Monthly Archives: August 2011

Hammocks Without Borders – Ultra Sieste du Mont Blanc 2011

And if you’re wondering why anyone would choose to go through all that suffering when they could be kicking back in a hammock enjoying a lightly chilled rosé, then you need to check out … the Ultra Sieste du Mont Blanc

All the non-action starts today, Friday 26 August, 17:00, Les Gaillands. Bring a hammock, chaise longue, eats, drinks, games and a sense-of-humor.

Mo’ beta at


Kneesocks Without Irony – Ultra Trail Mont Blanc 2011

UTMB 2011

An 'easy 1.8km wide trail'? So tell me again what all the fuss is about?

The Ultra Trail Mont Blanc is back and once again Chamonix is filled with men in tights and incredibly ripped women. I mean seriously, every other week of the year it’s the other way around but for some reason during this particular week the tables are turned. Go figure.

UTMB 2011

Or perhaps more appropriately... Hitting the wall.

And for those who have ever wondered what it’s like to run the race here are a few vids that do a good job of talking you through the entire course including what kind of roads you’ll be on, strategies to use for different parts of the course, and key waypoints to look for so you don’t get lost.

UTMB 2011

...and take a sweater, just in case

These vids take so much of the guesswork out of it that it almost makes you want to run the race. Almost…

The schedule for the weekend:

Friday, 26 August

10:00 Courmayeur – depart CCC (98km / 5600m climbing / 1800 runners / 26 hrs max).

16:00 Chamonix – first finishers of PTL (300km / 22,000m climbing / 80 teams of 2 or 3 runners / 138 hrs max)

17:00 Lacs des Gaillands – Ultra Sieste du Mont Blanc (the ultimate alternative to the UTMB. Bring a hammock, chaise longue, eats, drinks, music, games, and a sense of humor).

18:30 Chamonix – depart UTMB (166km / 9500m climbing / 2300 runners /

21:45 Chamonix – first CCC finishers

Chamonix centre ville – tedious blathering and mundane soundtrack blasted over the sound system all night long. Earplugs highly recommended for those trying to sleep within a 20km radius. For those who thought they could escape the deluge by fleeing to the other end of town, race organizers have thoughfully placed speaker systems cranked to 11 along the high street.

Saturday, 27 August

15:30 Chamonix – first UTMB finishers

Chamonix centre ville – tedious blathering and mundane soundtrack blasted over the sound system all night long. Lock firearms and large knives in a safe place and throw away the key. After being relentlessly tormented by the teeth-grinding Chariots of Fire soundtrack for the past 24 hours you’re going to want to kill somebody if not yourself.

Find all the beta on the UTMB website.

Smoking the Crack – A New Low in Proximity Flying + Coupe Icare 2011

Grinding the Crack

This is a jump site just outside of St Hilaire du Touvet near Grenoble. My old climbing buddy La Fouche’s deck is just next to it and you can hear the rush of wind as these lunatics fly past.

He has yet to share with me the sound they make when they hit the ground…

And speaking of St Hilaire, the Coupe Icare is happening from 22-25 September featuring a sky filled with completely mad Frenchies doing what they do best. This is a great place to pick up a second-hand wing with over 10,000 sq m of used equipment. Check the website for details.

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner Summits K2, Becomes First Woman to Climb All 14 8000-Meter Peaks Without Oxygen

Word just in that Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner (Austria) and Vasiliy Pivtstov (Kazakhstan) reached the summit of K2 at 16:35 Pakistan time (GMT +5). This makes Gerlinde the first woman to summit all 14 8000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen and the 11th person (3 of which are disputed) to summit all 8000m peaks without O2. Maxut Zumayev (Kazakhstan) and Darek Zaluski (Poland) summitted a few hours later

This is also Vasiliy’s and Maxut’s 14th 8000-meter peak without oxygen which makes them … can you guess? … the 12th and 13th climbers to reach the summit of all 14 8000-meter peaks without oxygen.

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner

BC = 3800m, C1 = 5350m, Middle Camp = 6100m, C2 = 660m, C3 = 7100m, C4 = 7950m, bivvy = 8300m. Photo: Ralf Dujmovits/National Geographic

The rest of the team includes Gerlinde’s life partner Ralf Dujmovits (Germany) and National Geographic photographer Tommy Heinrich (Argentina/Sweden).

First woman to summit K2

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits.

The team climbed the North Ridge, first climbed in 1982 by a huge seige-style Japanese expedition. Only 20 climbers have reached the summit of K2 via the North Ridge.

Big congratulations to Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Vasiliy Pivstov, Darek Zaluski, Maxut Zumayev, Ralf Dujmovits and Tommy Heinrich. Huge respect.

Find more info on the Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner blog and on Ralf Dujmovits blog.

First woman to summit all 8000 meter peaks

Photo: Ralf Dujmovits /

Yoga, Surfing, Climbing, Mtn Biking, Sun, Beach – Yoga Kelly Takes a Holiday and Wants Us All to Join Her

Yoga Kelly using her chi to get shacked.

All this gorgeous weather with only a limited number of hours in the day to climb, bike, fly, run and hike. Man, the stress of having to decide what to do at the beginning of each day can be overwhelming. After a full summer of facing these critical decisions on a daily basis it’s no wonder many of us deserve a nice long holiday. But the problem is this: where do you go to take a break when you already live in paradise?

Lucky for us, Yoga Kelly has a solution, a couple of them actually….

