Female astronauts will spend 8 days in space without men or make-up

The test and flight simulation project, named “Moon-2015”, is designed to simulate an eight-day round trip to the moon, reaching lunar orbit before returning to the Earth. The all female astronaut crew asked how they’d cope in space without men or make-up for 8 days:


The Russian Academy of Science’s Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBP) in Moscow began an all-female simulated lunar circumnavigation project on Wednesday, as the country’s space program looks to take off.

The test and flight simulation project, named “Moon-2015”, is designed to simulate an eight-day round trip to the moon, reaching lunar orbit before returning to the Earth.

An all-female crew will live inside a mock spaceship in a wood-paneled suite at the IBP to gather information on female responses to isolation, cohabitation, crew functionality, and other characteristics of spaceflight. Capture2.PNG

The six volunteers selected from IBP staff, have strong scientific, medical or research backgrounds and have similar medical, physical and physiological characteristics that would be required of a real space crew.

“Our special psychologists have communicated with all the volunteers. Certain methods have been used to test their character compatibility which is quite a concern for the qualification examination committee,” said Alexandr Smoleevskiy, a Russian physiologist involved in the project.

The participants, who have already been undergoing training ahead of the test, said their biggest challenge will be shutting off from the outside world. One crewmember said she felt fortunate as their project lasts only eight days, far less than Russia’s previous “Mars-500” project which concluded in 2011 after 520 days.

“I can’t imagine working in isolation for even 80 days. We have spent a whole day in the capsule to test the devices in a space environment and get familiar with our living conditions and we already felt the impact of being isolated. We wonder how the participants in the “Mars-500″ were able to finish their mission,” said Elena Luchitskaya, a volunteer of the “Moon-2015” project.
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Source: Female astronauts asked how they’d cope in space without men or make-up

Tsunami Aftermath: The Urato Islands Rebuild

THE URATO ISLANDS, near the coast of Japan, rebuilds after the Tsunami disaster:1443642236

Yoshimasa Koizumi looks at his fishing equipment on Katsurashima Island. He has never used it, having moved to the island one day before last year's deadly tsunami.
The Urato Islands. (pop: 300). Courtesy of: CNN

Actions were organized by sustainability researchers in the Satoyama Initiative to discuss rebuilding and revitalization of the Urato Islands after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on the 11th of March 2011.  These sessions were key turning points for the rebuilding process of the Urato Islands.  Two dialogues were held, the first in 2012 and the second in 2014.

Strong collaboration between local communities and external stakeholders was the key for an effective community dialogue session. commitment as was organised follow up from several key Universities, and civil society organisations.

The Urato Islands are four islands that are inhabited by several hundred people located near the small city of Shiogama, in Miyagi prefecture, on the north-eastern coast of Japan.   The population of these islands lived from small-scale agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture (oysters and seaweed) that were intertwined and supported the rich and unique ecosystems of the islands.dsc_2248

The 2011 tsunami swept over much of the islands, destroying fishing boats, houses and oyster beds, disrupting people, their tools and the produce land and seascape that people had spent centuries creating.  The people in Urato are making heroic efforts to rebuild their livelihoods, but the tsunami revealed underlying problems that they share with much of rural Japan:depopulation, ageing populations and a lack of people to take over business.  The combination of the Tsunami with these slow changes has made many people worried about whether they can can rebuild their communities in a sustainable way.

Clearing and rebuilding efforts continue on Katsurashima Island off the coast of Miyagi prefecture.
The Urato Islands (pop. 300) Courtesy of CNN

The community dialogue sessions with local and external stakeholders in the Urato Island helped to bring new energy to the islanders, over come the damages they got, and embrace new ways of rebuilding their community that used both their own resources and their connections with the outside world.  These dialogues focussed on how to use ecosystem services to enhance post-disaster rebuilding and restoration of the Islands, and how to enable communities to enhance their cultural and management practices to sustain both people and ecosystems.   The dialogue helped align the efforts long-time residents and newer arrivals as well as locally focussed restoration efforts and externally oriented efforts to create new types of markets and support among the consumers of Urato’s fish and shellfish.  The dialogue help unite these local actors, such as fishermen, schools and local organisations, and connect with external stakeholders such as customers, ministry of the environment, NGOs, and universities, to create a shared vision.

