The MountainWorld Blog by Jake Norton

The MountainWorld Blog by Jake Norton

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As we sit here in relative comfort…

As we sit here in relative comfort at Rongbuk Basecamp, resting before heading again up the mountain, we’re – as always – tracking the weather and the course of Cyclone Fani as it hurtles toward landfall tomorrow near Puri. Certainly, Fani could cause some issues for all of us on Everest and other peaks – snow, wind, and heightened avalanche risk. I in no way want to trivialize the potential impact, but let’s keep in mind that we’re all here to climb, most of us by choice. We have detailed forecasts, nice tents, and ample warm clothes. While the concern and writing from @forbes in today’s article is appreciated, let’s keep the focus where it should be: on the tens of millions of people in India and Bangladesh who stand to shoulder the brunt of Fani, and who have far fewer resources and options than we Himalayan climbers. My heart goes out to all those in the path of Fani, and I pray that she will weaken greatly in the next 12 hours before landfall. Be safe and take good care. #cyclonefani #fani

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One hears a relentless chant about how…

One hears a relentless chant about how Everest is overcrowded, too many people, etc. While some elements of that argument are true, as with most places of beauty, history, and inspiration – be it Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Macchu Picchu, Kilimanjaro, or Mont Blanc – it takes but a little effort to remove oneself from the crowds and enter a realm of peace, tranquility, and beauty. Yesterday afternoon I followed the footsteps of John Noel, the expedition photographer and cinematographer of 1924, to his fabled “Eagle’s Nest” where he could monitor the upper Northeast Ridge and summit pyramid while his teammates went for the top. It was only a 30 minute scramble from the main route, but one which afforded me some peace and absolute solitude as the sun dropped behind Changtse and shadows played across the massive landscape. No people, no crowds, no noise save the wind and the flutter of chuffs disturbed by my presence. Beautiful. | In this photo, the Northeast Ridge and summit can be seen in the left background, the North Ridge descending in the left foreground until it joins the snows of the North Col on the right. #johnnoel #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #Everest #Everest2019 #Everest1924

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Out under the overwhelming stars and relative…

Out under the overwhelming stars and relative silence of the Himalayan night, the words of Gaston Rebuffat echo through time and space:
. “In this modern age, very little remains that is real. Night has been banished, so have the cold, the wind and the stars. They have all been neutralized: the rhythm of life itself is obscured. Everything goes so fast and makes so much noise, and men hurry by without heeding the grass by the roadside, its colour, its smell and the way it shimmers when the wind caresses it. What a strange encounter then is that between man and the high places of his planet! Up there he is surrounded by the silence of forgetfulness…”
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While it’s always hard to be away, it’s always good to be back.
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#liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #Everest #Everest2019

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The scale of everything at Advanced Basecamp…

The scale of everything at Advanced Basecamp is hard for my puny brain to reconcile. Standing here, sipping dudh chiyaa and gazing at the Northeast Face with the summit of Everest rising behind, it seems impossible the vertical rise could be some 8000 feet. The reality is even harder to define as yaks mill about here at 21,000 feet, and the sun burns off the night’s chill in a matter of moments. In this photo, you can see the morning wind whipping fresh snow through the Pinnacles, the famed crux of the Northeast Ridge Direct (and final, tragic resting place of Boardman and Tasker in 1982). The right skyline is the North Ridge, and the summit is just visible poking up behind. #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #Everest2019 #Everest

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“I am well again, I came to…

“I am well again, I came to life in the cool winds and crystal waters of the mountains…” – John Muir | Happy Birthday to John Muir (b. 1838), for whom we have to thank for so much of our preserved wilderness and conservation ethics. His vision of the wild realms – and respect for them – inspired me from early on, and so many others. May his words continue to resonate. | Morning winds buffet Chang Zheng Peak (6996m) from Rongbuk Basecamp. #johnmuir #wilderness #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #bestmountainartists #Everest2019 #Everest

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Jet stream winds blasting the mountain this…

