Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Official says human waste on Mt. Everest a major problem

 
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) - Human waste left by climbers on Mount Everest has become a problem that is causing pollution and threatening to spread disease on the world's highest peak, the chief of Nepal's mountaineering association said Tuesday.

The more than 700 climbers and guides who spend nearly two months on Everest's slopes each climbing season leave large amounts of feces and urine, and the issue has not been addressed, Ang Tshering told reporters. He said Nepal's government needs to get the climbers to dispose of the waste properly so the mountain remains pristine.

Hundreds of foreign climbers attempt to scale Everest during Nepal's mountaineering season, which began this week and runs through May. Last year's season was canceled after 16 local guides were killed in an avalanche in April.

Climbers spend weeks acclimatizing around the four camps set up between the base camp at 5,300 meters (17,380 feet) and the 8,850-meter-high (29,035-foot-high) summit. The camps have tents and some essential equipment and supplies, but do not have toilets.

"Climbers usually dig holes in the snow for their toilet use and leave the human waste there," Tshering said, adding that the waste has been "piling up" for years around the four camps. At the base camp, where there are more porters, cooks and support staff during the climbing season, there are toilet tents with drums to store the waste. Once filled, the drums are carried to a lower area, where the waste is properly disposed.

Dawa Steven Sherpa, who has been leading Everest cleanup expeditions since 2008, said some climbers carry disposable travel toilet bags to use in the higher camps.

"It is a health hazard and the issue needs to be addressed," he said. Nepal's government has not come up with a plan yet to tackle the issue of human waste. But starting this season, officials stationed at the base camp will strictly monitor garbage on the mountain, said Puspa Raj Katuwal, the head of the government's Mountaineering Department.

The government imposed new rules last year requiring each climber to bring down to the base camp 8 kilograms (18 pounds) of trash - the amount it estimates a climber discards along the route. Climbing teams must leave a $4,000 deposit that they lose if they don't comply with the regulations, Katuwal said.

More than 4,000 climbers have scaled Mount Everest since 1953, when it was first conquered by New Zealand climber Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay. Hundreds of others have died in the attempt, while many have succeeded only with help from oxygen tanks, equipment porters and Sherpa guides.

For more information about the Summit Murder Mystery series, CLICK HERE 
To order your copy of Murder on Everest, CLICK HERE 
To order your copy of Murder on Kilimanjaro, CLICK HERE
Follow Charles Irion on Twitter HERE
Friend Charles Irion on Facebook HERE
Visit Charles Irion's YouTube channel HERE 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Want to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro? Here's How

Here’s what you need to know before climbing Africa’s tallest peak.
It pays to be prepared when climbing Africa's highest peak. Photo: Shutterstock
Two years ago I climbed 5895 metres to the roof of Africa with no boots, no jacket and no idea.
Nestled on the border of Tanzania and Kenya, the goal for Mount Kilimanjaro trekkers is to reach ‘Uhuru Peak’ and watch the sun rise over the Serengeti National Park, home of The Lion King.

As it’s the world’s highest ‘walkable’ mountain (meaning you won’t need ice picks and ropes to reach the top) you definitely don’t need to practice trekking for months beforehand to conquer Africa’s highest peak.

However, you do need to know what to expect:
Mt Kilimanjaro is 5895m above sea level.
Mt Kilimanjaro is 5895m above sea level.

Altitude sickness will be your worst enemy

The real killer on the mountain is the altitude. During the trek you’ll pass from being at sea level to ‘high altitude’, to ‘very high altitude’ and briefly walk at ‘extreme altitude’.

For those who haven’t been altitude trekking before, it can be unsettling.

Whether you choose to take altitude sickness medication or not, your heart races, your head aches, you may feel dizzy and nauseous, sleep badly, lose your appetite and without a doubt, your breath will become short.

A good fix for this is to take an iPod. If you crank the volume to drown out the sound of your own breathing it makes it much easier to not concentrate on the fact you’re panting like a dog on a hot day.
The trick to avoiding accute altitude sickness is to listen to your body: ascend slowly and allow your body time to adjust to the new climate. It’s ok to take a rest day and it’s ok to descend for a little bit before continuing on with your climb.