This approach of organising community dialogue sessions together with local and external stakeholders can be applicable to any other part of rural areas in Japan struggling with rebuilding and revitalisation of the communities not only for the communities affected by natural disaster, but also for communities who would like to revitalise the area respecting socio-ecological system.  A weakness of this type of approach is the limited number of people that can be involved in a dialogue process.  Similar approaches to community dialogues could be applied in other areas, and the processes initiated by such dialogues may be able to reorient people and societies world-view in new directions.   · in Social-Ecological Seeds, Food system,Integrated social-environmental, community. · 地図

The Swimmer Trailer 1968

Shark Dreams

I love John Cheever and I love his story The Swimmer because it’s so brilliant,  but I love this movie because it’s so over the top and pretty awful. But Joan Rivers has a nice cameo and you can see Cheever himself in the poolside party scene.

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Palau Island transforms almost all its coastal waters into a marine sanctuary

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Via: Sesame St. / Islander’s Ocean Defense Team

TOKYO (AP) — Lawmakers in the tiny Pacific island nation of Palau passed a law Thursday to make almost all its coastal waters a marine sanctuary in the latest move to expand ocean protections.

A news release said Palau’s president plans to sign the legislation next week. Friday is a national holiday in Palau.

The Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act designates 80 percent of the nation’s maritime territory as a fully protected marine reserve in which no extractive activities, such as fishing or mining, can take place.

At 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles), or slightly larger than the U.S. state of California, the sanctuary will be the sixth-largest fully protected marine area in the world.

The measure also seeks to prevent illegal fishing by tightening rules for vessels passing through Palau’s waters.

About 20 percent of Palau’s waters will be reserved as a domestic fishing zone for local fishermen and small-scale commercial fisheries with limited exports. There will be a five-year transition as the number of commercial licenses issued to foreign commercial fishing vessels will be reduced and phased out.

President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. described the measure as essential.

“We want to lead the way in restoring the health of the ocean for future generations,” he said in a statement.

The country created the world’s first shark sanctuary in 2009, but until recently had only one patrol boat to help protect its great hammerheads, leopard sharks and more than 130 other species of shark and rays from extinction.

Earlier this year, the government set fire to several vessels caught fishing illegally to underscore its commitment to protecting its seas.

Palau, about 600 miles (970 kilometers) miles east of the Philippines, is one of the world’s smallest countries, its 20,000 people scattered across a tropical archipelago of 250 islands that is a biodiversity hotspot.

The Pew Charitable Trusts provided technical support for establishing the shark sanctuary and the Palau National Marine Sanctuary.

New commitments made this year would protect more than 2.5 million square kilometers of the world’s ocean territory.

Britain plans to establish the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve in the South Pacific. On Sept. 28, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced plans for a fully protected ocean sanctuary in the Kermadecs, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) northeast of his country’s North Island.

Earlier this month, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet promised to support efforts by the indigenous Rapa Nui community of Easter Island to create a fully protected marine park. Pic courtesy of: memenews.me. 10551019_10150447078559943_1504885407715968207_n

Article courtesy of:  AP

Related: Observer: Goals of High Achievers

Time mag recommends Sunscreens with titanium oxide or zinc oxide.

Coral Reef Bleaching
Sunscreens with titanium oxide or zinc oxide have not been found to harm reefs, according to the National Park Service.
Pic courtesy of Time

Sunscreens with titanium oxide or zinc oxide have not been found to harm reefs, according to the National Park Service. Additionally, swimmers can cover their upper body with long sleeve shirts or other apparel to reduce sunscreen use.

Researchers urge consumers to consider carefully what sunscreen they buy before swimming in the ocean. Sunscreens with titanium oxide or zinc oxide have not been found to harm reefs, according to the National Park Service.

