Thursday, May 29, 2008
Only one day short of his 77th birthday, Min Bahadur Sherchan of Nepal became the oldest person to summit Everest. He reached the top on Sunday, May 25 with his team called the SECEE (Nepal 2008 Senior Citizen Mount Everest Expedition). The previous record of 71 years was made by Japanese school teacher Katsusuke Yanagisaw last May.
Mr. Sherchan spent a life in the military in Nepal and wanted to climb the mountain since childhood. His feat will go into the Guiness Book of World Records.
He said of his adventure:
"I never think of exhaustion and senility. I have vigorosity inside me and inside my life-philosophy. I want to galvanize whole of the senile population in Nepal into enthusiasm and devotion to achieve a better life even in old days. That’s why; I have commenced the great mission with a great vision in a great season (spring season) to fight against the mighty Mt. Everest with my will-power of mind and clean energy of my heart."
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The Mexican Navy is patrolling the waters off of Zihuatanejo Mexico with helicopters and patrol boats after a spate of shark attacks in the area. We reported in April that a San Francisco surfer was killed in Mexico last month by a tiger shark. What happened afterward has been described as a shark holocaust. Trying to kill all the sharks is not working. (see below).
On May 23rd, 21 year old Osvaldo Mata a local student died after a shark bit off his hand and broke his leg. The attack occurred within a few miles of the earlier fatal attack.
The following day, surfboard-shaper Bruce Grimes was bitten on the arm on Saturday off nearby Playa Linda beach. He reportedly nearly lost a thumb and needed around 100 stitches.
The AP reports: ' "I'll go right back. Yeah, I'm that stupid," Grimes said, examining his bandaged arm outside the hospital where he just had his daily cleaning. "I'll go right back out as soon as I'm able to." '
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Les Stroud is out in the Sierras this week eating miner's lettuce, pine buds and wild onions for his show "Survivorman". I guess it's been raining on him some but otherwise things are ok. A search and rescue team is using the occasion for training so it's possible he will be 'rescued' in the next day or so.
Survivorman and Man vs. Wild are probably the only 2 shows we watch on television. They both have the same plot. Drop a man off in the woods with nothing and see how he gets out.
There has been a lot of controversy about Man vs. Wild because so much of the show is faked. The show that was shot in the Sierras was really funny with the star Bear Grylls hiking at the crest in one shot and then getting into a home made raft on the American river (around 1k ft.) in the next. Nonetheless, Man vs. Wild makes for better TV in our opinion.
Survivorman keeps it real and really goes out alone for the time of the story. The problem is, being out alone in the woods for a week isn't all that action packed, especially if you know what you're doing. So the drama has to be invented some way or another.
Also you have to say that Bear Grylls seems a lot more butch than Survivorman but maybe it's his accent.
Check out Survivorman's blog for more about his Oakhurst (Sierra) story.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Heal the Bay released their California Beach Report Card today. The 517 monitoring stations tested for fecal total colioform, fecal colioform and Enterococcus. A lot of the pollution comes from birds and sea life, though much of it comes from storm drain run-off from cities. As ususal, Southern California beaches are at the bottom of the list.
87% of locations got a grade A or B
5% got grade C
1% got grade D
6% got grade F
The 10 worst:
1. Avalon Harbor Beach on Catalina Island (Los Angeles County)
2. Santa Monica Municipal Pier (Los Angeles County)
3. Poche Beach (Orange County)
4. North Beach Doheny (Orange County)
5. Marie Canyon Drain at Puerco Beach (Los Angeles County)
6. Cabrillo Beach harborside (Los Angeles County)
7. City of Long Beach, multiple locations (Los Angeles County)
8. Campbell Cove State Park Beach (Sonoma County)
9. Clam Beach County Park near Strawberry Creek (Humboldt County)
10. Pismo Beach Pier (San Luis Obispo County)
One commonly poor beach in Central California is at Pillar Point Harbor in San Mateo county, the site of the Half Moon Bay salmon & crab fishing fleets.
