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Dispatches : Climbing

Will Gadd Climbs Spray Ice

At points in the video This Way: Episode 4, it looks like ice climber Will Gadd is fighting his way across the frozen belly of a large white poodle. He's almost perpendicular to the ground and swinging his pick at thick white overhanging strands called "spray ice," protrusions that form when condensation and spray from a nearby waterfall hit a wall and freeze.

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Japanese Climber Nobukazu Kuriki Pushes on in Attempt to Summit Everest

Everest_Infographic_04192012_MAINRed line represents the West Ridge route, Spring 2012. Illustration: Grayson Schaffer

On Wednesday morning around 10:00 EST, Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki made it clear that he plans to push on toward the summit of Mount Everest. "Then left towards the Summit of Mount Everest," said an update on his Facebook page. "Bitter cold, and stars but out of sight, in the dark, is really like a space station. I'll see you at the top. So, I'm going! Please everyone pray."

It is not entirely clear from his Facebook page where he was on the mountain when that announcement was posted, but updates suggest that he is at 7,500 meters or higher along the West Ridge route. "The West Ridge is one of the more difficult routes on Everest, no question," said Conrad Anker.

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Field Tested: Brooks Range Isto Softshell Jacket


Versatile. That’s how our East Coast tester described Brooks Range's four-way stretch, water-resistant Isto softshell jacket. He spent 100 days last winter and spring skiing, hiking and ciimbing in snow, rain, slush, sleet, freezing rain, some more snow, sun, blue skies, and any other weather conditions you can think of from Quebec to Colorado in this jacket and gave it a rave review.

It’s cut a tad short, which was a bonus as far as our tester was concerned. “It never felt confining or constraining—it kind of fits like a great shirt,” he reported. “The stretch fabric was supremely comfortable in all conditions: when I wore the Isto as a layer on cold days—it fits great under a hard shell, as a skinning layer on medium temperature days—it was super breathable with enough wind resistance to keep me comfortable, and as my outer layer on spring ski days, it wasn't too warm, and proved itself very durable run after run in tough trees.”

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Expedition Watch: Climbing Everest's West Ridge Without Supplemental Oxygen

542058_462495363793514_145950108_nNobukazu Kuriki on Everest. Photo: Nobukazu Kuriki/Facebook

On Tuesday, Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki’s Twitter account said he set off for Camp IV in his attempt to summit Mount Everest via the West Ridge. It was a short announcement that has not gotten a lot of media attention, but if he summits, his feat will be one of the most impressive climbs in recent history.

Kuriki is ascending one of the mountain's most difficult routes, the West Ridge path first completed by Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld in 1963, which has only seen five total people summit. He has received some support from Sherpas—Kraig Becker reported that they guided him through the Khumbu Icefall, fixed his ropes, and resupplied his high camps. Otherwise, he is climbing alone, without the aid of supplemental oxygen. "Well, that’s huge," said Jake Norton. "No other way to put it. If he pulls it off, I’d say it’ll be one of the more impressive ascents of Everest, akin to Messner’s 1980 oxygen-less solo on a semi-new route on the North Side. Kuriki isn’t solo, but he’s on a far harder route, alone above Camp II with no O’s and massive climbing ahead. Definitely ballsy."

If the weather cooperates, he could go for the summit in the next couple of days and will share his results as soon as possible. Here’s a bit more on his quest, in case you want to follow along.

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Benedikt Böhm Climbs and Skis Manaslu in Less Than 24 Hours

Gipfel_Manaslu_Benedikt_6Benedikt Böhm on Manaslu. Photo: Dynafit

Roughly a week after the deadly avalanche that claimed at least 11 lives on Manaslu, German climber and skier Benedikt Böhm summited and skied down the world's eighth highest peak without the use of supplemental oxygen in less than 24 hours. "The decision to try for the summit after such a tragedy was a difficult one, but ultimately I decided to climb in their honor and it also helped me cope with the emotional challenges I was also going through from being first on-scene to such a tragedy,” Böhm said in a press release.

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