Sunscreen is part of a long list of threats to coral reefs that includes pollution, overfishing and climate change. Beyond their impressive appearance, coral reefs play an important role for local communities and the world at large. For one, they contribute to local economies through tourism and sustain ecosystems where people can fish. One estimate from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put the economic contribution of coral reefs around the world at $30 billion each year. Reefs also protect the global environment by serving as carbon sinks, absorbing carbon dioxide that would otherwise contribute to global warming.

Sunscreens with titanium oxide or zinc oxide have not been found to harm reefs

Source: How Sunscreen Is Helping Destroy Coral Reefs

Related articles: Healthy Lifestyle Blog

Canadian inventor tests new prototype of Hoverboard


Duru flew up to 5 metres above a lake for a total distance of 275.9 metres while aboard his homemade, propeller-powered hoverboard in a trip that lasted more than 1½ minutes.

Now, Duru is working on a secret, next-generation version of the device. Watch as he takes CBC’s Reg Sherren into his workshop, where he is building it, and then to a Quebec lake where he puts the new prototype to the test for the first time. Canadian inventor tests new prototype of record-setting hoverboard.

See more: Hoverboard

Other Related Gadgets: http://www.huvrtech.com 

Happy Sloth Day via Tico Times

Buttercup @ Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica
Jo Jo @ Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica
Becky Cliffe @ Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica

Featured image

Happy International Sloth Day!!!! A wonderful day to celebrate my favorite animal!!!! So proud of all the hard work Becky Naomi Cliffe @ Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica has done to research how to reintroduce orphaned, hand raised sloths.

See More: http://beckycliffe.com/sloth-science-2015/

Related: My battle with Leishmaniasis: a flesh-eating parasite By: Becky Radcliffe

In my second year at the University of Manchester I studied parasitology, and the terrifying images of dramatic lesions and extreme elephantiasis are burnt vividly into my memory. Of course, I never considered that one day I would become one of those horror stories. In July I was diagnosed with a tropical flesh-eating parasite called Leishmaniasis, and for the past 10 weeks I have been battling to regain my health. We never fully appreciate how lucky we are to be healthy, and unfortunately I learnt this lesson the hard way.

What is Leishmaniasis?

Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania. There are actually 21 different species of leishmania, and they are found throughout Asia, Africa, South/Central America and Southern Europe. The parasite can be found in many different mammals, but the only way for it to be transmitted to a human is through the bite of an infected sandfly. When an infected sandfly bites a human, the parasite is transmitted into the body and replicates within the human macrophage cells. I was diagnosed with a type of infection called cutaneous leishmaniasis, which basically means that the disease appears as a lesion on the skin at the site of the original sandfly bite. This wound then continues to grow, and can spread to other areas of the body. Often, it will infect the mucosal lining of the mouth, nose and ears causing serious disfigurement. In minor cases, the infection heals itself within a year, however in most cases (including mine) treatment is needed.

The Leishmania parasite life cycle

Leishmaniasis and sloths 

Unfortunately, sloths are often thought of as being dirty, lazy animals that transmit diseases and parasites. One of the many diseases that people blame sloths for is leishmaniasis. Many local people are terrified of sloths for this reason, and sadly they pass this fear down through generations. I have lost count of the number of people that have asked me if a sloth can give them leishmaniasis. The simple answer is no. This misconception stems from a few scientific studies that have found sloths to test positive for the leishmania parasite. They are, in scientific terms, a ‘reservoir’ for leishmania, but so are many mammals – including dogs! There is no way a sloth can transmit leishmaniasis to a human – this only happens through the bite of an infected sandfly. It is just one of the many negative myths that the sloths are burdened with!

My journey

I remember the sandfly that bit me. I was walking my new puppy on the beach at dusk and was annoyed by the itchy bump that later appeared on my arm. I forgot about it and only really noticed something unusual when the bite was still there two weeks later. Nobody seemed particularly concerned by the little scab on my arm, and I probably left it far longer than I should before seeking a diagnosis. We watched the little hole in my arm slowly grow for 4 weeks before deciding to have it tested. Within 24 hours, the doctor had called and told me that I had tested positive for leishmaniasis and should begin treatment immediately. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.

