From the highest mountains to the lowest trenches of the sea, people are exploring. Adventures big and small play out in epic and subtle ways every day. And this week, the following adventures stood out.
Welcome to This Week in Adventure, a new column from GearJunkie’s editors that makes it easy to stay abreast of adventures and the people who make waves. Our aim is to give you a brief rundown on news happenings in the worlds of mountaineering, surfing, skiing, diving, running, hiking, and more.
Know of an adventure? Let us know in the comments, and we might feature it in a future story! Now read up, get inspired, get out, and get after it!
New Everest Route: Climb in Progress
In March, we reported that Cory Richards and Esteban “Topo” Mena will attempt to summit Everest up a new route. That climb is currently underway.
A post from Instagram yesterday shows Mena at 7,300 meters as the team scouts the new route. Then today, Richards posted the video below. The high winds at 7,000 feet look gnarly! Best luck to Mena and Richards as they try to blaze a new trail up the world’s highest mountain.
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Video by @estebantopomena // It was a wee bit breezy at 7,000 m today. Because of high winds on the mountain, Topo and I decided the best move for acclimatization would be to spend the day on the standard route. We only saw three tents blow away! Anyway, thanks for the video Topo…I’m pretty pleased we turned around when we did…tho I know you would’ve kept going. #nikoneverest @nikonusa
A New ‘Kon-Tiki’ Rafting the Pacific
An 18m raft made of 2.5 million freshwater totora reeds from Bolivia and Peru is now making its way across the Pacific. Its destination? Australia. As reported this week on Explorer’s Web, the Viracocha III raft set sail from the coast of Chile about 6 weeks ago.
Brief segue: If you haven’t read the book “Kon-Tiki,” just stop now, hop over to Amazon and order yourself a copy. The book is an adventure canon. Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east. Being incredibly gutsy, he decided to prove his theory by duplicating the legendary 4,300 nautical mile journey across the Pacific Ocean on a raft.
Without spoiling the book too much, let’s just say he lived to tell about it.
Of course, people have been rafting and sailing around the Pacific since long before Heyerdahl. And this activity continues to this day. Viracocha III is a new attempt. Its team spent nearly 3 years building the raft from natural, South American materials.
The crew is updating its Facebook page regularly, so you can follow along on the adventure.
Camino de Santiago FKT
The Camino de Santiago is a well-known Christian pilgrimage in Spain. Spanning about 560 miles from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, to Finisterre, Spain, thousands of people walk the route each year.
But the route is also known as a challenging, and sometimes controversial, fastest known time route. On Saturday, Andrey Merkulov completed the route self-supported in 10 days, 7 hours, 41 minutes, as reported by FastestKnownTime.com. Cheers to the excellent and verified effort, Andrey!
Tom Randall Onsighted Kill Artist, 5.13 R
Tom Randall, one half of the “Wide Boys” climbing duo known for brutally hard desert off-width routes, onsighted one of the tougher and more bizarre routes in Moab, Utah, on Thursday. Not only is the climb rated 5.13 R, which is gnarly, but it also requires climbers to make some crazily strange moves, like a complete inversion under a seemingly detached 100,000-pound block of stone.
Cue palm sweat.
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Offwidth fun on our penultimate day in Moab – this one’s Kill Artist, which is a pretty varied route! Loads of different sizes, lots of unique moves and plenty of long pitches of quality rock climbing. Repeated onsight, without bolts. Wish I’d worn a bit of protection on my knee… a few hundred feet of wide climbing that day definitely smarted in the shower after 😁. Photo by @tradprincess who came out for the day and provided a lot of crag amusement and banter. Amazing to see what her and @mersendyclimberson are developing with @bigbeautypitches – truly the work of passion and hard work. I don’t say this lightly either… I’m a grafter myself so I know one when I meet one. Respect 🤘🤘#climbing_worldwide #tradclimbing #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #rockclimbing #crackclimbing #crackisback #moab #rockclimbing #climbing #outdoors @rab.equipment @mytendon @wildcountry_official
Everest Is a Dump?
Widely reported in mainstream media, Everest is once again under the spotlight as a dumping ground of waste, garbage, and … human bodies.
“Decades of climbing on the world’s highest mountain have turned it into a very tall garbage dump, strewn with rubbish, human waste, and even bodies,” reported CNN.
Of course, this comes as no surprise to most mountaineers. The mountain has been the subject of many cleanups over recent years. This year is no different, with about 6,613 pounds of refuse removed by a team of volunteers. The 14-member team is tasked with carrying out 10 tons of trash by the end of the season.
Sunny Garcia in the ICU
There was some sad news out of Portland this week, where professional surfer Sunny Garcia is in critical condition at a hospital. Garcia, 49, was a veritable name on the surfing Word Tour for 20 years before retiring in 2005. He has been outspoken about his battle with depression, although details about his current hospitalization are thin.
Surfers flooded Garcia with support on social media.
“Sunny … I love you, brother. I just can’t even fathom you not here. We’ve got so much more living to do before we are done. There’s been hard times but there have been so many good ones, too. Just praying you wake up and we get more of you,” wrote surf legend Kelly Slater on Instagram. We’re sorry to hear of Garcia’s struggles and hope he pulls through.
New Record for Running Marathon in Ski Boots
Walking in ski boots sucks. Running in ski boots is painful. Running a marathon in ski boots? Why?
Well, for one doctor, it was worth doing it for a world record. Dr. Paul Harnett, of England, completed the London Marathon in 5 hours and 30 minutes wearing plastic ski boots. It sounds simply awful. But hey, anything to get in the Guinness Book of World Records, right?
He did also have a more altruistic goal: raising money for the British Paralympic Association. Well done, good sir!
Apparently, a ton of other marathon records also fell that day. Bristol Live has an exhaustive, weird list that includes such oddities as “fastest marathon dressed as a shoe,” “fastest marathon dressed as a stationary item,” and “fastest marathon dressed as a crustacean.”