Tag Archives: k2

Peter Ortner and David Lama ascend the Trango Summit in northern Pakistan's Karakoram mountain range. Photos taken by a camera mountain on a small, remote controlled drone. (c) Aurora Photos for Mammut

Drones capture amazing climbing sights from the Karakoram mountain range

Spy drones have been used by the US government on a various occasion in Pakistan to gather intelligence from the tribal area bordering Afghanistan, known for its close ties with terrorist organisations. Most recently, however, drones have been used to capture some mind blowing photos of sights otherwise completely inaccessible. The latest venture follows renowned climbers David Lama and Peter Ortner as they reached the summit of one of Karakoram’s peaks, documenting this formidable adventure.

Photo by Zaeemsiddiq.

The Karakoram mountain range is home to the highest density of peaks greater than 8,000 meters above sea level, including K-2 the second highest peak in the world, topped only by Mt. Everest. It’s not that it’s high, it’s technical difficult to climb as well, with many experienced world-class climbers admitting that the legendary Karakoram range puts most of the world’s mountains to shame. Many have perished trying to surmount its heights, and apart from some photos taken by the climbers part of the expeditions themselves and aerial photos taken from afar by helicopter, little documented footage is available as far as extreme mountaineering is concern.

“Here there are so many mountains, and so many difficult mountains, and mountains that haven’t been climbed,” said Lama. “That’s probably why the Karakoram is known as paradise for us.”

Helicopters, while the prime choice for documenting most climbing expeditions, are unpractical however. They’re extremely expensive, and considering the rough terrain, low air atmosphere and flight conditions in Karakoram or broader Himalayan range, they also can pose a dangerous factor for both climbers and pilots. This is where lightweight, unmanned drones came to fill the gap, in what we hope to be one of the first of many such ventures.

A joint project between outdoor clothing and equipment company Mammut, and Dedicam, a firm that specializes in using remote-controlled helicopters to shoot video, the team of engineers and specialized climbers used drones weighing just a few kilograms, and whose cost is but a fraction of that of a full-sized helicopter.

Two drones were used for the expedition, one with four propellers and another with six. Both were manevoured remotely by means of a handheld console that resembles a video game console, and a special pair of goggles equipped with a display which offered the drone’s point of view via its cameras.

 

It’s not just mountain climbing that drones might make a permanent appearance on. Since they’re extremely flexible and are non-intrusive to competitors, they’re more than fit to document any kind of extreme sport, from surfing to skiing to kayaking. For now, they’re still a novelty, but expect drones to offer you a direct connection between some of the world’s most inaccessible sights and your living room.

 

 

Everest clean up team goes up again

Everest is known as many things; first of all it’s the highest point in Asia, and in the world. It’s perhaps the peak over 8000 meters that most people try to climb (due to obvious reasons); but it also kills.

everest_kalapatthar_crop

Despite not being the most dangerous peak on the face of the earth, it has killed over 300 people since the 1950s, and the numbers continue to grow. It’s also called the highest dumpster in the world. For these two reasons, every now and then, a team has to go up the mountain and clean any debris left behind, and, sadly, bodies as well.

A team of 20 Sherpas left in late April with the purpose of gathering any garbage left behind by climbers and to retrieve the bodies the mountain claimed in the death zone – above 8000 meters, where the air is 3 times thinner than on sea level. They also achieved one of their major goals – bringing back body of Swiss climber Gianni Goltz, who died in a brave attempt to climb the mountain without oxygen.

Also, along were brought the corpses of New Zealander Rob Hall and American Scott Fischer, guides in the infamous 1996 disaster described in the best-selling book Into Thin Air. When people die in these conditions, they are often left behind, due to the practical problems their carriage would rise. It’s a sad but necessary reminder that when tackling this type of heights, something unexpected can (and probably will) appear – in which case you have to be absolutely prepared; and even then, things can go wrong, especially when you consider there are other peaks way more dangerous than the everest.

The garbage left behind includes discarded tents, oxygen supplies, food, etc, and it will be put up for display at an exhibition at Everest base camp.

