High Adventure

Past and present. You can't make this stuff up.

Cave diving or exploration

Postby Antipatros » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:12 pm



Nova and National Geographic, Extreme Cave Diving

A team of intrepid scientists journey into one of Earth's most dangerous and beautiful underwater frontiers. Aired February 15, 2012 on PBS

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/extreme-cave-diving.html

Follow a fearless team of scientists as they venture into blue holes—underwater caves that formed during the last ice age, when sea level was nearly 400 feet below what it is today. These caves, little-known treasures of the Bahamas, are one of Earth's least explored and most dangerous frontiers. The interdisciplinary team of biologists, climatologists, and anthropologists discover intriguing evidence of the earliest human inhabitants of the islands, find animals seen nowhere else on Earth, and recover a remarkable record of the planet's climate.



Astronauts Heading Deep Underground for Spaceflight Training

http://www.space.com/17413-astronaut-caves-spaceflight-training.html

4 September 2012

An international team of astronauts will go underground this week, using a Mediterranean cave system to help them prepare for life hundreds of miles above Earth's surface.

The six astronauts, who represent five different space agencies, will descend Friday (Sept. 7) into the caves of Sardinia, off the west coast of Italy. They'll stay underground for six days during the 2012 run of the European Space Agency-led CAVES project.

CAVES, which stands for Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behaviour and performance Skills, aims to help prepare astronauts for long-duration spaceflight by exposing them to situations in which they must work together to solve problems in challenging conditions

Cave systems work well as a stand-in for orbiting spacecraft, ESA officials say. Caves, after all, are dark, confined places, and they're isolated from the outside world. Team members will have to adapt to a lack of privacy and comfort, as they would in space as well.

The six astronauts — NASA's Mike Fincke and Andrew Feustel, ESA's Andreas Mogensen, Nikolai Tikhonov of Russia, Japanese spaceflyer Soichi Noguchi and Canadian David Saint-Jacques — have already begun a week-long training session teaching them the basics of cave safety and exploration.

On Friday, the team will descend into the Supramonte cave system of Sardinia's Gennargentu National Park, near the middle of the island....

Cave diving reveals secret world - Earth - The Power of the Planet - BBC
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: High Adventure

Postby Antipatros » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:06 pm

Single-Handed Sailors' Hall of Fame

http://www.windlasscreative.com/shshof_web/singlehandedhof.htm

The Single-Handed Sailors' Hall of Fame (SHSHoF) was established at The Museum of Yachting in Newport, Rhode Island in 1985 to recognize the achievements of outstanding solo sailors throughout the world. The first inductees included such pioneers as Joshua Slocum, Sir Francis Chichester and Marin Marie. In recent years contemporary sailors such as Philippe Jeantot, Isabelle Autissier and Ellen MacArthur have been inducted.

Periodically, two independent Nominating and Selection Committees convene to elect the next class of Inductees. These Committees are comprised of authorities in the sport of Single-Handed Sailing including sports journalists and other Hall of Fame Members....

The last inductees were honoured in 2006. It will be interesting to see if they ever select Laura Dekker for inclusion, or bow to the political correctness of not encouraging dangerous feats by the very young.

For a documentary on two participants in the 1980 Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race, see here.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: High Adventure

Postby Antipatros » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:34 pm

Belatedly, an update on the Virgin Oceanic project from late August:

Chris Welsh, Dive Testing Continues

http://www.virginoceanic.com/news/#tabs-1

Over the summer, we’ve done a half dozen more test dives learning about the sub’s behavior. Things like locking in the buoyancy seem simple, but were vexing – we would have trouble initiating a descent, then in the same dive be heavy and have a challenge returning to the surface without dropping the “neutral” ballast because the sub was heavy. Sometimes adding another 10 pounds of weight would make the difference – in a 8,000 pound vessel. Unintended variable buoyancy is the bane of a submariner’s existence!

We started chasing “trapped air” and got this problem under control. Air that was still bubbling out of course made the sub heavier over time, and the truly trapped air shrinks under pressure when descending. In the end, we attacked the sub with a drill and hole saw to ventilate every space that could hold air, big and small. Now buoyancy has become a fixed figure, which is a relief! I have to say, the first time you attack a $5 million dollar vehicle with a hole saw is a bit unnerving.