As it turned out, there are no nice treatment options. The Costa Rican method involves up to 60 injections of glucantime – a toxic chemical that kills the parasite but also comes with a high risk of liver and heart damage. That didn’t sound like much fun, so I decided to seek treatment in the UK since I had been due to return during August anyway. When I finally arrived at my doctors office and presented him with a flesh-eating parasite, he looked at me like I had two heads. I was advised to go to the emergency room at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to find more specialised help. I don’t think that many people turn up at the hospital claiming to have leishmaniasis, since doctors of all shapes and sizes turned up to see the girl with the flesh-eating parasite. It’s safe to say that many people looked at me like I had two heads that day.

I was finally introduced to the wonderful Dr Tim O’Dempsey. He took a biopsy of my arm (much to my horror) and told me the bad news: the UK treatment options aren’t much better than the toxic Costa Rican injections. Furthermore, I had to wait 5 days for the biopsy results before I could do anything at all – we had to just sit and watch the hole continue to grow in my arm. It was an overwhelmingly creepy feeling knowing that something was munching through the flesh on my arm and I couldn’t do anything to stop it! Depending on the species of leishmania I was infected with, I now had two treatment choices:

1) I could be admitted to hospital for three weeks of intravenous medication (chemotherapy), which basically involves the same toxic chemicals as the Costa Rican injections (think heart problems and liver failure). Famously, TV presenter Ben Fogle endured this treatment after contracting leishmaniasis in Peru, and he ended up bed-bound with pneumonia – no thank you!

2) OR I could trial a new oral medication from Germany called Miltefosine. This horrifically expensive drug comes with a bunch of awful side effects, including sickness so severe that many people simply can not finish the treatment. This option wasn’t guaranteed to work either, and had never before been used to treat leishmaniasis from Costa Rica. Furthermore, this medication is only effective against one subspecies of the parasite – the most dangerous subspecies.

As it turned out, fate made the decision for me. I was diagnosed as having the dangerous subspecies (one that is prone to infecting the mouth and nose causing disfigurement) and so I was prescribed 4 weeks worth of Miltefosine pills. I began treatment immediately and initially, things looked promising. The hole in my arm stopped growing, and the pills weren’t making me too nauseous. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise it at the time but this medication takes a huge toll on the immune system. My arm was healing but I was becoming weaker every day. Within three weeks, strange painless lumps had started to appear all over my arm and my lymph nodes were inflamed. By this point I had returned to Costa Rica and was looking forward to getting back to normal – but normal was a long way off.

The lumps grew, and one in particular became very sore. It turns out that these were abscesses growing under my skin as a result of a staphylococcus infection. Within a few days I was feverish, my heart rate was up and my blood pressure dropped – all very bad signs of a systemic infection. I was rushed to a local doctor who prescribed antibiotic injections and bed rest. The rest was a roller-coaster. The injections (that were unfortunately in my bum cheek) left me with a second infection, which quickly developed into a large abscess leaving me unable to walk or sit down. I was forced to waddle everywhere. After one of the most uncomfortable weeks of my life, the doctor surgically drained 10 ml of pus from the abscess, and prescribed stronger antibiotics. I then developed further infections in my eye and mouth, all requiring treatment. And then to top everything off, a final infection in my left arm that also had to be surgically drained and my arm stitched up.

My arm after surgery

So today I am writing this, finally feeling like my roller-coaster ride is coming to an end. The leishmaniasis on my arm is healing, and the infections are finally going away. I still have stitches in my left arm and I have a few days of antibiotics left – but I have gone almost a week now without any new symptoms developing, and I am finally beginning to regain my energy (and most importantly, I don’t need to waddle anymore)! It has been a horrific journey, but I will never again be taking my good health for granted.

