Saturday. Successful summits include Ueli Steck's climb without oxygen on Friday and 73-year-old Tamae Watanabe's ascent on Saturday. Watanabe is the oldest woman ever to climb the mountain.

—Nick Davidson
@NickGDavidson

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Outside Television to Launch on Comcast’s Xfinity TV Starting in June

The independent programmer dedicated to the nation’s more than 140 million active outside enthusiasts to be available on Xfinity TV’s Sports Entertainment Package.

Independently owned Outside Television will begin to launch on Comcast’s Xfinity TV systems across the country starting in June 2012. The Outside Television channel, born of the now 35-year-old Outside magazine, is geared to the more than 140 million outdoor enthusiasts, who participate regularly in outdoor activities and the healthy lifestyle surrounding them.

“More than half of Americans already embrace this lifestyle, and there are millions more who are very likely to become converts,” said Dennis Gillespie, senior vice president of distribution for Outside Television. “These are also the very same people who tend to engage themselves more deeply in digital media activities that video providers like Comcast’s Xfinity TV were some of the very first to create.”

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