Life support has settled in too; we have both the primary systems and the rebreather backup going well now. It is reassuring to have these systems working well and predictably. Sorting the life support system mainly means making sure the sensors are giving the right information and avoiding any air or oxygen leaks. A human uses about .5 Liter/minute, so even a small O2 leak in the cabin will affect the available O2.

To delve into the details for the tech hungry, the cabin air makeup is monitored directly via sensors for the O2 percentage and cabin pressure; falling cabin pressure or O2 levels in turn mean turning the O2 flow rate up to maintain the environment. There is a natural change in cabin pressure right after closing due to the heat load coming through the dome, and a slight change due to heat from the pilot and the CO2 scrubbers. Since it’s summer, it usually gets a bit warm and moist in the cabin so the first rush of air after opening the dome is a cool relief.

Test diving is work, but spiced with moments of wonder as well. Despite 40 years of swimming in local waters I keep getting recorded with new creatures. Seals, squid, schools of fish and long chains of saphs have appeared, plus a few types of jelly fish I have never seen before. The saphs, a relative of the jellyfish, number in the millions. They travel alone or in long chains with clear bodies and one pea shaped dark dot in each cell.

Strangely, several of the days have had really tough water visibility down deeper. The water is thick and viscous with a heavy load of organic material that appears to be a mix of natural phytoplankton blooms. This in turn may explain the thick shrimp like krill swarms which attracts the blue whales we are now seeing. It is estimated there are 400 blue whales in Southern California during the late Summer months, and we have seen 6-10 whales per outing.

For more details for techies, the testing has revealed which systems have weaknesses, which we in turn beef up. It is gratifying to be working through these teething issues with the resources of home base rather than far away with only shipboard capabilities. Typical is a problem with the thruster motor controllers which were subject to heat induced failures; a trip to see the original designer revealed they have engineered several upgrades and added software based thermal protection to later models, so we are retrofitting those upgraded controllers. The devil is in the details too; the heat sinks on the controllers are dependent upon near perfect heat transmission to larger aluminum heat sink plates, and things as small as not countersinking the first millimeters of aluminum thread can interfere with a good, broad heat bond and in turn lead to a failure.

The testing has a certain degree of just fly it and see what it does as well. We have specific control goals, but without benefit of a flight simulator I have spent a fair amount of time exploring the sub’s behavior and just learning the simple feel of it. Like an airplane, there is more information than you can really digest just by constantly watching instruments and gauges. As I learn to sense the feel and slight sound of the thrusters the operation becomes more instinctive and less mechanical.

Flight testing is a certain amount of building pilot confidence as well. In a sub, you are at the mercy of your crew for launch and recovery, and it’s not always comfortable. You can’t see much of what they are seeing, or why they’ve stopped at a particular moment. We radio communicate about some of these things during the handling of the sub, but they are busy and not always able to tell me what’s up. And through it all, you learn to relax and let them proceed (easier said then done for the kind of dive into it personality that goes with being a sub pilot). There is confidence to be gained too around the behavior of the sub, and especially operating in bad visibility. How fast is too fast? What is it like to run into something? It turns out the sub can take a pretty good hit into the bottom – I’ve done it, inadvertently at half speed when the sub was heavy, and finally, on purpose to break through the fear barrier of worrying about it.

The biggest overall sensation? I can’t wait to dive bigger. Can’t wait! There is no feeling as exquisite as exploring new territory and seeing new creatures. Not another bird, different colored but like other birds you have seen before, but all new: shark egg pouches, saphs, and odd shaped jelly fish. And so much more just a little bit deeper…
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: High Adventure

Postby Marcus » Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:32 pm

High adventure in real time . . this guy and his wife live in the bush . . no road, no neighbors, no electric except for a small generator . . lived like this for years, raising a family as well . .

http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/sho ... -pic-heavy
"The jawbone of an ass is just as dangerous a weapon today as in Sampson's time."
--- Richard Nixon
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Re: High Adventure

Postby Marcus » Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:13 pm

And here's another life of "high adventure" in real time. These folks, unlike the couple above, live in a native village . .

http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/sho ... -Whitefish
"The jawbone of an ass is just as dangerous a weapon today as in Sampson's time."
--- Richard Nixon
******************
"I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels."
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Re: High Adventure