Surf & Yoga Retreat France

Date: 17-24 September

7 Days Private Beach Front Accommodation in Seignosse (sleeps 4/6) or in Capbreton (depending on dates, which sleeps 8)
Two way Private Airport/Train Station Transfers
6 x 1.5hr Morning energizing yoga session
5 x 1.5hr Evening Flow Yoga session
1 x 1hr Thai massage course (give and receive)
7 x Morning meditation session
2 x Evening meditation
5 x 2hrs Private Surf Lessons (4 pers) with Boardingmania surf school
7 Day Surfboard and Wetsuit hire
7 Day Mountain Bike Hire
Linen and towels
Cost: €550 / person / 7 days
One of the best things about the Alpine Yoga retreats are that all activities are optional.

Surf, Climb, & Yoga Portugal

Date: 1-8 October

7 nights’ accommodation
6 x fresh buffet breakfast
6 x delicious and healthy dinners
6 x Morning energizing yoga session
6 x Evening Flow Yoga session
Thai massage courses (give and receive)
6 x Morning meditation session
3 x Evening meditation session
transport to and from chosen activities
cost: €695 / person / 7 nights

To learn more, check out the Adventure Yoga Retreats website.

Danny MacAskill’s Latest in a Long Line of Wildly Successful Attempts at Making the Rest of Us Look Like Complete Kooks

This is getting ridiculous.

And if these are the kind of shenanigans that float your boat, then you won’t want to miss the Vanois crew’s trials antics in/on the Vanois Express téléfreak. FYI, that’s a 400-meter drop they’re looking at…

***UPDATE*** Teaser Tuesday: Chamonix Adventure Film Festival 2011

climbing film

Corey Richards having an adventure in the film 'As It Happens'.

Wednesday, 24 August 9:00 p.m. 

***Free screening – Salle Olca, Les Houches  – 21:00***

Ever Last & The Love Letter – 4 + 14 min. “An insight into the life of Krissy Moehl, 2x UTMB women’s champion.”

As It Happens – 16 min. “Renan Ozturk & Cory Richards attempt to establish a new technical alpine route on 6,498m Tawoche in Nepal.”

On a Marché Sous le Pôle – “Eight explorers and a husky are dropped 60kms from the geographic North Pole, in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. Their aim is to make the first filmed report from below the ice shelf.”

Mo’ beta at

Friday, 19 August 7:00 p.m.

Dark Side of the Lens – moody 7-minute surf film.

Life Cycles – 47 min. of amazing cinematography and mountain bikes

Arctic Speed – 10 min. Exploring the Polar Circle on skis and by speed riding.

Dream World – 8 min. Documentary on free-runner Jason Paul

The Wild Line – 20 min. Four speed riders, a mountain guide and a cameraman travel to China to attempt the first speed ride descent of 7546-metre Mustagh Ata.

Azadi Freedom – 27 min. This film takes a look at Kashmir in the wake of the violent militant insurgence of the 90s, and the current rise in tourism thanks to skiing.

Skateistan – 10 min. “Film telling the story of two young skateboarders and their search for escape from the brutalities of war through skating.”

The Argentine Project – 10 min. “Three friends taking a trip and hoping to create a film with one bike, two cameras, and a few words of Spanish.

Saturday, 20 August 7:00 p.m.

Panik in Baffin – 2 min. ***Chamonix Homegrown!*** “Four girls head to Baffin Island in the Arctic Circle in April 2011 to ski couloirs and explore unknown territory.

Feel the Hill – 17 min. “The multiple disciplines of longboarding and the sense of freedom that comes with the sport.”

WildWater – 31 min. “A visually stunning feast for the senses… a new kind of adventure film – one where image, sound and ideas trump all else.”

Kilian’s Quest – 30 min. “Kilian meets his long-time hero and inspiration, Bruno Brunod, and travels to Greece to attempt a record on Mount Olympus

Climate of Change – 86 min. “In this rich and inspiring documentary, director Brian Hill takes us around the world to find the ordinary people taking action in the fight to save our environment.

Sunday, 21 August 7:00 p.m.

Solitaire– 15 min. Ski vid with Chamonix’s ‘American Dave’ Rosenbarger, JP Auclair, Will Cardamone, Johnny Collinson,  Jacqui Edgerly, Kip Garre, Elyse Saugstad.

Eastern Rises – 39 min. “An epic fly fishing journey to Russia’s remote Kamchatka Peninsula. What we found… big, beautiful, mouse-crushing native rainbow trout, super kudzha and bigfoot in Russia’s far, far east.

Second Nature – 14 min. Guys on longboards, blue suits and beards. “Winner: Best Extreme Sports Film at the 2009 Mammoth Film Festival! Winner: Best Short Film at the 2010 X-Dance Action Sports Film Festival. Winner: Best Sports Film at the 2010 Sonoma International Film Festival. Winner: Best Adventure Sport film at the 5 Point Film Festival in Colorado.”

Moonflower – 2 min. ***Chamonix homegrown!*** Teaser for Jon Bracey and Matt Helliker’s film of their ballsy ascent of the Moonflower Buttress on Mt. Hunter in Alaska.

Summit 4 Kids – 15 min. “Laura Bohleber, Marja Persson and Giulia Monego attempt to summit and ski three of the highest mountains in the Peruvian section of the Andes to raise money for disadvantaged children living in the Peruvian city of Cajamarca.

Vertical Sailing – 50 min. “Nico & Olivier Favresse, Sean Villanueva and Ben Ditto take us on their latest climbing and sailing adventure to Greenland in search of virgin big walls. Nine new routes on six big walls earned them a Piolet d’Or award.”