Author Archive for: ‘Jake Norton’

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The ancient landscape of Mustang, Nepal, is…

The ancient landscape of Mustang, Nepal, is awe inspiring. Jagged canyons – carved first by glaciers and then by the mighty Kali Gandaki – etch the ruddy brown land, exposing towering bands of conglomerate and other sedimentary layers that were just slightly harder than their surroundings and survived the weathering of eons. It was in these hallmark bands of cliffs that ancient peoples, several thousand years ago, carved tombs to bury their dead, and conducted intricate, pre-Buddhist rituals to protect themselves from the undead. Who were these people who settled some 3000 years ago in one of the most inhospitable places on earth? What were their rituals and beliefs, and what of those can still be seen in Mustang today? And, what artifacts and remnants of the past still remain in these myriad, isolated tombs high in the cliffs? I’ve been fortunate to be able to work with @clarkliesl, @mreverest7x, and others for the past two years helping to film and tell the story of these caves and all the secrets they hold. @novapbs is sharing the film, Secrets of the Sky Tombs, for free for the next 4 weeks online. Take a look! (See link in my profile.) | In this photo, Nilgiri is seen towering over the Kali Gandaki River Valley from inside a cave near Rhi Rhi Cave outside of Chuksang, Mustang, Nepal, 2015. #liveyouradventure #skytombs

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I awoke this morning thinking about our…

I awoke this morning thinking about our planet, and the deep need for us as a collective human community to love and protect it, and to foster that same love, appreciation, and protection in the generations to come. We can immerse ourselves in nature’s immensity, as my daughter is here in Langtang, Nepal, or revel its minute complexity, lost in the insane intricacy of creation. But, if we don’t experience it, we don’t understand it and what we don’t understand we don’t value and protect. The key is getting ourselves and our kids into our natural world. The hero of @stownpodcast, John McLemore, expressed it so well: “I’ve coaxed many infirm clocks back to mellifluous life, studied projected geometry and built astrolabes, sundials, taught myself 19 century electroplating, bronzing, patination. Micromachinery, horology, learned piano. Read Poe, De Maupassant, Boccaccio, O’Connor, Welty, Hugo, Balzac, Kafka, Bataille, Gibran, as well as modern works like Mortimer, Hawking, Kunstler, Klein, Jacobi, Heinberg, Hedges, Hitchens and Rhodes. “But the best times of my life, I realize, were the times I spent in the forest and field. I’ve walked in solitude besides my own babbling creek, and wondered at the undulations, meanderings, and tiny atolls that were occasionally swept into its midst. I’ve spent time in idle palaver with Violets, Lileas, Sage, Heliopsis and Monkshood, and marveled at the mystery of Monotropa uniflora. I’ve audited the discourse of the Hickories, Oaks and Pines, even when no wind was present. I have peregrinated the woods in Winter under the watchful guard of vigilant dogs, and spent hours entranced by the exquisiteness and delicacy of tiny mosses and molds, entire forests within a few square inches.” #liveyouradventure

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Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity…

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to climb and work with some amazing people, around the world. One of those special souls is @brb13770. Brent’s climbing career speaks for itself, with multiple Everest summits of ascents of classic routes around the world. But, what makes him unique is Brent is far more than a climber. Throughout his career, Brent has focused on making a difference by co-founding the Sagarmatha Environmental Expedition in 1994 and dedicating his time and energy to important causes around the world, earning him the Lowell Thomas Award from @the_explorers_club and the David R. Brower Award from @americanalpine. Brent also makes the hard-but-right choices on his climbs, like just this May giving up another summit of Everest to instead try to save the life of a fallen climber. Along with all that, Brent is a joy to climb with as he’s not mono-dimensional; conversations on the trail, at the belay, and in camp range from business to environmental ethics to politics, philosophy, and much more. So, a big Happy Birthday, Bishop! Hope it’s a great one, and thanks for all your contributions to our world. | In this photo, Brent climbs alongside @charley.mace at sunrise on Mt. Cook (Aoraki), New Zealand. #liveyouradventure #happybirthday

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I first took environmental science in high…

