The Weekly Stoke: Mount Shasta, vanlife, why we climb mountains and the baddest ultramarathon around

Mount Shasta (Wikipedia Commons photo)

Mount Shasta (Wikipedia Commons photo)

It’s Friday the 13th, and a full moon is gonna be out. But that won’t deter me from getting out there, and giving you some reading material before I go. So let’s get started!

Ever thought about climbing Mount Shasta? Blogger and outdoor enthusiast Landon Faulkner walks you through it via this trip report.

The Coast Guard released its report on the sinking of the Bounty during Hurricane Sandy. Can’t say I’m surprised with its conclusions.

Living on the road, driving to new adventures: Sounds like the life, right? But this writer puts some perspective on vanlife.

Another one from the Adventure Journal: A musician stuck in a rut takes some time in India to find a little inspiration. Travel has a way of doing that, right?

With all the bad news from the mountains this spring, world-class mountaineer Conrad Anker writes this opinion piece about why he climbs dangerous mountains.

Last one: This link takes you to a video which describes what might be the toughest, wildest ultramarathon on the U.S., the Barkley 100. This ain’t your average trail race!

The Weekly Stoke: No rucks at Boston Marathon, a life-saving dog, Maria Kang, an ice climbing close call and why Wyoming is awesome

Grand Teton, Wyoming. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

Grand Teton, Wyoming. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

I’ve been seriously feeling the need to get on the road. Probably has something to do with winter-induced cabin fever. In any case, that’s given me time to find some really good links for you to check out. Let’s get to it with the Weekly Stoke!

Security concerns have ruled out military groups from doing “ruck marches” during the Boston Marathon this year.

A man out on a snowmobiling trip has his dog to thank for saving his life.

Maria Kang and familiy.

Maria Kang and familiy.

Maria Kang, the controversial  “no excuses” fit mom of three kids who made a major Internet splash recently, is doubling down on that theme in this latest effort.

Here’s a good read about this runner’s latest 100-mile ultramarathon, and all the mental games that go into conquering such a race.

If that inspires you, then check out this: A young cross-country runner diagnosed with MS is not wasting time. She’s going all-out in her sport.

This link tells the amazing story of an ice climber who had the ice he was scaling fall right out from under him.

A female CrossFit competitor has a beef with the organization — she’s transgendered, and the CrossFit games is telling her she has to compete with the guys. So she is suing.

Here’s a list of 13 tips for doing your first mud run/obstacle course race.

And finally, one more list: 20 great things about Wyoming.

The Weekly Stoke: Climbing Ben Nevis, a centenarian swimmer, running your first ultra and fighting off a shark with a knife

Ben Nevis, Scotland. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

Ben Nevis, Scotland. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

This edition of the Weekly Stoke is going to have a few themes. And good ones at that. Let’s not waste time!

Here’s an account of a winter climb of Scotland’s Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. It has some spectacular photos, and the route they chose is pretty fascinating.

Like Ben Nevis? You might also like this impressive list of 22 amazing places you’d have a hard time imagining even existed.

Let’s hear it for the older set. Here’s a pretty cool write-up about a couple who have lived and climbed together for decades, and why they chose to settle in South Dakota.

And then there’s this guy. He’s 104 years old, swims, swims long, and swims pretty fast. 104, people!

Here’s a short account of one tough dude: Goes out to sea, is attacked by a shark, fights it off, then proceeds to shore for a beer.

And on to the world of running: If you’re thinking about doing your first ultramarathon, here’s a list of considerations to make before you start.

Finally, another good running list: 5 key speed workouts for new runners. They’re good ones, and nothing feels quite like getting faster.

Have a great weekend!

NPS puts the brakes on Badwater 135, other races in Death Valley

A competitor runs the Badwater 135. (defense.gov photo)

A competitor runs the Badwater 135. (defense.gov photo)

In a decision that could affect a number of endurance races that traverse Death Valley, the National Park Service has placed a moratorium on races that go through the area until NPS officials can determine how safe such events are, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Among the most famous: The Badwater 135, an ultramarathon that crosses the world’s hottest environment before finishing at more than 8,300 feet on the lower flanks of Mount Whitney in southern California’s Sierras.

The NPS says it will do a study on the issue which should be done by spring, and events could resume as early as Oct. 1, 2014, the AP reported.

“We want to make it clear, we’re not canceling or banning any events,” Death Valley National Park spokeswoman Cheryl Chipman told The AP. “At the moment, we’re just not taking any more applications for them until we finish our safety evaluation.”

What makes it odd: A lack of major problems associated with endurance races in the area, one organizer said.

Chris Kostman, whose AdventureCorps runs Badwater 135 and other events, told the AP that his organization has held 89 events since 1990 without serious issues crop up: No deaths, no serious crashes, and a smattering of ambulance transports during that time. Despite its rigors, Death Valley’s signature race has an 89-percent finish rate, he said. Entry is by invitation only, and competitors have to have at least three 100-milers under their belt to be considered.

But the NPS’s decision means that Kostman has had to reschedule or move a slate of 2014 competitions, he said.

Temperatures in Death Valley can reach 130 degrees, and the length of the race, plus its elevation gain (about 8,500 feet from its lowest point to its high-altitude finish) make it even more taxing.

Those reasons, as well as increasing popularity and numbers of competitors, make it time for the safety review, Chipman contends.

In the long-term, Badwater 135 could be back, and other races will continue elsewhere, the AP reports. But in the short-term, there won’t be a Badwater 135 next year.

So what do you think? Is this move due diligence on the part of NPS, or is it overreach? Let me know your thoughts.

Bob Doucette

The Weekly Stoke: Adventure on the Amur, a new ultra, grizzly hunting in Yellowstone, and an appreciation of rocks

The Amur River, eastern Siberia. (Wikipedia commons photo)

The Amur River, eastern Siberia. (Wikipedia commons photo)

Reaching deep into the online outdoor universe, there are some cool things to be learned. A few nuggets to whet your appetite for adventure and achievement on the Weekly Stoke!

Four women went on an extraordinary journey, paddling the largest wild river (not dammed anywhere on its length) left in the world, the Amur of Siberia. This is the heart of adventure.

If you like altitude, amazing scenery and a physical challenge, a Texas transplant who now lives in Ouray, Colo., is planning a 100-mile ultramarathon in his new hometown. It’s scheduled for early August next year.

Speaking of ultra runners, this link has a short video about a blind ultramarathoner and his running companion. Inspiring stuff!

Could there be grizzly hunting in Yellowstone? The door may be opening for that soon.

Back to adventurous women: Here’s a Q&A with solo sailor Liz Clark, who sails across the globe.

And finally, Semi-Rad’s ode to rocks. If you’re a climber, hiker or mountaineer, well, you need to give it up to rocks.

Have an amazing weekend!