Explorers Connect

CommunityJames Hipkiss

EC's regular news round up of what's happening in the expedition and adventure world. The North Pole season has just begun and the Himalayan climbing window is fast approaching with hundreds of teams attempting peaks across the range.

There's also a whole host of other expeditions taking place around the world from cycling to running. MOUNTAIN: On Gasherbrum I two teams are hoping to take advantage of a weather window later this week to make their second attempt at the summit during the winter. Gasherbrum I is of one of the world's fourteen 8,000+ metre mountains. Poor weather had been preventing the teams from leaving the relative shelter of base camp, but this week the improvement in conditions has allowed the attempt to recommence. Another predicted weather window later in the month will allow the teams a third attempt at the summit should this week prove unsuccessful.

Climbing in winter, the temperatures the teams are experiencing are extremely low and winds can be exceptionally strong with the weather able to change quickly and without warning. A two man team has just announced that they will attempt a North-South crossing of the Pamir Mountain Range in Tajikistan by foot; this is one of the least visited mountain ranges in the world and is extremely remote and unexplored. Just over the border the Afghanistan Secret Peaks Mountaineering and Paragliding expedition will be attempting to climb a range of unclimbed peaks in the Wakhan Corridor, a relatively safe section of the country but not without its dangers, and paraglide from them. A high definition documentary willtell the expedition's story and that of the Wakhan Corridor. ARCTIC: The infamously difficult multi stage dog sledding race the Iditarod has begun, leaving Anchorage last Saturday. The 66 teams are competing over a 1,000 mile course. The current leader of the race, and first in to the most recent checkpoint, is Aliy Zirkle. Explorer Mark Woods is in the second stage of his attempt to ski to the South and North Poles back to back.

Having successfully skied to the South Pole in January Mark is now aiming for the North Pole. Due to the poor condition of the sea ice the decision has been taken to ski from the North Pole back to dry land in Canada, starting rather than ending at the North Pole. So the trip will be carried out in reverse and Mark insists that the record will still stand should he be successful in skiing the distance solo. The trip is currently on hold due to a lack of funding; more money is needed to cover the possibility of a rescue operation should it be needed. Other Arctic expeditions include Clair O'Leary and Mike O'Shea, an Irish team who've set out for the North Pole in the past few days. Solo Japanese skier Yasunaga Ogita is also making his way across the ice, facing the dangers of living on the ice alone. Temperatures for both teams have been extreme, dropping below -50Cand deep snow has meant incredibly slow progress each day. Any trip to the Arctic is likely to encounter difficulties; constantly moving sea icemeans that a route to the Pole must constantly adapt to the conditions and success is far from guaranteed even with full preparation.

Other teams heading to the North Pole this season include a large group from the Indian Army. In May the Arctic Jubilee Expedition team will be heading to the incredibly remote and rarely before climbed Barbeau Peak, the highest peak in the British Empire Range of Canada, well within the Arctic Circle, to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year, 2012. RUNNING: The 'Espresso de los Andes' expedition recently got underway with ultra runners Ray Zahab and Kevin Vallelly setting out to run 1,056 miles across the continent of South America. They set off from the Pacific coast of Chile and are heading to Buenos Aires in Argentina on the Atlantic coast. The team will run across the Andes mountain range on their way from coast to coast. Such a long expedition on foot poses a series of problems and injury must be avoided at all cost in order for both men to run the 1,000+ miles and make it all the way to the Atlantic coast.Other upcoming running expeditions include Ryan Mills who, later this month, will attempt to run across Death Valley in America for charity, travelling 184 miles in 8 days of intense heat. ATLANTIC: The Atlantic Rowing Race was dogged by bad weather this year.The six manAtlantic Odyssey team, which included cyclist Mark Beaumont, were one of many boats that had to retire, having to be picked up before reaching Barbados after a large storm unfortunately damaged their boat and cut the expedition short.

Other crews made it including the four man British and Slovenian Tusmobil Trans Atlantic team who finished rowing on the 27th of February, arriving to the beautiful beaches of Barbados after 2,500 nautical miles on the open ocean ROUND THE WORLD: The World Cycling Racing Grand Tour got underway on the 18th February as ten riders set out to cycle 18,000 miles around the world in record breaking time. The current record, held by British rider Vin Cox, stands at 163 days and could be beaten this summer! All of the riders can be tracked liveas each battles to beat the rest back to London in time for the 2012 Olympic Games. EXPEDITIONS LAUNCHED: This month Julian Monroe Fisher announced plans of an ambitious five year African expedition. Fisher will be carrying out a range of expedition legs across the continent in the hope of recreating pioneering journeys and carrying out first hand ethnographical field research.

Another announcement has come from desert explorer Ripley Davenport, who in 2013, will attempt to retrace the trans-Sahara trade route from Timbuktu to Marrakech. Ripley will travel 1,800 miles through the desert with a camel caravan.