Creating adventure, travel, and culture-related written and visual content.
"In August, Hanifa Yousoufi became the first Afghan woman to summit 7,492m Mt. Noshaq, her country’s highest peak. The 24 year-old Yousoufi was part of a climbing expedition assembled by Ascend, a U.S.-based nonprofit that uses climbing to help young women in troubled countries. ExplorersWeb caught up with Yousoufi to find out more about her climb. We also spoke to Marina LeGree and Freshta Ibrahimi of Ascend, which organized the expedition."
"Fewer than one racer in three managed to complete Central Asia’s first bikepacking marathon. The inaugural Silk Road Mountain Race wound 1,700km through Kyrgyzstan’s Tien Shan Mountains and vaulted several lung-ripping passes near 4,000m. In the end, only 29 riders out of 98 starters crossed the finish line. Participants had to carry all their own gear and grind through blazing heat and alpine blizzards in order to finish within the two-week deadline."
"Gushing at mach speed out of the glacier’s bowels, this river may have been the northernmost ever truly paddled — but not the northernmost ever to see canoes or kayaks. About 20 years ago, a party with ambitions on that record tackled the 50km-long Ruggles River, which issues from Lake Hazen on northern Ellesmere Island and empties into a fiord near the Arctic Ocean."
"The film shows the contrasting calmness and tension as the divers methodically prepare to enter the sump. Interspersed throughout these primary scenes, archival footage of earlier explorations, interviews with both the divers and with the authors of a book documenting the earliest forays into Ario’s depths, show what it takes to pioneer a new cave."
"Fourteen months ago, Baigalmaa Norjmaa from Ulaangom, in northwestern Mongolia, began a 12,000km journey with Bactrian camels from her country’s capital of Ulaanbaatar to London, England. So far, her three-year traverse of Eurasia has taken her across the Mongolian steppe and China’s Xinjiang province to eastern Kazakhstan. ExplorersWeb checked in with Norjmaa about her project, which she calls Steppes to the West."
"Central Asia’s first-ever unsupported bikepacking marathon, the Silk Road Mountain Race, begins on August 18 in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. For 15 days, 95 participants will cycle a mostly unpaved route winding 1,700km through Kyrgyzstan’s wild Tien Shan Mountains. They will climb a total of 26,000 meters, including over several mountain passes near 4000m. Also, they will carry all their food and drink whatever water they find. Each night, they sleep where they drop in the tents and sleeping bags they carry on their bikes."
"The Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA), as it is officially known, is formed from millions of stereoscopic satellite images shot over Antarctica between 2009 and 2017. A Blue Waters supercomputer was then used to digitally stitch together the 150 terabytes of data."
"Located in the remote Wakhan Corridor in the country’s northeast, Noshaq — a Dari word meaning Nine Valleys — was first climbed in 1960 by a Japanese team. In 1973, it also became the world’s first 7,000m peak to be scaled in winter. Since then, a small number of international teams have sought first ascents in this isolated range bordering Pakistan, China and Tajikistan."
"After more than three months and 9,200km of sailing, Viracocha III has reached Tahiti, in French Polynesia. The eight-person crew launched their 18m reed raft from Arica, Chile and spent 86 days drifting west across the Pacific Ocean before their first land sighting: Tatakoto, a 14km-long, isolated atoll in the Tuamotu Islands. From there, it took them another three weeks and over 1,000km to reach Tahiti."
"The 700m line took them two days and required nine zigzagging pitches up the right side of a triangular granite pillar between Himalamiage (750m, ED1) and Fanta Couloir (700m, TD), which were first climbed in the 1980s. After three difficult pitches of 6a+, they reached the well-defined upper spur and followed it for six more pitches until a featureless tower forced them to bivy."
"In November 1988, a multinational team of 11 began the first trip to the South Pole from Hercules Inlet, on the southern edge of the Ronne Ice Shelf. Since then, at least 187 people have skied these 1,130km, making it the most traveled route in Antarctica. American Aaron Linsdau took the longest time to complete his trip: 81 days in 2012-2013, more than three times longer than Norwegian speedster Christian Eide, who covered the same line in 25 days."
"German alpinists, Alexander Huber and Fabian Buhl, are underway on an expedition to Pakistan where they are attempting to climb Suma Brakk via a new route. The 6166m peak overlooking the Choktoi Glacier was first climbed in 2007 by Doug Chabot, Mark Richey and Steve Swenson."
