The Weekly Stoke: Unclimbed peaks, Yellowstone wildlife, high country terror and Chris Sharma doles out climbing tips

Nanga Parbat. (Wikimedia commons photo)

Nanga Parbat. (Wikimedia commons photo)

For whatever reason, the high country of the West is on my brain. This this will be a very mountain-heavy edition of The Weekly Stoke. Here goes!

The Adventure Journal has a list of the highest unclimbed mountains in the world.

In Yellowstone, more evidence of how reintroducing animals to their historic habitat is providing balance. Wolves may actually be helping Yellowstone’s bear population.

Outside Magazine asks if the terrorist murders of climbers near Nanga Parbat could happen again, and looks at the effects of that incident on Pakistan’s mountaineering industry.

In another one from Outside Magazine, uber climber Christ Sharma gives his tips on how to train to be a better climber.

And finally, check out this 3-minute video by Backcountry. Awesome scenery to inspire!

The Weekly Stoke: Don’t dump on Denali, violence at Nanga Parbat, surfing glacial waves and a time-lapse video on Everest

Alaska's Denali, North America's highest peak.

Alaska’s Denali, North America’s highest peak.

Well, I’m a slacker. No Weekly Stoke last week, as I was a little too busy being outside. My bad. But we’re back this week with some pretty interesting stories from the world of the outdoors and more. So, without further delay, here’s the latest:

John Krakauer is one of the most famous outdoors writers around (“Into the Wild,” “Into Thin Air”), and Conrad Anker is mountaineering royalty. But even these guys get in trouble when they decide to take a dump on Denali.

Could running 200 miles actually be easier than running 100 miles? This article makes that claim.

One surfer goes to extremes to find the perfect wave. As in the kinds of waves caused by glacial calving.

Gotta hand it to the Taliban. The same guys who have perfected the IED, tried to assassinate a school girl, throw acid on women’s faces and do everything in their power to use violence to lord over others have now lashed out at mountaineers and trekkers. Ten trekkers in Pakistan were murdered near Nanga Parbat, one of that country’s famed 8,000-meter peaks.

More adventure tourism woes: These tourists got stuck on an ice floe and were trapped on it after it broke free.

Here’s a list of six exercises where people often get hurt.

It seems there is some sort of stomach bug going around in Yellowstone.

Lastly, here’s a cool time-lapse video from Mount Everest. Enjoy your time outside!

(Correctly) redefining the epic sufferfest: The short film ‘Cold’


Over the last several years, one of the most misused words in the English language is “epic.” This has been written about quite often. Whereas “epic” used to describe harrowing and even legendary adventures or tales, it  is now often used to describe things as mundane as concerts, frat house parties or a hipster’s ironic beard.

Closer to the heart of the outdoors tribe, another misused term has been the word “sufferfest.” A sufferfest has been properly described as an event in which the parties involved endure physical hardships that are long-lasting, severe and potentially life-threatening.

A sufferfest now can be used to describe an uncomfortable or tiring hike. With perhaps some rain or (gasp!) snow. Or perhaps a challenging road race. You know, the one with hills. A real sufferfest.

I’m sure that you can figure out the definition of an “epic sufferfest.” That’s the concert/beard/party/road race/uncomfortable hike in which YOU were a main participant. Such epic sufferfests are then shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, usually accompanied by selfie photographs.

Uh, no. These words need a reset. Three guys — Simone Moro, Denis Urubko and Cory Richards – have done just that.

I know I’m late to the party on this, but I just watched the short film “Cold.” It’s about 20 minutes of sparsely narrated but incredibly photographed footage of these men’s 2011 winter ascent of Gasherbrum II in Pakistan. It’s the first time a Pakistani 8,000-meter peak has been successfully climbed in winter.

The climbers paid for the experience. Temperatures that were -30, -40, even -50 degrees F, complete with high winds. They dealt with the health problems typical of high altitude – lethargy, fatigue, hacking coughs.

And then there’s the mountain itself, and all the dangers it can throw at you without warning, especially in winter.

As a short film, it does its job quite well, capturing the moments that made this particular climb so hard and miserable. Personally, I’d love to see a reboot of the film in full-length documentary. But as a short, it was good enough to deservedly win lots of awards. The chief reason: The filmmakers were able to successfully tell the story of the climb without lionizing the climbers. They were characters, if you will. But the driving force (and central character) of the story was the bone-chilling force of the mountain and the elements, and how easily Gasherbrum II could have snuffed out the lives of the men who endeavored to climb it.

Consider the terms “epic” and “sufferfest” (correctly) redefined. Watch the movie and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Here’s a trailer, and forgive the initial f-bomb.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088


COLD – TRAILER from Forge Motion Pictures on Vimeo.