Explorers Connect

Global Expedition News Update: 22nd March 2012

EC CommunityJames Hipkiss

A summary of news from the expedition and adventure world.... MOUNTAIN Pakistan: Gasherbrum I: Tragedy on the mountain Wed like to dedicate this issue to Gerfried Gschl, Cedric Hahlen and Nisar Hussain Sadpara who went missing on Gasherbrum I earlier this month. The team sent their last transmission 450 metres from the summit before being enveloped by weather. Despite an extensive land and air search, the search was abandoned along with all hope of their survival. Our thoughts are with their family and friends. Also on Gasherbrum I was a Polish team, who successfully completed the first ever winter ascent of the mountain.

Everest:The North Face National Geographic Mountaineer Conrad Anker will be attempting Everests West Ridge route alongside photographer, fellow American and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Cory Richards. Sponsored by The North Face and National Geographic, the team hopes to retrace the steps of the first American conquest of the West Ridge nearly 50 years ago. Cory will be filming the climb for a documentary. Simultaneously, a secondary team of scientists and researchers from Montana State University and Mark Jenkins, National Geographic writer, will climb the Southeastern Ridge. The expedition has a range of educational and scientific aims alongside the climb, looking at the geology of the Himalayas and educating school children back in America. The climbers themselves will also be studied; a team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic will be monitoring them to assess the physiological impact of high altitude. For more information and to follow the expedition in real time from April 16, go to the National Geographics Everest 2012 website. Everest: Young Brits Some of the youngest British climbers to attempt Everest this spring include Becky Bellworthy, Mollie Hughes, Mathiew Dieumegard-Thornton, Bonita Norris and Leanne Shuttleworth.

At the same time, Leanne hopes to scale Everests neighbouring Lhotse. Her plan is to be the first female to summit two 8000 metre peaks within 24 hours. With the Everest box ticked, Leanne will then have climbed all of the Seven Summits - the highest mountains on the seven continents. Bonita, currently the youngest British woman to have climbed the mountain, is hoping for her second summit of Everest as others vie to break her record.

ARCTIC - Poor ice conditions has meant that an Irish duo and a Japanese solo skier have had to pull out of their attempts to reach the North Pole after only two weeks. Four other Arctic adventures include: - Two Norwegians, Mads Agerup and Rune Midgaard, who plan to complete the traditional Ward Hunt North Pole trek in less than 30 days. They'll travel unsupported and unassisted.

Expedition Pole Nord 2012 of three Frenchmen looking to satisfy their scientific curiosity for the Arctic Ocean. - Six Ordinary Men, whose mantra ordinary men doing extraordinary things reflects the ethos of Explorers Connect. They aim to raise 250k for children's health charity, Sparks. - British Mark Wood is attempting to be the first person in history to ski solo unsupported and unaided - to both the South and North Poles consecutively. Financial difficulties have delayed the second leg of his journey and it is currently unknown whether he will be able to continue. The end of this month will mark 100 years since the death of the great Polar explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott during the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition. He recorded his success in reaching the South Pole in his diary, writing his final diary note on 29th March 1912. Scott and his team never made it back, but died from exhaustion, dehydration and extreme cold. A hundred years on and we still celebrate his bravery and stoicism.

OCEAN - Race to the bottom of the deep blue sea Racing to build a manned submarine capable of reaching the 10,994 metre depth of the 1,500 mile long Mariana Trench are teams Virgin Oceanic, Doer, Triton and James Cameron's Deepsea Challenge. Watch video below. This race comes 50 years after the sea floor was first reached but brings with it a range of new technologies and capabilities, increasing the effectiveness and outcome of the dive. The risks are high but each team has their own reasons for their attempt, whether it's science, film, adventure or sheer competitiveness. The bottom of the ocean is relatively unknown. We have scaled the highest mountains, crossed the largest deserts but explored just a portion of our giant sea floor. Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Welsh record-breaker Elin Haf Davies has joined forces with the Visit Finland crew to sail the 5,680 mile Pacific leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. The boat is currently eighth in the race for the Clipper Trophy. This will be Elin's second crossing of an ocean - a few years ago she became the first Welsh woman to row the Atlantic.

LAND The World Cycle Racing Grand Tour On the 18th February, 10 riders set off from London to cycle 18,000 miles around the world in what has been described as arguably the longest, toughest, adventure race in the world. The cyclists hope not only to make it the finish line back in London in time for the Olympics, but also to claim the ultimate prize of a new Guinness World Record for the fastest unsupported global navigation by bike. At the head of the race is Britains Mike Hall. Now in Australia, Mike has safely endured 4,972 miles in the saddle. You can follow the latest news here as the riders climb the heights of the Rocky Mountains, battle the headwinds of the Australian outback and race past the marvels of India. The Africa Expedition Delayed due to the political situation in Syria and Libya, Dutch students Jeffrey and Twan, are soon to set off from their home country to circumnavigate Africa in a Land Rover Defender 110. This 50,000 kilometre expedition across 46 international borders is scheduled to take 8 - 12 months. From the Netherlands, the pair will travel to Africa via Egypt, parts of Europe and the Middle East. The team can be followed on their website.

AIR - World record for highest sky dive Skydiver Felix Baumgartner, is planning to set a new world record with a 23-mile free fall this summer, having successfully completed a test jump in New Mexico last week. The 42-year old will complete one more test jump before the launch window of July October. A full space suit will protect him from temperatures of -70 Celsius. Oxygen cylinders will prevent him from passing out as takes the 10-minute plummet at speeds of more than 690mph from a helium pod. The record for the fastest and longest free fall was set in 1960 by US pilot Joe Kittinger, who jumped 19.5 miles.