Postby Typhoon » Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:02 pm



In October of 2012, Felix Baumgartner will attempt a record-breaking freefall jump from 120,000 feet - 23 miles - above the earth as part of Red Bull Stratos: a mission to the edge of space. The attempt will take place near Roswell, NM, USA, and if successful, Felix Baumgartner could be the first person to break the speed of sound with his own body, protected only by a space suit. As no one has successfully jumped from this height before, it's uncertain what the highest supersonic freefall in history will look or feel like. This animated video gives us a sense of what to expect when the history-making jump takes place later this summer when the weather is best for a launch. A live webcast of the Red Bull Stratos 120,000 foot freefall will air on http://redbullstratos.com


The current record holder: Col. Joe Kittinger [ret.]

All the world's a stage.
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Re: High Adventure

Postby Antipatros » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:48 pm

Alfred Russel Wallace

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Russel_Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace, OM, FRS (8 January 1823 – 7 November 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist. He is best known for independently proposing a theory of evolution due to natural selection that prompted Charles Darwin to publish his own theory. Wallace did extensive fieldwork, first in the Amazon River basin and then in the Malay Archipelago, where he identified the Wallace Line that divides the Indonesian archipelago into two distinct parts, one in which animals closely related to those of Australia are common, and one in which the species are largely of Asian origin. He was considered the 19th century's leading expert on the geographical distribution of animal species and is sometimes called the "father of biogeography". Wallace was one of the leading evolutionary thinkers of the 19th century and made a number of other contributions to the development of evolutionary theory besides being co-discoverer of natural selection. These included the concept of warning colouration in animals, and the Wallace effect, a hypothesis on how natural selection could contribute to speciation by encouraging the development of barriers against hybridization....

Alfred Russel Wallace, Travels on the Amazon (1889)

http://archive.org/details/travelsonamazon00wall

It was on the morning of the 26th of May, 1848, that after a short passage of twenty-nine days from Liverpool, we came to anchor opposite the southern entrance to the River Amazon, and obtained our first view of South America. In the afternoon the pilot came on board, and the next morning we sailed with a fair wind up the river, which for fifty miles could only be distinguished from the ocean by its calmness and discoloured water, the northern shore being invisible, and the southern at a distance of ten or twelve miles. Early on the morning of the 28th we again anchored; and when the sun rose in a cloudless sky, the city of Pará, surrounded by the dense forest, and overtopped by palms and plantains, greeted our sight, appearing doubly beautiful from the presence of those luxuriant tropical productions in a state of nature, which we had so often admired in the conservatories of Kew and Chatsworth. The canoes passing with their motley crews of Negroes and Indians, the vultures soaring overhead or walking lazily about the beach, and the crowds of swallows on the churches and house-tops, all served to occupy our attention till the Custom-house officers visited us, and we were allowed to go on shore....

On the afternoon of the 26th of August we left Pará for the Tocantins. Mr. Leavens had undertaken to arrange all the details of the voyage. He had hired one of the country canoes, roughly made, but in some respects convenient, having a tolda, or palm-thatched roof, like a gipsy's tent, over the stern, which formed our cabin; and in the forepart a similar one, but lower, under which most of our provisions and baggage were stowed. Over this was a rough deck of cedarboards, where the men rowed, and where we could take our meals when the sun was not too hot. The canoe had two masts and fore and aft sails, and was about twenty-four feet long and eight wide.

Besides our guns, ammunition, and boxes to preserve our collections in, we had a three months' stock of provisions, consisting of farinha, fish, and caxaça for the men; with the addition of tea, coffee, biscuits, sugar, rice, salt beef, and cheese, for ourselves. This, with clothes, crockery, and about a bushel sack of copper money — the only coin current in the interior — pretty well loaded our little craft. Our crew consisted of old Isidora, as cook; Alexander, an Indian from the mills, who was named Captain; Domingo, who had been up the river, and was therefore to be our pilot; and Antonio, the boy before mentioned. Another Indian deserted when we were about to leave, so we started without him, trusting to get two or three more as we went along.