Now, I am finally ready to put my snake boots on and get back out in the jungle! It’s been a while since I have been able to follow up on the  Sloth Backpack Project, so it’s time for me to get productive. http://www.slothsanctuary.com/blog/

More Information: World Health Organization Disease Management info: Lleishmaniasis

 POST-KALA-AZAR DERMAL LEISHMANIASIS: A MANUAL FOR CASE MANAGEME

Cutest Critters Ever: Tarsier

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Tarsier
Gallery Image
Armadillo
Jeroba (Combination of a Rodent and a Kangeroo).

This week we’ve been revisiting our favorite critters from the deeply unsettling to the funny-looking. But today we’re getting cute, with critters that include a snake that can curl up on a quarter and a mammal that may have been the inspiration for Yoda. So enough with all the maiming and parasitizing (for now): These are the animal kingdom’s most bizarre yet endearing creatures.

As per the usual, you can browse the full Absurd Creature of the Week archive here. You can also watch the companion show, available here. And if you have an animal you want me to cover, email me at matthew_simon@wired.com or ping me on Twitter (@mrMattSimon).

Now—onward to the unrelenting cuteness. smoking (1)

Video shows bear walking in hallway at Montana high school

blackbear
Courtesy of: google free pics

BOZEMAN, Mont. — A black bear was spotted walking down the hallway at a high school in Montana on Wednesday morning, according to multiple media reports.

The bear entered the school through an open garage door in the back of the building at around 7:30 a.m.

The bear exited the school through an open door after about a minute of walking the hallways.

Officials forced the bear out of the school but it was not captured.

Source: Video shows bear walking in hallway at Montana high school

Underwater | Pterois Volitans

1Mk2eiE
Courtesy of edaccessible.com
Man underwater swims in a colorful coral reef with tropical fish
Courtesy of: https://twitter.com/Randallr75

Underwater | Reprobate

How To Climb Mt. Whitney via RGS

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

As the highest point in the contiguous United States, Mt. Whitney stands at 14,505 feet tall. Easy accessibility makes it a prime destination for hikers and climbers from around the world. We’ve hiked it, mountaineered it and rock climbed it, and here’s how you can do any of that too.

Why Go?

As the highest point in the US of A (excluding Alaska), the draw to go is present for anyone who wants to call themselves a hiker, climber, or mountaineer. As my wife Valerie put it, “It’s just one of those things you do.” It represents a huge challenge and rewarding view even for those that attempt, but do not finish.

How To Do It

First things first, you will need a permit if you plan to go between May 1 and October 31. The National Forest Service issues a total of 100 day hiker and 60 overnight permits per day, and these are given out through a lottery that takes place at the beginning of the year, check out the National Forest Service Lottery page for more info. This may sound like a lot, but consider that 11,662 applications were submitted to the 2015 Mt. Whitney Lottery. 43% were Awarded a Date of their Choice 57% were Unsuccessful. I was among those unsuccessful. I was fortunate enough to convince all of my friends to apply for permits and was able to go with them. If you plan to hike during the “non-quota” season, you can just drop by the permit office and pick one up. It’s also worth noting that generally the weekends are the ones that everyone wants. If you have a flexible schedule, you can often times pick up a weekday permit onRecereation.gov after the lottery season is over.

The two most popular ways of reaching the top both use the same trail that is hiked either in a single day or with a night spent at elevation, Valerie and I did both of those and will break down each one.

Up And Down In A Day

From the Whitney Portal trailhead, it is 11 miles and over 6,000 feet of elevation gain to the top. We paid $11 for a campsite and cowboy camped (no tent) at Whitney Portal. This is the way to do it if you plan to do a day hike because you will be starting before the sun comes up.

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

Having come from Orange County that day, I was super excited to see the stars that night and was not disappointed when the big dipper was shining bright.

I briefly covered this hike during my article on Altitude Sickness, check that out, you’ll need to know all about that too.

We started at 3 AM and started trucking for the top. The trail is pretty gentle, rising on average about 550 feet per 1 mile traveled. To get this gentle slope, the Forest Service cut an unnecessary number of switchbacks into the trail.

http://ift.tt/1N07dYP

My Garmin Fenix 3 did not last the whole day, which I am crediting to having the GLONASS antenna on. I have found that to cut the battery down by about 40%.

