The MountainWorld Blog by Jake Norton

The MountainWorld Blog by Jake Norton

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A new friend from yesterday’s brief safari…

A new friend from yesterday’s brief safari in Arusha National Park. You see a lot of giraffe in this part of Africa, happily nibbling on branches high off the ground, their massive e size making them seem impervious to all threats. But, looks can be deceiving: the giraffe was added to the list of vulnerable species by IUCN last year. Decades of significant habitat loss coupled with poaching has reduced their numbers by some 30%. This one seemed unperturbed, however, living in a protected space here in Tanzania. May his life be a long one. #liveyouradventure @kristenrcavallo @_mattcavallo @cplating

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With a fresh coat of snow, Kilimanjaro…

With a fresh coat of snow, Kilimanjaro decided to show herself finally this afternoon, towering above the steamy lowlands of Moshi. It’s always a bit daunting when my Kili teams catch their first glimpse of the mountain rising some 16,000 feet above us. But, the team here is doing great, relaxed and packed after a fun safari today, and we’re off to the Rongai Gate tomorrow morning to begin moving upward, raising money every step of the way for the community-changing work of @africaschoolassistanceproject. We’re closing in on 50% of our $19,340 goal, and a huge asante sana (thank you very much) to all those who have given generously thus far. For those of you who still want to contribute to critical education in Tanzania, please follow the link in my profile to give now. #liveyouradventure #educationiskey @kristenrcavallo @cplating @_mattcavallo

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Can a river that is the physical…

Can a river that is the physical lifeblood for 500 million people, spiritual cornerstone for 1 billion, and recipient of millions of liters of industrial effluvia and raw human waste, survive? Is the reverence for the Ganges enough to sustain it, to secure its survival? Can a people and a nation save this iconic waterway before it’s too late? And, is there something truly magic about this holy river? It was these questions and more than @pedromcbride and I tried to answer for ourselves, and for others, as we followed Maa Ganga with @davidcmorton source to sea in 2013. The answers, we found, are equally complex as the river itself. We’re honored that our film, Holy (un)Holy River, will be playing tonight at the @boulderfilmfestival with a Talk Back after the show. Hope you can be there! (I would be, but I’m on Kilimanjaro.) #liveyouradventure #holyunholyriver @ashleymosher @eddiebauer @microsoftusa #surface @natgeo

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Sadly, on World Wildlife Day (today), we…

Sadly, on World Wildlife Day (today), we find more and more wildlife under great strain across the globe. I came upon this massive bull elephant chomping happily in the Serengeti. He was an old one, long in the tooth (literally and figuratively), and one of the biggest I’ve seen in Africa. Unfortunately for him, that also puts him in the category of at high risk for poaching, and there’s a good chance he has been. Like much of Africa, poaching is a huge problem here in Tanzania. According to a census released in June, 2015, the country was down to 43,000 elephants from 109,000 just 6 years earlier (2009). Fortunately, though, the governments of Tanzania, Kenya, and many other countries have cracked down on poaching and poachers recently, trying to staunch the deaths and flow of illegal ivory, mostly to China (which is also finally making some moves to slow the ivory trade). But, elephants are still at great risk. Check out and support the great work of @elephants_save (@elephantsamburu), one of the leaders in this effort along with @dswt (@sheldrickwildlifetrust). #worldwildlifeday #liveyouradventure #elephant

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So great to be back in #Tanzania…

So great to be back in #Tanzania for another climb of Kilimanjaro, and to be once again raising fund for @africaschoolassistanceproject. Last June, a group of us were here for the same purpose, and got to see firsthand the work and impact the ASAP team is having in rural Tanzania. In a nation where primary school is mandatory, but many areas lack schools and access, there are an estimated 5.1 million Tanzanian children aged 7-17 not attending school. ASAP is making a significant dent in this statistic with schools like #Mbasseny, not far from Kilimanjaro. As with all ASAP projects, Mbasseny students not only have a school to attend, but also have a dedicated and supportive school community to help guide them. It’s an amazing thing to behold, and something that we often take for granted in the developed world. These young ASAP students at the leaders of the Tanzania of tomorrow, and millions more like them need help, too. Please join me in supporting the critical work of @africaschoolassistanceproject and the efforts of my climbing team to raise $19,340 for ASAP through our climb. You can make a donation through the link in my profile. #liveyouradventure @kristenrcavallo @cplating @_mattcavallo

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Psyched to be heading back to Mount…