Though in such a small boat, and going up a river in the same province, we were not allowed to leave Pará without passports and clearances from the custom-house, and as much difficulty and delay as if we had been taking a two hundred ton ship into a foreign country. But such is the rule here, even the internal trade of the province, carried on by Brazilian subjects, not being exempt from it. The forms to be filled up, the signing and countersigning at different offices, the applications to be made and formalities to be observed, are so numerous and complicated, that it is quite impossible for a stranger to go through them; and had not Mr. Leavens managed all this part of the business, we should probably have been obliged, from this cause alone, to have given up our projected journey.

Soon after leaving the city night came on, and the tide turning against us, we had to anchor. We were up at five the next morning, and found that we were in the Mojú, up which our way lay, and which enters the Pará river from the south. The morning was delightful; the Suacuras, a kind of rail, were tuning their melancholy notes, which are always to be heard on the river-banks night and morning; lofty palms rose on either side, and when the sun appeared all was fresh and beautiful. About eight, we passed Jaguarari, an estate belonging to Count Brisson, where there are a hundred and fifty slaves engaged principally in cultivating mandiocca. We breakfasted on board, and about two in the afternoon reached Jighery, a very pretty spot, with steep grassy banks, cocoa and other palms, and oranges in profusion. Here we stayed for the tide, and dined on shore, and Mr. B. and myself went in search of insects. We found them rather abundant, and immediately took two species of butterflies we had never seen at Pará. We had not expected to find, in so short a distance, such a difference in the insects; though, as the same thing takes place in England, why should it not here? I saw a very long and slender snake, of a brown colour, twining among the bushes, so that till it moved it was hardly distinguishable from the stem of a climbing plant. Our men had caught a sloth in the morning, as it was swimming across the river, which was about half a mile wide; it was different from the species we had had alive at Pará, having a patch of short yellow and black fur on the back. The Indians stewed it for their dinner, and as they consider the meat a great delicacy, I tasted it, and found it tender and very palatable.

In the evening, at sunset, the scene was lovely. The groups of elegant palms, the large cotton-trees relieved against the golden sky, the Negro houses surrounded with orange and mango trees, the grassy bank, the noble river, and the background of eternal forest, all softened by the mellowed light of the magical half-hour after sunset, formed a picture indescribably beautiful....
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: High Adventure

Postby Marcus » Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:37 pm

High adventure in real time . . huge Alaskan bull moose . . the whole story and photos:

Closer and closer he came to the calls, as close as 250 yards away, then something happened. Bob didn’t know if it was the wind, old bull intuition, or what, but this moose made up his mind that he was out of there! Bob knew he needed to act quickly and positioned himself with a solid rest on a neighboring spruce tree. At what was estimated to be nearly 400 yards, the bull presented himself for a shot. Bob pressed the trigger on his Browning .375 H&H sending 270 grains of lead screaming toward the moose. It was a hit…a good hit. This seasoned hunter wasn’t going to let this bull get too much further away if he could help it, so he quickly reloaded. One can almost hear the classic sound of a rifle bolt being quickly actioned and hear the hollow brass giving way to a fresh cartridge feeding into the chamber. Before the bull reached 500 yards, Bob sent another 270 grains toward the animal, delivering the clincher. Done deal, this bull was down!


rack.jpg
rack.jpg (104.53 KiB) Viewed 1218 times


The whole story and more photos at the link: http://www.thealaskalife.com/featured/a ... ull-moose/
"The jawbone of an ass is just as dangerous a weapon today as in Sampson's time."
--- Richard Nixon
******************
"I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels."
—John Calvin
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Re: High Adventure

Postby Jnalum Persicum » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:02 pm

Jnalum Persicum
 

Mount Everest

Postby Antipatros » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:06 pm

Image

George Mallory

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Mallory

George Herbert Leigh Mallory (18 June 1886 – 8 or 9 June 1924) was an English mountaineer who took part in the first three British expeditions to Mount Everest in the early 1920s.

During the 1924 British Mount Everest Expedition, Mallory and his climbing partner Andrew "Sandy" Irvine both disappeared somewhere high on the North-East ridge during their attempt to make the first ascent of the world's highest mountain. The pair's last known sighting was only a few hundred metres from the summit.

Mallory's ultimate fate was unknown for 75 years, until his body was discovered in 1999 by an expedition that had set out to search for the climbers' remains. Whether or not Mallory and Irvine reached the summit before they died remains a subject of speculation and continuing research....

