To celebrate the Mayan apocalypse in proper fashion, last night we went to see Chasing Ice, the new documentary movie about acclaimed photographer James Balog and his monumental efforts to document the receding glaciers of Greenland and Alaska.
Anybody with their head out of the sand can clearly understand that our planet is in turmoil; nevertheless, it is still utterly shocking and sobering to actually SEE through Balog’s cameras and time-lapses how rapidly these enormous glaciers and ice sheets are melting away. We are witnessing a planetary transformation of stunning speed and scale, and it’s difficult to imagine “smooth sailing” for our civilization in the coming decades. How many wake-up-calls do we need as a society to realize that we need to get our sh-t together and move forward with more sustainable energy policies?!
I encourage you to go see this movie as soon as possible. Go SEE how our Earth is transforming while we all go about business as usual. Go SEE for yourself.
If you can’t tell from all my recent posts, I’m in the midst of a bad case of spring skiing fever, or more accurately, spring snowboarding fever. This time of year more than ever I have the acute feeling of “so much to do, so little time.” I can’t stop thinking of all those high couloirs and snowfields being naturally groomed by the warm sunny days and cold high-altitude nights – waiting for me to get up there and carve them before they melt away.
So, I was elated tonight to discover a treasure trove of awesome backcountry ski reports from Sky Sjue at SkiSickness.com. Sky and his friends have skied many incredible big mountain lines in the Cascades, and Sky has amassed an inspiring collection of photos and trip reports that help stoke the fever.
Anybody who does not believe that the North Cascades are the most bad-ass mountains in the lower 48 should take a look at John Scurlock’s online gallery of aerial photographs of that rugged mountain range. Flying low circuitous routes in his homebuilt airplane and shooting though a plexiglas canopy, John has amassed an amazing collection of photos of the mountains of the Northwest. In the spirit of Bradford Washburn, John’s photos are both documentary and flat out stunning at the same time.
Check out his article “Flight to Desolation”, published in the NorthWest Mountaineering Journal (which by the way is great website). Also be sure to browse through John’s own online gallery.
“On November 3, 2007, Andrew Skurka became the first person to complete the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop, an ambitious journey that links the American West’s great long-distance hiking trails to traverse 12 National Parks and over 75 wilderness areas. Skurka, 26, completed his expedition by walking an average of 33 miles per day for 208 straight days, covering a distance equivalent to 262 marathons or twice the distance between Boston and San Francisco.”
This trek blows my mind. 33 miles a day. 208 days! Just the planning for this trip alone would be a monumental project, not to mention actually DOING it!
Andrew would be appalled if he saw me and my enormous backpack with 20 pounds of camera gear. I take a slow pace and enjoy relaxing and spending more time in each place I go, but I still dream about what it would be like to thru-hike a long trail. How would it feel to hike through the desert for weeks on end and then ascend up into the lush mountains? To experience first hand the great range of landscapes and climate on a continental scale?