It is interesting to note that the development of a large hotel, spa and shopping mall on the site cooincides with the timing of the cancellation of water testing at this beach. Local officials decided that the beach didn't have enough human activity to warrant testing. This beach is heavily used by windsurfers and kayakers, and we've seen families swim there many times. Other testing points in San Mateo are very rarely used so this seems a bit fishy to us.
For the whole report check it out here
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
That means no state park closures, no beach closures due to budget cuts.
For Stienstra's whole story check it out here.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Originally uploaded by Gitart
A woman vacationing in Florida require 25 stitches to her cheek after an altercation with a pelican. The woman was swimming off of Treasure Island, near St. Petersburg when a pelican took a dive and accidently crashed into her. The pelican died from the impact.
"It was just like I got punched in the face, like, really super hard. You can imagine; they travel pretty fast - and having that come right at you,"
"I don't think in the 33 years I've been here I've seen anything like that," said St. Pete Beach Fire Rescue Chief Fred Golliner.
The woman is expected to be ok but will likely have a scar and a good story.
For the story source, see Tampa Bay Online
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Originally uploaded by Ambitious Wench
Yosemite Blog reports that yesterday some rock climbers apparently set a small forest on fire near the top of Royal Arches overlooking Yosemite Valley. The fire burned into the night, making it possible to see a recreation of a firefall. It might seem familiar to some folks. In the old days a man-made firefall was created in summer evenings for tourists on the valley floor. They were stopped in the 60s due to the damage to the walls and fire danger. This new fire was probably a lot more damaging than those old ones.
Chinese media are saying that the team of Han Chinese and Tibetan Chinese climbers have reached the summit of Everest with the Olympic torch. The BBC is carrying video showing the event.
As we said in another post, there are plenty of reasons to question whether or not the attempt was indeed successful. There has been a complete blackout of information surrounding the event and no other climbers have been allowed on the mountain.
Reporters brought to the mountain have been kept entirely in the dark. In fact, as of this morning, it is not clear they have been told that the summit has been reached.
Because there was a complete dress rehearsal of the summit bid last May, there is nothing to prevent the Chinese from using footage from that event in place of this attempt.
The images and video are taken in very low visibility conditions. The Tibetan prayer flags at the summit seem right but otherwise, it's impossible to determine where the climbers really are.
The TV special where the footage was first aired was called "Sacred Flame to Scale Mt Qomolangma". Perhaps there will be copies of this 6 hour video released to the internet.
The one bright side - Many of the climbers to the summit are quite famous in the climbing world and it seems unlikely that they could be convinced to keep it secret had the attempt been faked.
In related news, the climbers on the Nepal-side of Everest have been posting protests online, including horrible stories of the Chinese crackdown in Tibet.
They claim that the Chinese have apparently launched several cyber attacks of their web sites.
Monday, May 5, 2008
The Chinese government has placed a lock-down on Everest until May 10.
Over at the BBC, Jonah Fisher is reporting from near the Tibetan-side basecamp of Everest.
His video journals tell a frustrating story of reporters huddled into make-shift shelters and being told to wait with nothing to do. Meanwhile they receive no information from the Chinese government. There is no word at all of progress of the Chinese team carrying the special torch.
At times the climbers are being told to leave base camp and moments later they are told they can press on and set ropes at higher elevations. Sherpas are leaving in droves.
The situation is dangerous because the climbers, who have trained for years and paid huge sums of money, will be forced to shorten their normal acclimatization routines or abandon their climb. If they push on without proper acclimatization, it could be disaster.
After initially welcoming the gesture, the UIAA (International Mountaineering and Climbing Association) has requested that the Chinese NOT to carry their flag to the summit because of the closures.
The Chinese climbing team did a complete full dress rehearsal of the climb last year, with 86 crew members. It is thought that if something goes wrong, or the attempt is a failure, there will be plenty of glorious footage to replace the live footage this year.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Parts of this remind me of the 200 mile long John Muir Trail from Yosemite to the top of Mt. Whitney in California. However, as you'll see a bit further on in the video, it's not really like that at all, is it then?