Gary Hunt (FRA) and Rhiannan Iffland (AUS) celebrate with the World Series King Kahakili trophies during the final competition day of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Italy on Sep. 26, 2021; (photo: Dean Treml, Red Bull Content Pool)
Gary Hunt (FRA) and Rhiannan Iffland (AUS) celebrate with the World Series King Kahakili trophies during the final competition day of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Italy, on Sep. 26, 2021; (photo/Dean Treml, Red Bull Content Pool)

‘Invincible’ Iffland Lands Perfect Cliff Diving Season and a Few More Stories to Start Your Week

From the inspiring to the tragic, our adventure news of the week presents a wrap-up of top news in the world of exploration and adventure. Here’s what you missed this weekend, and a few things to look forward to.

As far as the Cliff Diving World Series is concerned, Australian Rhiannan Iffland is unequivocally unsinkable. On Sunday, the high diver won her fifth Red Bull World Series title at Polignano a Mare, Italy — the ultimate showdown for 2021.

The final standings put Iffland 220 points ahead of 2021’s silver placer, Jessica Macaulay of Canada. The reigning World Series Champion, Gary Hunt of France, claimed men’s top post, ending the season 160 points ahead of second-place finisher Constantin Popovici of Russia.

Iffland’s victory caps off a third perfect season, a personal and sport record. The five-time world champ became the first competitive cliff diver to shore up a perfect season in 2019 by winning all seven Red Bull showdowns. She continued that streak through 2020.

Catch the full replay of Sunday’s event below.

Great Britain dominated Saturday at the Super League Triathlon’s spellbinding finale in Malibu. Although Olympic gold medalist Flora Duffy (BER) took first in women’s for the race, fellow Olympian Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) clinched the women’s champion spot for the season. Alex Yee (GBR) took men’s first in both race day and seasonal finishes.

The competition was tight through each leg. Notably, last week’s Ironman 70.3 winner Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR) dropped out of the top three contenders during the elim’s 1.6km footrace.

Malibu Super League Triathlon podium finishers. Men, left to right: M. van Riel (2nd), A. Yee, V. Vilaca. Women, left to right: G. Taylor-Brown, F. Duffy, K. Zaferes; (photos: Tommaso Boddi, Getty Images for Super League Triathlon)
Malibu Super League Triathlon podium finishers. Men, left to right: M. Van Riel, A. Yee, V. Vilaca. Women, left to right: G. Taylor-Brown, F. Duffy, K. Zaferes; (photos/Tommaso Boddi, Getty Images for Super League Triathlon)
Super League Triathlon overall champions Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee in Malibu, Cali. on Sep. 25, 2021; (photo: Tommy Zafares, Super League Triathlon)
Super League Triathlon overall champions Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee in Malibu, Calif., on Sep. 25, 2021; (photo/Tommy Zafares, Super League Triathlon)

The Arthritis Foundation’s 525-mile California Coast Classic Bike Tour surpassed its $1 million fundraising goal over the weekend. The annual 8-day event ran locally and virtually this year, garnering $1,041,145 in donations. The CCC Bike Tour is just one of many athletic events organized by the Arthritis Foundation, and each comp is open to all levels of experience. Find an event near you.

The Pikes Peak APEX, a 4-day and highly technical mountain biking race concluded on Saturday. Race organizers slate it as a “rigorous Rocky Mountain trail experience through the aspens in Colorado’s backcountry” that draws pros and amateur riders in search of “a bucket list endurance experience.”

Keegan Swenson took first overall and Sofia Gómez-Villafane took first in the women’s division. The APEX is a project of Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance and a fundraiser event for the PPORA Trail Stewardship Fund.

Mountaineers push for the summit up on Manaslu, the eighth-highest peak in the world. Manaslu belongs to the Nepalese Himalayas and measures 26,781 feet (8,163m). ExplorersWeb reports, “[R]emarkable compared to expeditions of 10 or 20 years ago is how quickly climbers acclimatize and climb up and down the mountain. The massive use of supplementary oxygen is largely responsible.… They aim to summit on Monday.”

Viewers can track expedition guide Jon Gupta’s progress in real-time here.

Manaslu Peak in the Nepalese Himalayas c Olga Danylenko Shutterstock
Manaslu Peak, the eighth-tallest mountain in the world, sits within the Nepalese Himalayas; (photo/Olga Danylenko, Shutterstock)

Tragically, four women and one man lost their lives on Russia’s Mount Elbrus late last week. A major blizzard caught the large contingent during their descent. Four of the climbers froze to death, while the fifth succumbed to severe altitude sickness.

According to ExplorersWeb base camp journalist Angela Benavides, “Emergency evacuations and tragedy are not uncommon at Elbrus. Its apparent ease encourages some inexperienced people to treat it as just a really big hill. Many are not properly acclimatized, have inadequate equipment, or are in poor shape.”

In more uplifting news, the Red Bull Flugtag — an off-the-cuff DIY aviation competition  — returned to Vienna on Sunday after a 9-year hiatus. The event featured 40 Austrian teams and their homespun flying machines. The Flugtag (German for “flying day”) requires a pilot from each team to launch from a 6-meter ramp over the New Danube.

The team whose craft remains airborne the longest wins. This year it was Team Die Flügelmütter with its “Flying Puch Max” wind rover.

Sunday’s return showcased healthy doses of competitiveness, ingenuity, and self-effacing humor. Inject a little levity into your workweek by watching the 2021 Flugtag Vienna replay. And mark your calendar — Flugtag New Zealand takes off Dec. 11.

DIE FLUEGELMUETTER
Winners Die Fluegelmuetter perform during the Red Bull Flugtag 2021 in Vienna, Austria, on Sep. 26, 2021; (photo/Philip Platzer, Red Bull Content Pool)

In Other News …

Subaru was awarded the first-ever ASPCA Corporate Compassion Award for its support and protection of pets. Since launching the Subaru Loves Pets initiative in 2015, Subaru retailers have partnered with local animal welfare organizations to impact over 230,000 animals in need across the country. Learn more about Subaru’s animal advocacy and causes.

PeopleForBikes just launched a heavy-duty climate challenge campaign. In its official press release, the foundation explained the parameters: “Offering three challenges on Ride Spot, PeopleForBikes‘ app built to break down the barriers to bicycling, riders can ride to carbon neutral for either their traditional or electric bicycle, and pledge to replace a few car trips a month with bike rides. Every month, PeopleForBikes will tally the total number of miles ridden and the corresponding amount of carbon emissions avoided by participants biking instead of driving.”

And national park ranger Betty Reid Soskin turned 100 on Sep. 22, making her the oldest active ranger on the National Park Service roster, reports the New York Times: “Over the past decade and a half, she has become both an icon of the service and an unlikely celebrity…an indomitable 5 feet 3 inch great-grandmother once described by a colleague as ‘sort of like Bette Davis, Angela Davis and Yoda all rolled into one.'”

The GearJunkie crew wishes Betty a very happy belated birthday!

 

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Jilli Cluff
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Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing. In 2020, Jilli left her corporate position to pursue an outdoor-oriented life. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear network. She is based out of Austin, Texas, where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.