Image

Charles Howard-Bury et al., Mount Everest (1922)

The Reconnaissance, 1921

http://archive.org/details/mounteverestreco00howa
http://archive.org/details/mounteverestreco01howa

Preface

The Mount Everest Committee of the Royal Geographical Society and the Alpine Club desire to express their thanks to Colonel Howard-Bury, Mr. Wollaston, Mr. Mallory, Major Morshead, Major Wheeler and Dr. Heron for the trouble they have taken to write so soon after their return an account of their several parts in the joint work of the Expedition. They have thereby enabled the present Expedition to start with full knowledge of the results of the reconnaissance, and the public to follow the progress of the attempt to reach the summit with full information at hand.

The Committee also wish to take this opportunity of thanking the Imperial Dry Plate Company for having generously presented photographic plates to the Expedition and so contributed to the production of the excellent photographs that have been brought back.

They also desire to thank the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company for their liberality in allowing the members to travel at reduced fares ; and the Government of India for allowing the stores and equipment of the Expedition to enter India free of duty.

J.E.C. Eaton and A.R. Hinks, Honourary Secretaries

Introduction

By Sir FRANCIS YOUNGHUSBAND, K.C.S.I., K.C.I.E.

The idea of climbing Mount Everest has been vaguely in men's mind for thirty or forty years past. Certainly that veteran mountain-climber and mountain-lover, Douglas Freshfield, had it persistently rising within him as he broke away from the Swiss Alps and subdued the giants of the Caucasus and then sought still higher peaks to conquer. Lord Curzon also had had it in his mind, and when Viceroy of India had written suggesting that the Royal Geographical Society and the Alx-)ine Club should make a joint exploration of the mountain. Bruce, Longstaff and Mumm would have made this exploration in 1905 if the permission of the Nepalese and Tibetan Governments had been available. So also would Rawling a few years later. All these, and doubtless others, had contemplated at least a preliminary reconnaissance of Mount Everest.

But, so far as I know, the first man to propose a definite expedition to Mount Everest was the then Captain Bruce, who, when he and I were together in Chitral in 1893, proposed to me that we should make a glorious termination to a journey from Chinese Turkestan across Tibet by ascending Mount Everest. And it is Bruce who has held to the idea ever since and sought any opportunity that offered of getting at the mountain.

It stands to reason that men with any zest for mountaineering could not possibly allow Mount Everest to remain untouched. The time, the opportunity, the money, the ability to make the necessary preliminary preparation might be lacking, but the wish and the will to stand on the summit of the world's highest mountain must have been in the heart of many a mountaineer since the Alps have been so firmly trampled under foot. The higher climbers climb, the higher they want to climb. It is certain that they will never rest content till the proudest peaks of the Himalaya are as subdued and tamed as the once dreaded summits of the Alps now are.

Men simply cannot resist exercising and stretching to their fullest tether the faculties and aptitudes with which they each happen to be specially endowed. One born with an aptitude for painting is dull and morose and fidgety until he can get colours and a brush into his hand and commence painting. Another is itching to make things—to use his hands and fashion wood or stone or metal into forms which he is continually creating in his mind. Another is restless until he can sing. Another is ever pining to be on a public platform swaying the audience with his oratory and playing on their feelings as on a musical instrument. Each has his own inner aptitude which he aches to give vent to and bring into play. And more than this, he secretly owns within himself an exceedingly high standard—the highest standard—of what he wants to attain to along his own particular line, and he is never really content in his mind and at peace with himself when he is not stretching himself out to the full towards this high pinnacle which he has set before him....



John-Paul Davidson, Galahad of Everest (1991)

http://archive.org/details/GalahadOfEverest

1991 documentary about Shakespearian actor Brian Blessed's attempt at recreating British explorer George Mallory's 1924 climb to the summit of Mt. Everest.

Bonus! Himalaya with Michael Palin
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Mount Everest 2

Postby Antipatros » Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:45 pm

Image

NASA -- Astronaut photograph eol.jsc.nasa.gov/scripts/sseop/photo.pl?mission=ISS008&roll=E&frame=6150 ISS008-E-6150 was taken from the International Space Station on November 26, 2003, with a Kodak DCS760 digital camera equipped with an 400mm lens. Image is provided by the Earth Observations Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The spaceflight.nasa.gov/ International Space Station Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC eol.jsc.nasa.gov/ Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.

