Archive for the ‘Polartec Challenge’ Category

Polartec Challenge grant recipient Jordan Romero update – No Indo yet, Rainier instead

July 31, 2009

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Update from Paul Romero, father of 13-year-old Jordan Romero…

A last minute postponement of the planned climbing trip to Indonesia (Summit #6) and we found ourselves instead at the Summer Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City then direct from the show to Washington state, home of one of North America’s prominent mountains, Mt. Rainier. Civil unrest in Indonesia near Carstensz Pyramid has temporarily halted all climbing in the area.

At 14,400ft., Jordan yells over the howling wind “3 down, 47 to go!” Jordan’s referring to his next mission to high-point the U.S. (standing on the highest point in each of the 50 states).

Jordan’s standing on top of Rainier, the massive free-standing mountain that commands tremendous respect and has claimed the lives of many who tried to reach it’s peak. So, though Jordan still sees it as training for the 7 Summits, he’s now bagged three of the U.S. High-Points; Washington’s Rainier, California’s Mt. Whitney and Alaska’s Mt. McKinley.

The Rainier team consisted of Jordan, 13, soon to be in 8th grade at Big Bear Middle School, Karen Lundgren, team Mom and videographer, and Paul Romero, Father and team guide. (more…)

Back from Namibia

June 10, 2009

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Just got back from Namibia yesterday and wanted to send off a quick note to let you all know that we made it– back safe, up a big route (FA Southern Crossing, 1300 ft 5.11+, V, granite crack extravaganza), back without a scorpion bite or snake bite among us. I’m putting together a press release that I will shoot off either today or this weekend that you can post up on websites and release. Stay tuned for that as soon as possible– for now I wanted to just say hi, AND, moreover, thanks. It was amazing to have this much support on this project. I can’t wait to tell you more

Cheers, Majka

Polartec Challenge Winner Returns from Namibia with a First Ascent

June 9, 2009

_MG_1462On June 1st, Majka Burhardt, Peter Doucette, and Kate Rutherford completed Southern Crossing: a 1300-foot 5.11+, grade 5 rock climbing first ascent on the Brandberg, Namibia’s highest peak. But that’s only part of the story. There’s also a 2,000+ year-old painted giraffe, 108-degree temperatures, eight days at 15km/hour over washboard roads, scorpions, laser sharp granite cracks, crumbling granite faces, cobras, realized conservation, weathered maps, and rugged mountain passes.

Forty-two days ago, I went to Namibia expecting to climb, explore, and push my understanding of how curiosity, ambition, and adventure work vis a vis culture. I knew all of these components would come into play during the month long trip, I just didn’t know the formulation. In the north, where we’d originally planned to climb the most, our best moments came from sitting in the shade of an Acacia tree with a group of Himba women painted in red ochre and butterfat. Himba, Afrikaans, English, Spanish and Portuguese were spoken, but often hand gestures and figures drawn in the sand gained us the vital information we sought. Further south, on the Brandberg, we scraped through the dirt, bushes, and bird refuse that guarded our perspective line for three days to get to what we hoped would be a way up. Each day, we looked for a way for this country, the “easy Africa,” to give us portals to a higher stance, a greater understanding, or a smooth road. We eventually found all of them.

Stay Tuned for Words and Images From:
Majka Burhardt, writer and speaker. www.majkaburhardt.com
Gabe Rogel, photographer. www.rogelphoto.com
Chris Alstrin, filmmaker. www.alstrinfilms.com

Namibia 2009 was supported, in part by The Polartec Challenge Fund and the Mountain Grant Program of the Banff Centre, with additional support provided by Patagonia, Osprey Petzl, Outdoor Research, Clif Bar, and Scrapa.

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gear MB

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*I share this news with a heavy heart in light of the recent news about Jonny Copp, Micah Dash, and Wade Johnson. Just over a month ago, Jonny and I high-fived a send off for our respective expeditions and promised to trade stories when we got back. As most of you know, those are stories we will now not have a chance to hear. When my father heard the news on the radio he called me and asked me one question: “How do you make sense of this in your world?” I told him the only answer I have. “I don’t.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Bernice Notenboom, Polartec Challenge winner, summits Everest!