You’ll need to pack sensibly and warmly

I climbed Kilimanjaro in runners and leather lace-ups with holes in them, so can confirm that you won’t need to spend hundreds on new hiking boots, unless it’s because you want to fit in with the other western tourists on the mountain (Lululemon would make a killing if they opened a store in Tanzania).

Either way, make sure your footwear is comfortable.

I also took a thick jacket, two thermal tops and a pair of running leggings.

This outfit was more than enough for the first few cold nights but for the final ascent to the peak it would have been really nice to have an extra pair of thermals and some waterproof pants.
For that last ascent, you should bring:
• Waterproof gloves
• A warm beanie
• Thick socks
• A metal water bottle (so it doesn’t freeze over)
• High-sugar snacks
• A head torch

Shorts, a t-shirt, a light jumper and a hat are all you need for the day treks.

You’ll also need a thermal sleeping bag and sunscreen.

Remember, Tanzania is in a malaria zone so if you’re on anti-malaria medication it’s likely that your skin will be more sensitive to UV.

Finally, someone else (a porter) is probably hauling a lot of your stuff up the mountain, so keep it light.

The last part will be the hardest

The trek starts in the rainforest (keep a look out for monkeys), passes through the sandy desert and finishes at the frozen peak.

The first few days are not too difficult so it is easy to rush ahead. But remember the mountain’s mantra is “slowly slowly” – you shouldn’t climb more than 1000m a day.

I won’t sugar coat it. The final climb is painful.

It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s long, it’s steep, it’s high and there’s no path for half of it.

You just have to keep reminding yourself how far you’ve come and how close you are to the finish line.

There is no better feeling than reaching the top of that mountain and realising that you are the king (or queen) of Africa.

For more information about the Summit Murder Mystery series, CLICK HERE 
To order your copy of Murder on Everest, CLICK HERE 
To order your copy of Murder on Kilimanjaro, CLICK HERE
Follow Charles Irion on Twitter HERE
Friend Charles Irion on Facebook HERE
Visit Charles Irion's YouTube channel HERE 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Stunning Timelapse Video Shows the World at Night in Motion


Award-winning photographer Babak Tafreshi from The World At Night (TWAN) has been traveling the world to captures nightscapes in various locations. He has shared five beautiful timelapse videos of night sky landscapes “from locations that never been filmed like this before,” he said.



A view of Mt. Kilimanjaro at night. Credit and copyright: Babak Tafreshi.
A view of Mt. Kilimanjaro at night. Credit and copyright: Babak Tafreshi.

Kilimanjaro at Night
Here, travel to Mount Kilimanjaro and view it under the starry skies of Amboseli. You’ll see the Magellanic Clouds and fast-passing satellites, along with African wildlife.




For more information about the Summit Murder Mystery series, CLICK HERE 
To order your copy of Murder on Everest, CLICK HERE 
To order your copy of Murder on Kilimanjaro, CLICK HERE
Follow Charles Irion on Twitter HERE
Friend Charles Irion on Facebook HERE
Visit Charles Irion's YouTube channel HERE 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

83-year-old Woman Dies When Her Dog Eats Her Boots and Socks on Mt. Kilimanjaro

Mount_Kilimanjaro

According to her obituary, published in Saturday’s Connecticut Post, Norma Brewer’s dog contributed to her death — chewing off her boots and socks, leading her to succumb from hypothermia.

According to the obituary, this occurred while Brewer, who was 83 and in a wheelchair, was attempting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak.

“There is suspicion that Mrs. Brewer died from hypothermia, after Mia ate Mrs. Brewer’s warm winter boots and socks,” read the death notice, which had been submitted to the newspaper by a funeral home.


Brewer, the death notice read, never realized her life goal of reaching the summit of the 19,341-foot mountain.

But, it said, she had made it to the base camp, where she died in the company of her daughter, her cats and dog “Mia.”

If all this is sounding a little too unbelievable to be true, that may be because it isn’t — not entirely.
While Norma did die, the obituary was a joke — one final prank (or was it?) from a woman known in life as quite a prankster.

She wrote it before she died, and left instructions for her children to get it published in the local newspaper — the same local newspaper where her father was once president and publisher.

Good one, Norma.

“It was just typical mom,” Donna Brewer, Norma’s daughter, said Saturday. “She always had stories, many of which were not true, but thought were funny.”

