The Outside Blog

Dispatches : May 2012

The Mother on the Mountain: Hilaree O'Neill, Live From Everest Base Camp

High-altitude alpinist Hilaree O’Neill is unlike most of her fellow climbers hunkered down at Everest Base Camp this week, waiting for a weather window to make their summit push. For starters, she came prepared to ski off the South Col. And out of some 600 alpinists vying for the top this season, she is one of the only mothers on the mountain.

639-hilaree-oneill-profilePhoto: The North Face

O’Neill, 39, is a member of The North Face/National Geographic team that’s attempting the Southeast Ridge. (Expedition leader Conrad Anker also plans to try the West Ridge route, to recreate the 1963 first American ascent of the peak; his partner on that route, alpinist and National Geographic photographer Cory Richards, had to be evacuated last week after suffering from altitude sickness at Camp II, and Anker’s West Ridge plans remain in flux.)  A veteran ski mountaineer, she’s managed to juggle a full expedition schedule—including ski descents of Denali and Cho Oyu—while raising two young sons, four-year-old Quinn and two-year-old Grayden, at home in Telluride.

I talked to Hilaree by cell phone from Base Camp at 17,000 feet last night. It was morning on Mount Everest, and she and the rest of her team were gearing up for a day of ice climbing and team strategizing about how and when to go for the top. It’s hard not to get a huge vicarious thrill when your phone rings, and it’s Everest Base Camp calling, especially when the climber on the other end of the phone is willing to dish about finding the balance between motherhood and mountains, the high risks of climbing Everest this season, and her unorthodox approach to training for the top of the world. 

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Taylor Phinney Delivers A Historic Giro d'Italia Win

Phinney, in pink, works the crowds before Stage 2Phinney in pink before Stage 2. Photo courtesy of BMC Racing Team

Ever since Taylor Phinney won the Junior World Time Trial Championship in 2007, pundits have been saying that the Boulder, Colorado, native would eventually be one of the next big names in American cycling. Someday came sooner than expected yesterday, when, less than two years after turning pro, the 21-year-old won the Giro d'Italia's opening prologue and roared into the race lead.

Phinney blasted the technical, wind-strafed 8.7-kilometer time trial in 10 minutes and 26 seconds, beating his nearest competition by nine seconds. That might not sound like a lot, but in a discipline where wins and losses are often measured in tenths of seconds, it's an immense margin and speaks to Phinney's talent and promise. The son of cycling Olympic medalists Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter, the precocious American was no stranger to the upper echelons of cycling even before the win. By donning the maglia rosa, the pink jersey worn by the leader of the race, Phinney joins some rarefied company: He's the youngest rider to lead the Giro since Tour de France champ Laurent Fignon (1982), one of eight Americans to win a Giro stage (Greg Lemond and Tyler Hamilton among them), and only the third American to ever wear pink, after Andy Hampsten (1988) and Christian Vande Velde (2008).

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A T-Shirt of the Month Club for Two-Wheelers


What's cooler than wearing a tee from your favorite bike shop, or one with some eco, hipster or access oriented message? Having a shirt that you won't see on anybody else in the neighborhood.

Twin Six, purveyor of coveted bike jerseys and tees, helps you achieve that exclusivity with its t-shirt of the month. The first week of each month, the company prints a bike-inspired limited run of 100 percent cotton made-in-the-USA tees. The monthly tee shows up on Twin Six's website sometime in the first few days of the new calendar page, and it's there until it sells out, which could be hours, days or weeks.

Last month, the theme was April showers. This month it's the Maypole Bike Derby pictured above. Get one starting Friday, May 4, 2012. $24,

--Berne Broudy

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A Classical Surf Film

Perhaps surf footage and an orchestra should be paired more often.

In 2009, photographer and videographer Jon Frank put his videos and stills behind the music of composer Richard Tognetti. The duo debuted their creation at the Festival Maribor, with the Australian Chamber Orchestra playing Tognetti's composition. The above sequence, called Dream, comes from a performance called The Glide, one of three full concerts put on by the duo. You can read more about it in the official concert program.

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A Video History of The Flying Wallenda Family's Most Daring Stunts

High-wire artist Nik Wallenda announced late last week that he would walk over Niagara Falls with no safety harness on June 15. Wallenda will cross a two-inch wide 1,800-foot-long cable strung roughly 200 feet above the bottom of the gorge. The seventh generaton performer spent the last two years working to get the permits and exceptions needed to perform the once-in-a-generation Niagara Falls stunt.

Wallenda grew up in a renowned aerial acrobatics family known as "The Flying Wallendas." Here's a quick video history of some of the family's feats.

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