May 26, 2009

Bernice2Polartec sends a hearty congratulations to Bernice Notenboom, one of the recipients of a 2009 Polartec Challenge Grant, who just summitted Everest yesterday! Bernice posted a gripping satellite dispatch from Everest, complete with the story of a rescue, a white-out storm, a dead body and a 17-year sherpa’s first summit.  From Bernice’s satellite phone dispatch:

“Yesterday morning May 24th, at 7.30 AM I reached the summit of Everest. Only two of our team made it up and two sherpas, one who was only 17 years old and now the youngest sherpa to summit. The climb did not come easy. At 10 pm, it was extremely windy at 8000 m, at the souh col and in our tent and the sherpas refuse to go. Except two of our sherpas who were eager to get their summit bonus. So in 60 km/hr winds at 10 pm we set off, the first party to go for the night. Around 11 pm in the triangle, the wind suddenly stopped. Just before the balcony we found a half-dead American who had run out of oxygen, rapped off and fell. He did not know how long he had been there but he had taken off his gloves and down jacket, a sure sign of hypothermia. His frozen hands and feet were unusable. We radioed for a sherpa to get him down, gave him heat packs, food and hot drinks before we continued up to the summit.

On the way to the South Summit the weather changed, clouds moved in and the wind picked up. Are we losing our one day window already? For the next days bad weather was forecasted with 100 km/hr and worse conditions, perhaps the monsoon has arrived. At the south summit at 8700 m my oxygen mask froze up, the intake for fresh air did not work. Panic. I had less air in my mask then when I took my mask off at this elevation. The ice inside was so thick, it had to get hacked out with a ice axe and this I did not know till we were back at the balcony. I summited Everest in gasping for thin air, in a snow storm and wind. It was not a good day for summit photos! The descend was painful due to low visibility and tiredness; in one day from camp 3 to camp 4, rest a few hours and continue. After 30 hours, I collapsed and somewhere in the middle of the night my oxygen run out because I woke up empty at 8000m. Descending down in vicious wind, the weather changed and we got lucky. Sagarmatha gave us an opportunity and maybe Lhapka kept an eye on us! Despite the challenges, I am super stoked that I did it, perserve the challenges. We are in camp 2 now, one more time through the icefall and then safe in basecamp. I will update this tomorrow with some images.”

The South Col and South Summit of Everest

The South Col and South Summit of Everest

Read more here.

Polartec Challenge winner lands in Namibia

May 13, 2009

namibia_big_mapMajka Burhardt, one of the 2009 Polartec Challenge Grant winners, has arrived in Namibia with her team of climbers, photographers and filmmakers. Majka is planning to scale some previously unclimbed,  1,000 ft.+ granite walls in Namibia as well as document one of the last great Southern African ancestral tribes, the Himba.

Did you know that Namibia has the most isolated desert roads on the African Continent? Or that it’s the second least populated country in the world? (Mongolia is the first) And that it has the most stable government in Africa? Neither did we.

Majka (pronounced Micah) will be blogging about her month-long adventure on her site. This is from one of her posts last week:

“I’ve been in Windhoek, Namibia’s capitol for 48-hours—just now longer than it took to get here. Departing Johannesburg, I had the choice to go to Gaborone, Antananarivo, Noola, Luanda, Bulawayo, Lusaka or Doha… I came here—at least here I know there’s granite. I arrived and got my rental car, and immediately got inside, on the wrong side (my right side) and sat down. I looked at the attendant. I had not been horizontal in 46 hours. I gave him a wave, got out of the car, and went to the other side.”

spitzThis week, Majka has been climbing and exploring Spitzkoppe, a a great granite mountain that rises out of the southern Africa desert.  In the next couple of days the team heads north to (hopefully) put in some first ascents.

We’re looking forward to following Majka’s adventures!