“People who don’t know my mother are bemused,” she added. ”People who know my mother are laughing and saying, `Yeah, that’s Norma.’ ”

Donna Brewer said her mother died from a stroke and had been wheelchair-bound for more than a year.

The Post corrected the record in a news story Saturday.

Norma, as her obituary accurately noted, was the daughter of W. Raymond Flicker, former president and publisher of the Bridgeport Post, Telegram and Sunday Post (now known as the Connecticut Post). Donna Brewer said her mother often recalled watching newspapers come off the printing press in Bridgeport with her father.

Norma’s son, Raymond Brewer, said his mother’s prank “had more to do with the way she viewed the world. While life is serious, it shouldn’t be taken all that serious.”

He said her children went along with her last wish. ”It was her way of having one last joke with the world,” he said.

Resource ohmidog.com

For more information about the Summit Murder Mystery series, CLICK HERE 
To order your copy of Murder on Everest, CLICK HERE 
To order your copy of Murder on Kilimanjaro, CLICK HERE
Follow Charles Irion on Twitter HERE
Friend Charles Irion on Facebook HERE
Visit Charles Irion's YouTube channel HERE 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Good and The Bad News for Everest Climbers

By 
Mt. Everest will soon become more accessible to adventurers with the construction of a 65-mile highway linking the village of Jiri to Lukla—considered the gateway to Mt. Everest. Despite the good news, however, the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, continues to suffer the side effects of climate change.

And, as Kathmandu is the nation’s production and consumption center, any climate-related hazards impacting daily life there will have a spillover effect on the rest of this poor Himalayan nation.
Nepal’s glaciers have lost about a third of their ice reserves since 1977, according to Bloomberg News. The ice melt is having a serious impact on the weather, as glaciers impact climate dynamics such as the high-altitude jet streams that can bring monsoons or prolong droughts.

“It’s affecting daily life,” said Ram Sharan Mahat, Nepal’s finance minister, who projects just a one-half percent economic growth this year due to the effect on crops from erratic monsoons. “I’m sure that’s largely attributable to climate change,” he said.

Aside from the instability of the weather and its effect on the nation’s economic health, Kathmandu is plagued by smog that obscures the distant snow-capped Himalayas, the main attraction for adventure travel to Nepal.

Unfortunately, Nepal lacks the resources to do much about climate change. It is the second poorest country in Asia after Afghanistan, according to World Bank figures, and it lacks the network to forecast complex changes in rainfall, snow and temperatures linked to ice melting.

The U.S. Department of Defense states that climate change is a “threat multiplier” that escalates the risk of internal conflicts and uprisings. This has become a concern for government officials in the U.S. and Nepal, which suffered a decade-long Maoist uprising that ended in 2006. Yet, conflict could easily resurface as the glaciers continue to melt, causing a shortage of water that could threaten the ability to feed the nation’s 70 million people.

Meanwhile, the government’s plan to build the highway from Jiri to Lukla could cut out as much as four days’ walk for trekkers and mountaineers, or allow them to avoid taking a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla.

“Tourism will increase enormously once the new road is built,” said Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

For more information about the Summit Murder Mystery series, CLICK HERE 
To order your copy of Murder on Everest, CLICK HERE 
To order your copy of Murder on Kilimanjaro, CLICK HERE
Follow Charles Irion on Twitter HERE
Friend Charles Irion on Facebook HERE
Visit Charles Irion's YouTube channel HERE 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Webster Groves Man Certified as Oldest to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro


Bob Wheeler, right, and his son, Jack Wheeler, at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Bob Wheeler, right, and his son, Jack Wheeler, at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

WEBSTER GROVES, MO (KTVI) – The Guinness Book of World Records certified an 85-year-old Webster Groves man as the oldest person to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday.

Bob Wheeler reached the top of the 19,340-foot mountain on October 2, 2014, along with his son, Jack. Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is the highest peak on the African continent and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. It took him five days to make the trek, according to the Guinness World Records website.

Wheeler has also climbed Mt. Fuji in Japan and Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina. He published a book on mountain climbing in 2010.
Wheeler is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point and a retired lieutenant colonel.

