From the inspiring to the tragic, ‘This Week in Adventure’ presents the top news in the world of exploration and adventure this week.
Mount Everest: First Summit Climbs of 2019
The roof of the world opened for business this week, with the first climbers planting flags on the summits of Mount Everest and Lhotse. On Tuesday, a group of at least eight Nepali climbers reached the summit of Everest. On the same day, seven Sherpas and five clients reached 8,516m summit of Lhotse.
Among them, according to Explorer’s Web, were the first Pakistani man, Sirbaz Khan, and the first Greek woman, Christina Flampouri, to climb Lhotse. Expect lots more action from the Himalayas as the core of the climbing season approaches.
On Wednesday this week, Kami Rita Sherpa set the record for the number of Everest summits with 23 ascents. Until last year, he shared the record with Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi Sherpa, with 21 summits each.
Kami Rita Sherpa surpassed them last spring. Now, the 49-year-old senior guide for Seven Summits Treks has extended his record and solidified his place as one of history’s most impressive mountaineers.
And with summits come deaths. The highest peaks are extremely dangerous places. And, sadly, there was word of several deaths during the rush to the top of the world. According to Explorer’s Web, at least five climbers have died and two are missing on Makalu, Everest, Lhotse, and Kangchenjunga. Among the missing are Seamus Lawless, of Ireland, on Everest and Rodrigo Vivanco, of Chile, on Kangchenjunga.
Denali: Early-Season Rescue
The climbing season may just be ramping up on North America’s highest mountain, but rangers have already rescued a team with an injured climber. According to Alaska Public Media, a snowboarder was injured in a fall at about 13,500 feet. Unable to continue their descent, the team called for a rescue. Rangers expect both climbers, whom they did not identify, to survive. They were among the first people to climb Denali for the summer.
Ocean News: Deepest Dive Finds Plastic Bag
An undersea explorer reached what is commonly thought to be the deepest point on the planet on Tuesday. But he returned to the surface with the sad news that among his discoveries was plastic garbage.
In the dive, explorer Victor Vescovo set a new deep-diving record, journeying 35,853 feet — nearly 7 miles — to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. He said he observed four new species in the depths that could offer clues about the beginnings of life on Earth. But he also saw a plastic bag and candy wrappers at the deepest point in the Ocean. (See the photo of Vescovo emerging at the top of this column; image courtesy of Discovery/Five Deeps Expedition.)
FKT for Mountain Biker Rebecca Rusch
Logging 1,041 miles over 8 days, 3 hours, 33 minutes, renowned athlete Rebecca Rusch set the fastest — and first — known time on Arkansas’ new High Country Route bicycle trail.
At 50 years old, Rusch was the first person to ride the entirety of the newly completed network of trails that wind through the countryside over pavement, gravel, and singletrack. It marked the longest ride of Rusch’s storied career. And, as she noted, “The trail they built here is world-class. I’m the first to complete the trail, but definitely not the last. Arkansas better get ready for some cycling.”