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He asked to his followers, "How about a Mars Olympics? Yes, all the athletes would suffocate. Ignoring that complication, way cooler than Earth #Olympics." Tyson speculated about how the Games would go down on the red planet. Many sports would have a new element of danger added. We're not talking minor injuries. Here are our favorite Tyson tweets.
Cycling: "If there was Cycling on Mars, try Olympus Mons — a volcanic mountain 5x taller than Mont Blanc in the Alps."
Some estimates say that the last Olympus Mons eruption was 25 million years ago. Unsure when to expect the next one, we have to wonder what the chances are of that volcanic mountain erupting mid-ride. If the height of the mountain doesn't get you, the lava might.
Badminton: "With 1% of Earth's air density, Badminton on Mars would be different — a shuttlecock to the face lands you in the hospital."
We're not saying that badminton is a boring sport, but we certainly think more people would tune in to the fast-paced event if it took place on Mars. The players wouldn't know whether to go for the shuttlecock or to run from it. Now that's an interesting game.
Humans' fascination with flight: it will never end. And with every shift in aviation and, now, film technology, come new ways of bringing others into an experience only a few people dare to pursue.
BASE jumpers have this adrenaline-drenched corner of the market covered, but wingsuits can look silly, no?
Enter the skydivers armed with GoPro cameras and some stellar sound editors at Infinity List (who also brought us the trailer for Birdmen), and the result gives us insight on what heaven might feel like.
For some of us. The ones that would rather not jump off high things for that type of firsthand knowledge.
--Benita Hussain / image from Experience Human Flight / Infinity List
Dun-dun. . . dun-dun. . . . Last weekend, a Cape Cod kayaker had a thrilling experience when he turned around to see a 10-foot great white shark trailing a little too close to his kayak. While the man — and his kayak — made it out of the water fine, another kayaker in Santa Cruz, California wasn't so lucky.
Don't worry! The west-coaster was totally fine too. His kayak, on the other hand, may need a little TLC after this curious great white got a taste of its plastic underside, leaving a few bite mark souvenirs.
These aren't the only times a shark has gone after a kayak; back in May near Cambria, California, a man was knocked out of his kayak by a great white that left a 20-inch bite in the side of the boat.
Why so many shark sightings? Some say it's because of the booming seal population (they're now a protected species). Or maybe sharks are just making a comeback. In any case, all of these recent shark encounters have left the kayakers with a great story to share and a happy ending.
--image by istockphoto/demarfa
--Allison Montroy is an editorial intern for Sierra and a journalism student at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.
A year ago, our magazine gave you a nifty infographic history of the Nose, the 2,900-foot climbing route on Yosemite's famed El Capitan, and we left you with a cliffhanger: that 2008-record holder Hans Florine had vowed to break Dean Potter and Sean Leary's last speed record of 2:36:45.
Well, two days ago, the 48-year-old and big wall soloer Alex Honnold made good on that promise by shaving 13 minutes off that time, which is about 286 hours less than the Nose's first ascent in 1958.
The above video shows him being greeted by family and fans following his record-breaking Father's Day ascent.
Benita Hussain is a freelance writer and editorial intern at SIERRA. Her work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, GOOD and Women's Adventure, among others. She's also a part-time lawyer and yoga teacher who surfs and climbs and travels to do both. Twitter: @hussainity.
--Image by iStock / Martin Isaac
Sit-skier Josh Dueck has “FREEDOM” tattooed across his abdomen in big black letters. He says the word signifies his ability to express himself through movement, to weave through trees in deep powder or between gates on a slalom course. Most recently, it means hucking backflips.
On February 3, in the backcountry of southeast British Columbia, Dueck became the first sit-skier to perform the trick. It launched him fameward, generating a barrage of media attention from the likes of CBS and Ellen Degeneres, (the latter gave him a parka with her name on it).
Dueck was once an able-bodied aspiring freestyle skier. He began sit-skiing (also called mono-skiing) after a 2004 injury left him without the use of his legs. He overshot a jump, overrotated a flip, and crashed on his stomach from 100 feet up. The blow dislocated his spine and severed his spinal cord. He started coping immediately. “In the ambulance I was repeating to myself that everything happens for a reason, that everything in my life had prepared me for this moment,” he told Explore. “I knew I’d be ok. I was worried about my parents.” But after the doctors rebuilt his back with pieces of metal, the shock goggles dissolved away, and he had trouble fending off reality. The pain was so bad he couldn’t talk. Horse tranquilizers were barely any use. The only thing he could muster was asking his dad to pull the plug.
"Eimhir, the daughter of the MacLeod clan, who was betrothed to the devil but, preferring death, jumped into the loch and was transformed into a mermaid," UK outfitter Rapha's blog tells us. "Auld Clootie, enraged, struck the earth and created the blasted landscape, it is said."