For more information about the Summit Murder Mystery series, CLICK HERE 
To order your copy of Murder on Everest, CLICK HERE 
To order your copy of Murder on Kilimanjaro, CLICK HERE
Follow Charles Irion on Twitter HERE
Friend Charles Irion on Facebook HERE
Visit Charles Irion's YouTube channel HERE 

Friday, January 2, 2015

8 Travel Memoirs that will Inspire You to See the World in 2015


It’s a new year, and that means it’s time to find new travel inspiration. With topics varying from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to volunteering around the world to back-alley Vietnamese adventures, we found eight travel memoirs coming out this year you won’t want to miss.

Displacement: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley – February 8, 2015

displacement
Lucy Knisley is a graphic memoirist and travelogue cartoonist with all the witty charm of a modern, twentysomething woman. In this story, Knisley paints the adventures of her volunteer travels aboard a cruise ship to watch over her ailing grandparents.

Wide Open World: How Volunteering Around the Globe Changed One Family’s Lives Forever by John Marshall – February 10, 2015

wide open world
John Marshall, a middle-aged man in a deteriorating twenty-year marriage and father to two teenagers lost in their own worlds, decided to take his family on a trip around the world to reconnect again. To keep the trip affordable, they decided to volunteer their way around the globe, and the experience made their travels more meaningful than Marshall could have imagined.

Eating Viet Nam: Dispatches from a Blue Plastic Table by Graham Holliday – March 17, 2015

eating viet nam
Graham Holliday, an English journalist and blogger, was so inspired from a single picture of Hanoi that he decided to pack up and move halfway across the globe to live the life contained in that picture. In this book, Holliday takes the reader on a journey through the mouthwatering back alleys of Hanoi and Saigon, where he finds a bit of love as well.

Life is a Wheel: Love, Death, Etc., and a Bike Ride Across America by Bruce Weber – March 17, 2015

life is a wheel
Bruce Weber is an obituary writer for the The New York Times who, at 57, decided to take a lone cross-country bicycle ride from the Oregon coast to New York City’s George Washington Bridge. His mid-life-crisis-inspired travelogue and memoir chronicles his meditations and reservations, as well as all of the adventures and people he met along his 90-day, 4,122 mile journey.

Around the Country in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth by Albert Podell – March 24, 2015

around the world in 50 years
Albert Podell is a record-setting traveler; he recently became the first American to visit every single country in the world and has also set the record for completing the longest automobile journey of all time. In this memoir, Podell recounts his most memorable travels, such as those during riots, revolutions, civil wars, earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis, animal attacks, child soldier encounters, and, of course, those with beautiful women.

Gorge: My 300-Pound Journey Up Kilimanjaro by Kara Richardson Whitely – April 7, 2015

gorge
In this memoir, Kara Richardson Whitely recounts her third journey up the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro—at 300 pounds. Richardson Whitley openly describes her struggles with food addiction, something she refuses to let stop her from reaching the top of the highest freestanding mountain in the world. She had successfully reached the top on her first try years prior, but after a failed second attempt, she gained up to 360 pounds and became discouraged from trying again. This inspiring story details the way she decided that the only way out of her rut was to stop waiting for her weight to drop and just climb the summit once again.

Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City by Elizabeth Helman Minchilli – April 7, 2015

eating rome
Based on her blog Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome, this memoir allows readers to follow Minchilli on her stroll through the city’s monuments to discover Italy’s food culture. She not only describes the best places to go to, she explains why Italians love them. This book is filled with detailed descriptions of the best trattorias, cafes, pizzerias, and gelaterias of Rome, and also mouthwatering recipes you can try at home.

My Paris Dream: An Education in Style, Slang, and Seduction in the Great City on the Seine by Kate Betts – May 12, 2015

my paris dream
Renowned fashion journalist, and one of the youngest people to ever serve as the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, Kate Betts is a woman well-versed in all things style. My Paris Dream is an insightful memoir about the trials and tribulations of advancing her high-profile career in Paris as well as her thoughts on what great style means in the City of Light.

For more information about the Summit Murder Mystery series, CLICK HERE 
To order your copy of Murder on Everest, CLICK HERE 
To order your copy of Murder on Kilimanjaro, CLICK HERE
Follow Charles Irion on Twitter HERE
Friend Charles Irion on Facebook HERE
Visit Charles Irion's YouTube channel HERE