"Last July, 47-year-old John Martin left Anchorage, Alaska and traveled north 500km by road, towing an eight-foot sailing dinghy past Denali National Park and into the interior. He was headed for Nenana: This small village had been the starting point of the 1925 Great Race of Mercy, in which a team of 20 mushers and their dogs relayed an antitoxin 1,085km west to Nome in five-and-a-half days, after a diphtheria epidemic swept through the remote coastal settlement, threatening 10,000 lives."
"Five weeks ago, an eight-person crew set sail from Arica, Chile. Their destination: Sydney, Australia, 19,000km to the west. They are covering this enormous distance in Viracocha III, an 18m-raft constructed from 2.5 million freshwater totora reeds from Bolivia and Peru. The journey will take up to six months."
"Yurts and gers come from different regions and feature minor differences: Both use wooden roof beams balanced on top of an expanding lattice frame and often covered with goat felt, canvas or other material. Central Asian yurts use bent roof beams; Mongolian gers have straight ones."
"A good repair kit deals with both freak disasters — a fire in a tent, an avalanche, a broken backpack frame — and damages that occur on every expedition, like rips that need a sturdy sewing job. You can’t carry a garageful of tools into the field but you need to be able to repair almost everything. Achieving this in a light, compact kit is the challenge."
"Broad Peak, directed by Leszek Dawid and based on a true story, is the world’s first feature film shot above 5,600m. The biopic focuses on Maciej Berbeka, a legendary Polish mountaineer who, together with climbing partner Tomasz Kowalski, disappeared during the first winter ascent of Broad Peak (8,047m) in 2013."
In January, a four-man Spanish team completed a 2,500km journey between two research stations in Antarctica, from near Novolazarevskaya to Dome Fuji, and back. How they traveled was even more exotic than where they traveled. For 52 days, they rode a series of customized sleds with built-in living quarters and powered entirely by kites. Since the project’s inception in 1999, the WindSleds have been used on 11 expeditions and have covered more than 20,000km in Antarctica, Greenland, and Canada.
"Located on the western side of Hispaniola, Haiti is a nation rocked by revolutions and steeped in culture. We take a look at 21 highlights of the country's history ranging from courageous slave revolts, rum-soaked pirates, murderous despots, and change-making visionaries."
"Installing a 3 by 3 by 7 foot steam shower is $2,650 to $6,050, or an average of $4,350 including all materials. If you only require the unit and generator, expect to pay between $2,270 to $5,350. Qualified electricians and plumbers charge $83 per hour, or about $500 to $580 for a project this size. The average install can take 6 to 7 hours."
"The cost to add carpet padding for a standard 9 by 9 square foot room falls between $185 and $425. The average is $3.75 per square foot with labor and all materials included. The padding material sells for an average of $1.50 per square foot. The cheapest is bonded foam that starts at $0.50 per square foot. The most expensive is flat rubber costing up to $2.75 per square foot."
"Carpet removal costs $1 to $1.50 per square foot including labor, cleanup and waste disposal. This equals $48 to $72 per hour because it usually takes 3 hours to remove carpet from a 12 by 12-foot room (including extracting the tack strips and staples). The average hourly rate is $60 per hour, so expect to pay $180 in total for a contractor to remove and dispose of 12 by 12-foot carpet."
"Expect to pay $1,050 to $1,600 including materials and labor to install 5-foot-high unpainted solid wood wainscoting in a 12- by 12-foot room. The average price is $1,325, or about $5.50 per square foot. Wainscoting can be as cheap as $1 per square foot if using MDF or plywood, or more than $40 per square foot if using an expensive solid wood. Real wooden beadboard paneling costs $1 per square foot. Imitation types cost $0.50 to $0.75 per square foot."
"College admissions readers are receiving thousands of applications, and the majority of them are accompanied by multiple letters of recommendation. These letters are crucial to conveying your suitability for a particular college and field of study, so it’s imperative that letters submitted on your behalf distinguish you from other students."
"No matter how organized you are, applying for college can be time-consuming and stressful. Depending on the institution there can be reams of paperwork to fill out, the prospect of daunting interviews, challenging personal essays to write, and critical evaluations of your GPA and test scores. Though the good news is, despite all the administrative hoops and empirical assessment, the broader admissions process takes a holistic approach."