The Many Faces of Mount Everest: Image of the Day (2003)

Lost On Everest - The Search For Mallory & Irvine. 1/5


On June 8, 1924, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine left their tent high up on the slopes of Mount Everest and climbed into history. They were seen at 12:50 pm just 800 feet from the summit and "going strong for the top". Within minutes, Mallory and Irvine had disappeared in a snowstorm and were never seen alive again.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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S.E. Asia

Postby Antipatros » Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:08 pm

Holt S. Hallett, A Thousand Miles on an Elephant in the Shan States (1890)

http://archive.org/details/thousandmilesone01hall

Preface

The importance of the Eastern markets to European commerce has long been recognised, and since the famous Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope at the close of the fifteenth century, and the Portuguese occupied Malacca and established factories or trade depots in Burmah at Martaban and Syriam, the trade of Western China and Indo-China has been a prize which has attracted the commercial aspirations of every maritime mercantile community in Europe.

In 1613, the Portuguese were ousted from Burmah, and six years later, the English and Dutch established factories in that country. Some years afterwards the Dutch were expelled, and in the middle of the next century the French became our rivals for a short time. In 1756 the chief of their factory was executed, and their factory was destroyed, never to be resuscitated....

When I retired from Government service at the end of 1879, the French were again in the field. They had annexed the south-eastern corner of Indo-China, had seized Cambodia from the Siamese, were determined to wrest Tonquin from China, which they have since succeeded in doing, and had openly avowed their intention to eject British trade from Eastern Indo-China, and to do all they possibly could to attract the trade of South-western, Southern, and Central China to French ports in Tonquin, where prohibitive duties could be, and have since been, placed upon British goods. It was under these circumstances that Mr Colquhoun and I took up the question, placed the necessity of connecting India with Burmah, Siam, and China before the public, and with the aid of the mercantile community determined to carry out a series of exploration-surveys to prove whether or not Burmah could be connected with these countries by railway at a reasonable expense, and to select the best route, financially and commercially, for the undertaking. The present volume deals with my exploration-surveys in Siam and the Shan States.

The country through which I passed, besides being of interest from a commercial point of view, was at the time of my visit shrouded with that glamour which invests all little-known regions; and an accurate knowledge of its physical features and political relations promised to be of great importance in view of the action of France in Tonquin, and our threatened embroilment with that nation in Upper Burmah.

Before commencing the narrative of my journey, in which the manners, customs, and habits of the people will be portrayed, I will, from information recently acquired by myself and other travellers, and from other sources, give a slight sketch of the ethnology and history of the interesting races met with by me on my journey....
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Mount Everest 3

Postby Antipatros » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:11 pm

Image

The Second Climbing Party descending from their record climb

C.G. Bruce et al., The Assault on Mount Everest, 1922 (1923)

http://archive.org/details/assaultonmountev00bruc

Introduction

by Sir Francis Younghusband, K.C.S.I., K.C.I.E.

Colonel Howard-Bury and the members of the Expedition of 1921 had effected the object with which they had been despatched. They were not sent out to climb Mount Everest. It would be impossible to reach the summit in a single effort. They were sent to reconnoitre the mountain from every direction and discover what was for certain the easiest way up. For it was quite certain that only by the easiest way possible — and only if there were an easy way — would the summit ever be reached. In the Alps, nowadays, men look about for the most difficult way up a mountain. Hundreds every year ascend even the Matterhorn by the easiest ways up. So men with any turn for adventure have to look about for the difficult ways. With Mount Everest it is very different. The exhaustion produced from the difficulty of breathing in enough oxygen at the great heights is so fearful that only by a way that entails the least possible exertion can the summit be reached. Hence the necessity for spending the first season in thoroughly prospecting the mountain. And this was all the more necessary because no European so far had been within sixty miles of Mount Everest, so that not even the approaches to the mountain were known.

During 1921, under the leadership of Colonel Howard-Bury, this reconnaissance was most thoroughly carried out. Mr. Mallory found what was quite certainly the easiest — indeed the only practicable — way up the mountain, and Major Morshead and Captain Wheeler mapped the mountain itself and the country round. They brought back also much valuable experience of the conditions under which a definite "all-out" attempt to reach the summit might be made. Ample data were therefore now at the disposal of the Mount Everest Committee for organising an expedition to make this attempt.