I first took environmental science in high school, and learned about the stunning complexity of our natural world and its oxymoronic power and frailty. At the same time in another building, we read the iconic “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau in English class. Thoreau, one of the first prominent environmentalists, would be 200 years old today, and his words from yesteryear ring even truer today than before. In “Walking,” written for the Atlantic in 1862, Thoreau famously proclaimed: “In Wildness is the preservation of the World.” An incredible truism both in 1862 and perhaps more so today, yet, day by day, we see our limited wildness depleted, the “civilization other than our own” (Journal, 1859) ravaged by industry, pillaged by greed, and encroached upon ever further by our insatiable desire for more and more and more. Even Thoreau’s treasured Walden Pond has not been immune to human action; in 2011, it was found to harbor dangerous levels of mercury from industrial pollution – most likely from coal fired power plants. While I recognize the need for human development across the globe – and the very real challenges posed when coupling that need with the equally-important needs of ecosystems, animals, and environments – it’s high time that our officials remember Thoreau’s words, again from Walking: “There is a difference between eating and drinking for strength and from mere gluttony.” In this country, we are daily reminded of the need to “Make America Great Again.” I’ve long wondered when that supposed great time was, and for whom. Perhaps it was in our early days, before we attacked the wildness with the tools of “civilization,” in the time when, as Thoreau reminds us, the Governor-General of Canada, Sir Franeis Head, noted: “The heavens of America appear infinitely higher, the sky is bluer, the air is fresher, the cold is intenser, the moon looks larger, the stars are brighter the thunder is louder, the lightning is vivider, the wind is stronger, the rain is heavier, the mountains are higher, the rivers longer, the forests bigger, the plains broader.” [continued in comments]

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Fun cragging on perfect limestone with the…

Fun cragging on perfect limestone with the kids, s’mores at night under starry skies, cool nights and warm days, lots of laughs, a few tears, great memories, and more than one magical sunset across the rolling hills and out to the snowy, distant Wind Rivers…Wild Iris did not disappoint. #liveyouradventure #wildiris #wyoming #pixel #shotbypixel

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Apparently completely unaffected by the hordes of…

Apparently completely unaffected by the hordes of voracious, bloodthirsty mosquitoes that kept us constantly swatting and swearing in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, Pema found ample bliss with a fast flowing creek and a ten pound boulder. Simple pleasures. Now heading to Wild Iris to hopefully find some respite from the bugs and more climbing in cooler temps. #liveyouradventure

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Evening hike up our backyard hill, Elephant…

Evening hike up our backyard hill, Elephant Butte, with Wende and the kids, with a little stunning sunset to keep the energy going. Inspiring to see how motivated they become in the natural world, laughing, climbing, observing, and enjoying the beauty outside the home. #liveyouradventure #getoutside #bestmountainartists

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I’m always amazed by the delicate creations…

I’m always amazed by the delicate creations of nature surviving and thriving in the relatively harsh ecosystem of the Colorado high country, like this stunning columbine. It’s often the simple things, tucked into corners below the towering peaks and swaying ponderosas and quaking aspens, that go unnoticed, but tell us most about our natural world. #liveyouradventure #delicatebutstrong

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Every year, a great celebration happens along…

Every year, a great celebration happens along the banks of the #Ganges River. In praise of Durga and her battle of good over evil, thousands of pandals (statues of the gods) are made – ornate statues, intricately painted and showing scenes from the sacred texts. After much celebration and revelry, they’re paraded to the banks of the Ganges and tossed into her swift waters, tumbling and churning and decomposing en route to the Bay of Bengal, their often-toxic paints and materials mixing with the myriad other effluvia in the river. While but a small part of the challenges the Ganges faces, the pandals of Durga Puja are representative of the River’s overall struggle and dichotomy: it is the reverence for the river, for the divine incarnation of Maa Ganga (Mother Ganges) which is killing the river, and it is that same reverence which is he only chance at salvation. The #Ganges River is a paradox. It’s revered and reviled. It’s pristine and polluted, beautiful and horrible, stunning and insane, all at the same time. The story of this most sacred of rivers – which @pedromcbride and I try to tell in our film Holy (un)Holy River – is a complex one, with myriad tributaries and no simple solutions. We’re thrilled to share it tonight (and tomorrow) in #Brooklyn for its New York City premiere thanks to the Brooklyn Film Festival. I’ll be there to answer questions after the film, along with our amazing editor, Anand Kamalakar, and composer, John McDowell. #liveyouradventure #holyunholyriver #BFF2017 @davidcmorton @eddiebauer @surface @natgeo

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Grizzly – Lenawee Traverse: Easy Adventure with Solitude

As the weather warms up and we start thinking about getting out into the hills for fun adventures, a recent …

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