Jet stream winds blasting the mountain this morning, scraping away the snow up high and exposing the rock of the upper north face. Classic, variable weather for April – warm and snowy yesterday afternoon, cold, clear, and windy today. Nice to be back under the ever-watchful eye of Chomolungma. #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #Everest #timelapse #Jetstream #chomolungma

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Phinjo, age 89, is the oldest man…

Phinjo, age 89, is the oldest man in Kuorong, Tibet. Hard to imagine what he’s seen since 1930 as this land has changed in myriad ways. But, he’s still spry, his 1 tooth smile and twinkling eyes telling stories across our language barrier. We shared a cup of butter tea, I bought a small mala from him, and we went our separate ways. Small and insignificant perhaps, but it’s these brief interactions, the momentary human connections that transcend the barriers of language and culture, time and place, that bring out the richness in travel. Be well, Phinjo. May you have many years yet to come. #portraitphotography #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #tibet #portraitmood #shotbypixel #shotonpixel

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I was 10 years old when I…

I was 10 years old when I first saw the North Face of Everest, on a poster given to me by Lou Whittaker from his successful 1984 expedition that saw Phil Ershler become the first American to reach the summit from the north. I was smitten, intrigued by this mountain, and especially by the north side – austere, harsh, remote, and steeped in history from the pre-World War II era. The poster hung over my bed for years back home in Massachusetts, came with me to college in Colorado years later, always there as a reminder of a place I’d love to visit. I finally got there in 1999 for what would turn out to be a life-changing and mind-blowing expedition, focused not on the summit but on the history of Everest and it’s greatest mystery. At the time, I felt blessed to get to Everest at all – let alone for such a great trip with an amazing team – and never thought I’d become somewhat of a repeat offender, with subsequent expeditions to the Northeast Ridge in 2001, 2003, and 2004, to the Southeast Ridge in 2002 and 2009, and the West Ridge in 2012. And, now, 20 years after my first visit, I’m packing bags and getting ready for my 8th expedition to this amazing mountain, returning once again to the Northeast Ridge. Exciting, nerve wracking (I’m guessing 45 will feel different than 25!), and incredibly lucky. Can’t wait to gaze upon this view again, taken in 2003 from above camp at the North Col, 23,000 feet, looking at the might of the North Face. #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #Everest #bestmountainartists

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Sunset on the snows of Kilimanjaro, literally…

Sunset on the snows of Kilimanjaro, literally and figuratively. Three nights ago, our @ifit team got to spend the night at 18,500 foot Crater Camp after climbing the Lemosho-Western Breach route, a new route for me and a great chance to finally see the summit and crater up close and personal. It’s a stunning place, but the most striking part for me was seeing the Furtwängler Glacier – from which these icicles cling – and its state of rapid decline. Measuring some 113,000 square meters in 1976, it has been reduced now to a mere 11,000 square meters, and a fumarole underneath it has split the glacier in two. The Furtwängler’s disappearance mirrors the situation of all of Kili’s glaciers and permanent snowpack; within our lifetimes, the snows will be gone, the glaciers melted, and this snowy, equatorial giant transformed in a matter of decades. What impact that will have on the millions who live below, downstream, and depend on Kili for water, we don’t yet know, but I imagine the outlook is not good. | A huge honor to share this mountain and climb with a great team, including @chrismshane @kensauls @flyingbear1 @childcollin @amanda_basham @zac_marion @bybee.photo @tmophotos @scott.simper #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #MountainsMatter #snowsofkilimanjaro #Kilimanjaro #shotonpixel #shotbypixel

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I always believed that with age came…

I always believed that with age came clarity, and with clarity, simplicity. As I got older, I figured the path through life would be not simpler per se, but at least more clear, as it would be informed by the logic of past experience. I am reminded daily that is not the case; life forever throws curve balls at us, twists and turns like canyons in the desert, always a question about what might lurk around the next bend. The best we can do is listen to our hearts, try to live and lead with integrity and purpose, admit our failures and missteps in the hope that others see those missteps and failures as signs of being human – not as nefarious – and then we keep plodding forward, following our heart and our gut on the best course we know. | Canyons of Nevada from the air, en route to Vegas today, then Tanzania tomorrow. #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #learningthroughmistakeseveryday

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