And first the question of leadership had to be decided. This was a definitely cUmbing expedition, and a climbing expert would be needed to lead it — and a climbing expert who had experience of Himalayan conditions, which are in so many ways di£ferent from Alpine conditions. The one obvious man for this position of leader was Brigadier-General Hon. C.G. Bruce. He could not be expected at his age to take part in the actual climbing. But for the command of the whole Expedition no better could be found. For thirty years he had devoted himself to climbing both in the Himalaya and in the Alps. He was an expert climber, and he knew the Himalayan conditions as no other man. And, what was of scarcely less importance, he knew the Himalayan peoples, and knew how to handle them. Any climbing party would be dependent upon the native porters to carry stores and equipment up the mountain. But climbers from England would know nothing about these men or how to treat them. It was essential, therefore, that there should be with the Expedition some one who could humour and get the best out of them.

This was the more necessary as one of the chief features of these expeditions to Mount Everest was the organisation of a corps of porters specially enlisted from among the hardiest men on that frontier for the particular purpose of carrying camps to high altitudes. This idea originated with General Bruce himself. So far Himalayan climbing expeditions had been dependent upon cooUes collected at the highest villages and taken on for a few days while the climb lasted. But this was never very satisfactory, and coolies so collected would be of no use on Mount Everest. General Bruce's plan was very different. It was, months beforehand, to select thirty or forty of the very best men who could be found in the higher mountains, to enlist them for some months, pay them well, feed them well and equip them well, and above all to put into them a real esprit de corps, make them take a pride in the task that was before them. But to do all this there was needed a man who knew and understood them and who had this capacity for infusing them with a keen spirit. And for this no one could be better than General Bruce himself. He had served in a Gurkha regiment for thirty years. He loved his Gurkhas, and was beloved by them. He spoke their language; knew all their customs and traditions, and had had them climbing with him in the Alps as well as the Himalaya. And Gurkhas come from Nepal, on the borders of which Mount Everest lies.

For organising this corps of porters, for dealing with the Tibetans, and, lastly, for keeping together the climbers from England, who were mostly quite unknown to each other, but who all knew of General Bruce and his mountaineering achievements in the Himalaya, General Bruce was an ideal chief.

This being settled, the next question was the selection of the climbing party. General Bruce would not be able to go on to the mountain itself, and he would have plenty to do at the main base camp, seeing after supplies and organising transport service from the main base to the high mountain base. As chief at the mountain base, and as second-in-command of the Expedition to take General Bruce's place in case of any misadventure to him, Lieutenant-Colonel E.L. Strutt was selected. He was an Alpine climber of great experience and knowledge of ice and snow conditions. But for the actual effort to reach the summit two men were specially marked out. One, of course, was Mr. George Leigh-Mallory, who had done such valuable service on the reconnaissance of the previous year; and the other was Captain George Finch, who had been selected for the first Expedition, but who had, through temporary indisposition, not been able to go with it. Both of these were first-rate men and well known for their skill in mountaineering. These two had been selected in the previous year. Of new men, Major E.F. Norton was an experienced and very reliable and thorough mountaineer. He is an officer in the Artillery, and well known in India for his skill and interest in pig-sticking. But in between his soldiering and his pig-sticking and a course at the Staff College he seems to have found time for Alpine climbing and for bird observation. A man of high spirit, who could be trusted to keep his head under all circumstances and to help in keeping a party together, he was a valuable addition to the Expedition. Mr. Somerville was perhaps even more versatile in his accomplishments. He was a surgeon in a London hospital, who was also skilled both in music and painting, and yet found time for mountaineering, and, being younger than the others, and possessed of exuberant energy and a fine physique, he could be reckoned on to go with the highest climbers. Another member of the medical profession who was also a mountaineer was Dr. Wakefield. He was a Westmorland man, who had performed wonderful climbing feats in the Lake District in his younger days, and now held a medical practice in Canada. He was bursting with enthusiasm to join the expedition, and gave up his practice for the purpose.

