May 13, 2013

Climbers at Lhotse.     Photo: Garrett Madison

Ballinger Plans Ski Descent of Lhotse Couloir

Waiting for more snow

Alpenglow Expeditions founder and head guide Adrian Ballinger plans to complete the first ski descent of Everest's Lhotse Couloir, weather permitting, later this season season.

"Of course the Lhotse Couloir is one of the dream un-skied lines in the Himalaya," Ballinger told ExplorersWeb. "When I climbed and guided it in 2011, I couldn't believe it hadn't been skied yet. Of course that was an unusual year, with unbelievable ski conditions. I just hope we get a chance with skiable snow!"

Ballinger and Sergey Baranov have spent the past week acclimatizing, rotating between Camp 2 and Camp 3. The team plans to summit Everest for a better look of Lhotse Couloir. As of now, the run is on hold. "It is not deep enough or consistent enough to keep us off the ice."

Given the current snow conditions, the pair is worried that skiing the face may dislodge ice, potentially impacting climbers and raising tensions on the mountain.

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    Photo: Wikipedia

WATCH: First Music Video From Space

Covering "A Space Oddity"

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield celebrated his last day aboard the International Space Station with an elaborately produced rendition of David Bowie's "A Space Oddity."

In the video, Hadfield plays his acoustic guitar while floating through the station and peering out into space. It is the first music video ever produced from space—in case you were inclined to look for others.

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    Photo: Mystère Martin

Heat Batters Tour of California

Three riders miss the time cut

Three riders are out of the Amgen Tour of California after missing the time cut on the day's first stage. Temperatures reached well over 90 degrees with readings on the pavement surpassing 100 degrees.

Two of Orica GreenEdge's key domestiques, Michael Hepburn and Fumiyuki Beppu, along with Taylor Shelden of 5 Hour Energy/Kenda lost nearly 37 minutes after being distanced on the climbs.

"They had a really bad day, and a bad reaction to the heat. They've come from a really cold spring in Europe, where at its warmest was 20 degrees (Celsius) cooler than it was here today," Orica GreenEdge team director Matt Wilson told CyclingNews.

Teams struggled to keep their riders hydrated, going through as many as 150 bottles on the day. The second stage into Palm Springs is expected to be even more challenging, with temperatures reaching 109 degrees on an uphill finish.

“It’s going to be brutal,” Bontrager director Axel Merckx told VeloNews. “Finishing uphill. It’s going to be really tough. But it is what it is. It’s the same for everybody. These young guys, they’re excited to be here, they’ll recover the best they can and make it a really good race.”

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    Photo: sanchom

UN Report: Eat Bugs

Suggests insects as food source for growing population

A new report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization suggests a novel food source to help feed the world's growing population: bugs.

According to the BBC, while many westerners may balk at the idea of eating insects, the study's European authors point out in their preface that creepy-crawlies of various types are considered delicacies in other parts of the world: They estimate that insects regularly appear in at least two billion people's diets.

"Contrary to popular belief, insects are not merely “famine foods” eaten in times of food scarcity or when purchasing and harvesting “conventional foods” becomes difficult; many people around the world eat insects out of choice, largely because of the palatability of the insects and their established place in local food cultures.

Besides just shifting attitudes towards eating bugs, the study's authors note that significant regulatory challenges still remain before insects start appearing on restaurant menus. Most developed countries lack clear legal guidelines governing the use of bugs as food.

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