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This Week in Adventure: Ocean Plastic Swim, Hiker Rescued After 17 Days

Ocean advocate Ben Lecomte swimming, plastic in foreground; photo courtesy Icebreaker
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From the inspiring to the tragic, catch up on the news of exploration and launch your week with ‘This Week in Adventure.’

New Everest Route Stymied

Mountaineers Cory Richards and Esteban “Topo” Mena launched an audacious new route up the northeast face of Everest last week. But weather and difficult climbing forced the pair to turn back on Thursday. Mena wrote about the endeavor on Instagram: “A tight weather window and marginal conditions that simply kicked our asses! Well, anyway we had a hell of a first go that took us up to 7600m.”

Hiker Found Alive 17 Days After Disappearance

Surviving on nothing but wild fruit, water, and a will to survive, hiker Amanda Eller was lost in Maui’s Makawao Forest Reserve for 17 days. Rescuers spotted her from a helicopter — paid for in part from a $75,000 GoFundMe campaign — near a creek bed on Friday and airlifted her to safety. She had a broken tibia and had lost 15 pounds. Check out more details at local CNN affiliate KHON.

Pacific Garbage Patch Swim

Just announced last week, ocean advocate Ben Lecomte will swim 300 nautical miles through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch starting in June. According to the announcement at sponsor Icebreaker, Lecomte will swim up to 8 hours a day over the 3 months from June to September. During the swim, he will collect data and assist with research on the plastic “smog of pollution” in the Pacific Ocean.

Wicklow Round New FKT

The Wicklow Round route covers 70 miles in Ireland, crosses 26 different peaks, and has 20,000 feet of elevation gain. The unique part of this FKT is that runners choose their own route from peak to peak. And on May 18, Gavin Byrne knocked more than an hour off the previous FKT, finishing the route in 15 hours, 4 minutes, 30 seconds. Check it out at FastestKnownTime.com.

7,319-Meter Chamlang Gets Gnarly Send

Czech climbers Marek Holeček and Zdeněk Hák climbed an absolutely crazy-looking route up Chamlang in the Makalu-Barun National Park in Nepal last week. The new route up the north face of the mountain had been attempted previously, but without success. Also, apparently, this area is the home of the yeti. Check out the whole story on Gripped.


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Everest Death Toll Mounts

Mount Everest claimed its 10th victim on Saturday when Robin Haynes Fisher, 44, died while descending the summit. Three other climbers also died during recent days, pushing 2019 into a tie as the fourth-deadliest season on record. Check out more details about the busiest Everest season ever recorded in this info-packed article by Alan Arnette.

By Sunday, The New York Times reported an 11th fatality on the mountain and that Everest’s summit was packed “chest to chest.”

Goodbye to Our Friend Sam Coffey, 1990-2019

Sam Coffey was nice enough to model a jacket for us while cat skiing in Utah because it was just a little too big for our tester. We’ll miss you, Sam.

It was with heavy hearts that we learned of the death of a friend last week. Sam Coffey, one of the most genuine, fun-loving, ripping-good skiers you could ever shake hands with died at the age of 29 due to a series of strokes while on vacation in Mexico. Coffey grew up in Aspen, Colorado. There, he built a career out of the sport he clearly loved — downhill skiing. He was a PR veteran for industry giants Backbone Media and rygr, and served as Wiley Maple’s ski technician on the World Cup tour.

But mostly, we’ll remember him for an infectious smile, incredible enthusiasm for the sport, and genuine kindness. Watching the enormous outpouring of grief on social media and articles like this in Freeskier, it was clear he touched many people’s lives for the better. Rest in peace, Sam Coffey.

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