As medical officer and naturalist of the Expedition, Dr. T.G. Longstaff was chosen. He was a veteran Himalayan climber, and if only this Expedition could have been undertaken some years earlier, he, like General Bruce, would have made a magnificent leader of a climbing party. As it was, his great experience would be available for the climbers as far as the high mountain camp. And this time it was intended to send with the Expedition a "whole-time" photographer and cinematographer, both for the purpose of having a photographic record of its progress and also to provide the means by which the expenses of this and a future expedition might be met. For this Captain J.B. Noel was selected. He had made a reconnaissance towards Mount Everest in 1913, and he had since then made a special study of photography and cinematography, so that he was eminently suited for the task....
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Mount Everest 4

Postby Antipatros » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:21 pm

P.F.M. Fellowes et al., First Over Everest (1934)

The Houston-Mount Everest Expedition, 1933

http://archive.org/details/firstovereverest006898mbp

Foreword

by John Buchan, C.H., M.P.

I have been asked by my colleagues of the Everest Flight Committee, to set out briefly in untechnical language what seem to be the major results of the expedition.

The first point to make clear is that its purpose was not to perform a feat of daring and endurance, to break a record, to do something for the first time. These are doubtless excellent things, and the expedition in fact achieved them but it was incidentally. The true purpose was austerely scientific: to show that the airplane and the air camera could be made the means of acquiring important knowledge which would otherwise be unattainable.

The second point is that for this purpose the most intricate and patient organization was required. The culminating work would occupy a very small space of time (it took actually less than six hours), but to make it possible there had to be months of labor and thought behind it. The case was parallel to that of a great battle, which may be won in half an hour, but where victory is the fruit of laborious preparation. It involved exploration in an unknown and inaccessible area, and therefore every care had to be taken to reduce the risks to a minimum. The technical problems, in the machines and the cameras, had to be worked out to the last decimal, and there were novel features in both which required elaborate experiments. The success of the expedition was largely determined by the months of hard work in Chelsea, Yeovil, Bristol, London and Karachi, between March 1932 and its arrival at Purnea in March 1933....

I have said that the expedition was not undertaken to perform a sensational feat, but for the most sober purposes. Yet the result was a very considerable feat. It was pioneering, and the most careful preparation could not rob the venture of its danger. A defect in the construction of the machines, an error of judgment or a failure of nerve on the part of the pilots, and the result would have been tragedy. Moreover, no one knew beforehand what the weather conditions at the summit of Everest might be; it was possible that there might be eddies and tourmentes there which would sweep any plane to destruction. The pilots and observers deserve the credit of those who with dear eyes face the perils of the unknown. They have shown once again if it needed showing that the post-War years have not dulled the ardor or weakened the fiber of our youth.

While the fliers were circling round the summit of Everest before returning to all the comforts of civilization, the party of climbers were slowly creeping from camp to camp up the northeast ridge. The latter was a far more desperate venture. The fliers could choose their day and weathers, but the mountaineers, once they were in the grip of the mountain, were at the weather's mercy. That gallant enterprise had no single piece of good luck, though one of its members got to within a few hundred feet of the summit. The sympathy and admiration of the world must go out to them; for their failure was in itself a splendid achievement.

The two expeditions were typical of the old and the new, which must always coexist in the world; the one using the last discoveries of science to circumvent time and space; the other, though assisted by science, relying upon the toughness of the human frame and the power of the human limbs, which since the cavedwellers have been the instruments of human endeavor. I am certain that there is no young man who, if he had the choice, would not prefer to stagger blind and panting onto the snow-cap of Everest rather than look down upon it from the air. But both expeditions, however unlike in their methods, had one thing in common: the spirit of hardihood and adventure, and the members of both belong to the great community of the lovers and conquerors of the high places. Mr. Belloc has defined the creed of such as the "communing between that homing creeping part of us which loves vineyards, dances, and a slow movement among pastures, and that other part which is only properly at home in heaven.' Théophile Gautier, carried out of himself by the contemplation of the Matterhorn, has given the brotherhood its charter -- "Ils sont la volonté protestant contre l'obstacle aveugle, et ils plantent sur l'inaccessible le drapeau de l'intelligence humain."
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

--T.S. Eliot
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Re: High Adventure

Postby Crocus sativus » Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:17 am

.


Russian pilot goes crazy in St.Petersburg


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Re: High Adventure

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Re: High Adventure

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Re: High Adventure

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Re: High Adventure

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