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

The elevation started hitting me hard once we got to about 13,000 feet on the 99 switchbacks out of trail camp. I was basically a zombie for the remaining few miles (evident in the GPS file). After only about 5 minutes on the summit, a summit shot for the records, and a signature in the book, I made my way down and started feeling way better with each step.

Overnight

For our second attempt, we spent a night at Trail Camp. It is the last place you can legally camp on the main trail on your way up to the summit. It is about 7 miles from the trailhead and sits at 12,000 feet. There is water readily available, but you MUST filter or purify this water. With the amount of people using this trail, some a-hole (or hundreds) have probably pee-ed in the water.

We spent the night in the Alabama Hills the night before our ascent and spent the morning rock climbing while waiting for some other friends to meet us. We departed in the afternoon and made it to Trail Camp just as the sun was going down.

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

Even at 8 PM, people were still descending the 99 switchbacks from the summit, with another 7 miles to go.

The one huge benefit to the overnight trip is that you are now only 4 miles from the summit and have a night to sleep at elevation. Altitude Sickness struck me hard on the single day trip, but with even as few as 8 hours at Trail Camp, I was able to acclimate and not feel any symptoms of AMS. My friend Sam on the other hand, was not feeling so great sleeping at altitude, which is not uncommon. He and I set out for the summit at 3 AM, hoping to catch the sunrise.

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

We were about a half of a mile from the summit as the sun came up, it was still beautiful.

Once we made the summit, both Sam and I were feeling pretty good. We spent about an hour at the top, called our parents (because there is cell service at the top of Whitney), watched a guy film a music video, and listened to someone else play an acoustic guitar they had carried up…it was apparently a very musical time to be up there.

We spent a little bit of time in the Smithsonian Institution Shelter to get out of the wind and talked with a few other people who were up there. I find it really interesting picking the brains of other people who are going through the same thing you are at this exact moment. There was a couple up there on their honeymoon!

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

While on the summit I was able to keep tabs on Val and Courtney as they made their way up with the Garmin Rino 650t. The combo radio and GPS unit let’s you visualize the location of your partner (as long as they have a Rino as well and are within range). It was extremely nice to be able to split groups and maintain communication and coordinate the trip.

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

Soft yet tough, the Arc’teryx Psiphon SL kept the wind out while on the top, and at $150 it is probably one of the cheapest jackets you can get from this top-of-the-line company.

Trip GPS files: Whitney Portal to Trail Camp, Trail Camp to Summit and Back, Trail Camp to Portal on the way down. After the Fenix 3 died on me the first time, I carried Garmin’s battery pack (without the solar charger) and topped it off before heading up on day 2.

Other Ways Up

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

Photo and caption by John Scurlock

(A) Pinnacle Ridge. (B) Aiguille Extra. (C) Third Needle. (D) Crooks Peak (Day Needle). (1) Beckey Route. (2) BCB on the Prow. (E) Keeler Needle. (3) Harding Route. (4) Crimson Wall. (5) Australopithecus. (6) Blood of the Monkey. (7) Lowe Route. (F). Mt. Whitney. (8) Strassman Route. (9) Left Wing Extremist. (10) Direct East Face (11) Hairline (12) Great Book. (13) East Face (14) Sunshine-Peewee (East Buttress). (15) Mountaineer’s Route. (16) Rotten Chimney. (17) Cardiovascular Seizure. Approximate lines; some routes not shown.

Mountaineer’s Route

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

Photo by Chris Brinlee Jr.

Chris climbed the Mountaineer’s Route last winter and did a little write-up/ Q&A with a mountaineering guide, here are some more of his thoughts:

My first experience on Mt. Whitney was via the mountaineers’ route, which is much more direct — and much less crowded — than the main hiking trail. I climbed it as part of American Alpine Institute’s Winter Mountaineering in the Sierra course, where we used its unforgiving alpine environment to develop a specialized set of skills for devoted to winter climbing.