Psyched to be heading back to Mount #Kilimanjaro in a couple days! It’s always a great mountain, a fun climb, and a wonderful adventure, and made even more so as my team and I will again be raising funds for @africaschoolassistanceproject (ASAP). Dedicated to education in Tanzania, and focused on underserved areas and girls education, ASAP has been recognized far and wide for their accomplishments and impact. Our team is aiming to raise $1/foot for the climb, or $19,340, every penny of which will go straight to ASAP and their impact in Tanzania. Follow along here, on Facebook, and on The MountainWorld Blog, and please follow the link in my profile to make a donation today! | This photo is from outside the Mawenzi Tarn Camp on the Rongai Route in June, 2016. #liveyouradventure #mountkilimanjaro #Tanzania #everydayafrica @kristenrcavallo @cplating @_mattcavallo

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I love that time of year when…

I love that time of year when the creeks swell with snowmelt and start weaving through ice dams and the sweet smell of spring is in the air, and the water is refreshing rather than deathly freezing. I love it… Just not in mid-February. | Today Bear Creek near Kittredge, Colorado, was flowing fast, snowmelt carrying away the ice that normally would provide a sturdy bridge across. 60 degrees my mid-morning in Evergreen. #notright #liveyouradventure #climatereality #climatechange

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I usually choose to go for hikes…

I usually choose to go for hikes where few others go, bushwhacking up drainages to connect one valley to another and better understand the landscape around me, getting the lay of the land and following my nose and heart… And just to truly be away and immersed in nature as much as one can be these days. One of my favorites is nearby, but seemingly miles away. Rye and I went there today, across a should-be-frozen-but-now-flowing-fast Bear Creek and then a couple miles back up a cool, semi-hidden canyon, following animal paths and scat, past fresh elk carcasses, and up through a labyrinth of rocks and cottonwoods and cacti to the 100 year old remains of an old home of which nothing but chimneys remain. There we found, sadly, the charming calling card of “CO Native”, scrawled in ugly paints on the old stacked stone, covering the rocks around, and his or her trash – Dasani bottles, Coors cans, a spent pack of Marlboro Reds. Well, congrats Colorado Native. You’ve succeeded in showing the world you’re nothing but an ignorant little sot who only succeeds in defacing history and the world around you to prove your own ignorance. Sad. As Ryrie said immediately and accurately: “What kind of person would do something like that, Dad? Seems like only a jerk.”

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The Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda and the…

The Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are one of the ranges in the world being hit hardest by climate change. When the Duke of Abruzzi went there in 1906, he and his team documented some 43 distinct glaciers; less than 20 remain, and those that do have less than 25% of their mass. The loss of glaciers in the Rwenzori is not just sad for climbers and tourists. Their waters help nourish vast plains and farmlands below, home to many people and critical species. And, the Rwenzori are a key source of the White Nile, and essential waterway in Africa. I find myself thinking of these and other ranges, and indeed the climate of the world as a whole, on this day as the Republicans are forcing through a vote on Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, conveniently before he’s forced to release some 3,000 emails from his time as Oklahoma AG between him and leaders of the oil, gas, and coal industries. Convenient. Is it within the rules? Sure. Does that make it ethical? Does it show responsible governing? Not at all. I know views on climate change are varied, but most logical souls agree now that the climate is changing, and a majority agree that scientists in the field are probably right that we humans have at least a little bit to do with it. (sarcasm) It used to be that America was a nation that took on challenges, that embraced problem solving and innovation not as barriers to success, but as opportunities for more. It is this ideal – not one of backward looking, reactionary thinking – that truly made America as close to great as it ever has been. One cannot realistically deny a changing climate, whether you believe humans are causing it or not. One cannot realistically deny that burning fossil fuels is a bad thing for our planet. Likewise, one can’t deny that figuring out alternative energy systems in conjunction with conservation (isn’t that where conservative comes from?) is a good and logical path to take. So, why the denial? Why the refusal to take logical steps, to reform our systems and strategies, to position us as a nation to embrace new technologies, create new jobs, and be a leader as we once were? #reallymakeamericagreatagain

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I remember watching the awe and wonder…

I remember watching the awe and wonder on my children’s faces as the experienced true wilderness for the first time. It was a look of pure joy, innocent wonder, robust curiosity, and a zest to see more, experience more, learn more about their world and their abilities within it. They’ve known from a young age that the wild lands we have left are a precious gem, a jewel of our planet, the legacy of our nation. Like me, they treasure the wild, and fear for its future. From the rise of anti-science and alternative facts to the growing power of industry over preservation, short term economic gain for the few over long term sustainability for the many, our wild lands and all that depend on them are once again at risk. Today, let’s honor the words and legacy of Edward Abbey, and vow to save what we have left. “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.” – Ed Abbey | Lila looking out over the mosaic of the Painted Desert, Arizona. #liveyouradventure

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