This "blasted landscape" belongs to Assynt, a seriously out-of-the way corner of northeast Scotland, which makes it ripe for cycling, as the Rapha Continental team does, through gale winds and herds of wild deer.
Their short film is one to watch. It can be described as beautiful, and, like the legend, haunting and kind of creepy, particularly with the Beowulfian narration of their experience.
Not bad for advertising either.
Benita Hussain is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, GOOD and Women's Adventure Magazine, among others. With degrees from Cornell University and Fordham Law School, she's also a part-time lawyer and yoga teacher that surfs, climbs and travels to do both. Twitter: @hussainity.
Chelsea Griffie's life wouldn't be the same if it weren't for her determination to follow her childhood dreams. Chicago, where she was raised, lacked the mountains she craved, so she left to find them. Her pursuit of an outdoor lifestyle led her to excel in rock climbing and backpacking, which landed her in the hotbed of both — Yosemite. In 2001, she became the first African American woman to climb El Capitan.
Her passion for the outdoors then led her to work with youth in California cities. From 2006 to 2011, she was the program director of Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT), which teaches adult trip leaders how to safely guide outdoor excursions for kids and also provides them with gear.
With her inner child's determination still driving, she brought the BAWT model to Los Angeles, where became founder and executive director of Los Angeles Wilderness Training (LAWT). Just before heading into the field for a five-day Wilderness Leadership Training course, Chelsea answered a few of our questions on her accomplishments and future goals.
Sierra: How did you become fascinated with the mountains and camping?
Chelsea Griffie: The truth is, I’m not totally certain myself. My mom was a nurse, and we went to the Girl Scout camp. As a little kid — I was probably a teenager, I knew I wanted more. I knew I wanted more mountains and backpacking. And then two things on TV — mind you, this was a long time ago — were Grizzly Adams and Escape to Witch Mountain. For my first camping experience, I went on a solo motorcycling trip and I couldn’t convince anyone else to go with me. My first night I didn’t bring a sleeping pad because I thought those were for wimps. I quickly learned I was a wimp and got one the next day.
In May 2011, California's Department of Parks and Recreation announced that during the following fiscal year, it would be closing 70 of its 279 state parks. Hoping to achieve an $11 million reduction in the state's already overextended budget, Secretary John Laird admitted the cuts were unfortunate.
Well, the end of the 2011 fiscal year is nigh, which means that starting in July, countless Californians and outdoor recreationalists will be out of a campground, a hike, and for some famous ones, a climb.
Slated for closure is Castle Rock State Park in Santa Cruz, CA, where native son and top boulderer Chris Sharma began his career. Refusing to see his turf closed for those who he's inspired, he has begun a campaign to save the park, which is also home to the famed and aptly-named V10 Eco-Terrorist.
Sharma will be hosting a series of fundraising events throughout the Bay Area this month, including a triple header of media presentations in Emeryville, CA and Santa Cruz during the weekend of May 17th. Tickets are available online, but those who are interested in the statewide parks campaign can support the California State Parks Foundation, which also recently began offering partners "operating grants" to help share the costs of parks management.
And for those who just want to check out Sharma's greatest hits, it'll be worth a trip to the East and South Bays. Check out some of his climbing highlights above.
Benita Hussain is a Sierra editorial intern and writer whose work has also appeared in GOOD, Women's Adventure and Matador Sports, among others. With degrees from Cornell University and Fordham Law School, she's also a part-time lawyer and yoga teacher that surfs, climbs and travels to do both. Twitter:@hussainity.
Fabes, a physician in his early thirties, had a vague plan. From Londontown he’d bump over the Alps, cut south from Istanbul and pedal Africa from nape to tailbone. Then on to the Americas, Australia, and Asia. He’d traverse six continents — 50,000 miles — in five years.
The first few weeks weren’t so bad, despite the fact that Fabes didn’t train for the trip (“I thought, ‘I have a lot of cycling ahead of me, why should I do more now?’”). But soon the spine of Europe appeared before him, and things got frigid. French motorists beamed incredulously as he ascended the mountains. One night a blizzard struck, hardening his gloves and turning his sleeping bag into an ice cocoon. He eventually breezed down to the Riviera and dipped into a tunnel that spit him out in a balmy valley east of the Alps. One thing he missed about the cold, he later mused, was the absence of “winged nasties.”
Soon he rolled into Italy and heard a clicking sound. This sound wasn’t coming from his bike. It was coming from his knee. “I could feel," he blogged, "a small curious mobile mass within the joint space which often got trapped causing me sudden pain.” Still, he couldn't turn back. He rode through the Balkans and Greece before an MRI revealed a bit of cartilage caroming in his knee. He stored his bike in Istanbul and hitchhiked back to London, where surgeons presented him the stray piece in a jar.
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