If climbing any of the routes during winter, chances are that the gate on Whitney Portal Road will be locked — adding up to four miles of asphalt-pounding approach, before even reaching Whitney Portal. That was the case for our party; we lost a couple of hours to the pavement. Shortly after departing Whitney Portal to officially begin our adventure, we cut off-trail, following a cross country route. Within an hour of hiking our team reached snow and donned snowshoes for the remaining approach. We stopped for the first night near Lone Pine Creek.

From there, we followed the valley upwards, past Lower Boy Scout Lake, and on to Upper Boy Scout Lake, which would be our camp for the remainder of the course and the climb. Oftentimes parties will continue to Iceberg Lake, which is the last campsite on the mountaineers’ route before the summit, but windy conditions forced our team to stay at Upper Boy Scout, where there was ample snow to dig pits and escape from the extreme conditions we encountered.

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

Photo by Chris Brinlee Jr.

From Iceberg Lake, one has a direct line of sight up the route’s couloir. In the summertime, the slope is covered with scree; it only requires Class 2 scrambling. During the winter, however, it can be very icy, depending on conditions. Our team swapped out snowshoes for crampons at the base before continuing up the slope to a notch in Whitney’s ridge, about 500’ below the summit.

From the notch, there are a couple of different options: traverse up steep, exposed third class terrain, or head up the steep gully immediately west of the notch. Both are about equal in terms of technical difficulty; both will land you on the summit plateau.

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

Photo by Chris Brinlee Jr.

The mountaineers’ route has a great potential for rockfall, so it’s important to wear a helmet once you begin climbing the couloir. If attempting the mountaineers’ route during winter, the entire approach is avalanche-prone, so be sure to check conditions from the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center before you head out. If avalanches are likely, don’t go up!

-Chris Brinlee Jr.

Real Climbing – Sunshine-Peewee Route (East Buttress)

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

Photo by Stephen Miller

Stephen, a good friend who has accompanied me on many trips that have been featured here has also climbed Mt. Whitney via the East Buttress, this requires multi-pitch trad climbing skills, here are his thoughts:

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

Photo by Stephen Miller

Climbs like the East Buttress are what rock climbing is all about. Quality rock, consistent exposure, enjoyable climbing and a great summit all come together to make this an inarguably classic route of the High Sierra. At 5.7 it is a very approachable entry into the world of technical alpine rock climbing. Climbers comfortable leading 5.9 multi-pitch trad routes at lower elevations should have no trouble with the climb if they acclimatize appropriately and plan ahead. Making it a multi-day trip allows time to get used to the thin air and to make an alpine start the morning of the climb. There is almost no fixed protection on the route save for a few old pitons harkening back to the early years of technical climbing in the Sierra when the route was first climbed.

-Stephen Miller

Thoughts On The Trail

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

The trail itself is not that difficult. What is difficult is dealing with the altitude and amount of time you’ll be hiking. The day trip, with stops and all, took us over 15 hours (including an hour-long nap at trail camp). After both trips, no part of my body was physically sore because the trial is so gradual. After trying to Climb the Grand Tetonlast month and going a total of 14 miles (7 miles up and down), I couldn’t walk the next day because of how steep and physically demanding the trail was.

If you are hoping to find peace and tranquility on the trail, you will be left wanting more. While it is beautiful, there are more than 150 other people doing the exact same thing you are. We were often leap frogging with groups back and forth.

What You’ll Need To Bring

Depending on if you are doing a day hike or an overnight, your gear list will change. For the day hike, we each had a small pack, Valerie was wearing the 12 liter Osprey Rev 12, and I had the Osprey Stratos 24.

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

On the overnight, we had a “his and hers” set of Osprey Stratos 36 andSirrus 36 packs which had just enough room for all our overnight gear. They are a little heavy compared to other similarly sized packs at just under 3 pounds but super comfortable to wear all day long.

I completely love the support and feel of the Osprey Airspeed frame, so much so that we own 5 Osprey packs.

