The MountainWorld Blog by Jake Norton

The MountainWorld Blog by Jake Norton


Mountains. They inspire, they frighten, they educate,…

Mountains. They inspire, they frighten, they educate, they inspire us, perhaps in equal measure. Personally, they have been a focal point of my life since I discovered climbing at age 12. In the 31 years since, the mountains have – to quote Boukreev – been my cathedrals. The mountains have pushed me to my absolute limits physically; they’ve enlightened me spiritually in profound ways; they’ve educated me culturally and opened my eyes to peoples and cultures and worldviews I would have missed otherwise; and the mountains have taught me innumerable times their intrinsic worth to us as a physical and spiritual world. The might and power of the mountains – and the people, flora, and fauna who inhabit them – belies a masked reality: they are powerful and proud, tall and tough, but they are also vulnerable. Globally, we see the effects of climate change and development inequality prominently in the mountains: glaciers are retreating, crops are failing, people are suffering, environments are struggling… And it all flows down from the mountains, eventually impacting us all. But, mountain people and environments – like the silent sentinels rising above them – are resilient and capable and will push through the challenges if given a fighting chance. On Monday, December 11, many of us mountain lover will gather in Rome to celebrate the bounty that is the mountain world, joining with others in celebration of International Mountain Day across the globe. Please join us: write a post, share a message, go climb a peak or walk a hill, and celebrate the mountains on Monday, and every day. #internationalmountainday #IMD2017 #liveyouradventure #mountainsmatter @eddiebauer #mountainpartnership #bestmountainartists | In this photo, #Nuptse rises from the evening sky from Khumbu Basecamp on Mt. #Everest.

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Sending a huge happy birthday to this…

Sending a huge happy birthday to this amazing woman as she leaps into another trip around the Sun! I’m forever inspired by her passion, compassion, infectious zest for life, and dedication to our people and planet. And, of course, I’m forever grateful for the love she brings to our family… And for tolerating me and teaching me to be a better person! Here’s to many more adventures to come, my love, and many more years of love and laughter! #inspired #lucky #HappyBirthday #liveyouradventure

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It’s always good to travel, and always…

It’s always good to travel, and always nice to return home… Especially when Mother Nature puts on a show in the back yard. #thankful #liveyouradventure #shotbypixel #shotonmoment #momentgear

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No one but me and the fishermen…

No one but me and the fishermen out for a sunrise run this morning… Peace and beauty. #liveyouradventure #greatblueheron #shotbypixel

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Have you ever imagined climbing one of…

Have you ever imagined climbing one of the famed Seven Summits? Ever dreamed of climbing to the 19,340 foot Roof of Africa and watching a sunrise like this one? How about climbing an amazing mountain with a great group of people, and raising money at the same time for critical and life-changing education in #Tanzania? If so, please consider joining me in June, 2018, for a special climb of Mount #Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak! This will be my 9th trip to Kili, and we’ll be raising money for @africaschoolassistanceproject, an amazing organization that is literally changing lives and communities across Tanzania. The trip will take us to ASAP projects, then up the Rongai Route on Kili – a fabulous route with very few people – to the summit. Post climb, there are opportunities to volunteer with ASAP, go on safari to Serengeti or elsewhere, or catch time at the beach in Zanzibar…no bad options there! If interested, message me to get more info and be invited to our video info session on Monday, November 6th. Spaces are limited, so grab yours today! #liveyouradventure #tanzania #girlseducation #educationiskey #climbforchange #shotbypixel #bestmountainartists

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Honored that our film, Holy (un)Holy River,…

Honored that our film, Holy (un)Holy River, was awarded Best Cinematography at the 20th Annual United Nations Association Film Festival. It was a long process for @pedromcbride and I to tell the story of the Ganges, and very happy to see it resonate well with audiences around the world. Huge thanks to the jury, audience, and team at #UNAFF2017! #liveyouradventure #gangas2s #gangaaction

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The #Ganges River in India is a…

The #Ganges River in India is a flowing contradiction. On the one hand, the river is revered, viewed as a living incarnation of the divine in the form of the goddess Maa Ganga. Her physical embodiment as the flowing waters and fertile floodplains of this mighty river that sustains some 500 million people along its 1600 mile course is also revered, for without her the breadbasket of north India would have no lifeblood. Simultaneously, though, and counter-intuitively, the river is a blighted example of anti-respect and abject defilement. Maa Ganga’s waters are recipients of billions of liters of untreated sewage, industrial chemicals, toxic runoff, and human remains on a daily basis; the ample prayers offered to her are no match for the incoming pollutants. It is a strange dichotomy, a river revered and reviled, a paradox of our time and one which threatens the very existence of the Ganges in all its majesty. I’m trilled that our film, Holy (un)Holy River, will screen this weekend at the 20th United Nations Association Film Festival at Stanford (see link in profile), and I’ll be there to answer questions afterward. Hope to see you there! #UNAFF2017 #unaff #liveyouradventure #gangas2s #holyunholyriver @pedromcbride