“Eight Sherpas have dug out the body from under the snow of Swiss climber Gianni Goltz and have brought his body down from the South Col to Camp 2,” Karki wrote.

The 5 tallest mountains on Earth

Mountains have always fascinated me… ever since I was a little kid. Although I can’t say that I’ve climbed really big mountains or did some extraordinary cliff hanging, I’ve had my share of mountain events, but at an amateur level. Even now when I look at a peak I feel like it’s reaching out towards the sky,  even in a metaphorical way. So it was quite unpleasant a few years ago to realize that I don’t know the 5 tallest mountains (knew 3 though). So it took a while, but I found them. Here’s a list for you (with pics) so you know something about then and don’t have to look them out yourself.

5. Makalu – 8,485 meters

makalu

Photo by arjayempee

In Nepal it’s officially मकालु; in China it’s officially Makaru, or 马卡鲁山 Just thought it’d be cool to know. The first time anybody tried to climb it was in the spring of 1954. The expedition was turned back, and it was first climbed in 1955 by Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy of a French expedition led by Jean Franco. As you can (partially) see, it’s a four sided pyramid, which bears a single isolated peak. Also, it’s name represents spiritual destiny.

4. Lhotse – 8,516 meters

lhotse

Photo by mbollino 

Keeping up the fun stuff: in Nepal officially ल्होत्से, in China officially Lhozê. First climbed on May 18, 1956, by the Swiss team of Ernst Reiss and Fritz Luchsinger from the Swiss Mount Everest/Lhotse Expedition. Its long east-west crest is located immediately south of Mount Everest, and the summits of the two mountains are connected by the South Col, a vertical ridge that never drops below 8,000m and makes it really hard to climb. The name means South Peak.

3. Kanchendzonga (Wikipedia calls it Kanchenjunga, but all the atlases I’ve seen call it this way) – 8,586 meters

kanchendzonga

Photo by aluytenuk

In my opinion, this is the most beautiful mountain in the world. I can’t put 1,000 pics in here so you could see for yourself… but do a search on google, Wikipedia, Flickr or whatever, and it will be worth it! It’s the highest mountain in India, and its name is just as fascinating as the mountain itself. Its name means “The Five Treasures of Snows”, as it contains five peaks, four of them over 8,450 metres; the treasures are gold, silver, gems, grain, and holy books. Still not convinced? What if you knew that due to the difficult access and the Indian government it has retained pretty much all of its pristine charm, making it the most “natural” mountain above 8000 m? Anyway, the way it rises as if from the clouds is just fantastic. Pure beauty!

2. K2 – 8,611 meters

k2

Photo by Tree elf

The mountain was first surveyed by a European survey team in 1856. Ever since, it remained a fascination, because of the difficulty of its climbing and the numerous deaths that occurred. Still, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have the highest mortality rate (stay tuned with the feed for that story in a couple of days); it’s just the image that the media has created. But don’t think it’s not dangerous! It’s reaaaaally dangerous! (really, it is!) Just not the most in the world; in the pic, it’s enveloped in mist, and stands without its usual sheath of ice and snow in the Karakoram summer.

1. Everest – 8,848 meters

everest

Photo by Carpe Feline

Here it is ladies and gents, the champs! Without a doubt the most famous mountain, Everest is worth its fame, quite frankly because it’s the biggest. It’s also called Chomolungma (=Goddess Mother of the Earth) or Sagarmatha (=Goddess of the Sky). First climbed by Edmund Hillary on May 29, 1953, it remains a symbol, and it will always be something more than a mountain.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that there is more than one way to measure a mountain  — by altitude, the distance from the ocean floor, and by the distance from the center of the Earth. Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain in the world by altitude but in the case of the other two perspectives, it falls short. For instance, Mauna Kea is at least 1,200 meters taller than Mt. Everest when you factor in the submerged part of the Pacific Ocean. Likewise,  Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador is the highest point in the world because it only sits 1 degrees above the equator while Everest is 20 degrees above the equator. Learn more about what’s the tallest mountain in the world.