The MountainWorld Blog by Jake Norton

The MountainWorld Blog by Jake Norton


A year ago today, as the ground…

A year ago today, as the ground shook, everything changed dramatically in Nepal. Houses were leveled, mountainsides crumbled, glaciers collapsed, nearly 9,000 lives were lost, and countless more were changed forever. In the year since the earthquake, despite massive contributions and monumental international aid, very little has changed for most people in Nepal. Only a few fortunate people have been able to rebuild their shattered homes and shattered lives, and they now face the prospect of yet another monsoon with unstable shelter and an uncertain future. But we can all still #helpcarrytheload: make a donation today to tried and trusted nonprofits like this dZi Foundation, the Mountain Fund , the Mountain Institute, American Himalayan Foundation, and more. With these organizations, your money will make a difference.

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Happy Earth Day! As I sit and…

Happy Earth Day! As I sit and think about the state of affairs of our planet – as I quite often do – I find myself coming back to a thought and theme I’ve considered for a long time: Earth Day, the environmental movement, are all hugely important and I believe in them wholeheartedly. We are in a crisis on our home planet, and the time is now to act boldly, or suffer the consequences. But, from a 30,000 foot view, it is all an anthropocentric effort. We won’t, as humans, destroy nature; we’ll damage her, wipe some of her finest creations from the favce of the earth, choke her waters and blotch her skies…but destroy her? Never. We’ll only destroy ourselves, the human species; and that, at the end of the day, is really the pressing question of the environmental movement: Do we want the date of our inevitable extinction (all species go extinct, and one day we will, too) to come sooner, or later? Do we want to attempt to strike some harmony in our existence on this earth, to mark our existence as a thoughtful, gentle, compassionate one, or as one of greed, hubris, and ignorance? As Robert Michael Pyle wrote in his classic essay, “Nature Bats Last”: “To me, nature’s batting last is neither a warning nor a threat. It is a cheerfully flip recognition of a certainty. And, a comforting certainty it is: imagine, the glory of the universe going on an on,m free at last of the bad bet that was man on earth! My humanism ends where we become so fond of ourselves that we cannot imagine the mortality of mankind…To think that we could indefinitely put off the end of the age of man by acting right toward the earth for a change is like taking up running in dissipated middle age in the hope of cheating death: it might work for a while. You can’t prolong life forever, not for an organism, not for a species. But you can sure as hell hasten its demise.My outlook, ultimately, is not a pessimistic one. But then my frame of reference does not encompass human fortunes alone.” So, here’s to celebrating our Earth today – and everyday – and the bounty provided by this amazing planet. May we learn to live a little softer, walk a little gentler, grow a little more compassionately, and perhap

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On May 31, 1934, the eccentric adventurer…

On May 31, 1934, the eccentric adventurer and wannabe climber, Maurice Wilson, sat in his tent at the base of the North Col of #Everest and wrote what would be the last entry in his journal: “Off again, gorgeous day.” Wilson made one more solo attempt to push upward, and never returned. His remains were discovered in 1935 by Eric Shipton’s expedition, and buried, only to be rediscovered many times over the years, including by our 1999 Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition. Wilson’s attempt on the summit was brief, foolhardy, and fateful, but put him solidly in the record books of Everest history. Today is his 118th birthday.

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What does it mean to give? What,…

What does it mean to give? What, similarly, does it mean to receive? It’s a complex relationship, and one I’ve struggled to understand and embrace most of my life. The giving part is often simple to comprehend (sometimes not as easy to embrace): when we give of our possessions, our money, our time, or our love, we connect with the wellspring of compassion that fuels our lives, and in a less-obvious way, by the simple act of giving we also immediately receive; we receive the energy of compassion, the joy of sharing, the well-being of non-attachment to things and attachment to our humanity. Receiving without giving, though, thats a bit tougher – at least for me. To accept a gift – be it one of material, money, time, love, advice, etc. – can engender feelings of failure: if I willingly accept any of these things, it must mean that I need them, and thus have failed in some degree in some area of my life. This, of course, is not truly the case. Receiving it’s not an admission of failure, but rather a conscious letting go the concept of failure and all the baggage carry with it. In addition – and perhaps most critically – we need to understand that to receive is also inherently to give: receiving immediately gives the other person an opportunity to share their time, experience, money, etc., and also connect with their empathy, compassion, and humanity. This is perhaps best Illustrated by the Buddhist alms bowl – pictured here with a monk at Bodhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. The monastic tradition in Buddhism is one of great and profound giving – of time, wisdom, energy, compassion – but it is predicated on the foundation of receiving alms. Without receiving, there can be no giving.