Because we were trying to keep our packs around 20 pounds each, we limited our food to dry goods/ quick eats only. This meant no coffee or scrambled eggs for breakfast, but it also meant we did need to carry a stove or any dishes. We did have cheese/ crackers/ sausage for dinner and plenty of trail mix, energy bars and gels, and other quickly easy to eat items.

Check out more on IndefinitelyWild for how to get into Backpacking:

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Don’t forget to read up on How to Poop in the Woods! Each hiker is issued a poop sack for carrying your business back down with you. On our day hike, I was fortunate enough to not have to use it, but on the overnight, I had to use the same bag multiple times after my stomach did not sit right with something I ate. It was unfortunate to have to carry that down, but when you see the “human waste” bin at the base, you get an idea for how much crap would otherwise be all over the trail. With nothing but rocks above 10,000 feet, there isn’t really much of a place to dig a hole anyways. The pack that the forest service gives you includes a larger trash bag for all your business that is full of smell absorbing kitty litter like stuff. You also get some toilet paper, a little hand wipe cloth, and another tougher bag for putting everything back inside. Be a respectful hiker and carry your poop back down with you.

How Do You Get There?

Less than 4 hours from LAX, it could not get much easier to get to Mt. Whitney. You’ll need to make a quick stop by the Eastern Sierra Interagency Center to pick up your permit. They are open from 8 AM – 5 PM. If you plan on driving up the night before your hike, don’t worry about rushing to get there, you can call them a day in advance and have them put your permit in the night drop box, see the above link for all that info.

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What Else Should You Do While You’re There?

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

Mt. Whitney looming tall in the background during our sunrise climb up the Shark Fin aêrte in the Alabama Hills.

The Eastern Sierra is my second home, and the first place I look for adventure. You will drive through the Alabama Hills to get to Mt. Whitney and the piles of rocks are just begging to be climbed. We camped under this rock and started climbing it as the sun came up. It was only my third time sport climbing (leading) outside of a gym, and Val’s third-time lead-belaying outside as well…we stuck to the easier 5.8 routes. Once I topped out, I built a top rope anchor so that she and my friend Sam who had never climbed outside before could go up without worrying about clipping quickdraws.

Bishop is an hour north of Lone Pine, and just 20 minutes beyond that is the Owen’s River Gorge, a world-class climbing destination for dirtbags and climbers alike. Head to the Looney Bean in Bishop for some coffee, then walk across the street to the Mammoth Mountaineering Gear Exchange and Consignment shop and rifle through the largest collection of quality used adventure gear. Val picked up a pair of $130 climbing shoes, gently used for $10! Pick up a guide book to the area, like the one I had by Tom Slater: California Road Trip: A Climber’s Guide Northern California. Another 45 minutes north of Bishop and you are at Mammoth Lakes, a primo spot for backcountry adventuring and resort town living.

What We Would Have Done Differently

Since we climbed the mountain twice, we have a pretty good feel for how we would do it again if we came back. I had planned to climb the mountaineer’s route with Wes, but then he went off to Romania, so that is still on my to-do list, for another year.

The day trip had the advantage of a super light pack, but it was an extremely long day. Both Valerie and I felt physically better on the overnight trip. Breaking the trek up helped immensely with the elevation and the acclimation. Valerie noted that the 7 miles to Trail Camp were the worst of the bunch. We’ve both had enough Mt. Whitney for a few years. If I were to do it again, I would definitely forgoe the main trail and shoot for the mountaineers route, you start and finish at the same spot, but walk half as many miles. That should give you an idea for how many unnecessary switchbacks the main trail has.

How To Climb Mt. Whitney

Mt. Whitney is beautiful, and this drawing by Jeremy Collins (a new favorite artist of mine) highlights that beauty! Buy a print here at his shop, The Meridian Line.

Have you climbed Whitney or are you thinking about doing it? Share your questions or comments with us here.

Photos by Corey Hass, unless otherwise noted.

IndefinitelyWild is a new publication about adventure travel in the outdoors, the vehicles and gear that get us there and the people we meet along the way. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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