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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What's Left to Do?

Yesterday's rant about the meaning of adventure got me wondering about truly meaningful "firsts" still out there to accomplish. A quick web search yielded a couple of Top Ten lists. This one, compiled in 2002 by Australian mountaineer Greg Mortimer for the Sydney Morning Herald, tilts toward the Southern Hemisphere, but it's a good start:

1. Climbing in the Siachen Glacier region in northern Kashmir, which has the world's greatest concentration of high unclimbed peaks and the largest glaciers in the world outside the polar regions.
2. Circling the globe on the Arctic and Antarctic circles. These are variations on the theme but would represent marvellous adventures.
3. Parachuting from space to Earth. It is possible and it is being seriously considered. The concept involves going to the edge of Earth's atmosphere in a massive helium balloon, then jumping out.
4. Searching for and finding Shackleton's ship Endurance, which was crushed in the ice in the Weddell Sea in Antarctica during the explorer's 1914 expedition.
5. Walking on the moon, in a privately funded, nongovernment expedition.
6. Repeating New Zealander David Lewis's circumnavigation of Antarctica by yacht, as he broke his original journey to return to the warmer latitudes.
7. Walking unsupported from west to east across Australia, as per Jon Muir's south/north crossing.
8. Walking from Commonwealth Bay (Mawson's Hut) in Antarctica to the South Pole.
9. Visiting the deepest trenches of the oceans, such as Mariana Trench.
10. Climbing in the beautiful mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula—this will become the alpine playground of the 21st century.

What else? Only eight of the world's 8,000-meter peaks have been climbed in winter. None of El Cap's main lines has had an onsight free ascent. Literally thousands of unclimbed peaks remain on Earth, especially in the vast reaches of China and Tibet. Huge expanses of winter terrain have never been traversed by skis. Got more ideas? Post a comment.


Anonymous said...

Well, I wouldn't call this one of the last great adventures... But this did remind me of a good climbing adventure for a coupla desert rats -
I spied a few stunning photos of Giant sandstone towers in obscure areas of the Sahara near the Libyan border. Almost no one goes there, partially because the area remains littered with landmines left over from the near-constant warfare.

And I thought the Fishers were adventurous...!

Alpinist Magazine published (issue 4 or 5?) a list of "last-great-problems" that included some pretty impressive climbing objective.

In the non-climbing genre...

What about swimming feats? I know that the Mississippi has been swam (with two kayakers accompanying martin strel - a slovenian, i think. To top it off, he feasted on beer and brats for lunch before getting back in the filthy river and logging another 10 miles!

So, on this note, what about the Amazon/Nile? Let's see somebody swim one of those monsters!

An adventure, for sure...

Anonymous said...

My previous blathering got me wondering. I, too, queried the gods of the internet regarding Last Great Firsts.

As I was only half-serious about my swim-the Nile/Amazon talk (you'd be eaten, for sure! I guess it qualifies as wilderness) - and, sure enough, it was just last year that the Nile was first travelled in from source to ocean!

here's the article:

Anonymous said...

I think these things are all relative. For me a great unsolved problem would be onsighting .11 in eldo.