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Does #onetree matter? It sure does. @eddiebauer…

Does #onetree matter? It sure does. @eddiebauer and @americanforests have been planting them for the past 20 years, and this week – in celebration of Earth Day – Eddie Bauer will match one tree for every dollar donated – up to 75,000 trees for American Forests! So, what are you waiting for? Celebrate our earth, make a donation, and help plant a tree today, for tomorrow. | In this photo, a lone #acacia stands watch at sunrise in the northern #Serengeti, #Tanzania. @vancityreynolds #liveyouradventure @ryanreynoldsnet

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Looking south from Basecamp on #Everest, Taboche…

Looking south from Basecamp on #Everest, Taboche (aka Tawoche) dominates the skyline. A beautiful and imposing peak, it wasn’t climbed until this day in 1974 by a French party, and still sees only rare ascents – especially compared to its more popular neighbors. #liveyouradventure

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Ever dreamed of climbing #Kilimanjaro? Well, here’s…

Ever dreamed of climbing #Kilimanjaro? Well, here’s your chance! We’ve still got a few spots left for this amazing adventure with @africaschoolassistanceproject. From June 11-22, 2016, I’ll lead (with superstar guide, @sid_pattison) a team of climbers to this incredible 19,340 foot summit. This will be my 7th trip to the mountain, and we’ll be climbing it via the quiet, stunning, and dry #Rongai Route, with a special itinerary that will give us ample time to acclimate, enjoy, and reach the Top of Africa!
This is an adventure you don’t want to miss. And, one of the many beauties of Kilimanjaro is that no prior climbing experience is needed: you simply need basic fitness, desire, and a sense of adventure. And, on this trip, you’ll not only have the adventure of a lifetime, but you’ll do so while supporting #Africa School Assistance Project and seeing their community-changing work firsthand!

If you’re interested, please contact me for more information, or see link in my profile. We’d love to have you along! And, for those #Denver-area folks, we’ll be having an informational meeting next week – contact me for more information.

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Happy New Year 2073 (by the Bikram…

Happy New Year 2073 (by the Bikram Sambat calendar) ! Sending best wishes to all in #Nepal for a happy, healthy, and safe year.

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114 years ago today, Andrew Comyn Irvine…

114 years ago today, Andrew Comyn Irvine – “Sandy” to his friends – was born in Berkenhead, England. At age 22, in 1924, he left England and Oxford for India and Tibet as the youngest and most inexperienced member of the 1924 British Mount #Everest Expedition. As luck would have it – and as his innate skill as an engineer encouraged – Irvine was chosen by George Mallory to accompany him on the expeditions fateful, final summit attempt. Mallory & Irvine were last seen by teammate Noel Odell at 12:50pm on June 8, 1924, less than 1,000 feet from the summit, “going strong for the top.” The duo were never seen alive again, sparking the greatest mystery of mountaineering – and perhaps the greatest mystery of all exploration: Did they reach the summit of Everest 29 years before Hillary and Tenzing climbed it from the south side? Irvine did not live a long life, but he lived a full one in his 22 years. As family friend Sir Arnold Henry Moore Lunn wrote: “Irvine did not live long, but he lived well. Into his short life he crowded an overflowing measure of activity which found its climax in his last wonderful year, a year during which he rowed in the winning Oxford boat, explored Spitsbergen, fell in love with ski-ing, and – perhaps – conquered Everest. The English love rather to live well than to live long.” | In this photo, taken on the summit on May 30, 2003, I hold a picture of Andrew Irvine, George Mallory and his beloved wife, Ruth Turner, and John Baptist Lucius Noel, expedition photograper and funder. I had climbed Mallory & Irvine’s intended route up the Northeast Ridge, and buried the photo in the summit snows in tribute to them and the pioneering pre-World War II Everest expeditions. For more on the mystery of Mallory & Irvine, see my blog posts (link in profile).

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#tbt to July 25, 1988, on the…

#tbt to July 25, 1988, on the summit of Sharks Nose, Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Range, Wyoming. I was 14, and had been climbing for a few years with my dad and @nickyardley64. This was my first trip to some bigger routes – just me and a guide from @jhmtnguides, Dave Colke (if memory serves me correctly). At that time, the Cirque was pretty quiet: in a week in the area, we only saw 2 other people, and they were there to fish, not climb. Great memories! #liveyouradventure #cirqueofthetowers

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