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As friends around the world gather to…

As friends around the world gather to celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Light, I find myself thinking about how important the idea is in this day and age. If you’re not familiar with it, Diwali (or Tihar in Nepal) is a grand festival of light – both visual and spiritual – and celebrates the victory of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, hope over despair, and light over darkness. As our world seems ever more consumed with hatred and violence, division and destruction, anger, vitriol, and spite, let’s all bring some light into our corners, some hope into this world, and remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness, in a descending spiral of destruction. The chain reaction of evil must
be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” #liveyouradventure #lettherebelight #diwali #lightoverdarkness #Tihar #martinlutherkingjr #goodoverevil

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It’s with great sadness I learned this…

It’s with great sadness I learned this morning of the passing of Norman Dyhrenfurth at age 99 at home in Salzburg. I got to know Norman first by legend as the leader of and cinematographer for the 1963 American Mount Everest Expedition and producer of the film “Americans on Everest,” and I’d much later get to know him personally through our 2012 film about that expedition, “High and Hallowed: Everest 1963.” The son of climbers and explorers, Norman came to the mountains naturally, and left his mark. He was a member of the 1952 Swiss Everest Expedition – which nearly reached the summit – and then led an attempt on Lhotse in 1955, and filmed the first ascent of Dhaulagiri in 1960. But, it was the 1963 American expedition which garnered him the most notoreity and respect, and for good reason. The team was incredibly strong, and well-led by Norman, and achieved huge success with putting Jim Whittaker on top as the first American (with Nawang Gombu) on May 1, and then seeing Willi Unsoeld and Tom Hornbein reach the summit via the unclimbed West Ridge on the 22nd, just hours after Barry Bishop and Lute Jerstad climbed from the Southeast Ridge. Norman’s expedition film was a huge success, and – like the West Ridge climb – ushered in a new era of possibility in high-altitude cinema. Norman also was a ski instructor in New Hampshire, Dean of the UCLA Film School, and a groundbreaking legend in the mountains throughout his long life. He will be dearly missed, but his legacy will live on and continue to inspire. Namaste, Norman. #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #lostlegend | In this photo, taken in 1963 by Barry Corbet, Norman shares the camera with Nepali children en route to #Everest.

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High in the Garhwal Himalaya, running SE-NW,…

High in the Garhwal Himalaya, running SE-NW, is one of the region’s biggest and most important glaciers: the Gangotri. @pedromcbride, @davidcmorton, and I were near the top of this 30km glacier 4 years ago, beginning to tell the story of the Ganges River. (This clip is a segment of our film, “Holy (un)Holy River.) The Ganges, which sustains 500 million people along its 1600 mile course, erupts from the toe of the glacier at Gaumukh, or Cow’s Mouth, some 25+ km below where we were. As we trudged up the glacier, dwarfed by the towering walls of Chaukhamba, supraglacial streams roared past us on all sides, the first bits of the Ganges flowing free and pure at nearly 18,000 feet. The trouble was there should not be major supraglacial flow here, high on the glacier, well within the zone of accumulation. This should be the land of ice, of glacial might and power, but instead showed distinct signs of struggle and poor glacial health. Like most of the region, the Gangotri Glacier is in a state of sharp decline, retreating roughly 20 meters (66 feet) per year, and nearly 2km (1.2 miles) since 1935. A recent article in @guardian, (see link in profile), citing research by the journal #Nature, indicates that even with the 1.5° C target from Paris, the Hindu Kush Himalaya – which run 3,500 miles from Afghanistan to Myanmar – would see an average increase of 2.3° C, or a little over 4° F. The projected result is a 29-43% loss in the Himalayan glaciers by 2100. As the largest mass of ice outside the polar regions, the Himalayan glaciers are an incredible store of freshwater and critical to the flows of the world’s great rivers: the Ganges, Brahmaputra/Yarlung Tsang Po, Indus, Irrawaddy, and more. No, these glaciers won’t disappear completely anytime soon. But, their rapid retreat will have a major impact on all those that live downstream, altering micro-climates, river flows, agricultural production and stability, and more. May we as a nation and as humans find the courage to act and do what we can to minimize our impact and take the long view for the better of everyone. #liveyouradventure #mountainsmatter

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